Navigation: Old School vs New School

Dec 28, 2015
502
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
I think it’s a good idea
To learn to pilot on paper charts, especially for new sailors.

It’s been about 10 years since I’ve carried paper charts. Their back
Up function has been replaced
With various GPS Devices.

The View attachment 168218
I'm trying to understand the idea of recommending to know how to do something but not carrying the materials to do so? Is it a case of "because I had to?"
 
Jun 14, 2010
864
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
I'm trying to understand the idea of recommending to know how to do something but not carrying the materials to do so? Is it a case of "because I had to?"
Because knowing the underlying principles is valuable, even if you use the technology. Analogy is knowing how to do long division or basic math, even though you use a calculator or spreadsheet.
 
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Dec 28, 2015
502
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
Because knowing the underlying principles is valuable, even if you use the technology. Analogy is knowing how to do long division or basic math, even though you use a calculator or spreadsheet.
Yea....no. I'm not debating the value of learning a secondary or primary technique but I would debate then leaving those tools at home. That would be like leaving your pencil or even worse, your calculator at home (using your analogy, which is a good one).
 
Jan 25, 2011
1,989
S2 11.0A Anacortes, WA
I use the plotter. I also use the ipad. Lately, my plotter freezes and I usually recognize that by DR. It’s called situational awareness assuming there are land masses to go by
 

dLj

Mar 23, 2017
468
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Where I'm currently sailing, Lake Champlain, I need no electronic navigational aids. I carry paper charts to be Coast Guard and other authorities compliant.

Prior to Satnav, I did what others did at that time period and when Satnav came out I used it to plot onto paper charts. Subsequently, I've used GPS hand helds in a similar manner. I've never sailed with a chart plotter. Seen many, sailed along with others using them, but have never been either the navigator nor captain when using one.

One thing that has been bothering me and would love to get feedback from others much more knowledgeable, is when I've looked into these, it seems they require you to purchase an online subscription to keep the charts updated. They also seem to only sell regions of the world and when looking at purchasing the whole world, the cost seems to get quite high. Is this 'just the way it is'?

dj
 
Oct 22, 2014
9,983
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I'm trying to understand the idea of recommending to know how to do something but not carrying the materials to do so?
I think of it like driving. If your driving around the town you’ve lived in for more than a year you can probably get downtown with out a map. But drop that same driver into Seattle traffic and the choice is sit in the I5 traffic or take the side streets and skirt around the back up. If never been there a map would be handy. If you’ve never used a map then your likely stuck.

Sure I can sail out to the point and back in Tacoma Harbor but drop me into the entrance of Wasp Passage and seeing the open water but not knowing which of the gaps between the islands is deep enough for my boat is an issue that guessing wrong could be an expensive lesson. A chart is an easy solution. A chart plotter with a non NOAA navigational chart could produce a false impression of the depth if not zoomed to the right level.
 
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Jun 4, 2009
3,164
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I'm trying to understand the idea of recommending to know how to do something but not carrying the materials to do so? Is it a case of "because I had to?"
I can't say for anyone else, but it's been a very, very long time since I've plotted anything on a chart. A picture just appears in my head and that's that. Even on passages we only enter the position in the log at noon each day, and there are no marks on the chart. I know without a doubt that with or without GPS I'm going to be able to get around just fine.
But for most this is probably not true and my suggesting that others carry the tools so that they can also get around just fine without GPS isn't that farfetched, is it?
And before anyone goes there, a sextant isn't going to be of much use on a near coastal situation if one loses their GPS. It takes 3 LOPs to get a position fix and this is best done by taking a shot at around 9AM, noon and 3PM. That's a minimum of six hours before one has a useful position fix, a tad long for a landfall. And anybody picking up a sextant after even a month of not using one is most likely not going to get a very accurate fix in the first few days. Using a sextant is definitely not like riding a bike. It is a skill quickly lost through a lack of practice.
 
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Jun 14, 2010
864
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
One thing that has been bothering me and would love to get feedback from others much more knowledgeable, is when I've looked into these, it seems they require you to purchase an online subscription to keep the charts updated.
An online subscription is only needed to get updates. This is like hiring someone to keep you paper chart updated with notices to mariners, buoy changes etc. When was the last time you did that?
In most cases the chart plotter comes with basic charts for specific areas and you can buy enhanced charts that add more information (beyond what you can find in government charts).
 
May 20, 2016
2,795
Catalina 36 MK1 Everett, WA
@dLj mostly you need a subscription if you want up to date charts, just like you had to occasionally purchase paper charts to keep updated. One notable exception is if you plotter accepts NOAA charts. I’m not sure about features using NOAA maps (auto routing, route warnings...) with these charts as I found them difficult to use compared to Navionics charts.

If you don’t updat it’s just like paper charts, what you got is what you got.
 

dLj

Mar 23, 2017
468
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
With paper charts, I used to buy the ones I needed for a specific region, then getting closer to other regions where I needed charts I could swap charts I didn't need with another sailor heading to where I'd been and get the charts to where I was heading. Couldn't always get everything I needed, but often a lot. Kept costs down a while lot....

I don't think you can swap electronic charts.

I'm still not totally sold on electronic charts as the end all...

dj
 
Oct 22, 2014
9,983
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Last May when we went to Belize, there were no good electronic charts. We had to bring our own paper chart, and it was done by a woman who had charted the passages between the islands. The charter company took our chart and marked it up with their limitations and areas that would cost us a fee or were off limits. THe paper chart kept us from running aground. Which we later learned was a common event in the area. Perhaps the captains arriving for the charter experience had not used paper charts before.
 
Jun 14, 2010
864
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
Those paper charts are out of date within a month of printing. The ones you swap were passed on by someone’s father. You can download OpenCPN free and download up to date US charts free.
 

dLj

Mar 23, 2017
468
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Only works in US waters. Very limited for where I'm heading.

dj
 
Oct 22, 2014
9,983
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Oh... Where are you heading dLj? Now you got us intrigued. Off the charts?
 

dLj

Mar 23, 2017
468
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Last May when we went to Belize, there were no good electronic charts. We had to bring our own paper chart, and it was done by a woman who had charted the passages between the islands. The charter company took our chart and marked it up with their limitations and areas that would cost us a fee or were off limits. THe paper chart kept us from running aground. Which we later learned was a common event in the area. Perhaps the captains arriving for the charter experience had not used paper charts before.
Yes, I've had similar experiences. Sat down with a sailor that knew where I was heading and he marked up my paper chart with a ton of excellent information. I guess you can do something similar with electronic charts, you just need a notebook... But doesn't feel quite as accessible.

dj
 
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dLj

Mar 23, 2017
468
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Oh... Where are you heading dLj? Now you got us intrigued. Off the charts?
Really interested in the Maritime Provinces. Possibly over to Greenland then to Iceland and the islands beyond. I have been seriously considering a northern route over to Norway. It's all just in the planning stages at this point, and several years off. Although the Martime Provinces may be next summer... Will see...

dj
 
Jun 14, 2010
864
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
Only works in US waters. Very limited for where I'm heading.

dj
OpenCPN works worldwide, and it supports Canadian and almost every electronic chart format. You can swap charts online also (but I don’t recommend bootleg charts and those are probably almost as old as your paper ones). Check the OpenCPN forums
 
Oct 22, 2014
9,983
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
dj. Have you read any of the MorgansCloud stuff. I would write to John and ask him his ideas on that. He ahs traveled that route many times. He is very approachable in my experience. If you join his merry band and post a comment hey will respond, usually as quickly as it happens here on SBO. If not Phylis will acknowledge your comment and then chase John down to respond. They are an interesting couple.