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Old 03-03-2010, 08:08   #76
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Wouldn't, by definition, most people who could recount the experience of having all their electronics fail/get hit by lightning without having paper backups, not be here to tell the story?
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:20   #77
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Sorry about being nit picky, but I can't help myself here.

A large scale chart shows a smaller area of the Earth's surface and a small scale chart shows a larger area.

This is because a charts scale is an inverse ratio, 1/X, where 1 is the physical size of your chart divided by the area that is covered by the chart, X. For example, 1/2 is a larger number than 1/4. The larger this fraction, the larger the scale.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:28   #78
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I din't see it mentioned but in Canada it's actually law that you have to carry paper charts. They have to be the largest scale available IIRC.

The mention of the shuttle got me thinking, they are being retired aren't they? Only the russian are sending space vessels to the space station until 2014 (if Orion is done by then). The shuttles were how they fixed and redeployed sattelites right?
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:51   #79
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Retirement of the shuttle only restricts the US's ability to put people in orbit and repair existing satellites. The gov't can still use Titan rockets I believe and commercially the Atlas and Delta launchers are putting up medium to large new satellites and Pegasus can put small ones up. Araine (sic) in Europe has a large commercial satellite launching business, Japan and China too but smaller volume. India has a budding launch capability. Russia will be the only country to send people to the Internat'l Space Station. China can put up people but aren't involved in the space station and may not have the ability to rondesvous (sic) and dock.

Back to the original thread, if you had to chose between paper or plotter for cost reasons, go with paper.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:17   #80
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And then for those that think GPS could be turned off by the Americans at some whim - that would stop World Trade and that just ain't American!
You might want to read the thread I just posted about how the GPS system is subject to hacking/terrorism and bone up on DR, staying awake "on watch" might be a good idea too
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:30   #81
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Aside from being a prudent "back up", I think you really need to have a paper chart to properly view the big picture. Call it navigational forehandedness, but I like to be thinking a few moves ahead, and in my view the myopic display of a chart plotter (or GPS enabled laptop maps) is a poor substitute for paper. Part of it is the same reason I prefer printing out long articles rather than read them online.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:18   #82
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Charts might be a good back-up but it takes all you can get sometimes to find where you really are..
When comming down the north coast, I found areas that were 1/4 mile off from where they were to be.. Many of the charts we have, haven't been upgraded sence the 30s and the Latt & Long are way off..
But they will get you in the area you need to be..
A couple years ago while comming down the coast, in the fog, all my electronics went on the blink.. Time to pull the log and the charts and set a rumb line using "Dead Reckoning".. after 4 hours plotting a course for the Mile bouy at Eureka, I rounded up and dropped the sails....I could hear the "GONG" of the "1 Mile Bouy" in the distance.... from there I called the costies and they came out and lead me in..
Just about the time we reached the docks, the fog lifted...
That was the first time I was forced to use the paper charts, and I'm glad I had them aboard..
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:22   #83
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"I din't see it mentioned but in Canada it's actually law that you have to carry paper charts." Are you sure that isn't FOR COMMERCIAL VESSELS rather than for boaters in general?

Toro, the flaw in your logic is that when electronics get wiped out, the damage is usually localized to the boat, and the boaters usually survive long enough to use other electronics in other places, so they get online again.
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Old 03-03-2010, 13:06   #84
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From all the posters in this thread that swear by having paper charts for backup, how many actually put their position on the paper chart every hour and keep a log that states speed, course, depth etc.? Because if you didn't and that disastrous lightning strike occurs, the paper chart won't help you much is you don't exactly know where you are, which course the AP was steering, the difference between heading and COG etc. etc.

We take a mainly electronic chart approach but have paper cruising guides with the coastal charts and harbor entries. We'll be happy to stop in the closest port for repairs.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 03-03-2010, 13:53   #85
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
From all the posters in this thread that swear by having paper charts for backup, how many actually put their position on the paper chart every hour and keep a log that states speed, course, depth etc.? Because if you didn't and that disastrous lightning strike occurs, the paper chart won't help you much is you don't exactly know where you are, which course the AP was steering, the difference between heading and COG etc. etc.

