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Old 23-03-2014, 09:51   #16
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Originally Posted by weephee View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I think the best solution is for me to take a course. Thanks again.
Exactly the right course of action, Weephee. And your question wasn't stupid at all. Learning to work out a DR (dead reakoning) position is something every sailor should know, irrespective of how many electronic gadgets h/she has aboard. Congratulations on your curiosity. Someday it will stand you in good stead.

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Old 23-03-2014, 10:36   #17
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Re: Navigating without GPS

DR can get you pretty close although it assumes your knot meter's transducer is working properly so you know your speed. Otherwise, time on one tack then time on the other, back and forth along your track line.
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Old 23-03-2014, 10:48   #18
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Re: Navigating without GPS

BoatSafe.com - Boating Safety, Boating Courses, Boating Articles

and they also have books about basic coastal navigation.

Good luck, good question, good idea to ask.
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Old 26-03-2014, 19:42   #19
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Weephee .
Dead reckoning is just kind of guessing with what ever experience that you have thrown in . Today you can buy a GPS for less than $100 so that is what most people do , they use electronics .
But in reality you could easily sail from Florida to So. America with nothing but a compass and charts and a little sense . It ain't rocket science !
As someone above said , when making a sail passage I would usually aim " high " on my landmass so that when I got there I would know that my target should be down wind .
I have sailed the Carib end to end several times with no electronics .
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Old 27-03-2014, 02:07   #20
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Re: Navigating without GPS

You are likely in luck. No tide to complicate things (except a little in Lake Superior) and no current if you are out of sight of land. Keep track of your course, time and speed, and have a chart nearby.
I used to use a radio direction finder- you might find one. They give you the direction to radio towers and you can triangulate from 3 to locate your position. Also, keep a weather eye; it changes frequently.
Better yet, get a hand held GPS.
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Old 27-03-2014, 02:50   #21
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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You are likely in luck. No tide to complicate things (except a little in Lake Superior) and no current if you are out of sight of land. Keep track of your course, time and speed, and have a chart nearby.
I used to use a radio direction finder- you might find one. They give you the direction to radio towers and you can triangulate from 3 to locate your position. Also, keep a weather eye; it changes frequently.
Better yet, get a hand held GPS.


Yes, RDF's once had all the magic that GPS has today.

Hope this helps get you started on the right path:

You Can Build A Low Cost Radio Direction Finder from Plans | eBay

Best of luck,

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Old 27-03-2014, 03:02   #22
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Using Dead Reckoning, I've learned to always be off course one way or another, that way when you hit land, you know for sure which way to turn
+1

oh and learning to navigate without learning how to use the tide tables,is a bit like learning how to tell time from a watch,but not learning what a calender is or how to read it.......theoretically you would never know what day it was even though you knew the time
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Old 27-03-2014, 04:34   #23
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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don't think tide tables are on the list of things needed.sailing is not the sort of thing you predict on for arriving, maybe in a day if the weather is good
How will you calculate set and drift without tide tables and tide charts? These are fundamental to navigation.
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Old 27-03-2014, 04:43   #24
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Exactly the right course of action, Weephee. And your question wasn't stupid at all. Learning to work out a DR (dead reakoning) position is something every sailor should know, irrespective of how many electronic gadgets h/she has aboard. Congratulations on your curiosity. Someday it will stand you in good stead.

Bill
+1!

The question was the opposite of stupid -- it's a great question. Being able to navigate without GPS is extremely valuable. Not necessarily because you will want to actually navigate regularly without GPS, but because without learning these things you never really understand the principles. Just punching buttons on a gadget doesn't make you a navigator.

No GPS, for example, can get you across a moving body of water -- you have to understand navigation to figure that out. There are some sophisticated computer programs which can do it, but normal electronic navigation equipment cannot. But even with one of those programs, you still need to understand the fundamentals of navigation! See this thread: CTS vs Following Rhumb Line - DILUTED THREAD for a glimpse of the complexity of the problem.
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Old 27-03-2014, 06:44   #25
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Re: Navigating without GPS

As in 1985 I did my ICC no GPS was around, but Decca was still alive.
Learning formulas for dead reckoning helps me till today. Sailing without paper charts..no way. Have sailed around Europe without GPS, from Azores to Med...
What should I do if batteries are low, system has been breakdown or whatever...
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Old 27-03-2014, 07:22   #26
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Buy a book, read it once or twice. Also get a gps, a chartplotter with all cans on it would be best if you can swing it. Taking a class seems like a waste of time, there's nothing salty or romantic about figuring out the old ways of navigation. 15 years ago maybe, but now a basic gps is dirt cheap. Why fight it, no one will think better of you for doing it without GPS.
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Old 27-03-2014, 08:13   #27
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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If I looked at a map and wanted to go 180 degrees magnetic south from point A to point B across a body of water where the distance was far enough that I would loose site of land and I didn't have a GPS, only a compass and I was sailing into a head wind that caused me to tack back and forth how would I know how to get to point B. Also assume a cross current. This is likely a stupid question but I have never sailed where I couldn't see land and I would like to try it this summer. I'm not talking about sailing across the ocean but Great Lake sailing.

Ditto what everyone else said, about learning, courses, dead reckoning, set and drift, etc.

I guess you probably know an inexpensive tablet with GPS capability, a nav app or two, and some charts can augment your own capabilities for probably less than $300.

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Old 27-03-2014, 08:54   #28
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Navigating without GPS?

It can't be done. You will die.
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Old 27-03-2014, 09:33   #29
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Re: Navigating without GPS

The question I have is one of time management.

We played around a bunch last year with DR and were moderately successful although we were under power and never factored in set and drift. The problem was there were 3 of us and it was almost a full time job keeping up. If we had to factor in a bunch more calculations, steer the boat, record all the pertinent data (no way a math idiot like me could keep it in my head) and on top of all that trim the sails and maintain a course in unfavourable winds, I am certain I would soon find myself in the middle of the Pacific heading for China while still arguing over compass vs true.

We were in the Gulf Islands so I suppose if we had the luxury of a 40 minute tack we might have eventually caught up. I think I actually asked if we could stop for a minute and catch up...
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Old 27-03-2014, 09:37   #30
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Navigating without GPS?

It can't be done. You will die.
Ha! :-)

But the real tragedy is that many folks on the water these days cannot navigate even with GPS! That's why we see so many "GPS-assisted" collisions, groundings, etc.

Recipe for disaster: a boater with virtually no navigational knowledge, inability to read a nautical chart, and an installed GPS connected to the autopilot.

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