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Old 27-03-2014, 10:26   #31
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Originally Posted by weephee View Post
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... I'm not talking about sailing across the ocean but Great Lake sailing.
Crossing Lake Ontario is pretty easy. Go south from Kingston til you can't. 6 hours or less.

First - yes, take CYA Coastal Navigation. They show you all the stuff about basic navigating with charts, compass, sightings etc. It's a great course to take over winter, or they also usually also have an intensive weekend, if you're up to it.

In the described situation, I'd use the chart to plan one or two long tacks, planned to get you to some point on the NY shore where there's a big obvious landmark (water tower, big antenna, factory smokestack, etc). If you know the direction and speed of expected current, you can incorporate that into your plot.

If you have a knot log or knotmeter, you watch that enroute to determine when you're at the chosen tack point; if you don't, but you have a wristwatch and know roughly how fast your boat goes at various points of sail, then you go by time. You keep an eye on winds, and adjust your plans if you can't stay on the planned course.

Once you can see the shore, and (hopefully) your landmark, you can visually navigate the rest of the way to point B. If you don't see what you expected to see... you can usually find something that you can match up to the chart to re-orient yourself. Or somewhere to land to ask. This isn't Borneo

Coastal nav is fun, and on the Great Lakes it's easy and fairly safe. Still... there's really no excuse for not having a GPS on board. Our first one was a handheld for $100 from ebay, and now we have an old Lowrance handheld I got for $15 at a flea market. You don't have to turn it on or look at it... but if night is closing in, or some fog, or your navigation was off, it takes 2 minutes to fire up the GPS and establish where you are and to set a new course.
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Old 27-03-2014, 11:08   #32
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post

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...
I have done DR's in the Gulf Islands as an exercise. The Gulf Isdlands can be navigated with a paper chart and a mark 1 eyeball.

The passes and anchorages do require tide and current tables.

I use DR's when crossing or going up Georgia Strait. However GPS fixes and visual fixes are also part of the process.
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Old 27-03-2014, 11:22   #33
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Thanks again for all the replies. I do in fact have a Garmin GPS which I use regularily but wanted to try and sail without it and out of site of land. I am going to take the Navigation course and then try using the vast knowledge I will have accumulated LOL. Adds to the pleasure of sailing for me anyways.
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Old 27-03-2014, 13:23   #34
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Thank goodness I got into this game before chart plotters and now cell phones took over all navigation. Being able to do multiple types of navigation is important, and to navigate with out electronics is true art.
In an emergency all one would need is eyes and some thing to measure angles. Not tidy but one could get home. That is why the old art is still important.
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Old 27-03-2014, 13:37   #35
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Re: Navigating without GPS

You could be the worlds greatest gift to navigation Newt, but it would still be foolish in today's world to not have a GPS considering how cheap the technology is.
I've got a well trained homing pigeon so I'll pass on the $100 VHF.
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Old 27-03-2014, 13:51   #36
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Re: Navigating without GPS

I agree HH, the key is to be able to do it. I carry my phone everywhere, and the charts are already downloaded. That and a depth finder and I am living a life of luxury. But if lighting strike took out all electronics, or if I found myself without tools on a life raft that I could steer ...All would not be lost.
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Old 27-03-2014, 14:02   #37
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Before I started cruising I got and read all the cruising classics, I had a very romanticized view of how it was. My point is that all the classics from 50s,60s,70s, briefly steered me in the wrong direction. 20 years ago a sextant was king and GPS was optional, now it's very much reversed. Electrical redundancy is overwhelming and it's only getting better. Sure I'm screwed after the zombie apocalypse but I'll take that risk.
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Old 27-03-2014, 14:04   #38
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Re: Navigating without GPS

I do have paper charts for anywhere I go, and there are plenty that can't say that. I hate following my progress on a screen.
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Old 27-03-2014, 15:59   #39
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Navigating without GPS

Tthat must be black magic
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Old 27-03-2014, 16:14   #40
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Re: Navigating without GPS

Noon sights, anyone? It's not a black art. It's actually pretty simple.
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Old 27-03-2014, 16:27   #41
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
+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
Alex, while cruising, I can tell by the sun etc about what the time is with sufficient accuracy for most things. I wear a watch to tell me what DAY it is, for that is an artificial construct with no clues from nature!

Cheers,

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Old 27-03-2014, 16:36   #42
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
How will you calculate set and drift without tide tables and tide charts? These are fundamental to navigation.

The OP's question was related to navigation on the Great Lakes. Set and drift are not a big factor there, and tidal tables and charts are not fundamental to navigation.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 27-03-2014, 16:46   #43
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
How will you calculate set and drift without tide tables and tide charts? These are fundamental to navigation.
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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
+1!


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.
I don't understand that statement, Dockhead. Most any gps will allow you to set a waypoint at your destination and then one can simply follow the dotted line across the body of water, watching the cross track error. You will not have made the crossing in the most efficient manner, but you will safely arrive at your destination. If the current is so swift and your boat so slow that you can not maintain the required heading and make way you have a problem for sure, but that is a minuscule subset of navigational situations and perhaps a good indication that you should not make the voyage at that time.

I certainly think that the OP (and everyone else) should understand basic piloting and navigation, but can't agree with your blanket statement about gps navigation.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 28-03-2014, 15:03   #44
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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
Yes. This.

If the distance is far enough, don't aim exactly for the port you are trying to reach. Aim to one side and then you know which way to turn when you reach sight of the coast. There's a skill to this.

I enjoy this kind of navigation. You end up seeing and being aware more 'cause ya gotta.
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Old 28-03-2014, 15:47   #45
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Re: Navigating without GPS

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Alex, while cruising, I can tell by the sun etc about what the time is with sufficient accuracy for most things. I wear a watch to tell me what DAY it is, for that is an artificial construct with no clues from nature!

Cheers,

Jim
i can think of 2 places where this would not work!,and they are quite large places,covering a third of the worlds surface for alternately 4 months at a time.....and 1 place all the time!

1 above 60 N ,nov-feb

2 below 60S april-aug

3 180E-180w

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