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Old 10-01-2014, 18:18   #31
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

Primarily clock system.

We also use fingers/fists/spans and left/right when relating targets to other objects i.e "three fingers right of the Cardinal Mark". (At arm's length a finger subtends about one degree, a fist with the thumb out about 10 degrees and a spread hand between thumb and little finger about 20 degrees)
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Old 10-01-2014, 18:49   #32
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
Yup. Come out on a Snowbird race and tell someone north-northeast by east, half east, and let me know how that works out for you.

I'm with you, Paul. Except I don't love anyone like a brother.
Very few except those traditionalists sailing with old magnetic compasses use quarter points for setting a course. We all use degrees. Most compass cards are now in degrees showing only the cardinal points. That's been the way for a hundred years so the comment re NExE 1/2E is plain silly. My comment regarding quarter points earlier pertained to sailing ship days. I did it in an effort to explain boxing the compass. Those days are gone and few recreational sailors can box the compass.

As far as relative bearings go I don't think most recreational sailors have been taught to say points or understand it so using degrees is the way most do it. It's an easy concept. I have a slight aversion to using the clock system mainly because it's used by aviation.
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Old 10-01-2014, 19:04   #33
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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As far as relative bearings go I don't think most recreational sailors have been taught to say points or understand it so using degrees is the way most do it.)
Most crew say 'have you seen that ship over there?'
Me... 'over where??'
Them 'where I'm pointing...'
Me...'its dark you dickhead'.

The other one is ... Me 'why didn't you tell there was a light on the port bow?'
Them 'Oh I thought you had seen it...'

I normally manage to beat some sense into them within a few days...

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Old 10-01-2014, 19:06   #34
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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I have a slight aversion to using the clock system mainly because it's used by aviation.
As demonstrated so well in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:


That clock thing didn't work so well for them, did it?! Perhaps if Indy had been using points?
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Old 10-01-2014, 19:39   #35
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

My philosophy has always been KISS
Lookout communication uses the clock system as the aspect can change quickly if you are dodging drift or fishing nets.
Navigational duties are however based on North up and communication to other vessels are by reciprocal degrees T.
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Old 10-01-2014, 19:42   #36
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

Paul, perhaps if those two "scientists" had figured out what part of the plane was the FRONT?.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:42   #37
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

When buoy racing with 3 or 4 handheld GPS on board we generally get a little of both:

Helm: "Where's the next mark?"
Crew: "One and a half miles; 27 degrees to the right (or starboard)."

Once close enough for a visual it changes to:

Crew: "I see it; 1 o'clock."
Helm: "OK. I got it."

So based upon my somewhat limited empirical evidence, the quick response default for most appears to be the clock system.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:55   #38
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

Using hand bearing compasses allows for the use of a degrees.

I always keep one in the cockpit for taking collision bearings and for plotting.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:13   #39
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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Using hand bearing compasses allows for the use of a degrees.

I always keep one in the cockpit for taking collision bearings and for plotting.
Still have one of those Autohelm electronic hand bearing compasses. State of the art twenty five years ago. You can take up to nine bearings and it stores them and reads back for plotting. Haven't used it for years since I got a pair of binoculars with a built in compass. Also haven't had to plot a position from bearings since GPS.


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Old 11-01-2014, 08:27   #40
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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+1, especially the emphasised content.

However also use "Over there"; "No, further over - look harder"; "The other left side" when necessary at times
This is generally the way I use it. I can use the points system because it's common in the old sailing narratives I read, but it's unusual to hear it used these days.

I have small pieces of tape on the toerail which represent 45, 90 and 135 degrees vis a vis the helm. That's handy for running fixes, pilotage and the like.

I also use objects on the boat, like "keep the COB between the lower and upper shrouds and on the lee side" to orient the helm. I'm also a big fan of taking back bearings and am buying a good handbearing compass at the Boat Show this weekend (a Plastimo Iris 50, which I found very nice to use on a recent RYA course).

I am fine using GPS, but I think when you do "eyeball navigation" orienting to shore features and nav aids and keep DRs and so on, you have a more engaged and holistic appreciation of your surroundings.
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:52   #41
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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am buying a good handbearing compass at the Boat Show this weekend (a Plastimo Iris 50, which I found very nice to use on a recent RYA course).
That what I use at night (it glows in the dark); during the day I have an ancient Morin with a dead tritium cell.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:36   #42
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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Still have one of those Autohelm electronic hand bearing compasses. State of the art twenty five years ago. You can take up to nine bearings and it stores them and reads back for plotting. Haven't used it for years since I got a pair of binoculars with a built in compass. Also haven't had to plot a position from bearings since GPS.


Snap, I still use mine (occasionally) and while good enough for general plotting, they were (are) surprising inaccurate and are not adjustable (as far as I can tell).

I have calibrated a three or four over the years and all had 2+ degrees errors at various points. They are also very intolerant of any tilt which does make it a little difficult on a sailboat!
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Old 12-01-2014, 12:33   #43
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That what I use at night (it glows in the dark); during the day I have an ancient Morin with a dead tritium cell.
I have a Vion one , I think they licensed the mid to several manufacturers

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Old 17-02-2014, 20:17   #44
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

Don't forget the relative bearing grease.
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Old 18-02-2014, 09:34   #45
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Re: Relative Bearing - informal poll

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Don't forget the relative bearing grease.
Sounds like something used in the back hollers of Tennessee to me.
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