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NOAA wants to stop making NOAA charts!

Jul 13, 2004
54
-Manta Catamaran -Manta 40 Mystic, CT
Situational awareness is a strange argument. Here is a very common situation: entering a coastal area with busy commercial and recreational traffic winding through and around islands and channels with reefs and ledges. Of course, there is a decent tidal current that continually acts on the boat in various directions as one winds about. Also, of course, there are many recreational power boats that have no concern for colregs or even appear to have marginal control of the boats.

I'm in my cockpit with a chart plotter containing AIS and radar overlays. The plotter is positioned in my line of sight such that my eyes only need move a couple of degrees between horizon and screen. At no time is either out of my vision. The plotter follows my ship and shows all other ships in relation to mine. AIS and radar targets turn red and flash when on a collision course. There are COG, Heading and drift vectors for my ship shown.

You are in your cockpit with a paper chart on your lap.

Who has the most situational awareness here?

Mark
 
Jul 13, 2004
54
-Manta Catamaran -Manta 40 Mystic, CT
You're taking this personally and I don't know why.

My point is simple. If someone gets used to only looking at a GPS-based map which shows then where it thinks they are, they MIGHT get less likely to actually use their eyes to confirm. So YES to your bolded point, they are very different.

And it builds confidence. I know people that are afraid to sail (and will not) if their plotter is down.
All of this is a very poor argument and relies on cherry picking examples to support personal bias.

It would appear here that there exist people who are afraid to sail (and by their own admittance will not) if they don't have paper charts.

Mark
 
May 25, 2012
2,273
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i love electronic aids, and use them
i am an expert with paper and use them. i think its fun.
i do demand on my vessel that there be no light at the helm at night to blind the helmsman's night vision. for me that is just common sense.
do you 'plotter on the binnacle' guys stop at night? or just run with a 'blind eye' ?
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,744
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
All of this is a very poor argument and relies on cherry picking examples to support personal bias.

It would appear here that there exist people who are afraid to sail (and by their own admittance will not) if they don't have paper charts.

Mark
Now you're being silly. And trying to put words in my mouth. No fun having a discussion with someone that can't try and make their point without doing that.

I'll leave you with this. Go find 10 world class sailors. And ask how many sail routinely without paper charts. Report to the class.
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,837
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Easy Mark.
This is obviously something you have passion for the electronic resources that support your boating experience. That is ok. Perhaps the paper chart will become obsolete like the home phone land line and the blunder bust musket. Perhaps not. When I learn that car GPS systems consume 29 hours a year of drivers time leading them the wrong way, I feel their may still be room in the cockpit for a paper chart.

We each have the tools on board that we feel improves our boating experience and that is the beauty of this whole thing. Now if we could just get boaters to treat others they way they want to be treated we might have fewer accidents.
 
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Mar 16, 2010
5,943
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
FYI, the reason the Navy is once again training on celestial navigation skills is because of the increased risk to that pacifier we call GPS. At least know how to dead reckon and have tools to do so.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
10,837
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Navy is once again training on celestial navigation skills
I read that recently as well Gunni, but thought if they are having issues with paper charts, celestial navigation was way to esoteric.
As an aside I found a sextant from the 30's at a consignment shop. It needs a bit of work but I hope to have it out on the boat for the occasional skill recovery experiments. Now I just need an 'Almanac' and 'Sight Reduction Tables' and a good clock.
 
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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,975
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
i love electronic aids, and use them
i am an expert with paper and use them. i think its fun.
i do demand on my vessel that there be no light at the helm at night to blind the helmsman's night vision. for me that is just common sense.
do you 'plotter on the binnacle' guys stop at night? or just run with a 'blind eye' ?
I'm rarely standing behind the wheel when sailing, so I keep my plotters in the companionway, under the dodger, down below, in my pocket,...in my wife's pocket.

We don't run a lot at night these days but the last few times I recall, I just dim the screen(s).

As far as the big picture, I've come to prefer screens over charts. I'm used to screens and tools(CAD design in my work). I like a tablet onboard for that reason.

