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Old 26-01-2012, 04:15   #361
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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Yes they do...And I know we agree...However here is a quote from Andrew Linington (do you know him Nigel1?)

In the days after the disaster, Schettino admitted that he had wanted to send a greeting to his friend on the island, and that something had gone wrong during the maneuver. But his statements on the course of events were contradictory. On one occasion, he said that he had been "navigating by sight," but before that he had said that the rock did not appear on maps.
This could very well be true. Although the rock is clearly visible on traditional paper nautical maps, modern ship bridges are equipped with monitors that use the so-called ECDIS system. It combines electronic nautical charts with data from the satellite navigation receiver and the radar equipment. It also uses the ship's sonar and the relatively new AIS anti-collision system.
But the high-tech system is not perfect. "ECDIS representations are only as good as the data you enter. And there are serious problems with the user interface and the ergonomics," says Andrew Linington, a spokesman for Nautilus International, the union for maritime professionals. Sometimes the digital charts made by the various manufacturers are not 100 percent correct. For example, some errors only appear at certain magnification levels. The investigators will have to clarify this.


No, dont know him, although I am a member of Nautilus.
And an article which states that AIS is an anti collision system should not be taken too seriously, clearly the author has no knowledge of the subjet.
ECDIS is good, in fact very good, but I find it hard to belive that the mates on duty at the time of the CC incident would have selected the incorrect scale for display. There would have been at least two independent ECDIS sets in use, one at least would have been on a large scale.
They had done this passage many times, they knew where the rocks were.
I think the captain was hot dogging, lost concentration or mis judged the approach, and came to grief.
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Old 26-01-2012, 07:13   #362
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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No, dont know him, although I am a member of Nautilus.
And an article which states that AIS is an anti collision system should not be taken too seriously, clearly the author has no knowledge of the subjet.
ECDIS is good, in fact very good, but I find it hard to belive that the mates on duty at the time of the CC incident would have selected the incorrect scale for display. There would have been at least two independent ECDIS sets in use, one at least would have been on a large scale.
They had done this passage many times, they knew where the rocks were.
I think the captain was hot dogging, lost concentration or mis judged the approach, and came to grief.
Saw that about the AIS, but its likely he had been told its greatest utility is for collision avoidance...

And now... For the Back Office to monitor your track in real time mile by mile.....

Also from the management view, there must be a question afoot on why those expensive electronics did not save a billion dollar investment.

I still say Schettino's defense will hinge on the "fact" his nav suite let him down.

And then there is the human factors aspect of it all...Hubris and Complacency especially on a huge sophisticated ship which arguably fostered a sense of invincibility.

Too Big To Fail....

Lastly.

For instance, a recent study has drawn attention to over-confidence and complacency that can easily be instilled in the officer of the watch by new technology which provides apparently enhanced information. Other incident reports indicate an increase in close quarters situations as navigators input the same alteration points into their computers.
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Old 26-01-2012, 14:11   #363
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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No, dont know him, although I am a member of Nautilus.
And an article which states that AIS is an anti collision system should not be taken too seriously, clearly the author has no knowledge of the subjet.

Forgot to mention...That the reporter was reporting so of course he is no expert. However, folks like Mr. Linnington, Sir Jeremy, and the others like Rear Admiral Halpert, Dr. Norris, Mr. Sachdeva, Captain Vallance, Secretary Graveson...Are all worth listening to.
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Old 27-08-2013, 03:19   #364
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

Can the Furuno radar 1835 intergrate with the Simrad NSE12

to give the Radar inputs from the GPS, AIS and Depth.

Thank you

Jeff
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Old 01-06-2014, 19:25   #365
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

I had a question about the integration (or otherwise) of a B&G autopilot with a Lowrance Gen2 GPS... but having read through this (mostly hilarious) thread, I forgot the question.
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Old 12-06-2014, 21:43   #366
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

Boy, this thread needs an autopilot, talk about thread drift...

In 1998 I set up the autopilot etc on Gilana, at the time it was the latest stuff. It always had the ability for the autopilot to be fed a new waypoint from the chartplotter. Interesting is that when the waypoint arrival radius criteria was met, and alarm was sent to the operator (us) to confirm the change of course. A prudent design. We loved the system, the only problem was that the accuracy of the charts was not good enough to us in all circumstances or scales.

Now I have got rid of the Autohelm Chart plotter, and I have OpenCPN running on a laptop. (and two more in reserve) I now have the ability to use home made charts that I have personally verified and calibrated or geo-referenced. Here in the San Blas Islands it is a wonderful boon to navigation, and we are able to turn right on the waypoints.

HOWEVER>>>

Integrating the CP to the AP is a tool, and only that. There are many tools in the navigational toolbox, and it is only one of them. Sounders, Eyeballs, Stopwatches, etc are all still in use aboard. In fact when we are using our system I am usually at the pulpit with the AP remote control, to override any plotter generated course changes or to execute a dodge around uncharted items, like other boats etc.

