Using a Wind Meter – get your head out of the boat
If you like the article and the animations please LIKE it. It helps us grow. And also consider our awesome Electronic Navigation course. It is also loaded with similar animations to help you understand many of the electronic aids on a sailboat especially your gps chart plotter, wind meter and autopilot.
First let me state my point of how to use a wind meter in strong language - stop watching the dang wind meter and get your head out of the boat.
Lately I’ve had a great opportunity to be out on the water teaching again and this issue has become very apparent so I’m going to iterate it here so that you get the point. Stop watching the wind meter – get your head out of the boat. And just one more time a little louder ; STOP WATCHING THE WIND METER AND GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE BOAT.
If you’re an old hat sailor then you’ll appreciate this article next time you’re out teaching a friend to take the helm. If you’re a new sailor then read on also.
Here is a analogy – imagine you were teaching your daughter to drive a car and you said to speed up to 50 miles per hour. So she put her head down and continued to look at the speedometer until it got to 50 miles per hour. One major thing would happen – you’d never get to 50 miles per hour. You’d be through a fence and upside down talking to the sheep. It is obvious right? Let’s look at what actually happens when you speed up to 50. Starting from say 30 you instantly calculate that you’ve got 20 mph to go so foot goes down while you continue to look at the road ahead. As the car speeds you flick check for 1/4 second at your speed – it’s now 40 – ah ten to go. You hold your foot for a bit longer while LOOKING AT THE ROAD. Another flick 1/4 sec check -45 hmmm only 5 to go – foot starts easing – flick 1/4 sec 48 – foot eases more WHILE LOOKING AT THE ROAD. 50 ahhh good. Now first time drivers might overshoot a little then ease back down then speed up a few times and that is natural – and they will get used to that over time to gain a feel for how the car reacts. As an old time driver – even given a formula one car I beat you could get it to 50 easily. BUT you would have done it by keeping your eyes on the road. You would not think of watching the speedo – you flick check 1/4 sec each time and make decisions and adjustments based on how far or close you are to the desired speed mark.
SO WHY DO NEW SAILORS WATCH THE WIND METER? (STOP IT BTW)
The reason new sailors watch the wind meter is that they are transfixed by it. Their brain is trying to process and calculate which way do they turn the wheel or tiller to make the meter get to the desired place. AND get this – their brain can not possibly calculate it so it transfixes them.
This is the thought process in a brain if you try to calculate it. So the captain said to keep the wind meter on 30 degrees on the meter and the wind is on my left. The meter reads 70 degrees pointing left – if I turn the wheel starboard that will make the meter numbers increase or decrease – hmmm um well lets see straight up and down is dead ahead and the wind is now coming from my left so if i turn the wheel to the right that will make the meter go um bigger um yes that’s right I think so perhaps to the left the meter will go smaller um yes I think so – wait does it? hmmm let me try an experiment … oh wait now the meter is reading 90 oh I steered way to much in the wrong direction but wait why did that happen I thought…
So now lets get into the brain of someone with their head out of the boat watching land and clouds.
- Flick check 1/4 sec – the wind meter is reading 70 and the captain said keep it on 30. So if it is at 70 the wind must be coming from that building on the land over there. The difference between 70 and 30 is 40. 40 degrees from my heading towards that builing is that orange roof house. Ok let me aim for that. Like a car I just turn the wheel to aim for that house. Ok I am heading right on that house now.
- Flick check 1/4 sec – the meter reads 40 – oh so I need to go ten more degrees. That tower should do it. Turning a little little bit. Ok I’m on the tower.
- Flick check 1/4 sec – cool right on 30 degrees.
- (Then comes a little changing gust)
- Flick check 1/4 sec – ohh ohh creeping inside 30 degrees let me turn away from that tower downwind say 5 degrees – that’d be half way between the tower and the orange roof house.
- Flick check – 1/4 sec – cool back on 30 degrees.
So the mantra here is “flick check 1/4 sec”. You have got to explain to your student that trying to figure out which way to turn by watching the meter is impossible. You figure out which way to turn by looking at the land and the clouds and knowing which building tree house tower cloud that the wind is coming from. Then making your decisions about your heading based on that.
The processing in the brain looks like this:
- What angle on the boat is the wind coming from? (Flick check 1/4 sec – meter says 90 deg (say))
- What thing on the land is the wind coming from -that is 90 degrees to my boat? (That building there)
- What angle does the captain want me to be sailing at with the wind? (30 say)
- What is the angle difference? (60)
- What then should I aim for – what thing on the land is 60 degrees into the wind from my heading now?
You always calculate the new point to aim for based on what thing your boat is heading towards and the angle difference between your desired wind meter reading and the now wind meter reading.
So now a little test. The wind meter reads 30 and you want to go to 45. What is the angle change? Should you pick that angle from the heading of the boat or should it be from where the wind is coming? Should you turn into the wind or away from the wind?
