Last week, NauticEd and crew went to the British Virgin Islands and chartered a Lagoon 450 from BVI Yacht Charters. We went down there to specifically get more content for our courses including video and pictures.
Here is a great video we shot for teaching crew members how to operate a dinghy.
As Skipper, you might be fully versed on dinghy operations but we can guarantee that your crew are not and the last thing you need on your sailing vacation is a dinghy accident.
You’re welcome to send this blog on to your crew.
Thanks go to BVI Yacht Charters for providing such an excellent experience. I highly recommend them as a charter company. If you’re wanting to go to the BVI for a sailing vacation, we can arrange at no cost to you the boat charter and give excellent advice on where to go and what are the cool hideaway spots.
Wanting to be completely qualified to Yacht Charter? Take our Bareboat Charter Master Bundle of Courses and log your previous sailing in our free NauticEd electronic Logbook. Yacht Charter Companies worldwide accept the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Rank. Sign in and start now.
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 our eLearning Software is pretty cool please like us on facebook. Thanks it really helps us grow (and pay for the software investment)
Last week we gave NauticEd eLearning Software a new look.
Here is a video giving a run through the back end and how to navigate around, engage in your sailing courses, add experience to your online logbook, view and send your sailing resume to a charter company, earn badges and much more.
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:
NauticEd offers a FREE course in Navigation Rules – it is a fun, entertaining, multimedia online course and will bring you up to speed on what you as a responsible sailor should know. Takes about 40 minutes and is well worth the time. Plus you’ll get to see how cool we are!
This rule is one of the most fundamental give way rules of sailing. It is Rule 12a in International Rules for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (ColRegs) and Rule 10 in ISAF racing rules. Watch the video to learn the answer.
If you like this post – please like us on facebook – over there ——-> thanks, it helps us grow.
We encourage all sailors to learn the Navigation Rules – why would you not? The Rules are specifically called International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea. They apply to all boaters.
The NauticEd sailing resume is accepted by Yacht Charter Companies World Wide and we are the only global provider to facilitate the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) via online theory and Practical tuition. THE ICC IS NOW REQUIRED FOR SAILING IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. [learn more about ICC… ]
Please enjoy the video below created by a joint effort of Virtual Eye and NauticEd.
Ok, raise your right hand and repeat after me “I promise to go sailing in Thailand before I kick the bucket”.
The NauticEd team has just completed a familiarization trip in the Phuket Thailand cruising area. The only complaint that we had was the same one we always have – why did we do only 7 days? 10 days I think is a minimum required amount 2 weeks even better.
Phuket Sailing Area
We chartered a 46 ft catamaran from the Moorings. The 4600 has 4 cabins and 4 heads and thus 8 of us went. It has plenty of room with a huge covered outdoors back deck and dining area and huge front trampoline area. Myself, I’m very partial to catamarans for such an adventure trip as you always have plenty of room to stretch out and find your own space even with 8 people on board. And because the daytime living area is all one upper level, you never have to spend anytime overheating below decks. My opinion, sail a mono hull at home and at your local yacht club, but sail a Catamaran on a vacation. Side note, if you’re intimidated by a Catamaran, no worries, NauticEd has a Catamaran conversion course that will fill you with confidence.
NauticEd Crew and friends
The Phuket area is a real gem cruising ground on this planet and is not to be missed. Of particular note is the distinct Tower Karst type islands. One such was made famous by the James Bond movie “The Man With The Golden Gun”. The island Khao Phing Kan, is part of a small island cluster about 13 nautical miles NNE of The Moorings charter base. Such spectacular island shapes are formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone. And in fact, the whole area is loaded with these crazy shaped islands. Many islands also have a hollowed out center that you can access by swimming in, by dinghy or by walking through a cave entrance. The hollowed out area is called a Hong and they are truly spectacular to see.
Moorings Base to James Bond Island
Our itinerary was a quick 7 day sailing trip around the area stopping to document, photograph and report back. Much of our downtime was also spent cooling off in the delightful 88 deg F water and sampling the scrumptious local Thai food.
Check in time at the base on the northeast side of the Phuket island is 4 pm. Thus we elected to leave from our Kata Beach jet lag recovery base in the south of the island at noon in a large taxi van who took us to the Big C Supermarket first where we bought provisions for the boat (Important Note: You can not buy booze between 2pm and 5pm in Thailand so take this into account when shopping).We arrived at the base at 3:30 whereby Jeff, The Moorings Base Manager announced our boat was ready. The crew split into two with half stocking the provisions and the other half doing a local area chart briefing. Jeff then did a boat briefing. Whilst I’m very familiar with the Moorings 4600 catamaran, it is still prudent to take the proper time to go through the boat noting locations of everything like windlass reset switches and water tank switch over valves plus learning any special nuances of this particular boat. (I will never fathom why boat manufacturers hide the windlass rest switch – go figure!)
