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Old 05-04-2010, 04:41   #1
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Navigation - Single Handed

OK, I know how to determine course, bearing, and Position.

But in practice I need a bit of guidance.

Say I'm sailing west down the St Lawrence and the wind is coming directly from the west.

So I will have to tack back and forth as I make my way west. However is parts the channel is narrow, so I may need to go outside the channel, which the chart shows is plenty deep.

If my GPS (no plotter) is plugged in below and my chart is below, how do I every 15min? Determine it is time to tack and know I have not gone too far on my tack, then determine the next bearing etc....

Can't use the chart in the cockpit with the healing etc, no table
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:50   #2
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Either you have to preplan and prechart the entire trip with chart/notes to read in the cockpit or the boat has to be able to tend itself while you go below to navigate. Some boats, depending on the rig, point of sail, etc will hold a course for a while with the wheel locked but more than likely you will need some form of self steering like an autopilot. Only other option is to heave to or otherwise stop the boat every time you need to read the chart.

You might want to consider a handheld GPS unit to use in the cockpit.
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:53   #3
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Ahoy, use your echo sounder for depth, just tack when it starts to shoal quickly? Use visual clues from the shore, compass transits and cross bearings, don't go below as something is sure to happen, I've had some nasty surprises in bust areas just nipping below for 2 minutes.
I wouldn't attempt it at night or during low visibility.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:04   #4
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Problem with using the depth sounder to decide when to tack is that in some spots you can find a rock or shoal that pops up from deep water. In that situation you may have no time at all to react since the depth sounder will give no warning until you are on the rocks.

If you have preplanned the route and know that the sides of the channel along your whole route shoals gradually then this method could work.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:14   #5
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Clearance bearings are very useful, although you may have a lot to work out in the sort of situation you describe.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:16   #6
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The best way to do this is to have a small notebook with the whole of your trip drawn out, and the use of clearing bearings from prominent objects to keep you safe - i.e. The notebook shows where you are on the passage, and shows the prominent object, and also any dangerous places (shallows rocks etc) then the bearing lines (allowing decent safety margin). Make sure that you have made the appropriate true to magnetic conversion.

This will make the task easy.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:57   #7
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wouldn't be without my waterproof handheld garmin 72 gps in the cockpit. it allows uploading of charts, navaids etc. doesnt cost as much as 4l antifoul & just simply beats going below every 15minutes.

if you are at the "say i'm going" & solo, stage plan to have nav gear in the cockpit.

sailing solo is bloody hard work, make it as easy as possible from the onset. (get a thermos {vacuum flask} as well)....
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:58   #8
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Outdoor,

Many years ago I had the same problem and decided that I wanted to have a chart on deck but the problem was that the chart was always blowing around. I made a chart holder out of the clip from a clip board that I removed and screwed to a piece of teak that is about 12X6 inches and 3/4" thick. I routered out a hole on the back of the board and poured in lead. My lead ingot is about 2X8 inches and about 1/2 " thick. I then glued a rubber back over the bottom of the board.

I can now fold a chart to the area I am in and clip it to the chart clip and it stays where I drop it.

Cheers

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Old 05-04-2010, 07:01   #9
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Got an iphone? iNavX is a cheap chartplotting program. The GPS (built into the phone) is not always perfectly reliable (esp if you are away from cell phone towers), but the charts are very good.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:35   #10
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Get a waterproof chart cover. I like to stick the charts under the cockpit cushions while not looking at it. or find some other way to secure the chart. Maybe velcro or tie the cover down to the seats.

Covers at: ( for example )
Waterproof Vinyl Chart & Kit Sleeves
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:10   #11
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I use my laptop chartplotter and a chart in the cockpit. I use the chartplotter to see where I am with regards to immediate hazards and depths but constantly refer to the chart to give me a broader overview. I look at landmarks get any idea whats around me. I use the chart more then the plotter so I know when I need a good look at the plotter. I try to learn the names of the landmarks and where to look to spot nav aids etc. Adds to my pleasure as well as safety I figure.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:33   #12
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[IMG]file:///D:/DOCUME%7E1/sgraham/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot.jpg[/IMG][IMG]file:///D:/DOCUME%7E1/sgraham/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-1.jpg[/IMG]Using sample route attached.

Assume wind is coming from west Green Line direction, so I need to tack roughly as shown with blue lines. I could see that if I assume say on the first tack i'm right on the line, I could use a bearing to the green Buoy to determine when to tack. But as the wind fluctuates, shifts etc.. I might end up slightly different bearing on my first tack, or I could be more east of west on line of the planned first tack course.

When I'm in open water and have time to set autopilot and quickly go below (knowing no boats are within sight) I can quickly calc and lookup position etc..
Attached Images
File Type: bmp Sample Route.bmp (367.7 KB, 48 views)
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:42   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot View Post
The best way to do this is to have a small notebook with the whole of your trip drawn out, and the use of clearing bearings from prominent objects to keep you safe - i.e. The notebook shows where you are on the passage, and shows the prominent object, and also any dangerous places (shallows rocks etc) then the bearing lines (allowing decent safety margin). Make sure that you have made the appropriate true to magnetic conversion.
Exactly right.
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:31   #14
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I am kinda unclear at what you want. What are you sailing? When I sailed a dingy, I just used my own memory and senses to navigate. A smaller sailboat- I just stuff a copy of the chart in my back pocket and use it for reference. It looks like from your map that you have all the visual clues to navigate without having to resort to a GPS. I think running fixes from both sides of that channel should be enough.
Perhaps you should get some else on board with a little local knowledge of the channel, and get your auto whiz bangy pilot to work before you go too far..
Finally, you might consider that soloing is generally a very advanced and dangerous type of sailing. I worry with all those ferries running and you below doing whatever ;^)
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Old 05-04-2010, 13:11   #15
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1. Prepare each section on A4 sheets, overlapping each section by a good margin.
Copying your chart on a photocopier (or scanner as you did the exert). It's legal for your own use.
2. Put each of these in a pouch (water proof plastic A4 pocket) each hanging just inside the door. Add a few felt pens that mark the plastic OK (even wet).
3. On the back of each section right up the diversions that might be useful in fog, equipment damage or just fatigue. Add the notes or sketches that will get you to a safe point.
4. Choose one of them for a meal break or a cat nap and make sure none of the legs are too long should the wind fail or fog set in.
5. Choose two overnight points, one optimistic and one pessimistic AND write on the chart clearly the time you will have to make a decision to continue or go safe.
6. Mark the currents and the time the current changes using a common high tide datum so the charts are always valid. A day trip for me involves four tide tables. I've commoned then to one so all I need is the one high tide for any day. I mark rising tide current and direction above a bar, and falling current below it. Easier to use tenths of knots too.
Also a few boat mods
A. Fit a car horn if you have a battery on board. Fog or emergency.
B. Fit a car headlight just in case you end up feeling your way into a strange bay/mooring after dark. If you are single handing it's likely you drop a torch or two overboard.
If you take all the precautions and all goes well you'll have a good trip and gain a lot of satisfaction from knowing you did a good job. Start skimping and have a problem and at best you'll feel daft, even if you never tell us.
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