sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : The biggest question when going to sea - Where am I?
The biggest question when going to sea - Where am I?


'Using every mode available to establish and reconfirm your position (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)'    Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©    Click Here to view large photo

Before technology surfaced, early mariners, over the centuries, devised many crude solutions to determine where they were in the water. The death of a friend recently on a reef in the Tuomotos, through a small miscalculation, has had me ruminating on how seafarers stayed safe over the thousands of years they have been transiting the ocean.

The Compass:
The earliest compasses were most likely invented by the Chinese in around 1050 BCE. Intriguingly, they were created first for the purposes of spiritual life or developing a feng shui environment and then only later used for navigation.

Compasses were originally developed when lodestones, a mineral that has naturally magnetized iron ore, were suspended above a board with the ability to pivot and turn. It was discovered that the stones would always point in the same direction, and align themselves with the north/south axis of the earth.

Then crude charts were drawn. The forerunner of the modern magnetic compass consisted of a magnetized needle placed in a piece of cork, which floated in a pan of water. The marked end of the needle pointed to magnetic north. This primitive form of a compass went through many changes prior to the development of the modern day instrument.

The superiority of modern equipment - with caveats:
Today it is much easier to find out where we are on earth. As well as GPS, we now have depth recorders and other electronic devices supposedly answering the question, 'Where are we?'

However, total trust in the GPS can end in tragedy on the sea - and often has. There are a number of reasons for this:

1. The GPS position being 'wrong' when related to the (correct) chart it is shown on
2. Inaccurate reading of the GPS by the skipper
3. A lightning strike destroying all metal equipment on the boat
4. Inaccurate out-of-date charting, particularly in remote areas

Good old fashioned compass -  .. .  
Back-ups - the paper chart:
When navigating large bodies of water, there is no substitute for having a paper chart readily available. Even with advanced technology, it's an excellent idea to keep track of your boat's position on paper as a back-up to your electronic equipment's information or as a starting point for doing without it when it fails.

Dead Reckoning:
The advancement of the boat's position on the chart from the last accurate position using courses steered and speed through the water is known as dead reckoning. A dead reckoning track line is drawn on the chart from a known position to your destination. To plot the direction your boat is headed on the course line, many types of course plotters may be used to determine the direction of travel by a compass rose on the chart.

With the boat's known speed and time traveled, you can plot your position on the course line -- usually hourly.

In the final analysis, it is the intelligent use of all the systems available to the seafarer which denotes good seamanship and it likely to bring the skipper and crew home safely, rather than the sophistication of the equipment available.


by Lee Mylchreest

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=114878

11:18 AM Mon 23 Sep 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World















2014 J/111 World Championship - Bigger breeze arrives on day 2! by Stuart Johnstone, Cowes, Isle of Wight




























Audi Melges 20 U.S. Nationals - Oleander takes early lead by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,






2014 Detroit Cup - Sam Gilmour leads by Dobbs Davis, Detroit, Michigan








Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Riding the AC45 - VIDEO by Crosbie Lorimer, Hamilton Island










America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad talks Time and Money (Part II) *Feature
America’s Cup - British Challenge accepted by Golden Gate Yacht Club
Volvo Ocean Race - It’s been emotional, but it’s time to move on
Cork OCR - Sail Canada Senior Nationals wrap up
J/111 World Championships - British Teams take early lead on day 1
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Jellyfish stings British Soldier
International Cadet World Championship – Day 4 at Weymouth, England
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Light wind plagues Lake Jinniu
2014 Formula Kite World Championships - Bridges strike back on day 2
AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos
SAP 505 World Championship - Holt and Woelfel on top
2014 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship - Day 2
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; MC38s Lindeman Island Race VIDEO
2014 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Ready to rock
IFDS Worlds - Wind delays, but racing continues in Halifax
IFDS World Championships - Day 2 images by Jude Robertson
MS Cup - Three days until the start
America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature
ISAF seeking hosting bids for Nations Cup
Laser 4.7 Youth Worlds - Luvisetto and Alexadr Boite victorious +Video   
IFDS World Championships - Action shots by Tim Wilkes   
Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia   
World Yacht Racing Forum 2014: 'Growing the business of Yacht Racing'   
Clipper Race: 2015-16 edition of world's longest ocean race 70% full   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland - Swish smash 5th World Record   
Leaderboards take shape at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014   
IFDS Worlds - Hot competition on first day of racing   
Challenging Conditions - CORK OCR   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 for the US Sailing Team   
2014 Melges 20 World Championship - Countdown begins   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 3   
America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature   
Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3   
Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.   
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson   
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled   
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed   
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT