GET TWO FREE SAILING COURSES AND A FREE ELECTRONIC SAILOR’S LOGBOOK
PLUS BE A LUCKY WINNER OF THE NAUTICED CAPTAIN’S EDUCATION BUNDLE
NauticEd International Sailing Education is the proud title sponsor for the May 12th 2016, Oregon Offshore International Yacht Race. Two of NauticEd’s practical sailing schools, Island Sailing Club and Vancouver Sailing Club are a significant part of this title sponsorship and many of their students are participating.
The race, in its 40th year is 193 miles long and begins off the coast of Astoria, Oregon and finishes in the harbor at Victoria, British Columbia.
As part of the education sponsorship, NauticEd is giving away 6 Captain’s Sailing Education Packages to 6 lucky participants. This represents over a $2000 donation to the cause of keeping people save on the water with advanced sailing education. View the contents of the Captains package below. This represents extensive and vital education for all sailors wanting to sail more than 20 miles off shore or over long distances.
All participants are encouraged to create a new account with NauticEd whereby they will receive 2 FREE NauticEd courses, Navigation Rules and Basic Sail Trim and a FREE sailor’s electronic logbook.
Students of Island Sailing Club and Vancouver Sailing Club are encouraged to join in on the race.
WINNERS: If you are a winner of one of the 6 Captain Education Packs, sign up for a free account at www.NauticEd.org/signin then send us an email. Once we verify with the Committee your prize, we will drop the 12 sailing courses into your curriculum. Congratulations!
ALL OTHERS: Set up a free account at NauticEd here Sign in to NauticEd you will automatically be given two free courses and a free sailor’s electronic logbook. You’re Welcome!
Chances are that you will be switching over to an inflatable PFD pretty soon given that they are so comfortable. Here the adult is wearing a Type II inflatable PFD while the Child is wearing a comfortable Type III PFD.
Inflatable PFD’s are available in a variety of styles (and colors) and are generally more comfortable and less bulky than traditional foam vests. They need to be worn on the outside of all clothing and weather protection for obvious reasons of gaining access to the inflatable tube and also allowing the water to activate the automatic release of the gas cartridge.
They come in different sizes for children and adults. International standards on inflatable PFD’s require them to be fitted with a whistle and reflective tape. For vessels operating at night they are also required to have a light attached. It is recommended that you buy PFD’s, especially child ones, with a crotch strap to prevent the PFD from rising over the head.
The air chambers are always located over the breast, across the shoulders and encircle the back of the head. They may be inflated by either self-contained carbon dioxide cartridges activated by pulling a cord, or blow tubes with a one-way valve for inflation by exhalation.
Some inflatable life jackets also react with salt or fresh water, which causes them to self-inflate. Some inflatable life jackets are only inflated by blowing into a tube. These are more dangerous and should be avoided because it is possible the person falling or being knocked overboard may be unconscious. The latest generation of self-triggering inflation devices responds to water pressure when submerged and incorporates an actuator known as a ‘hydrostatic release’.
Regardless of whether manually or automatically triggered, a pin punctures the cartridge/canister and the CO2 gas escapes into the sealed air chamber. However, there is a chance that these water pressure activated inflation devices do not inflate the life jacket if a person is wearing waterproof clothing and falls into the water face-down. In these cases the buoyancy of the clothing holds a person on the water surface, which prevents the hydrostatic release. As a result, a person can drown although wearing a fully functional life jacket.
To be on the safe side, a pill-activated inflation device is preferred. A small pill that dissolves very fast on water contact is the safest option, as it also works in shallow waters where a hydrostatic activator fails. This type of jacket is called an ‘automatic’. As it is more sensitive to the presence of water, early models could also be activated by very heavy rain or spray. For this reason, spare re-arming kits should be carried on board for each life jacket. However, with modern cup/bobbin mechanisms this problem rarely arises and mechanisms such as the Halkey Roberts Pro firing system have all but eliminated accidental firing.
Looking after your inflatable lifejacket
The care and maintenance of your inflatable PFD/lifejacket is your responsibility. Here are some simple tips to help you properly care for your inflatable lifejacket.
Have you read the instructions?
