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Old 02-08-2010, 18:33   #16
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Originally Posted by BubbleHeadMd View Post
To be avoided at all costs?
Do it with caution, by necessity?
No big deal, just part of cruising.
Somewhere between the last two for me: Just part of cruising but do with caution.

I can really enjoy sailing in an unfamiliar area at night - sharpens up my pilotage skills hugely.

GPS positions, visual fixes, navigation aids, boat instruments (esp. depth), radar, paper charts, electronic charts - use them all if you have them. The more that agree with each other, the more certainty you have on your position.

It's not a case of either/or. I wouldn't rely on my visual fix alone, any more than I'd rely on a GPS position alone. You usually can verify information from one source with another pretty quickly; is the depth right for my GPS fix?, does the radar agree with my visual fix?

Sailing at night can be fun and very rewarding - well, until that 40knot squall comes through at 3a.m.

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Old 02-08-2010, 19:43   #17
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Originally Posted by BubbleHeadMd View Post
To be avoided at all costs?
Do it with caution, by necessity?
No big deal, just part of cruising.

I've learned to tack on a few hours to every projected landfall and really time landfalls for early morning. Trying to get in mid-day usually means evening, and "getting in before dark" ends up being 1am-2am.

If it happens it happens. Read the charts and and guides to determine whether you're going into some potential nightmare with shipwrecks and coral heads everywhere or if it's no big thing and Steve Wonder can park it there.

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Old 02-08-2010, 20:00   #18
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Just completed a Punta Gorda, FL to St. Simons Island trip. Got into Key West at 130 AM, followed the chart and lights. No problem. Did have a problem as to where to dock for the night, but found an open spot at the City marina. Motored into Ft. Lauderdale at night to refuel, no problem used the chart plotter and lights.Arrived at SSI about 11PM, followed the chartplotter and lights. No problem. As someone said, you need to trust your equipment. You should know how accurate the chart plotter is and familiarize yourself with the charts. I love night sailing. No fear, just caution.
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Old 02-08-2010, 22:02   #19
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I always had a rule for myself when approaching landfall in the dark, when in doubt -stay out. Bumping into things in the dark is upsetting.
Keep a weather-eye on your ETA, shorten sail, slow down, tack off, whatever the conditions call for.
When route planning I put in my waypoints and figure 4.5 knots boat speed. That way when I go faster its miles in the bank.
In the Bahamas, pull off the beaten path and anchor in shollow water. St Annes outside of Marin you can find 20 feet water and still be 2 miles from the anchorage.
Simpson Bay, St Martin I've anchored in fifty feet of water and waited for daylight to move closer, same for Rodney Bay.
as always it depends.
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Old 02-08-2010, 23:35   #20
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I'm reasonably comfortable with using the GPS plotter for nightime navigating, but I do try to keep the relevant paper chart on hand, and also keep an eye out for, and tick off, any navigational lights that I should be passing, so that we have a good idea of where we are if we have a problem with the GPS, sure, its not 100% foolproof, but it is a calculated risk
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:30   #21
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Good input, thanks guys.

Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?
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