A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Jorge Santos
Date: 2016 Feb 11, 12:20 -0800
Aboard a large commercial ship, relying solely on electronic charts and electronic devices in general, might be fine; given all the redundant systems from electrical sources to output devices. Plus a professional crew.
In a small vessel:
- with small screens there is always the need to zoom in and out; and hasards may just not show up at all at a given scale: see the reports on the Team Vestas crash in the last VOR; with paper charts the scale is quiet evident;
- gps devices work fine most of the time but not always; once I even got coordinates with an error of 1/4 mi near shore;
Therefore my rules of thumb when playing the role of skipper/navigator in a charter or friend's sailing boat are:
- keep the chartplotter of the boat off;
- hide those fancy paper charts from private editors;
- use a tablet in the cockpit as the main navigation device, in a waterproof case, well secured in place, running only a tested navigation software after a clean restart, with the last updated electronic charts and, waypoints previously marked and double checked against official paper charts and reputable pilots (ports and anchorages for emergency landing, hasards, etc); in my case - iPad/Lifeproof case/RAM mounts/iNavx/Xtransverse charts;
- use a fanless/solid hard drive computer at the chart table for general navigation work;
- 1 spare tablet ready to replace the cockpit one, 1 hand compass, 1 sextant in a waterproof grab bag;
- and yes, the official and updated paper charts, at the suitable scale(s) for the area of navigation on the saloon table.