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Sailing Manual

Sailing Manual

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Published by vlado0604

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Published by: vlado0604 on Oct 31, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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There are three basic types of chart normally used by the cruising yachtsman.

The passage chart is a small scale chart that covers the whole area of a planned
passage from point of departure to point of arrival.

Coastal charts are larger scale charts that give details of the coastline, navigation
marks, channels and approaches to harbours.

Harbour charts are drawn to a very large scale in order to show full details of
harbours. They may be given as inserts on coastal charts or included in pilots and
guide books.

Chart Projection

There are two main types of projection used in the preparation of charts.

Most charts are drawn to Mercator's projection, in which meridians (lines of
longitude) are shown as equally spaced parallel lines running from top to bottom of
the chart, and not converging towards the poles. The parallels of latitude, which in
reality are equally spaced, are drawn on the chart as being further and further apart
from the equator to the poles; (this compensates for the non-convergence of the

On a Mercator's chart, angles on the earth's surface are equal to corresponding angles
on the chart, and the scale of distance as given on the latitude scale at the latitude
concerned is correct. The disadvantage of a Mercator's projection is that the shortest
distance between two points, that of a great circle, would appear as a curved line on
the chart, but this has no material effect except for very long direct passages.

To overcome this difficulty, Gnomic projection is used for great circle charts, and also
for large scale harbour charts. Gnomic projection is made from the centre of the earth
to a tangential plane on the earth's surface, so that meridians converge to the poles,
lines of latitude are drawn as curves and great circles appear as straight lines. Large
scale Gnomic charts used as harbour charts give a truer representation of the area, and
may be treated as Mercator's charts. The slight distortion involved has no effect at
such a large scale.

Chart Scale

The amount of detail shown on a chart depends on the scale to which it is drawn.
Coastal charts are usually at a scale of about 1 : 50 000, while passage charts will be
about 1 : 1 000 000. The scale of harbour charts normally depends on the actual size
of the harbour.
It is important that the largest scale chart practicable is used, because much inshore
detail is deliberately omitted from small scale charts.

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