Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Raceboats 2016/17 RS Aero 728x90

Paper charts - vital for the prudent cruising sailor

by Daria Blackwell, Ocean Cruising Club/Sail-World on 7 Apr 2013
Can electronic charts even be depended upon to be accurate? .. .
Recently we published in informative article by Neil Langford, tech-savvy cruising sailors, about whether in today's high-tech world paper charts are really necessary, and about how he changed his mind. Here, Daria Blackwell, veteran cruising sailor and sailing author (http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Happy_Hooking_The_Art_of_Anchoring.html?id=vpbggWI_8-8C&redir_esc=y!Happy_Hooking, the Art of Anchoring), replies with a contrary argument:

Although I really appreciated Neil Langford's article about digital vs paper charts, I also have reason to present a different opinion. We have been in the unfortunate circumstances where GPS/electronic systems failed and paper charts saved us.

1) We were struck by lightning on a previous vessel and everything electronic was fried, whether or not it was connected to the electrical system at the time. That included dedicated chartplotter, laptop running navigation software, and handheld GPS.

Unless an electronic gadget is kept in a Faraday cage (eg, the oven), the risk in any area of the world that has electrical storms is real. Paper charts, even older ones, provide reasonably reliable back up, as long as you know how to correct for the datum.

2) Our chartplotters (we run two) and our laptop navigation system show us crossing land on our way into our inlet in Ireland when we clearly can see the channel and our depth corroborates our position.

Of course the paper charts of our inlet date back to the 1800s, which by the way, are reproduced with less detail each year.

The liability of reproducing charts without current soundings must be relatively high. We have heard that rather than conducting expensive soundings, governments are simply deleting data.

3) We have experienced several areas where the GPS systems experienced anomalies. One was in Maine, when the systems all suddenly jumped GPS coordinates which moved us from mid-channel to the middle of an island on the chartplotter.

When this type of anomaly happens, particularly under challenging circumstances such as fog, having paper back up can save you. As it did in this case.

I too love the art of cartography and appreciate the convenience of new technology. But we won't be giving away those lovely paper charts just yet.
T Clewring - GenericPantaenius - Fixed ValueBarz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Hoisted on their own petard
Now it was not that long ago that we wondered if there were some genuinely Shakespearean elements beginning to appear... Now it was not that long ago that we wondered if there were some genuinely Shakespearean elements beginning to appear in World Sailing’s premier event, the Sailing World Cup. In that time, a flurry of material has espoused all manner of joyous points including travel grants and prize money. That’s terrific and the hope is that somehow this will overcome the tyranny of distance for Melbourne
Posted on 9 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
So, thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 4 May