In the USA, the terms “set and drift” are often used when it comes to specifying current flow. It is found that this is confusing to many students and in the rest of the world the terms rate and direction are used. At NauticEd, we adopt the term “rate and direction” in favor of the student.
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RATE AND DIRECTION
Rate is the flow rate or speed of the current in knots aka “drift” in the USA
Direction is the direction the current is flowing towards expressed in True degrees aka “set” in the USA
Here is a simple problem to calculate Rate and Direction based on how a vessel went off course over a period of time.
Print out the PDF provided below or if you are a NauticEd Coastal Navigation student you can use your Chart 12354.
Your motor vessel has cleared out of the Channel and an electronic GPS fix at 1020 places your position east of the mark G “1” Fl G 2.5s at 41 deg 9.4 min N and 73 deg 5min E. You are making way at 5 knots towards the safe water mark RW “NH” approx SSE of the outer channel marks from at New Haven. At 1120 you take another electronic fix and you find your position to be 41 deg 12.7 min N and 72 deg 58 min W. What is the rate and direction of the current?
You’ll need a set of dividers and a protractor and a calculator.
To be posted March 30 2015. Please post your answers now on our facebook page www.facebook.com/nauticed under our post “Solve this rate and direction problem March 2015″. Give it a go – it’s actually pretty easy.
It is pretty amazing – you can now see the content of all your sailing courses in your curriculum offline AND take the tests offline. Once you reconnect, the test results are sent up to the cloud. i.e. it does not matter where you take the test – on iOS or on online on your computer.
NauticEd Sailing App
It is pretty amazing – you can now see the content of all your sailing courses in your curriculum offline AND take the tests offline. Once you reconnect, the test results are sent up to the cloud. i.e. it does not matter where you take the test – on iOS or on online on your computer.
Right now it’s for iOS – an Android version is coming.
Also in the App, is the ability to add to your new style logbook (launched in 2014). So on the dock after a day of sailing, just right there – add the day and it will show up in your sailing resume.
A really amazing feature is that you now carry your sailing resume and certificate with you on your phone at all times and can email it in an instant to anyone.
Here’s a couple of good docking stories and also see below for a great animation on how to dock a sailboat in a tight space in the marina.
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How to Successfully Dock a Sailboat
Yesterday I was out at the marina and decided to do a pump out of the holding tank. I was on the boat by myself. The pump out dock was at the south end of the marina on a tee head and the wind was blowing stiffly out of the north. This means that the boat would be pushed away from the dock so that docking by myself would be a challenge. A challenge in the sense that while it’s easy to get up next to the dock, getting off the boat and getting her tied up was the hard part. A plan was needed – see below for how this incident turned out.
In St. Lucia, the Caribbean, last year I witnessed the worst docking of my life performed by a self-proclaimed experienced sailor. A sailor that claimed he sailed from the channel from Martinique to St. Lucia every weekend bar two the previous year. Well maybe he was a good sailing sailor – but the worst docker of all time – and so that makes him a poor sailor. I mean a really bad one.
Here’s what happen in St. Lucia. This boat with 6 crew and the skipper was wanting to come up to the fuel dock. There was plenty of room – maybe 3 boat lengths. It was a similar situation whereby the wind was blowing off the dock. It’s hard to describe the tangle he put himself into but it involved having to push him away from hitting the two boats (one mine) at the dock. Everyone on the docked boats were pulling out fenders trying to stop this guy from banging everyone up. The guy had no plan and no idea what to do – proof was that none of the crew even had a line in their hand. When I asked him to organize a shore-line to toss to us, he himself left the helm and pulled an old doused tangled spinnaker halyard out of a bucket which was badly coiled and now full of knots in his panic. One crew member scrabbled around eventually and found a line tied it on with a knot I’d never seen before and tossed it. Unfortunately, it was only 6 feet long and barely made the dangle into the water.
On shore, we all grabbed our own supply of dock lines to toss. When we tossed them to the boat still about 20 feet out (which was as close as the skipper could get the boat to the dock without serious damage) the crew just hung on to the lines and expected to be able to hold the boat against the wind rather than cleating them down so that the lines could be cinched up.
