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Old 05-12-2011, 08:05   #46
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Re: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
There is a terrific on almost exactly this called "Emergency Navigation" by David Burch. I have always carried it on board, both in case we get completely fired by lightening (loosing compass and watches in addition to the gps), but also simply because its a fascinating way to approach navigation, from the very elementary ground up ...
"Emergency navigation: find your position and shape your course at sea even if your instruments fail" ~ by David Burch

Emergency navigation: find your ... - David Burch - Google Books

Emergency Navigation by David Burch
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:08   #47
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

When I sailed with my wife the IJsselmeer in the good old days of our twenties, we saw on the "Enkhuizerzand" a large motoryacht from Yarmouth, motionless somebody waving at us.
I downed the sails and approached this sublime, shiny motoryacht of at least 20 mtrs.
The "Enkhuizerzand" is a notorious bank where now the dike between Lelystad and Enkhuizen is located.

It took a small tug to get them off and we met later on this sympa owner and his wife in the harbour of Enkhuizen, where they invited us for drinks.
I was completely "dismasted" when I learned that they had crossed the channel on some
chart of North Europe that belongs in a third grade schoolatlas and that they navigated the IJsselmeer on a King peppermint promo chart of Holland size 15 x 15 cm.

In return for their hospitality and tha fact we liked this couple I gave them my official IJsselmeer chart.

I have experienced more of this type of events, but this one was the first.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:53   #48
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Re: Voyaging with ZERO navigation tools - how risky?

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What if like me, (electronics engineer for Texas Instruments), you actually are capable of building a GPS unit?
capn_bill,
I think that unfortunately it is almost impossible for a single person to be able to build a GPS unit in the middle of the ocean... with no chips, no fab plant.

Even on land, one has to make use of the current infrastructure to be able to replicate seemingly simple devices... Knowledge is not necessarily coupled with the ability to recreate....


I am sure you have the knowledge of GPS, and therefore would not compete with Stephen Fry at giving a wrong but thoroughly entertaining explanation of how GPS works: "You send a signal from your GPS device," he explained. "You've got to be at least three, usually four or five satellites – that receive your signal. And the difference in time it takes to get from one satellite to the other to the other, which is milliseconds, allows them to calculate your position to within 10 metres." .

I believe in todays 'civilization' the knowledge used by many is difficult to recreate by just one... Frightening... So much of what we use is based up on leveraging the work of others....... I guess that is a definition of sophistication, yet.... will lead to tragedy if something would happen that would wipe out a good deal of the infrastructure we rely on. But that is a topic for another thread.......
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Old 05-12-2011, 17:05   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay
"Emergency navigation: find your position and shape your course at sea even if your instruments fail" ~ by David Burch

Emergency navigation: find your ... - David Burch - Google Books

Emergency Navigation by David Burch
Thanks Gord (he says sarcastically) another evening sunk reading fascinating stuff I wish I had (legitimate) time to read ;-)

A watch, the sun and some stars - is that all that's really needed? What ever will I do with my chartplotter, 3 gps, personal computer with MaxSea and paper charts that are so useful getting me 3 miles across the bay and back?
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:14   #50
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

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Not had a Challenge thread for a while.........this in homage to the Polynesians and Vikings


.
It is odd that recently I read Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead and am now reading James A Michner's Hawaii. Torrero was quite a guy. Course, he had a woman to tell him what to do.............
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:06   #51
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

Polynesians ... sailors ... sure. If drifting from island to island is sailing then big YES.

Somehow they all settled inland immediately after their landfall. For the love of the moana I think.

Please note Cook et all 'discovered' Polynesians, not the other way round.

Vikings another story altogether.

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Old 06-12-2011, 13:00   #52
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Polynesians ... sailors ... sure. If drifting from island to island is sailing then big YES.

Somehow they all settled inland immediately after their landfall. For the love of the moana I think.

Please note Cook et all 'discovered' Polynesians, not the other way round.

Vikings another story altogether.

b.
They didn't drift, they sailed. Developed the catamarans and proas we have all come to love.
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Old 06-12-2011, 13:44   #53
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

David_Old_Jersey -
Thanks for opening up this topic. Fascinating idea this of a sub-genre of non-instrument navigating voyagers, and it is indeed surprising we don't more hear of it.

One of the "sub-genres" we do have now is sailing without an engine. I crossed the Atlantic in my wooden engine-less cutter, and when meeting others of the same persuasion, we knew we had a little tribe going. Multi-hull sailors used to be this way back in the 60's and 70's, but the big charter cats have spoiled all that. I would say single-handers form another vital sub-genre but one that is very much alive.

Thinking about what I am now doing puts me back into the tribe of minimalist, long distance sailors again.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:58   #54
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Re: Voyaging with ZERO navigation tools - how risky?

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Originally Posted by h20man View Post
capn_bill,
I think that unfortunately it is almost impossible for a single person to be able to build a GPS unit in the middle of the ocean... with no chips, no fab plant.

Even on land, one has to make use of the current infrastructure to be able to replicate seemingly simple devices... Knowledge is not necessarily coupled with the ability to recreate....


I am sure you have the knowledge of GPS, and therefore would not compete with Stephen Fry at giving a wrong but thoroughly entertaining explanation of how GPS works: "You send a signal from your GPS device," he explained. "You've got to be at least three, usually four or five satellites – that receive your signal. And the difference in time it takes to get from one satellite to the other to the other, which is milliseconds, allows them to calculate your position to within 10 metres." .

I believe in todays 'civilization' the knowledge used by many is difficult to recreate by just one... Frightening... So much of what we use is based up on leveraging the work of others....... I guess that is a definition of sophistication, yet.... will lead to tragedy if something would happen that would wipe out a good deal of the infrastructure we rely on. But that is a topic for another thread.......
Some excellent points.

When I was a child I was able to build a working radio from pieces of quartz, a pencil, and a razor blade, and some wires.

At the time all radio was analog, so you could hear the voices or morse code. You could also build a transmitter using a spark gap to send morse code, and most radio operators knew morse code, (once a requirement), and could understand your signal. No more, radio and television have gome to digital, that means the minimum to send or receive these signals you need a CPU to encode or decode or all you will hear is noise.

I was being partly facecious stating I could build a GPS receiver,... (at work, with full access to PLA's and specialised timing chips, and HF receiver chips, and a laptop with the GPS software, and the programming unit for the PLA's). Even constructing the circuitry for one of these chips out of discrete components would take months, and some of them due to limitations of the speed of light will lose most of their accuracy and may not even be able to work.

Yes I do understand how GPS works including the WAAS enhancement. for the curious here is a link. GPS Signal Specifications

IN short the signal conatains a 1023 bit code that is sent in an encoded form, the encoding is a "gold code" that generates a balanced bit set that is distinguishable from all other bit sets. The entire code is sent every 30s that contains the time correction factors, the orbital position with corrections, the almanac data of all other GPS satelites including virtual satelites like waas. the system can encode up to 37 satelites. the waas units measure the devience from the speed of light that it takes to propagate the radio signals to earth caused by atmosperic disturbances. The military tracks these satelites by radar and makes course corrections to their orbits, also deviations from UTC in each satelites atomic clock from relativistic effects are calculated, these corrections are also encoded in the signal and transmitted. each satelite has it's own gold code, (a pseudo random code that allows a receiver to sync to a particular satelite as they all transmitt on the same spread spectrum band 1.575MHZ, plus a military band that is encrypted). The signal is phase modulated so a PLL is required for decoding.

In short GPS represents the pinnicle of our current technology. The complexity of the system from the mathematical equation used to send a discrete encoding of precise time and position data to allow 37 satelites to send on the same frequency and not interfere with each others signals, and yet correct it's own errors. (Cheap GPS receivers only use microsecond clocks to sync a nanosecond signal by trying multiple time offsets until they get an exact match.) To the space technology that allow a satelite with several atomic clocks on board to be placed in a precise orbit, and radar technology to determine if the satelite has drifted due to solar storms.

A GPS time signal was recently used to track neutrinos from a particle accelerator to a detector with enough precision to tell if they were moving faster than light.

