Navigation: Distance off a point method or double the angle

Posted by Director of Education on January 13, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Each of our course pages has a nano-forum (called SeaTalks) attached so that students can comment on the content of that page. Recently a student asked a question on the nano-forum about the distance off/double the angle method and pointed out something which when we did the geometry analysis it turns up something quite revealing.

The distance off method uses basic geometry to determine the distance from an object without doing a fix on a chart. It is quite brilliant. First I’ll explain the concept then show you the failings of it.

The concept is basic triangle geometry.

distance off method double the angle

Distance-off or double the angle method

It says that when you have traveled a distance so that the angle to an object has doubled  that the distance you traveled is the same as the distance from the object. All you have to know is your speed and the time you traveled. This comes from the fact that when the angle is doubled then the inside angle next to it is 180 – 2 x the angle. Thus since the sum of all angles in a triangle must = 180 then the unknown angle becomes the same. Thus it is an equilateral triangle and b must equal a.

So for example, say you are traveling at 5 knots and you spot a lighthouse ahead and to port @ time 1030. You measure the angle from your bow to the light house which you find to be 33 degrees. Over time you monitor the angle, when it reaches 66 degrees you note the time of 1105.

The time you traveled was: 35/60 = 0.583 hours

The distance then was speed x time = 5 knots x .583 hours = 2.92 nm

So simple! Right?

Here is the catch. What is your course? Do you know it? Not really, there is leeway (sideways pushing of your boat on the wind) and quite possibly current. The geometry equation fails when the heading (direction your boat is pointing) and the course over ground do not match. It is because you are measuring the angle from the bow to the object, which is not necessarily your course over ground. Often times these can be 10-20 degrees or more in a sailboat. Less so in a power boat where the speed is higher so current is less of a % and leeway is reduced.

All well if you know your course, but where did you get it from? GPS? Well then you definitely know where you are so you don’t need this method. 3 point fixes? Well then you definitely again have a chart and know where you are. So hmmmm what is one to do with this seemingly useless geometric wonderland that in practice does not work?

You could estimate your leeway and apply the correction to your heading and you could consult the tide current table to estimate the current effect of your heading. For example, say your leeway was 10 degrees to starboard in the example above (no current). Then the real angle from your course to the object would be 43 degrees. You should wait until the object then is at 86 degrees off your course which is 86-10 =76 degrees off your heading off the port bow.

Distance off with correction

Distance off with correction

We have this same discussion in our Coastal Navigation Course.

Take the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course online NOW. Get real practical training and examples. Do it in your own time and take the tests as many times as you like – forever.

Searching for a leak in the boat

Posted by Director of Education on January 11, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Over the past few months, we’ve had excessive water in our Beneteau 373. If you don’t know, water is supposed to be on the outside of the boat. Only Rum and a few other libations are supposed to be on the inside.

So, yesterday we got fed up and launched a search and plug campaign. This meant thinking of every possible scenario of why water might be in the boat. So here is a list of things to check. Look for discolored water streaks next to any suspect area. If need be, sprinkle talcum powder next to the seacock and observe over time if a trail of water is left.

We had some discussions about the sheer volume of water in the boat (still under the floor boards) so we knew the culprit had to be big. A few days before when we checked the boat there had been a big rainstorm so hmmm we thought that might be something. But after a thought, we realized that to get approx 50 gallons of water of water into the boat from a rain storm would not be a little crack somewhere.

General integrity inspection: – We walked the entire boat looking for any cracks and culprits. We found a crack inside the anchor locker. We plugged the exit hole and hosed about 20 gallons of water into the anchor locker. Over the next hour or so the water level had not moved. Nope – not that one.

Seacocks: – These are through hull valve fittings whereby drain hoses plug into. There are a lot. Many are above the outside water level but also many below: Galley seacock, handbasin seacock, air conditioning cooling water inlet, shower drain, toilet maserator,  toilet water inlet, refrigerator drain, raw water cooling inlet for engine. Seacocks usually have a handle to turn to close the valve. Don’t discount above the water line seacocks. Once on another boat we kept getting water into the boat but only while under sail. Turned out that the drain hose from the basin to an above water line seacock had fallen off. When the boat heeled to port the seacock was under water. Our inspection revealed every seacock to be dry and clean. Moving on.

Bilge pump exit: – This is usually above the water line but you should inspect the fittings and connections all the way back, since the exit will be below the water when healing which could suck water back in. There is a check valve (one way valve) in the line to stop water flowing backwards, check that. Checked! Nope.

Packing gland, stuffing box: – The propeller shaft exits out of the boat through the stuffing box. This is below the waterline and is thus often a source of water leaks. A packing gland is inside the stuffing box to create the seal but since the shaft turns it is difficult. Some boats have an “active gland”. This has a turning screw inside the stuffing box to move water towards the seal and create back pressure. If your boat has this, you will see next to the stuffing box an inlet seacock and a tube from it to the stuffing boat. All are sources of leaks. Our active stuffing box proved dry as.

Sail Drive: – This is an alternate shaft drive system used mostly in Europe. The shaft in encased in a housing that exits the boat vertically though the hull. Gears change the direction of the drive to horizontal where the propeller attaches. The sail drive unit is a potential source of leaks.