Answer: Turn downwind to a new point 15 deg from where you are heading now. Once you have arrived at that point – flick check 1/4 sec – make new adjustments based on land objects.
Now there is always a few who say – what if you’re not aiming at land perhaps I should use the compass. NO NO! That will now have you transfixed on the compass. Get your head out of the boat and aim for a cloud. And if there are no clouds then tack the boat and aim for land - this exercise is about getting you used to making course adjustments based on the relative direction change of the boat. Once you master this you will never have to worry about this again. Master getting your head out of the boat for now and making course adjustments based on things out of the boat. Don’t worry about their being no clouds.
Time for an animation. Get the feel of what is happening with the land and the meter.
(our animations are best experienced using the Google Chrome browser)
And now for a test. Lets play “Captain Says…” To solve these questions put yourself on the boat. Don’t try to figure out which way to turn the boat according to the direction of anticipated movement of the needle of the wind meter. Be on the boat and turn into the wind or away from the wind.
If you like this animation and felt it helped please “LIKE” it. And share it with your crew mates.
If you thought this was cool, just wait until you take our Electronic Navigation course – its a big wow and you’ll be impressing others with your new knowledge.
Electronic Navigation Course
Rounding up is so – so – so dangerous. Last weekend we were out sailing and a speed boat came ripping by at about 20 knots to the windward of us and only about 60 ft away. Yes they are stupid – yes they should know better and yes they should be shot – but that is not going to save your life. You have to take responsibility for yourself out there. Think about what could happen if a last minute gust hit you and you rounded up into that speed boat. You’re dead – and actually by maritime law it would be your fault.
So you’ve got to know how to handle a wind bullet and you’ve got to be at the ready. A last minute gust can kill you and your crew.
… and btw if you are a speed boater please pass to the leeward side of a sailboat … (leeward is the downwind side btw)
First a definition and explanation of Weather Helm:
Forces from the wind aft of the keel are balanced by the rudder.
Weather helm is when the boat wants to turn towards the wind and you have to hold the helm in a leeward turning position to maintain a straight course. i.e. if you let the helm go the boat would automatically turn towards the wind.
Usually a boat is trimmed so that you purposefully have a little weather helm. Why? Well if you are turning the rudder so that you are fighting the weather helm it means that the leading edge of the rudder is pointing upwind. i.e. the boat wants to turn upwind but you are counteracting this by turning the boat downwind. Turning the boat downwind means by definition the leading edge is pointing upwind. See the graphic.
All this means that as the water hits the rudder there is a component of the water force that pushes the rudder (and thus boat) in a windward direction i.e. it actually makes your boat climb upwind from the water force on the rudder. This is a desired outcome when sailing towards a windward destination. Few sailors know this.
I say all that to say this – your boat should naturally have a little weather helm.
Here is what a wind gust does:
First, it immediately heels your boat over. Because of the heeling angle, less and less of the rudder area is effective in providing turning force to counter act the weather helm. See the animation below.
Second, in a gust, the wind force on the sails increases with the square of the velocity but the counteracting force from velocity of water over the rudder does not increase because in that instant the boat speed has not increased.
So you’re trying to dip twice to use the rudder – eventually there is none left. The helm will be all the way over and the wind force has completely overpowered the rudder = round up.
Third, by definition an increase in true wind speed across the water shifts the apparent wind angle on your boat so that it comes more from an aft angle. i.e. if you are on a close haul, the wind now more feels like a beam reach. This exacerbates the heeling force because your sails are now in too tight. The wind gust is pushing sideways on the sails rather than flowing smoothly around both sides of the sails. This is now a triple whammy on the rudder. Poor Rudder!
Why does an increase in wind increase weather helm?
A boat is trimmed with weather helm by raking the mast backwards. This shifts the force on the sails backwards. To see the effect now, push sideways on a pencil on your desk. If you push in the center, the pencil moves laterally sideways. If you push towards the eraser end the tip moves “upwind”. Increase the force, the tip mores upwind more. i.e. the more force towards the back of the boat, the more the boat wants to turn up into the wind = weather helm.
But remember – a small amount of weather helm actually helps you “climb” upwind using water force from the rudder.
Why does an increase in wind speed move the apparent wind angle more aft?
Best you take a look at our free sailing course on sail trim. There is an excellent explanation there.
Wind Gust Directions
Offshore the wind gust is more likely to be in a consistent direction as the existing wind. Close in to cliffs, the gust can be heading in many different directions.
Back to dealing with gusts.
First off – you can see them coming. They are a change in perceived water color because the light reflects different off the small ripples generated by the extra wind. Seriously – they are easy to spot. Haa haa during the daylight.
