Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: DR vs EP vs MPP vs Fix vs Running fix
    From: Chuck Taylor
    Date: 2002 Feb 7, 13:41 US/PACIFIC

    I originally wrote:
    > I was taught that DR is determined only by course (heading) and speed.
    > Current, windage, etc., get factored into EP, but not into the DR.
    and Dave W. responded:
    > I've heard your definition before but it seems to make a
    > distinction that makes no sense to me.
    > Do you plot your compass heading and ignore known deviation and variation?
    > If you know your speed log registers a 1/2 knot slow, do you leave this out
    > of your DR plot?
    > So... My boat sags off 5 degrees when sailing close to the wind.
    > I know this from  experience.  Why would I not include this in my DR.
    >  On a passage from Jacksonville, Fl headed for Bermuda, I know that
    > I'll not be remiss if I include 2.5 knots set to the north from when
    > I hit 080 west longitude till 079.20 west.
    And now I respond:
    Deviation, variation, and errors in the knotmeter are considered to be known in
    advance and do indeed go into the DR plot.  Current and leeway are considered
    unknown and do not go into the DR plot. From the first paragraph of Chapter 7 of
    Bowditch (1995 edition):
    "The DR position is only an approximate position because it does not allow for
    the effect of leeway, current, helmsman error, or gyro error."
    I can think of two possible reasons for this:
    1. Course steered and speed through the water (corrected for variation,
    deviation, and known errors in the knotmeter) are both known factors within the
    control of the vessel's operator and can be kept [relatively] constant.
    External factors such as wind and current are not known with certainty in
    advance, are not within your control, and can change unpredictably. Better to
    plot what you know for sure in your DR plot.
    2. A DR plot, like a log book, is a legal record of the vessel's actions and can
    be treated as such in a court of law in the event of a collision or other
    To use your example, you would indeed be foolish to ignore the effects of the
    Gulf Stream in planning a passage from Jacksonville, Florida (USA) to Bermuda.
    That same chapter in Bowditch shows how take this into consideration (in Figure
    708b. "Finding the course to steer at a given speed to make good a given course
    through a current.")
    Bowditch also talks about something called "the estimated track made good",
    which it defines as the direction from the last fix to the EP.
    If it were me, I would do the following:
    1. Plot my Intended Track in advance (labelled as such and perhaps plotted in
    blue pencil so as not to confuse matters any further).
    2. Compute in advance the course to be steered in order to make good that
    intended track, taking all known factors into account. Adjust this as new
    information comes to bear.
    3. Plot my actual course steered and speed through the water as my DR.
    4. Plot a dashed line showing my estimated track, considering wind and current.
    5. Navigate in such a manner that both my DR and my intended track stay out of
    harm's way, allowing plenty of margin for error.
    A copy of Bowditch (1995) can be found on line at
    Chuck Taylor
    Everett, WA, USA

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site