To answer the OP, "Why integrate the autopilot?" Because it opens up a set of useful and powerful features, (all of which have been mentioned in this thread before it went off course.) but must be used with caution, prudence, and good seamanship.
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Old 13-06-2014, 08:53   #367
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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To answer the OP, "Why integrate the autopilot?" Because it opens up a set of useful and powerful features, (all of which have been mentioned in this thread before it went off course.) but must be used with caution, prudence, and good seamanship.
I fully agree, and it is the absence of those last three in many of the sailors desirous of AP integration that I find problematic.

I wouldn't have it because of my oft-stated preference to keep a proper watch and to learn from the drift and course corrections required to stick to a compass heading can tell you about currents and other aspects of the sea state that are often otherwise invisible.

You don't worry me so much. Your pre-existing seamanlike habits of checking reality against your instruments, and of keeping a proper watch, even with an AP remote in your hand (on a lanyard, I presume?) mean your implementation of AP integration is unlikely to make your boat a menace to itself or to others.

But where today does one acquire those pre-existing seamanlike habits? Most modern boats come equipped with integrated, MFD-type "bridge of a starship" helms and nav stations (if they even have a nav station). Without a grounding in old eyeball-mediated, "analog" observation, such as used to be called "coastal pilotage", it's far too easy to just stare at the screen and place unwarranted trust in the AP.

So maybe the solution is to have an unintegrated AP until you learn proper watchstanding and those aforementioned seamanlike habits, also known as "nautical paranoia". Then it's fine to hook the GPS to the AP and sail to a waypoint where there isn't a rock or one of the larger, multi-tonne nav aids.
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Old 13-06-2014, 11:16   #368
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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I fully agree, and it is the absence of those last three in many of the sailors desirous of AP integration that I find problematic.

I wouldn't have it because of my oft-stated preference to keep a proper watch and to learn from the drift and course corrections required to stick to a compass heading can tell you about currents and other aspects of the sea state that are often otherwise invisible.

You don't worry me so much. Your pre-existing seamanlike habits of checking reality against your instruments, and of keeping a proper watch, even with an AP remote in your hand (on a lanyard, I presume?) mean your implementation of AP integration is unlikely to make your boat a menace to itself or to others.

But where today does one acquire those pre-existing seamanlike habits? Most modern boats come equipped with integrated, MFD-type "bridge of a starship" helms and nav stations (if they even have a nav station). Without a grounding in old eyeball-mediated, "analog" observation, such as used to be called "coastal pilotage", it's far too easy to just stare at the screen and place unwarranted trust in the AP.

So maybe the solution is to have an unintegrated AP until you learn proper watchstanding and those aforementioned seamanlike habits, also known as "nautical paranoia". Then it's fine to hook the GPS to the AP and sail to a waypoint where there isn't a rock or one of the larger, multi-tonne nav aids.
After listening to your 'soapbox' more than once, it brings up a question.

Does AP/Nav integration really cause issues by allowing those with "lesser skills" to operate vessels or is it simply the fact that you are having a problem understanding how AP/Nav integration works?

I'm personally failing to understand how giving an AP instructions like BTW, DTW, and XTE can cause a menace for that vessel and others. Sure, following a track may not be the most efficient course to point 'A', given wind/waves/current, but a menace???

An AP using Nav commands operates the wheel or tiller to steer a vessel along a track. An AP does not 'navigate'.

If your point is a helmsman using AP/Nav integration loses situational awareness, I've witnessed plenty of helmsman hand steering that have the same problem. An AP doesn't cause this.

An AP simply takes care of the menial task of turning a wheel or push-pull a tiller, nothing more.
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Old 13-06-2014, 11:27   #369
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I can understand the theoretical risk of too much dependence on technology. In the real world the bigger risk is fatigue leading to distraction and inattention. My AP is driven by OpenCPN right now and I wouldn't have it any other way. Two days ago we made a 13 hour run from Sitka to Warm Springs Bay. I could not have hand steered that entire trip - I probably could have manually controlled the AP but why would I???
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Old 13-06-2014, 12:23   #370
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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I fully agree, and it is the absence of those last three in many of the sailors desirous of AP integration that I find problematic.
But why stop there? Why not be against autopilots themselves in any form, since it they prevent one from learning how to properly steer a boat in the first place? And why stop with integration of systems? It seems to me the systems themselves keep people from properly learning how to navigate and be one with the seas. This whole thing went south with the sextant - before then, people who went to sea really had a feel for it and knew how to navigate without just blindly following some arbitrary imaginary line across the earth.

Yeppers, people who rely on sextants and other devices instead of learning how to read wind and wave patterns to get somewhere have thrown caution, prudence and good seamanship right out of the window.

I mean, come on! I know you wouldn't rely on any strange mechanical or inscrutable electrical device that had you following arbitrary magical lines around the earth - you aren't the one I find problematic…

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Old 13-06-2014, 12:31   #371
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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I can understand the theoretical risk of too much dependence on technology. In the real world the bigger risk is fatigue leading to distraction and inattention. My AP is driven by OpenCPN right now and I wouldn't have it any other way. Two days ago we made a 13 hour run from Sitka to Warm Springs Bay. I could not have hand steered that entire trip - I probably could have manually controlled the AP but why would I???
I am also in this camp. Especially based on it being done with a chart plotter, and AIS. This gives me more time to watch for logs, and the radar in low visibility conditions.

