Originally Posted by Pblais
Doing old school stuff can be fun if that is all you are out to do. The idea that you pretend to do things the old ways instead of new ways is very un-sailor like. Sailors always have opted for the latest and greatest.....
I think this glosses over something else sailors have always done (the good ones...)
They've recognised the limitations of the latest and greatest, particularly with respect to reliability
, and kept alternative options alive.
When chronometers became affordable, masters did not tear up their tables for lunar distances.
When engines made it feasible to sail with impunity into deep inlets with onshore winds, prudent mariners did not forget the skills of kedging, warping and towing.
in the mid 80s having to drop everything to be flown to join a large sailing vessel as paid navigator in the South Pacific
The boat's owner and skipper
, who was also on board) had all embraced the 'latest and greatest', being satellite
navigation, backed up with programmable calculator*, and had lost
the skills to cope - even basic DR - when minor failures accumulated under adverse conditions. The resulting debacle left them unwilling to continue under their own resources.
Now that we're outsourcing most of our crucial safety-related functions, we make ourselves increasingly vulnerable to capricious circumstance.
My firm opinion is that a prudent mariner would keep alternative options alive, particularly in respect of the three L's, one of which is "Log"
*the programmable calculator was all they had for sight reduction. They did still have a 'state of the art' old school sextant
, so they weren't devoid of the sort of prudence I'm advocating, but its useability was contingent on being able to reduce the sights.
The calculator was the latest and greatest, cost more than the tables would have, and featured a wonderfully legible printout, meaning you didn't have to peer at the little screen
and so you had an audit trail.
Trouble is, the (commercial) programmer never thought to provide the option to send the data to the screen
in the case where the printer didn't run, ran out of paper or ink, or (as happened here) dried up in tropical heat. The calculator would still have known exactly where they were ... which was probably the source of some frustration to them.
When you outsource crucial decisions, you have to live with any limitations designed in, and unperceived by, someone who does not report to you, whom you will never meet, and who has no skin in the game