For many navigators the idea of going to sea without any paper charts aboard at all is pure heresy. But is that really true? Are we just hanging on to paper charts because we are stuck in our ways?
Pretty near all of us are now using electronic navigation systems, that's a given, but can you safely dispense with paper charts altogether?
Finding a home for all our provisions before heading off on a cruise is always a challenge since I tend to overstock on the basis that we will use everything up in the end but running out of something vital in some out of the way place would really inhale. So, as always, there was [...]
[Written July 1st] In a previous post I mentioned a few things that have changed in Greenland over the 16 years we’ve been voyaging up here: less ice, more English, more sailboats, earlier cruising season, and a busier capital city due to oil exploration. Onboard Morgan’s Cloud one of the biggest changes is that we [...]
On Morgan’s Cloud we don’t hand steer much: approaching and leaving a wharf, anchoring and hauling the anchor, transiting an intricate channel, or in the presence of a lot of other boat traffic; that’s about it. We find that by using our autopilot we are left with more time and focus to navigate, keep a [...]
It was 4:00 am on a black early morning anchored at Cape Lookout Harbour when Phyllis and I were awoken by a crash from up forward followed by a sickening scraping sound. A quick look out the companionway showed the outline of another sailboat reversing away from our bow. The outline looked a lot like [...]
I can’t imagine that there are many sailors out there who don’t share John’s and my fascination with lighthouses—walking around them, climbing them, photographing them, reading about what it was like to take care of them—we don’t seem to tire of it. However, in Canada, the USA and the UK, and I’m sure in other [...]
John looks at the question of whether to install a dedicated plotter or a computer for electronic navigation, and continues with a description of what he did install and how it has worked out. John is an electronics technician by trade and has spent some 30 years in the computer business, so this is information from an expert in both the technology and its use in real world navigation.
Although we are not Luddites bemoaning the take over of electronics and warning of the dire consequence of over reliance on them, we are aware of several dangers in their exclusive use: First off in the list of potential gotchas is the use of the electronic log features that we increasingly see included in navigation [...]
So what is it specifically that we do to make sure “we know where it’s at” while cruising some of the world’s more remote places on Morgan’s Cloud, our 56-foot aluminum McCurdy and Rhodes cutter? First, our primary navigation area is on deck. There is no way that we can be properly aware of our [...]
It’s an old Newfoundland story. The details change depending on who tells it but the essence of the story is always the same: A young “come from away” goes fishing several miles offshore with a veteran Newfoundland fisherman in an open skiff. The fog comes down “t’ick as shit in a barrel”. There are no [...]
In these days of hyper-accurate GPS navigation and deck mounted plotters, it can sometimes seem like navigation has been reduced to no more than a video game. And it sometimes seems that more and more people are implicitly trusting what they see on a screen, having never known the nervous twitch that accompanied entering a [...]
Question: We are crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia. I found a large scale chart of the Atlantic (Imray Passage Chart 100). This single chart shows the entire Atlantic Ocean taking the earth's curvature into account and therefore does NOT have a compass rose to help steer by. I am having [...]
One thing that most sailors dread is poor visibility. Throw in high levels of shipping traffic and you have a perfect recipe for sleepless nights. The waters of the English Channel are some of the busiest in the world, and fog is a common challenge especially around Ushant on the French coast and the Channel [...]
Question: Do you still do sights with a sextant? If so, where do you get the time signal from when underway? I found several shortwave frequencies for time signals on the web but the reception is extremely poor. In fact, I can’t get any useful exact time at all with my SSB receiver (Lowe HF-150 [...]