Number 1 Sailing Vacation Spot in the World

Posted by Director of Education on June 20, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Sicily Rated As Number 1 Sailing Vacation Destination

Sailing in Sicily

Sailing in Sicily

If you’ve been following us on facebook, you’ll know that we went sailing in the Aeolian Islands, Sicily last week with Spartivento Yacht Charter Company. We’ve been fortunate to sail in just about every sailing vacation destination in the world and so people always ask me where is the best place. Until now, I have always responded with “each one is a 10”. But after visiting Sicily last week, I have to say: hands down, without a doubt, we are now rating the Aeolian Islands in Sicily as the number one best place on planet earth to take a sailing vacation.

Why?

  • Very inexpensive
  • Easy to get to
  • Fantastic sailing ground
  • Plenty of off-the-boat adventures
  • Excellent food
  • Fantastically tasty wine
  • Friendly people
  • Good charter companies
  • Warm water (for the Med)
  • Rife with history
  • Deep water with little hazards
  • Line of sight navigation
  • Not crowded
  • Palermo is an excellent pre or post city for a stayover

Note that we are agents for all yacht charter companies and so if you want to go to Sicily (or any other location), we can arrange that for you with no fee to you. You get the same price as going direct but you get our expertise and ability to search for best prices and boats.

Contact us here for your sailing vacation

Read on for a series of articles on our Sicilian adventure. We’ll discuss the area, what we did, logistics of getting around and give you a full guide of the Aeolian islands including best restaurants and a great weeklong sailing itinerary. Bookmark this article now.

BUT FIRST: With any Mediterranean sailing vacation, you have a great opportunity to stay on land and visit the local area. For this trip, we elected to experience Sicily on land a little before:

Palermo is the capital city of Sicily and is about an hour and a half flight from Rome. This was the launching point of our Sicilian sailing vacation. At the airport, there is a bus that will take you right into the center of town for E6 ea.

If you’re going to go sailing in Sicily you must must must spend at least a few days (more is better) in Palermo. Stay right downtown, as close to the action as possible. Palermo is a metropolitan melting pot with a vast range of food influences, street markets and architectural styles inspired by Moor, Spanish, Greek and Italian. Just like Starbucks in the USA, there is a 500 to 1000-year-old giant church on every corner.

Even with only two days, you won’t have time to experience all the markets and back street alleys. So plan on 4-5 days there.

We Airbnb’d it in the center of the old city near Piazza San Dominico which is walking distance to about everything. We stayed at Chiara’s place on Airbnb which was a fantastic apartment on the 4th story down a back alley.

What we did in Palermo

Architecture: The Architecture is ornate, old and impressive with a mishmash of ancient cultures. View this 360-degree photo by clicking on it first.

 

Markets: The markets are spectacular. Quite probably you have never in your life seen such an array of fresh vegetables, ripe gorgeous fruit, cheeses, meats, and fish; and cheap, cheap, cheap!!! How about a 1 kg chunk of sushi grade tuna for E7 ($3.50/lb) or a kg of ripe delicious peaches for E1. The market not to be missed is Ballaro Street Market.

 

Other markets feature an interesting selection of trinkets, clothing, leather bags, fidget spinners and the like. Some cheap and some quality, but all very inexpensive.

Mafia: Sicily is the birthplace of the mafia. But for most of us, we feel like we are never really touched by this bullish tyranny. We did a walking anti-mafia tour of Sicily where our guide led us through the streets talking about how the Mafia touches everyone every day. Shopkeepers are extorted into paying the Pizzo, the “protection money,” and so, built into the price of every good or service is a portion that goes to fund the Mafia. 15 years ago, however, a group of graduating students were designing a business plan for a restaurant. They listed out all the costs of operations. At the end, one student said oh we must include the Pizzo. With disgust at the thought, the group changed gears and started an anti-mafia movement. Convincing shop owners that they could stand together and not pay. Today, there is still a large percentage of the shopkeepers paying the Pizzo out of fear but also a large percentage not paying.

