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Old 11-08-2004, 10:31   #1
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Request for waypoints for eastern Caribbean

Hi,

I'm planning a trip from Florida to Trinidad and am looking for good waypoints for the trip.
Mainly for reef passes and harbor entrances.

I have van Sant's Gentleman's Guide and am in the process of typing into my computer all his waypoints. Have entered about 80 so far. After verifying, I'll later load them into my GPS.

Do you know where/if there are any lists of "GOOD" waypoints available online or from individuals? Gord's previous posts have mentioned a couple of flavors of waypoints:
'published', by which I guess you mean what are in the Guide books like van Sant's or the Explorer chartkits;
and 'been there' which I'm not too sure of. I guess an example would be the tracklog of waypoints that is kept by some GPSs (my ICOM does) or by plotting software such as Nobeltec that someone runs while underway. I got a Nobeltec file with dozens of track logs from a cruiser that had been to the western Caribbean and found them useful in finding passes and anchorages in Belize.

To use these waypoints, I import them into a chart plotting program such as Maptech's Chart Navigator or CAPN. For tracklogs (places boats have actually been) I can see how accurate the charts are. I don't trust published waypoints quite as much as tracklogs.

I've written a program to read/write waypoint files as are used by CAPN, Maptech, MaxSea and Nobeltec so that I can take waypoints from any source and use them with any program.

Thanks,
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Old 12-08-2004, 01:40   #2
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"Been there" vs "Published" Waypoints

NormR:

“Been There” waypoints are those you’ve recorded, automatically or manually, from your own GPS unit, when you are there.
Any other waypoint ("published") should only be used for planning purposes and to help get you close.
ie:
I (or Van Sant or Explorer et al) tell you that:
“Big Rock Cut @ Staniel Cay, Bahamas” is at 24 Deg. 11.35 min. W x 76 Deg. 26.89 Min. N.
That’s a “published” waypoint.
When you get your own close visual fix, you can log and correct the Lat. Lon. to your own actual reading, and adjust the description to (say) ½ mile North of, bearing 270 Deg. True - or whatever. Note Map Datum (WGS84 ?).
This becomes your “been there” waypoint, and goes onto my paper chart and into my permanent “Route List”.

I like to make my own 11 x 17" “chartlets” for interesting routes and places. Each sketch chartlet will have a table of waypoints, distances and bearings.

A google of “GPS Waypoints” produces hundreds of excellent sites such as these:

BVI GPS Waypoints
http://www.nwmangum.com/BVIWaypoints.html

Doyle Guides GPS Page:
http://www.doyleguides.com/GPS-page.htm

Note: When I get more specific (+”Windward”, or +Eastern Carribean”), I seem to get a lot more Book and Chart Kit ads.

HTH
Gord
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Old 12-08-2004, 07:57   #3
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Gord,
Thanks. Those two sites have a wealth of info. It'll take me a few days to sort thru it all.
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Old 04-11-2004, 07:51   #4
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Downloadable Waypoints

I've copied all the waypoints I've collected to a new site from which they can be downloaded into a computer for usage in route planning, etc.
There are links from: http://www.waypoint.org/np/NormsWaypointPages.html to the pages with the waypoints.

Norm
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Old 04-11-2004, 16:10   #5
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Hey Norm,
Planning to make the same trip next year (then on to Venezuela). Van Sant & Doyle guides are very, very good ... but please heed the advice Bruce Van Sant gives when he say's "Turn off the GPS here!" As wonderful as GPS maybe, there are areas where nothing but visual navigation will keep ya off the coral heads. For what it's worth, I use Maptech's Offshore Navigator ... and love it.

L S/V Eva Luna
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Old 04-11-2004, 18:44   #6
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Bob,
Yes, the GPS is an aid not the controlling influence on where we go. Around coral, the eyeball is the way to go.

Curious on how you use your software.
I use it to create a route which is then uploaded to the GPS. The computer then goes into storage and the GPS with its waypoints are used for navigation. I usually load to the GPS most of the waypoints from the guidebooks for the area I'm travelling in. Then if I have a change of plans while on a route, I can easily create a new route to get to the new destination. The computer stays stored while I'm underway. I use the guidebooks/chartkits/charts to plan check out a new route. The waypoints in the GPS have been checkedout while at home or at anchor and without the stress of trying to do it while moving. I've used CAPN and Maptech's Chart Navigator for this.
The Bahamas is so well laid out with waypoints and routes in the Explorer chartkits, there isn't too much new work to do.

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Old 05-11-2004, 04:22   #7
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Norm,
I use my software much as you described. I have created routes to be followed, then upload them to my GPS's ... but also have many other waypoints (most with annotations) in the computer which can be viewed (or printed out) at any time. Perfect example would be a spot with 2 waypoints, one noted "anchor here in Westerlies" the other "anchor here in Easterlies". Since I can easily view my laptop through the companionway, I can also do that using the real time program. What's nice about the real time is that I can view ariel photos as well (or do split screen with chart & photo at the same time) although the photos are clearly marked "not for navigation", in most instances I have found them to be more accurate than the charts!
Have a Garmin 175 for the cockpit, JRC J-nav 500 in the salon, 2 JRC VHF/DSC radios and a Raytheon ST 2000+ tillerpilot all interfaced together ... at the same time, I have it arranged so that any one item can fail without affecting the others, can switch from one GPS signal source to the other quickly and easily.

L S/V Eva Luna

Bob
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Old 14-12-2004, 09:48   #8
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Florida to Trinidad Charting

We just did the Florida (Tampa) to Trinidad trip this year. We used the Raymarine CMAP color chartplotter at the helm, interfaced to the autopilot. For planning, we used the laptop down below, with the best raster charts we could get (explorer for Bahamas, CYC for eastern Caribbean to Grenada). Dominican Republic charts are marginal and CYC ends at Grenada. We would plan the route at our convenience on the laptop, then transfer the waypoints to the chartplotter at the helm. FWIW, CMAP vector charts were NOT very accurate for detail harbor work. Often we would be anchored on land according to the CMAP. If there were only a few waypoints, we would key them in by hand, but if many, we would transfer the entire route by connecting the laptop to the chartplotter.
Note the cautions that all cruisers and navigators use, however, that GPS waypoints, whether published or gotten from another cruiser, should be used with GREAT caution. It is very very easy to key in a number incorrectly and run the boat on a reef if you don't use normal caution. Thats why I like using the two separate systems--laptop and chartplotter--as a double check. I would also be cautious about using anyone else's track, although it may be better than just winging it. Always use eyeball navigation, of course, and don't enter a strange harbor at night. This often means a very early departure to exit a harbor, at O-dark-thirty, often using the GPS track from the entry as the guide, so you get to the next harbor at midday.
There are several places that need to be run with extra caution and care. Like Gun/Cat Cay and Georgetown and Mayaguana in Bahamas, Luperon in DR (usually cruisers come out in dingys to help folks enter the harbor, but Van Sant's entry directions, if followed EXACTLY, are spot on--and the charts are very very weak). Also Patilla in PR, inside passage from Mayaguez to Boqueron in PR, Southern Grenada. However, most of the eastern Caribbean is not too tricky, with fairly good buoys marking channels and the guides show decent anchorages. We did save the tracks of difficult harbor entrances on our chartplotter, for possible use if we revisit those harbors.

BTW, this is a fantastic trip and well worth doing. There are lots of places along the way where cruisers stall and never complete the trip (e.g. Georgetown, Luperon, PR, St Martin). Try to resist and make the whole journey, even if it takes multiple seasons.

Peace and fair winds.
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