More sail­ing, less mo­tor­ing

Yachting Monthly - - LETTERS -

I pre­fer help­ing with longdis­tance trips, so have been on many more flotilla than bare­boat sail­ing hol­i­days. But I’ve just re­turned from a week in Croa­tia and am won­der­ing if I’ve had a ‘light­bulb’ mo­ment!

Flotilla sail­ing has al­ways had a set route and I sup­pose that has con­di­tioned me. It means that when I’m on a bare­boat hol­i­day I look at the area, choose in­ter­est­ing des­ti­na­tions and go for them. We did the same this year around the is­lands off Split. To get where we wanted in the time avail­able of­ten in­volved mo­tor­ing against an un­friendly di­rec­tion of wind. We prob­a­bly ended up with 50% sail­ing and 50% mo­tor­ing, but still had a good time.

And then it struck me. Choose your gen­eral area, get up in the morn­ing and see what the wind is do­ing. Then choose a route to give a good sail and see what lies at the end of your set course. It might in­volve one long day get­ting back to base, but I think it will mean more sail­ing – which is what we want to do – and less mo­tor­ing.

I’m al­ready look­ing for­ward to try­ing this. Why so long for the penny to drop? Christo­pher Hill

Brief the helms­man

Craig Hardy’s ‘Keep­ing a Look­out’ in YM June 2018 of­fers an in­ter­est­ing view on how a dif­fer­ent way of us­ing elec­tronic nav­i­ga­tional aids might re­duce ac­ci­dents. He sug­gests that in none of the ac­ci­dents cited did the helms­man know the ex­act po­si­tion, and his main pro­posal seems to be that there should be a large-screen chart­plot­ter that can be clearly seen from the helm at all times.

Sail­ing a large yacht with a ded­i­cated nav­i­ga­tor and big crew of vari­able ex­pe­ri­ence is, of course, dif­fer­ent from a small crew on a fam­ily yacht, but in both cases it’s surely the duty of the skip­per or nav­i­ga­tor to brief the helms­man so they know their po­si­tion and up­com­ing ob­sta­cles.

A sig­nif­i­cant dis­ad­van­tage of the pro­posal is that even a dimmed plot­ter will ruin the helms­man’s night vi­sion.

Craig sug­gests the plot­ter should al­ways be on its largest mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, but he doesn’t men­tion the fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence be­tween vec­tor and raster charts. The for­mer change scale seam­lessly, bring­ing in more de­tail as the scale is changed. Raster charts, how­ever, are es­sen­tially a photographic im­age of a pa­per chart so any de­tail will be seen at any mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. Peter Fabri­cius

Craig Hardy re­sponds:

Peter is cor­rect that the nav­i­ga­tor or skip­per should brief the helms­man. Any in­ci­dent usu­ally in­volves a se­ries of er­rors and that’s what hap­pened in each of the cases men­tioned. Use of a chart­plot­ter in easy view of the helm for ‘look­out’ pur­poses may well have pre­vented these se­ri­ous er­rors from be­com­ing ma­jor ac­ci­dents.

For ‘look­out’ pur­poses, a screen of a size suf­fi­cient to view all de­tail up to a 12 mile range, in­clud­ing AIS tar­gets, would be ideal. Most stan­dard chart­plot­ters are suf­fi­cient for this.

The spoil­ing of night vi­sion is an is­sue. My Ray­ma­rine plot­ter needs quite a bit of dim­ming to avoid this prob­lem, but the best I’ve seen is an old Nav­man sys­tem that changes the colours at night, mak­ing it sim­i­lar to us­ing a red light at the nav ta­ble.

I didn’t touch on vec­tor ver­sus raster charts, as the chart­plot­ter at the helm should al­ways be set on a range where the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two are ir­rel­e­vant.

Lovely Jolie Brise

As an avid Yank reader of your magazine I read the Jolie Brise ar­ti­cle ‘A Leg­end Sails the At­lantic’ in your July is­sue, feel­ing like I’d seen that boat some­where. As I read the boat had vis­ited Gaspé in Que­bec, it hit me. I’d vis­ited her while on a mo­tor­cy­cle tour of the Gaspé Penin­sula. I was overnight­ing in Gaspé when I read there were sev­eral tall ships vis­it­ing. Be­ing an avid sailor I had to have a look, so I rode down to the wharf and saw the Jolie Brise along with sev­eral other

tall ships. What a pleas­ant sur­prise to read your ar­ti­cle on her transat­lantic voy­age last year! Brett An­der­son, Colo­nial Beach, Vir­ginia, USA

RAF en­sign

With ref­er­ence to the ar­ti­cle ‘Un­der­stand­ing Flag Eti­quette’ (YM, Sum­mer 2018), your con­trib­u­tor has com­pletely ig­nored the Light Blue En­sign proudly flown by mem­bers of the Royal Air Force Sail­ing As­so­ci­a­tion. Only a very few skip­pers and ves­sels fly this en­sign. It is prob­a­bly the rarest of all but, none­the­less, it is a valid en­sign, given ap­proval by The Queen, and flown by per­mit of a war­rent. It is a great pity this en­sign should be ig­nored, es­pe­cially in the 100th an­niver­sary year of the Royal Air Force.

Sqn Ldr Den­nis Roberts (Retd)

Ram­sey, not Peel

I en­joyed read­ing ‘A Long Week­end: Isle of Man’ (YM, Sum­mer 2018), hav­ing been a fre­quent vis­i­tor to the is­land over the years.

I do think, how­ever, that Brian Black should have made more ref­er­ence to the pretty dan­ger­ous seas that can be en­coun­tered at the south end of the is­land in wind over tide con­di­tions in the vicin­ity of the Chicken Rock, Calf Sound and Lang­ness. I’ve had some real bash­ings, par­tic­u­larly off Lang­ness, in rel­a­tively gen­tle con­di­tions so I dread to think what it’s like in a near gale!

I’d also point out that the pic­ture on page 68 was of Dou­glas in­ner har­bour, not Peel, and that on page 69 was also not Peel, but Ram­sey Har­bour.

Ge­off Hilditch

Let the wind dic­tate the route of your bare­boat sail­ing hol­i­day, rather than stub­bornly stick­ing to a pre­con­ceived plan

Peter Fabri­cius be­lieves even a dimmed plot­ter can ruin a helm’s night vi­sion

Jolie Brise at Gaspé – she has won nu­mer­ous Tall Ship Races

Beau­ti­ful Ram­sey Har­bour on the Isle of Man

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