Toe rail: –  All along the tow rail, there must be a seal to prevent water getting into the boat. Inspect this. For obvious damage or gaps. The toe rail covers and protects the seal between the molded hull and the molded top of the cabin. You can test for leaks by closing all hatches and shutting off all egresses. Then use a shop vac on reverse blow to pressurize the inside of the boat. You’ll have to tape up pretty good the area where you stuffed in the shop vac hose. Now soap down the hull of the boat and look for bubbles. We did not get around to this since we knew the leak was bigger than a tiny crack.

Side stay deck connections and chain plates: – Once on my friend’s boat, the mast came down under sail because he forgot to check the deck seal where the sidestays (shrouds) go through the deck and chain plate to the bulkhead below. The entire bulk head rotted out over time because of constant water getting into the boat. Checked! Ours –  fine.

Water Heater: – The water heater fills from the water tanks. If the water heater is allowed to freeze it will blow out a safety stop then anytime you turn on the water supply pressure you are pumping fresh water tank water into the boat. Checked! All good.

Water tanks: – Many boats have a plastic water tank whereby the inlet and exit from the tank are on top. This prevents water leaks out the bottom – but … maybe your tank is not like this. Our water tanks were in good shape and all holes are in the top.

Hatches: – Close hatches and get out the hose. All good here.

Rudder: – The boat is usually designed with a hollow rudder post that is molded into the boat and the post rises above the water line (clever). Thus, unless this is all cracked from hitting the bottom its unusual to see a leak here. But check it anyway. Use the talcum powder if suspicious. No tell tale signs on ours.

Keel: – The keel is bolted through the hull to the top of serious stringers molded into the hull and there is a seal between the keel and hull to prevent water coming in. The bolts are highly tensioned. This technology has been essentially perfected over the years but … older boats, poor quality manufacturing, or groundings can affect the integrity of this seal. There are lots of articles on the net on how to fix a leaking keel. With out pulling the boat, ours looked fine.

Air conditioner: – Ah ha – the culprit (we think). So … a few months back the air conditioner was playing up a little so we took a look. The raw cooling water strainer was full of junk (we cleaned that) and the pan that collects the condensate was pretty rusty with a collection of condensate water in it. And there was rusty water in the bilge which meant the rusty pan had been spilling water over and out of the pan. So we had our local AC boat guy do two things (1) Add freon and (2)  install a venturi vacuum hose with a one-way check valve into the cooling water line to keep the pan dry. Unfortunately, we surmise, he forgot to properly tighten the clamps around the cooling water line. AND SO – every time the AC was running it was pumping water into the boat. That was only part of the mystery because after we fixed that (before the rain storm) somehow the bilge was still full after we tightened the clamps and pumped the bilge dry. Hmmmm – so what we figured out was that water was still in between the hull and the subfloor and while the rain storm did not add water to the boat the 40 knot wind rocked the boat around enough to allow water to slush around enough to come out of the weep holes into the bilge. We tested the hypothesis by rocking the boat ourselves. Sure enough, during the rocking, water came out from under the subfloor and flowed into the bilge. We stuck the shop vac up into the weeps holes and right now we have the heater set on 85 deg F to dry out the boat with a hatch cracked open to let the steam out.

(Update – checked the bilge again today – it is dry – yay – whew!)

What is very interesting is how effective the venturi is on the air conditioning cooling line. Using a venturi is a way to create a vacuum when water is flowing. So what we are considering is to vent the condensate pan directly to the bilge always and run the venture line down into the bilge. This way the venturi takes care of not only the condensate but other water in the boat any time the AC is running. This is Texas and so even if we are not at the boat we run the dehumidifier selection on the AC. We have a strainer/filter in the venturi line so that it does not clog up the cooling water line and the venturi valve it placed in the line close to the exit out of the boat.

Here is a pic of the venturi line stubbed onto the AC cooling line:

Venturi Valve inserted into the AC cooling water line creates vacuum to empty the condensate pan

Venturi Valve inserted into the AC cooling water line creates vacuum to empty the condensate pan

And here is a pic of the AC with bilge and the AC raw cooling water line and the AC system. From this you can see how we can run the venturi line down into the bilge.

AC raw cooling water system

AC and AC raw cooling water system

Hint – don’t forget to clean your AC raw cooling water strainer.

If you liked this post, consider taking our NauticEd Skipper Course. Our education goes a step above. The course is also now available in paper book format from Amazon. See this page for a listing of our sailing books.

Sailing Vector Game

Posted by Director of Education on December 13, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Learn Sailboat Giveway Rules and Cure Boredom at the Same Time.

Here is a fun sailing game you can play ol’ school like when stuck on an airplane with a sailing buddy. It’s kinda like the old Race Car Vector Grid game but better ’cause it’s sailing. If you can drag your kids off the iPad, give it a go with them as well.

If you like this game LIKE it over there —>

Sailing Vector Game

 

Here is an example of a basic course layout.

Sailing Vector Game grid example course

And here is a blank sheet to create your own courses

Sailing Vector Game grid blank

Take a piece of Math Grid Paper. At the bottom left draw a horizontal start line approx. 6 squares across.