Here is an animation that we did for our iBook “Your First weekend in Dinghy Sailing” showing how a gust is handled on a dinghy but also note how the animated rudder effectiveness changes with the heel angle.
As the wind gust approaches you should be prepared in your mind and with your crew for the outcome. Don’t leave it until the gust hits to start battle stations. Remember, gusts can be dangerous. Unprepared crew members can be thrown around. Boiling water in the galley can be splashed. People tossed out of bunks. Gear can be thrown around into someone. Someone can be thrown against a bulk head. Someone can loose footing and go overboard and finally as we started, you can be rounded up into another boat.
- A crew member should be stationed and attentive to the traveler. You should warn the crew member of the approach. As the boat begins to heel, the traveler crew member should begin to ease the traveler. With a big gust, the traveler may need to be dumped all the way to leeward. This spills the wind out of the mainsail.
- The mainsheet crew member should be made aware that if the traveler dump does not work that the mainsheet should be eased. But make sure that both sails are not being dumped at the same time. Traveler first then mainsheet if needed.
- Tune the crew into whether an ease will work or a complete dump is needed. A good crew member will be able to anticipate and adjust. Training is good!
- As the helmsperson, you can turn up into the wind gust a little assuming it is a lift. A quick look at the masthead wind indicator can tell you that answer. The gust will hit the top of the mast before it hits the boat. Turning into the gust will alleviate the heeling a little and allow you to take instant advantage of a lift. But make sure that you don’t overturn.
- The headsail (jib or genoa) is to be left alone in a gust. Since the force on the headsail is positioned forward of the keel, the headsail does not contribute to rounding the boat up into the wind. In fact it acts opposite it helps prevent rounding up becasue the force on that sail is far forward of the keel. i.e. push on that pencil on your desk again. The head sail does however contribute to heeling. But again, the heeling in a gust can be controlled by the mainsail traveler and sheet.
If you’re getting hit by a lot of gusts and the crew is working hard to control – consider reefing the mainsail. This has three effects:
- It shifts the center of pressure of the sail forward so that the rounding up effect from aft pressure is reduced
- It reduces sail area aloft which reduces the heeling moment
- It reduces the sail area in total which reduces the heeling moment
Heeling will be reduced by reefing the headsail, from the above arguments then this helps the rudder effectiveness.
Don’t try to tough out a windy situation by not reefing. Your boat will actually sail faster if you’re not weaving all over the place each time you round up and your crew will have a better time.
A professional delivery Captain told me once that his motto when crossing the Atlantic was “if you are thinking about reefing you should have done it yesterday. If you are thinking about shaking out the reef, wait until tomorrow”.
If you like this post please “LIKE” it – it really helps us grow
Leadership and Friendship on a Sailboat Adventure
This is a pretty embarrassing story for me to tell but I’m going to tell it anyway in first person rather than say “I knew a guy who once who …”. It’s pretty much a result of me getting out of the wrong side of the bed and it affected my abilities on a boat and turned a really good day out into a massive reset relearning experience for me – and a dang good blog topic. One that I really hope you devour and take to heart.
It’s about how to be an effective leader on a boat.
Being on a boat is a test of your personal management and people skills. Typically you have friends, family, spouses etc on the boat and also often, friends of friends. So as skipper, managing all those people and personalities is a challenge not to be taken lightly. The test of success is to end the adventure where people still like you because that’s more important than anything. Much of the time leadership is not a big issue especially on a day outing but sometimes and especially on a week long adventure, situations arise when you can make the biggest of mistakes with people.
He’s an example of a situation this past weekend. We all went out on my friend’s Beneteau 37. It was an awesome day with lots of wind and I was anxious to fly his genaker.
On the boat were my friend (the owner) some of his friends and some of mine. Amongst the friends were various levels of sailing experience from zero to intermediate.
My friend and I have captained boats all over the world, so stepping on the boat we made the giantest of mistakes by not setting roles and I made the biggest one of all by assuming the role of leader and completely forgetting that it was his boat
First off – a pleasure boat is not the corporate world and it’s not the military. People are on the boat solely to have a good time. They are away from the office and don’t want to be told what to do. They get enough of that in their jobs. So barking orders and using the excuse – I’m the Captain is not going to let people leave liking you.
And you’ve got to manage your own ego too. In my younger days before I realized this stuff here – I’d like to show off a little that I knew what was going on. It felt to me to raise my self worth and it felt good – to me. Note there is a lot of “me” in that. That information coming in from other people on the boat was already what I knew and I let them know that. Someone would say “watch out for that boat” and I would say “I know I already saw it”. Funny though because I’d take info from a GPS device but not from people. I also made the big leadership mistake in those days that knowledge was power and that I would gain leadership by showing knowledge which auto gave me the power. You can observe this this failing everyday in the corporate world. A boss will withhold info just to make them feel powerful and all it really achieves is that it pisses off their subordinates. So we know that doesn’t work.