By the time we were finished, we still had a small amount of time to set off to a nearby island. However, we all elected to not rush ourselves and instead properly set the crew into vacation mode. Too many times on boating trips like this I’ve been in situations whereby things got rushed which usually ended in detrimental results – even if is a slightly stressed attitude artificially created by the need to hurry. Instead, we decide to have a really nice Thai dinner at a local restaurant a few hundred meters from The Moorings base which was a culinary delight. Possibly one of the best Thai meals I’ve ever had actually in a really nice covered open air tastefully decorated restaurant. One thing to note in Thailand, you never have to be concerned with the cost of eating out. Dinners usually cost around $us5-7.
In the morning, we told the crew to have big long showers since it was to be the last long wasteful shower for a week. We then refilled the water tanks and headed out for our visually enlightening adventure.
First stop Koh Hong about 10 miles north. In Thai, Koh means island. So this was an island with a Hong in the middle. We got out and did a little sea Kayak around this.
Next stop “James Bond” island – you go there to get the picture and get out quick because there is literally 500 tourists all on the island at one time. Since James Bond island is at the top of the bay where several rivers drain, the water there is slightly murky from silk. The crystal clear waters which thoughts of Thailand conjure up begin about 20nm further south. Thus, again, get in, get the picture and get out.
The Man with the Golden Gun
Of note also, that when sailing in Thailand you have to be especially aware of the tides. There is a 3.5 meter tide (depending on the moon phase), but no worries, we had the World Tides 2015 App which allowed us to be constantly vigilant of the tide cycle. This level of tidal range means that as Captain you have to know at all times what the tide is doing especially when anchoring and when beaching the dinghy ashore. At James Bond Island, to be safe I snorkel dived the keel to ensure that The Moorings had set the offset on the depth meter accurately. During the boat briefing, they had told me that the offset was set to the bottom of the keel but you never know what the last charterer has done to the electronics, so it is prudent to check. The offset was indeed the keel bottom and so a mental note was made, zero means ZERO.
When anchoring at James Bond island the tide was dropping with about 1 meter in the cycle to go and so we had to anchor about 1 km out and dinghy in. But the stop is worth it at least for the photo and the “I’ve been there” bucket list checkmark
Speaking of tides, what goes with big tides is tidal stream currents. Thus, care needs to be taken when swimming in areas prone to current like close to islands and between islands and shallower areas. Also of note was that navigation is affected by tidal flow. There was a distinct difference at times between COG (Course Over Ground) and Heading.
Once the requisite pic was accomplished we headed southeast for a quick stop at Koh Roi where we randomly discovered a dried hong accessed via walking through a cave hole in the 100m high rock walls. Inside the hong, we discovered a camp of fruit bats (yes “camp” is technically correct when referring to bats) hanging upside down in the trees. This was pretty cool but got slightly eerie when they started getting a little upset at our presence – time to leave them to their uninhabited and peaceful island. What an awesome experience that was.
Inside the hong, we discovered a camp of fruit bats (yes “camp” is technically correct when referring to bats) hanging upside down in the trees. This was pretty cool but got slightly eerie when they started getting a little upset at our presence – time to leave them to their uninhabited and peaceful island. What an awesome experience that was.
Ko Roi and Ko Ku Du Yai
Next door is another island called Ko Ku Du Yai where there is a designated overnight anchorage area. The anchorage is in a channel between Ko Ku Du Yai and another close small island. There was a decent amount of current between the islands so initially I was concerned.
I turns out that entire area in the north of the bay has a mud bottom and thus The Moorings base has installed “Bruce” type anchors on their fleet of Thai based boats. Good choice as the Bruce is well suited for mud (see the NauticEd Anchoring a Sailboat course).
One of the competent crew elected to stay aboard to handle any anchor dragging issues due to the current whilst the rest of us dinghied to the island’s hong then did a little circumnavigation where we google eyed all the impressive lime stone stalactites on the cliffs. Right after sunset we were treated by an impressive show of a cloud of thousands of fruit bats coming out to hunt.
