20 January 2014 | Northwood
As much as it pains me to say it, but these last few years, we haven’t really ‘been’ anywhere.
Mostly we cruised locally and we have had the odd dash across the Channel to Ostend. But apart from that, we have not much to show for ourselves: Normandy in 2011 and the Channel Islands in 2008. A bit disappointing for a boat capable of so much more.
Stuck in a rut – and there lies the danger. I may have grown a bit complacent. I haven’t really looked at my charts (paper & electronic) for ages. GPS routes to/from our most frequent destinations have all been plotted YEARS ago. I knew where I was going and how to get there.
Now, when I want to take the boat off the beaten track, my charts drawer needs some updating and expansion.
I swear, marine electronics are a rip-off. I admit, it must be a decade now since my plotter was state-of-the-art, but still... it’s virtually impossible to find electronic charts for it.
‘That format is no longer supported/updated, sir’.
‘And why not? Plotter still works fine’.
Well, I’m not spending a couple of K of money I haven’t really got to spare on equipment that may not be supported/updated in a decade or so. The plotter will just serve as radar then and I’ll get paper charts and maybe keep the tablet as back-up.
Paper charts or 'my rant part2'.
Walked into a chandlery lately? Seen many paper charts on display? Bet you a pint you haven’t. Called on 2 local chandleries last week – one had hardly any, the ones I could find at the other were all dated 2010 or 2011. When they cover areas which have had wind farms sprouting left, right and centre this just isn’t good enough.
‘There’s not much call for them, sir, so we don’t stock them anymore. Everybody uses electronic charts these days’.
‘Well, sir doesn’t. Apparently sir’s plotter is no longer supported’.
Talk about Catch 22. Still, found the charts I want/need on Amazon (of all places). So, I had a rant or two and we carry on.
As we’re moving back onto a swinging mooring as from April, I had the life jackets (unused and unchecked for many years) serviced. They got an ‘all OK’ report.
However, no such good news as far as the life raft is concerned. It’s well past its ‘use by’ date and can no longer be resurrected for another 3 years. This is bad news I could have done without.
A life raft is something I’d rather have and not need, than need and not have. Despite my sometimes cavalier attitude towards safety on a boat, where I’m thinking of taking Guapa I’m not taking any chances. That’ll be another thousand or so. That’ll be the thousand I’m not spending on updating my electronics then. It always costs money – whatever the choices you make.
Anyway, I’ve got my sights set on a goal and I’m not going to be deterred – not this time. To quote the great Winston Churchill: KBO – Keep Buggering On.
Talk to you soon, people.