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    Re: Teaching seamanship
    From: Carl Herzog
    Date: 2004 Oct 14, 12:38 -0400

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Lisa Fiene" 
    > 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?
    >
    > 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.
    >
    > Lisa
    
    It's been my experience that the average coastal cruiser is extremely lax in
    keeping an accurate log. And yes, it is a skill I hound on. Offshore folks
    are generally a little better about it.
    
    The answer to the belabored question, "What do you do when the GPS fails?",
    should be, "Reach for the logbook." Being able to record and use the
    information you describe above is a critical skill. Increasingly, I've found
    recreational sailors abandoning or neglecting their paper charts for the
    electronics. While maintaining an accurate plot as you've indicated is
    ideal, cruising sailors should -- at a bare minimum -- know how to maintain
    a log and reconstruct their position on paper when the circumstances demand
    it. Much to their chagrin, I emphasize that this means they should still be
    buying paper charts and keeping them up to date.
    
    As Doug and Jim have indicated, the standard for recreational sailors is not
    the same as that for professionals. Commercial vessels have legal logkeeping
    requirements and professional competency exams require a more thorough,
    developed knowledge of navigation. As an instructor, I want to impart
    practical lessons to recreational sailors that give them the immediate
    skills they need to get where they want to go safely. Addressing would-be
    professionals, however, requires taking a more systematic approach,
    beginning with basic principles and building upon them. From a student's
    perspective, it's the difference between pursuing a college major in a
    foreign language and taking some conversational night classes in order to do
    business abroad.
    
    Carl Herzog
    Providence, Rhode Island
    
    
    

       
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