Your inflatable lifejacket should contain information on how to wear, operate and look after your device. It is important that you familiarize yourself with these instructions.
How do I look after my lifejacket?
Check the following for excessive wear, cracking, fraying or anything to indicate possible loss of strength:
all fastening mechanisms and devices.
Also, check that:
the gas cylinder is screwed in firmly so as to allow the firing pin to pierce the cylinder bladder
the lifejacket has not been previously activated without refitting a new activation device and cylinder
there is no rust on the gas cylinder
Important – Rust on the gas cylinder may damage the fabric of the cylinder bladder allowing the gas to leak over time.
Don’t forget to manually inflate the lifejacket from time to time. To do this:
open up the inflatable lifejacket to expose the inflation tube
inflate with dry air
leave it inflated overnight
check for loss of pressure the next day. If you believe there is leakage, contact the manufacturer immediately. If there is no obvious loss of pressure, deflate the inflatable lifejacket by turning the cap upside down and holding the topside (with the knob down) pressed into the inflation tube. This will open the one-way valve.
make sure all the air is expelled and the life jacket is repacked correctly.
What should I do with my inflatable lifejacket at the end of a day out?
If your inflatable lifejacket is equipped with automatic inflation, remove the bobbin or cartridge before washing to avoid accidental inflation.
Rinse: If it has been exposed to salt water, rinse thoroughly in fresh cold water.
Wash: To clean the outer shell of it, hand wash with warm soapy water. A clothing cleaning agent can be used for removing grease and stubborn stains.
Dry: Hang it up to dry thoroughly before storing.
If your inflatable lifejacket is equipped with automatic inflation remember to replace the bobbin or cartridge once the inflatable lifejacket is thoroughly dry. The bobbin can only be inserted one way and the cartridge simply screws in.
Bobbins and cartridges
Some automatic inflatable lifejackets are equipped with sacrificial water-soluble bobbins and others with sacrificial paper element cartridges. They are prone to accidental inflation if exposed to humid conditions for any length of time. If you have any difficulty, contact the manufacturer or place of purchase.
What if I have deployed my inflatable lifejacket?
If you use your inflatable lifejacket, you will need to replace the CO2 gas cylinder and the activation device once it has been used. It is recommended that you have your inflatable lifejacket serviced each time it is deployed. The inflatable lifejacket can then be checked for any damage which may have occurred during the incident. For automatic inflatable lifejackets, it is recommended that the bobbins or cartridges be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Does my inflatable lifejacket need to be serviced?
Your inflatable lifejacket should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for full servicing details relevant to your inflatable lifejacket. However almost all manufacturers recommend at least annually.
Transporting Lifejackets on Aircraft
Is it OK to take inflatable lifejackets on commercial aircraft ?
IATA publish Table 2.3A regulating the transport of dangerous goods which states that: Subject to prior approval from the airline, self-inflating life jackets are permitted if they contain not more than two small cylinders with a non-flammable gas in Division 2.2 plus not more than two spare cartridges per person. They are permitted as: carry-on baggage, checked baggage, or on one’s person.
Not all airlines follow these rules, so consult with your airline well in advance and also allow additional time for check-in. We also question whether the average security check person knows this. So we advise you to call the airline ahead of your flight and check your lifejackets in your baggage if allowed.
This post was inspired by the conversation I had with a student sailing off shore in big waves. He was wanting to know how to keep his sails full and have a more comfortable ride whilst sailing downwind. See that conversation here: Wave and Forereaching.
In our storm tactics course, we talk about how forereaching is a way to handle the waves. If you’re going downwind, the waves will still be going faster than you but you can surf them as you go down. As the wave passes underneath and you slide off the back side, your speed will drop significantly. If you don’t turn up wind, the apparent wind will and shift aft and drop way off. The headsail will become shadowed and depowered and your boat speed will drop even further. Your ride will be pretty uncomfortable with an annoyingly flopping head sail.
To keep your boat powered you will want to maintain a constant apparent wind angle to the wind usually about 130 is best and if you’ve take our electronic navigation course dealing with polar plots you’ll learn that you go faster downwind towards your destination by sailing at 130 off the wind rather than directly at at your destination at 180.