You know, at NauticEd we are glad that people need training – that’s our business and we are good at it. But this guy was in serious need of training WITH A BOAT, was a self-proclaimed sailor and was crossing 30 mile channels with inexperienced crew in the ocean – you know that dangerous non-breathable media called water.
After the calamity, I walked over and offered my hand – expecting a few thanks at least for the help and directing an onshore crew to help. Instead, I got a talk about how he is the master of the area and felt like the docking was successful. Steam was pouring out of the other boat’s crews. I gave him my card and even an offer of a free Maneuvering Under Power course and I offered it in the nicest mild mannered way possible. I even used third party sales technique so that it would not be an affront to him personally like “You know it looks like your crew could use a few tips – look this course over for free and if it’s appropriate we can sort something out for them”. Till now I have never seen him sign into our system. This guy is going to continue to embarrass himself (albeit unknowingly) and endanger his boat his crew and others and there is going to be a lot of gel coat on harbor bottoms throughout the Caribbean. What went wrong? There was no plan!
So what does a good plan entail? It should involve a thorough preparation for the maneuver AND all other possible issues.
Miles out from the harbor, when you have plenty of time, use the local marina guidebook to study the harbor. Study the layout, the depths throughout, the tide height, the entrance, the approach buoys (are you IALA-A or IALA-B), the docks. Where is the customs office, water dock, fuel dock, grocery store and restaurants etc? Learn the harbor masters VHF channel if it is offered.
Discuss with the crew the needs for the boat and make a marina visitation plan – e.g. length of stay, who goes to the grocery store, who stays with the boat to help fuel-up water-up who takes out the trash yakety yak. Are we staying for lunch etc.
Side note: You are the facilitator of the crew having a good time on THEIR vacation – you are NOT the boat nazi with a need for an ego stroke. People follow a good leader and a good plan. See our Bareboat Charter Course on being a good leader.
Call the harbor master on VHF and announce your desire and plans – e.g. Would like to check into customs, visit the fuel and water dock, then dock up for 3 hour stay. Listen to the harbor masters instructions.
Often times you don’t have the luxury of a nice friendly harbor master to give easy instructions and you have to make it up. But at least you are armed with a previously studied layout of the harbor.
Discuss a docking plan with the crew. This involves lines and fenders. It’s important to get lines tied on both sides of the boat as a contingency plan. The last thing you want is a line scramble at the last minute in a tight windy marina with a flustered crew who tend to tie bad knots whilst in a panic. Use long lines as dock lines – obvious, see below.
Fenders – the crew needs to know the appropriate fender knot (usually a clove hitch). Before you get to the dock, you don’t know the height of the dock relative to the boat so the fenders will need to be adjusted before the final “kiss”. Or it’s even possible that they may need to be moved to the other side at the last minute. There should be at least one (or two) roving fender with a crew member assigned to manage it. A roving fender is a loose fender with a line to be used should there be close quarters, the fender can be used to protect both boats. BIG POINT – make sure all crew (including kids who are desperate at all times to help) that arms and legs are NOT to be used to push the boat away from other boats or docks. A boat-boat crunch is better that a boat-arm-boat crunch.
Appoint crew members to each dock station, forward and aft. Ensure those crew members know how to coil and throw a line – obvious but not many people know how to properly and effectively do this. As a docking helms person, you cringe when you need that line ashore and you see it thrown poorly missing the mark. These skills are taught as a game whilst under sail out in the ocean.
Appoint an able bodied person to step ashore and take the lines. Explain the order of tying off. They need to know that trying to hold the boat against the wind is not possible. If you’re coming in forwards then usually you want the forward line tied first to a dock cleat aft of the bow. This help stop the boat and can save you from exchanging $100 for gel coat repairs to the forward boat. Thus explain this carefully and clearly. “The first thing to do when you get off is to catch the forward line and get it cleated as fast as possible to the dock at a position backward from the bow of the boat to stop the boat moving forward. Then get the aft line cleated. Don’t worry too much about getting it prefect just get them cleated. We can all tighten them up later but the priority is to get the boat cleated.”