Draw the wind direction directly down the page. Lay out a course. For example, first buoy to windward, then second buoy across the page to the right, then 3rd buoy to leeward close to the bottom right of the page then back to first buoy then back through the start finish gate. Label the buoys Port or Starboard meaning the side of the boat all boats must leave the buoy to when rounding. Draw in some menacing islands.

Here is an example of a game played which takes about 20 minutes.

Sailing Vector Game play

A game played

Playing the Game

Read the rules through a few times. You’ll start to get it after a while. Pay particular attention to allowable maneuvers and giveway rules.

Maneuvering

  • Boats move by vectors in the grid denoted as Upwind and Downwind and or across wind on Starboard or across wind on Port.
  • Upwind is listed as U, downwind is listed as D. Across wind is listed as S(starboard) or P (port). E.g 1U:2S means the boat moves 1 square towards the wind and 2 squares to the left (boat on starboard)
  • Boats can only maneuver by increasing or decreasing the previous vector by maximum of 1 in only 1 of the Upwind/Downwind or Port/Starboard directions. However, if both vectors equal then the boat can accelerate or decelerate by 1 up AND by 1 cross.
  • At anytime the minimum move will be at least 1 square.
  • Loose two turns for repairs if you hit an island or go off the board.

Upwind and Tacking Maneuvers

  • Boats can not move more than 45 deg into the wind i.e. the Up vector number can not be more than the cross wind vector number.
  • A boat can tack through the wind at anytime. When the boat tacks the next starting vector is 1U:1(S or P)

Upwind and tacking examples:

1U:1S can accelerate to 2U:2S then to 3U:3S then to 4U:4S
2U:2S can decelerate to 1U:1S
2U:2S can turn to 1U:2S or 2U:3S
3U:3S can tack to 1U:1P
1U:1S tacks to 1U:1P
0U:3S tacks to 1U:1P
5D:3P tacks to 1U:1S
2U:1S is invalid because it is too close to the wind i.e upwind vector is greater than crosswind vector

Downwind and gybing maneuvers

  • A boat can go in any downwind direction, but the down vector can not be more than 3 greater than the cross vector because of reduced apparent wind. i.e. 3D:0S, 4D:1P, 5D:2P are valid whereas 4D:0S, 5D:1S are not valid
  • A boat can gybe between S and P but each time it will loose speed by 1 in each direction. i.e. 3D:3S gybe goes to 2D:2P on the opposite tack setting. If the crosswind vector is 1, then it remains at 1 on the other gybe setting. e.g. 3D:1S gybe results in 2D1P
  • When going directly downwind i.e. 0(S orP) a gybe reduces the downwind by 1 but the 0 across remains 0. Thus, a gybe from 3D:0S will go to 2D:0P
  • When on a beam reach e.g. 0D:3P a gybe causes the boat to decelerate 1 in the cross direction but angles downwind by 1. e.g. 0D:3P gybes to 1D:2S
  • 1D:1S gybes to 1D:1P and vice versa

Downwind and gybing examples:

4D:1S gybe goes to 3D:1P
5D:2S gybe goes to 4D:1P
3D:0S gybe goes to 2D:0P
4D:1S can slow to 3D:1S
4D:1S can not accelerate to 5D:1S
0D:3S gybe goes to 1D:2S
3U:3S gybe goes to 2D:2P
1U:1S gybe goes to 1D:1P

Starting

  • Players start anywhere they select but 1 square downwind from the start line
  • Players can not be on or pass the start line until after their 4th turn
  • A Players first move is either 1S or 1P
  • No violation of the giveway rules prior to start

Giveway Rules:

  • A boat on Port can not come close abeam or forward of another boat’s position on starboard at anytime during its maneuver. Close is defined by all positions 1(U or D)1:1(S or P) relative to the starboard boat’s position that are abeam or forward.
  • When on the same tack, a windward boat can not land on any possible position of the leeward’s boat next landing position.
  • A Port boat can not land on any possible position of a starboard’s boat next landing position.
  • No boat can make a maneuver to force another boat to leave the page.
  • No boat may land on another boat’s current position.

Have Fun!

What to Take and What to Provision on a Bareboat Charter Vacation

Posted by Director of Education on December 12, 2016 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This is section 1.4 out of the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Course.

It is such good stuff that we made it available for free here. You’re Welcome!

Provisioning for a Bareboat Charter Trip

Food on a charter boatMany charter companies can stock and provision your boat before you arrive. This is a good idea for the basics but there is usually little imagination in the food that is supplied. So we recommend allowing the charter company to provision for basics but plan on a trip to the supermarket for the sometimes delectable local foods and cheeses. There is typically a large supermarket close to the charter base. But check with them before you arrive via phone or email. Even in non-English speaking countries, most people who will answer the phone at the charter base speak pretty good English.

In the BVI there are two good provisioning grocery stores in Road town that do a great job of catering to Yachties. You can order the provisions online through an online web portal, enter when you start your charter, which charter company Base and boat name (or your name on your charter contract) and they will reliably deliver everything to you.