I also respect the problems with over dependence on automation that the airline industry faces. That circumstance is quite different though. Closing speeds on opposing traffic is over 1000 miles per hour, they are in an environment that will not sustain life without pressurization systems functioning, and they navigate in three dimensions. Still there is a problem when an emergency arises suddenly demanding manual control, and decisive action to be taken in a matter of seconds, after long hours of just monitoring the flight management computer. Our boats offer much more tolerance and time to react. Also, loss of propulsion does not mean that we will sink.
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Old 13-06-2014, 12:42   #372
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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So maybe the solution is to have an unintegrated AP until you learn proper watchstanding and those aforementioned seamanlike habits, also known as "nautical paranoia". Then it's fine to hook the GPS to the AP and sail to a waypoint where there isn't a rock or one of the larger, multi-tonne nav aids.
So do you propose a test for this?

If so, what would it look like?

Would you get off your soapbox if everyone told you they have already gone through this phase?

Or would you need proof of that (see first question)?

One last question if I may - Do you know of any learned good navigators who came to grief because they got set into trouble by current or leeway?

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Old 13-06-2014, 13:42   #373
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

I've done 70,000nm's and never, ever set Rocko or any other A/P to a waypoint, and never will! It gets even experienced people in trouble because they don't pay attention to drift.

Mines usually set to wind angle.
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Old 13-06-2014, 13:47   #374
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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I've done 70,000nm's and never, ever set Rocko or any other A/P to a waypoint, and never will! It gets even experienced people in trouble because they don't pay attention to drift.

Mines usually set to wind angle.
You don't drift if set to a waypoint, you just go to it! You can just forget about all that old fashioned chart drawing stuff.
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Old 13-06-2014, 14:12   #375
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

Several points have been raised about "what are the dangers" Let me illustrate one such danger.

Depending if you have your plotter (laptop) configured to send APA or APB sentences can make a difference. Let us assume you are on a course of 045° between waypoint 1 and 2 in a route. Distance between assume 5 Nm. You have laid a course that clears starboard danger at 4 miles from WPT1, by 0.3 Nm.
2 miles into the leg, you see a ship approaching on reciprocal, and decide correctly to head off a few degrees to Stbd.
you pass safely, and re-engage the AP to follow the leg. Here is what happens.

Under APB, your autopilot corrects for the dodge, and attempts to get you back on to the ORIGINAL line between 1 and 2.
Under APA, your autopilot takes you directly from your new position to WPT2, reducing or removing the 0.3Nm safety clearance from the dangers ahead.

Sometimes, its not advisable to use the waypoint feature. When we came up the coast of Brasil it was wonderful to pass oil rigs and all sorts of dangers, including the 100m contour where fishermen in "Jungadas" abound with nothing more than a cigarette lighter as a navigation light. As the equatorial current approaches the continent, it splits, some going N and some going S. But in the middle it sets onshore, sometimes quite strongly. IF you are navigating to a waypoint, the AP will head more and more to weather to offset your drift. As you head up, your speed slows, and the current vector increases, resulting in more "corrective" helm, and eventually the boat will be in irons, with offcourse alarms going.
In the above circumstance it would be better to head off to a fixed heading, (cancel the "track" mode) and maximize speed to reduce the drift against the high set. (this is assuming wind and current in same direction) Of course if the wind was against current, whohoo, the problem would not arise.

Most commercial yachts and large vessels use this system, but it is managed constantly.

I really do recommend it, it saves miles, reduces fatigue, BUT the caveat is you HAVE to stay on top of it and check it regularly, so that you are sure that ALL of the inputs of the REAL world (radar, soundings, bearings, observations, expectations) AGREE with the virtual world of the picture on your screen.

We have a funny thing we do on Gilana. When we are 100% sure the virtual world concurs with reality, and we hand over a watch, we tell the new watch "Confidence level green" or words to that effect. If any of the parameters do NOT add up, we check until we have found out why.

One time, it saved our bacon. We were committed to a harbor entry where the port control had told us to enter between to huge bulkers, under engine. A squall hit, and we could not even see the mast, it was a total white-out. we were in a dredged channel, and could not "bail" either way. Laura stayed below, observing the chartplotter and the radar and soundings. She told me to correct course while I was in the cockpit. She kept us on course, turning when she saw the radar picture of harbor tugs merge with the big ship ahead, we identified the outer breakwater and the inner harbor wall, and were motoring along at 3 knots with this big black stripe down the radar, when the squall, just as suddenly lifted. We were about 10m away from the side of a sugar bulker and traveling parallel to it. If we did not trust our electronics we would have made a mistake, but in order to trust your electronics, your real situational awareness must be verified continually.
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