Each docking maneuver requires a different plan. For example a Mediterranean mooring requires the boat back up to the dock. Different wind directions and force require a different order of things. The important thing to do is have a plan and have the crew understand the plan.
In your minds eye, visualize the whole maneuver way prior to starting it when you have no distractions. Think about each crew members abilities, the wind, current, what could go wrong. Visualize the lines being thrown and everything. Try to predict any weaknesses through your visualization.
So what happened with my docking maneuver yesterday?
I’m going to admit it. My plan had a flaw in it, and I initially failed, but I survived. The flaw was that I did not have long enough dock-lines. Being by myself, I needed to get off the boat with both forward and aft dock lines in hand so that I could control both ends of the boat at the same time.
Here’s how it worked the second time – successfully. Away from the dock I cleated a long forward line and brought it back (outside of everything) to the cockpit. I cleated a long aft line and coiled it next to the forward line. I motored the boat at 45 degrees towards the dock at a place at where I wanted the stern to end up. About 5 feet out, I turned the boat sideways to the dock and engaged reverse to stop the boat. This bought the boat side to the dock nicely but I still had the wind to contend with blowing me away from the dock. The reason for the 45 degree point is that you get some dock-ways momentum which gets your final position closer to the dock. If you come in flat and parallel to the dock, by the time you get to your stopping position, you’ll always be too far away to step off because of the wind. After stopping, moving quickly, I stepped out of the cockpit with both forward and aft lines in hand. I stepped off the boat and went forward to cleat the front of the boat. The long aft line allowed me to keep the aft line in hand whilst I quickly cleated the forward line. By this time the stern had blown away a little but not much. I ran back and cleated the aft. I was able to just pull the stern around. Had the wind been higher or the boat bigger I would have been able to use a spring technique shown in the animation to bring in the stern with the engine. That’s why I put on the forward line first.
Pretty simple you might say but I wanted to point out that having a plan makes success. My first pretty poorly planned maneuver failed me. It came from having the luxury of a crew, once one variable changed the viable planned became a failure. I’d failed to visualize the whole maneuver. I’d not visualized how I would prevent the stern of the boat being blown downwind.
Docking is where ALL the damage happens. Become an excellent docker. Our Maneuvering Under Power course is probably the best course in the world on teaching how to effectively dock a boat.
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The Rule of Twelves Tide Plot Curve
Here is a tide curve plot for any tides that follow the rule of twelves (note that none do exactly but it can be a decent rough approximation for some semi-diurnal locations).
Tap on the image and you can download a PDF that you can print out, laminate and keep on your boat with erasable markers.
A rule of twelves tide plot
If you are going to use this you had better make sure that the tide at the location of interest actually approximates this curve. Too many sailing instructors and sailing associations teach that tides follow the rule of twelves. They DO NOT. It can be a decent approximation in some circumstances. You are far better off to use an actual plot for that location using real data.
Below are some good example problems with solutions to follow so that you understand exactly how to use a tide curve. The QR scan code will lead you to these problems as well. Thus, if you forget and you are on your boat, just scan the QR code with your mobile phone and the example problem will show. A QR code scanner is being embedded into the new NauticEd Sailing App .
First we struggled, why release a paper book when NauticEd is the World’s Most Advanced Sailing Education and Sailing Certification company? How can you view a video or animation on paper? The answer became simple once we put on our thinking hats – use an App so that it can scan a QR Code inside the book where we want to explain a concept better with a multimedia element. So now here is the book – available on createspace.com.
(Note the image shows a hardback book – it is really a softback book but professionally bound by createspace (an Amazon company) and available as a print on demand book).
Tap the image to download the first 7 pages of this hybrid book.
Here is how a hybrid Paper/eBook works: The book is like any other paper book with images and text. BUT … with any QR code Reader App or our new (FREE) NauticEd App (coming in a few days) the paper book comes alive in certain places. In the NauticEd App, we built in a QR Scan code function. Or you can use any QR Reader App on any device. As an example, throughout the book you will see QR codes like this to the right. Scan it now with any QR Code reader or the NauticEd App.
QR Code Example in the Navigation Rules hybrid book
When you scan any QR code the book element comes alive through your mobile device. Otherwise – the book is a stand alone excellent explanation of the Rules of the Nautical road and is a good and quick easy read. But with the addition of scanning the QR Codes, you’re going to light up with all the fun of a hybrid Paper/eBook.