Those two companies are:

Also, it’s a good idea not to go overboard on provisions. On most islands that you’ll visit during the trip you can get extra provisions and ice, so don’t buy too much. For those that are used to ice in their drinks, however, the Mediterranean is definitely lacking in ice machines so get used to one cube in your drink. There are often other remote places like Baja and Belize that have limited ability to re-provision. So definitely find out that information before you head out. Once while in the remote Baja region, we pre-arranged for a dive master to come out with their dive boat and meet us to lead a dive about 3 days into the trip. We also cleverly arranged for him to bring us more ice at the time.

More food on a charter boatHere’s a list of extra things to make sure you provide for your boat

  • Matches
  • Trash bags (big tough ones)
  • Zip lock bags
  • salt and pepper
  • TP (probably more than the charter company provides)
  • Paper towels
  • Bug repellent
  • More bug repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Cheap little hand towels
  • Rum (for your guests of course)

Once on the boat, the charter company will provide a check list, however also check these simple things that may not be on their check list:

  • Wine opener
  • Coffee maker
  • Cooler that does not have a leaky drain. Very Important!
  • The charter company will probably supply all your bedding but it’s a good idea to check each cabin is supplied

Things to bring from home

  • Little 12v dc to 110v AC inverter if you want to charge iPod, cell phone etc that need 110 volts.
  • Some boats do have inverters or generators but do you really want the noise of a generator just to charge a cell phone?
  • A 12-volt splitter. This allows multiple 12-volt plugs to allow multiple devices to be charging at one time. Very important if you’re taking more than a few people on the trip. Everyone thinks their cell phone/iPod is more important than everyone else’s. You’re a hero when you pull one of these devices out of the bag.
  • European to American style plug adapter. (Many charter boats are made in Europe and thus have round style ac plugs. Check this but most of your chargers these days take 230 or 110 volts input so you’ll just need an adapter and not necessarily a transformer)
  • iPod/cd’s
  • Hand-held GPS. Many charter boats have a GPS. Some don’t and some will be broken when you arrive or will break sometime during the trip
  • Cruising Guide and Anchorage Guide
  • A local area travel guide like Frommers etc.
  • Many times the charter co. will provide masks, snorkels and fins, however if you bring your own you’re guaranteed to have a good set.
  • Digital camera with extra memory sticks.
  • Cheap little hand towels. The charter co. will give each person two towels for the whole week. So these little towels can serve as face and hand towels and then finally as floor wiping towels.
  • Book of knots and short piece of line – for entertainment of the crew.
  • Deck of cards.
  • Other Fun stuff – we really have fun on our charters and we get into the mood. One time we took a Grinch suit.

The Grinch in Iles Des Saintes

On a catamaran, a good suggestion is to use a used towel as a floor mat just inside the doorway to the saloon. This eliminates sand and grime being tracked into the saloon area and throughout the boat.

Don’t bring from Home

  • A hard suitcase: There is just no room on the boat for it. Ensure you send out an email to your crew prior to the trip informing them of limited space and not to bring suitcases. Instead bring pack down and away duffle type, soft bags. Sometimes there is room at the base but they really don’t appreciate every charterer wanting to store bags in their small locker room for a week. (In that email we recommend that you recommend this Charter Clinic to your crew as well. They’ll learn lots of tips to help improve your experience as well.)

Click on and download this handy Provisioning Basics Shopping List PDF and store it on your smart phone. Note: there are a few things you can bring from home.

Regarding provisioning and cost sharing amongst a group, download this App. It is so well designed. Anyone can enter a group expense and at the end it sums it all up as to who owes who.

And here is a fun knot App to keep the crew entertained.

Android Version

Sailing Virgins in the BVI joins NauticEd

Posted by Director of Education on December 9, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

NauticEd Finds Sailing Virgins Sailing School

Only ten years ago America’s Cup contenders achieved around 13 knots boat speed. Now they are achieving close to 45 knots – in just ten years! Sailors in such a competition used to wear deck vests. Now they need body armor. Sailing is changing, fast.

Sailing Virgins is a sailing school born in this new environment: cool, fun, fast, and highly professional. With its core market of 20-40 year old adventurous professionals, the Sailing Virgins group quickly realized they would require a learning platform that suited the demanding lifestyles of people who don’t have a lot of free time and EXPECT 21st century cloud-based and App-based eLearning.

That’s why NauticEd and Sailing Virgins Work Well Together

As soon as a Sailing Virgins client signs up for a course, they are given online access to the NauticEd courses and can begin the theory component. No books; everything web and app based.

Then when students arrive at the Tortola, British Virgin Islands-based sailing school, they get straight on the boat and start sailing using their theory knowledge they have already gained (and passed the tests). Thus, exam day, which normally takes out most of a precious sailing day, is no longer a thing.  When in the BVI it’s all about sailing – gaining confidence and competence (and a fair bit of partying).

Courses are one week in duration, starting on a Sunday morning and finishing on a Saturday at lunchtime. There are three streams; Awesome Crew (for people who are figuring out the basics), Bareboat Charter Master (for people who want to charter their own boats) and Advanced Coastal (for people wishing to do longer sails and work in the industry). The calendar of courses is shown here (https://sailingvirgins.com/calendar-20162017/)

What does a typical day look like for a student in this Tortola, BVI Sailing School?