Wines: Wines in Sicily are really REALLY delicious. Early one evening at a very unassuming restaurant on a back alley street, we organized a wine Sommelier to give us a wine tasting of the best wines of Sicily so that we’d not waste our time on dish water for the rest of the trip. We narrowed down the Catorratto whites as the best. With that set, we now knew what to stock for the upcoming sailing trip. Personally, I’m mostly a red drinker but for some reason on this trip, the Sicilian Catorratto white was hitting my favor. If you end up at a grocery store, it is hard to find wines over E5 and some delicious ones at E2.

Walking street food tour: Another evening, we hooked up with Giorgio a street food guide via trip advisor and he lead us around the central area taking us into the little-known street food joints so we could get a taste of typical Sicily. Personally, I passed on the classic spleen sandwich albeit others in the tour liked it.

Late night bars: We found our favorite down a little alley called Fuoriluogo. Each night we’d go there and finish off the evening with what we coined as a nighto cappo. One of the locals there even said to us “Hey Keep Austin Weird” which is the Austin informal slogan – so we made good friends with him. Some other bars we went were really hopping with lots of young locals and tourists all having a great time.

Brioche Con Gelato for Breakfast: Ice cream burger for breakfast!!! Weird right? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. OMG sooooo good.

Brioche Con Gelato

Brioche Con Gelato

Here is an interactive map of Palermo of some of the fun bars, restaurants, and sights seeing that we did and that we recommend.

Here is a Google maps video of Palermo of the same.

After staying in Palermo for 4 days, we took the train to the Spartivento Charter Company in Porto Rosa. The train leaves from downtown Palermo so it very convenient. The charter company will provide transport from the station near Porto Rosa to the base or to your hotel. Specifically, we took the train (Trenitalia) from Palermo Central station to Novara-Montalbano-Furnari Station which is about 4 km (3 mi) from the Porto Rosa Marina.  The cost was about E15 ea. Some of our crew flew into Catania which is a slightly closer airport (2hr drive) to Porto Rosa. Some then rented a car in Catania for a week and drove to the marina. Some hired a driver. We found the trains to be easy and inexpensive and an enjoyable ride along the coastline. TIP: when on a train use your phone with google maps so that you get off at the correct station.

See Day 1 and 2 of Sailing in Sicily; The NauticEd recommended number 1 sailing vacation destination in the world.

 

 

Bareboat Charter Guide: How to Charter a Sailboat on a Sailing Vacation

Posted by Director of Education on April 12, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

HowTOTakeASAilingVaction

Thinking about a Sailing Vacation?

Perhaps you are a little intimidated by the process? Don’t worry, here are all the facts.

But first, a fun slideshow from us.

First off, you need to know that there is nothing more fun than a sailing vacation.  And, if you can think of something more fun, then you can probably do it on a sailing vacation.

Second off, it is relatively easy to do but there are some things you need to know.

What is a Charter? And What is “Bareboat”?

A charter is just a fancy word for rent.  So when you charter, you’re renting a boat. Typically, it refers to a longer period of time such as renting a boat for a week or more.

Bareboat is a strange word, but it means you captain the boat yourself.

So going on a charter essentially means going to a sailing destination like the Caribbean, Mediterranean or the Pacific and renting a 28 foot to 50 foot sailboat for about a week or two. You can sail it with you as the captain (Bareboat) or you can hire a captain (and/or a cook). Often times hiring a captain is a good way to go even if you are experienced because the captain is a local and knows all the cool places to go. A cook is also a great idea relieve yourself of cooking; plus, they are experienced at whipping up some culinary delights in a cramped galley (kitchen).

What comes with the Boat?

Pretty much everything you need comes with the boat – it is not “bare”.  That’s why above we said it was a strange word. You will be supplied with:

  • a dinghy,
  • a dinghy engine (except some places in the Mediterranean; you should double check that – there is sometimes a $100 extra fee),
  • fuel for the dinghy motor
  • towels, sheets, and pillows
  • sails (haa haa)
  • diesel
  • propane gas for the galley
  • cooler – usually
  • a couple of starter bags of ice (except the Med)
  •  a bottle of rum (Caribbean) – if you are lucky
  • topped up tanks of water (semi-drinkable at a pinch – best to provision for drinking water)
  • charts (maps)

The boat comes with a refrigerator and freezer, toilets, showers, hand basins, and cushions to sit on. Essentially everything except food and sundries.

