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Old 01-09-2012, 19:57   #661
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

I am sure car drivers do not discuss the pros and cons so much between a street directory and a GPS. But maybe they do? Ha ha, aren't we humans a crazy mob?

I think the electronic stuff these days is fantastic. We have multiple GPS onboard, 12V computer with OpenCPN and an iPAD with iNAVx. Each time I buy another GPS puck via Amazon, I buy them 3 at a time because they are so cheap. They are good gifts when I install OpenCPN for another yachtie.

Before we leave, I download from google earth the entry area for our destination and use it as the desktop image. So whenever we look at the computer we are automatically familiarising ourselves with the visual details of the destination.

But, we still have a sextant and quite a few paper charts - 2 for the Caribbean and about 80 or so for the Pacific. 10 probably would have been enough for the Pacific, but...

The only time I pulled them out was when we were dodging a few reefs at night through the Tuomotus and I was checking OpenCPN against the iPAD and against the French paper charts.

What gives me a laugh is the hypocrisy from those who sanctimoniously declare they have paper charts and yet do not have a sextant. Seems like a HUGE contradiction on the basis of their own stance. Or maybe they never leave sight of land? There be dragons out there!

Even my 11 year old son can take a sextant sight and do the calculations for latitude at noon. Soon he will be capable of doing the complete calculations for longitude as well. A mate who helped us on a few legs in the Eastern Pacific is now also totally capable of taking a sight at noon and calculating lat and long with an accuracy of less than 5 miles. Took him 2 or 3 days and less than an hour each day to learn.

The GPS dropped out for a while during 911. Someone might hack the system one day. I don't know and don't care, but we can't afford to trust our lives with it. So we have a sextant. And paper charts. And a few wonderful books about emergency navigation.

But then again, maybe I am just a maths nerd who loves this stuff and loves the connection with the sun, the stars and a little boat afloat on the ocean!
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Old 01-09-2012, 20:08   #662
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Originally Posted by Jimbo485 View Post


What gives me a laugh is the hypocrisy from those who sanctimoniously declare they have paper charts and yet do not have a sextant. Seems like a HUGE contradiction on the basis of their own stance. Or maybe they never leave sight of land? There be dragons out there!!
what kind of chronometer do you keep on board to use with your sextant mate? last time i looked the best timepiece on my boat was...the gps.
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Old 01-09-2012, 20:27   #663
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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I And again Im still buying ANY and ALL Charts ya have !!
Alas I have not a single paper chart to sell. Other then the five large scale 1940-1950s vintage charts from red oak victory, I don't have a single paper chart or even roadmap on the boat.

I do have multiple redundant backups, plus the sextant and enough books on board to make a large scale chart (to figure out about where I was), if I had too...

Gee if GPS goes down I still have the electronic charts, though after a while the screen does get messy with the grease pen anotations.

OK if I was heading west I might get a few large scale charts, just because...
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Old 01-09-2012, 21:33   #664
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Well as my daddy told me a long time ago always carry enough water and food for 40 days and nights ! cus ya can cross any ocean in that lenght of time ! either go east or west ! ya are gonna run into land some where !! sorta makes it real simple don't it ??? LOL
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Old 01-09-2012, 22:11   #665
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Quite simply a chart plotter is a very powerful navigation tool that should be be used in conjunction with other forms of navigation....It does not totally replace any navigation system.
I learned navigation from my father (WWII USN) many years ago...I learned "old school navigation", I also understand how things work.
I am a photographer, I learned on film and see things differently, more completely and have a better understanding of how it works than people that start with digital.
The same applies to welding...gas welding is considered archaic and out-modded but not only gives a better idea if the workings, it is still useful.
There are countless examples of how "obsolete" methods give a better understanding than their more modern counter parts/replacements.

Ohhhh yeah. We just used chart plotter and paper chart together. They didn't line up right and the chart plotter kept trying to send us in the wrong direction. While we were trying to sort it out -- we ran aground.

GIGO -- garbage in, garbage out. I set the waypoints wrong and all three were at our starting point, so when I used "go to," the chartplotter image turned upside down. It was set to follow course, not point to north, and I didn't realize until it was too late why it was upside down. We got off easily.

Thing is, we didn't need the chart plotter. I was just showing my friend how to use it -- quite badly, as it turned out. I like my chart plotter but it caused nothing but confusion that day.

