I don't think it makes sense to be anti-GPS, and I don't recall
coming across any posts in this thread which struck me as such.
Nor does it seem to make much sense to be anti-sextant.
I don't understand why the discussion seems to keep re-polarising.
I think the analogy of GPS
with motors, and sextants with sails
, has some merit.
Of course it also has limitations.
What it does illuminate for me is that it makes sense to some people to have both.
But a majority of boaters do not seen any benefit in sail: it's dated or archaic, it requires considerable effort and knowledge to get good results, and even then it's slow, inconvenient, inaccurate and expensive. So it goes with sextants.
However circumstances alter cases. If you plan to spend years at a remote
, uninhabited location, it might not make much sense to have a motor
; once you run out of fuel
, it's useless deadweight.
Similarly, in such circumstances, the usual attractions of a GPS-only vessel start to dim a little. Repair or replacement is not possible. The hand-held backups rely on dry batteries
which do not have unlimited shelf life.
- - - -
Another aspect of this analogy: if you get any sort of kick out of motors, then they're a great backup to a mainly sailing vessel.
And vice versa: if you love aspects of sailboat rigging
and repair, it might be a good option to have a small steadying rig, sufficient to get you home, on a predominantly motor boat
But in each context the choice of this backup is optional, not necessary.
A person who loves motors and doesn't have any affinity for sail should perhaps think about an auxiliary backup propulsion
motor. This should not be construed as 'anti sail'.
Conversely a person whose blood does not quicken even slightly when a motor catches on the first spin of the flywheel and burst lustily into life, might be better served by concentrating elsewhere for backup options: sweep oars for getting into and out of windless anchorages
, spare rigging
and materials for constructing a jury rig, a comprehensive set of sails
for all circumstances, etc etc.
They're going to make a better job of the planning and the implementation, and a deeper level of understanding, than for an option for which they really have little enthusiasm.
It's pointless trying to talk people out of their position on this spectrum, unless you consider that you understand their circumstances (and the relevant options, and the rationales for their choices) better than they do.
So for me the purpose of this thread is for people to voice their rationales, in context.
That's potentially useful for people currently elsewhere on the spectrum.
For instance, while I'm hugely impressed by the technology and performance of GPS
, the detail has never captured my imagination.
So I learn a lot from people explaining pros and cons.
Most recently from n77, pointing out issues with loss of almanac data in a handheld which has been turned off for a long period, and warning about SD only (I didn't know there was such an option, in fact I hadn't heard of SD). It will be obvious to all that he wasn't attacking GPS, he was helping people to understand how to use it.
In the more general case, pointing out limitations is not necessarily an attack, but it is a valid part of explaining why a particular choice suits particular circumstances better.
And I wish those reading would hesitate before rushing to defend something which, more often than not, is not under attack.