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Old 12-27-2007, 09:55 AM   #1
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Hello all !!! After not knowing port from starboard 2 years ago, My Lady Diana and I just finished 2 weeks alone on a Cat [ Island Spirit] in the BVI. No one died [except my VI chart ] and there was little blood lost . Tropical storm Olga started over our heads in Tortola & the earthquake was interesting.

We made a deal that if we yell at each other and end the sentence with SWEETHEART it cancels the hurt feelings. Oddly we never yelled at each other again the rest of the trip. We do have 2 way headphones and they did help in windy situations .

We are sold on Cats and are looking at Maine Cats, Dean 441, Island Spirits, Admiral and possibly Leopards and would appreciate any first hand problems with any of those. OR any other cats that you like.

My question is - What single chart and or books [if any] can you recommend for planning a trip from the East Coast to Venezuela and back across South America. I will get the individual Island Charts later. This is the next part of the 5 yr plan.

Thanks for any help- If you find an Imray lolair chart of the BVI floating off Tortola, thats mine ...give it a good home .

I remain

Tom in the Berkshires.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:01 AM   #2
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Good to hear that you had a wonderful charter - and that the "bug" has truly bitten.

Good luck in finding the right boat for yourselves.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Farley View Post
My question is - What single chart and or books [if any] can you recommend for planning a trip from the East Coast to Venezuela and back across South America.
Congratulations on your successful charter.

To answer your question. if there is one chart I really love it is the British Admiralty chart 4402, Caribbean Sea.

This is an oversized chart (even by Admiralty standards) and is food for dreams.

Good luck with your proposed voyage

// Stephen
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:38 PM   #4
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I would look for as much clearance as possible between the water, and bridgedeck. The more clearance the smoother sailing on any point of sail on a cat.

As far as charts. I use Maptech, and a laptop. I also always have available paper charts at a moment's notice. With paper never, and I mean never use copied charts that are B&W. You can miss many items that will sink, and or possibly take your life!

Good hunting in your search for a the cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-27-2007, 03:43 PM   #5
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Hello, I am very happy you had a nice trip.

you bring up a nice subject in Charts/ploter.

I plan to us a laptop with Maptech like John said, i have not yet figured out the paper backup. The cost of paper charts seam so high for as many needed. I have been looking at the Program Google Earth and Love the layout, its a shame it does not have water depth and Nav. markers.

I read about one man sailing around the world two trips, he only used copied paper charts from other boaties. I have been thinking of the copied paper charts for myself but like i said im unsure as to what backup to use.

Years ago people would sail with only a compass and sounding bell dead reckoning along with charts that had very little information.

well i wish you luck in your travels.

John
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Old 12-27-2007, 04:02 PM   #6
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"I plan to us a laptop with Maptech like John said, i have not yet figured out the paper backup. The cost of paper charts seam so high for as many needed. I have been looking at the Program Google Earth and Love the layout, its a shame it does not have water depth and Nav. markers."

Don't even think the thought if you value your safety. Charts are expensive but for a good reason. They take a lot of making and are printed on paper which does not easily distort; not even when wet.

"I read about one man sailing around the world two trips, he only used copied paper charts from other boaties. I have been thinking of the copied paper charts for myself but like i said im unsure as to what backup to use."

Better option is to get cancelled older but real charts and try and bring them up to date. It is not good but it is better than copies which always loose detail and probably are black and white only.

"Years ago people would sail with only a compass and sounding bell dead reckoning along with charts that had very little information."

Sure, they had no option but they did have ships with huge crews. lookouts posted at the cross trees and yet many still did not return. Not all were navigators of Cooks class and yet even he managed to get seriously stuck on the Great Barrier Reef. Again, don't even try it.

I never understand why folks spend huge sums on their boats and then risk all by using inferior charts, copies or no charts at all. It makes no sense to me. Also, instead of that 1,000 dollar plotter (for which you must buy digital charts anyway) you can buy a ship load of propper charts which won't fail you even after power shortages or lightning strikes.

