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    Re: News Item on Over-reliance on GPS
    From: Lu Abel
    Date: 2008 Nov 09, 10:28 -0800
    Fred Hebard wrote:
    So where's the sextant then? Well, gee, that's your PRIMARY navigation system.
    This seems contradictory Frank.  Either the 'complicated GPS "system"
    aboard' is the primary system or the sextant is.  In a long,
    bluewater passage in a small boat, it would seem a sextant might be
    the best primary system.
    Fred, I guess I have to wonder on what basis you make this assertion.   On the one hand, when you're on a bluewater passage, you don't really worry much about bumping into things, bad weather and other such things are a more continuous and urgent concern.   On the other hand, when you near land, your position suddenly becomes of great concern.   As a responsible navigator, would you prefer a system that gave you five-mile accuracy when it was working or a system that gave you 50 ft accuracy most of the time?

    Frank gave some excellent examples of how rugged and waterproof current handheld GPS sets are.   Yeah, large-screen systems like chartplotters might be less waterproof, but let's not fail to distinguish.

    As has been mentioned on the list previously, the best backup systems are ones that rely on a different technology for their success -- celestial vs GPS, sails vs engines, buckets vs electric bilge pumps.    So why can't we just agree that a good offshore navigator should carry both a sextant AND a GPS??

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