A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2016 Jul 2, 18:35 -0700
Gary LaPook, you wrote:
"Just as we discussed last year about the Volvo race, the failure of the crew to zoom the display of their GPS led to the loss (temporarily) of two navy vessels."
I would say you're putting far too much emphasis on that one toss-off phrase from the briefing. These guys failed to navigate. They failed to understand the risks of travel in the Persian Gulf, which I find almost incomprehensible. They failed in every way, and apparently the USN considered their failures so great that they deserved to be fired.
Farsi Island with its Iranian Revolutionary Guards base is a tiny speck of a desert island, just a dot on the map, whether it's a paper chart or a zoom-able digital map (here's another view). But the maritime borders of Iran should surely be well-known to any US Navy crew navigating those waters. Your comparison with the Vestas Wind incident strikes me as a real stretch. The atoll that those racers sailed into is about 26 miles in length versus Farsi Island which is a quarter of a mile across. I really don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that the Farsi Island incident was a result of confusion over GPS/digital map operation, and in the case of Volvo Race report, it was just a whitewash. The navigational tools had very little to do with either of these incidents.