We are repeating this type of problem to drive home the method of solving using a tide curve. If you got the last one wrong you can redeem your self esteem here. Before doing this one you should maybe look over the last one and the solution.
It’s a very similar problem just that you are passing the same point 5 or so weeks earlier.
On Monday September 9th you are going to sail past this fictitious port in the morning. There is a shallow area you’d like to pass over. The tidal information you have obtained is as such below with the accompanying tide curve for this port.
The chart says the depth of the water of the shallow area is 1 meter. You draw one and a half meters and you would like 1 meter below the keel for safety. Summer daylight savings is in effect. A couple of nights ago you noticed a new moon.
(click image for downloadable PDF)
Tide curve for a fictitious port
According to your requirements of 1 meter clearance below the keel, what times in the morning is it safe to traverse the shallow area?
Please try to solve the answer yourself first before cruising the answer. Give it a go – come one.
Really? Did you give it a go first?
You need 2.5 meters of water depth. The chart says it is 1 meter at MLLW. So this means the tide needs to be 1.5 meters or higher. The answer lies in when will the tide be 1.5 meters and above?
Daylight savings is in effect and the chart above says add 1 hour to the times to get DST. The times then, should be adjusted as such:
0745: 0.6 m
1407: 4.4 m
2021: 0.1 m
Since low tide is 0.6 meters this is lower than the requirement. The depth of the water at this time would only be 1.6 meters. Chart datum plus tide height. So the times for transit in the morning are anywhere from midnight until a time whereby the ebbing (dropping) tide is 1.5 meters (this will be before 7:45) and some time after 7:45 where the flooding (rising) tide returns back to 1.5 meters.
First look at the ebbing tide curve. The range of tide is 0.6 low and 4.5 high. The high occurs at 0153. Since you noticed a new moon a few days ago and the range of tide from low to high matches a spring tide, use the spring tide sinusoidal shape curve. First enter the high tide time and each hour after that. Now, bring a line down from the 1.5 meter requirement to the sloped line on the left. Bring it across to the falling tide curve and then down to the time. At 0553 the tide will have dropped to 1.5 meters and you can not traverse after this time until the tide comes back up to 1.5 meters on its next rise.
Falling tide from 0153 through 0745
To solve the next time, redo the curve for the flooding tide. The range is 0.6 meters low to 4.4 meters high. Again, find when it has risen to 1.5 meters. On the image, enter in the high tide time and the hours prior. Now bring a line down from 1.5 meters to the sloped line and across to the rising tide curve spring line. Drop that down tot he time scale. You find that after 1017 the tide has risen back to 1.5 meters and you can transit any time after this.
Flooding tide from 0.6 m to 4.4 m tide curve.
The answer is before 0553 and after 1017. Well done Nigel and Stuart!
As in the previous example, we posted some things to be wary of in following this exactly. There are other factors you should think about for real like waves, wind, atmospheric pressure, shifting sand bars, accuracy of your depth meter, ability to stay on course on the chart, updated chart info may exist, etc. Additionally you should probably give yourself an additional time safety factor like 20 minutes or so. Be conservative in your approach.
NauticEd International Sailing Education courses are eLearning, multimedia courses designed to help you to be a safe and knowledgeable sailor. If you didn’t know how to solve this problem, you should be signing up for our courses.
A short blast is to be one second long
A prolonged blast is to be between 4 and 6 seconds.
Between each successive signal you should wait 10 seconds or more.
These sounds are to made by power-driven vessels greater than 12 meters (39ft) in length and when operating in a narrow channel and have sighted each other.
I am altering my course to starboard
I am altering my course to port
I am running astern propulsion
The danger signal is general and can be used by anyone to signal disagreement with another vessel’s signal, which may lead to danger or just danger in general to anyone.
Sailboat in Fog
When operating in areas of restricted visibility IE fog, a Sailboat must make the following signal.
I am a sailboat in fog
Remember this by an average sailboat normally has two sails- thus the two shorts toots.
