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    Re: Voyaging the traditional way
    From: Robert Gainer
    Date: 2004 Nov 2, 14:54 +0000

    George said,
    �But it brings a question to mind. He has renounced engine and electronic
    equipment, and proceeds by traditional methods only (such as taffrail log,
    I was pleased to note). Just think of the complexity that this allows him
    to leave behind�.
    I am sorry if I gave you the wrong impression about my preference in
    navigation and boats. Some of my boats have had engines and electrical
    systems, but most have not. If I am sailing for my own pleasure then I
    prefer the simpler approach. If I am sailing professionally then I use the
    best technology available on board.
    George also said,
    �But he refers to being "on soundings", and I wonder if he has accepted
    modern echosounder technology, or if he confines himself to lead and line
    (with a bit of tallow, animal-fat, in the hollow in the end of the weight).
    It's the tallow that gives lead-and-line its advantage over the
    I don�t find the modern depth finder to be very intrusive so I do use them
    if available. The hand lead is still used on some occasions even if I have a
    depth sounder because of the information it adds to the overall picture.
    Last week I did a survey of the harbor at Beacon using a GPS feeding data
    into a laptop, depth sounder and a benchmark from NOAA. I used a lead to get
    a bottom sample for the survey.
    George finishes by saying,
    �The tallow, by the way, was to sample the "quality of the bottom", whether
    it was mud, sand,  ooze, or gravel, and the type of shells within it. A
    navigator would compare what came up with his own experience of that area,
    and with the annotations on the chart. This information was regarded as
    particularly valuable in the Western approaches to the English channel. The
    navigator would inspect the sample closely, sniff it, even taste it, but I
    wonder if the tasting was done for show rather than anything else. It's
    hard to imagine that it tasted of anything other than salty tallow�.
    I have never tasted the sample; the smell, color and other visual and
    tactile clues have been enough for me. Add to this, the charts usually do
    not include a menu of the bottom taste. I understand that Henry Hudson
    tasted the water in the Hudson River to determine if he had found the
    passage to India. That is as much as I have heard about taste and the art of
    All the best,
    Robert Gainer
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