I think it's a valuable tool, but we didn't stop to CHECK those waypoints, something I typically do. Now I know why.
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Old 01-09-2012, 23:56   #666
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Having trawled through these posts I am totally amazed that nobody has mentioned the number of times that gps accuracy has gone totaly AWOL.
!
GPS is quite separate to any consideration of the charting system. If the GPS goes down it effects the use of paper charts as much as electronic ones.

Nevertheless it's an interesting topic. In every case I have personally seen of GPS failure it has been the yahts equipment not the gps system that has failed. As the internal batteries in GPS units get low they start to develop some intermittent faults and it's common for people to, wrongly, think it is the the GPS system that has failed. Poor instalation is another common cause of problems.

I am crusing full time so my GPS has been on virtually continuously for the last 5 years. It's set as an anchor alarm, or is giving a position sailing constantly. A failure of the GPS would be immediately obvious to me even if was for a short time. At no time in the last 5 years has the GPS accuracy gone down. (EGNOS is as you would expect variable)

However, car thieves are using GPS jammers and the military can cause local disruption of GPS signals. I have never seen one of these events, but I sail less populated areas.

I have seen some very occasional official warnings, mainly around the UK, of military exercises which may involve GPS disruption for short periods but they are very rare. How often are there genuine disruptions (even if local) to the GPS signal. Cases where there is failure of 2 indepent GPS units would help establish the case.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:24   #667
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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what kind of chronometer do you keep on board to use with your sextant mate? last time i looked the best timepiece on my boat was...the gps.
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Be also aware than chart plotters time can be out by few seconds, good to check it with that “lady”
Have fun.
Chart plotters and GPS.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:45   #668
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

For celestial use a digital quartz watch (2 is better) , cheap with fresh batteries, is the best option.

Try an monitor it well before the trip so you get an idea of its accuracy and often they will have a resonably consistent error (like gaining 1/2 second a day) that can be applied.

The gps system uses atomic clocks, but the idea behind a sextant is to have a backup If GPS is lost. There is also sometime a delay on the time shown on the GPS which can make the time out by a small amount even when the GPS clock system is fundamentally better than anything else sailors have access to.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:53   #669
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

while sailing gom for my near year, we found that gps, in middle of gulf, will shut off for a time--then manually re start it to continue. is fun. glad it was in middle of gulf and not in tight places, as we were using the gps at the time.
we used paper to plan our course then sailed with gps. is how i do it now.
i hve a friend cruising from hawaii to tonga on a fairly regular basis--he found in mid pacific is a dead spot also. spot tracker and gps in same place somewhere between hawaii and so pac. interesting how that works.
what other bodies of water have dead spots for gps????
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:12   #670
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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I haven't struggled through the entire thread, so what I'm about to raise may have been mentioned. In case it hasn't:

One good thing about paper charts is that the technology is unchanging.

(It doesn't particularly need to change; it works OK. See below for one improvement #)

Electronic charts are likely to keep improving, as will the devices they run on.

When I'm doing something as important as navigating, I like to learn the skills good and solid, for keeps ... and it helps if the tools I use are familiar, durable and transparent to the user.

As an early adopter of numerical and digital devices for maths, engineering, 3D design, comms, music, etc etc, I've become, over the last decade, somewhat averse to spending still more of my life, carrying on learning stuff (particularly user interfaces) which won't be any further use --or which I will have to relearn -- the year after next
I'm similarly disenchanted with buying gadgets which similarly have no durable value).
I don't care how cheap it is to have umpteen different electronic devices on board. Eventually, carried to the logical conclusion, it'll be like being infested with electronic cockroaches, beyond a certain point of utility.

I think the human brain might use different circuits for novel information, and in my experience if you overuse those, you may eventually lose some capacity in that area (also if you underuse them, probably !
.... it's tough being a sentient being...)

BOTTOM LINE: I don't care if things keep improving, once they're at the point where they're good enough for what I need.

Sometimes it's nice to step off the 'upgrade treadmill'

#
Waterproof charts - now that's an improvement. Expensive, though, if proprietary. Unpigmented urethane varnish, applied from a spraygun, works at a pinch, for charts you may use a lot in tough weather).