The point that; we are losing control of technology to the degree that there are few that actually understand how things work to the extent they they could duplicate them and no one that understands all of our technology, the loss of a few key people or data could take us back to the stone age is well taken.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:41   #55
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Re: Voyaging with ZERO navigation tools - how risky?

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Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
Some excellent points.

When I was a child I was able to build a working radio from pieces of quartz, a pencil, and a razor blade, and some wires.
My Uncle retailed those during WWII (Jersey occupied by the Germans, only many years later did we learn that it was the actually "the Nazis" )...........I could claim that his prime motivator was patriotism, but more likely it was the money

If they had caught him would likely have shot him - as it was, he did get caught (with others) listening to a Radio......and did a (short) stretch in jail (locally).

Quote:
The point that; we are losing control of technology to the degree that there are few that actually understand how things work to the extent they they could duplicate them and no one that understands all of our technology, the loss of a few key people or data could take us back to the stone age is well taken.
+1

There are lots of things I know that can be done - just for most of them I couldn't explain how they work, let alone do / build

Hammers are good with me though (even if it is made of stone. and has no handle ).
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:43   #56
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

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Originally Posted by Billy Higgins View Post
David_Old_Jersey -
Thanks for opening up this topic. Fascinating idea this of a sub-genre of non-instrument navigating voyagers, and it is indeed surprising we don't more hear of it.

One of the "sub-genres" we do have now is sailing without an engine. I crossed the Atlantic in my wooden engine-less cutter, and when meeting others of the same persuasion, we knew we had a little tribe going. Multi-hull sailors used to be this way back in the 60's and 70's, but the big charter cats have spoiled all that. I would say single-handers form another vital sub-genre but one that is very much alive.

Thinking about what I am now doing puts me back into the tribe of minimalist, long distance sailors again.
If you do get into a Junk rig, then I think pretty certain to remain in a sub genre

On a general note to all, I am not advocating someone do this (nor intending to do so myself )......one thing I have picked up from this thread is the importance of knowledgeable crew. Not simply a pair of eyes.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:54   #57
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

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Using only what you already know how to do / how to build and use - would you / could you set off on a transocean voyage? from home port to landfall somewhere that was secure (i.e. 10 miles out don't count as "arrived" ).

That likely means NO Charts, Compass, GPS etc etc and unless you can build your own sextant - not one of those either (same goes for a GPS ).

.

Am I the only one so far who has just NO they wouldn't head out without the charts, compass, GPS etc?
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Old 07-12-2011, 13:02   #58
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Polynesians ... sailors ... sure. If drifting from island to island is sailing then big YES.

Somehow they all settled inland immediately after their landfall. For the love of the moana I think.

Please note Cook et all 'discovered' Polynesians, not the other way round.

Vikings another story altogether.

b.
Barnie,

Don't sell the polynesians short! They were amazing sailors and didn't use GPSs like those armchair sailing Vikings did.

Seriously, the Polynesian Voyaging Society has been working to document polynesian sailing history, including building replicas of the original boats, such as Hokule'a, seen here...



In 1976, she made a 33 day passage from Maui to Tahiti along the traditional migratory route, using only the ancient techniques for navigation--stars, wave and wind patterns, birds and clouds. The Bishop Museum in Oahu has an excellent program on the sailing traditions of the ancient Hawaiians, which were quite impressive.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:46   #59
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

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Am I the only one so far who has just NO they wouldn't head out without the charts, compass, GPS etc?
I wouldn't do it without these things aboard, but to have one crew on the GPS while I try to determine heading and position using primative tools, and have the GPS guy tell me go or wrong try again, would be an interesting challenge.

Another interesting challenge would be to buy the GPS chipset, and a proto-board, and try to build a working GPS "puck" to plug into a laptop.
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Old 08-12-2011, 16:45   #60
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Re: Challenge: Voyaging with ZERO Navigation Tools - How Risky ?

Do you guys ever find that constantly looking at the GPS, the radar, the AIS and monitoring the VHF detract from the experience of sailing? I can see doing that as we jump from rock to rock in the San Juans (I do it) but out in the Pacific or Atlantic, during the day, would getting a fix once a day do it?
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