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Old 26-06-2008, 20:18   #31
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Dan--

The reason I began this thread was the failure of our Garmin 2006C chart-plotter. I merely intended to point out the merit of having back-up Paper Charts. To reiterate:

<snip>

While we did have back-up GPS units aboard--several in fact--absent a chart to plot our highly accurate positions on, the back-up GPS data would have been nearly useless, particularly so if we'd needed to find a harbor of refuge.
First off for the record - I have to admit to perhaps misleading anyone. I have a full set of Singapore/West Malaysia waters charts on board.

When I fly I have current aviation charts on board.

However - If you have a plotter and a hand held (or two) with chart data, I think you are in pretty good shape.

I am still curious about GPS failure rates - You state they fail "regularly" - I don't know what scale regularly falls on but my GPS experience is quite different.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:54   #32
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Merit of Paper Charts Revisited

To those who would like to think their GPS devices are reliable enough to allow one to forgo being armed with paper charts please note the following (abstracted from Latitude 38):

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October 8, 2008 – Planet Earth
If you've experienced odd problems with your GPS lately, you're not alone. A number of sailors have reported that after booting up their GPS recently, the screen simply goes blank.
The full text of the foregoing appears at Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:01   #33
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Bah!

Maybe that's what has been behind a series of "events" during my latest trips. My normally very reliable GPS will suddenly have a series of reliable fixes within about a 12 mile radius, the resulting track looking very similar to a snarl in the a thread. Lasts about a minute or two (with amazing otg speeds!) then all is fine again.

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Old 09-10-2008, 14:33   #34
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On a recent charter I idled into an anchorage and dropped the hook in 7 feet of water. The chartplotter showed me over the edge of where it went from 8 to 7 to 3ft. My plan was to get right to the 4-5 area and drop the hook. I went so far into the 3ft area still showing 7ft and was close enough to shore that I went ahead and dropped the hook. No big deal. Plenty of room for others if they came in later. I figured there is always room for chart and plotter data error.
Next morning (late - ahhhh vacation) when we left the restarted plotter started us out in the 7ft area! It even erased the part of the track from the previous evening that showed us in the 3ft area. Also, the start point was not connected to the end point from the previous evening.
I did not take bearings and apply them to the paper chart. Maybe if it was my boat and I was living on it.........
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Old 09-10-2008, 21:15   #35
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Therapy - Sounds like you drug the anchor.
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Old 09-10-2008, 22:27   #36
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I am still curious about GPS failure rates - You state they fail "regularly" - I don't know what scale regularly falls on but my GPS experience is quite different.
My experience is very different too.

Our GPS is on fulltime for the equvalent of 2 months a year plus the equivalent of 30% of the time for the rest of the year (and that for years longer than a decade now) and have never experienced more than the very occasional couple of seconds of lost fix when sorting itself out over satellite availability - always obvious because of the audible alarm. Those have almost always been when we have had high hills close by obscuring part of the sky.

I suspect most problems are from interference or other fault on the boat itself (perhaps made more suscpetible by poor cabling practices). But is always uncomfortable to look for fault in ones own boat, always nice to blame it on others .
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Old 09-10-2008, 23:10   #37
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Gentleman, I have spent some time now keeping my mouth shut and reading many of the threads here. There is no doubt a huge amount of knowledge and experience here. It has shown me many areas where I should use great caution in my boating as well as my planning.
However, I cannot help but be amazed at your propensity to debate between yourselves an obvious fact. Such as in this thread, it begins by one poster stating flatly his electronics failed and he would have been in dire straits had he not had paper charts, and you all (nearly) ensue by arguing whether or not they can or will fail! You debate the need for paper since eletronics are so reliable, yet, there is the poster again, this time reminding you he started this thread because his DID fail.
Another poster comes on asking for your help and experience and again you would rather argue amoungst each other than completely answering his question (it was partially answered).
I employ you, please, when a person genuinely ask's for your help, put your arguments aside and help them.
BYW, electronics do fail and if you don't believe that, then throw away your compass as well as your charts.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:07   #38
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While we do have several back-up GPS devices and quickly shifted to an older GPSMap 162 connected to our lap-top running nRoute, had we not, and had we not kept our paper plot, we would have been in poop city negotiating our way from 20 miles north of Smith Shoal light to Key West.
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However, I cannot help but be amazed at your propensity to debate between yourselves an obvious fact. Such as in this thread, it begins by one poster stating flatly his electronics failed and he would have been in dire straits had he not had paper charts, and you all (nearly) ensue by arguing whether or not they can or will fail!