Please, for safety's sake do it properly

Aye // Stephen
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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As I stated.....NEVER use copied charts in B&W. Like Magellan , and all others from the beginning. I want to be able to use the latest in technology. As Stephen said they had large crews, and still many did not return. Paper charts in color rule over everything else, and not buried under the berth, but available.

Charts are no place to skimp. Go without something else. You can trade charts along the way with others who are leaving the area you are going to. Learn to dead reckon, and the ever faithful speed, time, & distance. You will be surprised how far you can get with a little math. Also get a cheap sextant. Buy a book, and learn it.

A sextant is my only fault in sailing. I have bought one, and took a class. It was way over my head, the class, but this time I have bought a small book, and will have it mastered before I go again. If you can't rely on the heavens to tell you where you are. Then the universe is falling apart anyway......LOL
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:36 PM   #8
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I do agree as in the paper charts but i must be missing something here.

With Electronic Navigation you would think it is the most up to date way of navigation also you could print hard copy. With a printed Chart you have a chart with the same information at hand but for the point in time of publication.

I will also say whatever means of Navigation you use, you need backup a number of things can happen with computers and water when they mix.

But in this day and computer age the use of Electronic Navigation is supported by other systems for backup sextant/dead reckoning/Loran,GPS,Weatherfax just to name a few, all this information that can be printed/burn to CD/or backed up on another computer.

The value of my life lol. I can not believe that remark. I never said i would set off with nothing but a compass/sounding bell and dead reckoning. The piont was that people have used them in the past.

I did not think by posting my reply it would turn into a debate over Paper v. Electronic

John
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Old 12-28-2007, 03:52 AM   #9
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Hi John.

Thanks for your input about which I would like to offer the folowing comments

With Electronic Navigation you would think it is the most up to date way of navigation also you could print hard copy. With a printed Chart you have a chart with the same information at hand but for the point in time of publication.

Sure it is the most up to date and convenient way but you are usually unable to print all but the bit of the chart you have o your screen. You will then fine your latitude or longitude scale may be on another bit of the chart or you lack a compass rose or meridian from which you can lay bearings or courses. Should the system you use allow you to print en entir chart, how many yachts carry chart size printers? If you ask a printing shop to do it you may find one willing to commit a breach of copyright (US charts excepted as they are not copyrighted) but how much will it cost you? You may as well buy the paper chart in the first place. Also, in some countries, you will find yourself breaking the law if you do not have a corrected paper chart issued by a competent authority or an approved ECDIS system.

The information on a chart you print yourself would not necessarily be more up to date than the paper chart as electronic charts, unless issued by a competent authority, are using information bought from such an authority and then converted into the format of the chart producer. There is a time lag there and, in any casem the chart is only as up to date as the last correction.

I will also say whatever means of Navigation you use, you need backup a number of things can happen with computers and water when they mix.

Very true, and that is exactly why I feel one should have paper charts or paper charts as well as a plotting system. I use British Admiralty charts in my laptop, which is connected to the GPS. It works a treat as I have the same chart in digital and paper format. As they look exactly the same there are problems with unfamiliar symbols and abbreviations.

But in this day and computer age the use of Electronic Navigation is supported by other systems for backup sextant/dead reckoning/Loran,GPS,Weatherfax just to name a few, all this information that can be printed/burn to CD/or backed up on another computer.

I think you may be missing the point of prudent navigation here. The sextant and compass are not the back up. They are the primary navigational system backed up by the fantastic box of tricks we know as plotters and GPS. If the back up system fails then the primary system is still available. Backing all digital information up on CDs or another computer is a good precaution but it won't help you much if your electrics have been knocked out by a lightning strike or water ingress. Weatherfax, by the way, is not a navigational system.

The value of my life lol. I can not believe that remark. I never said i would set off with nothing but a compass/sounding bell and dead reckoning. The piont was that people have used them in the past.

