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    Voyaging the traditional way
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2004 Oct 30, 13:46 +0100

    Robert Gainer's contribution contained a lot of commonsense, and I hope we
    will read more from his pen.
    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.
    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
    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.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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