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 Post subject: Navigation tales
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2008 06:33 
Able Bodied Seaman

Joined: 29 Apr 2007 20:49
Posts: 30
Location: Barrigada Guam
Well, I'm sick of continually clicking the "View New Posts" link and seeing nothing. So instead of blowing off my bimini project, I figured I'd contribute (and hopefully someday become a midshipman...)

I'm re-reading a great book by Annie Hill, "Voyaging on a Small Income". I suppose the Hill's were the British version of the Pardeys. Annie is still cruising, but I never heard what became of Pete. Anyhow, their philosophy of cruising was significantly out of the ordinary. But for all the things that seem so odd/unique on their boat (a home-built 34' junk-rigged dory) they traveled to a large array of places, spanning the extremes of the Atlantic ocean.

In her section on navigation, she recalls having navigated part of the Chesapeake Bay on a 'table mat' due to lack of availability of a good, reasonably priced chart. It reminded me of my second voyage....

When my senior year of college was drawing to a close, my friends had casually mentioned how great living aboard a sailboat would be. I think I surprised them when I purchased my first boat, a 1970 Cal 28, flush deck, 5' draft, with little in the way of accessories. Definitely not a 'sailorized' boat. But still, I enjoyed refitting that summer and planned my trip from Balitmore MD to Charleston, SC (my next duty station) and looked forward to a great trip.

In my preparations, I wanted to have good charts for the expected path. I had some $$$ to kick around, so I bought a new Maptech chart pack of the Intercoastal, from Norfolk to Jacksonville. For the Bay though, I had a handful of charts of Annapolis from college (well loved) and figured I'd just get a large scale chart to get me by. The chandler I used had a sign for a Bay chart, all neatly rolled up, so I purchased one. Charts stocked....

It was out surprised, when we unrolled the chart the morning of our departure, that the 'chart' was a nautical wall map of the Bay. After some trial & error, we realized the latitudes were good, but the longitudes were all jacked up. Nothing lined up east-west, not even close. And say nothing of navigational aides... The only good part was, the chart showed all the lighthouses on both coast, with 'artistic' renderings of what they looked like.

For the next two days, we navigated by these lighthouses. The GPS pumped out latitudes, and we counted down the minutes until we'd see the next lighthouse, crossing them off on the chart. We arrived at the southern end in darkness, at about 9pm.

The chart pack didn't show much of Norfolk's Bay side, but we figured out where the bridges were at. We had dumped the last jerrycan of fuel into the tank, and the ol' Atomic 4 puttered away happily. We had to make the port before we ran out of gas. At 12:30am, we finally figured out where the ICW entrance was at, motored slowly past the long lines of warships, and dropped anchor on the seawall from the hospital. The engine chugged to a stop, the noise died away, and there we were, safe at anchor (we won't discuss my anchoring options in those early days.)

I look back with wide eyes, knowing there is a God, and He must love sailing too. How we managed I'll never know, but I have to admit, for as green as we were, I've never had so much fun. And while I happily use the navigational knowledge I've gleaned from 6 years of submarine service, the lasting memories of that trip will always stay with me. And yes, I've packed away better charts for next time.

S/V Persephone..... I went to Guam and all I got was this beat up boat

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 Post subject: Re: Navigation tales
PostPosted: 23 Jan 2008 10:37 

Joined: 20 Oct 2006 16:10
Posts: 687
Location: Out of Waukegan, IL
Sounds like quite the adventure. I must admit that if my laptop ever goes away during a cruise, we're down to a cruising guide. The bonus of sailing Michigan though... you can feel your way around pretty well. Our family used DR for many years on the C&C 27. Functional, but we did have a few episodes of trying to figure out target angles on powerplants. ("He's going left to right"... "No, right to left"... "Okay... that's a powerplant")

SMMO/First Mate aboard High Flight #299
1981 - Full Keel - Furling Main (A boat for the lazy crew...)

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