In order to maintain a constant apparent wind angle and keep boat speed at it’s maximum, you forereach the waves. This means turning up into the wind as the boat speed slows then turning down wind as the boat begins to surf.
Here is our simple animation. You’ll notice on the wind meter that the apparent wind angle stays constant as you make your turns. The True wind shifts relative to the boat (constant relative to the ground obviously). Press stop/play through out to see what is happening.
Enjoy! Take the NauticEd Storm Tactics Course. You never know when you’re going to need this information and saying “whoops I wish I’d taken that course” is just too darn late!
Here is a great question from a student with our answer below.
Any chance you can email me the barber hauler article direct?
I’m at sea, on a out new-to-us 40′ Leopard Cat on a 1200nm journey and have been really struggling to get the headsail to set right while running downwind. I currently have it barber hauled using the lazy sheet and a midships cleat, but it is far from eloquent.
The issue had been driving me nuts and I’ve really struggled to stop the headsail from back winding. It feels like a velocity header, but it is not. It feels like the headsail is too far out, but I’m sure it’s not. It feels like the headsail wants to gybe, but I’m at 130-140 awa [apparent wind angle]. Admittedly the sea is a factor – 3-5m swell, but it really feels like I’m just doing something basic wrong… But I can work it out.
The problem is when running (150+ twa / 25tws). The only way i can stop it is to come up, but I’m sure i should be able to run!! So frustrating!
Anyway, if you can email me the barber hauler article, I’ll have a read and see what I can see.
I’ve also cc’d my friend Nathan who is a sailing coach based in Auckland.
A Barber Hauler is more for close to beam reaching and helping to shape the gap between the main and the jib. When trying to run from 130 awa and more you’re experiencing shadowing by the main. As you pointed out, as you roll the awa will change vastly because of the velocity of the roll. But also the apparent wind will change as the boat speeds up and slows down with the waves. You can use a pole to get the jib out further and to hold it in place so it does not collapse. But ultimately to keep the sails full and gain the best speed of the boat you will need to fore reach. Fore reaching is sailing the boat to the waves to keep the sails full and the same awa. As you climb a wave the boat slows down, the wind shifts aft so you need to turn up. As you surf the wave and the boat speed picks up you need to bear away. Also as the wave passes you and you slip back off the top of the wave the mast will roll to windward shifting the away forward – turn up. As you go through the trough and the mast rolls downwind the awa shifts backward – turn up.
Surfing a wave or rolling backwards off the top as the wave passes you underneath – turn downwind
Climbing up a wave or rolling forward in the trough as the trough passes you underneath – turn upwind
Ultimately from the boat polar plot that we talk a lot about in the Electronic Navigation course – your best speed to a downwind destination is going to be around 130 degrees awa. In doing this you are keeping the sails full and not shadowed – however again as you point out this is a challenge in waves. Sailing at 150 deg although seems faster because you are heading more directly to your destination, your boat speed is suffering. Also keeping the sails full will make for a more comfortable ride.
Advice is to keep the sails full at around 130 apparent wind angle and to forereach the waves.
I’ll try to put up an animation soon on fore reaching.
ATTN: The NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course has been upgraded and updated. See below.
If you like that we update things for free, LIKE us over there —->
(1) At Eastport, Maine. What was the max spring high tide height after the eclipsed super full moon on September 28th 2015. What was the min spring low tide and was it below the datum? What will be the height of the tide at noon today – Oct 5th?
(2) You live in SanFrancisco. You’ve got friends in town and you want to take them sailing today. What are the best times to take them out of the Bay under the Golden Gate bridge and back?
(3) How often does a spring tide occur and how could you predict it?
(4) Can the water level ever get below the chart datum? Why so or why not?
ANS: posted below – see where we got these plots (in less than 10 seconds)
(4) The USA sets the datum at MLLW which is the mean of the spring low tides over the 19 year cycle lunar solar. UK and the rest of the world set the datum at LAT which is the lowest astronomical tide meaning it should be the lowest it could ever get over the 19 year cycle. Thus often using MLLW the water level can drop below the datum. Using LAT it is less likely but can still happen.
These questions are a breeze when you know what you are doing and the data answers are at your finger tips on your phone or on the Internet within seconds, if you know what you are doing.
