SAIL - - On Deck Anchoring - BAVARIA VI­SION 46

Our en­gi­neers com­bined per­fect sail­ing prop­er­ties with an enor­mous amount of space in the BAVARIA VI­SION 46. It can be sailed safely even with a smaller crew who can be ac­com­mo­dated in ei­ther two or three cab­ins. In other words, up to six peo­ple can en­joy all the com­fort and space they need to turn a beau­ti­ful day of sail­ing into a per­fect day.


Thank good­ness to­day’s depth sounders can be set to read some­thing other than “depth below trans­ducer.” I’m al­ways tickled at how char­ter op­er­a­tors seem to cal­i­brate theirs to “depth below keel, plus a lit­tle bit for safety.” These are sen­si­ble grownups, and I’m sure their rea­sons are based on bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence, but it makes me feel dis­tinctly pa­tron­ized. If you think about it, a depth sounder is not a last-ditch guardian against go­ing aground, although it can be used as that; it’s a nav­i­ga­tional in­stru­ment. Ev­ery time I fix my po­si­tion, the au­to­matic fol­low-up is to check the depth to see if the charted plot and the sounded re­al­ity stack up. Where tide is rel­e­vant, I have, or should have, a rea­son­able idea of height in my head. With the sounder set to “depth of wa­ter,” the check is in­stant. In fog, if all else fails and I’m left with only com­pass and sounder, it’s “depth” I want to compare with the chart, not how much may or may not be un­der my keel. With the read­out set to “below keel,” there’s al­ways an ad­di­tional fac­tor to add. That wretched “bit ex­tra for safety” merely in­creases un­cer­tainty, so it isn’t safe at all. And as for know­ing when I’m go­ing to run aground, if my boat draws 6ft, she’ll stop when that’s what the sounder says.


Most West Coast sailors know what to ex­pect when a cold front comes thun­der­ing through, herald­ing the end of that mis­er­able, gale-sod­den warm sec­tor of a de­pres­sion. The wind will veer— of­ten to the north­west—the sky clears, and huge thun­der­head clouds fol­low through, slowly thin­ning out as the ac­tion bowls away to lee­ward. Oc­ca­sion­ally, the wind drops com­pletely as the iso­bars bend be­hind a cold front, only to kick in again with a vengeance after an hour or three. If things seem sus­pi­ciously quiet when the glass first flicks up and the sun comes out, don’t count your chick­ens. More wind could be brew­ing up around the cor­ner.


It’s taken me a life­time of skip­per­ing to work out this sim­ple de­vice for bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Don’t just give an or­der to a bunch of folks at the other end of the boat. If you do, you might get lucky, but it’s just as likely they’ll all jump to it, and it’ll be a case of, “after you, buddy,” while the yacht piles into the wood­work. The best plan is to choose the most suit­able per­son for the job and an­nounce the name be­fore you give the or­der. “Ernie, fend off. Bert, throw that guy a spring line!” re­moves any chance of con­fu­sion. You don’t have to shout ei­ther; just qui­etly make your­self clear.


It’s easy to fail to no­tice a dive boat and to find your­self far too close. Divers are highly vul­ner­a­ble any­where near the sur­face, and they of­ten seem to hang around quite close to the di­rect route be­tween two head­lands. The “A” flag ( blue and white swal­low- tail) means “diver down.” It may be in­con­spic­u­ous, or we may not have been suf­fi­ciently switched on to watch out for it. In any case, if we end up giv­ing the swim­mers a scare, we richly de­serve the ear­ful of choice in­vec­tive from an out­raged dive- boat cox’n. Watch out! s

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