Seattle, WA   December , Number 25

Roughly 1/8th of the show seen from the air
Annapolis Boat Show coming up

Starpath will be at the Annapolis Sailboat show from Oct 8 to Oct 12, 2009. We are usually in Tent B, near street end of the tent (B-48). If you are in the neighborhood, please stop in to say hello. See Annapolis Boat Show. for more info on the show, which is the nation's largest overall show and the world's largest in the water shows.


Getting out of Dodge!
Fisher Plaza Fire shuts down Starpath for 2 days

We apologize for being off the air for two days. There was a fire in the building that houses our servers, which not only shut us down it shut thousands of other sites as well. It is one of the largest such facilities in the country.

As of July 4 (2009) I think we are back up and running. If you spot things not working right, please drop us a line at [email protected] or call 800-955-8328 or 1+206-783-1414

Read about the Fisher Plaza fire.


Capt. Bob Bartlett
New Captain Bob Canadian Stamp

Those who have studied Arctic exploration will know well the name of Captain Bob Bartlett. The Canadian Post will offer a new stamp honoring him this July. He was the skipper of Peary's vessel The Roosevelt, and he was involved with many historic events in the Arctic maritime. Google to second hand books to find Log of Bob Bartlett, and also a great children's book he wrote. A 1930's picture of The Roosevelt passing through the Ballard Locks a few blocks down the road from us is famous in the NW. Read about him and the stamp.


PV Scaturro
Dr. Livingson I presume?

We recently received this message from Pasquale Scaturro, with whom we had the great pleasure to work with in preparation for this expedition. The expedition did not have access to GPS or sat phone, and relied soley on early maps, a compass, and cel nav by artificial horizon... and of course the great expertise of seasoned navigator PV Scaturro

On May 31st the History Channel will be premiering a new 8-part TV series entitled Expedition Africa: Stanley and Livingstone. Last year I was invited to be part of an expedition to cross 970 miles of Tanzania from Zanzibar to Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika in an effort to retrace the steps of Henry Morton Stanley to find Dr. David Livingstone in 1871. The expedition was part real expedition and part reality TV and since it was produced by Mark Burnett there is no telling what will happen. The link to the History Channel Website is below as well as a few trailers.

Intro to Essopde 1

You tube snippit

bio of PV Scaturro

Show times:
10:00 p.m. Eastern
9:00 p.m. Central
8:00 p.m. Mountain
10:00 p.m. Pacific


Two WAAS sats over the equator
New WAAS locator

We intend to make our own calculator for this function, but for now you can use this link to find the elevation and bearing of the two WAAS satellites needed for high precision GPS fixes. The precision corrections only work in North America, even if your GPS does see the satellites from elsewhere.

Our new Barometer Handbook discusses finding elevation from GPS, and for this to be accurate you need to have one of these WAAS satellites locked into your GPS. Check the satellite set up page to be sure you see one of them (No. 48 or No. 51). These two satellites should be more famous than they are!


Tidal Currents of Puget Sound
New! Tidal Currents of Puget Sound

Tide Prints show the flow patterns and how they evolve throughout the current cycle. There is one print for every 3 hours throughout the cycle. They are indexed to the tide height in Seattle.

Current Charts show the values of the currents at each reference station. There is one chart for every hour throughout the cycle. They are indexed to the tidal current at Admiralty Inlet.

Comparing Tide Prints and Current Charts shows the locations of eddies and bands of current, and how these bands and eddies move and interact as the current cycle evolves. Below is an overlayed image of the two types of chart.

These are both perpetual publications, good for any year.

Tide data at Seattle and current data at Admiralty Inlet (off Bush Pt) and at Tacoma Narrows (north end), are needed to assign specifi c times to each page of these charts and prints.

Also available as an elibra ebook for $9.95

View FREE SAMPLE of several pages. (Requires the free Elibra Reader)


Live ship report service underway

Now you can get all the ship reports within 300 nmi of your location at sea that were transmitted over the past 6 hours to the Voluntary Observing Ship program. Just send an email to

[email protected]

with your lat and lon in the first line of the body of the message and you will get the reports back by return mail. The first line should be blank other than that location. This is a free service compliments of Starpath School of Navigation.

Here are two samples you can try: approach to New York City (40.123N, 72.456W) and the approach to Bremerhaven in the North Sea (55.60N, 3.50E).

Send an email to [email protected] with the word " help " in the subject line to get a set of instructions and explanation of the reports.

The reports are compiled by the National Data Buoy Center in collaboration with the US Voluntary Observing Ship program. These data are available online at the NDBC. We are simply forwarding it to vessels at sea via email as a convenience to them.

In coastal waters this is a way to get near live weather data in the offshore direction. It is also a way to calibrate your barometer when sailing offshore if you have any doubts about it.


The crew were rescued by helicopter
Back to the basics

It is fundamental in marine navigation to not rely on just one source of information and it is also fundamental to plot your position on the chart and label it with the time frequently. In coastal waters, the other aids to support GPS could be radar and compass bearings, or LOPs from natural ranges... or depth sounding. In offshore waters, it could be celestial to back up the GPS.

In any event, the primary minimalist back up to a GPS is a second GPS. These are inexpensive and there is frankly no reason not to have multiple units on board... at least to back up the main console unit you would have one or two hand held units ready to go if the former fails. Here is a real life example that a single GPS unit can fail and if it does and you have no back up then you can be in trouble. Case of 1 GPS only

In passing, if you are racing or cruising through tricky waters, then it can be very useful to have your key waypoints already loaded into the hand held GPS. Sometimes navigation has to be done fast, and the time it takes to carefully load the right waypoints could be crucial. Remember you can always make your waypoints and routes in an echart program and then just download them to the GPS units. For racing nav it should be considered standard procedure to load the waypoints into a back up hand held before the race.


The Fischer Precision Aneroid Barometer
The best of the best

Starpath is now the proud US supplier of one of the very best aneroid barometers in the world. It has a guaranteed accuracy of 0.7 mb over its full range. They have been in use at sea for over 70 years. Each has a unique serial number and certificate of tested accuracy. They are imported from Germany from the Fischer Precision Instrument Company.

See Precision Aneroid barometer


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