19 January 2011 | Coronado
Navigation is a VERY important skill for a cruising sailor to have, we have no road signs to look at or service stations to pull into and ask, "where the &*#% are we?" In this day of high tech electronics many mariners rely on their GPS's for ALL of their navigation needs, this is not a good idea. Si Bon has two onboard GPS's, one at the helm (steering wheel) and one down below at the nav station (a desk area), in addition to these I have also recently purchased a handheld, battery operated GPS. Even with three GPS's onboard I still feel it is very important to keep track of where you are by using pencil and paper navigation, meaning that once an hour you go down below, you get you latitude (lat) and longitude (long) from one of the GPS's and you mark a "fix" at the correct position on the paper chart (pic). Over the course (no pun intended) of the past year I have become very good at pencil and paper navigation, I now am anxious to go below and see what progress we've made since the last fix, I even test myself by using landmarks and a compass to take bearing and mark my estimated position (EP) on the chart and then compare it to the GPS fix.
If you look closely at the pic you will see where I've written my Lat/Long on the left side of the chart and you will see little triangles along the coast on the right where I've marked our position.
Anyone who thinks that you don't need pencil and paper navigation in todays world, should ask themselves, once I lose the ships electronics, how long will those two AA batteries in the handheld last?