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Old 22-09-2016, 16:00   #1
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Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

I mean, everyone will always have GPS...

Solar, Space, and Geomagnetic Weather, Part VI: Solar-Earth DefCon Levels
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Old 22-09-2016, 16:22   #2
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

And GPS can fail, just like anything electronic. Learn pilotage, and keep your position updated on a paper chart. No, you don't have to learn celestial navigation, but you do need to know how to get back to port without hitting anything when your GPS fails. Never be totally dependent on anything electronic, and never let anything mechanical know that you're in a hurry.
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Old 22-09-2016, 16:27   #3
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

Of course they do. What happens when you're 500 mi offshore and your vessel is struck by lightning? All back up GPS are dead. Pull out the sextant and tables and you're back in business for the navigation.

Getting struck by lightning is pretty rare, but one is pretty vulnerable. Just imagine without all your electronics the jobs you'd have to do. For instance, many modern engines have a computer that tells it when it's okay to start. So in that case, you either need a way to bypass that, or you're w/o an engine. Also autopilot, so you're hand steering now, unless you have a windvane. One could hope you carry Letcher's book about self steering for sail boats, some good ideas in there.

Yes, electronics are pretty reliable, but they are also vulnerable to water intrusion and to lightning.

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Old 22-09-2016, 16:36   #4
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

I mean, everyone will always have GPS...

Solar, Space, and Geomagnetic Weather, Part VI: Solar-Earth DefCon Levels
Surprising how few can navigate the internet... like clicking on a link....
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Old 22-09-2016, 16:59   #5
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

Spoiler:

The subject heading is sarcastic.
The link talks about solar events including how they can disrupt GPS and just how often it happens.
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Old 22-09-2016, 17:10   #6
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

I guess the easy answer is yes your right, as long as everything is working sailors these days no longer need to navigate.
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Old 22-09-2016, 17:33   #7
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

I'm Soooo Bad. I don't have paper charts, but then I pretty much just do coastal. So I could just stop and ask for directions.

I figured if worst comes to worst. I'll build an astrolabe and just take a noon site to determine latitude. Ok I do have a few charts pulled from a fabulous dumpster dive.
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Old 22-09-2016, 19:09   #8
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

The worst case scenario in a severe solar storm is that GPS accuracy will degrade from 1m to 10m. Frankly, no even in the worst solar storms worrying about the positional accuracy of GPS isn't a real thing. Space Weather and GPS Systems | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center

As for getting hit by lightning and loosing all your GPS chips...Sure it could happen, but any lightning strike that powerful is also going to take out your watch, so how would you take a site anyway?

But of course you need to know how to navigate, you just need to learn how to navigate with GPS.
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Old 22-09-2016, 19:15   #9
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

Who wants my diy octant plans.
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Old 22-09-2016, 19:16   #10
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

Years ago before I had electronic navigation I used to say "I don't always need to know where I am -- I just need to know where I'm not." As a coastal sailor it's about not hitting the hard stuff.
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Old 22-09-2016, 19:20   #11
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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Sure it could happen, but any lightning strike that powerful is also going to take out your watch, so how would you take a site anyway?
You mean you don't have one of these?

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Old 22-09-2016, 19:26   #12
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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You mean you don't have one of these?

I do, but mine is battery operated. I had a mechanical one, but always forgot to wind it and it didn't keep very good time anyway.
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Old 22-09-2016, 19:44   #13
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

I prefer paper for coastal navigation.

I use GPS for bluewater. But I can get a noon sight and a sun-run-sun sight for all else fails.

Playing the sextant and tables is a great way to while away a very boring offshore watch. It also puts me back in touch with the universe.
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Old 22-09-2016, 19:46   #14
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

This is interesting actually. I learned all the old stuff pre GPS... DR, taking bearings, plotting and even celestial which I've pretty much forgotten. I still have my charts and plotting instruments on board.

But what is it like for someone say... 26 or 27 who was born in the age of GPS and those "screens"? It would seem really weird like going back to pre industrial technology of something. WHY???? They are so used to and reliant upon digital technology. And it's actually amazingly reliable. But sure things break.

Are DR and celestial skills something can learn when left with no other option (electronic systems fail)? I am assuming the sailor has the requisite (unused) charts and plotting instruments and probably a simple book like Reeds or the Sailing Illustrated by Royce.

I think a smart sailor could learn this stuff if motivated. Of course not having his electronics would be the motivator!!!!!!!!!!

I have largely abandoned old school, but not lost the skills to do it... nor the charts or tolls.

In fact I have an extra hand bearing compass... remember those pucks? PM me
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Old 22-09-2016, 19:48   #15
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Re: Nobody really needs to know how to navigate anymore, do they?

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I do, but mine is battery operated. I had a mechanical one, but always forgot to wind it and it didn't keep very good time anyway.
By "one of these" I meant a gimbaled wind-up marine chronometer. They are sufficiently accurate if you treat them right - wind them one a day at exactly the same time every day, preferably by the same person, and maintain a record of how much the clock gains or loses at different temperatures.

I have one, and it's gorgeous. It cost me too much when I bought it, and they go for ridiculous prices now. But I seriously doubt whether I'd take it with me to sea. It's too bulky, takes too much work, and with all that work it's not any more accurate than a cheap digital watch.
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