One of the really cool things about eLearning software is that you can upgrade a course on demand – you can do a big update or a little one and the update goes instantly to your students. You don’t have to wait until the inventory is sold out and you don’t have to leave schools holding old inventory to be thrown out.
Last week we did a huge upgrade to the Coastal Navigation course. Mainly because we added in lots of new technology about tides and currents but we also added better explanations of plotting courses using animations.
Understanding of tides and currents have come a long way and websites have been automated to include instant data and tide predictions. Older courses and textbooks make you rely on looking up charts (on paper) – but why would you do that on a daily basis when the exact data is at your finger-tips. Off course, you must understand the fundamentals and we teach that but now we also give you access and knowledge on how to use apps and websites for instant data. It’s what a modern sailing course should do!
Students who have taken our older course now have the benefit of the new course at no cost. Just sign in to NauticEd now and go. You can retake the tests and get up to date on latest coastal navigation techniques and understanding.
Learn the theory of course plotting, how to do it and make it second nature, how to measure distances, predict ETAs, account for current flow in course plotting, calculate current flow rate and direction, determine water depth relating to tide, best times for harbor entry, understand GPS, using parallel rulers, bretton plotters, buoys-markers-ATONS (aids to navigation), lights etc etc. Lots and lots of real examples and plotting challenges. You use a real chart. At the end of this course you will have completed the World’s most up to date Coastal Navigation Course and will fly through any other required course like the USCG Commerical Captains License navigation course.
Get free updates for life. Access the course for life. Take the test as many times as you want.
Oh and the other cool thing we did was to add in the requirement to have passed either the FREE Navigation Rules course or the Navigation Rules Module in the Skipper (or RYA Day Skipper) course. This ensures everyone taking this course is up to date on Navigation Rules. It was the responsible thing to do. We did this by adding this piece of code to our software.
IF FREE Navigation Rules Course = Passed
OR IF Skipper Course OR RYA DAY Skipper Course = Passed
AND IF Coastal Navigation Course = Passed
THEN Add Coastal Navigation to the Certificate and the Resume
We think this is the world’s best sailing App and for good reason.
NEW APP WAS UPDATED ON SEPT 20th 2015
First off, it is free (that’s good) and second off with that you get NauticEd’s free course on Navigation Rules. Pretty soon we’ll also add NauticEd’s FREE Basic Sail Trim Course.
In addition, any course that you have invested in with NauticEd automatically appears on your App. And to top that off, you can also take your tests for all your courses on the App offline. That’s a big wow!
There is zero reason not to download the App – and imagine if everyone did and took the FREE Navigation Rules Course. You could stop worrying about if the “other guy” heading at you knows the rules or not. So spread the word generously.
Bored in the doctor’s office? Take the Free Rules of the Nautical Road test!
If you think this is the greatest idea on the planet or at least just a very good one, please like us on facebook.
Posted by Grant Headifen, Global Director of Education – NauticEd.
One of the greatest things I love about my job is the ability to apply the latest technology to the sailing education industry – it is so exciting to be leading the world in this area.
And – today comes as a greatly awaited day for us to announce one of the bigger innovations in not only sailing education but in the entire community of eLearning itself.
I’d like to introduce Nano-Forums!!!!!!!!
Please watch this video and you’ll see why our Sailing Nano-Forum is so innovative and such a benefit to the sailing community at large – You’re Welcome! It represents a MASSIVE investment in technology over the past 6 months. Ummm like really REALLY massive but we think it’s worth it!
We think you will really enjoy it.
Oh and btw since this is new technology to the world and we invented it, we are coining the phrase NANO-FORUM right here right now!
What it ultimately means is that we all now can collectively crowd source information in targeted specific areas and re-use the crowds knowledge for educational drill down topic purposes in a way never been done before.
Just watch the video – you’ll get what we are talking about.
Please engage in the Nano-Forums through out our courses. Look for the SeaTalks button at the top right of every page of the course.
Start by taking the FREE Navigation Rules Course at:
It is pretty amazing – you can now see the content of all your sailing courses in your curriculum offline AND take the tests offline. Once you reconnect, the test results are sent up to the cloud. i.e. it does not matter where you take the test – on iOS or on online on your computer.
