Piloting Practice with Geocaching

  How to use this popular GPS game to become a better navigator  (published November 2013) The hobby of geocaching has been popular for many years now. In its simplest form, you hide a small container with a logbook in it, and then post the GPS coordinates of the cache

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Weather Facts

How to obtain weather information by satellite phone  (published July 2013) As satellite phones become commonplace for today’s blue water sailors, the question is, what services are available and how do you choose between them to get the best information for you and your crew? Weather data are available underway

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ebooks On Board

Love them now, or love them later  (published May 2013) The value of digital publications for an offshore sailboat is pretty obvious. We can store a boat-sinking load of books on a small thumb drive, available now with 128 GB storage for under $100––though it would be better to store

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Staying Current With Currents

Ocean currents are not what they used to be  (published March 2013) OK…This is not an article about climate change. Ocean currents are indeed what they used to be; it is just that we know now that they are not what we thought they were. Bowditch teaches us in some

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Navigation in Hurricane Season

The 34-kt Rule and the Mariners' 1-2-3 Rule  (published January 2013) The tragic sinking of the tall ship HMS Bounty and the loss of two lives on October 28, 2012 in the winds and seas of a very well-forecasted storm forced me to postpone my promised article on the pros

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GPX Files

Your best bet for nav data transfer  (published November 2012) There are many reasons these days to transfer navigation data among GPS and e-chart devices. Here are just a few. 1. The easiest way to lay out a route is to select and then fine tune the waypoints on an

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Timekeeping in Navigation and Weather

(published September 2012) There are a dozen or so timekeeping systems used in navigation and weather, and we cannot avoid using several of them from the nav station. In the end, the main time we care about is GMT, more properly called UTC, or Universal Coordinated Time. All weather data

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Coastal Currents

(published July 2012) [caption id="attachment_4622" align="alignleft" width="323"] Schematic rotating current diagram. As opposed to pure reversing currents found inland, which alternate their direction, coastal currents tend to rotate their direction with little or no change in speed. At the time of high water, this coastal region has a north current

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Correcting for Current

(published May 2012) In many inland waters, tidal current flow is a dominating factor in navigation. In special cases like the Gulf Stream, it can also be crucial in the ocean. With a working GPS, it is less of a challenge once underway because we can see directly from our

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Know Your Limits!

The invisible lines on the water that affect your rights underway  (published March 2012) Mariners who sail both U.S. inland and coastal waters are required to know one set of boundary limits—the ones that mark the jurisdiction of the U.S. Inland Navigation Rules. These boundaries are called Demarcation Lines; they

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