Probably the reason I don't use paper charts anymore, is -as I recall vividly- I was no expert, Jon. :)

And I had instruction decades ago! Too many times - way back then - especially running up and down the east coast and to the Bahamas - I spent many, many anxious moments finding out, suddenly, that I wasn't where I thought I was.

I found helming, especially under sail, and navigating on paper was challenging and stressful.

Often I was the sole helm and navigator (we had two babies onboard which was the bigger job, by far). We've got great options today - paper, e-charts, it's a good time to be sailing. I'm much much, more accurate now. :)
 
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May 25, 2012
2,273
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
love sailing with babies !!!!!! when i quit the ships i became a 'mister mom'. took the kids with every time.
.... and they still like me.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
10,837
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
.... and they still like me.
Of Course they do Jon. You gave them your time, of your self. What is not to like?

I just got off the phone with my 35 year old daughter. She was telling me about a business trip to LA she may have to take this summer. Then She said.. "Daddy, why don't you fly down and lets go to Disneyland"... If it comes to pass that she has a business trip to LA, Who could say no to that opportunity.

They are only young once, but they constantly remind you.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,975
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
love sailing with babies !!!!!! when i quit the ships i became a 'mister mom'. took the kids with every time.
.... and they still like me.
I did that for a bit as well. Great fun! They're both sailors for life.

We once sailed from West End to Charleston SC with 2 and 3 year old. We had fair winds, and could have gone farther up the coast, but we were out diapers.
 
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Jul 31, 2016
131
Hunter 380 Cape Coral, Fl
Jack, you cant let go. In 1900 to get a degree in Chemistry you had to learn German, I believe because many chem books were in German only back then..... In the 60s when I was working on my degree in Chemistry I had to learn German... straight "A" student, even teaching chem labs, but could not understand a word of German... no ear for languages, and it had nothing to do with my field anymore. The head of the Chem department got the German teacher to pass me so I could get on with graduate school.....

Chem students who learned German in the early 1900s, kept it as a requirement, they took pride in their German, and did not want to see it as irrelevant and diminish the work they had done. They used arguments much like yours. It still had become irrelevant. Do you keep up your slide ruler skills because your calculator may go dead, or have a backup calculator? Pilots use to use paper charts also, a necessity along with celestial navigation.... do you want to fly with some one relying on paper charts to arrive at the next airport?

Be proud of your skills, but also know when their importance is greatly diminished.

Regards,

Viper
 
Jul 13, 2004
54
-Manta Catamaran -Manta 40 Mystic, CT
I'll leave you with this. Go find 10 world class sailors. And ask how many sail routinely without paper charts. Report to the class.
Talk about silly, how would one even define this? Certainly none of the RTW racers are using paper charts. Do we qualify as world class because of extensive cruising for the past 9 years? Or do only people who use paper charts qualify? That seems like a tautology.

I can tell you that our friend is a professional racer, Olympic medalist, helmsman in the last AC series, etc. He also cruises without paper charts. So do the boats he races on (when they are making passage to the next race - which often involve cross-atlantic, SF to Mexico, throughout the Med, etc).

We also know a very many people out extensively cruising without paper charts. They become such a burden for cruisers in storage volume and shear cost. Every single swap meet we go to is chocked full of people with charts to sell or give away - and nobody wants them. When we finally decided to get rid of the space and weight of all the paper charts we had on board (because we hadn't even pulled them out since we set out cruising), we took them to a swap meet at a cruiser's crossroads with a big "free" sign on them.

Not a single one was taken. We then took them to Shelter Bay Marina in Panama, where all cruisers pass through on their way through the canal either way. Put them up for free for 2 weeks as the marina filled and emptied with boats heading from the Pacific into the Caribe and US East Coast - just the exact charts we had full sets of!

Not a single interest - ended up having to throw every single one in the trash dumpster.

But they weren't world class sailors because they weren't using paper charts.

I have no problem with anyone who chooses to use paper charts. I do have a problem with people saying those who solely use electronic charts are dangerous, less skilled, have no situational awareness, etc. Particularly when they use poor logic and cherry-picked examples to make their points.