For dinner we had fresh (fresh fresh) shrimp that we had expertly caught through out the day (actually purchased from local fishermen who would chase us down in their longtail boats), chicken bbq’d on the back deck grill and a delightful salad.
Fishermen selling shrimp
That was it for Day 1. It was a lot of fun.
Are you confident that you could do this – take a sailing trip in an unfamiliar location like this? The NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Rank is 100% designed for exactly this. Once you get through the courses, have logged the appropriate amount of practical time and are awarded the Rank of Bareboat Charter Master we believe and Yacht charter Companies also beleive that you will be confident and competent to do such a trip.
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.
Sailing in light air is certainly a skill that needs to be taught by sailing schools when learning to sail. But, here are some very key points you can learn that will get you moving through the water on light wind days.
Light air sailing is very much a learned skill. There are a few tricks to it and once learned can create excellent light air sailing experiences when others are turning on their stinky engines.
In days gone by, I owned a 1979 Seidlemann 29 ft sailboat. What a great sailboat that was with many a story generated. The location: Lake Travis in Austin Texas. Sailing in Lake Travis is a great place to learn to sail because; the winds are so shifty from the high cliffs surrounding the lake, the winds can get high when fronts come rolling through and the winds can drop right off to almost nothing on warm summer evenings. And this is when the light sailing skills came in. Many times, we’d be out at night and the winds would be 2-3 knots with an air temperature of 80 deg F (26 deg C). Ahhhhh – nice!
The crew would be announcing that we were not moving, but rest assured by 2am we’d be in the marina and docking under wind power having never touched the engine.
Then there was the other time when the trusty engine failed us and we HAD to sail it back to the dock 0 in a barely perceptible 1-2 knots. I had to swim her the last 100 yards but we made it from several miles out starting at about 10pm and finally arriving back at about 1am. But we made it! My advice – learn to sail in light winds – it is a very different skill than just learning to sail.
The main concepts to learning to sail in light winds stem from reducing drag, keeping momentum of the sailboat and keeping the wind attached to the sails. Plus – I’ve got a light wind video tip that can keep you off the rocks.
By far the largest amount of drag on a sailboat comes from the water. While there is nothing you can do about the changing density of water, you can reduce the friction forces.
Keep a clean bottom: Besides preventing algae and barnacles from eating away at the bottom of your boat and overtime destroying your prize your boat, you will go faster with a slick clean bottom.
Small rudder turns: Whenever your rudder is pointing away from the centerline, there is a backwards-pointing force component. The more the rudder is turned, the larger is the backwards component. Therefore, reduce the amount of time that the rudder is off centerline and when you must make a turn do it very very (one more very) slowly by only slightly turning the rudder. The boat will react to a rudder movement extremely slowly, imperceptibly almost. Don’t be tempted to turn the rudder more to get the boat to turn. The turn will come in time.
If you’re racing and turning past a mark, don’t be tempted to turn away instantly at the mark, make a big sweeping turn. In doing this you’ll keep the momentum in the boat. Hard sharp turns impart the boat’s kinetic energy into the water slowing you down. Especially at the mark were there is congested traffic, keeping a wide turn will keep you in clearer air as well.
When making tacks and gybes, make them as slow as possible with minimal rudder turns. Be patient for the boat to turn.
Move weight of the crew forward. This lifts the wide aft part of the boat out of the water and reduces drag from the bottom area of the boat.
Speed begets speed. In light wind sailing, apparent wind is your friend. If you have speed in your boat then you have more speed over your sails than the true wind speed. This is why it is very important as above to not allow the boat to slow down. As a mathematical example, if the true wind is 2 knots and you can get your boat going at 2 knots on a beam reach then you have increased the apparent wind speed by 41%. But if you’ve tacked over hard and you’ve got to start your boat moving from zero in a 2 knot wind, then your competition who maintained a large sweeping turn keeping their boat momentum had 41% more wind than you did.
Swooping is a downwind concept that can work for you sometimes. You come up to a beam reach, gain momentum and then turn back down – slowly. Wait until your speed drops off then slowly turn back onto a beam reach and repeat.
Be aware of the current and watch your position against the land. If you’re going backwards it may be prudent to set an anchor until the tide changes. Many a yacht race has been won using this tactic.
At super slow speeds your speed indicators are probably not reading any speed. You can watch ripples in the water or you can create a little splash with a peanut or something fish friendly to watch how the boat moves past the ripple.
Keep wind in the sails
Maintain the sail shape: Use the crew weight to heel the boat to leeward a little. This uses gravity force to hold the sails out to leeward and helps them create shape for the wind to use. When needed, hold the sails out with a hand, pole, boat hook, or broomstick. Crewmembers can lean against the boom to hold it out.
