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    Re: DR navigation in the recreatiional fleet: was Role of CN at sea
    From: Lisa Fiene
    Date: 2004 Oct 14, 08:31 +1000

    Just wanted to check with all of you, as instructors, on some thoughts
    which have come to mind reading through this thread.
    Is it in your experience that recreational sailors/cruisers actually
    write down their lat/long, log speed, SOG, course steered, wind
    strength/direction, barometric pressure, sea state etc in a log?  Do
    they then physically mark the position on their chart (allowing for set
    and drift)?  Do you as instructors teach this?
    I very much remember being taught this navigation discipline from a man
    who had sailed around the world.  He was constantly checking, writing,
    comparing, plotting.  He could not stress to me enough the importance of
    good navigational seamanship, and mainly WRITING DOWN and CHARTING where
    you are on a regular basis.  On passages, he would write down this
    information at least every 2 hours in the log, and would make sure that
    when he wasn't on watch, that the person following him did the same
    also.  Sights were taken morning noon and twilight, and compared with
    GPS, and written down.
    These skills were really drilled into me, and I can't actually
    comprehend navigating any other way.  He taught me how to navigate.
    What are instructors teaching students now?  I'm most interested to hear
    your comments.
    CarlZog wrote:
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Jim Thompson" 
    >> I know we discussed this some last year, but the issue remains unclear in
    >> my
    >> mind.  How should GPS navigation be taught to recreational boaters who
    >> have
    >> minimal or no traditional navigation training?
    > Jim:
    > The short answer to this is by appealing to their desire to have things be
    > easy underway. It's a little sneaky, but it serves as sort of backdoor to
    > teaching them traditional coastal piloting skills without using the
    > laborious, traditional methods of teaching those skills.
    > At the boat show last week, I taught a seminar on voyage planning in
    > which I
    > emphasize that the more work you do building a navigation plan ahead time
    > the more enjoyable your time afloat will be. No recrational sailor wants to
    > spend their leisure time sitting in front of a computer on the boat
    > panicing
    > over what might be in front of them. And, at the same time, you might as
    > well spend those snowy February nights thinking about warm summer cruising
    > plans.
    > So one of the things we spend a lot of time on is preparing charts. Whether
    > they are using electronic charts or a chartplotter, I encourage them to
    > mark
    > up their charts with areas to avoid, danger bearings and natural ranges.
    > Being able to sit in the cockpit, glance over your shoulder at a rangeline
    > you've already established is a lot more pleasant that sweating over a GPS
    > screen trying to decide whether you're going to clear those rocks up ahead.
    > This begins the process of teaching them visual navigation.
    > I also emphasize plotting out the distances between waypoints ahead of time
    > as part of being able to schedule your voyage: If you need to get to the
    > canal by high tide, and the canal is 25 miles away, how fast do you need to
    > be going and when should you leave? These questions are the backdoor to
    > introducing DR concepts.
    > The other inducement to learning all this is the realization that they can
    > get a lot more out of their electronics if they do understand some of these
    > concepts. I've been stunned to discover how many recreational sailors
    > doen't
    > know how to use the majority of the features on their GPS -- routes,
    > waypoints, x-track error. All these features are underpinned by traditional
    > navigation techniques. We also work on identifying the weaknesses of GPS
    > features. (If you're steering straight, but the "goto" for your next
    > waypoint keeps changing, you're probably getting set -- possibly into a
    > danger area.)
    > I've done a lot of teaching on sail training ships, often with the general
    > public as students, and I've also found that learning piloting techniques
    > underway is a lot more enticing that sitting in a classroom figuring out
    > time/speed/distance problems. Folks are far more engaged when they're
    > learning by doing, and recreational sailors tend to embrace these skills as
    > a form of entertainment underway -- just like practicing celestial
    > offshore.
    > We'll often hang a black cloth over the GPS and leave the students to
    > figure
    > it out the old-fashioned way. It becomes a game, and after a few hours,
    > they're very eager to see how their results compare to the GPS.
    > These and other similar approaches tend to work well with cruising sailors,
    > but there is definitely also a class of recreational boater who will never
    > bother. Those boaters  are the argument for recreational vessel operator
    > licensing.
    > Carl Herzog
    > Providence, Rhode Island
    Kind regards
    Lisa Fiene
    CopyCare Pacific Pty Ltd
    Lizard Tunes
    ABN 93 101 046 888
    PO Box 314 Ourimbah NSW 2258
    Phone/Fax: (02) 43 627 583
    International: 61-2-43 627 583
    E-mail: lisa{at}copycarepacific.com
    Web: www.copycare.com/content/local/ccpaceng.asp

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