We take a mainly electronic chart approach but have paper cruising guides with the coastal charts and harbor entries. We'll be happy to stop in the closest port for repairs.

cheers,
Nick.
Well. First of all, this hypothetical lightning strike actually did happen to us last fall, in our old boat. I was not on board; but my dad was. Fried every single thing electronic or electrical on board except, miraculously, the starter for the main engine. They were glad paper charts were on board. So it's not such a wild far-fetched case.

Secondly, why would a paper chart only have any use if you are logging your position on it every hour? I'm starting to think that using a paper chart is a lost art -- were many of you guys just not sailing before the invention of chart plotters? Paper charts have lots of uses. In the absence of a working plotter, you need them simply to understand what you're looking at (most valuably in conjunction with a hand bearing compass, which I would also not be without).

Besides that, even when your plotters are working fine, to get the "big picture" of your voyage and orient yourself when you're planning, something that doesn't really work on electronic charts (at least, the generation I use).

If your plotter goes out (which might happen for other reasons besides a lightning strike, BTW, all kinds of electrical faults, gear failures of different kinds could cause it also), you will remember at least your course, and if you properly used your paper chart when passage planning, you will be oriented and know approximately where you're going, which is usually some kind of land. When you get there and see that land, you can quickly figure out your position with the hand bearing compass, shot at some recognizable land features, and the chart. Then you'll be able to identify the buoyage, plot a course to avoid hazards, and so forth. I think this is just basic seamanship. Without the chart and HBC and the skill to use them, you would be in a positively dangerous situation, endangering your vessel and your passengers.
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Old 03-03-2010, 15:41   #86
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A Space Shuttle is hardly a practical exemplar of how cruising sailboats can and should implement electronic navigation.

The US Space Shuttle is the most reliable space launcher available.
Umm, that's actually not right. That title currently belongs to the Russian Tsyklon II rocket, which failed only once in 105 launches, making it almost twice as reliable as the shuttle. Also more reliable than the Shuttle is the American Delta II, with two failures out of 140 launches, and the classic Russian Soyuz launcher. The Shuttle ("STS") is rated fourth in reliability among space launchers:

http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/reliability2009.txt

"Failure" for a space launch does not mean only a catastrophic failure; it means any failure to get into orbit. So the Shuttle's tendency to catastrophic, and fatal failures means its record is actually worse than it looks in this table. Astronauts flying on the shuttle have a 2% chance of dying on any given flight. 14 astronauts have died on Shuttle flights, more than half of all the space fatalities ever. Only four other American astronauts died in space accidents, and only four Russian cosmonauts ever died in space accidents from the day they put the first man in space in 1961.

Since the Columbia disaster, more American astronauts have gone up in Russian Soyuz rockets, than on the Shuttle. There has not been any fatality on the Soyuz since 1971 in a hundred odd flights.

In general, our launch vehicles are not that great in terms of reliability, with the shining exception of the Delta II. Only the Delta II and the Shuttle make it into the list of the top 10 most reliable launchers. All the rest are Russians, and two Chinese even (albeit with small numbers).
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Old 03-03-2010, 15:44   #87
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Hi Dockhead,

Please be assured that I know exactly where I am all the time. But I did navigation without GPS for 30 years while many cruisers started with retirement and GPS and electronic plotters etc. I have seen and heard things that are just beyond belief and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a whole horde of cruisers out there that just chuck some paper charts into the boat to never look at them again but at the same time telling others that you really must have them. They have never plotted a position onto a paper chart, let alone do some dead reckoning or even experienced current and leeway etc.

With all my sailing years with & without electronic gadgets, I still have a lot of trouble recognizing land features on unfamiliar coasts, especially when I know my dead reckoning position can be a couple of miles off after a 100nm passage on compass only. I even on occasion found I was wrong when reading the markings on a buoy.

People without experience in navigating without electronic gadgets will be severely lost when the toys break, no matter how many paper charts they have. I have seen it and I have pulled a whole bunch of them off the reefs.

