For those interested in tracking technology, we’ve launched a sister site to Skipr.net at tracknsend.com. Over the next few years, we’ll see a whole range of interesting devices designed to facilitate reliable communication at sea and letting others where you are at any time. These might be dedicated tracking devices or satellite phone with additional features.
Some even propose that a new generation of satellite communicators may obsolete EPIRBs. No doubt there will be much debate before that is accepted! So, if you’re interested in communications technology and safety gadgetry, join us at Track & SEND. By the way, SEND stands for Satellite Emergency Notification Device !
This winter, I have had the pleasure of ‘crewing’ on the boats of a number of friends who were making their way North. It has been a privilege to sail with them, to see how others sail, trim and navigate. One insight was the wide range of equipment and approaches to navigation among my friends.
It prompted me to reflect on the rapid evolution of navigation instruments on our boats, from handheld GPS and PC based chart displays to dedicated chart plotters, smart phones and iPads.
When I started doing coastal passages on our first boat, it was a matter of purely visual navigation (I never mastered the skill of using a sextant). That was among the reasons why we didn’t venture far from our home port. The nineties saw the rise of the handheld GPS, which gave us accurate positions to plot on traditional charts and the confidence to do longer passages.
GPS units soon gained plotting and charting capabilities. On our boat, we started using software at the chart table, using a laptop which was connected to our handheld GPS. Last year, before our cruise to the Whitsundays, we installed an 8 inch colour chart plotter near the steering station and thought that was the “ultimate solution”. But is it? Continue reading “Chart Plotters – the Ultimate Solution?”