Boat Age

This depends on your budget.

  • Newer boats that are less than 3 years old are really really nice (but are more expensive)
  • 5 years old start to show their age a bit
  • 8-10 are sometimes getting a bit ratty
  • 12 years old or more is really hit or miss depending on the charter company

Some charter companies really look after their boats and some don’t; you have to rely on their social reputation if you’re going after one older than say about 7 years.

Provisioning

Provisioning means buying all your groceries for the trip. Some yacht charter companies will provide this service for you (at a premium). Many times marina grocery stores have a website and are set up to deliver the groceries to your boat on the day of your arrival. Riteway.com in the BVI is a good example.

Here is a great article we wrote on provisioning:

http://www.nauticed.org/sailing-blog/what-to-take-and-what-to-provision-on-a-bareboat-charter-vacation/ 

Why Charter?

Even if you own a boat, chartering a boat is the ideal way go see other beautiful parts of our planet. The cost of about $5k on the outset might seem expensive. But that is your walk away cost. Once you are done – you’re done with cost. Everyone that owns a boat knows that the purchase price is just the start of the costs of a boat. With chartering, you wipe your hands clean when you step off the dock.

With Chartering, this year you can go to the Caribbean, and next year go to the Mediterranean, then the Pacific the following year. You’re not tied to a place.

With Chartering, your hotel and entertainment costs are included and many times you eat on board so you’re not paying restaurant prices for food.

When you add it all up, it is a relatively inexpensive vacation. ESPECIALLY if you grab a bunch of friends and all split the cost. In that case, you can get it down to about $100 per day per person.

Qualifications to Bareboat Charter

Except for a few countries, mostly in the Mediterranean, you don’t need a formal license to bareboat charter (captain your own boat). Don’t believe any sailing associations who say you must have one. What you do need, however, is a good sailing resume. Yacht charter companies will check your resume prior to letting you take the boat.

A good rule of thumb is that yacht charter companies require about 50 days of sailing experience, 25 of which as master of the vessel and some of that experience on a vessel within 10 feet of your regular experience. You should have some set of formal sailing theory knowledge

Responsibility wise, formal sailing theory knowledge is essential.  You should know these (and more):

  • All the rules of giveway for all situations for all vessels you might encounter
  • Colors and shapes of navigation marks including Cardinal marks
  • The IALA-A and IALA-B Lateral Mark system
  • Coastal Navigation
  • Electronic Navigation
  • Anchoring and Mooring techniques
  • Sail trim and reefing
  • Crew overboard retrieval
  • Maneuvering a large boat under power in tight marinas
  • Boat systems, including electricity system and water/wastewater systems
  • Storm management
  • Weather forecasting

NauticEd has an extensive Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses for $175 that covers all this and more.

Additionally, NauticEd has a FREE electronic resume and logbook system that helps sailors build an acceptable resume for yacht charter companies. It produces a realtime

Available Destinations

There are so many to list. Each of the countries below have multiple ports of sail (locations). You could literally take a sailing vacation every year for 100 years and not go to the same place ever. A favorite starter location is the British Virgin Islands where the sailing is easy, the water is warm, there are few hazards, the navigation is mostly by sight, and there is a great selection of yacht charter companies to choose from.

Some of the more well-known destinations include:

The Mediterranean

  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Croatia
  • France
  • Spain
  • Turkey

The Caribbean

  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • St Martin
  • Guadaloupe
  • St Lucia
  • The Grenadines
  • Martinique

The Pacific

  • Australia
  • New Caledonia
  • Tahiti
  • Tonga
  • New Zealand

Asia

  • Thailand
  • Malasia

Indian Ocean

  • Seychelles

Chart Briefing

Don’t be intimidated by going to an unknown location. The charter company base there will give you a very good chart briefing before you go and tell you about lots of cool places and sometimes even their favorite restaurants.

NauticEd has developed a very good chart briefing for the British Virgin Islands.

If you are a bit rusty on Navigation by Charts or Electronic Navigation, built into the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of course is a comprehensive Coastal Navigation course and an Electronic Navigation course.