When moving about the boat, do it slowly so that you’re not rocking the boat. Rocking the boat will detach the wind from the sails.
Wakes from powerboats are a real problem. When you see a wave coming at you, it may be prudent if you’re struggling on a close haul to bear away and gain some speed through the wake.
I don’t advocate smoking at all but one time a smoker helped us win a race. We watched the smoke from his cigarette and then set the sails accordingly. We basically out drifted everyone. So be cognizant of the wind even though there may not appear to be any. It’s tough sometimes to detect where the wind is coming from. The tell tales will just fall straight down and your wind indicators will even give you false readings so feel the wind rather than rely upon your instruments.
Similarly to rudder adjustments, make sail trim adjustments slowly. Light wind takes a long time to reattach to the sails.
Use light tension on halyards and outhauls. Allow the sail shape to be rounded and baggy; however don’t have baggy ripples in the sail. This creates turbulence in that area of the sail reduces lifting power.
Be especially diligent with trim. Over tightened trim will kill your ability to gain power from the sails. Let the sail out until it luffs then tighten a little until the luff disappears.
Wind shear is especially prevalent in light winds. It means that the wind at the top of the mast is faster than at the cockpit and due to the apparent wind effect, the wind at the top is coming from a position more aft than the wind you’re feeling in the cockpit. Therefore twist out the top of the sail. Do this by letting off on the boom vang, letting off on the mainsheet and pulling the traveler to windward.
Remember always to make these trim adjustments slowly.
Watch for areas of pressure ripples on the water and aim for them.
Don’t sail dead down wind. When going dead down wind you loose any apparent wind advantage because the wind speed your boat feels is the true wind minus your boat speed. You’re far better off taking a longer course at higher boat speed.
Stay out of Danger
This will happen to you one day. You’ll be sailing in light winds, you’ll be approaching the rocks getting ready to tack. You’ll have someone on the helm and they will turn the wheel to tack. Whoops, by turning the wheel all the way over a large amount of drag was imparted to the boat. The boat slows down loosing apparent wind and the boat comes to a virtual stop. Now with the boat stopped and little to no water running past the rudder the boat can not turn and you will begin drifting sideways into the rocks. This is bad.
Actually it’s not too hard to get out of. First straighten the rudder to remove the rudder drag. Lossen the main sail to move the center of effort from the wind forward on the boat. This will help the gybe maneuver you’re about to do. Now slowly turn the boat downwind and yes towards the rocks and finally gybe the boat around and out of danger. The gybe maneuver can be done in less than 2 boat lengths so even if you’re close to the rocks, you can get out of danger fairly easily. By loosening the main sheet, the head sail (at the front of the boat) held most of the wind forces and thus helps propel the bow down wind aiding the turn down wind.
Continually trying to tack out of this situation is going to end bad. You have to keep trying to gain speed to perform the tack but as soon as you put the wheel over the boat will stall again.
Next time you’re out in light winds – observe this – do both maneuvers a tack and a gybe. Watch how through the tack the boat slows considerably while through the gybe the boat will maintain speed. And speed over the rudder is what you need to effectively perform a turn away from rocks.
And finally, practice practice practice. If you’re about to take sailing lessons from a sailing school then get the instructor to show you these concepts. If you’re learning to sail by yourself or with a friend, try them out on your next light wind outing. Print this document out so that you take it with you and use all the sailing in light winds concepts shown here.
The NauticEd Day Skipper Course is loaded with sailing tips such as this. Gain a sailing certification with NauticEd.
This learn to sail article was written by Grant Headifen, Education Director of NauticEd. NauticEd is the world’s only international sailing school providing eLearning sailing courses and digital sailing certifications for beginner to advanced sailors.
How to move the fairlead forward whilst under tension from the Jibsheet
In a stiff breeze you want to move the fairlead forward after you have reefed the headsail right? Yes – right! But you can’t because there is major tension on the fairlead. You have to wait until you tack right? No – wrong!
Check out this sailing tip video on how to move the fairlead forward whilst under tension from the jibsheet.
When you take the NauticEd eLearning and Practical Skipper Certification Courses you not only learn all these tips but gain a proper sailing certification at the same time.
