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Old 02-06-2020, 14:02   #1
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Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

I was just wondering if there was a place where people share routes, tracks and waypoints. It would be great to see what others have done as I learn to do it myself.

Thanks!
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Old 02-06-2020, 14:08   #2
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

Ocean Passages of the World by Cornell would be a good starting point. It suggests waypoints for many dozens of routes and for a bonus when a good time of the year is to be in a given area.
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Old 02-06-2020, 14:24   #3
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

Sailing a sailing boat is not normally done along "routes" or tracks. A sailing boat sails as the wind dictates, staying in deep water.


Routes and tracks are used overland, on mountain paths, on highways, etc.


On the water, the track you leave on the plotter is very often used to review the trip you have done.



Waypoints are more often used and quite useful. You still have to be aware using somebody else's waypoints adds one more layer your risk onion.


I have seen waypoints listed on MapTech-generic charts, in Doyle's Caribbean companions, etc. Never used them though. Probably they are there from the era we used gps units without chart plotters.



Prior to most passages, long or short, I will make waypoints on the device that I will later use to monitor our progress.


I am 100% sure that if you just google "waypoints navigation" etc. you will get huge amounts of the info you are after.


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Old 02-06-2020, 14:31   #4
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

The problem with using other people's GPS waypoints is that it is so easy to transpose digits when writing them. Jim used to say he'd sooner use another man's toothbrush as his waypoints.

Make your own. And, there is a tendency to make them just clear headlands and other hazards. BE AWARE, the guy coming the other way has that same tendency. If you move yours a couple of miles off, you will have less vessels competing for the same patch of water.

This proved useful in NZ around Christmas, one year, when there was fog, and the Kiwis lined up like ducklings behind the guy that had radar and stormed along after him. Easy to avoid such road trains, if you go a little offshore.


Ann
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Old 02-06-2020, 15:27   #5
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

If everyone steering the same waypoint to waypoint route a traffic jam will form
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Old 02-06-2020, 17:22   #6
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Make your own. And, there is a tendency to make them just clear headlands and other hazards. BE AWARE, the guy coming the other way has that same tendency. If you move yours a couple of miles off, you will have less vessels competing for the same patch of water.
There's a term for that: Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures (SLOP)

It's become increasingly important because of the "navigation paradox".
"The navigation paradox states that increased navigational precision may result in increased collision risk. In the case of ships and aircraft, the advent of Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation has enabled craft to follow navigational paths with such greater precision (often of the order of plus or minus 2 meters), that, without better distribution of routes, coordination between neighboring craft and collision avoidance procedures, the likelihood of two craft occupying the same space on the shortest distance line between two navigational points has increased. "
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Old 03-06-2020, 09:43   #7
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

As you take in all the advice, you might want to understand that ideally what you are after is general passage planning advice. Any level of detailed route info is full of risk. A good starting point perhaps but definitely not something you can navigate from.

When a route is viable (seasonal factors), overall distances and so on are advice from which you START your own planning. Crossing large bodies under sail is about the 'straight lines' from waypoint to waypoint (e.g. between pilotage points for one harbour to another) and accounting for obstructions like reefs and traffic management systems in busy areas, but the track and final route plan will be dictated by wind and current and an app like Predict Wind becomes relevant immediately prior and during a passage as you actually set off based on the actual weather forecast and adjusted for what you experience.

Avoid the temptation to follow a detailed route drawn up by someone else. They may start with a different draft, hull or planned speed, crew size and experience, water and fuel capacity and so on which affect their plan from the outset.

Firstly you accept any dumb decisions or omissions they made and you don't know what they missed.

Second, the process of planning will make you familiar with the areas, weather, factors like ocean currents, tides and obstructions. You will read almanacs and guides about what to look out for, pilots which tell you what lights and buoyage to spot, when to make radio calls to port or harbour or other authorities. That straight line you draw will pass over obstacles, areas of poor charting and so on and by doing it yourself, you will avoid them with new waypoints and make your own judgements. As the passage unfolds, all that stuff becomes prior knowledge which inform better decisions on the fly.