Mark
 
Jul 13, 2004
54
-Manta Catamaran -Manta 40 Mystic, CT
i do demand on my vessel that there be no light at the helm at night to blind the helmsman's night vision. for me that is just common sense.
do you 'plotter on the binnacle' guys stop at night? or just run with a 'blind eye' ?
The same as you do when you need to read your paper chart - use only as much light as needed to see accurately. One advantage of electronic plotters is that they provide a very wide range of color pallets and brightness/contrast that can be set to have minimal effect on night vision.

For paper, red light obscures some of the markings, and it is more difficult to control light levels with a flashlight or common interior light. I find that more harmful to night vision that what is available with a computer or chart plotter.

Mark
 
Jul 13, 2004
54
-Manta Catamaran -Manta 40 Mystic, CT
I miss Jon Eisberg in these discussions. He was a good foil. I spent an evening over pizza and beer with him shortly before he died, where he admitted that he was coming around in some of his points of view. One of the things I would say in these debates that tickled him was:

The statistics are inescapable - more people have come to grief using paper charts than with electronic charts!

Mark
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,975
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I miss Jon Eisberg in these discussions. He was a good foil. I spent an evening over pizza and beer with him shortly before he died, where he admitted that he was coming around in some of his points of view. One of the things I would say in these debates that tickled him was:

The statistics are inescapable - more people have come to grief using paper charts than with electronic charts!

Mark
I was thinking about Jon in this thread, too. His last few years, he'd go AWOL from the CSBB preferring the higher traffic on SA and Sailnet. But if I wanted to hear from him, all I had to do was start a thread like this. Or display the latest 94' Daysailer. He had a kind of internet radar or something because he'd show up in seconds.

When I first met him on the CSBB in the 90's, he was aghast with digital photography and those who used it. He went cuckoo when e-charts started to take over. But the last year he was around, he had more chart plotters onboard than most, although he'd hate to admit it. And his best photographs were digital. He never went back to film or navigating and piloting on paper.

Despite his dislike for new tech, he never preached to anyone that his way was the only way. But he sure would go on forever, about it. :)

Here's a 94' Daysailer being built for a 90 year old man, for Jon.
BBY91-Aft-Quarter-R17.jpg
 
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May 25, 2012
2,273
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
"]The same as you do when you need to read your paper chart

Mark[/QUOTE]
not the same! the navigator and helmsman on my boat are not the same usually. i'm a sailor, not a cruiser. i choose to optimize my vessel for sailing, even when i'm cruising. the light from the nav station is kept dark from the helm's eyes. i like to sail into a harbor or bay. so, i like at least 2 per watch. trimming, lookout, nav, cook, ..... not the helmsman. i never use an autopilot when the sails are up, too much draw on the batteries and for me, the ride sucks. all the equipment you have mentioned in this thread has no benefit for the sailing. is expensive, high maintenance, dead weight, and usually means some damm motor is running to power it. noise pollution for me.

me, i just love the sailing part. the rest of it is good too. but i do not like to sacrifice any sailing dynamics if i can help it. i see how most non racers use their sailboats. i know they are happy with their choices as i am with mine.
i think a thoroughbred is more fun to ride than a pack mule. :)
 
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Oct 1, 2007
1,413
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
I miss Jon Eisberg in these discussions. He was a good foil. I spent an evening over pizza and beer with him shortly before he died, where he admitted that he was coming around in some of his points of view. One of the things I would say in these debates that tickled him was:

The statistics are inescapable - more people have come to grief using paper charts than with electronic charts!

Mark
Errr, paper charts have been around for 500 years or so. Maybe longer. Electronic charts for 25 years? And your statistics are?
 
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Aug 1, 2011
3,553
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
Silly discussion. We have a cockpit full of toys. We also have a tube full of paper. It's not about one being better than the other, it's about backup. Prepared. Understanding that there's a backup system if the primary one fails. Not like anything electronic ever fails. Leave your iPad in the sun for a while and watch what happens.