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    Re: What do offshore recreational navigators really do?
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2005 Jun 8, 07:53 +1000

    Lu Abel asked:
    
    > Do these folks count as mariners made of stern stuff or simply fools??
    >
    Well, they sailed all around the world over several decades in what would be
    considered these days a rather primitive timber boat, and did it relying on
    their own resources - no marinas, let alone GPS or Radar. In one of their
    books ('The Misty Islands' by Miles Smeeton) Miles recounts wintering in a
    northern island of Japan, little touched by the modern world, where with
    some difficulty they had their boat hauled out so they could work on it. In
    the Spring they sailed via the Aleutian Islands to Alaska. On a navigational
    note, the Aleutians presented (among others) problems of abundant fog and
    strong and unpredictable currents; all successfully negotiated. Not so
    foolish. Towards the end of his life Miles could say that he had visited
    every page of the Times atlas (after his sailing days were over he made a
    North West Passage as a guest on an icebreaker). You are, of course, welcome
    to your own opinion.
    
    I will, however, take issue with:
    
    > ... for $1K I could buy four high-quality GPS receivers and a whole lot of
    > batteries.
    
    As an engineer you might like to calculate the quantity, weight, cost, and
    keeping quality issues of amassing enough batteries to power handheld GPS
    receivers over the period needed for an extended passage, along with the
    difficulties involved in replacing them regularly along the way, in what are
    the charmingly undeveloped places we sail so far to find. It doesn't stack
    up.
    
    What I really question is the logic here, of addressing the shortcomings of
    complex technology with more of the same.
    
    The cruising lifestyle has been described as one of endlessly repairing
    pretty well everything that can go wrong in the most inconvenient of places.
    A couple arrived in Durban, South Africa, in a small and poorly equipped
    boat. Because it had little to go wrong they soon had it shipshape again.
    Among the people they met in port were another couple who had been there for
    a while. This couple had a bigger boat with all sorts of wonderful features
    - rather too many of which needed repair or replacement. So when the first
    couple headed off to visit the wildlife parks they asked their new friends
    to keep an eye on their boat. When they came back, weeks later, they stocked
    their boat with provisions and water and were on their way. The other couple
    were still waiting for parts to be forwarded from the United States.
    
    Often these threads go places that render the subject lines redundant, but
    this one is still apt. The answer is: they visit the elephants and giraffes
    instead of being slaves to their technology.
    
    
    

       
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