STEP IT UP

Cruising World - - Hands-On Sailor - BY DON STREET

To ply the nooks and cran­nies of the Caribbean and other skinny-wa­ter venues, a perch up the ith the al­most uni­ver­sal use of GPS and chart plot­ters, eye­ball nav­i­ga­tion has largely been for­got­ten, and in some cases, the re­sult has been dis­as­trous. One can ar­gue end­lessly over pa­per ver­sus e-charts, but one thing’s cer­tain: Over-re­liance on elec­tronic nav­i­ga­tion sup­ports the lo­cal sal­vagers.

Note the case of a Swan 90

Wmast pro­vides a bird’s-eye view of what lies ahead.

SEAMANSHIP

hard aground on the western side of An­tigua’s Sp­it­head Chan­nel. The ground­ing oc­curred be­cause the skip­per was look­ing at his chart plot­ter rather than us­ing eye­ball nav­i­ga­tion. The sal­vage and re­pair costs ended up in the $800,000 ball­park.

If you use com­mon sense — not head­ing west to en­ter

When sail­ing through shoaly, reef-strewn ar­eas, eye­ball nav­i­ga­tion skills are im­per­a­tive. Mast steps make it easy to gain a higher van­tage point in order to spot a way through a pass or around a sand­bar.

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