[ I like to have disposable photocopies of tricky sections, like tidal overfalls, that I can have in the cockpit for eyeball pilotage. Sometimes I fold them and hold them up horizontally and sight over them like a plane table / pelorus. Beats using a sextant for horizontal angles, in conditions where it's too rough to benefit from the accuracy, or when you don't need it that accurate.

I also like to carry tracing paper in chart sizes. Surprising how often a chart needed for the next port turns up not to be on board; I always double-check at least a day before departure, and go rowing if need be.]

"I think the human brain might use different circuits for novel information, and in my experience if you overuse those, you may eventually lose some capacity in that area (also if you underuse them, probably !
.... it's tough being a sentient being...)"

Fortunately just the opposite happens. The more you use an area of your sentient brain, the bigger it gets. There's a tiny area (for most people) controlling the fingers of a hand ... unless you become a concert pianist. For a concert pianist, that area of the cerebral cortex is much bigger.

The more you use a brain function the stronger it gets. When you learn something "good and solid, for keeps" as you said, the parts of the brain used get bigger, and what's more, the brain forms *permanent paths* to that place. You know how neurons don't quite touch but send neurotransmitters with the message from one neuron to the next? When you've learned something very well (ex: multiplication facts), the brain builds a sort of tunnel to carry those neurotransmitters so they get to the other side extremely rapidly and with great dependability.

Clearly I don't have that solid channel built yet for putting in waypoints accurately yet or I wouldn't have gotten it so wrong in Biscayne Bay that day.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:14   #671
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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With all the electronic wizz's saying paper charts are not needed ! How come when I offer to buy ALL and ANY of these worthless pieces of paper, nobody seems to want to sell them ?? Hummm, maybe somefolks just are full of bull ?? maybe they still realize that paper IS NEEDED ?? or they don't really have any and this stuff is there way of feeling better about this Hole in there planning ?? don't know but Im still buying !! and nobodys sellin !! LOL that sorta takes the game away from this Crap Thread !! Just sayin sell or quit sayin there not needed !!!

When the day comes that I hve to give up sailing I'm going to use them for wallpaper ...
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:18   #672
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Here's a most unusual chart: it was found in 1929 in Turkey, it is marked 1513. It was compiled by a famous Turkish admiral (Piri Reis ??) from about 20 earlier charts going back to a couple of centuries years AD. Notice the coastlines and especially the highly accurate mapping of the coastline of Antarctica....the shoreline of Queen Maud Land was only mappable recently, so it's not a forgery. Seems the early explorers date back a lot earlier than we thought. Also, Antarctica was ice free quite recently. I love old maps and old nav gear...

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Old 02-09-2012, 08:57   #673
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Ah Jim that came from the Grand Olde Pirate System of charting, known as GOPS later shortened to GPS Ahhhhhhh....
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Old 02-09-2012, 16:31   #674
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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...........Seems the early explorers date back a lot earlier than we thought. Also, Antarctica was ice free quite recently. I love old maps and old nav gear...
Thread Drift Alert:
Is this used in the sense of "until quite recently" or the sense of "just quite recently" and are you referring to just the shoreline, or the interior or both?
Can you put a very rough number on "quite recently" - weeks, years, decades, centuries, millennia, epochs, etc?
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Old 02-09-2012, 17:12   #675
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Recently as in within the memory of folks within the last couple of thousand years. Now that could have been handed-down memory from way before that, copies of copies of copies. Keep in mind that Constantinople changed management in 1453, and Chris supposedly discovered The New World in 1492, yet in 1513 this Turkish guy draws a remarkably detailed map of coastlines buried under millions of years of ice and continental shelves that supposedly flooded many hundreds of generations ago.

Charts, like all things paper, are permanent physical things. Ok, they can burn, they can rot, but with care they can last a long time. It isn't yet like poor old confused Winston in MinTruth editing public records of what happened/didn't happen according to the fad of the day....though we're fast approaching it. With a chart you're independent, with the gizmos there's a thumb on you all the time. Might feel like security and safety, but it might be wise to reconsider. Nice map, isn't it? Wonder how many more astounding documents are out there somewhere. And how many methods of simple and reliable navigation have been lost because it was deemed outmoded. Nick & Julie Grainger's story is inspiring...much more inspiring than "help save me the GPS stopped working".
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