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Old 11-03-2007, 06:20 PM   #1
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Does anyone have one of these and can comment?

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Introducing SPOT – The World's First Satellite Messenger

Whether you're just checking in, allowing others to track your progress, or calling for help – SPOT gives you a vital line of communication with friends and family when you want it, and emergency assistance when and where you need it. And since it utilizes 100% satellite technology, SPOT works around the world – even where cell phones don't.

Price = $169.99 USD (SRP)

(Low-Cost satellite service subscription required.)
Website Link
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:41 PM   #2
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I personally would not bother to spend the money on “Spot” unless I was staying in the Caribbean or Med.

Looking at the coverage map on the web site shows that the coverage is certainly NOT world-wide as the site claims. As a secondary means of requesting assistance, it fails dismally in my view. I would rather have a secondary EPIRB that is certified and accepted by worldwide SAR organisations.
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Old 11-03-2007, 09:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
I personally would not bother to spend the money on “Spot” unless I was staying in the Caribbean or Med.
Even in the Med or Caribbean I would go for a second EPIRB as their functionality is already proven, there is no service fee (although some countries probably demand a registration fee) and the signal is patched directly to MRCC.

Another thought is that instead of buying all these gadgets the money could be spent on making yachts more seaworthy thus, hopefully, avoiding the need for all this safety kit. I am not against safety devices of course but I feel that we are heading down a technical highway where we see all kinds of gadgets, gizzmos and widgets as the universal panacea to all our problems. Many are good and some I would not be without but when the chips are down then good seamanship counts for far more than anything else

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:32 PM   #4
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I think the moderators' comment is one of the most intelligent statements you'll find having anything to do with sailing. There used to be a saying that the only way one should enter a liferaft from his boat is when one has to step UP!!!. Sailing is more about proper mental/physical/ and technical preparation for a voyage and how to handle forseeable problems that might arise ON YOUR OWN, as opposed to figuring out the easiest way to call the cavalry when something screws up.

I can't tell you how many times, I've come across people calling out maydays because they didn't know how to change from one fuel filter to another, didn't know how to start the engine, or bleed the injectors, or the 'captain' being incapacitated, didn't know how to set the sails or navigate home....

For thousands of years men have plied the seas,,,only in the last what, 30 or so have they gone nuts on all this available instrumentation

If you want to have some fun sometime, head out for a couple of days sail, and ....GASP!!!

turn off all the electrics....

.

It will change your perspective..and you might find you have a helluva better time

(gotta love gps tho heheheheh)

seer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nausikaa View Post
Even in the Med or Caribbean I would go for a second EPIRB as their functionality is already proven, there is no service fee (although some countries probably demand a registration fee) and the signal is patched directly to MRCC.

Another thought is that instead of buying all these gadgets the money could be spent on making yachts more seaworthy thus, hopefully, avoiding the need for all this safety kit. I am not against safety devices of course but I feel that we are heading down a technical highway where we see all kinds of gadgets, gizzmos and widgets as the universal panacea to all our problems. Many are good and some I would not be without but when the chips are down then good seamanship counts for far more than anything else

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:17 PM   #5
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I think the moderators' comment is one of the most intelligent statements you'll find having anything to do with sailing.


Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I am pleased you thought my bit of wisdom to be just that: a bit of wisdom. Having said that, I would say that good seamanship can be abreviated to MCS - Mostly Common Sense!

At first I thought of making some joke to brush this off but the more I got to thinking about it the more I realised that it would not be appropriate to do so. Not because I am seeking any kind of glory but because what I wrote was just a little part of a huge communal effort. We share this forum. We all read it, many contribute to it and the great thing about it is that we are all sharing whatever knowledge we have free of charge. Now isn't that refreshing in this day and age? But it is the truth: we are all working for the common good from which we all derive benefit in one way or another.

It is good to have you with us Seer and we all look forward to you sharing your knowledge and experience with us too.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Seeratlas View Post
For thousands of years men have plied the seas,,,only in the last what, 30 or so have they gone nuts on all this available instrumentation

seer
Seer, in his post, just reminded me of when I was a cadet and sailed aboard an old steam turbine cargo vessel. She was a beaut. Traditional in every sense of the word. Huge funnel, teak decks cambered so you had to hold on even in port, coal-burning galley and enough brass to overshadow any ship in the "Queen's navy". Did I know about that brass? Polishing it all was a job for the cadets!

Anway, to my point. The ship's navigational equipment consisted of:

1 standard, magnetic compass

1 steering compass, also magnetic

2 chronometers

2 sextants

1 radio DF

1 very old radar (valve set) which was worth more as a curio than navigational hardware

1 towed rotator logg (Walker's)

corrected charts, tables etc.

All very basic stuff and a lot less than the average small yacht has these days but with no more kit than this that 9,000 ton ship had ploughed the seas between Europe and New Zealand / Australia / Far East for something like 25 years and never a misshap. Why no groundings? My theory is it was because the ship's navigators never knew exactly, to the nearest foot or metre, where they were and they were therefore duly cautious.

The REAL DANGER arrises when navigators of ships big and small are over confident and exactly sure of their position. We have all heard them, "The GPS says we are there so we are precisely there" they state as they point at the position they penciled in on the chart only to find later (and I hope not the hard way) that they made a mistake in transfering the position. Or maybe they are using a plotter and the chart is neither up-to-date nor ECDIS approved and there is a little but oh so very hard rock not shown.

Ponder also the fact that many of the charts we use today are the result of surveys made 100 years or more ago when the surveyors, who did a magnificent job, were plotting positions using horizontal sextant angles and station plotters. The charts latitude and longitude can also be out by a cable or two thus needing a GPS position to be adjusted to the chart's grid. Even today in well surveyed areas with heavy shipping we find discrepancies creeping in. For example, the position of Vinga lighthouse at the approaches to Gothenburg (Scandinavia's biggest port) differs between Swedish and Danish charts by about 200 metres.

As always, I am not knocking technology I am simply pointing out that a good navigator uses all available aids to navigation to establish his / her position but is also cautious.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:50 PM   #7
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Hehehe, quick anecdote. One of my first offshore sails a loooooong time ago on a buddies' 43 Alden, I was at the helm on watch about 3 in the morning when I could swear I heard something like surf...I kept checking my position on the chart which showed nothing within ten or fifteen miles of where I figured we were...still.. I was sure I could hear something...finally as it kept getting louder I called down below and the skipper came running up, gave a listen and threw the helm hard over...

A few minutes later off to starboard you could just barely make out the white foamy crests breaking over the tops of a just barely submerged reef. heheh

As I protested,, "but its not on the chart!!!" , he handed me a beer and said something along the lines of ..

"In life you get to make choices, one of which is do you sail the ocean? or sail the chart "

As I've gotten older I was amazed at how many issues were rendered clear by invoking the memory of that seemingly simple, but elegantly profound observation

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Old 11-09-2007, 01:42 AM   #8
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"In life you get to make choices, one of which is do you sail the ocean? or sail the chart "

Good quote well worth remembering.

Cheers

David.
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