Nauticed Reviews

Posted by Director of Education on June 13, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Just a couple of reviews and compliments from our students we’ve received this week.

Kevin S. wrote:

I completed the RYA Day Skipper and ICC course in November 2016.  I completed the online theory course with NauticEd and the practical course with Yachting Education.   I can’t say enough good things about the complete program in every possible way.   I am an experienced sailor and have owned my own small boat in New England for twenty years.   I wanted the RYA Day Skipper and ICC to rent boats in the Mediterranean and other areas that require a permit.   I also always wanted to charter and wanted the confidence of having the RYA Day Skipper on my sailing resume.

Everything about the NauticEd course is fantastic.   The curriculum is comprehensive and all skippers will benefit enormously as there is always more and more to learn.  The online course was very easy to use, very well written and the subject matter was great.   The online tests were also easy to use.   The supplied RYA charts and almanac are very interesting and well designed and the dividers and plotter are high quality.   I’ve also bought Grant’s new book and it has very similar coverage to the course – I think it’s a great reference for any skipper.

The practical course was the experience of a lifetime, sailing from Guadeloupe to BVI.   Mark is an amazing teacher and I learned so much it’s impossible to describe.

Most importantly, both the theory and practical course were fun – I had a great time taking the course and the open ocean sailing was phenomenal.  

My wife and I just finished our first charter in the BVI and had an amazing time!   I highly recommend NauticEd and Yachting Education!

Thanks!   Let me know if you want me to say anything specific or change anything.  The course was truly fantastic – I learned so much.



Lucky R. wrote:

Hey Grant, I am now taking your NauticEd Captains course. My wife and I had done a few coastal cruises with friends, which only validated this desire to live the dream of living on a sailboat, and cruising the world. We purchased a 1982 Spindrift 43 two years ago, which was a bit run down and began her refit. She will be ready to sail in the next couple months. We are so excited. It has been great, sailing with friends, but we can’t wait to get out there on our own boat. One thing I learned about sailing with others, is how different their approaches were. So which way was right? I then started doing a lot of research. What this taught me was how much I already knew, AND how much I didn’t. I have since stumbled onto NauticEd, and have begun taking your Captains course. My goal at this time is not to get a captains license, but to get a proper education on how to do things right! I’ve taken the first to free courses, as well as the Anchoring Course. I am currently taking to Safety at Sea

One thing I learned about sailing with others, is how different their approaches were. So which way was right? I then started doing a lot of research. What this taught me was how much I already knew, AND how much I didn’t.

I have since stumbled onto NauticEd, and have begun taking your Captains course. My goal at this time is not to get a captains license, but to get a proper education on how to do things right! I’ve taken the first two free courses, as well as the Anchoring Course. I am currently taking to Safety at Sea class, and already learned a few things. I am very impressed by how amazingly well your interactive animations help. I feel this

I am very impressed by how amazingly well your interactive animations help. I feel this has, and will continue to speed up my learning curve. Our plan is to coastal cruise for the first year or so, to improve our chops, and then followed by a world cruise thereafter. Thank you for putting out such a great course, that is proving to be a very valuable asset, in making our dream a safe one.


Karin K. Wrote:

Wow, really loving the courses I’ve been taking. Clearly written, entertaining, compelling. Photos helpful, and others simply well placed and pleasing to look at. Antidotes helpful and entertaining. Would enjoy more. (Tho getting more and more jealous the more places I see you all have been!)

 I also like the learning platform – the layout is easy to navigate, it’s pleasing to the eye, I can quickly see what else is coming up in the course without having it stare at me from the side continuously, and much more.

 I’m interested to know what learning platform you are using? Or if you built one yourself?

 Thanks, and I’m looking forward to more courses,

Karin K, PhD,

How to do a Mediterranean Mooring when the wind is nose on

Posted by Director of Education on May 25, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

First, what is a Mediterranean Mooring? Well it can be done anywhere but you mostly see it in the Med where it is required that you back the boat up to a (typically) concrete quay. You either anchor out and back the boat up to the wall OR back the boat up to the wall and pick up a mooring line.  Both the anchor or the mooring line help to hold your boat off the concrete wall. Aft dock lines hold your boat’s stern close to the wall. It’s an easy maneuver but you need to practice it.