Choose to believe my remark (which actually was "if you value your safety") or not. That is up to you but remember those who do not value their safety and observe good seamanship put the lives of others at risk when they, as they inevitibly do, call for help. I have been a coast gueard officer for 25 years and have bailled numerous such persons out of trouble. My experience, and that of my co-officers, has shown that 99 times out of 100 rescue calls are made by boaters who are in trouble due to lack of knowledge and/or the lack of the right equipment. For some reason the concept of good seamanship appears to be dissapearing and people are more wiling to spend money on an ice making machine than a good compass. That way of thinking may not lose your life in the proximity of a coastal state with a good rescue service but it certailnly will do you no good when far from land in a less advanced part of the world.

I did not think by posting my reply it would turn into a debate over Paper v. Electronic

I am very pleased it has because I believe this is important ground to cover. My position is that I am in no way oposed to "digital navigation" but all the latest navigational toys are nothing more than aids to navigation. Sure, they are great at doing what they are supposed to do but they lure people into a false sense of security. Not only do you need to carry a sextant when voyaging well offshore but you also must know how to use it and, believe me, there is a huge difference between classroom exercises and wielding a sextant on a vessel corckscrewing its way accross a choppy sea whilst trying to shoot the sun through gaps in rain clouds and with a poor horizon just to make matters worse.

aye // Stephen
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:10 AM   #10
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Hi Again folks

My original question was - What single chart and or books [if any] can you recommend for planning a trip from the East Coast to Venezuela and back across South America. I was really just looking for a single chart instead of several to do all my planning on . And then get into the details later. Nausikaa- Chart 4402 looks like just the right one.

My second question was - We are sold on Cats and are looking at Maine Cats, Dean 441, Island Spirits, Admiral and possibly Leopards and would appreciate any first hand problems with any of those. OR any other cats that you like. I would appreciate any Cat owners letting me know what They like and dont like about their boats.



Thank you all for your responses.
As a beginner at this I am much more comfortable with paper charts and I use a handheld strictly as a backup after we have done our plotting. When we do leave my plan is to have 1 main GPS and 2 backups , but the Charts will be my primary .

I have heard several times , DONT forget to look up from the GPS and watch where you are going ...As a pilot and Now novice sailor I find this some of the best advice .

I also have a sextent and several compasses . The sextent is a learning process as you say Stephan . Any help in that direction would be appreciated TOO!!!

Again , thank you for all your responses

I remain

Tom in the Berkshires.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:53 AM   #11
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I also have a sextent and several compasses . The sextent is a learning process as you say Stephan . Any help in that direction would be appreciated TOO!!!
That's a tough one Tom. I don't know if you, as a pilot, ever handled a bubble sextant? The marine version is simpler but must be compensated for height of eye i.e. the dip of the sea horizon below the true horizon. This is not much in a small boat but it still needs to be done otherwise it will throw your fix out of kilter. The bubble sextant creates its own articifical horizon and thus the need to appply a dip correction. Incidentally, we use(d) artificial horizons at sea too when navigating in ice as there is no natural horizon there.

Anway, I would advise you to get a good book on astro nav. Much of it you, as a pilot, will already be familiar with so it won't take you long to learn to get a grip of and work out the spherical triangles involved. What takes more time is the need to practise. Do this to begin with on calm days with a clear horizon and good sunny weather. Progress from there to the rolling boat scenario.

The most important advice I can give is to be very exact with your time taking for, with the exception of working out a latitude by meridian altitude, having exactly the right time to the second is vital if you are to produce a good position line from the sun. This brings me to another bit of advice. Forget the moon altogether. It is so close to the earth that its relative motion is rather fast making it much more difficult to obtain a good position line. If you do however try the moon be extremely accurate with your time taking.

Begin with the sun. Except under very special circumstances, i.e. when your latitude and the sun's declination are almost exactly the same thus enabling you to derive two position circles say 15 minutes each side of a meridian altitude, you will only be able to obtain a position line from the sun. Take a morning sight and using the concept of a running fix transfer the morning line of position (L.O.P) to the observed latitude and you should know your noon position as near as damn it. When you have mastered the sun try star sights. They are great fun. To do the job properly you should shoot 5 stars, each bearing about 30 degrees from the other. When you plot your LOPs you should, in theory, find that they cross at one pint. In practise it won't be so. You will end up with a triangle like figyre, or a rhumb but whatever you end up with the LOPs should be close to each other and you can assume your position to be in or close to the centre of the figure the LOPs produce.

