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Old 03-10-2016, 02:17   #226
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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Originally Posted by Bulawayo View Post
I apologise to you....I didnt realise you were so perfect and that you carry so many charging systems that are lightning proof AND that you also carry a dozen GPS's (why?). I dont accept that most cruisers carry so many charge devices either - maybe where you cruise but not from the interaction I have with cruisers - rarely do they have the four you mention. One person breaking a mirror doesnt make it a common issue for sextants either. Its not that you might loose every GPS device on board, it is the practicalities of subsequant action when many do not know even how to run a DR plot or have a small scale chart on board. There are so many misconceptions about basic nav skills as has already been demonstrated by some people with obviously no practical knowledge and no real experience. On that point you could be correct as those people will never really be mid-ocean so shall its not relevant!!
I really recommend you research modern technology before playing the luddite. Just about every piece of electronics that you buy has a GPS in it that operates independent of land based systems.

As far as your responses:
- Even the most navigationally challenged cruisers will have at least a rough idea of their starting point if they have been running the chart plotter all along. In addition, they likely have a pretty good idea of challenging areas on their intended course, so starting position it's really a big issue.
- The first and most important navigational challenge is how to determine a heading. Yeah, a lighting strike can throw off a compass but as demonstrated, there are a number of methods to determine direction without a deep understanding of sextant based celestial navigation. Once you know what compass reading correspond to the cardinal directions, the compass retains pretty much all of it's original usefulness. If east corresponds to 164 degrees and you want to head east, simply take up a compass heading of 164 degrees.
- With at least a half dozen GPS units, you don't need to turn them all on and run them till the batteries die. In the event of loss of power, turn them all off and only turn them on for a couple of minutes to get fix. This should give you weeks if not months of position fixes and those fixes will be an order of magnitude more accurate (on the order of feet as opposed to miles).

To clarify, my objection is not with understanding navigational techniques (as the title of the thread implies). My objection is the immediate descent of the thread into the assumption that the only reliable means of navigation is sextant based celestial navigation. If you want to take up the sextant as a hobby, more power to you but modern electronic navigation is more than reliable enough to be a replacement.
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:03   #227
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pirate Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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Originally Posted by Bulawayo View Post
I think you'll find sunset today is at 18h22 for the Azores. You need to go back a month to get a sunset after 8pm. I did find another website that puts the sunset one hour later - great to have concensus. Regardless, as you are further south it shall set even earlier.
Did you mean transit? How can the sun transit at 21h45?
Apologies.. should not have used the word transit..
You are relating sunset to darkness.. however twilight lasts quite a while.. currently here in Fig da Foz its not what I call dark till around 2000hrs.. I know.. splitting hairs..
Also.. we are still on Summertime here.. not GMT.
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Old 04-10-2016, 13:07   #228
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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Those who would readily throw away celestial navigational skills will readily throw away pilotage skills as well. Blind faith in the wondrous capabilities that computers can achieve does not equate with a true relationship and knowledge of where you truly are. And why are you out there anyway, if not to connect more closely in a real and experiential way?
Know where you are because you understand it, not because your device gives you permission to act.
I could agree with you if you changed "will" to "might". My pilotage is an essential skill. If I only had the old school pilotage skills I would standoff in approaching a dark port with questionable lights. I have been to many in the world like that. Even with GPS I would be reluctant to go in to a strange port since charts are not always accurate, whether digital or paper.

I have, however, gone in to several ports with a GPS where I could back up my position with expected lights or marks. I would hesitate going in crossing a bar with just GPS in a deep fog though. The biggest danger there is being run over by a ship or small fishing vessel going 25kts using GPS alone.

GPS is a tool and is only one of the tools you should carry with you in navigating. I consider it an essential tool for safety and risk management. It is helpful getting in and out of some places. If I could only have either a sextant or a GPS I would take the GPS every time.
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Old 09-10-2016, 16:46   #229
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
GPS is a tool and is only one of the tools you should carry with you in navigating. I consider it an essential tool for safety and risk management. It is helpful getting in and out of some places. If I could only have either a sextant or a GPS I would take the GPS every time.
Agreed.

When we first started cruising we doubted the usefulness of importance of radar. How wrong could one be. Radar is a huge advantage in bad weather, poor vis, or at night when approaching marks or verifying what is out there. I'm pretty confident that with more practice we could still use radar in combination with our chartplotter (without GPS) to figure out where we were with great accuracy.

Still, I feel that if we were willing to carry a full range of paper charts on board that we would also carry a sextant and tables.
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Old 10-10-2016, 07:17   #230
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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Agreed.

When we first started cruising we doubted the usefulness of importance of radar. How wrong could one be. Radar is a huge advantage in bad weather, poor vis, or at night when approaching marks or verifying what is out there. I'm pretty confident that with more practice we could still use radar in combination with our chartplotter (without GPS) to figure out where we were with great accuracy.

Still, I feel that if we were willing to carry a full range of paper charts on board that we would also carry a sextant and tables.
I appreciate having radar, and now, AIS. I have used radar as a critical aid in approaching new places with inaccurate paper (and electronic) charts.

I do love paper charts though. Expense, storage space, and the difficulty of keeping them up to date are big problems though. Canada still requires them so I will have to get some new ones going north. They require them to be up to date. However, if crossing the Pacific or other oceans I would always want to have as many paper charts as possible for all areas I would be going to. Land doesn't change as fast as day markers and buoys change. I wouldn't get a sextant just because I had paper charts though. But that's just my opinion for my boat. I understand why others would want to have one and stay practiced on it.
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