A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Murray Buckman
Date: 2021 Apr 28, 10:37 -0700
This reminds me of a particular ocean race in the early 1980s. Several boats had SatNav (the Transit system). Not us; we were celestial with occasional assistance from RDF near the coast.
Radio "scheds" were twice a day (as is usual). Several boats routinely gave their position in decimals of a minute (some even in seconds; Heaven forefend!).
The other amusing aspect was that, although the race was entirely within the Tasman Sea and the North East coast of New Zealand, and therefore boats were always South and East, thus making this a redundant aspect of giving a position, several had the habit of reading this out too. This was despite polite reminders from the schedule operators that such detail was not required.
The supreme level of accuracy arose in the final 24 hours of the race, when boats were required to give an ETA for their finish. Several boats gave ETAs to the minute. These were sailing boats averaging less than 6 knots in light airs with over 100 miles to go.
I had experienced poor radio procedures in other races before and since, but this was the first race (for me) in which a number of boats had the transit system, and I could not contain my laughter during the scheds. I am sure that a handful of boats were taking the Mickey (to my American friends - "yanking my chain") but others were blissfully ignorant of the weaknesses in their level of precision.