Where are we?

Apologies for those readers who want pictures of flowers and historic buildings, but the next couple of blogs are about gadgets and the engine room!

It is quite important, even on rivers and canals to know where you are and where you are going, even if only so you know how long before your next beer! Now I know some of you reading this (yes, I’m thinking of our Australian friends Peter and Karen, and our extended family in Canada, the McAloons and the Pannells) have a fair bit of ocean going and large lake sailing experience, and are understandably thinking that you can only go upstream or downstream on a river, so how difficult can it be, and a paper map would surely do as the prime navigational aid. But you are missing the point if you think this!

There are a couple of things worth mentioning here – first; because we generally choose not to cruise very far every day (3 hours maximum) and I like a plan, it is quite useful to know where we intend to moor up and have a couple of alternatives available if our preferred mooring is full or out of use. Secondly; I can’t resist a gadget, especially an electrical one!

Therefore we (I) spent a fair (too high) proportion of our build budget on electronic, navigational gadgetry that could quite feasibly get us around the world calling at all ports and quite possibly in alphabetical order.

Firstly we have a SIMRAD GO9 plotter on the dashboard, this has Navionics software covering the whole planet, so probably would help us to navigate 10 miles from one restaurant to the next!

Simrad GO9 plotter

As you can see, this shows our position on the map, as well as latitude and longitude, Universal Standard Time / Greenwich meantime, speed, depth of water, rudder angle, heading, arrival time, water temperature and a multitude of other readings, as well as allowing us to input a location and let it navigate us there. I’m sure Buzz, Neil and Michael didn’t have so much information at their fingertips navigating to the Sea of Tranquility on Apollo 11.

Not satisfied with this (well, what right minded red blooded male would be?), we also have an Apple iPad (other makes are available) which has Google Earth displayed, overlaid with rivers and canals of Europe and mooring points accessed from a database provided by the Barge Association to it’s members.

Google Earth, highlighting our position on the IPad

Now you may be thinking that the above mentioned equipment and software covers the navigation requirements of a modern day Christopher Columbus or Captain Cook. But, sorry to burst your bubble, you’d be wrong.

We (I) also have another toy (vital piece of marine navigation technology). On a dedicated laptop is PCNavigo, a wonderful bit of software that (also) allows us to navigate through the rivers and canals of Europe. But, and here’s the thing that like minded people (blokes probably) will understand – it has a myriad of bells, whistles and features that I have yet to find (or need, I should think), so adding to the capability of the 2 previously mentioned bits of kit!

PCNavigo on its own laptop!

This brings us really to the whole point of the blog.

With all this technology, and assisted by another value for money (expensive) bit of kit – the Simrad AIS 500 transmitter / receiver – which is just a magic black box, so no pictures, you can now pinpoint our location and follow our travels from your armchair (other seating positions are available) on your laptop, iPad, smartphone or other internet enabled device!

To do this just go to marinetraffic.com and type “Anticus” into the vessel search box, and lo and behold our location will appear before your very eyes.

Marinetraffic.com showing our position

Well, I hope you’ve kept up – I’ll send questions round to check later!

Next time – the engine room – bigger, more expensive gadgetry !!

8 thoughts on “Where are we?”

    1. Not quite Derek, that’s down to the skill of the Skipper – unfortunately I can’t prove that because I can’t work the camera at the same time as the wheel, throttle, bow and stern thruster and throwing the lines !!


  1. I have a question please , All this man & his toys how many times do you look at an actual paper map a real paper one, the fact of the matter its near impossable to get lost on a canal / river apart from thick fog then if so best to tie-up unless its urgent to move, I like yourself love gadgets big time the plotters very handy the AIS is slowly becomming mandatory in the near future the rest are just toys to fiddle with, so infact if the engine does not stop and you have fual its all hunkie dory, Liked the previous post about self parking if only. Oily bits on the next post now thats more interesting than the same building pics that other posts print out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Misha thanks for your question.
      You are pretty much right, it’s difficult to get lost on a river, especially if it has no other rivers or canals joining it. I use a paper map when I am making an overall plan for a season, or an extended cruise. Like an overview of where places are in relation to each other and where we would have to cruise if we wanted easy access to a place of interest. After I have a general idea then I tell PCNavigo where we want to go and how long and where we want to stop – Navigo then gives us a timetable for our journey and a plot on the map. This enables us to predict fairly accurately when we will be at a certain point – useful if we are meeting someone. The other big advantage of PCNavigo is that it updates in real time any stoppages or closures of locks and waterways, and automatically calculates another route bypassing the blockage. The AIS is great – it allows us to get some warning of where the mammoth cargo barges are and when we are likely to be in the same bit of water, and as importantly lets them see on there plotter where we are.


    1. Haha. We have been out for the odd days cruise, but been exploring the Bruges area in the car. Just waiting for Alan and Catherine on PlanB to get here then we will be out and about more


  2. Hi thank you for answering my question , please can you answer on a construction, does the fixed roof stop you going places example the canal Midi & lastly I also follower D/B Wanderlust & have you had any important costly problems in your own craft & lastly would you buy another Piper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Misha, our air draft is 2.85m with a roof profile which allows us to cruise along all the Midi. We have had no major issues at all in the 2 years since launch. The few teething problems we have had were fixed immediately by Pipers. I would have no hesitation in buying another Piper or recommending them to build your boat!


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