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Old 17-02-2009, 14:41   #31
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I'll use my auto pilot in close quarters, but my hand will be very very close to dat 'lil red button
...unless you are holding that fish...

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Nothing should have been there to interfere with the compass, but there was.
Can you give more details so others can learn from your experience?
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Old 24-02-2009, 22:20   #32
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I don't use an auto pilot and was unaware of these possible problems. I guess it's just one more thing to worry about now when I see a larger vessel approaching.
The BC Ferries incident that took 3 lives happened 12 of August 1985 with the ferry Queen of Cowichan.
Here is a video of something similar. I have no idea of the details for this collision but the sailboat turned 90 degrees in front of this ferry.

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Old 25-02-2009, 03:04   #33
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can this being happened with that british couple on the atlantic since their rudder was stick in hard over...

when sailing in the 1980s on a motor sailor it had a robinson autopilot and indeed that one wasn't very accurate. no way to use it with some swell as the compass was swinging so did the course...
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Old 25-02-2009, 14:41   #34
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Homocidal autopilot

Deleted as a personal attack
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Old 25-02-2009, 15:10   #35
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Has anyone seen a question on this issue on the safe boaters course ?
Brent
Most boating safety coursework I've seen emphasizes the importance and legality of keeping watch, which does indeed address the issues of a boat changing course into the path of another vessel, what ever the cause.

Anything on a boat is prone to failure, including a real helmsman.
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Old 25-02-2009, 15:34   #36
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Two rules we go by (among many) on the vessel that is my Avatar......NO AUTOPILOT Near Bridges and NEVER EVER EVER EVER use a buoy as a waypoint.
Ok.... I will be the Village Idiot and ask. Why not use a buoy as a waypoint? I did exactly that on my passage to San Diego. I found the main SD buoy, marked it as a waypoint, then had the chartplotter plot a straight course to the buoy.

Take me to task now so I can learn.

Michael
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Old 25-02-2009, 16:30   #37
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Ok.... I will be the Village Idiot and ask. Why not use a buoy as a waypoint? I did exactly that on my passage to San Diego. I found the main SD buoy, marked it as a waypoint, then had the chartplotter plot a straight course to the buoy.

Take me to task now so I can learn.

Michael
I wouldn't say NEVER, but do it with common sense and know the potential risks. A bouy is something that is supposed to be anchored in the middle of the sea, or near or shore, or in a fairway or whereever neede. This means that they aren't always reliable, they might move a bit, they might not be there, instead of marking a safe passage, they might have drifted awyay a bit and you end up on the very reef the bouy was supposed to mark, beleiving that you were safe. That is whay you should never pass too close to a bouy if there is limited space under your keel. It's OK to use a bouy as a waypoint when there is a good margin for error. It's also OK to use the position of a bouy, taken from a chart as a waypoint if, again, there is enough margin for error. Common sense. It's never OK to use the bearing (visual) of a bouy or any other floating object to plot your position on the chart.

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Old 25-02-2009, 16:34   #38
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Michael, consider the case of a "really big buoy" in particular the Ambrose Lightship, now long replaced by the Ambrose Tower.

Tankers, freighters, pleasure craft have all use these lights as waypoints. And year after year, they routinely hit and sink lightships. And towers.

Yes, a buoy may wander 100' or so as the tide shifts, but there's always someone using it as a mark and then not paying attention and either ramming it, or running it over.

I'll use a buoy as a mark--but only if there's a wide proximity alarm and I know the watch is going to be looking for it, and changing course to stand off from it. I don't want red and green racing stripes, or the bill to replace one of those critters.
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Old 25-02-2009, 16:38   #39
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Damn. Never, ever considered all that when marking the SD buoy on the plotter. Actually thought I stumbled on being clever.

Ok then.

Michael
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Old 25-02-2009, 17:16   #40
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. Why not use a buoy as a waypoint? Take me to task now so I can learn.

Michael

Hi Michael,

Your waypoints should be where you are actually going to go.
You are not going over the top of the buoy. You will be going port or starboard of the buoy. So plot the waypoint where you are going to go. Make that decision now: Port or Starboard. You can recheck it closer, but if you have it already planned you will generally be right.