Sounds harder but is actually both an essential and fun part of the process.
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:15   #8
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

Not to be too harsh, but if you can't figure out the details you should not be out there. It really is not that hard.
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Old 03-06-2020, 11:32   #9
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

As a weather router, I am, at times, in the position where I create a 'suggested WPT' (e.g. an optimum gybing place / time on a wind shift) and push this advice to my clients. No problem deep offshore. But inshore, as you can imagine, it is not what we want or like to do. For who is held responsible, should the boat clip the corner?


From this perspective, I can share that there is quite a number of things one can do to avoid grave errors.


E.g.


In some situations, rather than use a grid reference, one can prefer a relative reference. Sailing thru a WPT that is "5 miles due South from Martinique Southern headland" is less likely to put you in trouble than sailing thru a lat/long WPT. And it just as easy to place on a chart and execute as anything else. Think about this as piloting actually. There is the reference feature, there is your desired offset, just as it used to be before we got digital toys.



etc.



Another point possibly worth mentioning is to note that WPTs should never be used and reused without regard to what the weather and tide are doing. A WPT that is perfect in some weather can be a very poor choice on another day, in other weather. The simplest example that comes to mind is (NOT) setting your landfall waypoint on the windward coast of an island that you approach downwind and whose anchorages are all in the lee of the island!!! (A common thing in the Caribbean)



Off course mistakes are done by car drivers taking the sea for a highway. You will remember that catamaran clipping (was it Bora-Bora?) then claiming the chart was wrong! Such silly mistakes are done by rookies a lot, and unfortunately we are all prone to them, also the more experienced navigators. Just give it some lack of sleep or getting exhausted from rough going and ... (remember that Brunel Energy VOR boat?)



Use waypoints. Set them where you would set your boat if you had just your eyes and otherwise senses with you. Think. Sail safe.


Cheers,
barnakiel
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Old 03-06-2020, 11:50   #10
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

Wow. Way to be harsh about a simple question.

The answer is no. At least not as far as I know. Its not all that easy to get your routes and waypoints off the chart plotter (I always have an old ipad running Navionics to record them for future posterity and email the kmls to myself later). And what I can do with them is pretty limited I occasionally upload them to Google earth and usually make a google map so I can post it on my website.

A route sharing site would be fun, especially for areas like mine in the PNW but ultimately not all that useful. As others have noted you don't learn much except some new anchorages or questionably navigable passages. And if you are a crotchety old salt you would be very wary about sharing your "secret" anchoring locations.
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Old 03-06-2020, 13:33   #11
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

Maybe this seems like nit-picking, so let me clarify how I use the terms route, track, and waypoint. Most importantly, for me route and track are not necessarily synonymous.
- Waypoint - specific latitude and longitude
- Track - specific path between 2 points
- Route - generalized course based on predominant weather patterns and ocean currents between 2 points

WRT to routes, AiniA was correct. Jimmy Cornell has compiled years of data and experiences from multiple sources in his famous series of books such as "World Cruising Routes" and "World Voyage Planner." Ocean routes are generalized courses of sail based on weather patterns for specific times of the year. There are several well known cruising routes such as the coconut milk run. The classic return route from Hawaii to ConUS is usually NNW before easting to get up over the top of the "Pacific High." Here is a good article on common Pacific routes.

But, as barnakiel stated, sailboats do not sail specific "tracks" from waypoint to waypoint. Weather routers and weather routing software suggest "tracks" to follow to optimize sailing/weather conditions along a route esp. if a boat's polars are used in determining that track. The tracks may differ for boats that are 500 nm apart following the same general route between Hawaii and ConUS based on updated weather information.

