Voyage of Egret Forums

Scott Adams, Norco, CA USA asks:
More technical questions for you as the wife and I follow your progress and plan our own adventure someday - On your last VofE, you mention that you run your navigation software with "North Up" on the moving map, as opposed to "Course Up". This is not the first time I've seen this preference among sea going folks, but I have a hard time understanding why (maybe you can enlighten me). I'm a private pilot and I ALWAYS run my GPS moving maps "course up". From a "situational awareness" standpoint, I find it much less prone to interpretation error. Anything that reduces error potential, especially with close in navigation, would seem to be more prudent. Maybe I'm missing something here, perhaps.

Thanks in advance for any "enlightenment" and enjoy your voyage!


Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Scott, we run north up for the very reasons you As you know all charts and maps are north up. Except in very tight areas we always know our heading relative to north - as most of us we aren't mistake free. We have entered erroneous waypoints in the past even with an every time double check. With north up we have a relative to north heading that is immediately recognizable if we have made a mistake.

Cruising the US east coast intracoastal waterway which is basically N/S, I can see where course up would be easier. However north up is what we are used to and it works for us as well as most long term yachties.

One item I didn't include in the navigational information, we always hit the track key when in tight quarters and when anchoring. On shutting down the computer we save the track. A perfect example, just a short time ago a late evening storm blew thru our anchorage and surrounding anchorages in Tonga. It was dark with no moon and blowing spray. During the course of the blow we rotated 180 degrees. Radar would have picked up the islands but not the underwater reefs. Electronic charting in Tonga is around 400 meters off so in tight, no light situations it is useless. If we needed to we could have zoomed down and safely followed our course track into the anchorage out of the anchorage into deeper water. We first learned that lesson last year in Chile. We were anchored near friends in a local expedition charter sailboat. They left in the morning in pure fog thru a tight maize of islands. We followed some hours later under extremely difficult conditions. (in fact we shouldn't have left). Later we were together and I asked how they left in the fog. You know that answer. We haven't forgotten the lesson.

Planning is good, implementing is better.

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