I’m writing to add more detail to Al Jacobs’ story, “Mission
Accomplished” (August 2014), about the SOSUS base on Eleuthera.
There were two bases there in the 1960s – a Navy SOSUS base
and a missile-tracking station, where my father worked in the late
‘60s and ‘70s. Neither base was secret; in fact, the Navy base had
a small billboard-type sign identifying the command it was part of.
The missile-tracking station belonged to the U.S. Air Force and was
commanded by the Eastern Test Range, headquartered at Patrick AFB,
Florida. At the time, we were engaged in the Mercury, Gemini, and
Apollo manned space flight programs. Eleuthera participated in them
all. Also, there were a number of non-manned missile launches from
Cape Canaveral, both classified and unclassified.
Today we track missile launches mostly by satellite. But during the
HAVE ELECTRONICS MADE BOATING SAFER?
‘60s and ‘70s, launches were tracked from ground stations, such as
Eleuthera. There also were bases in the Bahamas and San Salvador,
along with others further downrange. There were also more Navy
SOSUS bases. While visiting, I met divers who dove along the SOSUS
line replacing transponders and removing marine growth from the
line. The SOSUS system may have played a part in the Cuban Missile
Crisis, and wasn’t the only base out there. Mr. Jacobs’ story brought
back some great memories, and it’s fun to be able to fill in some
of the gaps. Joe Karpinski
There was a time I’d have given a resounding “yes” to that question.
But after two decades of boating with and without electronics, I’m
circumspect. Yes, the old LCD screens are now color, the charting
and mapping faster, autopilots are integrated and plot your cross-track error, and radars overlay. Weather crosses your screen, ships
are registered with AIS, and with Active Captain, you instantly get
reviews and opinions on a multitude of anchorages, harbors, and
their corresponding dangers. Instead of a paper chart, you carry a
GPS, which you back up with another GPS, and maybe another.
This is all very cool. But we’ve replaced knowledge of good seamanship with ease. How many boaters carry paper charts anymore
and know how to read them, know how to plot on them, know
what a day beacon is or what it’s
used for? How many know how to
navigate by dead reckoning?
In my experience, electronics
fail. It’s not a matter of if, but of
when. In 2001, a lightning bolt hit
a few hundred feet from our boat.
Later that afternoon, I turned on
FURTHER COLD WAR MYSTERIES, SOLVED
SEND PHOTOS! We’d love to see photos of you, your
family, and friends enjoying great times on the water.
Email the high-resolution version to us with your name
and address to Letters ToEditor@BoatUS.com and tell
us who or what’s in the photo.
Diane and John Scheiderer of Huntersville, North Carolina sent
this picture of Jake, their beagle, napping on their Bennington on
Lake Norman, North Carolina.
Isn’t That Boat
Too Big For The
Dave Horn sent
in this photo of
the Hadi Shrine
members and the
boat they built.
The Mariners are
based in Evansville,
Indiana and have
a camp on the