All the toys

oldbilbo

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There's an expectation that one should fit and use all the e-toys made available by the marine powerhouses Raytheon, Garmin, McMurdo, et al - up to the limit of one's affordability. If one doesn't have the latest S-AIS and 'broadband radar', one is losing bragging rights, it seems, in the yacht club bar..... and shouldn't be allowed out without a more responsible adult.

Many, many, years ago, I had one of my best days ever 'on the hill' up on the big crags of Coire Laggan, Skye ( miles of bare rock up to 2000' high ) without the then-mandatory Climbers' GuideBook. I just went where my eye told me was practicable.... and worked out later, down in the pub, where I'd been. Rather later on, I/we did much the same through a couple of hundred miles of the Swedish 'Blaukust' archipelago in a dinghy. ( http://www.bluemoment.com/swedencruise.html )

Might there be some 'mileage' in that idea, in a small sailboat?

A top RAF navigator and mentor, also a stalwart of the RIN's 'Small Craft Group', used to take a wooden dinghy 'cross channel' - from Littlehampton, I believe - to see his French girlfriend. 'Back in the day....' ;)

How little in the way of 'artificial aids' can one manage on? What's truly essential....?
 

pmagowan

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Northern Ireland
It is quite practicable to manage sans aids entirely. It just happens to be safer and easier to have many of them available, should the need arise. The Vikings managed to navigate using a raven and some Quartz for fog although I am sure they got lost a lot more than the modern ones with a Garmin.
 

Tranona

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All you need to know is where you are, your speed, the direction you are going, time, and how deep the water is - plus some way of knowing how the external environment is affecting your progress in the past, present and future and a visual means of displaying all the data.

So, chart, tide tables, compass, echo sounder, speed measurement and eyeball.

Of course, most of this information can be combined in one device - a chart plotter with GPS and an echo sounder - hence their popularity.
 

lpdsn

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How little in the way of 'artificial aids' can one manage on? What's truly essential....?

Sailed my boat for 7 years with just depth & GPS working. Only started putting on toys last year.

I count the depth sounder as pretty near essential, as at 2.1m I've found the water might not be as deep as the marina likes to think it is. Of course, ships used lead lines for centuries, but they weren't used by a novice mate out for a weekend trip.

And questions like is it coarse, medium or fine sand on the tip of the leadline might make them think they've entered a madhouse (madboat). Depth handy for navigational cross-check too.

Yes I can do trad nav but I rarely do. Experience from the day job suggested that skills that haven't been used for a decade do get very rusty, so I'd doubt I would be slick. That said, the concepts that go with trad nav are in frequent use even when there's a waypoint in the GPS down below.
 

laika

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If one doesn't have the latest S-AIS and 'broadband radar', one is losing bragging rights, it seems, in the yacht club bar..... and shouldn't be allowed out without a more responsible adult.

Now I don't have a lot of experience of yacht club bars. I joined a yacht club for the first time last year: the wrong one as it turns out because there's rarely anyone in the bar (the pub next door is cheaper) and if there is they're huddled in a corner talking about racing. But I'm quite intrigued by these people who brag about their electronics. Are they the same ones that brag about their RYA qualifications? Or the size of their boats? I'm not sure I've ever met these people. LOTS of people brag about how they DON'T need gizmos to sail, don't need RYA qualifications as they've been sailing perfectly since they were 4 and that their current boat is a 3m modified serpentine rowing boat with a broom handle for a mast which has taken them round cape horn twice. Nobody I've met ever brags about how much they've got. Is it just because I hang out with hippies and Guardian readers and don't frequent yacht clubs?
 

NormanS

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Sailed for years with some ancient charts, a compass, a lead line, and a tidal atlas. Old charts used to give the time of HW at the Full and New moon, so actual tide tables weren't needed. Knowing the state of the moon, it was easy to estimate the time, and size of the tide. Must admit, it saved a lot of bother with the lead line, when we eventually got one of these whirling echo sounders.

Now we have most of the electronic toys, but don't have any more fun than we used to.
 

jordanbasset

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UK, sometimes Greece and Spain
Now I don't have a lot of experience of yacht club bars. I joined a yacht club for the first time last year: the wrong one as it turns out because there's rarely anyone in the bar (the pub next door is cheaper) and if there is they're huddled in a corner talking about racing. But I'm quite intrigued by these people who brag about their electronics. Are they the same ones that brag about their RYA qualifications? Or the size of their boats? I'm not sure I've ever met these people. LOTS of people brag about how they DON'T need gizmos to sail, don't need RYA qualifications as they've been sailing perfectly since they were 4 and that their current boat is a 3m modified serpentine rowing boat with a broom handle for a mast which has taken them round cape horn twice. Nobody I've met ever brags about how much they've got. Is it just because I hang out with hippies and Guardian readers and don't frequent yacht clubs?

:D
 

Sybarite

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France
T
There's an expectation that one should fit and use all the e-toys made available by the marine powerhouses Raytheon, Garmin, McMurdo, et al - up to the limit of one's affordability. If one doesn't have the latest S-AIS and 'broadband radar', one is losing bragging rights, it seems, in the yacht club bar..... and shouldn't be allowed out without a more responsible adult.

Many, many, years ago, I had one of my best days ever 'on the hill' up on the big crags of Coire Laggan, Skye ( miles of bare rock up to 2000' high ) without the then-mandatory Climbers' GuideBook. I just went where my eye told me was practicable.... and worked out later, down in the pub, where I'd been. Rather later on, I/we did much the same through a couple of hundred miles of the Swedish 'Blaukust' archipelago in a dinghy. ( http://www.bluemoment.com/swedencruise.html )

Might there be some 'mileage' in that idea, in a small sailboat?