When we have a buoy or reef, rock etc near our course we will add a waypoint (not in the route) which we give a skull and crossbones icon. So that makes it clear its a Stay The Hell Away from marker

Your route wants to be like a roadway or highway where everything is clear.

Where there is 2 markers and you have to go in between put your waypoint right in the middle
If its a buoy and you are putting a waypoint to port or starboard of the buoy put it a regulation distance that you will always use: 100 meters, 500, 1/2 mile, 1nm etc.

Remember your waypoints on your route are all in clear safe deep water. They guide your ship along a pathway of safety.

If you are realllllly tired, and sea sick and dealing with a sail problem etc you then don't have to do any navigation as your route is clear. You just follow it.
At other times - most times - you double and triple and fourple check stuff as you go along.





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Old 25-02-2009, 17:17   #41
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Another issue is that if everyone sets their GPS to a buoy, everyone is converging on it from different directions. Collision course! That's the sort of thing that leads to Waypoint Rage!
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Old 25-02-2009, 17:27   #42
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Hi Michael,

Your waypoints should be where you are actually going to go.
You are not going over the top of the buoy. You will be going port or starboard of the buoy. So plot the waypoint where you are going to go. Make that decision now: Port or Starboard. You can recheck it closer, but if you have it already planned you will generally be right.

When we have a buoy or reef, rock etc near our course we will add a waypoint (not in the route) which we give a skull and crossbones icon. So that makes it clear its a Stay The Hell Away from marker

Your route wants to be like a roadway or highway where everything is clear.

Where there is 2 markers and you have to go in between put your waypoint right in the middle
If its a buoy and you are putting a waypoint to port or starboard of the buoy put it a regulation distance that you will always use: 100 meters, 500, 1/2 mile, 1nm etc.

Remember your waypoints on your route are all in clear safe deep water. They guide your ship along a pathway of safety.

If you are realllllly tired, and sea sick and dealing with a sail problem etc you then don't have to do any navigation as your route is clear. You just follow it.
At other times - most times - you double and triple and fourple check stuff as you go along.





Mark
All I can is Wow. That makes sense. Of course I am not going right over the bouy. And that helps me understand how I came to "cutting the corner" too early and went through the kelp everyone here had warned me about.

I had set the SD buoy about ten hours prior using it to mark the turning point into the channel. As we got closer, I sorta unconsciously opted to cut into the channel sooner -- as you said, I certainly was not going to hit the buoy, so I decided to take it to starboard. Had I had these posts in mind, I would have marked taking the bouy to port so to be safe and would have avoided the kelp I ran into by "winging it" by cutting into the channel sooner. Make sense? Once the bouy was within sight, I really had no plan other than to get into the channel.

And using waypoints to mark what you want to **avoid** is also novel to me and I can see how that can be useful. And I never thought to do that!

Two points do not make a line; they only introduce uncertainty.

This has been extraordinarily useful to me.

Thank-you.
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Old 25-02-2009, 18:00   #43
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We came within ramming range of a boat going the opposite direction.
I was on watch and was amazed at how we kept being on a collision course.
I steered away of course, but it was a little hair raising.
It was in the middle of the night, blowing pretty hard.
It was in the middle of the Sea of Cortez.
It was roughly 40 miles from the nearest land.
So much for following a straight line from San Juanico B.C.S. to San Carlos, Sonora.
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Old 25-02-2009, 18:10   #44
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I sorta unconsciously opted to cut into the channel sooner -- .
Thats one of the reasons when in very tight passages I use the autopilot. Many say don't use it when in tight corners, but I find the auto pilot takes away that unconscious desire to turn early.
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Old 25-02-2009, 20:04   #45
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I installed an older Benmar autopilot in the Amphora, that someone had given to me. This was a "hunting" autopilot and It worked great, most of the time. However, if you tried to use it around anything large and metal (like barges) it would either turn into them or turn away from them, depending on your course. This same autopilot on two occasions turned the boat 180 degress, in open water with nothing in sight.
I learned not to trust it.
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