• Brad Swain

A Problem Using Electronic Chart Plotters

I have noticed that since the rise in popularity of electronic chart plotters, many experienced sailors, often despite having successfully completed the RYA Day Skipper/Yachtmaster theory course have forgotten the importance of calculating a course to steer allowing for tide. I often see people measure the course of the ground track to their destination on the plotter and take that as the course to steer, they then just constantly modify their course to keep their GPS track on the plotter track. This approach results in a much longer trip as the course is constantly changed and perhaps more importantly considerably more time at the plotter when you should be looking at what is happening around you in the real world.

If your plotter has the facility to draw lines on it such as the Nuno plotter that we use it is easy to to plot the course to steer on the plotter, If not, plot it on a piece of graph or squared paper or, god forbid, on a paper chart! You should then find your GPS plot sailing up the plotter track without the constant modification of your course. More on plotting course to steer later.

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