Waking up in a bay, a pre-breakfast swim off the back of the boat is a good idea. Then it’s coffee, breakfast, and a talk about the day. The instructor, using teaching methods refined in aviation training, has a mandate to balance professional teaching methods with keeping things fun.

What about the instructors?

All Sailing Virgins instructors have done time either skippering, route managing and/or instructing for sailing phenomenon The Yacht Week. They are fun, young, smart, professional, and hand selected. They have instructor certifications from the most revered sailing associations in the world. They can’t help but bring a little of the Yacht Week spirit into their courses. What they are definitely NOT are crusty ol’ sailors with a bearded boat. 

How do you get there?

What is the best way to reach the Virgin Islands? In Canada and the US there are direct flights from major east coast cities to St Thomas (STT). These include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, Newark and Philadelphia. Other US cities (including Los Angeles and other west coast cities) can typically reach St Thomas with one connection.

From St Thomas it is an easy one hour ferry to West End, Tortola. Then you have arrived in the home of Sailing Virgins. Their base, at the Fish n Lime, is literally a walk from the ferry terminal. The Fish n Lime also has accommodation for anyone wishing to spend time before and after their course on land.

Next steps

If you would like to know more about the courses offered by Sailing Virgins, click here. For a free e-book from them titled “How To Become A Professional Skipper” click here.

Welcome on board Sailing Virgins to the NauticEd Platform – your clients are going to love the whole experience.

Set and Drift or Direction and Rate Problem

Posted by Director of Education on December 6, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Just for practice – solve the following problem on the Long Island Sound Chart. This is the chart that we use in the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course.

 

At 2245 your GPS fixes your position at LAT 41 deg 01.75′ N and LONG 72 deg 48.40′ W. You are steering course 086 deg psc at a speed of 6.0 knots. At 2400 you fix your position at LAT 41 deg 04.2′ N and LONG 72 deg 38.85′ W. What were your set and drift?

Use the following
(1) Here is a pdf of the chart for you to work on
(2) On the chart, the variation is 14 deg W
(3) Since the problem says psc (per ships compass) we need to account of the ships compass deviation. In the NauticEd Coastal Navigation course exercises we used the following table.

 

Ships Compass Deviation Table

HDG MAG DEV HDG MAG DEV HDG MAG DEV
000° 2.0°E 120° 1.0°E 240° 3.0°W
030° 3.0°E 150° 1.0°W 270° 1.5°W
060° 4.0°E 180° 2.0°W 300° 0.0°
090° 2.0°E 210° 3.5°W 330° 1.5°E

Ans:

Set up the TVMDC table

T 074
V 14W
M 088
D  2E
C 086

Thus, your True heading on the chart is 074 deg T. Your water speed along this line is as given is 6 knots.

The time difference is 1 hour and 15 minutes = 1.25 hours. Thus in 1 hour and 15 minutes, you would travel 7.5 nautical miles.

Scribe a line 7.5 nm from the origin along 074 deg T line. This is your water position. The ground position is described by the GPS coords. Draw a line from your water position to the ground position. This is your 1.25 hour long current vector. It is headed due north and is 0.5 nm long. Since this happened in 1.25 hours the current speed is .5/1.25 = 0.4 nm/hr (knots).

Thus:

  • Set (or Direction) is 0 deg T
  • Drift (or Rate) is 0.4 knots

Note: Current is always expressed in deg True and always expressed in the direction it is heading whereas wind is expressed as where it comes from. Note and remember the difference – important.

No Cheating – do the problem first – here is the answer plot

Here is the real answer plot.

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 1

Posted by Director of Education on October 3, 2016 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This is the start to a 10-day blog series sailing on a Lagoon 450 with the yacht charter company BVI Yacht Charters based in Road Town, British Virgin Islands.

The Indians, arh the Indians – my favorite. If you miss the Indians you have missed the BVI. It is an integral part of any trip here. It is a staple of the snorkeling diet – an appetizer of what is to come for the week. We just finished an hour with the head pointed down in colorful wonderment. Wow. (Click the Arrows for a slide show)

The Indians are generally the first stop on a BVI roundabout. They are 5 miles Southwest of Road Town. So your first sail is easy. Pop the main and the jib and an hour and a bit later you’re there.

While I’m writing this we’re parked up in The Bight in Norman Island.

The Bight Norman Island

The Bight Norman Island

 

The Bight, Norman Island

The Bight, Norman Island

The day started as an awakening blur of yesterday’s travel. Not bad – 12 hours door to door from Austin, Tx to Miami to Saint Thomas,  USVI. Then a haul ass to the ferry to catch the 3:30 ferry from Charlotte Amalie, USVI to Road Town, Tortolla. The last ferry was at 4:30 which coincided with catching BVI Customs closing at 6:00. Whew –  basically seamless travel just a lot depends on things being on time which are out of your control like airlines.

At the end of it all, you sit back with a drink and say – Hey we’re on Island time, what does it matter? Stress has been banned from the Virgin Islands so you have leave your corporate training at home.

