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Old 27-10-2012, 20:23   #856
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Not quite Rakuflames, when we left Seward, Alaska, none of us knew celestial navigation, by the time we got to Seattle, we all knew celestial navigation. To be sure we had many years of dead reckoning and living on the ocean, there was no safety net, or GPS. We went on to sail all over the south Pacific, often went into the unknown depending on our skills and judgement to get us through times of danger, for us it worked, by the end of the trip which brought us back to Homer, Alaska, there were 4 licensed Masters aboard, and one extremely competent commercial fisher (My Father, who never saw the need to be licensed), but we all learned together.
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Old 28-10-2012, 00:10   #857
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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People who have sailed for 40 years may well sneer at that, but I've been sailing five years, and am not ready to commit the safety of me, my friends and my boat to my navigation skills solely. It gives me confidence to continually stretch myself to know that I'm not really going to get all that lost.
I would hope no one would sneer at you for having a backup GPS.
GPS is an important bit of safety gear. To have a backup is prudent.

GPS chips have become so cheap they are being fitted to more and more devices. Both marine, like AIS units and H/H VHF radios and non marine like smartphones. So multiple GPS units are becoming commonplace.

Navigating without GPS has a wonderful romanticism associated with it. The reality is often very different.

There is a saying in aviation that "A superior pilot uses his superior planning and judgment to make sure his superior skills are never required"

Ensuring there is enough redundancy, so that an operating GPS unit is always available is part of the superior planning that should be practiced by the superior cruiser.
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Old 28-10-2012, 01:46   #858
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Prior to GPS plenty of people still went sailing without any navigational skills, no doubt there are those that still sail with no GPS or any other naviagtional aids (perhaps a compass but more because it is there than good planning)

Go with what works for you. A great place to learn is a local sailing club or even an aero club, the skills are very similar.
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Old 28-10-2012, 02:18   #859
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

[QUOTE=Rakuflames;1069848]Personally I have a backup -- a handheld that doesn't do things like waypoints nearly as well as my bigger one, but that will at least give me lat and long.

QUOTE]

Having a handheld to give lat/long implies one has a paper chart on which to mark that position as part of the backup plan.
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Old 28-10-2012, 02:29   #860
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Having a handheld to give lat/long implies one has a paper chart on which to mark that position as part of the backup plan.
It's worth exploring the capabilities of your electronic charts. The electronic chart works fine with most normal traditional navigation techniques, but it worth practicing. Even if you have paper the electronic chart is backup and is often more conveniently available at the helm.
Obviously plotting a lat long position from a HH is easy on an electronic chart, although its worth exploring a bearing and distance from a known waypoint as sometimes this is a superior method of transferring, or monitoring, a position from a HH to an electronic chart.

Electronic charts are deceptively easy, but it does take some practice and experimentation to get the most out of them.
A good cruising sailor should be proficient in using both paper and electronic charts.
People have been lamenting the loss of skills using a paper chart and this is a real problem, but some sailors complaining about the poor standards, ironically, are sometimes not capable of using electronic charts competently.
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Old 28-10-2012, 07:04   #861
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Remember, 1 lightning strike and every GPS on the boat could be gone. My friends had this happen. I believe you should have some paper charts, not all paper charts, just in case. It is like why you have the life raft and life ring, just in case. I also believe it is much easier to do high level trip planning on large scale paper charts...why wouldn't you have a few?
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Old 28-10-2012, 08:22   #862
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

Prior to the advent of GPS, plenty of us went sailing, using superior navigation skills including a compass, and planning skills that are still in use today. The push button method was not available, doesn't mean we didn't know where we were going, or found our destination by accident. I still plot a position on a paper chart every 2 hours while underway, yes using a GPS for the L/L, when available I also use the land marks for triangulation to confirm my position. I use all means available to insure, I know where I am at in relation to the rest of the world, in order to arrive where I want to go. I also use great circle routing for the longer crossings. I run 2 gps units and I carry 2 sextants, just in case.
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Old 28-10-2012, 12:14   #863
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I think this is playing a role in some of the discussion. There is a great deal of satisfaction when using a paper chart that is lost when doing the same thing on a chart plotter.

I wonder if sometimes there is even some ego involved. Non sailing people are very impressed by a navigator that disappears to there special chart table and draws mysterious lines on a complicated bit of paper. Even picking up a pair of dividers and measuring out a distance is impressive to a passenger.