Powerboat if Fog
Where prolonged is a prolonged blast (lasting 4 to 6 seconds) and signals are not more than 2 minutes apart. This signal above (one prolonged and two short) is also the signal for other vessels operating in fog such as vessels towing, broken down, commercial fishing, or restricted in ability to maneuver.
Power driven vessels operating in fog must make the following signal not more than 2 minutes apart.
I am a power driven vessel in fog making way
I am a power driven vessel in fog stopped and making no way
These are international rules. The above list of signals is not exhaustive. For a list of all sound signals visit Rules 32 through 37 of the USCG regs (which again are international).
Finally, a piece of advice: Make sure you have a loud sound making device at hand at all times near the helm available with in 1-2 seconds. The day you will need it is the day you will thank yourself for heeding this advice.
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On Wednesday October 16th you are going to sail past this port in the morning. There is a shallow area you’d like to pass over. The tidal information you have obtained is as such.
The chart says the depth of the water of the shallow area is 1 meter. You draw one and a half meters and you would like 1 meter below the keel for safety. Summer daylight savings is in effect.
The Tidal Curve for this port is as follows: (click image for downloadable PDF)
Between what times in the morning can you safely pass over the area?
If you’re just reading this for the first time – think about the question and try to answer it before cheating and dropping straight to the answer.
Sorry about this but it was sort of a trick question to get you thinking. Many who emailed us before the deadline of Jan 31st 2015 to win $10 credit towards a NauticEd class got it right – congrats.
Next – apologies for a little ambiguity – the problem did not list if the tide height took into account daylight savings in the tide height listings. Normally they don’t but sometimes they do so Kudos to those who accounted for/discussed this in their answer. We developed the problem using tide heights of NOT using daylight savings – and thus 0131 is 0231, 0752 is 0852, 1427 is 1527 and 2039 is 2139. Actually it doesn’t matter in the answer really because we were only discussing the morning.
To solve: (don’t cheat if you have not answered yet)
First off you need the water to be 2.5 meters deep. 1.5 meters in draft and 1 meter for safety.
Next you need to realize that the reported tide height numbers in a tide table are always listed as the height above the MLLW (mean low low water) datum. So at 0231 the height of the low tide water was 1.6 m above the MLLW datum.
Next realize that chart depths are always listed as the depth of the water at the MLLW datum.
So tide heights and chart depth numbers use the same datum.
Note: USA uses MLLW while most other places use LAT (lowest Attainable Tide). Regardless both are using the same datum in this problem.
This means that at 0231 (low tide) the height of the water in the shallow area was 2.6 m (1 meter depth plus 1.6 meters tide). This is already deeper than the required depth of 2.5 m.
So since 0231 is low tide and the problem asked in the morning then for any time midnight to 0231 the water height is higher than this (0231 is low tide).
Next take a look at the next low tide of 1527 (1427) which is 1 meter. This would not fit the 2.5 meter depth requirement as the depth of the water in the shallow area would be only 1m tide plus 1 meter depth = 2.0 meters. But again the question was “in the morning”. So the question is would there be a time prior to noon where the tide height is lower than 1.5 m?
See below for the plot or the ebbing tide. The tide drops from 3.3 meters to 1.0 meters. And the curve to use is neaps since the difference between high and low is 2.3 meters (close to the mean range for neaps at 2.5m) (neaps are when the tide range is less due to the sun and moon not combining their effects – spring is when the sun and moon combine their effects to make the tides higher).
Draw a sloped line on the chart from 3.3 meters to 1 meter. Now drop a line down from 1.5 meters to the sloped line. Bring this intersection point across to the neaps tide curve for the descending tide. Add in the times starting with 0852 being the high tide and adding 1 hour per section. When you hit the neaps curve drop down to the time. The time shows 1301 (each tick is 10 minutes). Thus at 1301 the tide height will be 1.5 meters which is the threshold. Thus you’d have to be clear of the shallow area before 1301.
Since the question asked for the morning – the answer is anytime in the morning. If you made the assumption that the tide height time did include daylight savings then your answer would have been 1201 which still meets the question answer for anytime in the morning.
ANSWER – ANYTIME IN THE MORNING!
Answer to the tide curve problem is anytime in the morning.