NauticEd Sailing App
It is pretty amazing – you can now see the content of all your sailing courses in your curriculum offline AND take the tests offline. Once you reconnect, the test results are sent up to the cloud. i.e. it does not matter where you take the test – on iOS or on online on your computer.
Right now it’s for iOS – an Android version is coming.
Also in the App, is the ability to add to your new style logbook (launched in 2014). So on the dock after a day of sailing, just right there – add the day and it will show up in your sailing resume.
A really amazing feature is that you now carry your sailing resume and certificate with you on your phone at all times and can email it in an instant to anyone.
If you like this post – please “LIKE” it and g+1 it – it really helps us grow.
Animations embedded below – for best experience use Google Chrome Browser.
This week I did a practical Skipper Verification check out on one of our students. His initial comments to me was that he already knew how to sail but needed the rust blown out since he had not sailed for a few years and he also wanted to go through our Maneuvering Under Power practical training.
A cold front had come through that morning and thus the winds were cranking at 20 to 40 knots. This set up a perfect scenario for the above requirements.
My first comment on sailing in high winds is that mathematically, force on a sail is proportional to the square of the velocity. That is the difference between 5 knots and 10 knots is 4 times the force. But also look at this – the difference between 5 knots and 20 knots is 16 times. And the force between 5 knots to 40 knots is 64 times or hurricane strength is 256 times.
This means any imbalance on the helm to hold the boat in a straight line goes through the roof. The speed of water over the rudder accounts for some of the makeup required to counteract increased weather helm. If you double the water speed over the rudder , the rudder is 4 times more effective. But rarely do you get to quadruple the sailing speed of the boat so you get a diminishing return of rudder force combating the wind force on the sails.
All this means is that you’ve got to understand balancing the forces and what are the effects of each available sail control. One way is obvious and that is to reef the sails to reduce the area of the sails presented to the wind. But this is only linear. i.e. half the sail size = half the force. Quarter the sail size = quarter the force. Thus if if went from 5 knots wind speed to 20 knots and reefed the sails down to ½ then you still have 8 times the force on the sails. Still a lot!
The other balance thing to think about is the balance of the head sail and mainsail. In a nicely balanced boat you have a little bit of weather helm. This means a tiller is pulled slightly to weather (windward) to keep the boat sailing in a straight line. If you center the tiller, the boat will round up. On a wheel, you have the wheel turned slightly downwind to stop the rounding up propensity – if you center the wheel the boat will round up into wind. Most people think this is solely for safety, while it works for safety, the greatest advantage is that with the rudder pointed slightly upwind you get a windward force component on the boat helping your boat climb to weather marks (a point upwind).
When you start changing forces by 8 to 16 times any perfect balance systems you think you have start to get out of whack quickly. For example, on our Beneteau 373, anything over 12 knots of wind, we begin to round up into the wind and full rudder over can not stop the round up. i.e. there is too much weather helm. Not only are round ups dangerous but the increased weather helm creates excessive drag slowing the boat and water speed over the rudder and thus reduces rudder effectiveness. Additionally, heeling also reduces rudder area and thus effectiveness all the while you are trying to use the rudder to combat quadrupled wind force. Ahhh!
Therefore the first thing we do on the 373 is to reef the mainsail to shift the center of pressure forward which reduces the round up propensity. The center of pressure moves forward because the center of the combined area of the sails presented to the wind are now further forward. This is good because the sail pressure force moving forward tends to act to less push the aft of the boat downwind.
Play this animation to understand what I’m talking about here. I used a floating coke bottle because you can easily relate to taking your finger and pushing on either end of the bottle and watching it turn in the water. When you push on the bottom of the coke bottle the bottle turns to windward. This is equivalent to a lot of force on the main sail. To combat this you would turn and hold the rudder as if to turn the boat downwind – this creates pressure on the helm called weather helm. The tiller would be pointed to weather (wind).
When you push near the top of the bottle the bottle turns downwind. This is equivalent to a lot of force from the headsail. To combat this you would turn and hold the rudder as if to turn the boat upwind this creates pressure on the helm called lee helm. The tiller would be pointed to the lee.
