More sailing, less motoring
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
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.
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