Shu - I don't disregard your frustration. HyLyte had a GPS failure. Although without troubleshooting, it could be an antenna connection, corrosion, looseness problem.

He then states he plugged in a backup GPSMap 162 connected to his laptop. This doesn't yet convince me of the need for paper backup charts although I do believe they are great to have on-board. I use mine all the time for passage planning.

Most GPS debates center around doomsday scenarios like the goverment turning off the satellites or a lighting strike killing all GPSs at once.

I'm not sure that HyLyte was looking for any help or advice either. He was just telling us he had a GPS failure and that one should carry backup paper.

I still don't know why backup paper was needed as he had a perfectly usable GPSMap 162 and honestly from 20 miles out I could and usually do navigate by landmarks.

I would never try to convince someone to carry paper that didn't want to nor would I recommend someone to dump their paper charts in the wake.

Not my business...
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Old 10-10-2008, 03:56   #39
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I am a strong believer in planning charts and pilot books, if all else electrical fails, you can still make good landfall using these.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:31   #40
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Guys--

My original post was merely intended to serve as a reminder that there is merit to retaining paper charts and when on a passage, wisdom in maintaining a plot in conjunction with one's deck log. With these, if one does suffer the loss of the GPS--which does happen--one is equipped to continue one's voyage without undue difficulty (if one also knows at least the rudiments of navigation/coastal piloting).

Since the event, we learned that we lost our main GPS due to a tiny little nip in the cable between the antenna and the display that was obviously made when the technician that installed the cable used a wire cutter to cut off the end of a wire tie. This tiny little nip went through the outer cable cover and the insulation of the 28 gage power supply wire. The power supply wire was not cut, and the unit functioned for 6 years--until corrosion finally ate through the wire.

We did have a backup GPS--in fact, we actually have 3 back-up GPS units including late 1980's era Magellan 5000 that continues to work quite reliably--but had we not, or had we experience the screen black-outs that have been occuring recently due to some issue with a recently added satellite as noted above, and had we not maintained a plot, we would have been sitting 20+ miles offshore, after a very rough night, with a need to pass through very reef laden water, to safe harbor.

Yes the northwest channel into Key West is well marked--once one gets to it, but what course does one steer to get to the outer marker if one is unsure of one's starting point? A 20º heading error in the 20 miles before one can see a "landmark" makes a difference of 6.8 miles--which is nearly twice the visable distance to the horizon from the deck of a relatively small boat and is the difference between 20' of water and 2'.

Frankly, I don't care what other's choose to do. I merely posted the comment as a "FYI" as the experience reinforced, for me, the wisdom of maintaining a paper plot.

In closing, I feel that the advent of GPS has been more of a bane than boon. In past, the difficulty (to some) of navigation/piloting kept the inexperienced close to shore and largely out of harms--and our--way. Unfortunately, GPS, and GPIRB's, seem to have permitted many fools to launch themselves on near and far expeditions for which they are not equipped, physically, mentally or materially, only to later need rescue at someone else's cost, and risk. I rather prefered the days when, as Blondie Hassler once opined when asked about the dangers of offshore voyaging--'If I am not prepared to preserve myself and my ship I should at least be prepared to drowned with some dignity'.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:24   #41
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OK I have a question. All of my sailing has been costal to this point. The charts are readily available and I always carry a paper chart. I was looking on line and there are a number of charts available for ocean crossings. What is the best scale? Are hazard areas clearly marked? Dose a large scale chart show enough detail to keep you off of reefs and sandbars etc? Is there a good place online to view some of these charts?

I use SeaClear as my nav software. Are there raster charts available for ocean crossings? Where do I find them?

