Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media unless otherwise indicated. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.

2017-09-21

Get lost

I can navigate like a pirate, you know.
Where in the world am I? There's only one correct answer, or, at least, one approximate answer, but the means to hand are varied. When I got a new plotter this spring with an internal GPS, one that seems to have no difficulty acquiring satellite data through the aluminum pilothouse roof (it's got no problem upgrading its own firmware as well once I pointed out the club's WiFi), I started to tally all the GPSes I had aboard.

I listed six at first:
  1. B&G chart plotter
  2. SH GX 2200 base VHF
  3. SH HX850 handheld VHF
  4. SH HX870 handheld VHF
  5. Elderly Magellen 315 handheld GPS
  6. Even more elderly Magellan Pioneer (the last two are devoted to the ditch bag)

Then I realized I wasn't adding properly.

I have two "puck" receivers for my OpenCPN-equipped netbook that, of course, makes it into a functional plotter. I also have a retired, but functional Raymarine 420 monochrome plotter and a GPS mount I could hook back up quickly.

I have a well-swung Ritchie Globemaster compass I use for steering at the pilothouse helm because it's more reactive than the GPS. I have an old but working fluxgate compass, a KVH AC103, that gives good heading.

Lastly, I have a Suunto Ambit 2.5 wrist-top computer equipped with GPS. Plus an old Windows phone (disabled at present because of my sad data plan) I could, in a pinch, activate.

Did I mention my lead line, hand-bearing compass (requires current charts and at least some confidence that one is sailing near the shoreline the chart encompasses). Not to mention three sextants? With current almanacs and a means to know the time in Greenwich, naturally. And I have a fairly good handle on steering by the stars, should the stars be visible.

So getting lost would require some effort. Nonetheless, it's one of my sailing goals.

4 comments:

Dave said...

Ah--but can you "box the compass? Your compass rose is incomplete: it really goes North North East by North, North North East, North North East by East,---etc.
Time was that you had to know ALL the points just so you could steer the proper course. And prove your sobriety.
This of course, was before Compasses were marked in degrees (or maybe 5 degree increments, depending on size), which practice is a horrible American invention, faithfully followed by Canadians because of the difficulty of importing "yacht stuff" from "The old country"

But I digress: I appreciate the need for three sextants, but what do you do about multiple timepieces? Because without an accurate time (and a copy of the appropriate almanac) one really is about 50% lost..

Rhys said...

Good points, Dave, but recall that the GPSes themselves are reasonable accurate timepieces, and I haven't even mentioned the rated ship's clock!

Dave said...

Dave says: It's a fine line between "redundancy" and "hoarding"---
On the one hand, I'm not sure one really needs more than three ways to do the essentials: on the other way that's my daughter, and grandson, with You, so I don't know which side of the line I'm most comfortable (or least discomfortable) with
.

Rhys said...

It's less a matter of hoarding (well, so I allege) and more a matter of "I hate to dispose of something still useful", particularly when I can see a situation solvable with older tech. An example would be a total failure of electrics aboard 21 days from landfall. I can sail, and I can use celestial navigation, but the AA battery supply only allows one "fix" per day. If that! We would have to be cautious (and have paper charts of our destination) but I'm pretty sure we could get where we need to go with a basic boat and navigational methods.