BVI Yacht Charters are located close to downtown Road Town – a really short taxi ride from the ferry terminal. Very convenient. And even more convenient, close to two Grocery stores RiteWay and OneMart. Most of the stuff you can order online through their websites and have delivered directly to your boat before you arrive. For the remaining items,  you can take a short stroll to the store with a cold beer in hand.

Road Town BVI

Road Town BVI

Tony from BVIYC gave us our boat check out briefing this morning and after signing my life away, as usual, we were ready to head out. We were exempted from the chart briefing because … well… I did write the book on it. I had to laugh with Kirstie in the office when she said “I know you wrote the book on it but have you been here before”. She was right to ask – any area you go sailing, you need a familiarity with the area for two reasons: (1) to make sure you have a good time and take advantage of all there is to offer, and more importantly,  (2) to make sure you know where all the dangerous stuff is. The NauticEd BVI Chart Briefing book and associated test is a comprehensive guide to sailing in the BVI. Those that have taken the test and passed it are able to skip the chart briefing and speed up the check-in process. In addition, it means you have all that information on hand.

I must say that the BVI check out crew were so efficient and awesome. The boat was immaculate and ready to go. They even lent us an audio jack cord for plugging in from the stereo to our iPhones (haa haa – everyone on our boat figured that each other would bring that cable – not one between all of us – don’t ever forget to bring a 3.5 mm audio jack to play your tunes.)

So, after a crew safety briefing, we released the dock lines and headed out. Yay. A short sail to Norman Island and my fav. the Indians.

For now, we are listening to a little Lyle Lovette in Pirates Bight, Norman Island. I hear some laughter on the front deck – I’m heading that way.

On shore in the Pirates Bight are two restaurants. Both are very (very) nice. Take a recently emptied credit card. But the experience and the beach is worth a visit at least.

On shore at Pirates Bight

On shore at Pirates Bight

At Willie T’s there is a universal singularity point. The laws of the universe are just different. What you think should apply, doesn’t. After drinks on the front deck of our boat, we moved to Willie T’s to observe this anomaly. But that is my point – soon observation turns into participation. If you can resist, the two things to try to avoid are: (1) the ski shots.  This consists of a water ski with 4 shot glass holes drilled into the ski. When it comes off the ceiling 4 souls are drawn seemingly by magic to put their lips to a shots glass and the ski tips back on its own volition with the smooth liquid pouring down warm throats; (2) Rafter swinging –  these do not end well. Assuming you’ve been working out at the gym, the challenge is to swing hand over hand along the steel rafters. The problem is that the rafters are rusty and all four crew members who tried and completed it (including one of our better-looking crew members) ended leaving the boat with less skin than they started with including yours truly. But at least the gym work paid off with a success grade in the swing. Skin was traded for self-esteem.

Willie T's Universal Singularity

Willie T’s. A Universal Singularity

And, in case you don’t know about Willie T’s – William T. Thornton was the architect who designed the U.S. White House. His boat was purchased and permanently anchored in Pirates Bight. It is now a floating bar with a dinghy dock. They serve some food but the main focus is the bar. It is not really a family place if you get my points from above.

Nighty Night. See you on Day 2!

NauticEd and its expert team are global brokers for the best sailing vacations. We’ve been just about everywhere and know the best spots. We can arrange the best boats and the best prices. In particular, if you want to go to the BVI, we are absolute experts.

If you’re unsure about your competence, well we are the absolute best in the world to bring you up to a proper and safe level of knowledge, skills, education, and globally accepted certifications.

Contact us about an awesome sailing vacation through this page.

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 2

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This is Day 2 of our sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450.

Needing a little hair of the dog from Willie T’s, the crew elected to sail to Jost Van Dyke island for our next stop over in White Bay where the famous Soggy Dollar bar serves the most delicious Pain Killers and other concoctions. My favorite however, is the Vanilla Killer and our bartender Sana serves them with a great smile. She has worked at the Soggy Dollar for 11 years.

Sana at the Soggy Dollar will take care of you

Sana at the Soggy Dollar will take care of you

The beach at White Bay is one of the more awesome beaches in the BVI. It is not to be missed. There are also several other restaurants and bars along the beach. Just be aware to leave the beach prior to dusk. No See’ems come out and will eat your legs off. Otherwise, during the day there are no bities.


There are two entrances to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke through the reef. The BVI is under IALA-B rules which means red right returning. Of course, me being from New Zealand, we had a heated discussion about which system is right including who drives on the correct side of the road. My point is that we have the steering wheel on the right side of the car. But … we’re in the islands who the heck cares who is right? Right? Hmmm what we we stayed on island philosophy?Just maybe that’s the answer to the world’s problems. I’ll be sure and send that to Washington.

Inside the reef next to the beach the anchoring can get little tight and it is pretty shallow. Expect 4 feet under your keel and 50 feet to your neighbor.

Shallow in White Bay. Anchor with Caution.

Shallow in White Bay. Anchor with Caution.

Swim your anchor and make sure it is dug in properly.

Check the anchor

Check the anchor

Day 2 was a little short due to the time aberration of Willie T’s which made us get up late. So pretty much all we accomplished that day was a sail from Norman Island to White Bay JVD and a Vanilla Killer and lots of laughs.