I even had them sailing hard on a reef while I was planing alongside in my dinghy for minutes shouting to them to stop or alter course. They thought I was some lunatic and prepared themselves to repel my boarding. I still pulled them off the next high tide and my God they managed to say thank you...
(I know I look like a lunatic so don't blame them for that part ha ha ;-)

I can continue with them not understanding the most basic use of radar, VHF or whatever. And if only I could say it was all in the Caribbean... but I'm almost ashamed to admit it happened in Holland too (but much less of course ;-)

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 03-03-2010, 15:56   #88
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Hi Dockhead,

Please be assured that I know exactly where I am all the time. But I did navigation without GPS for 30 years while many cruisers started with retirement and GPS and electronic plotters etc. I have seen and heard things that are just beyond belief and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a whole horde of cruisers out there that just chuck some paper charts into the boat to never look at them again but at the same time telling others that you really must have them. They have never plotted a position onto a paper chart, let alone do some dead reckoning or even experienced current and leeway etc.

With all my sailing years with & without electronic gadgets, I still have a lot of trouble recognizing land features on unfamiliar coasts, especially when I know my dead reckoning position can be a couple of miles off after a 100nm passage on compass only. I even on occasion found I was wrong when reading the markings on a buoy.

People without experience in navigating without electronic gadgets will be severely lost when the toys break, no matter how many paper charts they have. I have seen it and I have pulled a whole bunch of them off the reefs.

I even had them sailing hard on a reef while I was planing alongside in my dinghy for minutes shouting to them to stop or alter course. They thought I was some lunatic and prepared themselves to repel my boarding. I still pulled them off the next high tide and my God they managed to say thank you...
(I know I look like a lunatic so don't blame them for that part ha ha ;-)

I can continue with them not understanding the most basic use of radar, VHF or whatever. And if only I could say it was all in the Caribbean... but I'm almost ashamed to admit it happened in Holland too (but much less of course ;-)

ciao!
Nick.
I worry about this too. A lot.

I love electronc navigation, have two networked plotters on board, and soon a PC too. But my way of thinking about navigation (and even more, pilotage) is deeply rooted in pre-chart plotter practice. I'm not a reactionary -- I don't do celestial, would like to learn, but I don't think that anything essential was lost when sailors started reading lat and long off gps's. It's somehow different with chart plotters, which can turn navigation into a kind of video game, with consequences like what you describe.
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Old 03-03-2010, 17:06   #89
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I record my GPS position in my log along with heading,speed etc.If i marked the plot down on my charts each time i go sailing then the chart would end up covered in erazed pencil lines.

I too love gadgets,i love my chartplotter,Gps,metioman etc but i still carry up to date charts.I have had one chartplotter stop working on me,and so far ive never had a paper chart run out of batteries or stop working.

One thing that paper charts are much easier for and that is marking the various warnings that you read on the "Nottices to mariners" .

I also enjoy looking at a paper chart when it comes to passage planning,you get a much better view of your cruising area, also when im sailing i often use my compass and charts along with the various calcs for variation,deviation,tide, etc
just to guage how accurate a navigator i am,i check my position with my GPS.

I enjoy learning new skills,today my new Sextant arrived,i tore the wrapping of and went out and had a go at taking a sight.I am looking forward to learning how to use it,as i am also looking forward to learning about meterology.,for me its all part of learning to sail.
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Old 03-03-2010, 17:23   #90
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
From all the posters in this thread that swear by having paper charts for backup, how many actually put their position on the paper chart every hour and keep a log that states speed, course, depth etc.? Because if you didn't and that disastrous lightning strike occurs, the paper chart won't help you much is you don't exactly know where you are, which course the AP was steering, the difference between heading and COG etc. etc.

We take a mainly electronic chart approach but have paper cruising guides with the coastal charts and harbor entries. We'll be happy to stop in the closest port for repairs.

cheers,
Nick.
If I am just gunkholing around in familiar territory - no. But otherwise, I do.
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