I am the proud owner of Windswift, a 1978 Islander 28 coastal cruising sailboat designed by Robert Perry.
I've always wanted to sail, but my technology jobs placed demands on my time that never seemed to make that possible. Fortunately, I work for Rose Point Navigation Systems now, where having a boat and going boating gets about as much support as one could hope for. Very nearly everyone who works here has a boat, so we are personally invested in the quality of our software, since we use it.
Additionally, I get to use some pretty cool technology to enhance my boat, including the best marine navigation software in the world, Coastal Explorer. Of course, I also feel it is very important to be well grounded in traditional navigation techniques. I believe that only when one understands traditional tools are we truly able to make the best use of more modern ones, and you never know when it might be necessary to rely on them again--the prudent mariner and all that.
I don't like technology for technology's sake. I feel that technology should not stand against tradition; it should seamlessly fit in to it. An example that I find particularly annoying are Bluetooth headsets, with their flashing blue light. I see many people wearing these things like they're some sort of fashion statement when, in my opinion, it makes them look like cyborgs. Sometimes I'll go out to a restaurant and there'll be a family sitting to eat dinner together, except they'll all be talking to other people on their cell phones, with or without bluetooth headsets. Why on earth did they even bother to go out to dinner? Cell phones can be a good thing, but this is an unfortunate trend as I see it.
The same is true for marine navigation technology. This technology should enhance a mariner's ability, not attempt to render it unnecessary. While my boat is certainly becoming very technological, one of my challenges is to integrate these high tech systems in a way that doesn't turn my boat into a Frankenstein's monster. A sailboat, especially a small one like mine, should not appear to be "bristling with technology", nor be dependent on it, or it takes a way from the essence of what a sailboat is, a self-sufficient traveling microcosm.
<more to come>