Pomeranz Report: Lockwoods Folly and Advice on Markers vs Chartplotters
For years, Cruisers Net has admonished its readers to not blindly follow the magenta line on their chart plotters. Now experienced sailor and frequent contributor, Hank Pomeranz of Carolina Yacht Care and daily navigation/weather briefs at Southport Marina, affirms that advice with “get your head out of the cockpit.” Thank you Hank! Lockwoods Folly, a Cruisers Net Problem Stretch, is notorious for shoaling and channel shifting with almost every tide change.
I think it’s a good time to reiterate that visually following the marks across Lockwoods Folly Inlet is critical to safe passage. I am seeing in my nightly briefs that many people are depending on Bob’s posted track (mostly my waypoints), which they are plotting on various apps – primarily AquaMap and Navionics. The track is valid but these two apps (and I suspect others) have 3 issues with buoys: R48, G47A are both incorrectly plotted and R46A, while shown in the apps does not exist.
A key issue is that our Lockwoods Folly track plots on the wrong side of R48 and points to a G47A that isn’t where shown. The questions I’m getting from cruisers who are looking ahead is: Do I follow the track despite the fact that it goes on the wrong side of the red? I tell them that the buoys are misplotted and the track is good and to make sure they follow the marks. I wonder about the cruisers who may be looking at the image on the screen and assuming they should take R48 on the wrong side.
When I was learning to fly, I did what a lot of nuggets do and that is to focus on the gauges. My flight instructor told me to get my “head out of the cockpit”! Good advice up there and good advice down here. I think it’s time to instill in our new cruisers that, unless you have a reason to believe otherwise (mark reported offstation, destroyed, etc) it is best to assume they’re correct and follow them. Where they are shown on the many apps is not enough reason to trust that the plotted positions are accurate, as the Lockwoods Folly Inlet so aptly demonstrates.
We will do the cruising community a service by reminding them to get their heads out of the cockpit and trust their eyeballs.
P.S. I am getting positive reports from experienced cruisers that they are doing well following Bob’s tracks. My concern here is not that group, but rather the ones who don’t understand that blind and complete reliance on one source and a lack of trust in one’s own observations does not make for a good mariner.
This Navionics chart received 11/16/18
And Robert Sherer, editor for Waterway Guides, adds this:
Just to add, I had one report a day ago that a cruiser bumped bottom between G47A and R48A. We had an exchange of notes to clarify whether he followed my track or eyeballed it using the two buoys (I was concerned further shoaling had occurred). His reply was that he eyeballed it to be midchannel between the two buoys when he should have favored the green side per my track.
I also had notes back to me about the missing buoy and miss located buoy. I tell them that one is not there and the other one had been moved and to honor all buoys but follow the track – to prevent touching bottom between G47A and R48A.
I’ve had good reports back on the tracks with two provisions. The turn southward into Sawpit creek swings too wide. It’s a good track if you follow it exactly but there’s no room for error if you swing a little wider than I did. That’s complicated by the usual swift currents there (which caught me, the reason for the wide turn). I am going to edit that track to fix that problem. The second provision is that I have not posted a track from Jacksonville to St Augustine. I found shallows when I went too far to the green side of the new channel (not on any charts) after crossing St Johns River. All charts showed plenty of water including SonarChart, they are all wrong. Just follow the new buoys which are far to the right side when going south (The channel used to be on the left side there) They are small and not easy to see. I get a lot of complaints about not posting that route! I do plan on editing that route too and it will be posted soon. In the meantime, I would favor the red side some, the building shoal is on the green side of the new channel.
Robert Sherer, aka Bob423
Waterway Guide On-The-Water Editor
Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch