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Old 02-12-2009, 08:40   #1
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Plotting Tools

I have decided that I'd like a set of chart plotting tools. I've used a very basic set and seen some of the other sets. Does anyone have an opinion as to which set is the best for non-electronic plotting?

Thanks,

Maje
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:07   #2
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Maje, I think everyone develops their own style and their own preferences. Some folks love a "rolling ruler" while others abhor them and prefer traditional split rules. Some folks love a bow compass, others prefer a draftsman's style. I'd say to try out a few things, try out (on a boat) if you can or go to a drafting store on a slow day, see what suits your own style. It might or might not be what you'll find in any "set".

Same thing for the special tools (i.e. from Weems & Plath) with circles and rules all graphed up together. Some folks really are wizards with them, other folks just don't see the point.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:59   #3
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Being a little clumsy, I’ve never liked the one-handed bow (pull open-squeeze closed) compass/divider, preferring a threaded gear compass/divider (* “Speed Bow” linked below) for shorter lengths, and a beam compass for longer lengths.
As you develop your plotting skills, you’ll acquire your own preferences.

Navigation Plotting Tools

Beam compass pictured
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Old 02-12-2009, 15:02   #4
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FWIW we have been using a Chartkit Plotting Board since 1987


Easy to use, accurate, and one's charts are protected under a plastic cover.

See Weems & Plath Chartkit Plotter
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Old 02-12-2009, 15:44   #5
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Look at a Bi Rola rule - these are brilliant
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Old 02-12-2009, 16:27   #6
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The chart kit articulating rotating protractor thingy is great. I removed it from their plywood board and use two clevis pins which drop into the pre dilled screw holes into 2 - 1/8" holes on my char table so I can use it with BBA charts or any charts I clip down to the deck top. Since I don't use it much I can pop it out and stow it easily. For measuring distance a dividers is very handy and that's all you need!
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Old 06-12-2009, 15:25   #7
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Navigation plotter

For plotting bearings and measuring azimuts, I use the "Cras" navigation plotter, made by Topoplastic (no affiliation), see picture. It has been used by the French Navy for at least 50 years, it has no moving parts. The price range begins at about 15€.

Mine is more than 25 years old (not used continuously).

Alain
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Old 06-12-2009, 16:11   #8
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A set of brass parallel rules and dividers. Nothing fancy, reliable.
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Old 06-12-2009, 16:13   #9
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I prefer two triangles.

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Old 06-12-2009, 16:15   #10
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I never got the hang of two triangles but have seen many use them. I guess it all depends on what you start with.
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Old 06-12-2009, 16:46   #11
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For determining distance I always use the second and fourth fingers from the thumb when working with paper on the fly. It's just like a set of deviders. First calibrate the fingers just like real deviders to the scale on the right, it's fast and fairly accurate. Just rotate the the hand to add it up, 95 persent accuracy is good enough for me. For determing bearing anything straight will work, a piece of paper, edge of a book, just drag it pararel to or from compass rose. For me it works.
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Old 17-12-2009, 02:04   #12
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The answer indeed varies with the person. Over a long career, navigators can shift back and forth and overspend on new tools to try them out. Here is the basic gear I've settled on after 40 years of pleasureboating. I have more stuff for specialized navigation tasks.

For advanced courses: Fine drafting tools, to ensure accuracy and precision to pass the courses.

For cruising on boats that do not have ship-style chart tables:
- Divider with solid tips not needles, eg Weems and Plath
- Portland Course Plotter Portland Course Plotter Binnacle.com --for many years I was a parallel rule guy, but I'm a convert. Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons gives their beginner students a small version of this type of plotter, and I think it is a very practical option, especially for smaller pleasureboats.
- The little Paralock Plotter (short locking parallel rule) Weems and Plath
- Compass to draw circles, eg http://www.weems-plath.com/store/pro...bc=20528|20566
- Small notebook, pencils, erasers and sharpner.
- The new Weems NaviTote carry bag: NaviTote | Plotting Accessories | PlottingTools | Celestaire, Inc.
- Waterproof digital watch showing seconds.
- Handheld compass: Plastimo Iris 50 PLASTIMO IRIS 50 HAND BEARING COMPASS - YELLOW Binnacle.com
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Old 17-12-2009, 02:34   #13
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Douglas Potractor, used for horizontal angles, roughened on one side so that pencil lines can be drawn on
Douglas Protractors | Douglas Protractor 7inch 175mm | Charles Smith & Reddish Ltd
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Old 17-12-2009, 05:32   #14
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Thank you to everyone for your help.

Maje
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Old 17-12-2009, 08:21   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearsea View Post
This is great suggestion. Must get me one.

The rest of your list pretty much reads like my own.

Jack
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