Digital sailors

How did we ever manage to sail before internet weather forecasts, computer charts and Mr Google?

With 2 broken down computers we had no more electronic charts, because I hadn't managed to get C-Map installed on the new one (the third) which runs on Windows 7. So I had downloaded OpenCPN and with a bit of struggle got it to working alright and I thought it would be nice to put all the GPS waypoints into the computer. (Oh yeah, and how did we ever manage to sail before the GPS!) First copying on paper the coordinates of the GPS waypoints (why didn't I have a paper list of them?) and then typing them into OpenCPN waypoints. But then, when I started OpenCPN again: no waypoints to be seen! Thinking back it was probably because I had by accident opened the program twice – clicking twice too often – and that the waypoints didn't get stored in the “right” program. Doesn't sound very logical, but then it often isn't with computers. Anyway, a whole afternoon of work down the drain.

So when I now add waypoints, I stop and check after having done about five.


I then thought I would also add the waypoints that are in the new Atlantic Spain and Portugal Pilot we had recently splashed out on and I started to compare the pilot with the old one page by page. And was very disappointed by this so called Totally Revised Edition in which there were still the same many mistakes with the coordinates of waypoints not corresponding with their positions! That kept me busy for another afternoon.


Did you ever google “cat pee in keyboard”? Judged by the number of hits our laptop wasn't the first one it happened to. Our poor old Sheila (19) had been getting a bit nervous about going outside on deck to her cat litter, especially in marinas with frightening things like neighbours and dogs and such, so we had been spoiling her with having the litter inside, not only at night but also during the day. However, at anchor, I thought it would be good for her to go out on deck a bit, and nice for us not to have the smelly litter standing in the way inside. I had washed the deck and wondered if there was a leak because there was a large wet spot on the settee. And on some papers. And on the laptop! Which I really honestly usually have stored away in its place. The wetness had a peculiar smell... At first it seemed the laptop was alright: just a little bit had gone inside, but the next day a whole row of keys wouldn't work anymore! On internet I found a video of how to lift off the keys: real easy! Well, forget it. I tried several ways of cleaning and drying, but in the end went and spent € 10 on a loose keyboard and that works alright but of course takes up a lot of table space. Next item on the shopping list is a USB-hub.

I am now real glad with our little new netbook as a spare (yes, computer number 4). Just in case, I thought I'd better download OpenCPN on that one too straightaway. Which meant using up some precious dongle MBs, but having become a real digital sailor I just want to be sure of where I am.

Which reminds me, better finish now and make some backups straight away!


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