Once you get into the habit of taking sights you will think it great fun. I rarely used the tables of computed altitude and azimuth or sight reduction tables for air navigation which many navigators use, prefering to work out my sights myself using logarithms and trig tables. Norries Tables are the best imho. I would take 3 sun sights one after the other with just a few seconds between them and work out all three, plot my average LOP and work out the time of noon (meridian passage) in about 20 minutes. The Marque St. Hillaire method was favoured by many but I like the long-by-chron (longitude by chronometer) method best.

I hope this was not too confusing. Let me know if it was and I will try to make things simpler.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:15 AM   #12
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Johnar:

You have the theories and what is 'supposed to be', and then the real life and what might meet You out there.

A lap top is convenient, as long as it works.

Updated paper charts is conciddered the 'most safe'.

The lap top needs power and hates humidity and not to forget the vibrations caused by a running engine!

A A0/A1 paper chart in a narrow cock pit in a squall is not the best of solutions either.

To me a ballanced combination seems the best. Personally I used good quality paper passage charts and a mix of computer and computer print outs of the electronic charts on my way. If You have a rough idea of Your route, print out harbor charts etc, and have them stored in zipped plastic bags for use in the cock pit. I even met some that had made a plexi chart holder for A3 and A4 printed charts almost water-proof. They used board marker pens to mark on the plexi, charts stayed as new well protected.

Then there is the question of how to connect lap top and GPS. For safety reason I would recomend just to use a battry powered hand held GPS. If Your plan is to go in tropical areas lightening will be You biggest enemy. If You have an integrated system with GPS hooked up to auto pilot etc like Raymarine and their Sea Talk system, a hit will most likely take out even the lap top.

Use a small 500-1000W inverter for power suply for the laptop only. That set up 'saved' me in Indonesia when the whole Raymarine system went out due to a 'too close' almost hit. It even blew the sendeing module of my Simrad VHF with the antenna at the radarmast astearn!

I leave the legal issue of 'copyright' and pirated software to You. As mentioned there might be problms in some countries, but anyway keep double back ups on both CD and USB sticks. Disk drives may fail, USB ports may get burned out. As for chart sytem, choose one that has a good world wide coverage, and not just the main shipping ports and routes.

Sekstant is a great instrument, if You know how to use it. But a 'cheap' one will never work in the conditions You may expect in a small boat. If You do not know how to use it, don't really want to learn, leave it. Dead reckoning will in most situation put You closer to Your real position than what You will manage with the sekstant. Do a proper deviation of Your compass, set Your depth sounder, that was in fact our main navigation aid in my submarine days!

Fitting out a boat for extended cruising is not easy. The list of 'must have' will in a lot of cases next to sink the boat. Start with the minimum basic, and add as time goes. You are the captain, it is Your boat and responsibility to keep both it and others as safe as possible.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:53 AM   #13
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Your responses are very enlightening and very much appreciated. I am hoping that when we finally do get on with the voyage I can practice with the sextant and become proficient. I am studying as many books and CD's and practicing as much as I can here in the Berkshires and pretty much have figured out where I am

Chart Navigation continues to be one of my favorite parts of Sailing so I guess I am on the right track for a primary tool.

THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!

TOM
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:10 AM   #14
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Hi Tom, as an adjunct to the good advice presented already, I submit lightning strikes on yachts are not so frequent as might be imagined. The best way to avoid damage from such a rarity, is to have a battery powered, hand held GPS and invest in a spare battery for the lap top. Use the ship's power to charge the laptop's batteries, and run the laptop on its own battery supply whenever thunderheads are in the immediate region. If there is a lightning strike, the chances of frying the computer under these operating circumstances, is therefore much reduced.

Cheers

David.
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