What works well on a boat is the President Lincoln leadership style. Lincoln is attributed as being one of the world’s greatest leaders. He involved people to make them feel like they were part of the process. He gathered the advice and then made a decision. His Generals and others around him saw that he was taking input and thus they felt valued. When someone feels that they are valued – they will follow. They also see that you’re making a decision from the best advice at hand. Leadership is NOT about knowledge, it’s not about barking commands, leadership is about getting people to follow you from a perspective of respect in you. Respect is earned not appointed. You’ve got to be a respect ROCK and you can’t let your ego get in or your impatience take its toll or your anxiousness overtake.
This past weekend I lost my rockness for some reason. Up on wrong side of the bed? Don’t know!. The first thing that set me off was a crew member who I consider knowledgeable let go of the docklines when we were side-to in the wind. It blew us against the leeward dock and set us up for a scrape down the side of the boat. I lambasted him for this – in front of the other crew. Now who’s the jerk? He made a fundamental boating mistake but I made a bigger fundamental people mistake. What would have been better was to say something like – “Hey John – I think I’ll pass the dock line back over you so we can start again – the wind is pushing us against the dock and I don’t want to scrape the boat. We’ll recenter the boat and then you can walk back with it as we pull out holding us away from the dock. Is that ok?” But instead what came out was “Come on John you know better than that- what the hell did you release that line for?” Which comment would garner me respect from him and the other crew?
Next thing that set me off was after we had reefed the mainsail and were heading on a beam reach, the mainsail was sheeted in too tight and so I said let out the mainsail. Two crew members blew out the reef. OMG. So I went into lambast mode again. Now I’m looking like a real jerk again. After the lambasting they claimed that my instructions were not clear. In my mind and my language I’m going “wow if were on a beam reach and the sail is sheeted in tight – isn’t it bloody obvious that let out the main sail means let out the sheet not the reef. OMG.”
So what’s happening here? Sounds like a corporate project meeting gone wrong with a leader promoted above their abilities doesn’t it. Blame, yelling, stamping excuses.
I’m keeping this in first person, accepting personal responsibility for this and blogging this publicly because I want to make the point that even though I think I’m a good leader on a boat look who I turned into – this is not me – I’m always being told that I am the calmest captain ever – because I know this stuff – but what the @#$%. What happened was I let my self down and my internal known leadership skills.
What should I have done in that last instance? Well first off – there is no danger – you’ve got to accept that – next confront the fact that you are frustrated – next use this knowledge here to know that frustration is not going to solve the issue.
In Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he discusses this topic. He presents that Humans have the ability to observe an action, think about it and then after they have thought about it then they can decide on a reaction – that highly effective people are conscious of this and engage this in their everyday, every moment life. It’s a good read by the way.
So thinking about it – venting frustration is not the most effective way to handle blowing out the reef. Best way to handle that is to accept responsibility for not being clear. Equally obvious is that if a crew member blew out the reef then they did not know what they were doing. They did not do it vindictively – they did it out of lack of knowledge that I assumed they had. So best way is to remedy the situation. “Whoops, I’m sorry that was my mistake for not being clear. Let’s get the boom out, bring the reef back in and then we’ll set the main sheet to match our heading.” Then perhaps ask a question to re-involve the crew and gain some interaction. “BTW does anyone have any desired direction they want to go today”. i.e. you’re showing that whilst you have the technical issues of sail set down pat, you are involving the crew in overall strategic decision making.
Next thing that set me off was that as I moved to the bow of the boat to set up the genaker with the owner, I left a crew member in charge of maintaining course (same one who blew out the reef). The boat began going all over the place, I yelled back “sail the boat will you”. Then it got worse and worse with the owner jumping in and now throwing a tissy fit that he didn’t appreciate being told what to do.
This is a signal folks. Good friends at log aheads and with the crew sitting there too shocked to say anything.
As soon as you recognize something is going on like this on a boat, you have to put on your good leader hat and swallow crow and realize that you have created the situation and accept responsibility. With the owner now spitting the pacifiers out of the cot I should certainly have gotten privately together with him and had a talk. Afterward we realized it was over something small but significant enough to set him off – but only because I had created the “set off atmosphere” and he’d been breathing the bad air.
