Originally Posted by belizesailor
We've discussed electronic nav issues a lot, but one boat handling mistake FireFly made was sailing downwind into an unfamiliar pass...once they realized they were in trouble they could not strike sail fast enough to avoid being driven further on to the reef.
A painful mistake and a good lesson to learn from this loss.
Yes, I am also bored with the usual conversation about electronic navigation
. As the years wear on and electronic devices proliferate onboard it feels silly to argue over whether or not to have one more copy of charts
on paper in addition to the half dozen copies on several independent electronic devices.
But I didn't realize that experienced people drive their boats heads down, like a chartplotter
. Where they have complete faith in the little green boat icon and drawn reef on the screen
and don't cross check it.
Our style is hugely different from that. It works well for us. I feel we are safe as we can be. But I wonder if we take ourselves too seriously, if I haven't been updating my style with the times, when obviously people with a completely different way of navigating can wander all over the Caribbean
for nine years without a problem. It would be very cool to chill out and drive wherever we want whenever we want. Without waiting for the right time of day or all the bearings and drama and planning that we do now.
Maybe this is why people share track files. I've never understood that. But now it makes sense, if the boat that made the track has the same draft
, then with those files you really could navigate through very tricky places in poor visibility, or even at night, without a care. I'm guessing track files can be used to control an autopilot
, to make it completely magical and maybe even more safe than our old timey way
As it is, places like the Tuamotus scared me. I could only visit three atolls before I'd had enough with narrow reef passes. Every one was a little dicey. I haven't been to the San Blas (but hope to visit soon), and approaching outlying reefs from the windward side seems like a whole new level of risk. At least in the Tuamotus we approached in the calm lee of a huge atoll.
But that was fifteen years ago. Before GPS
was accurate to a few feet. If the future is already here, and we can stop worrying about navigation
, provided we have the right charts and track files loaded into our computers
, then I think that's pretty cool. That's way more convenient, and in a way, safe. It opens up a whole lot of new places to explore, with less stress. It allows us to leave tight anchorages
at night or the wrong time of day if the weather
turns. And etc.
I now want to figure out how to tell OpenCPN
to control my autopilot
to drive us out of a tricky spot the same exact way we drove in. That would be super cool. Does that work? Is there enough precision? Can you use it to weave back out through coral