A top RAF navigator and mentor, also a stalwart of the RIN's 'Small Craft Group', used to take a wooden dinghy 'cross channel' - from Littlehampton, I believe - to see his French girlfriend. 'Back in the day....' ;)

How little in the way of 'artificial aids' can one manage on? What's truly essential....?

http://www.creartisto.com/sansboussole/equipage_en.html

Scroll down to the bottom.
 

Serin

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18 May 2015
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LOTS of people brag about how they DON'T need gizmos to sail

I suspect many of us were sailing long before the excellent gizmos we now have came on the scene. We learned and used the basic skills and techniques of pre-electronic navigation and pilotage, got where we were going and had a lot of fun in the process, although we generally had to work a bit harder at it. What you interpret as "bragging" is usually nothing more than a just a simple statement of fact. If there is a problem, it is with the receiver, not the transmitter.
 

Iliade

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Shoreham - up the river without a paddle.
It is quite practicable to manage sans aids entirely. It just happens to be safer and easier to have many of them available, should the need arise. The Vikings managed to navigate using a raven and some Quartz for fog although I am sure they got lost a lot more than the modern ones with a Garmin.
Quartz or Calcite? I can see that the double refraction of calcite may be useful, but I don't know what quartz could do? (genuine Q. not smarta€sing)
 

sarabande

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Lodestone (magnetite) is, umm, naturally magnetic, but the 'sunstone' of Viking times was a crystal of iolite which polarised the sun's rays even in daylight fog, and thus gave the azimuth.

David Lewis found no trace of the Polynesians using magnetism in their voyages, preferring to use wave shapes, bird flight and stars.
 

GHA

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Hopefully somewhere warm
Turning it round a bit, what did you not have before but now have that you would fight someone over if they tried to take it of the boat?

Not much really, gps sort of goes without question, cheap ais reciever would be greatly missed, electric anchor windlass made a huge difference to living on he hook. LED lights down below ,and up above. Radar made a massive difference about 1 day every year or so.

Not that many toys, really.
 

Wansworth

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SPAIN,Galicia
I worry that I don't have the gizmos as if I am putting to sea irresponsible.Have never used a GPS but was very impressed whilst on a cruise with a mate that it was all on a little screen....... Even when I told him that there were day marks to guide us out of Muxia he insisted on plotting his err whatever, still he is relatively new to yachting and puts great store in his gadets
 

laika

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London / Gosport
What you interpret as "bragging" is usually nothing more than a just a simple statement of fact. If there is a problem, it is with the receiver, not the transmitter.

I think you mistake my meaning. Mention of "bragging" here was largely a rhetorical device to counterpoint oldbilbo's use of the word in the original post. "LOTS" is simple exaggeration but my point here is that I've never heard anyone bragging about having a big boat, having lots of electronic toys or having a yachtmaster's certificate (although I did once meet an annoying sailing instructor who kept banging on about his master's certificate), despite threads on here complaining about such folk. I think if we look back through the archives we'll find rather more "inverse snobbery". In fact, is it even "inverse"? Do most of us not laud the self-taught sailor who can circumnavigate in a folkboat with just a compass an an old alarm clock? So being minimal, as our collective cultural ideal, *is* something to brag about.

Back to the original post. I accept that maybe it's just the company I keep but even from forum posts here no-one ever crows about how big their boat is or the stuff they've got, even if they've got a big boat with loads of stuff.

But that's not to say that I disagree with oldbilbo's very good thread-starting point (though open to debate as all good thread-starters are) about expectation of required electronics from a purely safety point of view.

In fact I do agree. I have AIS. Would I buy it again? Yes: it takes most of the stress out of crossing traffic. Would I buy it again if I never crossed the channel/north sea? No. Do I understand why people who never sail beyond inshore waters buy AIS? Well no, not really: Maybe oldbilbo is right and there's an expectation that you need it for safety. Like GPS. But hey, their money...
 

oldbilbo

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I think you mistake my meaning. Mention of "bragging" here was largely a rhetorical device to counterpoint oldbilbo's use of the word in the original post. "LOTS" is simple exaggeration but my point here is that I've never heard anyone bragging about having a big boat, having lots of electronic toys or having a yachtmaster's certificate (although I did once meet an annoying sailing instructor who kept banging on about his master's certificate), despite threads on here complaining about such folk. I think if we look back through the archives we'll find rather more "inverse snobbery". In fact, is it even "inverse"? Do most of us not laud the self-taught sailor who can circumnavigate in a folkboat with just a compass an an old alarm clock? So being minimal, as our collective cultural ideal, *is* something to brag about.

Back to the original post. I accept that maybe it's just the company I keep but even from forum posts here no-one ever crows about how big their boat is or the stuff they've got, even if they've got a big boat with loads of stuff.

But that's not to say that I disagree with oldbilbo's very good thread-starting point (though open to debate as all good thread-starters are) about expectation of required electronics from a purely safety point of view.

In fact I do agree. I have AIS. Would I buy it again? Yes: it takes most of the stress out of crossing traffic. Would I buy it again if I never crossed the channel/north sea? No. Do I understand why people who never sail beyond inshore waters buy AIS? Well no, not really: Maybe oldbilbo is right and there's an expectation that you need it for safety. Like GPS. But hey, their money...

Yup. Wot he said.... ;)

But what, really, is the diff. between what's needed and what's wanted......
 

mjcoon

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Berkshire, UK
It is quite practicable to manage sans aids entirely. It just happens to be safer and easier to have many of them available, should the need arise. The Vikings managed to navigate using a raven and some Quartz for fog although I am sure they got lost a lot more than the modern ones with a Garmin.

Not much traffic to worry about then, let alone TSSs...

Mike.
 
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