We did have one technical issue however where the Autopilot even though it said it was off was still controlling the helm. That was freaky. We rebooted the Navigation and everything was fine.

Ducks: There is a blue duck with is a sailing faux pas, then there is a black duck with is a sailing faux pas which costs money and then there is a Red duck with is the spillage of alcohol. That night a series of events lead us to riffle through them all but making a tremendous come back from a black duck to end in just blue and red. It started with Tim slipping down the stairs and spilling his red wine all over the cushion – Red Duck! So we immediately washed it off and set it up to dry. The blue duck was not ensuring it was secure. The potential black duck was that it blew away during the night. The downgrade to a blue duck was that we recovered it on the beach in the morning – now full of sea water and sand. We unzipped it, washed it all out, dried it in the sun on the front trampoline (secured this time) and zipped it back up better than new. Red –> Blue –> Black –> Blue+Red. Embarrassing all the same. Tie down the cushions durh!

See Day 1 of Our Sailing Trip to the BVI

Day 3 and Day 4

 

NauticEd and its expert team are global brokers for the best sailing vacations. We’ve been just about everywhere and know the best spots. We can arrange the best boats and the best prices. In particular, if you want to go to the BVI, we are absolute experts.

If you’re unsure about your competence, well we are the absolute best in the world to bring you up to a proper and safe level of knowledge, skills, education, and globally accepted certifications.

Contact us about an awesome sailing vacation through this page.

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 3 and 4

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper, Videos and photos | Comments are off for this article

This is day 3 and 4 of sailing in The BVI with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450.

DROP AND GIVE ME 20 yelled Jeff as we did mountain climbers, burpies, press ups and beach sprints for a morning workout. What a way to start a day and White Bay beach is the best for it. Imagine working out and jogging on this beach in the morning to work up a good sweat then just fall in the water at the end – now stop imagining and go there!

White Bay Beach

White Bay Beach, JVD, BVI

Sandy Cay was on our way to our next stop Cane Garden Bay. I’d never been to Sandy Cay before – always electing the much smaller Sandy Spit which is also very cool and not to be missed but Sandy Cay is pretty special too, now that I know. It has a most amazing white sandy beach with awesome swimming. We did a reenactment of Hallie Berry in the James Bond movie where he offered her a mojito as she came out of the water. But alas not as good as the original. Still, the model was great – biased option of course.

Mojito

Mojito? On Sandy Cay!

Don’t miss the incredible sandy beach at Sandy Cay – usually you can have this beach to yourself. (not after this blog goes viral though).

Still with plenty of time in the day we decided to reverse direction a little and go see Bubbling Pools at the north east end of JVD (Jost Van Dyke); between JVD and Little JVD. Here the wash of the water rushes through some rocks and ends up in a little pool. Since the water has been roughed up through the rocks, it is like a little jacuzzi -fun.

Bubbling Pools

Bubbling Pools

To get there, you anchor or grab a mooring ball next to Foxy’s Taboo (Not Foxy’s) and walk north along the trail for about ½ a mile. Turn left as you climb a little knoll. With a Northerly swell, Bubbling Pools can be a lot of fun and depending on the size of the swell can border on dangerous. Anyway, it is great to see and well worth the walk.  On the way, I walked past the Caribbean Manchineel poison apple tree and shot this video.

 

After Bubbling Pools we stopped at Foxy’s Taboo Restaurant. Of all the trips I’ve done to the BVI, this was the first time I had visited Foxy’s Taboo. Big mistake should have done it before because speaking of danger, they’ve got a few dangerous drinks which is dependant more on the swill than the swell.

Foxy's Taboo Jost Van Dyke

Foxy’s Taboo Jost Van Dyke

“Friggin in the Riggin” drink was the most popular amongst the crew.

Back to the boat we set sails for Cane Garden Bay. The entrance into Cane Garden Bay is well marked with a green and red. Keep red to right.

Cane Garden Bay Entrance

Cane Garden Bay Entrance

This is one of my more favorite spots in the BVI – why? Don’t know – just is. There is a long beach that is populated with bars and restaurants. It’s a little touristy as it caters to the Cruise ship crowd taxi’d over from Road Town. Still, the bay is quaint and the locals are friendly. There are heaps of mooring balls and if they run out you can save $30 and anchor just beyond the most outer mooring which is still pretty close to the beach anyway. There is a decent grocery store, Bobby’s – well decent enough to pick up a few extras. They could up their game a little on the vegies.

Cane Garden Bay

Cane Garden Bay

To the north end of the bay is a large pier where you can get fuel, water and ice. The bay is open to the north and west so stay away if there is a big swell as you’ll get slammed against the pier wall. We stayed in CGB for 2 nights just because of its idyllic setting. They have lots of water sports on the beach and a giant swimming area.

A quick digress: A note about the bays and beaches anywhere you go in the world. While it may seem obvious to us all, but the Charter Companies would rather you dump out the head rather than send it into the tanks. They do this to not clog the tanks or get calls from clients saying they flushed something they should not have could you please come unblock it. BUT please, no matter what they say, close the seacocks when in a harbor. Then just remember to dump after you get out away from the shore 3 miles.  