Besides the importance of reefing to reduce sail area in both the main and head sail to try to gain back some balance, there are other things that you should be doing when sailing in high winds to reduce weather helm, reduce heeling, balance the sail plan and gain back some efficiencies.
Draft is the depth of curvature of the sail. The deepest part of the curve is called the position of the draft. Typically for a mainsail in best trim this should be at about 40-50% away from the mast. As wind picks up the draft position shifts back as the sail cloth stretches.
For high winds then you want to reduce the draft (flatten the sail) and move it forward to 40 – 50% from the mast.
To reduce the draft depth (curvature of the sail) flatten it by tightening the outhaul. To move the draft forward, tighten the Cunningham.
On our 373 we don’t have a Cunningham, so with the mainsail de powered we tighten the halyard as much as possible as well as cranking heavy on the outhaul.
Note that the outhaul will only tighten the foot of the sail. The mid to upper area of the sail is not affected much by the outhaul. Thus to flatten the mid to upper section of the mainsail on fractional rigged yachts tighten the backstay. This bends the mast and shifts the mid section of the sail forward and thus tightening (flattening) the midsection of the sail. Fractional rigged yachts are where the forestay does not connect to the top of the mast, rather it is connected a fraction of the way down. For this reason most racing boats are fractionally rigged with backstay tensioners.
Our 373 does not have a back stay tensioner as it is not a fractional rig (the forestay goes all the way to the top of the mast).
A few other tricks we used was to twist out the top of the sail by easing the mainsheet. This decreases sail power aloft and thus heel. We also depowered the lower part of the sail by easing the traveler to leeward which acts to move the center of pressure of the sail plan forward and thus decrease weather helm.
With all the above tricks we were able to sail the boat in this frontal wind system quite effectively. However we certainly got knocked around with the many wind bullets coming over the cliffs and down onto the lake. I’d say we more than shook the rust out of our check-out sailor. He handled himself fine and thus passed the Verified Skipper Proficiency on his NauticEd Sailing Certification.
If you want to really sail like a pro and fly your sails with maximum efficiency, our sail trim course is a must.
Sail Trim Course
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Also stay tuned – we’re going to post a Sailing in Really High Winds article next. Did you know that when you friend us on our facebook page and g+1 page that you’ll be instantly notified when we write spectacular articles like this.
On our most recent yacht charter to the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, we encountered one day with reasonably high swell and only about 10 knots of wind. Being on a broad reach was not the ideal heading for this but alas this is the direction we wanted to go – from the Bay of Islands up to the Cavalli Islands.
During the sail, one of our precious crew became a little seasick. The proven cure I’ve always found to work is to have that person steer the boat. It takes about 5 minutes and voila – they’ve been so hard concentrating on helming that the seasickness has gone.
Later on in the week another became sick on a long sail. This time, I administered a nice hot cup of freshly made ginger tea. We ground up the fresh ginger root and poured boiling water over it then strained off the root after a minute and served the tea. Besides being quite tasty and refreshing the tea did its job of fixing the seasickness within 10 minutes. Having ginger on board is is paramount to enjoying a good feed of sashimi after your catch. So ginger up when doing your provisioning.
Alternatively, you can purchase premade Ginger Tea Sachets. Here is a link to a good product on amazon:
There is another good preventative measure that one should take before pulling anchor. And that is to have a good poo. Yup, that’s right strange as it seems it helps. Of course having one underway is always proven to work as well because the moment you go below to indulge in this behavior you will instantly puke – which is actually a good way to fix seasickness anyway. I.E. don’t go below unless you instantly want to puke. Now having a good puke does work but the instant this happens you’ve got to eat more food to help settle the stomach no matter how bad you feel after a puke – eat! It works!
Other methods I’ve seen work is the electronic shocker watch. It’s a strap you wear around your wrist that administers a small electric shock on intervals.
If you’re a druggy, there are non-natural methods that can also work like patches and ingested drugs. Unfortunately, our western culture tends to believe a drug method first rather than the natural ones. Me, I’d rather not put too many chemicals into my body and try the natural proven ones first.
In the bareboat charter course, we go through just about everything you’re going to encounter on a bareboat yacht charter sailing vacation. Knowing this kind of information can make you a hero and an admired leader.