Do the same thing on chart plotter and the reaction is "I have got one of those in my car".
Talk to anyone that knows about sextants and you will be told sextants are very personal...(sort of like "you toucha my truck, I breaka your face" x 10). The main purpose for a second sextant on board isn't as a spare...but rather for someone else to have a sextant they can use. Part of the pleasure of paper charts is size...a 50" LCD touch screen display would be nice, but a bit excessive
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Old 28-10-2012, 12:42   #864
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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In my case there is a certain element of truth to your statement. My father and brother (who is much, much older than I and made his living at sea), made sure I knew celestial navigation before my first long voyage with them--and they double checked my figures and position plots every day during the voyage.
I'm envious of that kind of background. In my case it was the exact opposite. When I started sailing I knew of no one in my family that had ever been on a boat larger than a 14' fishing boat on a half acre farm pond. I got hooked on sailing when I went out with a couple of old college friends to deliver a charter boat to the Bahamas and decided I was going to be a sailor.

I would say 90% of what I learned, from navigation DR and celestial, to maintenance and everything else nautical was self taught. Often a good bit of trial and error involved, sometimes more error than was good but I managed to survive the process

Over the years I did start connecting with other sailors and my learning focused more on picking up information from the more experienced, which is another good thing about this forum.
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Old 28-10-2012, 16:06   #865
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

The last time my father and I went sailing celestial navigation and dead reckoning were an important part of what got us to where we were going. Sailing from Bermuda to North America you just have to sail in a westerly direction till you hit land....but our navigation got us to the exact location we were headed towards. I was the only one on board who was a retired USN pilot and/or officer from WWII. Celestial navigation was used because that is what everyone on board (except me at the time) knew secound nature.
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Old 29-10-2012, 03:06   #866
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

I liked and agree with the earlier sentiment "Just because paper charts are not necessary, does not mean they are unnecessary"

Hope I quoted that correctly.
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Old 29-10-2012, 03:14   #867
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Remember, 1 lightning strike and every GPS on the boat could be gone. My friends had this happen. I believe you should have some paper charts, not all paper charts, just in case. It is like why you have the life raft and life ring, just in case. I also believe it is much easier to do high level trip planning on large scale paper charts...why wouldn't you have a few?
And sextants get dropped, lost broken. There is endless arguments on both sides, think everyone agrees a mix of both is great
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Old 29-10-2012, 03:23   #868
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

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Not quite Rakuflames, when we left Seward, Alaska, none of us knew celestial navigation, by the time we got to Seattle, we all knew celestial navigation. To be sure we had many years of dead reckoning and living on the ocean, there was no safety net, or GPS. We went on to sail all over the south Pacific, often went into the unknown depending on our skills and judgement to get us through times of danger, for us it worked, by the end of the trip which brought us back to Homer, Alaska, there were 4 licensed Masters aboard, and one extremely competent commercial fisher (My Father, who never saw the need to be licensed), but we all learned together.

Actually that's exactly the scenario I have envisioned. Many years of experience before celestial navigation was learned, and from one's family, spending literally decades on the water.

I don't think it's a reasonable expectation to think that people who have taken up sailing on their own later in life will have this knowledge. All of the people I know who know these things are from families who like yours were boaters all their lives. All of the people I know who, like me, took it up on their own, later in life, don't have knowledge of celestial navigation.
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Old 29-10-2012, 03:25   #869
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

GPS is a system, carrying a backup in whatever form, I-Phone, Puck or a complete installed backup still relies on that system.

However it is a SYSTEM nonetheless, a singular one at that and there lays the weakness, i cannot repair electronics, if there is a static surge or if the satellites suffer a solar event or whatever i cannot repair my gear BUT i can and would revert to my backup.

Reverting to a back-up/redundancy is what a cruisers life is about, anchor winch breaks i use our sheet winches, Diesel is contaminated i sail off and onto my moorings ALWAYS there are contingencies.

Being able to fend for yourself, taking control and doing your best with what you have in any situation is being responsible after all we made the choice to cruise.

Hence charts either large or small scale are the natural back up for a cruiser. A great thread it's interesting reading through the ideas. Well done!

Frank
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Old 29-10-2012, 03:41   #870
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Re: Paper Charts Now Unnecessary

When every thing has failed, including compass, I can still get pretty close to where I am going, When the land comes in sight, I can figure out where I am from landmarks, and proceed from there to where I want to be,

Land or ocean, I dont care about a precise spot on a map, Thats not some thing I worry about, Or care about,
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