Jim Cathcart a national speaker and author developed “The Acorn Principle”. It says that an acorn already knows that it will turn into a mighty oak. From that he developed the concept of asking yourself in any situation “How would the person I want to be – do the thing I’m about to do”. For example, how would Lincoln have solved this? Applying this then you have to ask yourself, “if I am to be the best leader of this boat (corporation, government, non profit, team, family) what should I do now.” If you know the story of Shackleton, you might ask “how would shackleton have solved this? Almost immediately this has the effect of settling you down with the answer. At any point on that day adventure – if I had asked myself that question the day would have been completely different. The answer surely would not have been “to get frustrated and yell and embarrass crew members”. Moreover it would have been more like “To help fix the situation in a positive manner, involve the crew, make sure they are having a good time and if someone does something stupid – it’s not stupid to them”
Finally I’m going to address the safety of the boat vs people management issue because some will say “well dang it – it’s my responsibility to save the boat and if we are in a bad situation then people’s feelings don’t matter”. To answer that I’m going to call rubbish. Not matter which way you cut it, that is bad leadership and you’ll create panic, uncertainly arguments and mutiny (ask Captian Bligh who’s been tagged as the biggest jerk captain ever). If you’ve got a sinking boat, a bad storm, a life situation your good leadership skills are more paramount than anything. Leadership will save the boat, get you through the storm and save a life. Good leadership might go like this “Crew we have a serious situation, I know what to do and I will need all your help and agreement to get us through this as a team. As a team we will solve this. Can I have your agreement?” If there is an injury then you can then ask “who is the best at bandages?”. You see, you don’t have to say I know what I am doing and take over the bandages. You’re establishing command and leadership and involving the crew. When you get a difficult crew member arguing with you it’s best to take that person aside. Put on your leadership hat lower your voice, listen and say to yourself how would Lincoln have solved this? Perhaps if you really listen to one of your crew (generals) one just might have a good idea but would otherwise be too scared to bring it up. A one minute good leadership meeting will do more to save your boat and crew than any amount of barking orders and trying to command civilians from your self appointed captain’s seat.
If there is one thing you can take from this article, please take the acorn principle “how can I be the best leader in this situation right now?”
That and make sure you get out of the right side of the bunk everyday – that goes for life too.
Like it? Please “LIKE” it.
PS – if you’re taking a bareboat charter trip please get all your crew to read this article then get them to take the Bareboat Charter Sailing Course (you too). The course is not a repeat course on how to sail a boat – it’s more about making sure everyone has the right information to make the trip a success – after all that is what you are going for – a good time right? Who wants to have a crappy time on a sailing vacation because the crew didn’t gel? Also available in iBook format here – Bareboat charter sailing iBook on iTunes for iPad.
Take the Bareboat Charter Course
Why doesn’t a sailboat tip over?
If you like this article, please “LIKE” it – helps others understand sailing.
Here’s an animation that shows the balance of forces actually it is technically the balance of moments. First off then we’d better explain moments. Simply explained, If you hold your hand out straight and some one puts a pound weight in your hand that is harder to hold than if they put the same pound on your elbow. Even easier – if they put the pound weight right by your shoulder. It’s the same pound weight but it was the Moment that was straining your muscles not the weight. Moment then is weight x distance.
- What tends to tip the boat over is the moment of the wind force high up in the sails.
- What tends to right the boat back is the keel weight and the distance it is off center.
So now watch the animation 10 times over or so and watch each dynamic as it is happening. Then refer to my extra text below.
Use the green “incr. wind” button. This interactive animation is best observed using Google Chrome browser.
We’ve said it many times over in our courses that the force on the sails is the pressure x the area on the sails on which the wind is acting on. The pressure is proportional to the velocity of the wind squared. Why? – just is.
And from above the Moment is the force x height of the place where the wind is considered to singularly act. This is called the center of the pressure. The center of pressure is the position on the sail whereby if we replaced all the wind all over the sail with an equal force at some position – that would be the position called the center of pressure. On a right triangle sail the point is 1/3 of the way up the mast.
So the tipping moment is proportional to area, height and wind speed squared.
So what really happens is – the wind tips the boat over a bit, this shifts the keel weight off centerline a bit. The boat will continue to heel over until the tipping moment by the wind is equal to the moment from the keel being off center. At this point the boat will stop heeling over further and the moments are balanced.
Now the wind picks up again – and again the boat heels over further and the keel does some righting – but also notice that the area of the sail presented to the wind has reduced and also the height to the COP has also reduced. So as the boat heels – area and height decrease on the tipping side of the equation.
At all times for the boat to not continue to heel further the moments of tipping and righting have to be balanced.
i.e. keel weight x distance = area x height x vel²
The only dynamic input to the system is the wind – everything else in the equations are just working to balance the vel²
And notice that all of area, height and keel distance off center are just an output from heel. So it is the heel that is purely balancing the wind force on the rig. Durh we knew that but perhaps you had not seen the equations like this.
Now go back and run the animation some more. Notice that the two moments are always in balance.
So also extrapolate – when the boat heels way way (way) over – there is almost no sail area presented to the wind and the height (h) has reduced also – where as additionally the keel distance off center has moved way out which is acting to pull the keel down (boat upright) again.
So next time you’re out there and the boat heels way (way) over – don’t worry every little thing is going to be alright. You’ve got mathematical equations working in your favor. Area and height are reducing and keel distance off center are increasing.