Many people, use PredictWind or Garmin InReach and other tools for "tracking" their progress as they sail across the oceans. It would be interesting to be able to collect that data from multiple sailboats in common repository to identify general patterns over time. (This data would be less interesting for inland sailing such as Puget Sound, or island hopping day sails in the Caribbean.) For example, no 2 sailboats would have the same track...but multiple tracks over-layed over a period of time would show patterns of generalized ocean routes at various times of years.
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Old 03-06-2020, 14:25   #12
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

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Originally Posted by Discovery 15797 View Post
Maybe this seems like nit-picking, so let me clarify how I use the terms route, track, and waypoint. Most importantly, for me route and track are not necessarily synonymous.
- Waypoint - specific latitude and longitude
- Track - specific path between 2 points
- Route - generalized course based on predominant weather patterns and ocean currents between 2 points
I think you'll find in an electronic milieu, (which I think is what the OP was discussing) that
a route is a planned course from start to destination which generally (but not always in the case of autorouting) includes...
waypoints which are are specific points/markers that usually mark course alterations or significant landmarks and...
tracks are electronic paths generated by the device during your travels to show your actual course, speed, time etc.

I think from the tone and tenor of this discussion that those of who cruise more protected waters and archipelagos think of these things much differently than those who are doing long, fairly linear voyages.

I assume from the question the OP was looking at coastal navigation in more complex cruising grounds, but maybe I am wrong and the he was more interested in navigating oceans. In which case I guess I don't disagree with the information presented.
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Old 03-06-2020, 14:30   #13
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

First off - are you a sailboat or a power boat? Routes are very important to power boaters and can be shared to an extent. some of the newer chartplotters provide "automatic" routing but it is not much more than a toy in my opinion.
Personally I am a power boater and have cruised South Florida and the Northern Bahamas since the 1960's and have amassed quite a collection of routes and waypoints.

Even if you are a saiboater I would think using routes as a planning method just to estimate distances and general courses that you would follow ( allowing for tacking of course) would be helpful.

Waypoints for sure I can see. At least you know where your bow should generally be pointed. For us power boaters I find Waypoints more as Markers of general interest or to mark a favorite spot. I have literally over a hundred Routes that I can call up to pretty much get me from any point to point that I would likely traverse. For us Routes together with an autopilot sure save fuel.

For sailers I see the lack of major interest as you can't steer a unwavering course. I suppose you could use one but would certainly have to setup with wide parameters for allowing your course deviations before it started to beep.

If you use Garmin or OpenCPN it's nice to do all this on your home computer or device and even if you don't sail by a route at least you know what's along the way because you can see what's shown in the charts in those areas.

If you got those from someone else they should be of interest to see what they use assuming your draft and theirs was taken into consideration. All you have to do is tweak them for your purposes.
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Old 03-06-2020, 14:38   #14
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

Common usage of terms needs to be taken into account.

since the advent of electronic chartplotters the terms have become more Fixed.

Waypoint: A spot ot single point on the chart

Route: A collection of waypoints (at least one but could be any number) that are connected together as a single multi-step course.

Track: This is the Recording of where you Have Actually Traveled in the course of you journey.

Most chartplotters have a Track function that can be turned on/off and some allow allowing autopilots to follow a previously traveled Track. Of course you could do that manually but it would be very tedious to try and repeat every course correction - not to mention that hindrance it would cause to watching your surroundings (situational awareness).
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Old 03-06-2020, 14:47   #15
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Re: Sharing of Routes, Tracks and Waypoints

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
I think you'll find in an electronic milieu, (which I think is what the OP was discussing) that
a route is a planned course from start to destination which generally (but not always in the case of autorouting) includes...
waypoints which are are specific points/markers that usually mark course alterations or significant landmarks and...
tracks are electronic paths generated by the device during your travels to show your actual course, speed, time etc.

I think from the tone and tenor of this discussion that those of who cruise more protected waters and archipelagos think of these things much differently than those who are doing long, fairly linear voyages.

I assume from the question the OP was looking at coastal navigation in more complex cruising grounds, but maybe I am wrong and the he was more interested in navigating oceans. In which case I guess I don't disagree with the information presented.
Electronic chart-plotter "navigators!"

In retrospect I think you are correct.

Perspective is important.
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