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Old 06 May 2000, 12:37   #1
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Navigation

I'm a firm believer that electronic navigation is the way to go on fast open boats like RIBs.

Paper charts have their place for route planning at home then loading waypoints into a GPS, but using them for passage making is difficult to say the least.

With GPS now more accurate than ever, it is likely to become more accepted as the prime means of navigation. With hand-helds costing less than a full tank of fuel, there is no reason not to have two more independent GPSs on a RIB. In fact it's getting to the point where you are more likely to lose a paper chart overboard than to have a complete electronics failure!

How do you navigate on your RIB? Paper charts, GPS, chart plotter, or blind faith?



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Old 18 May 2000, 13:10   #2
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There is nothing more satisfying than Navigating a RIB, especially at speed with the added bonus of reaching your destination with out getting lost. Sure enough, electronic aids make this task a lot easier.
As for paper charts, well having tried to use one on a 4.8m RIB in a force 7 and its associated rough sea is challenging to say the least. So I totally agree that they are best used for detailed passage planning in the comforts of home.
For all of the longer trips that we do, we will photocopy relevant sections of a chart (or scan them in to a pc) and mark on these, all the courses to steer, distances and all sorts of other useful info. Once we are happy with the information, we then either get them laminated or store them in plastic zip bags. The waypoints are also entered into the GPS. This method has worked well for numerous trips.
An equally good method we have used is to print out in effect a sheet of all the waypoints with details of course to steer, distance to run, and back bearings. So each time you approach a waypoint such as a buoy , the navigator/helmsman reads off the next course to steer and off you go. I learnt this method on a RYA course and we successfully navigated to an unlit post in the dark while maintaining about 20knots without the use of any electronic navigational aids.
While both of these 'paper' methods are more than adequate to help you get where your going but using them in conjunction with GPS makes it that much easier while knowing that you still have a non-electronic version that you can rely on in the ever decreasing event that the GPS fails you.

Going back on the subject of charts, I got invited to a seminar held by the Admiralty last year, one of the subjects that come up was waterproof charts, which I believe that they started to sell at this years London Boat Show. I voiced my opinion for us poor RIB owners and the fact that their charts weren't much use onboard RIBs and subsequently sent them a couple of our home made waterproof versions.
As luck would have it, while at the London Boat Show this year, I got roped into a survey with the Admiralty to look at some new products that they are thinking of producing. To my surprise, they had some laminated A3, nicely folded charts that looked very familiar! The layout of them means they would fit into the console of most if not all RIB's.



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Old 14 June 2000, 15:00   #3
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GPS with some sort of waterproof chart works well, but passage planning really has to be done in advance "flight plan" style.

The great benefit of electronic chart plotters is the ease of changing your planned route once you are underway. Having said that, some of the plotters used on RIBs have screen that are so small that I have to wonder how much use they really are.

The best charts I have found are from Stanfords. They are printed on plastic so are genuinely waterproof rather than water resistant like the Imray ones. The biggest diadvantage is that coverage is limited to the southern UK.

Now a Raytheon 620 would be nice . . .

John

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Old 08 October 2000, 07:12   #4
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This season I used a method very much like the one described by LamacqS. Even though it works very well, one needs to plan in advance and prepare all necessary waypoint information and print charts.

I would like to make this process a bit easier and I am planing to buy a chart plotter next season.

I almost decided to buy Garmin GPSMAP 180 when I was told about Lowrance GlobalMap 1600.

On paper they both look pretty much like, with Garmin having a bit higher display resolution (and larger display if I am not mistaken). I have arranged for a demonstration at a local shop, but I would like to know if anybody has used any of these plotters for RIB cruising?

I am especially interested in the Lowrance plotter (reliability, menu system, display and chart readability...) since I already have read a lot about the Garmin. According to some reports the biggest problem with the Garmin is a very slow zoom function. Apart from that it looks very good.

And does anybody know how much Navionics charts for Lowrance cost? According to one guy they cost US$99. But according to the Navionics site they cost as much as other charts, US$99-US$299. Which is rather strange since Lowrance does not use chart cartridges. Anybody that can shed some light on this?

Thanks,

Sasa

P.S. I know some of the larger plotters are much better, but neither my budget nor the space on the console would allow for them
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Old 09 October 2000, 16:20   #5
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Hello LamacqS,

Garmin 235 is a Garmin 230 + sounder, isn't it? Garmin 230 looks like a 180 but it's bigger and has a larger screen. While I believe it is a good product, the price is a bit too high for my liking. I would like to pay no more than US$600.

On the other hand, if I don't find anything that suits my needs I may decide to double the sum, but then I need to ask my girlfriend for permission

Sasa
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Old 09 October 2000, 23:43   #6
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I've used the Garmin 235 for almost two years and it has been generally good.
The display is big enough to read in rough conditions and all the screens can be setup to include all the fields that you wish to see. The refresh speed when you change zoom can take up to 5 secs.

The aftersales support from Garmin in my experience has been excellent.

The only downside is the mounting bracket, its not up to the job.

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Old 11 October 2000, 15:07   #7
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I find that is much easier (and cheaper!) to use the Texaco road map. Most navigation charts contain a lot of confusing, irrelevant information, are too big and don't double up as a road map. If you really want to lash out then buy a road map with a plasticky cover to guard against total soggo when it falls in.
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Old 11 October 2000, 17:02   #8
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Quote:
I find that is much easier (and cheaper!) to use the Texaco road map
That's OK so long as you are sure that

- you don't need to plot your position from a GPS
- you don't need to enter a waypoint into a GPS
- there are no hazards on your route (oh, like sand bars, big rocks lurking under the surface, submarine barriers)
- you don't want to cross a traffic separation scheme (day trip to Calais from Dover)
- you don't need any depth information

For high speed navigation, when my RIB is doing about 60 knots, I do tend to use a road map for navigation. But that's because I'm on the motorway with the boat on a trailer . . .

John


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Old 12 October 2000, 06:50   #9
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And of course if you are member of BIBOA your navigation is extremely simple - You follow the guy in front!!

Ohh bitchy!

Alan.
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Old 22 October 2001, 09:08   #10
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Good morning all

Having found the 'search' feature (I'm a slow learner) I spent some time browsing old threads etc and came across this one.

It contained this reply from 'gaelforce':

I find that is much easier (and cheaper!) to use the Texaco road map. Most navigation charts contain a lot of confusing, irrelevant information, are too big and don't double up as a road map. If you really want to lash out then buy a road map with a plasticky cover to guard against total soggo when it falls in.

Was this sarcasm or a joke?

Surely no one would actualy do this.

Bye fo now.

Keith Hart
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Old 22 October 2001, 10:21   #11
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I prefer chart Gps and written plan but recent experience in unsettled weather showed chartwork difficult even thuogh reduced and in plastic folders;something like a clip board behind the reduced chart would help.

I am about to buy a new rib and will probably forego a steering compass until next season when I would install a fluxgate/digital reading compass.

Small steering compasses swing so badly that they can "spook" the helmsman;on a recent course in Greece (RIB Int) holding course was one of the hardest aspects for some people who were trying without success to look only at the compass.I find that looking towards a fixed point if available or light or the sun will bring the compass and electronics both into line
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Old 22 October 2001, 11:31   #12
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'Bitchy' Alan

navigation is extremely simple - You follow the guy in front!


The problem with this theory is:
.... are you a born follower? ... or a leader, see, being a follower, the view never changes!
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Old 22 October 2001, 12:17   #13
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I personally find............

that being in the middle of the pack gives the best allround view!

Usually end up as tail end charlie sweeping up .. at least on the cruises I have been involved with on the organisation side.

With RB4 we lead Spirit for 8 out of 10 days and then ended up as sweeper for the whole fleet for the remaining two. Actually tell a lie, Bangor Challenger were sweeper for the fleet!

My observations, however from a number of cruises in company are that even the most experienced ribster has to fight the urge to simply follow the leader, or someone else. The true test is when you are sure of your nav but are heading at an increasingly varying course than the rest of the fleet!!

Alan
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Old 22 October 2001, 15:50   #14
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Sasa,
I use a Lowrance LCX 16Ci plotter (GPS/Sonar and I think it might make the tea as well). It's very good but the zoom is pretty slow. I had looked at the Raytheon but found them not as clear in bright sunlight and you couldn't get hold of them.

The Navionics chips are not cheap. I have a medium chart and a small chart on the same chip so that they seamlessly overlap. These cost me £226.78 or roughly $330 US. You get a 8mb chip with the kit when you buy it and I sent it to Navionics and they sent me a 16 mb chip with the charts on it.

It certainly seems reliable and has had a few dunkings in water not to mention the odd hose pipe spray at the end of the day.

