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.
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.
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!
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.
Well, I hope you’ve kept up – I’ll send questions round to check later!
Next time – the engine room – bigger, more expensive gadgetry !!