Back in Cane Garden Bay, the next morning we had a massive pig out breakfast with Bloody Mary’s to start the day. Then we went on a hunt for a set of flip flops for Jeff who blew out his flip flop (and stepped on a pop top) on the hike to Bubbling Pools yesterday.   Seemingly the day flew by but not without some serious fun in the water, fun with the dinghy and fun with the sea kayak. There was a weak call for to check out the night life on shore but moment later the call was followed by snoring. Yet again – failing from the experience of yesterday, we went from Blue to black and back to blue Ducks again. I mean come on people. We neglected to secure the Sea Kayak. Some rotten

Yet again – failing to learn from the experience of yesterday, we went from Blue to black and back to blue Ducks again. I mean come on people. We neglected to secure the Sea Kayak. Some rotten soles in the middle of the night went joy riding on our kayak that was tied up behind. They left the kayak at someone else’s boat. We only found out about the joy ride part rather than theft by a keen eyed crew member spotting a dinghy driving around the harbor towing a red sea kayak and stopping at each boat. This happened just as we had resigned ourselves to paying the rental company for the Sea Kayak. So potential black again turned to only blue. Notes to self and Crew. Let’s secure the boat properly prior to going to bed.

See Day 5 

See day 2 of sailing in the BVI with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450

Sailing in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days – day 5

Posted by Director of Education on under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

At the north west end of Cane Garden bay is the water and fuel dock.  To start the day. we topped off with water and fuel and headed out for a sail up the north side of Tortola. The

At the dock I filmed a couple of videos that we will be including in our upcoming Bareboat Crew Course.

Getting the line secured to the dock quickly and how to easily move the boat close to the dock

The 15 knot forecast turned to 30 knots and at the top end hitting 44 knots. We double reefed the main and head sail. Despite the reefing we were still hitting 7.5 knots max speed.  Sea state was about 6 feet, nothing too big but big enough to toss anything around not secured below. Still, the wind was plenty enough. What a great sail that was – yipee!

We doused the sails after the wind spiked to 44 knots. I mean, it’s nothing too much to handle but forces on the rig and lines are too much for a vacation especially when you have a choice. People get hurt when forces are this big. Stay safe.

We decided to stop at Monkey point for a snorkel. Years ago I had stopped here and been so impressed by the coral and fish. Today, not so much. The coral seemed mostly gone and about the only thing interesting to see was a lion fish. Pretty but a bloody nuisance to the reef. They have no predators and are a very invasive species. The BVI would rather be rid of them and are promoting that at least humans become their predator despite their poisonous spines. But apparently, they say the fish itself is nice to eat. I took this photo with my GoPro.

lionfish

 

With the wind coming out of the east at 35 knots we pressed on through Little Caminoe Cut and over to Scrub Island under power. Scrub Island Resort is supposed to be very fancy and so I thought we’d stop there for a fancy drink. One with fruit and an umbrella. Unfortunately, I think the pink flamingo floaty tied on the trampoline scared the Scrub Island folks into thinking perhaps we were not such the right client. Well actually pretty sure it was that their marina was full because they did say welcome and to anchor over there; pointing 2 miles away. Anyway, perhaps if they read this they might invite me back for a review. Suffice to say – here is their resort. It does look nice but probably you should book ahead if you want to stop there – even for a fruity drink.

Scrub Island Resort

Scrub Island Resort

Scrub Island Marina

Scrub Island Marina

Pushing on we elected to end our day at Savannah Bay; another of my favorites. There are three gorgeous beaches in Savannah Bay. No supplies are available so you need to be self-sufficient if you go here. The beaches are the best and it was a great opportunity to show case our boat the Lagoon 45 Catamaran.

 

You’ve got to be really careful with Savannah bay however. There is a big reef out front and the only entrance is on the west end. There are no mooring balls so you must anchor. Inside the reef there are a few other hazardous rocks and reefs but marked well and accurately on the GPS charts. Some charter companies are not too keen on you going in here.

Savannah Bay Entrance and Exit

Savannah Bay Entrance and Exit

You CAN NOT anchor at Savannah Bay if the wind and swell is out of the west. The reef does not protect you from the swell and you will have a very rocky night.

 

Entering Savannah bay we wondered slightly about all the power boats tied stern to the beach on the middle beach. Usually, Savannah Bay is pretty deserted. We were soon to find out why. See day 8. OMG.

 

On shore we played beach bats and then with out warning, along the beach comes Jonathan and Evette and family, our good friends from Austin. How random is that? Behind the beaches in Savannah bay are gorgeous condos for rent. They had just finished a week charter and were decompressing/relaxing in a condo for 3 days. It’s a good idea to do this.

At the very north end of the whole bay is a gorgeous area for snorkeling. One of the best in the BVI I think.

This was the biggest day sail today having come from Cane Garden Bay all the way across the north of Tortola, around the east end past the airport, past the Dogs and over to the most gorgeous spot of Savannah Bay.

See Day 6

See Day 3 and 4 of Sailing in the BVI with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 45 Catamaran

HEY – did you know that NauticEd is an agent for all the big Yacht Charter Companies worldwide. We don’t charge you a fee and we know all the good companies and the places to go. Come see us here – http://www.nauticed.org/sailing-vacations