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Old 04-05-2012, 01:11   #46
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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Originally Posted by Cavalo View Post
Hello,
Planning to set sail this Fall ...". Though i intend to learn and use paper charts i feel like a plotter would make me more comfortable/safer. Is this an illusion? How hard is it to find cards for the more remote parts of the world, ....

Thanks for any help!

Lindsay
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I am pleased you are going going to learn to use paper charts... IMO anyone who navigates without being able to use them and having them on board for the entire trip is a fool...

That being so, paper charts take a lot of work... Taking fixes and plotting tides all the time... In pleasant weather it is fun to take your time doing the nav on paper.. However when the sea cuts up it can be very difficult to avoid seasick if you have your face in a chart ... Even plotting your position from a bearing can be hard work... So by equal measure you are a fool if you refuse to use technology that is available simply because it it not the old fashioned way..

We have both paper and a Raymarine CP on board.. And best of all a Yeoman... Look them up on the web.. It is a digitising mat that you place a paper chart on... You ref the paper chart to the mat then use the puck (similar to a mouse) to get bearings/distances. If you input a NMEA from a GPS you can also plot your position... The beauty is that you can put any paper chart on it and simply set up the reference points... So you can get easy navigation anywhere.. You always have a paper plot with your position on the chart and it is very quick..

Most of all, when I am sailing anywhere near land or other hazards (shipping lanes) I am always asking, can I confirm my navigation with a mark one eyeball? Safety begins with knowing where you are ...
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:40   #47
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

So where do I find a good quality sextant?
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:02   #48
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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Far from being a safety feature, I will completely mark them in a pile of things that makes you lazy and is frequently found as the navigational method for boats that crash.
Cant agree more. One tends to rely on them (plotters) and NOT put pencil to chart. Its easier for noobs to navigate, but that in itself means that there are more people who are inexperienced actually navigating.

I would hazard a guess that very few noobs actually do a course. Rather, they rely on the technology to do the work, without even knowing what a sector light is or how to apply deviation and variation.

The technology is nothing but wonderful. But it definitely needs to be used alongside traditional methods.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:07   #49
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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If someone doggedly followed gps derived information that put the boat into danger, I don't think that I'd be referring to them as highly competent.
Note that I said "otherwise"....

But lets look at the list I can think off the top of my head:

USS San Francisco... Royal Majesty...

USS Port Royal... Pride of Canterbury (more)...

USS LaMoure County...

USS Arleigh Burke...

The other day I saw a gent on a nearby Hunter 36, replete with a full set of Raymarine equipment including an E series plotter arrayed about the helm, trying to figure out how to mount an iPad on the pedestal guard.

Dude rarely goes out, and when he does, its only for a sail on the bay for a few hours (describes me to a T as well). Won't knock his affection for electronics, his boat;his gig, but does all that stuff make him "safer?"

I'd argue no, because that cacophony of data display inherently makes him keep his head down looking at open water equipment while piloting in some of the busiest recreational waterways int he nation.

Want to be safe? Or safe as you can be while engaging in an inherently risky avocation?

Stay connected to the Basics of Seamanship, and don't get distracted by all the fads bells and whistles. Not to say that they cannot make your time on the water more pleasant....AND IF USED PROPERLY WITH THE REQUISITE DEPTH OF UNDERSTANDING...then actually safer as well.

And take with a grain of salt the hawks from vendors telling you they can sell you a box that can do all the thinking while you can blithely kick back in the cockpit with a total minimum of fuss.

Chances are, the more you know, the more you will realize what they are selling is an expensive crutch you don't need anyway.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:08   #50
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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A chart plotter is a luxury. A chart is a necessity.
Nope I disagree A chart plotter is essential, for us anyway.

We sail in the Solent mostly short handed so there is no chance of being able to pop below and put a mark on a paper chart. Nor can you plot a course and expect to maintain it for more than a couple of minutes before having to significantly alter course. An auto pilot is of no use whatsoever.

The shear volume of other yachts, commercial traffic, sand banks and obstructions means you have to be on deck and navigate from the deck using pilotage. A chart plotter mounted in place of a steering compass on the pedestal and linked with AIS is just the jobby to assist with pilotage when short handed. If or when it breaks then I will replace it with another CP.

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Old 04-05-2012, 04:17   #51
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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So where do I find a good quality sextant?
WWWD?

What Would Webb (as in Chiles) Do?

Nobody has ever followed the KISS principal more when it comes to going down to the sea in little plastic toy boats like he has...

He is preparing for his sixth (seventh?) circumnavigation. You can read about his progress here.

One of his latest journal entries is about the sextant he just bought.

But the man is no luddite, check out his discussion of his multiple GPS's as well.


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Old 04-05-2012, 04:34   #52
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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Nope I disagree A chart plotter is essential, for us anyway.

We sail in the Solent mostly short handed so there is no chance of being able to pop below and put a mark on a paper chart. Nor can you plot a course and expect to maintain it for more than a couple of minutes before having to significantly alter course. An auto pilot is of no use whatsoever.

The shear volume of other yachts, commercial traffic, sand banks and obstructions means you have to be on deck and navigate from the deck using pilotage. A chart plotter mounted in place of a steering compass on the pedestal and linked with AIS is just the jobby to assist with pilotage when short handed. If or when it breaks then I will replace it with another CP.