Understanding tides is essential.
Common mistakes made in the sent in answers to this question were:
Using the rule of twelves (no the tide curve was provided)
Not knowing how to use a tide curve
Assuming linear dropping of the tide
Not realizing that the same datum for tides and chart depth are the same.
Not reading the problem properly
And pure not understanding the concept of tides e.g. neaps, springs, sinusoidal type rise and fall
Here is a great Comment regarding extra practical thoughts around this problem given to us by Michael Sisley Instructor and free lance yacht skipper. Thanks Michael!
Our sport is fun when we plan in order to make it safe! 1)Read the question. – in a harbour right? Flat water. 1m clearance to allow for uncalculated variables such as atmospheric pressure, on shore wind, shifting sands – good seamanship built into the plan. Yes 2m waves on the sandbar leading to the harbour entrance, an ebbing tide and a strong on shore wind would lead to a very different contingency. It’s all a matter of preparation and planning. 1) Before setting out, check the your depth echo sounder with a lead line. 2) Harbours silt up and sand bars shift with the tide. So contact the harbour master and ask “Where is the shallow patch now?” “How deep?” 3) The hydrographical service publishes valuable information – use it! You can then use your calculation to help decide when it is safe to go. – And enjoy!
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Here’s is my New Years Random Rant of Life and Sailing Thoughts.
Please enjoy (or not)!
Did you know that today is the first day of the rest of your life. And coincidently it is the new year so it’s time for some thought about life (mixed in with a little sailing too).
I’m speaking in this article to people who want to mix life up a little, to those who are committed to enjoying life and to those who seek.
To those who have been following many of my articles and watching the development of NauticEd over the past 7 years, you’ll rightly realize that I’m a bit of a renegade; I question the guard and the incumbency, I seek to always make improvements, I don’t take no for an answer, I ask why and why not, I say “might as well” rather than “let me think about it”, I jump expecting a net, and when things seemingly are falling apart – I say “it’s hard from this angle to see how it’s going to work out for the best but … I know it will so I’ll press on, I will get through this”. If I see something wrong I speak up. It’s not that I buck the system at all – I just question the sanity of the system if it is obviously wrong because here’s a big one – I have no time for special interest politics which only buggers up the system. Special interest is not for the populous. It is selfish to the core. I can see special interest a mile off.
My favorite words are: tenacity, audacious, bold, life, innovate, enjoy. And a favorite saying from purportedly the wisest man ever – King Solomon himself said something like “I have travelled many places and seen many things and the best I can make out about life is eat, drink and be merry”.
As Global Director of Education, I have lead NauticEd using a direct culmination of all the above. It could not have been developed if we’d listened to the guard. “It can’t be done”, “You’ll never achieve a global brand with such a small team”, “you won’t surpass the incumbent players”, “bla bla bla”. We can all be glad I never listened to that naysaying space junk.
Yet here we are now as one of the top sailing education companies in the world with students from over 90 countries. And without a doubt, we are the most advanced sailing education system in the world with no one even on the horizon. Our acceptance by the RYA in the UK as a shore based training center was a step jump in global awareness and acceptance. We can now issue the only true global sailing license, the ICC. Wow!
That aside, I’m using this time of the year to issue a challenge. It’s a challenge to be all you can be. Don’t subscribe to the grind. Get out there and make the best of whatever time you have left on this planet. Jump and the net will appear, ask and ye shall receive, plant and therefore reap. From my angle – I see that the Universe – God – Nature – Karma – whoever or whatever laws you subscribe to are really on your side. Humankind would not have made it this far if that was not true.
There is, I know, a lot of faith “in jump and the net will appear”. So note: this is not to be done with out a little preparation (sowing)… read on.
What I’m particularly excited about is that sailing (because it is so green) has a lot of analogies towards the way we can live our lives. With an expert hand, a sailboat can be guided to achieve any destination all the while going with the flow of nature not against it. Once, I read a stupid book that said “if it was easy everyone would do it”. The author kept on saying persevere, persevere, persevere and for years I pushed against the flow only to find out that it is much easier to use the flow. “Use the Force Luke”.