Options

Insurance

Some companies carry insurance so that you max out of pocket is about $1000 or so. But some companies have a much higher deductible that can be as much as $5000. You can buy down this deductible to $1k or so by paying an extra $50 or so per day. It is a good idea to know this prior to chartering and making the reservation. When we quote our charter prices to clients we always include the buy down extra insurance cost. While 99.9% of the time there is no accident – it is still possible and paying a few extra hundred while on vacation for piece of mind is just a good idea.

It is a good idea to discuss with your friends the “what if” scenario? It is a big burden on the Captain (you) if there was an unforeseen accident. Are you going to pay the $5000 deductible or are you going to surprise your friends? It is better to buy down the insurance and have eery one agree to split the lower deductible cost.

Catamaran vs monohull

As Captain, you are pretty excited to sail a nice big boat and feel her heel over, but if you want to do this again you’d better make sure your crew does not get sea sick.

Catamarans are fantastic for a sailing vacations and help in reducing seasickness. The galley area is at the same level as the cockpit and so while under sail it is easy for crew members to go in and out of the galley without getting seasick. The boat does not heel over and this also reduces the likelihood of the crew getting seasick.

Catamarans are more expensive but you can also put more people on them to reduce the per person expense. True, Catamarans don’t point as high into the wind as monohull but it is only a few degrees off and besides you’re on vacation.

Some people are intimidated by the size of a catamaran but as long as you are an experienced sailor, you should not have too much problem. NauticEd provides a great Catamaran Conversion Course to help understand the differences. Catamarans are actually more maneuverable under power than a monohull because of the two engines; one in each hull.

Don’t too quickly discount a Catamaran. You and your crew will have a lot of fun.

Captained vs bareboat

This is you hiring a captain (usually about $200 per day) or you doing the skippering yourself. If this is your first time ever, don’t be embarrassed that you hired a captain. You’ll actually have a better time, you’ll probably go to all the secret hideaway spots that only the locals know about, you’ll be able to helm the boat whenever you want and you will pick up a lot of extra sailing tips from a professional.

You will need to charter a boat with a separate cabin for the captain. They will not sleep on the main salon couch.

Toys

A kayak and or SUP (standup paddle board) is almost a must.

Length of Time

Manytimes you can book for the number of days you want with a minimum of 6. In the Mediterranean, you have to book in multiples of 1 week starting on Saturdays. Most other places you can start and finish when you want.

Hired Chef

Sure, a luxury but the benefits… If you are going to the Mediterranean, don’t get one because most evenings you will be dining in the local villages and soaking up the culture.

General price range?

Week prices very with location and size of boat and age of boat and season and … but here is a general idea.

  • Monohull 37 feet (good for 4 crew) about $2500
  • Monohull 40 feet (good for 6 crew) about $3500
  • Monohull 45 feet (good for 8 crew) about $4500
  • Catamaran 38 feet (good for 6 – 8 crew) about $500
  • Catamaran 40 feet (good for 8 crew) about $6500
  • Catamaran 45 feet (good for 6 – 8 crew) about $7500

When should you book?

See this blog article – we created a really good infographic on when to book based on season and location

Best Times to Book a Yacht Charter

What to take

On time on the way to charter a boat in the BVI, the airlines lost one of the crew members luggage. At the store at the marina he bought a new pair of swimming togs, a tooth brush and a couple of teeshirts. Since he was only staying with us for 4 days that sufficed him for the time.

Essentially, you need bring nothing. Here are a few items to think about bringing from home:

  • Little 12v dc to 110/220v AC inverter with USB outlets if you want to charge iPod, cell phone, camera battery etc that need 110/220 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 and 12v USB plugs. 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 and 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm audio jack cable
  • Tablet loaded with Navionics chart for your location. 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 (not really necessary because the charter company will provide)
  • 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 a short piece of line – for the 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.

Who to Take

Being on a boat for a week is a personality magnifier.

  • Grumpy people get grumpier
  • Drama people create maximum drama
  • Drunks get drunker
  • Happy people create more happiness

Summary

If this is your first time, even if you’re accomplished sailor you can hire a captain with no shame and actually have a better time. But you don’t need to – it is relatively easy to do it yourself. You should just be an experienced sailor and know what you are doing in and around a boat and the ocean.

Consider the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses

Experience wise, a good gauge is to have about 50 days of sailing experience; 25 of which as master of the vessel and some good skippering experience on a boat within 10 feet of what you are chartering. Anything less and the charter company will (should) turn you down as a competent skipper.

Good luck out there and have a ball.

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NauticEd can find the best boats and the best prices across all the companies

NauticEd is an agent for all the yacht charter companies worldwide. We can find you the best prices and best boats. Chances are that we have been to that location so talk to us about which place is more fun and what not to miss when you are there. We don’t charge you a fee.

Inquire about taking a bareboat charter sailing vacation

IALA-A and IALA-B Navigation Marks and Atons

Posted by Director of Education on March 28, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

BOOK MARK THIS PAGE

Getting confused about Lateral Navigation Marks and ATONs? There are two systems in the world. IALA-A and IALA-B. Basically, the colors are opposite but here is the infographic.

This information and everything else you need to know about coastal navigation is in the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course. It’s only $39. Upon completion, the course is added to your globally accepted sailing resume.

Info graphic showing IALA-A and IALA-B systems

Infographic showing IALA-A and IALA-B systems

Here is a world map of where these systems are used.

  • On IALA-B use “red – right – returning”. i.e. put the red buoy on your right when returning.
  • On IALA-A you use the mnemonic “Is there any red port left” to memorize which color buoy you pass on which side of your boat (when returning). i.e. take red buoy to your port (which is the left side of your boat.). Universally, “Is there any red port left?” also works for memorizing what color lights are on your boat. i.e. The red light is mounted on your port side of your boat which is the left side of your boat. For IALA-A is is also easy to remember that you match the color of your boats light to the buoy light. i.e. Red to Red and Green to Green.
IALA Regions

IALA Regions

Just FYI: IALA stands for International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities.

Bareboat Yacht Charter – Tonga or Tahiti?

Posted by Director of Education on January 23, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

One of our NauticEd students (Doug) called us today asking where to go on a sailing vacation. In particular, he was asking about Tonga or Tahiti. He had been to the Caribbean plenty of times and was looking for something a little different. He’d heard that we were pretty knowledgeable on this.

Doug was right – we’ve been to both locations and have plenty of advice. So here is a summary of our conversation.

Both places provide completely different experience.

First Tonga: Tonga, located 250 miles East of Fiji and 1200 miles NNE of New Zealand, in the pacific, is a wonderful remote experience. The Island you go to for sailing is Vava’ u which is its own archipelago about 150 miles north of the main Tonga capital island of Tongatapu. The yacht charter fleets in Vava’u are small and so there are not many yachts around. Most of the yachts there are world cruisers.

Where Is Tonga

Where Is Tonga

The islands themselves are mostly uninhabited. So your experience is mostly to yourselves and a few whale watching tourists. There is no reprovisioning in the islands so you have to stock up before you head out, but everything is pretty close so, to drop back mid week is not a biggy.

Tonga Beach

The islands are low-lying and close together so there are no great sailing distances you need to do in a day. Rather the days are more spent with a few hours of sailing then exploring, snorkeling and relaxing on the beaches.

Niki Beach

Niki Beach

Navigating is not hard but you will be a little challenged. With no distinguishing land features on each island, it is difficult to easily point at an island and immediately know what it is – you have to follow along on the chart as you go. Of course, GPS is the savior of this but you always need to monitor where you are because the reefs are numerous. GPS can be up to 100 feet (30 meters) off from reality so give everything a wide berth. There is about a 6 ft (2 meters) tide. This is usually not an issue except for one lagoon inside Hunga Island whereby you must only enter which has to be done 2 hours either side of high tide.

Hunga Island Entrance

Hunga Island Entrance

Marina’s Cave is a must. The entrance is underwater about 10 feet down and the swim is about 30 feet long under the water to the cave to come up in an air pocket. Easy but… not for the faint at heart. At certain lighting conditions, it is pretty spectacular inside. When there is a swell, the pressurizing and de-pressurizing of the cave causes a mist and de-mist oscillating condition inside – freaky.

 

Marinas Cave

Marinas Cave

The humpback whales start arriving around the Vava’u islands late June and early July and there are plenty among the islands by mid-July and into August.

Snorkeling is awesome, as the coral is untouched by pollution or over diving.

 Best coral ever

Best coral ever

The sail over to Kenutu island to the east of the archipelago was through a very difficult patch of reef. But it was worth it to take a hike on the island and see the pacific waves crashing into the island wall.

Kenutu Waves

Kenutu Waves

Plan on a week minimum but a 10 day charter is recommended. There is plenty to do and see and in just one week we ran out of time trying to see it all.

The Tongan people are overly friendly and welcoming. Some of the Villages will put on a Luau if you give advance notice which can be done through the sailing base manager.

The Charter base in Vava’u is Moorings/Sunsail and in operated by my friend Shane Walker – a fellow Kiwi. Shane is a great guy and also runs the local resort there called Tongan Beach Resort. Stay there for a few nights either side of your charter.

Getting there is easy(ish). Fiji Airways now go direct from Fiji to Vava’u twice per week.

Overall – a bareboat yacht charter sailing vacation in Vava’u, Tonga is not to be missed in this lifetime. It is one of the more remote places you can go.

NauticEd staff can book this trip for you and give you advice on the kind of sailing/navigation experience you need. Make an inquiry on this page.

Tahiti: 1200 miles further east of Tonga is French Polynesia, known by many as Tahiti which is the main island of the entire French Polynesia archipelago. The sailing area is more done out of the island of Raiatea. So you fly into Pape’ete (on Tahiti Island) from where ever and then take a puddle jumper 300 miles NW to Raiatea.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia

With a weeklong sailing venture, you’ll spend 1/2 of the time around Raiatea and the island of Tahaa, a few miles to the north. Both of which lie in the same giant Lagoon area. Then the rest of time you’ll probably pop 20 miles north west over to the famous Bora Bora and the stunning Lagoon surrounding the awe inspiring volcano of Bora Bora.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

An absolute highlight on Bora Bora was the Coral River. It is a place where the water flows into the Lagoon through the reef. You jump in and float through the reef checking out the most colorful fish and coral you have ever seen. You end up inside the Lagoon then run back along the path to do it all over again.

Coral River Bora Bora

Coral River Bora Bora

But, anywhere throughout the entire week, you will experience many snorkeling spots where the coral and fish are spectacular.

Navigation is easy – but you need to keep constant watch on where you are. Coral reefs come from 80 feet deep up to 3 feet in a wall. You can easily run aground.

Dangerous Reefs

Dangerous Reefs

French Polynesia, like most of the world, uses Cardinal Marks for indicating safe water.

West Cardinal Mark

West Cardinal Mark
(Safe Water to the West)

 

But also the locals use sticks to indicate not so safe water.

Sticks As Navigation Marks

Sticks As Navigation Marks

The sail from Tahaa to Bora Bora is easy and the volcano of Bora Bora becomes really impressive as you close in on it. The Lagoon around Bora Bora produces the most gorgeous water colors. Obviously there are a ton of really nice resorts and restaurants to stop at.

Tahiti bungalows

Tahiti bungalows

Getting there is easy. There are daily flights to Papeete and onto Raiatea.

In Tahiti, we chartered with Dream Yacht Charter. Overall, the Tahiti experience is also not to be missed in this lifetime. Here is another blog on sailing in Tahiti/French Polynesia

Doug, our student, was asking which one? Which one? Tahiti or Tonga? He has two older teenagers he wants to take. So my answer was both, one trip this year and one next. Bora Bora has brand bragging rights in terms of brand because everyone wants to go to Bora Bora, but for showing teenages a place on this planet that is vastly untouched, I suggested the Kingdom of Tonga first.

NauticEd are agents for both Tahiti and Tonga yacht charter locations as well as most other sailing destinations world wide.

Make an inquiry on this page.

NauticEd is the world’s more advanced sailing education and certification company. Yacht charter companies worldwide accept the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Resume and Certification. We specialize in helping people realize their sailing vacation dreams. You can do it!

Get started with two free sailing courses now

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.

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 6

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

This is Day 6 of sailing in the BVI with BVI Yacht Charters for 10 days on a Lagoon 45 Catamaran

In the morning we snorkeled the coral garden in the north east end of Savannah Bay for a second time. See day 5 for a quick underwater video of the coral. This area is by far the best snorkeling area we found in the BVI. It is about 10 feet deep with towering coral columns. Awesome.

under water

While the crew fluffed their aura readying for the day, I took the opportunity to shoot some video of how to operate a dinghy. I’ve found over all our dozens of trips all over this awesome planet that it is important to have your crew members know how to properly operate a dinghy. It’s just a really good idea and you will avert disaster. For example, you might know but you crew won’t understand just what happens if you let your dinghy get sideways to the waves at the beach.

Here is the great training video we created that we will put into our coming Bareboat Charter Crew Course.

Next stop a snorkel at Seal Dog. There is only one mooring ball there which is reserved for commercial dive boats. This is a designated dive by dive operators in the BVI. The water was clear and the snorkel was refreshing. Nothing too much to write home about in regards to snorkeling however. Still, it was a picturesque stop with clear clear water.

Seal Dog

North Sound Virgin Gorda here we come!

On the sail there we called ahead to Levereck Bay Resort and made reservations for the Pig Roast that evening. They set aside a nice table in the sand for 8. Awesome. Meanwhile, while in North Sound we decided to do a pub crawl of the bars to check them all out. Why not?

North Sound Virgin Gorda

North Sound Virgin Gorda

Saba Rock is a really nice restaurant and bar. I mean really nice. It is well worth a drink stop if not for lunch or dinner. They have a nice boutique gift shop for a few good souvenirs as well. BVI Coffee cup for me so that I remember this trip every morning when I get back. It helps keep life in perspective. Sometimes we all get mixed up on what life really is about. Speaking of perspective, from Saba rock you have a nice view of Sir Richard Branson’s world famous resort, Necker Island. Once Sir Rich invites me over I’ll write a nice blog about his resort. Looking forward to that. I’ve read his inspiring autobiography, “Loosing My Virginity” about building his life and I once saw him on the dock in Monaco walking onto his boat the Virginian and my brother is a pilot for Virgin so I think all that qualifies me for an invite right? Hint Hint Sir Richard!

Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda, BVI

From Saba Rock we dinghied over to the famous Bitter End for afternoon cocktails. They have a new Tiki bar outside on the beach which makes a good hang out. The entire Bitter End Yacht Club is a must must stop for a trip to the BVI and in fact it is tempting to stop there for 2 nights. They have water sports, really nice rooms for a potential night off the boat, multiple restaurants, a pub bar, a resupply store, water hose for the boat, probably a hundred mooring balls and generally all around nice atmosphere and good staff.

Bitter EndYacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Bitter EndYacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI

Bitter EndYacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI

 

Still, we needed to fulfill our pub crawl edict and so we pushed on over to the Fat Virgin Bar just around the corner in Biras Creek Bay.

backToTheBoat

At Fat Virgin, we enjoyed the most delicious Conch fritters and a few libations. Fat Virgin is a great little stop over and worth at least a drink and fritter. Now out of time, we pushed off and sailed back to Levereck Bay missing the last bar called Freddies Sand Box. Sorry Freddy – next time. Your place did look like a nice relaxing joint from the water however.

Freddies Sand Box Bar

Freddies Sand Box Bar

Levereck Bay in the west end of North sound is also a must stop. They provide everything you need: water at the dock, ice, reprovisioning store, giant restaurant, and resort.

Levereck Bay, North Sound, Virgin Gorda,BVI

Levereck Bay, North Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI

At 7, we dinghied ashore where our table was ready right next to Jumbies Bar in a gorgeous setting. The pig roast is a giant amazingly great quality buffet with more food than you can think of. The cost is $35 which albeit quite expensive – you might as well do it. You’re on vacation after all. What is really worth it is the band the followed. It was a reggae/pop/cover band if you can think what that is. Anyway they were so good that can turn any song into fun. Then the real fun started; the Jumbies. They are a group dressed in brightly colored clothing on about 7 foot stilts. Oh wow – they got the party started. On the stilts they dance and do tricks and whoop up the crowd into a frenzy. They really made the night! Thanks Jumbies!!!!

See Day 5

See Day 7

 

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