Pete
You use yours like I use mine Pete...As an aid to what you can see visually in busy waters.

Would you say that your head is usually "out of the boat" and not glued to that screen?
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:47   #53
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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..............
My dad flew the navy version of C-54s out of Rodgers Field in the late '40s. They used to use a technique they called "latitude flying." Going to, say Wake, they would fly deliberately north or south along latitude and then take sun sights for long. When they would hit the long they needed, they would then turn north or south and pick up the radio range beacon. ......
Not sure if I am the only reading this or perhaps I am simple but as an ex pilot etc, this just doesn't make sense to me. I think you mean something else.....
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:08   #54
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

Nothing but good seamanship and piloting skills are a necessity. Having said that... the current plotters which can be fixed or hand held below decks or helm mounted give the captain more positional awareness and that's a plus.

Obviously it also can promote a dumbing down and loss of basic skills for those who rely on electronics which can and do fail. Then all you have is the low tech piloting skills to make it to your destination in one piece.

I consider all the new electronic features/equipment a safety plus... gives me more confidence. Radar is an example. Fog can set in when you are underway and it can be your eyes which penetrate the fog. AIS is another device which give the sailor more information to inform his decisions...

Is information a necessity to informing decisions? Yes... but how much is required? YMMV.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:17   #55
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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Not sure if I am the only reading this or perhaps I am simple but as an ex pilot etc, this just doesn't make sense to me. I think you mean something else.....
Thats pretty much how I remember him explaining it...

But rereading I should have said they would fix their latitude with sun sights, and DR their longitude. My bad.

They would offset north or south and turn in at the DR'd longitude.

BTW, back to modern times, here are some guys preparing to aviate across the Pacific...Lots of paper in evidence:

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Old 04-05-2012, 05:23   #56
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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Not sure if I am the only reading this or perhaps I am simple but as an ex pilot etc, this just doesn't make sense to me. I think you mean something else.....
I think he means "Latitudes" in the same manner that old, ill educated (as to navigation), ship masters would sail north or south to the latitdue of their destination and then east or west until they made landfall. It was horribly inefficient, and made for some very long trips, but it was easy and did work. Whether one could do the same in an airplane is doubtful simply because of fuel burn. So hypothesise that Amelia Earheart's navigatior was attempting to use that method of navigation and we know how that turned out.

On the matter of Chartplotters--my view is that they are a luxury, only. I have had the experience of loosing our GPS/Chartplotter while at sea and having been very glad that we maintained a paper plot. I made a posting about that in about the matter (The Merit of Paper Chart Back-Ups ) which gave rise to a lively debate. I still maintain the practice.

FWIW...
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:31   #57
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

Was a programme on the TV recently (30 years after the Falklands war) about the Vulcan Bombers that were sent from the UK to bomb Port Stanley. One of the (many!) challenges was that apparently the RAF did not have aviation maps of the South Atlantic - so they used a Northen Hemisphere map turned upside down! (no idea how they marked the Falkland Islands on that).
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:42   #58
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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I think he means "Latitudes" in the same manner that old, ill educated (as to navigation), ship masters would sail north or south to the latitdue of their destination and then east or west until they made landfall. It was horribly inefficient, and made for some very long trips, but it was easy and did work. Whether one could do the same in an airplane is doubtful simply because of fuel burn.
FWIW...
Pretty much it...Exceot they they would deliberately offset north or south and turn in at a DR longitude and intercept a radio beacon.

And its the way they used to fly out in the Pacific into the '50s
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:44   #59
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

There have always been accidents due to navigation mistakes. Most boats that are sailing in unfamiliar waters use GPS and many use chartplotters, so it not surprising that many navigational accidents feature mistakes made using this technology.
The good news is that 99% of the current accidents are to due to rather stupid mistakes. Before the technology was available there were a lot more navigational related accidents, and many of these were due to minor errors of judgment or even just bad luck.
I don't think modern sailors that have grown up with GPS can appreciate the apprehension of reling on a DR position when you have not been able to get a fix for many days. Throw in Strong tides, a storm or two and coral waters and you will never critisize electronics, or doubt their impact on safety, again.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:54   #60
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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There have always been accidents due to navigation mistakes. Most boats that are sailing in unfamiliar waters use GPS and many use chartplotters, so it not surprising that many navigational accidents feature mistakes made using this technology.
USS San Francisco... Royal Majesty...

USS Port Royal... Pride of Canterbury (more)...

USS LaMoure County...

USS Arleigh Burke...

Take a look at the groundings cited above noelex. Each happened in conditions that would not have overwhelmed non GPS navigation practices. Indeed the majority happened in outright benign conditions, when one would expect the use of the latest nav equipment should have made it all a total "no brainer"

Why?

Also...Except for the overhype that some vendors are doing these days, let me make it clear -again- that I am not damning the electronics.

But ships -and pleasure boats- that rely on the latest generation of nav equipment are finding themselves aground in baffling circumstances...

Why?

Tsk-tsking it all off as a, "Idiots will always be Idiots" reason is ignoring a systemic human factors problem.

One that that appears to have turned downright deadly south west of San Diego....
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