Best you check the keel bolts every now and again however! Yup that’s be a problem!
If you liked this – you should take the NauticEd Day Skipper Course. It’s a beginner to intermediate sailing course that gets you quickly up to speed on stuff like this using multimedia teaching. Watch this video and learn about the Skipper Sailing Course.
If you like this post – please ”LIKE” it and g+1 it – It helps keep our waterways clean.
Here’s how to fuel up your sailboat without spilling a drop of fuel into the water.
Hi all – for years I struggled with fueling up the boat and trying my best to not spill any diesel in the water. Now here is your non stress easy way to fuel up guilt free. Use the simple -siphon device. It’s got a one way check valve – just pump it up and down a few times, the hose pipe fills with fuel and off it goes. Buy one and save from dripping even one tiny drop into the water.
Watch the movie
This tip and hundreds of others are a full part of becoming a sailor and … you learned it here online. Sailing is absolutely about having your hand on the tiller and the wind in your face but also a major part of learning to sail is the tips and tricks and theory. All of which you can pick up inside the NauticEd Sailing Courses and at the same time gain a recognized sailing certification.
Continue to grow your sailing knowledge properly from the experts by taking the NauticEd Skipper Course. This is our beginner to intermediate sailing training class that everyone should start out on. An already expert sailor will also agree that this tip above comes from pure practical knowledge, it’s doubtful that it is in any hard printed text books. It’s just something that you’d learn randomly from bumping into the right person on the docks one day – either that or you learn all the tricks from the experts here at NauticEd. I love it when a rookie can teach a salty ol’ dog something. By knowing this stuff like the above, you’ll be doing that. They’ll say “wow where did you learn that trick?” and you’ll say “oh – online”!
Watch our Skipper Sailing Course Video
Wanna get in the mood of sailing a catamaran? Watch this video we just posted. It features a Lagoon 52 sailing in the clear waters of the Bahamas. We have embed this video into the start of the Catamaran Sailing Confidence course to get our catamaran students in the mood for taking the course. When they see what they can have with a little knowledge – it motivates them to complete the course.
Check it out.
On the same topic, last night a group of my friends and I met up at our friends Richard and Kathleen’s place. They announced that they are chartering a 46 ft Catamaran for a month with their 8 year old in Martinique this summer. He invited his friends to come in a week at a time to take advantage of the 2 spare cabins. A month we all said? Nice for some! And yes I agree – it will be nice and they deserve it. They work hard. Richard and Kathleen have been friends of mine for 12 years. He and his wife first joined us on their first charter to Belize in 2003 and they were instantly hooked. Since then he has learned to sail and skipper a boat himself and last night was a great surprize for all of us – a month – A MONTH! His justification was simple – this is life he said. If not now when? They are going to use this month as a test to see how they like an extended trip. Anyone who has chartered knows that a week is just too short. If they like this then they will gradually increase this and build up to buying a Cat and using it to eventually head off to the blue.
I just thought this is a great real story of real people who are challenging themselves just a little. It’s inspiring and I’m proud to be the one who got them started all those years ago – I was lucky in that they were great students and friends. Similary, we all at NauticEd are proud of you, that you’re taking the courses and working towards your sailing certification. We are always here to help you get what you want out of sailing and perhaps we’ll meet on the water some day.
So speaking of inspiring, We just updated our Catamaran Sailing Course with new professionally shot video and hi res pics courtesy from Lagoon Catamarans. The feedback coming in is awesome and we are really excited to have this very practical Catamaran Sailing course to inspire you step up to the challenge of chartering a cat next time.
Here is the video we have posted which discusses the nuts and bolts of the Catamaran Sailing Course.
If you’ve never sailed a Cat before – we think you’ll beleive it’s time after watching that video.
While the thought of sailing a cat can be a little intimidating, we can assure you that after taking our Catamaran Sailing Confidence course, you’ll be ready to give it a try. The principles are essentially the same but there are just a few nuances that are different. One being is that it is incredibly important to reef the sails at the prescribed wind speeds. This is because the cat does not heel. When a monohull heels over, the sails see less wind presented to them which reduces the forces on the mast and rig. Rather – on a cat when the wind speed increases, the forces increase with the square of the wind speed i.e. when wind gusts from 10 knots to 20 knots the forces on the rig have gone up 4 times.
A couple of other things are that a cat will tend to get stuck in irons as you tack over. You can prevent that if you delay the release of the headsail. This backwinds the head sail just a little and assists the cat from coming through the wind. The traveller on a cat is so long that you can really make use of this to twist out the top of the sail for wind efficiencies.
And what about maneuvering a cat in a tight marina – sounds scary? Actually not. Play our catamaran maneuvering game and you’ll see that you can spin a cat inside its own length, stop, go sideways, backup easily, there are no worries with propwalk etc. You’ll be delighted with its maneuverability far beyond a monohull.