Imagine this, your 25 year old neighbor leans over the fence and announces his excitement about a new business he is getting ready to launch. He’s done his research and there are no other business like this – “it’s a real opening in the market” he says. He’s now got your attention. He explains that he’s going to open a petrol station garage and he’s going to have full time mechanics on duty and service people to fill up the car, check oil and wash the window screen . “It’ll be just about the car” he says. “No candy bars, cokes, bread, milk, newspapers – and of course we’ll be able to charge a little more for the petrol too because of the service.”
“Hmmmm – time to get some older neighbors” you think.
That business model worked in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s and I think I’ve seen the remnants of a few in the past ten years but they’ve all been replaced by apartment buildings or restaurants – here’s one of the last where I met the owner about 5 years ago right before he went out of business. It’s now a burger joint.
America's Last Full Service Gas Station - now a burger joint
Ok on to the point of this post.
We live in a world where Millennials are making up more and more of our customers. eLearning is everywhere and now expected. Critical function industries like Airline pilots, Doctors and Nurses do eLearning. Almost every large company HR function incorporates eLearning in the corporate environment. People are not only used to eLearning systems, they expect it. The digital phase has touched almost everything in our lives and I can’t think of a single instance whereby once I’ve gone digital, I’ve gone back. In New Zealand, where I grew up on a sheep farm, they now use digital tracking of each individual sheep to monitor the multiple birth rates of lambs per sheep. This has allowed farmers to increase birth yields by 30%. They use tractors equipped with GPS units to perfectly plant a field to maximum capacity. My father who sold his farm in 1980, would literally be having a cow right now grasping how technology could help him increase the output from our 400 acres where we made a meager but wholesome living growing up. If he could have added 30% income to the farm, we would have had a wealthy and wholesome lifestyle.
A little closer to home, PADI the world’s most respected Dive training company, uses eLearning modules to teach Diving and has managed to increase the size of the dive industry by reaching the busy millennial in their armchairs in their own home – get them interested in diving – and get them out of the armchair into the practical dive training schools.
Like PADI, NauticEd has created a digital eLearning means of learning the theory of sailing and wrapped theory and practical in a digital sailing certification that is now accepted by yacht charter companies worldwide as the best window into a student’s sailing knowledge and experience.
So if you operate a sailing school, this is where you come in. NauticEd eLearning and digital sailing certification has the ability to simplify your entire process, reduce your admin time and cost and allow you to do what you do best – which is to get the wind in the face of your students. And we do it in a manner whereby your students are happy. Gone are the days of inventorying, mailing stocking and buying books. Gone are the days of proctoring and grading paper tests and mailing the results, signing logbooks? – Gone with gas station mechanics. We’re not trying to dis the certification companies still out there using this old model there is probably still a need for them some where some how – what we’re saying however is that if you’re the “new style farmer” and want to figure out how to increase yields by 30% +, then simply take a look at what innovation we’re bringing to the sailing industry. We are increasing the market size via already existing people who right now just can’t deal with the age old process of books and paper tests. You know the ones – the ones who keep saying I don’t have time this month. You’re just not going to be able to reach without a millennial type thought process and ability.
So what does it take to change over to becoming a NauticEd affiliated Practical Sailing School? We’ll, first off the incumbent establishment is not going to like it. Certain certification companies in the US have been engaging in trade practices that are illegal. Requiring contracts that demand exclusivity. This is so against the foundation of first world innovation – however we’re kinda happy about it in a weird sense because like the laggards and holdouts of the gas station mechanic model we’ve been given the opportunity to have a 5 year jump start on developing our digital sailing certification. Think Kodak, they’re not ever going to make a comeback – shame on the CEO.
So when you switch over – if you’re in the US you’ll get one phone call from a person we all know. BTW Please document that phone call and any emails to that sense as well.
After that it’s smooth sailing – you just sign up as a sailing school with NauticEd online then once we approve your school, you just place a special link to NauticEd. There is no cost in fact we pay your a commission on sales and some checks out to schools lately have been pretty big. Once on our site linked from you, your students will see your brand all over our site. You can sign them up for practical lessons and they’ll be issued a NauticEd digital Sailing Certificate with your brand as the training school on their certificate. We don’t, can’t and won’t require exclusivity, but we think you’ll find as with others that once you start seeing the reactions from students about what they are getting, you’ll be presenting NauticEd to every student that walks or calls in.
Finally, here’s a slight apology for being somewhat controversial and forward in the discussion of old vs new ways – however in reality – as in the Movie, Hunt for Red October, “Captain – it is time”. There is no room for a self serving company force holding your business hostage and the entire industry to stay in the 1800’s just because they don’t have the innovation or funds to provide a service to your customers.