The National Digital Forecast Database

(published July 2015) The primary method of weather routing underway these days is based on vector wind forecasts in GRIB format displayed in echart navigation programs. Navigators who do not display the data directly in an echart program still use this data viewed in separate GRIB viewer software. One popular

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The Tried and True of Traditional Tools

Venturing offshore still has its risks: We're caught unaware by the weather. Vessels run aground. Auxiliary power fails. But some things continue to work through it all.  (published March 2015) Nav stations have changed, and they continue to change. We now have more means to gather positioning, performance and weather

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Don’t Blame eCharts for Anything

What the grounding of the Team Vestas Wind boat in the Volvo Ocean Race reminds us about our own navigation  (published January 2015) We have long taught at Starpath School of Navigation that we should never blame echarts for anything that goes wrong. This is a fundamentally important rule that

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Sailing Smart

Understanding the most important book in navigation  (published November 2014)Recent maritime news brings us back to the Navigation Rules. We tend to think of these Rules as the guideline to preventing collisions between vessels—in fact, the document is a product of the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing

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Rotary Currents

Learn the nuances of these currents to help in your coastal navigation  (published September 2014) Most tidal currents we deal with on inland waters are reversing currents. That is, from slack water the current builds in the ebb direction to a peak value, on average about three hours later, then

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Tricky Terms in Navigation

Learning the proper meanings and uses of navigational terms will put us all on the same page, and just might teach us some history, too  (published July 2014) Good navigation calls for clear communications. We would like to think, then, that the terms we use have precise meanings. Most do,

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The Dark Art of Weather Anaylsis

How learning the basics of weather can keep you in the right spots while on passage  (published July 2014) I stood there, facing the seated crowd of sailors and asked,  “How many of you have a basic minimum or less understanding of how to read a weather map?” At least

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