All this and more are fully explained in the Catamaran Sailing Confidence course with awesome multimedia.
Catamaran Sailing Confidence
And Also available on iPad from the iTunes store – visit our sailing apps page
Catamaran Sailing Confidence as an iPad App eBook
Using a Solar Panel for a boat
Lake Travis in Austin Texas is about 40 feet down right now with over 50% of the water gone. That’s not good! But also it’s not good because they’ve pushed out the docks so far that the marina company no longer supply electricity to the dock. This left a highly disappointed crew last week when we went to go out – the batteries were flat on our 37 foot Beneteau. Grrrr!
Enter technology! Today I received in the mail a 7 watt solar panel – it’s about 14 inches square.
Solar Panels are a perfect solution for no electricity at the dock
I bought it from Defender – who are a major chandlery supplier in the USA
Here’s the link http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|328|2290044|2290048&id=2363892
I’ll head out to the boat this weekend to install it.
Just doing a little math here – at 12 volts, this solar panel will pump out about 1/2 an amp (0.583) (Watts = volts x current). An average battery holds 90 amp.hours of energy. That means we need to put in 90 amp.hours of energy to fully charge it – at 1/2 amp that will take 180 hours – or 22 days (8 hours per day of sunlight) . Whoops that is not so good but we really don’t need it topped off to get enough energy to start the engine.
We’ll run the experiment and report back here – stay tuned. Just blind intuition says about 3 days will do it.
Solar panels are best used to keep a battery topped off not for a full deep charge. They are especially useful for boats that do not have an alternator charging the battery i.e. boats with outboards. The solar panel in this situation will help keep your house batteries fully charged.
Solar panels for boats are in expensive – around $50 and well worth the reduction in frustration.
Stay tuned to this experiment.
PLease “LIKE” this post – it helps us grow.
Catamaran Sailing Course
Catamaran Sailing Confidence
If you like this post please “LIKE” it – it helps us grow – thx.
Along with the very exciting news of NauticEd joining forces with Lagoon Catamarans to bring Catamaran Sailing education to the market, we have announced our latest update to the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course.
The interactive Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course is available online in browser and PDF format and as an App eBook from the Apple iTunes Store.
It is organized in three modules:
- On Board
- Anchoring and Maneuvering
and will give the student ample education on how to convert their monohull sailing experience into confident operations of how to sail a catamaran.
Module 2 features an interactive game which has the student maneuvering the Catamaran in and around a marina using the dual throttle controls.
View our about the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course video.
When you take the Catamaran Sailing course you will also take a test associated with each module. Upon passing the tests, the Catamaran sailing knowledge endorsement will be added to your NauticEd Sailing Certification. This is viewed by yacht Charter Companies world wide and is used to determine if you are a worthy client to consider for a Catamaran Charter.
Catamaran Sailing Confidence as an iPad App eBook
Both the online version and the Apple App Catamaran Sailing eBook version feature hi resolution photographs and embedded animations to give the student a rich and compelling educational experience. This is the only eCourse of it’s kind in the world and is jam packed full of Catamaran Sailing tips and tricks to help you convert from a monohull with high confidence.
The online version of the Catamaran Sailing Course has the test embedded at the end of each module. When you do the iPad version, only the content is supplied and you will be given a promocode which represents the cost of the eBook. You use this promotion code to buy the online course and you take the test online. OR you can use the NauticEd iPad testing App to take the test – but this must still be after you have bought the course online. You may need to tap “refresh test questions” on your iPad App this makes the App check the database to ensure you have bought the test.
The PDF downloadable version is available to the student after the Catamaran Sailing course is purchased online
The investment in the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course is only $27 and considering that the knowledge will vastly enhance your experience, the investment is well worth it.
Take the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course from NauticEd now.
NauticEd is the world’s largest and most advanced
online sailing education and sailing certification company.
How to make sailing part of your bucket List
Welcome to 2014
(if you like this post please “LIKE” it – it helps us grow)
Austin Texas is an inland City with a nearby lake. It’s hardly an international sailing hub. When you think of Austin, you think of music, technology, the University of Texas, and good weather. So for someone who lives here or a place similar, you’d think that having sailing on their bucket list is a bit unrealistic. In fact – I have spent the better part of my adult life here and obviously I’m an active sailor and internationally renown as the Director of Education for NauticEd. How So?
I gained much of my original experience by joining the Austin Yacht club and sailing in the local regattas. And I have to admit that much of my finer technical sailing knowledge came from those many regatta races. More recently whilst living in New Zealand I gained some powerful knowledge by racing with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club on a Beneteau First 45. To run the boat effectively we needed 12 crew members. The crew we consistently had on the boat were experienced professional yacht racers who would fly all over the word to race in the big regattas. Can you imagine the experience you would gain sitting next to those guys and racing week after week. And also think of the fun and connections I made during those races.
