All GPS receivers feature a system whereby the navigator can string a series of way-points together, forming a planned route, or 'sailplan'. As the yacht travels past one waypoint, the computer automatically gives a course and distance to the next, and so on until the destination is reached.
A sailplan can be a real winner when a large number of course alterations follow within a comparatively short time. A classic example is through the rocks of the Chenal du Four on the northwest corner of France. Tides are rampant in this twelve-mile passage with its half-dozen minor but vital course alterations, and sudden fog is common. Given the usual 5 knots of current and a typical 6-knot boat speed, the buoys come up very quickly indeed, so a carefully organised route plan is a source of substantial stress-relief, particularly if backed up in practice by radar.
Even if you use a chart plotter with electronic charts, it is better to enter your waypoints at the planning stage in harbour than to click them in at sea where you may be distracted. Choose them carefully and be sure they relate safely to each other.
Was this article helpful?
Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.