Thanks,

Tim
I truly believe most if not everyone here does carry paper charts but by the thread one not so familiar with sailing might be led to believe they just are not necessary in this electronic rich day. I personally feel they will always be needed for backup.
The question I was refering to as not being fully answered is the quote included here.
Everyone here is clearly experienced or using the experience of the others to learn as I am doing myself (what I don't know someone else does). I do appreciate the efforts of all to help and help they do, but I have seen less to-do over nothing while tending bar years ago. Debates ranging from football to marrige to why ships collide (David v Goliath), as stated, I am amazed by the propensity to debate the undicernable, in the meantime, may I pour you another round?
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Old 10-10-2008, 13:20   #42
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I truly believe as stated...
... I am amazed by the propensity to debate the undiscernable, in the meantime, may I pour you another round?
Please do ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Guys--
My original post was merely intended to serve as a reminder that there is merit to retaining paper charts and when on a passage, wisdom in maintaining a plot in conjunction with one's deck log...
Indeed ...
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Old 10-10-2008, 14:05   #43
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Therapy - Sounds like you drug the anchor.
Yea, but glancing around at the mangroves (closest at 20 yards and furthest at 100 yards) other boats, dock, etc it did not seem to be the case. Plus, that night had 5-10 knot winds and flat water and the same anchor in the same anchorage (but 120 yards away) held in 15-20 and 2ft (looked like more ) chop all night. Same scope too.

Dunno
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Old 10-10-2008, 14:25   #44
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I suspect a number of laws and facts are changing faster than our memories of them.

My own outright ANCIENT copy of OffShore Navigator bears no warnings about intended use, nor do the NOAA (excuse me, NAS?) issued charts current to this year. And I'm fairly sure that I'd heard two years ago that the USCG had then just changed regulations to allow the exclusive use of electronics in commercial or military vessels.

Not that the exclusive use of any one form of navigation is considered trustworthy, as the government warnings still say "The prudent mariner shall not rely exclusively on ANY ONE FORM of navigation." That's one reason the USCG has kept the LORAN system running so many years past the kill date, because it provides totally separate and redundant electronic position information, and if a vessel has both LORAN-C and GPS, and the two agree, the odds are "YOU ARE HERE".

The situation in NZ and other places WILL DIFFER, that's what the concept of "nations" is all about.

But there's also a middle ground: Use electronic charts, but once a week, or one per route leg, just print paper copies from the electronic ones. Sure, they're small and flimsy, but they're a GOOD ENOUGH BACKUP if the electronics go down. When you're done, turn the page over and send a letter on it. With a big red "X" that says "WE'RE NO LONGER HERE."[g]
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Old 10-10-2008, 14:45   #45
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And I'm fairly sure that I'd heard two years ago that the USCG had then just changed regulations to allow the exclusive use of electronics in commercial or military vessels.
An Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is a specific form of computer-based navigation information system that complies with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and can be used in lieu of paper navigation charts in some areas. Not all electronic chart systems can be called an ECDIS, but the term is often incorrectly used to refer to any type of Electronic Chart System (ECS).
The true ECDIS system displays information from electronic navigational charts (ENC) and integrates position information from the Global Positioning System (GPS) and other navigational sensors, such as radar, fathometer and automatic identification systems (AIS). It may also display additional navigation-related information, such as Sailing Directions. The ENCs themselves are as important as the system that displays them. Again confusion sometimes exists between official ENCs which HAVE to be produced by or on behalf of an international government Hydrographic Office, and other commercial electronic charts which, whilst they may be able to be displayed on an ECDIS system, do not comply with the IMO regulations for use as the primary navigational chart system.
Only when official ENCs are run in a compliant ECDIS system can it be called an ECDIS. All other chart data used immediately downgrades the system to an ECS, and non–compliant, under the terms of the SOLAS regulations for use of Electronic Charts as a primary means of navigation for merchant shipping. This distinction is often over-looked by would be purchasers, but those lawyers may not be quite so ready to ignore the regulations.

These compliant systems have a methodology in place for accepting and displaying chart corrections more rapidly than old fashioned pen and ink corrections.
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