Now, before you leap up and say but I don’t want to race – consider this.
When a sailboat racing next to you is inching ahead moment by moment you learn quickly the importance of accurate sail trim. And talk about drilling in the rules of the nautical road – wow when you’re on collision course with dozens of yachts you’ve got to know the rules. So, racing is not necessarily about racing – racing is the very best practical education you can get.
Racing on a Beneteau First 45 in Auckland Harbor with a dipping pole spinaker
When I raced in Auckland and in Austin, it was on a boat brand called an OPB (Other Person’s Boat). i.e. at the time, I did not own a boat – yet I got plenty of experience. In fact, I got more experience than most people in the world who own a boat because I was out sailing every regatta with a commitment to my ship mates to show up and help lest they not place in the top 3 positions. AND racing is about the only place you will ever learn how to effectively sail with a spinaker or a genaker.
HERE”S THE CRUX
If you’re looking at new years resolutions – consider joining your local yacht club. YOU DON”T NEED A BOAT TO JOIN A YACHT CLUB.
By joining a Yacht Club this year you will be able to:
- Fill your logbook with good experience
- Learn practical sailing at very high levels
- Meet lots of like minded people and form good sailing buddies
- Gain sailing and leadership confidence
What’s the first step? Well, just pick up the phone and call the yacht club silly – tell them you don’t have a boat but are interested in racing events.
Here’s a big fact. Virtually all boat owners are desperate for crew for either racing or cruising events. This is proven by the dozens of post-its on the yacht club notice board from skippers looking for crew. Get out there and post your own notice like the one on the left below.
Typical Yacht Club Notice Board
OK here’s another tip for becoming more active in Sailing.
Chances are you know some one who has a boat – I can guarantee you this. They are disappointed they don’t go sailing more often enough and they don’t have as many friends to go sailing with as they need. It seems like to them that when ever they want to go sailing they can’t find a friend to go with them. Seems crazy but it’s true. When I ran a large shared boat company, the biggest reason for attrition was the fact that our members could not find people to go sailing with so they quit.
Email your friends with boats right now and say – Hey John I’m wanting to make sailing more of a thing for me in 2014. If you’re ever stuck for a sailing buddy let me know – I’ll be there with the sandwiches and refreshments. Then add – I just took a sailing course from NauticEd and it’s gotten me super excited about heading to the Caribbean one day for a sailing vacation but I need more practical sailing experience. Perhaps if you’re up for it you could teach me some of the practical ropes as well.
That’s all you have to say!
But Don’t Show Up as a Rookie
So now the trick is to not show up as a complete rookie. By combining the powerful theory knowledge with on the water practical knowledge is going to make you a more enjoyable student / sailing buddy for your friends. So we recommend that you at least start out with the Skipper Rank Bundle of Courses. This will lead you quickly to the Skipper Rank. You obtain Rank by adding practical experience to your NauticEd logbook and in the special case of Skipper Level 1. you can gain this by visiting one of our affiliated training sailing schools and getting practical verification sign-off by an instructor. Additionally, if you don’t see a close by sailing school to you just contact us and we’ll call your school for you to get them on board.
If you’re sick of letting life slip by:
- Take the NauticEd Skipper Rank Bundle of Sailing Courses
- Call a sailing school to get your basic practial training done
- Email/call friends with sailboats
- Call the local yacht club
And on top of all that – keep in mind that NauticEd can help you design a perfect sailing vacation (for no fee). We research the best prices and locations for you and give advice about each location – we’ve been to most. And even if you’re not qualified yet to charter a boat on your own, sometimes the best way to go is to use a local Captain – who knows all the hide away places. We can arrange that too.
As you can see, you can become more actively involved in sailing this year and a sailing vacation can be a reality even if you don’t own a boat. All it takes is a couple of phone calls and doing the NauticEd Sailing Courses.
Here’s a video about our NauticEd Skipper Sailing Course
Cheers and Welcome to 2014
Director of Education
(if you like this post please “LIKE” it – it helps us grow)
Hey – I bought this coffee maker for my birthday yesterday and it is so awesome that I thought I’d share it because it is perfect for a boat due to light and small and low clean up and quick.
Basically – you put highly ground coffee in the tube, pour in boiling water, stir and wait 20 secs then push down the airtight plunger. It forces all the water through a paper filter through to the cup below. And man does it make a good one. Much better than a french press. You can adjust teh strength for individual tastes, and it will raise the mainsail (ok not quite but…)
Highly highly recommended for sailors. And if you’re going chartering – you can even pack it with you to take.
Update – this makes such a good cup that I am almost exclusively using this at home now for my regular morning cuppa.