So am I creating my own dichotomy arguments here? “Don’t listen to the crowd” , “go with the flow”, “you can reach any destination”, “stop the mere persevering”. Well, I think it is a balance of listening to the universe and taking careful study and regard for its rules. A sailboat can go anywhere on water but it does need an expert hand. The oceans can throw some massive storms and obstacles at any boat. A good Skipper will wait out a storm or know how to out run it /side step it. The good Skipper will navigate around a dangerous reef, read the charts and the weather, learn what to do in emergencies. To sail into a storm not knowing it is there because of poor weather planning and without storm tactic skills is insanity everyone would agree. To expect luck in a storm or traversing a reef without charts is not a good plan. Thus, a destination is reached and a journey successfully traveled is done by preparation and planning, using the rules of nature. Note that preparation and planning IS part of the rules of nature. You can expect the net because you know it is there.
Another author I read from said “Diligence is the mother of luck”. For me that rings my bell. So a good plan if you want a good and bountiful “lucky” life then is to be diligent, skill up, gain the experience, prepare the boat, wait for a clear day to set the sails but don’t wait to long. Don’t wait for the kids to leave for college, don’t wait till you’re financially secure. This waiting around is killing (spending) your life. They also say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and I’d equalize that with to sail around the world you first have to sail in your local lake. At boat shows I see many dreamers who would love to sail around the world but haven’t even joined their local yacht club to even get the most basic deck time. What dream can be fulfilled with out preparation? A yacht club is full of very skilled Skippers who are totally willing and enjoy teaching their crew (manytimes by fire however – haa but that is fun too). So what ever your big bold audacious goal, start by sailing in your local lake so to speak.
Following this then; start planning your journey, start the diligence, begin setting small sails now to gain the experience. But whatever you do make sure you get out of that safe harbor – there is no adventure there – there are no nets to practice on.
I’m hoping that you’re getting that the above is not about sailing.
For me, 2015 seems like a particularly good year to get going. Why? For one it is now and now seems like a good time to get going (profound – I know) and two it seems like everyone is talking about achieving stuff by 2020. That only gives us 5 years – better set sails now.
Bringing it back specifically to sailing and being on the water, we’ve had many emails from students stating that reaching their water born goals seemingly conflict with their immediate financial and work goals and so they put off their recreational life goals. We can see that on face value this might seem the case to the layman. However, someone once told me that he had mistakenly spent his health getting his wealth and now was spending his wealth to try unsuccessfully to gain back his health. That he should not have pitted his health and wealth against each other.
In a universal nature, health and wealth work to promote each other. There is an old adage of a dying man never saying he’d wished he’d spent more time in the office. You can bet that the reason he is dying today is that he did not spend enough time on the water relaxing and being at peace, stilling his mind, calming his nervous system, allowing his immune system to be strong, enjoying relationships with people rather than stressing over an excel spread sheet. Dr. Vincent Peale wrote a book called “All you can do is all you can do and all you can do is enough” so true – so true.
As I reflect on this I see what a great job I have. Convincing people here to enjoy life, to take up their own challenge, to educate them so that they are safer doing what they love to do. To inspire people to enjoy life and to enjoy it with others. Imagine this, you’re Skipper on a 45 ft sailboat in the British Virgin Islands anchored up in The Bight – Norman Island with your favorite people on the planet. The sun is setting and a warm 5 knot breeze dries your skin from the refreshing snorkeling you just did at the famous Indians rocks in 85 deg F water. The smell of fresh nutmeg wafts from the tall rum drink with a colored straw and orange garnish.
Whether that is your dream or not, ask yourself “what sails do I need to set today to navigate to that kind of place tomorrow?” Yes continue to imagine and also continue to making them become a reality.
Feeling resistance? Your small voice talking negative crap to you? Consider this as an analogy to how easy it is for your own goal.
Goal: The Bight, Norman Island BVI (realistic time frame from scratch – 2 years)
1 Learn to sail
2 Get some experience (confidence and competence)
3 Round up your mates
4 Book a boat and a flight
5 From Roadtown make your heading 195 deg T past The Indians then round up to about 140 deg T into The Bight.
6 Head to wind and drop anchor
Usually, you’ll find that 1, 2 and 3 are the hardest. They involve work, sticking with it and commitment. But you can see that almost anyone can achieve this – here’s the big BUT. But you have to start and you have to keep moving.
