Boaters Univer­sity

Passage Maker - - Contents - Jonathan Cooper

Whether you’re a thou­sand miles out in the mid­dle of the In­dian Ocean, nav­i­gat­ing a tight har­bor en­trance lit­tered with rocks and reefs, or land­ing your boat into a nar­row slip in 20-knot gusts and three-knot cur­rents, boat­ing presents unique chal­lenges. Cir­cum­stances change de­pend­ing on a boat’s re­li­a­bil­ity, your crew, the weather, and the boats around you. While boats have grown in­creas­ingly mod­ern, with un­de­ni­able ad­vances in sonar, radar, power, sta­bi­liza­tion, and so on, with these ad­vance­ments come boats that are equally com­pli­cated to un­der­stand and trou­bleshoot. Now, more than ever, it is es­sen­tial to be pre­pared be­fore you leave the dock.

To para­phrase an old sailor’s adage, things only fail when you need them most. Take what hap­pened re­cently to con­trib­u­tors James and Jen­nifer Hamil­ton as they left New Eng­land, head­ing for west­ern Ire­land just south of The Grand Banks. With over 60,000 ocean miles un­der their keel, they are as ex­pe­ri­enced and as pre­pared as any cou­ple can be on the wa­ter, but their boat, Dirona, be­gan tak­ing on wa­ter dur­ing a gale in the mid­dle of the night (wouldn’t you know), and the engine room was steadily fill­ing with sea­wa­ter. Forced to make crit­i­cal re­pairs in the most try­ing cir­cum­stances, they also faced demons that can be less pre­dictable to man­age than “sim­ple” me­chan­i­cal break­downs, namely, phys­i­cal ex­haus­tion and sea­sick­ness.

Prepa­ra­tion, such as know­ing how to prop­erly in­stall a re­place­ment bilge pump with­out break­ing it—or even to carry spare bilge pumps in the first place—can make or break a voy­age. In the Hamil­tons’ case, prepa­ra­tion pre­vented dis­as­ter, but even then, it was far from a sim­ple fix.

In the pages of Pas­sageMaker and through years of hand­son train­ing at TrawlerFest sem­i­nars, we strive to con­tinue to place boat­ing knowl­edge at the top of what it means to be a re­spon­si­ble owner, some­one who is ac­count­able not only for the crew aboard ship, but for ev­ery­one shar­ing a love for the wa­ter. In or­der to help boaters con­trol what they can con­trol, we are in­tro­duc­ing a new ini­tia­tive for read­ers of all our marine pub­li­ca­tions (the ex­cel­lent Power & Mo­to­ry­acht, An­gler’s Jour­nal, Sail, Sound­ings, and Yachts In­ter­na­tional), to build upon the suc­cess of TrawlerFest sem­i­nars, and to fur­ther that ed­u­ca­tional out­reach to an even wider boat­ing au­di­ence. We know from past ex­pe­ri­ences, close calls, and near misses, that knowl­edge is your sin­gle best ally in boat­ing safety. When things go wrong, as they in­evitably do, you will at least be armed with the knowl­edge to make de­ci­sions grounded in ex­pert ad­vice. Our first course is an 11-part se­ries on diesel en­gines, main­te­nance, and trou­bleshoot­ing, and fur­ther down the line we will be of­fer­ing ad­di­tional classes rang­ing from on­board med­i­cal care to seamanship and tra­di­tional nav­i­ga­tion.


Visit www.boater­suni­ver­ for more in­for­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter for classes.

Jonathan Cooper Ed­i­tor-In-Chief ed­i­tor@pas­sage­

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