I'm happy with it and it was a lot cheaper than the Raytheon.

Nick
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Old 22 October 2001, 17:02   #15
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Hi Nick,
This thread started a year ago, so my posts are old. I now have a Garmin GPSMAP 180, but I'm not satisfied with it. Low display resolution and, more importantly, very slow zooming and panning.
I will probably change it next season and go for the new GPSMAP 182. I would prefer Garmin 2006C, but is way too expensive at the moment.
I think I will stick with Garmin for the time being. Never had any problems whatsoever with my two Garmin receivers. Besides, I really like the new BlueChart cartography - looks great and is cheaper than Navionics and C-Map.

Sasa
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Old 22 October 2001, 23:23   #16
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Actualy they do! I have not bought a chart for at least 5 years. I have always found them to be a waste of time in an open boat.For all of our long distance expeditions the passage planning is carried out in the office on the PC and Cmap reader. When I am happy that the passage is correct I study it until it is memorised even if it is for a long trip like the one we have just done,and that is it. This years tour of the eastern seaboard of America before the Atlantic crossing was navigated with 1986 road atlas, the land very rarley moves or changes shape!
The most important thing is when you have made up your mind that you navigation is right, commit your passage to that course. Airline pilots do not use charts and before anyone says "What about depths etc" most instruments have a built in tide table, the display should tell you the depth. Above all, use your eyes, the water will tell you everything that you need to know. Off of Cape Cod in America there is a sand bar that moves anything up to 15 miles each winter, ask the pilot of the QE2, he will tell you that charts are not the B all and end all of navigation.
Cheers and lets hope you dont get lost.

Alan P
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Old 23 October 2001, 06:35   #17
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To all

Last year I found a sofware called "Cruising Navigator 4" by Maptech. It 's a cd with all the sea charts of Europe. As far as I understand it can be connected to the ships gps in order to view ones position on the pc display, using the sofware's maps. You may enter waypoints, routes and generally mark just about everything you may need on the map, then save it on your hard drive or print it on your printer. Having used only this product, I am not able to compare it with others (if any) but I sure recommend it.
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Old 24 October 2001, 09:40   #18
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Hi

Well here we have the real beauty of RibNet Forums. As a real beginner, who has never been more than 1 mile offshore, and is never likely to, I can get advice and comment from an old salty seadog with years of experience like Alan Priddy. I must say Alan I was fascinated with your comments on using a road atlas and also about the sand bar that the QE2 has to avoid.

I suppose that the difference is that I don't actualy navigate. I just look where I am going and hope for the best. I love my newly aquired charts and I use them to look at the coastline and decide on places that I can play in my little boat. I look out for any inshore problems such as submerged rocks etc. Of course in the open sea like your Atlantic crossing I can see how a chart would not be much good.

I admire your guts in crossing the Atlantic in an open Rib. I felt excited, and a little frightened, when I got about 1 mile offshore for the first time! I'd love to hear more about how you go about planning such an adventure as yours Alan.

Regards

Keith (inshore) Hart
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Old 24 October 2001, 11:23   #19
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Keith, I know that Alan P. can give you his own answer but I would like to give you a bit more gen. from a slightly diferent angle.
A guy called Andrew Barker has now produced two videos;RIB Cruising and Extreme RIBs. On the second of these Alan P. is interviewed at length about various trips he has made and will be making and the associated risks, challenges etc.
I have got both these videos and can thoroughly recommend them to anyone interested in RIBing. The fact that I received a credit on the video, cause my boat was used in part as a camera platform, has, of course, got nothing to do with my recommendation!
I believe Andrew is now finaling a third video of the RB4 Event.
If you want details of where to get these videos pl. send me an e-mail.
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Old 24 October 2001, 19:46   #20
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For those of us that have to pay for all their own GPSs AND chart modules the problem is cost. For the RB4 we gave serious consideration to a plotter but the cost of the detailed cmap modules for the whole trip would have been about £1200, So we ended up using two independent handheld type GPSs, both on dash brackets, with a third (borrowed) packed away as a spare. All three were preprogrammed with all the waypoints plus plenty of emergency fall-back places. We then only has to use the charts (colour photocopies onto A4) for "comfort". Once the price of the cartography comes down I'll probably move over..
This "cost" problem is of course not qa problem for "normal" cruising where you only have to buy one chart module for your own local cruising area.
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