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Old 12-03-2014, 16:44   #91
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Re: Is a Compass your Primary Navigation Instrument or Back Up?

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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
OK... I see your point as small as it may be...I'm not sayig a compass is useless I'm just saying it is at the bottom of my nav usefulness in my 21st century navigation spread.

Yes I navigated both in boats and helos long before any even had LORAN...yes I used to know Celestial, yes I run commercial boats for a living...yes I hardly think of ever using a compass exceot as an after thought because I have adapted to a quicker, more accurate, more versatile way of navigating.

If you don't think so...ask an airline pilot when was the last plane he flew with a celestial bubble in the top....I've been in one and couldn't even imagine...so I don't bother today.

If I were crossing oceans...yes I would make sure my compass was swung as good as I could get it and I would brush up on a few celestial tricks ...but please don't insult my professional navigation skills with a bunch of old school stuff that I still can mostly do in my head but really don't have to anymore.
???

Was that directed at me? I've used my compass exactly once in the last 5 years of coastal boating. I used it a lot on one of the two offshore trips I did in that time and not at all on the other. I own a sextant and know how to use it, but mostly as an homage to my forebears.

That said, it was absolutely essential to the safety of my vessel the one time I used it. I'm simply explaining why that was the case. And it wasn't for navigation, it was to steer to. Two different things.

Oh, and ask that pilot about how he flies the plane and he'll say he uses the 6 pack of instruments when he's under Instrument conditions (in fog). They're gyro based and work instantaneously, just like the binnacle compass does for us. Any lag would be dangerous.
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Old 12-03-2014, 17:56   #92
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Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

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Originally Posted by Paul Annapolis View Post
the good old compass--friend to the navigator since human history began.
Sorry, point of order, but the magnetic compass is a relatively new invention -- use (by Europeans at least) only since the 14th century. Prior to that, most navigation was done without leaving sight of land.
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Old 12-03-2014, 18:10   #93
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Is a Compass your Primary Navigation Instrument or Back Up?

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Originally Posted by IslandHopper View Post
Exactly......my primary navigational instrument is between my ears, my Steering compass, HH Bearing Compass, paper charts, Sextants, Radars, Sounders, Chartplotters, AIS etc. etc. are all tools at my disposal. It's my training and experience in using these tools that tell me which I should be using at the time and how to seamlessly move from one to another should one or more fail or become unreliable.....

Now that's the winner post, not the die hards or the techies



Currently on board I have a compass, a gyro , a sat compass , none has lag. The most accurate is the sat compass. What do I use when sailing , my brain of course
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Old 13-03-2014, 07:45   #94
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Re: Is a Compass your Primary Navigation Instrument or Back Up?

I spent some time on Point Bridge in MDR, CA and every weekend we were 'saving' some poor wretch who sailed his boat into the pipelines south of the marina or some other bit of lunacy because he couldn't navigate with ANY tools at his disposal. (GPS and home computers did not even exist as a dream yet.) Over the years, I've seen too many electrical systems fail on power boats where the ability to charge batteries and run generators is there to ever depend on electronics in a small wet sailboat with batteries and a solar cell. If it is all you know and you don't mind a false faith in the electronics, go for it. Even the 777 airliner has a set of analog mechanical flight instruments in front of the pilot for when the fancy glass cockpit fails. (Altimeter, mag compass, rate of climb, turn and bank.) I no longer live on the ocean, so my nav skills are rusty. I don't really need them on a 10 mile long lake. But I did need them when we ferried other peoples yachts from the east coast through the canal to the west coast. Got to play with all the new stuff that came out. Relied on none of it. To each his own. Oh and for the record, there are no navigational instruments of anykind on my little lake boat. They are unnecessary. A knot meter and a depthsounder are the only electronics on board. I will mount a compass before I trailer it to the Pacific this summer for some coastal cruising. The only modern electronics I would want to add would be radar. And that isn't going to happen.
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Old 13-03-2014, 14:05   #95
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Re: Is a compass your primary navigation instrument or back up?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Sorry, point of order, but the magnetic compass is a relatively new invention -- use (by Europeans at least) only since the 14th century. Prior to that, most navigation was done without leaving sight of land.
Hmmm... A quick check on "lodestone" comes up with this tidbit:

"Just when the Chinese found the first lodestone depends upon which reference you want to believe, but it was well over 2,000 years ago. These interesting rocks were referred to as "tzhu shih", or loving stones, as they liked to kiss."

"There is evidence that Chinese sailors were using magnetic compasses as early as the sixth century bc. Europeans didn't use them until almost 1,200 years later."

Mind that "Sixth century bc" part. Just saying...
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:40   #96
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Re: Is a Compass your Primary Navigation Instrument or Back Up?

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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
obviously some of you have never sailed in fog where the magnetic disturbances would have run you aground in no time.....

fools using electronics????....well...just remember your limitations aren't mine....
Found a place in Quetico - Boundary waters where the local error was 15 to 50 degrees depending on how close to the mineral deposits you paddled.
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Old 14-03-2014, 02:05   #97
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Re: Is a Compass your Primary Navigation Instrument or Back Up?

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Originally Posted by Sandbox Sailor View Post
To each his own. Oh and for the record, there are no navigational instruments of anykind on my little lake boat. They are unnecessary. A knot meter and a depthsounder are the only electronics on board. I will mount a compass before I trailer it to the Pacific this summer for some coastal cruising. The only modern electronics I would want to add would be radar. And that isn't going to happen.
For me the depth sounder is a navigational instrument. Lets me check my position on charts and assists in shallow places.

I also leads me on to the point if people are not willing to trust on electronics why are they happy to rely on a depth sounder rather than use a lead line?
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Old 14-03-2014, 18:00   #98
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Re: Is a Compass your Primary Navigation Instrument or Back Up?

Agree on the often forgoten value of soundings for navigation.
Before GPS
If you had no radar or if the radar failed in fog there was a training exercise and exam problem where you had to fix your position by making a DR graph of depth changes to the scale of your paper chart.
Then you try and line up depth points with the chart's depth contours. From this initial LOP you would eventually fix your position by predicting changes in depth.

This was always seen as an emergency fog technique and I actually had to use it once when the radar failed coasting south to San Francisco.
White knuckle time and thank God for all the improvements since then
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