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Sailing Navigation Secrets – The “Offset Landfall” Technique

Imagine that you are sailing offshore and approach your landfall from about 8 nautical miles–in pea soup fog. You have your sailing course set to the large sea buoy that marks the harbor entrance. But the sailing directions warn not to place too much trust in GPS. Several sailboats have piled up on the dangerous reefs on the approach. What now, skipper?

Aim for a specific buoy or landmark and if you are off by just a few degrees–or your GPS waypoint has an unknown error–you could “miss the mark”. And if you do, which way would you turn?

Use the “offset landfall” navigation technique. You will aim on purpose to one side or the other of the mark. Use this sailing solution to find your way to a buoy or channel entrance in low visibility or any other time you are in doubt of your position. Follow these five simple steps for safer sailing to backup your electronic black-boxes.

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