Here’s how to deal with that little naysaying voice on your shoulder. You say “I appreciate your input but I’m going to do it anyway”.
If you want sailing to be part of your life – then make it part of your life. If you’ve started a course, finish it. If you’re thinking about joining a yacht club, join it. If you’re thinking about on the water lessons, call one of our schools. If you’re thinking about gaining your international sailing license (the ICC) then gain it. Nike got it right on – “just do it”.
In closing my new years ranting thoughts; One of the wisest men I have personally met is Peter Daniels. He is a sort after international speaker and self made success from illiterate brick layer to successful business man. He also engages in many global philanthropic projects and I was lucky to see him speak at a little Church in San Antonio, Texas many years ago. His words to me after I asked him “what is the cost of success?” were “the cost is your life – you are going to die – success or not, the cost is always your life”. That rang my bell pretty hard. Hard enough to shake me up and stop me mucking around. It means; whether you are a successful father or not, the cost is your life. Whether you travel the world or not, the cost is your life. Whether you get that nice house or not, the cost is your life. Whether you get to Norman Island or not, the cost is your life. My conclusion: might as well be a successful father, might as well travel the world, might as well get a nice house, might as well get to Norman Island. Why not?
Why not! Might as well!
I am going to die (just not today)!
Today is the first day of the rest of my life!
Hmmm I else can I help people realize their sailing dreams?
Here is a great question from one of our students to one of our Vancouver based instructors at Vancouver Sailing School regarding experience and Rank advancement
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How Can I Rise In Rank To Charter With Out Master of the Boat Experience?
I had assumed that with the courses for Bareboat Charter Master Rank completed and the days authenticated I would see the certificate. I was wrong. It turns out that some of the experience must be as Master of the Vessel. I had put all my experience with you on our cruise and learn outings as crew, not master.
Would it be reasonable to claim that on those days that you assign a student as skipper, that student is for all intents and purposes the master of the vessel for the day? If not I will never get certified until I buy my own boat or do many charters on my own, not as a student. That may be impossible because I may not be able to charter without the BBMC designation.
What do you think? Can I legitimately edit some of my days to reflect Master for the day rather than crew?
And here is our answer to the student and the instructor
When we set out the certification it was based on what the Charter Companies were wanting with some safety logic thrown in as well.
In this case they would not want to charter a boat to someone who has not been master of a vessel.
Akin to giving the keys of a car to a teen ager who has been passenger plenty of times.
Yet we see your dilemma. But charterers want skipper experienced people. If any resume submitted showed no master of the vessel time the client would not be allowed to take the vessel out. We guarantee this, if you show up with a NauticEd BBCM Rank Resume you will be authorized to charter a boat. There are many certifications issued by associations who hand out Bareboat Certificates that are not worth anything. Proof? You can get one with no Master of the vessel experience in 2 weekends. Thus giving a student a massive disappointment with wrong expectations but also giving the student a false sense of security for venturing out to sea. This is irresponsible.
Our Skipper Rank designation exempts Master time to level 1 by having 4 days of instruction. This is fair under your chicken/egg request. However for chartering in unfamiliar waters and big crushing boats and with navigation and tidal issues, and being far from base and shore, there simply and logically MUST be skipper experience.
Under the strict rules then of logic in your scenario – the Instructor would have to say to a student – You are Master of the vessel today and that student would have to for all intents and purposes be Master. The instructor would be there on an advisory basis. Other ways to gain Master experience is to go on friends boats but ask to be Master for that day.
I hope this clears this up.
Be also advised that a charter company may (I believe wrongly) take a student on with out the full certification. They will look for some skipper experience. It is up to them. Our advice however from what we have seen is that we provide a good guide to safety by requesting at least 25 days as the designated master – things happen. Almost every charter trip we take – something happens where by I know a rookie would never figure it out properly. There are too many what if scenarios.
Thanks again for a great question. It is relevant and right on topic. I’ve included our Resume vs a Sailing Certification video here to help understand the logic also.