Mediterranean Mooring when the wind is pushing you into the wall.

This is a slightly tricky one, not quite as difficult as a side wind, but tricky none the less. To simplify, use the technique below.

From our Maneuvering and Docking a Sailboat Under Power course, you know that backing downwind is not the easiest especially in high winds. You need to start out with the stern into the wind and then put into reverse. This gets the boat moving with water washing over the rudder to gain steerage and then turn the boat clockwise (stern to port) so that you are using the propwalk effect. Once the stern is pointing downwind you have to keep the speed up to overcome the propensity of the wind to push the bow down.

If you combine all that with dropping the anchor at exactly the right moment and pay out the anchor rode fast enough so as to not slow down the boat you’ve got a potentially difficult situation where everything has to come together perfectly. Which btw never happens!!!

So the plan is to make this downwind Mediterranean Mooring task simple.

How to do a Mediterranean Mooring Downwind

How to do a Mediterranean Mooring Downwind

(1) Motor the boat to the place where you think the anchor should be. Eventually, for holding power, you will want as much rode out as practically possible. Use boat lengths to judge the distance. If you have 200 feet of rode and a 40-foot boat, then you should drop the anchor 5 boat lengths out (minus 1 foot LOL).

(2) At the place you deem appropriate, drop enough so that the anchor is on the bottom but not a ton on rode sitting on top of itself; just enough to not let the anchor drag as the boat is pushed downwind.

(3) Allow the boat to be pushed downwind towards the slip. The boat bow will naturally face the wind since the anchor is holding the bow windward.

(4) Pay out anchor rode to allow the boat to drift backwards downwind towards the slip.

(5) Use the engine to maneuver the boat slightly as needed.

(6) Toss long aft docklines ashore to helpful hands on the dock. Tie those off and use forward gear propwash against the rudder to push the stern of the boat as needed to position correctly. See the animation below.

(7) When the stern is aligned to the correct slot pay out more rode and use reverse. The anchor-person controls the rate the boat moves backwards.

(8) Continue to tighten the aft docklines until the vessel is 2-3 feet from the quay wall. Synch up on the anchor line tight enough so that no boat wakes can wash the boat up against the quay wall. Monitor for a while.

(9) Run out the plank – now walk the plank ya’ scally wag and enjoy a local cafe.

What we also find is that you won’t be in exactly the right place and you will need to lever your boat sideways, even into wind. Using a dockline and wash over rudder you can push the boat sideways however you want. Watch this animation.

Did you find this useful?

Take our Maneuvering Under Power course – you’ll impress people at the dock and keep the gel coat on your boat.



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


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 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. in the BVI is a good example.

Here is a great article we wrote on provisioning: 

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


  • 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.



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.


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


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.


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

How does heeling angle create airfoil shape?

Posted by Director of Education on April 6, 2017 under About NauticEd, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

A student asked this question “How does heeling angle create an airfoil shape in the sails”. He was using SeaTalks nanoforum that we have on every page of our sailing courses.

So my first thought was Huh? What the heck is he talking about? Then I remembered that I wrote that. So it must be right, right?

Well, it is true – sort of. On very, very and I mean very, light wind sailing days, the sail just hangs down because there is not enough wind to push the sail out to create any shape in the sail. But if you heel the boat over …

I’ll explain with a story: He is how we won a sailing race one day. About halfway through the race, the wind died. Dead, non-existent, nothing, nada. The whole fleet was becalmed. Our tactician lit a cigarette and watch the smoke go straight up in the air – but it turned slightly to starboard as it rose. He asked all of us to quietly and without any obvious commotion so as not to alert the other boats – to move to the starboard side of the boat to heel it over. The sail draped out the starboard side accordingly. This gave the sail just enough shape to move us foward every so slightly – seemingly drifting. But moving none the less through a bewildered fleet. We moved out in front enough so that as the wind came back we were far enough out to hold our position and win the race.

So – heeling angle DOES create an airfoil shape!

10 Essential Tips for Chartering a Private Yacht

Posted by Director of Education on April 1, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Also read our other article

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

10 Essential Tips for Chartering a Private Yacht
by Motion Yacht Charters in the Solent UK.

Chartering a private yacht is a great way to enjoy sailing without actually owning a boat. It’s a good way to test different boats in case, at some point, you decide to buy your own. For first-timers, chartering a yacht can be tricky, so here are 10 top tips to help you make the best choice.

  1. A skippered charter with crew

Yacht charter companies such as Motion Charters Solent in the UK provide skippered yacht charters, which means novice sailors can avoid the stress and strain of having to navigate at sea and in and out of port. The skipper is in charge and, together with the crew, they do all the sailing and the hard work.

This means you and your family can sit back and relax. You can choose to participate as a crew member if you want, but the skipper will have to approve this. But if you decide to just stretch out on the sundeck, sip champagne and enjoy the ride, that’s absolutely fine!

  1. Bareboat

You can hire a yacht with no skipper or crew – this is called bareboat – but then some sailing experience is necessary. Boat charter companies will require proof of your theory knowledge and practical competency such as the NauticEd free sailing resume given to all NauticEd students. If need be, they can arrange a refresher course to bring you up to speed. Fuelling and provisioning the yacht, as well as all the port administration and costs are the hirer’s responsibility.

Learn about sailing certifications and resumes here

  1. Flotilla charters

If you prefer the privacy of a bareboat charter, but are a little uncomfortable with the navigation process, then a flotilla of like-minded skippers could be your best solution. This is a relaxed way to sail together in a group of boats. Common courses are followed and the skippers look out for each other. Flotilla charters are a firm favourite with families who have children.

  1. Shipmates

If you’ve hired a yacht of modest proportions with a crew and a skipper, then everyone needs to have respect and be considerate of each other’s space. Make sure your friends and family know what’s expected of them before you cast off.

  1. Weather forecast

Weather plays an incredibly important part of any yacht charter, so make sure you’ve done some homework before setting sail – the last thing you want is to be caught in bad weather, especially on a small yacht. Sailing charter companies monitor the weather closely and won’t let you leave port if storms and high seas are forecast.

  1. Chartering is a good option

Chartering a yacht is a lot less expensive than owning your own. Unless you spend around 14 weeks a year on your boat, it’s much cheaper to charter one. Anyway, who has as much time as 14 weeks to spend on a boat each year – most of us average only around 2 weeks a year!

  1. Chartering is a lot less work

If you have your own boat, there’s a lot of work needed to keep her looking shipshape and in good running order. When you charter a boat, you just show up and there she is, neat and clean, fully-fuelled and in perfect running order, all thanks to the charter hire company.

And when you arrive back in port after your trip, all you have to do is return to the marina, refuel her, pump out the holding tank, then stow your bags in your car and drive away. There’s no cabin cleaning, no washing and polishing of the exterior, no repairs or maintenance – you just leave it in the hands of the charter company. Simple!

  1. Chartering is a flexible option

The option of chartering a boat is a lot more flexible than owning your own. First, depending what’s available, you can select the boat that best suits the trip you intend to take. And you don’t have to choose the same boat every time. When you own your own boat, there’s only one choice of boat – yours! There’s also the problem of having to find suitable mooring and paying mooring fees that can be pretty hefty.

  1. Chartering is less spontaneous than owning a boat

The only problem with hiring a yacht is that you can’t just decide, there and then, to go sailing for an afternoon, or a weekend, or for a week-long cruise. Most charter companies insist on at least 3 or 4 days’ notice, sometimes more. During the peak summer season, they require at least 7 days’ notice and you have to charter a boat for a minimum period of a week or more. So, if you like to do things on the spur of the moment, chartering a yacht may not be your best bet.

  1. You don’t always get what you want

Even though boat charter companies have a wide selection of boats to choose from, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the boat you want when you want it. For the best chance to get the boat you prefer, plan your trip and book your yacht several months in advance.

See this article on when you should be booking for which location and which season.

NauticEd are agents for all yacht charter companies worldwide and chances are we have been to the location you’re considering. We can give you good advice and find the best priced boat for you.

Make an inquiry about chartering a yacht on a sailing vacation here

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


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.

Smartplug Stops Boats Burning to the Waterline

Posted by Director of Education on March 3, 2017 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

A SmartPlug is a must for your boat to replace the standard L5-30 shore power plug.

A few years ago I managed a boat for a syndicate of guys. They were sharing their boat using our boat sharing software.

But alas … here is what happened to their beautiful boat.

Boat burned due to poorly designed plugs.

3 Year Old Gorgeous Boat Burned Due to Poorly Designed Shore Power Plugs.

Turns out, this is an extremely common occurrence. The plug that goes into the boat is usually an L5-30 which looks like this:

An L5-30 plug

An L5-30 plug

More than likely, it is on your boat as well. Well, this plug was never designed for a rocking-boat in a salty marine environment but because it meets UL standards, it is the type of plug that is put onto almost every boat. The plug was originally designed in 1938 and has just become one of those legacy products that has survived beyond proper technology.

My friend Peter Neilsen who is the Chief Editor of Sail Magazine showed me this pic of the L5-30 on his boat. Not good.

L5-30 Burned

L5-30 Burned

Peter shared that he was installing a SmartPlug. So I immediately did some research and found them to be a properly designed plug for a boat.

When I went to our boat and inspected our own plug here is what I found. Double YIKES.

L5-30 on our own boat. YIKES!

L5-30 on our own boat. YIKES!

Immediately, I ordered a Smart Plug and stopped plugging in the boat and just relied on our solar panel to keep the batteries charged.

Visit the Smartplug website

“Smart” – It is not smart as in a “smart phone”. It is smart because the guys who engineered it, put on their thinking caps – smart. The basic issue with the L5-30 is that the actual contact area for the terminals is too small, leading to high resistance and high resistance leads to heat which leads to fire. The Smartplug uses a longer contact area for the terminals while also using a clever holding clip to hold the plug sturdy in place instead of that extremely annoying threaded piece of plastic ring which is impossible to screw on each time without crossing the threads. I mean, who thought of that anyway? In the image below, see the nice logical easy side clips.

smart plug Plug

smartplug Receptacle

An independent Electrical Engineer, Rodd C Collins who is the owner of Compass Marine, Inc. located in Cumberland, Maine did a full study and report on the SmartPlug. Rodd is an ABYC certified marine electrician located in Maine. Rodd writes articles for his Marine “How To” website for DIY boaters. His site has over 350,000 readers worldwide. Rodd has become a trusted source for boaters around the world.

Here is a link to the electrical report.

Below is an amazon link to the one that I sourced for our Beneteau 373. It is the whole cable with plug molded on using well-designed rubber strain relief molding with the inlet receptacle. The receptacle replaces the one on your boat. So you have to unscrew the one on your boat and screw on the SmartPlug receptacle which was easy since the holes on the SmartPlug receptacle aligned with the old inlet receptacle – again “Smart”.

Or if you want to reuse your existing length of cable, you can get a retrofit adapter to use your existing cable and just cut off the existing L5-30 plug

If you want to sleep better at night, best you switch over to a smart plug.

The installation was easy and took an hour or so.

First, we removed the old L5-30 receptacle. (The one on the right is inactive and not used).

Taking out the old L5-30

Out with the old

While disconnecting the wires on the inside of the boat, here is what I also found. The white power wire had been completed burned and overheated. Triple YIKES.


Next, I mounted the new Smart Plug receptacle

Smart Plug Receptacle being mounted

Locked in the wires on the back end to the terminals (after I cut off the burned section). Smartly, they even color coded the terminals – smart.

Back of the Smart Plug

Then plugged it in. Notice we use a bungee cord to keep the cable up out of the water. We use two zip ties; one made to a loop and the other zips tightly on the cable.

Smart Plug in place

So here is the final image to leave in your head.

Old versus new

Old versus new

We did not get paid to write this article. We just don’t like seeing nice boats burned. Get yourself a Smart Plug.

NauticEd is the world’s most advanced sailing education and certification company.  We help sailors be more knowledgeable through interactive multimedia courses. We write lots of articles like this to help our followers.

Favorite RYA Sailing Schools in USA, Canada and elsewhere

Posted by Director of Education on February 28, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

At NauticEd we have our list of Favorite RYA practical sailing training schools and we are sharing it with you here.

RYA Training Center

NauticEd is a provider of the RYA Day Skipper Theory course online to students worldwide. Technically we are called an RYA shore based training school and thus being a provider of the theory, we want to push our students who have passed the RYA Day Skipper course out to quality RYA schools.

We highly Recommend doing practical sailing training at an RYA School. The RYA school can issue the much sort after International Certificate of Competence which is the United Nations created International Sailing License (the ICC).

They can issue the ICC in either of two ways.

(1) A one-day assessment of theory knowledge and practical skills (pretty grueling and you’d better know your theory. We recommend you take and pass the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper Course OR the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Bundle of courses. Don’t wing it – you will fail.)

(2) Do the 5-day on-the-water RYA Day Skipper practical course. A prerequisite of this is the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper online theory course. Once you pass the RYA Day Skipper Course, you automatically qualify for the ICC.

We recommend the 5-day course. Why? Because you are guaranteed to enjoy it and learn some tips even if you are an old dog.



British Virgin Islands

  • Tortola: Sunsail (although not listed on their site, they are an RYA School. Talk to us at NauticEd and we can facilitate the training)



New Zealand:

South Africa:

Oh and just FYI, there are 500 RYA Sailing Training Schools worldwide.

With all of these schools, NauticEd can make the arrangements for you and consult with you if you have enough experience to pass the ICC assessment or if you should take the 5-day course. Either way, contact us.

How to Spring into a Tight Space on a Dock

Posted by Director of Education on January 27, 2017 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Maneuvering your gorgeous sailboat under power in the marina is one of the more important skills to learn. Wind, current and tight spaces can be very intimidating and not knowing all the tricks can lead to expensive mistakes as well as serious ego damage.

NauticEd‘s new paper book titled “Maneuver and Dock Your Sailboat Under Power” is now available on Amazon for just $9.91. We highly recommend it.

The book is loaded with all the scenarios you will encounter and covers topics such as: momentum, prop walk, tight turns, using spring lines, leaving the dock, returning to the dock, high winds and current, and the elusive Mediterranean Mooring.

We have extracted an excerpt that will help you get into a tight space on a teehead.

Springing On and In

Coming up to a Tee-head is a situation where you need to spring on. The need for accuracy in your maneuver is heightened when the space is tight. Here is an animation of a boat doing this.

Spring on Animation

Spring on Animation

And here are the forces and moment diagrams.

Spring-on Force Diagram

Spring-on Force Diagram

After you make your plan, ensure dock lines are made ready and (very important) that the crew are told exactly which direction to cleat the boat when they get off. In high winds things can go south very quickly. Ensure dock lines are prepared outside of the life-lines. This is a common mistake and a huge time waster at a critical point in the maneuver.

Plan to get the bow of the boat cleated to the dock as shown, and then spring the boat in.

In this exercise to spring in means; once the bow-line is cleated to the dock, you simply turn the wheel away from the dock and apply forward thrust. The water force on the rudder moves the aft of the boat laterally to the dock.


The innovation that we like in this book is that throughout the book are QR codes as shown in the image above. When reading the book you simply scan the QR code with your phone. The book then comes alive with real animations and video.

NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Book

NauticEd Maneuvering Under Power Book

Buy NauticEd’s Maneuver and Dock your Sailboat Under Power on Amazon for $9.91

UPDATE: For Now Amazon has sold out of this book – here is the link to get it on Barnes and Noble

View all the NauticEd Sailing Books here

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!

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