At Sail-World Cruising we're always on the lookout for extra navigation aids to assist the cruising sailor, and we have found a beauty this week - and it needs your help to make it even better!
Google's remarkable imagery offers an overhead view of almost any anchorage in the world in quite amazing detail. This site provides a really helpful passage planning tool - Tracks actually laid down by fellow sailors displayed on Google Earth.
This remarkable tool - a 'Track Library' - has been invented by Ocean Cruising Club member John Kirkus, and this is a very good reason on its own (apart from all the other good reasons) to join the world-wide club.
As an example of how tracks might help with planning, here is a little oddity from Fiji, given by John on his website, telling the story of approaching a harbour on his vessel s/y Bluesipp and searching for the leading marks which didn't seem to be where they should have been :
The chart at the top of the screen suggests a harbour more or less where we expected to find it, but we were approaching from the southeast in heavy rain and a fresh breeze. Visibility was poor.
There were said to be leading marks............... but where ???
If we'd had a copy of s/y Vagabond Heart's tracks when we were planning this approach they would have looked like this:
Which would have given pause for thought...............
And Google Earth gives this view of the area (on a much calmer day and near low water):
Now if we'd had Vagabond Heart's tracks available on Google Earth as well as on the chart this is how it would have looked:
So it does seem as if the small harbour is in its charted position but it is not the marina that we had been hoping to enter. Vagabond Heart's tracks go exactly along a new channel cut through the coral. And that, of course, is where the leading marks actually are.
What a help this would have been! To learn more about John's site, the 'Track Library', and all the varying facilities it offers from a technological point of view, http://bluesipp.blogspot.ie/!click_here.
About the www.oceancruisingclub.org!Ocean_Cruising_Club:
Have you sailed 1000nm in a continuous passage? Then the Ocean Cruising Club might be just what you need to join. The Ocean Cruising Club is an international club, administered from the UK, just for cruising sailors, and the distinctive blue and yellow burgee with a stylized Flying Fish is a welcome and respected sight in any anchorage. The Club known affectionately as the OCC exists to promote long-distance cruising in all its forms. It has no premises, regarding the oceans of the world as its clubhouse. However, it enjoys visitors' rights with a number of major clubs world-wide.