Archive for the ‘Nautical Knowledge’ Category

Look out for ferries

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

On Saturday we met a man who is one of Sydney’s ferry captains. But he’s also a yachtsman, so he understands the sort of people who sail – from the very experienced to the first-timers, from the serious racers to the party boaters. And he also knows that all of these can make poor decisions and put their yachts at risk of being run down by a ferry.

Interestingly, he has offered to take several sailing instructors on one of his ferry runs to show them his view of the traffic, from the height of the bridge. Those instructors will then be well placed to explain how to avoid the dangers faced by yachts that stray too close:

  • Being run down
  • Losing wind and losing way
  • Being swamped by the bow wave

It’s timely to remember that ferries carrying an orange diamond on Sydney Harbour have right of way, as does commercial shipping.

Ferry showing orange diamond signifying right of way
Ferry showing orange diamond signifying right of way. (Image from Boating Handbook 2011-2012, NSW Transport Maritime)

So when you’re out on the water, don’t just look out for other yachts, make sure you keep an eye out for ferries – not all captains have the yachting experience of our new friend.

Port and starboard and avoiding a collision

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Whether you’re out for a gentle afternoon cruise or racing in a highly competitive regatta, as skipper you need to keep track of all the other vessels approaching yours. And when racing, you probably won’t be able to do that adequately yourself. So you’ll need to appoint one or more lookouts, who relay to you information about the direction or angle of approach and distance off.

Ideally, the lookout is positioned with a clear view of boats approaching on starboard. But, if not, how long between looks?

In S80 Racy Lady’s case, it was too long. In a recent race run by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia she was on port and unaware of the approach of Vanguard, who was on starboard, two-sail reaching, until called by them.

But the rules say that both boats have a responsibility to avoid a collision.

Aboard Vanguard, lookouts had been posted on both sides of the yacht, but crew admitted that Racy Lady must have been in the blind spot, shielded by the genoa.

When called, Racy Lady didn’t have time to take evasive action. Her mast came down on impact and the yacht sank within five minutes of the collision, with crew able to grab only their wallets.

We’ve blogged before about maintaining a proper lookout but it’s worth re-reading.

Rules of the Road – Overtaking boat

Friday, August 6th, 2010

The rule governing an overtaking boat is quite simple. The overtaking boat must keep clear.

When you think about it, it’s the obvious thing to do. If you are approaching and catching another vessel from behind, you have it clearly in your sight. The skipper of the boat you are overtaking on the other hand will be keeping a lookout all around, including behind but most of the time will be focused on where the boat is heading.

As you draw closer, you will have to decide whether you will be able to go above it, i.e. to windward, or below it. If you’re sailing hard on the wind, it’s likely that you will need to spring the sheets and ease away below. Doing so will mean that you will gain boat speed. Hopefully this will result in your sailing through the other boat’s wind shadow quickly.

Meanwhile, if you are the skipper of the boat being overtaken, you must maintain your course and allow the overtaking boat to pass.

And what if you’re not sure whether you are an overtaking boat? In Rule 13 of the COLREGS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea) it states that:

(c) When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether she is overtaking another, she shall assume that this is the case and act accordingly.

This rule governing the overtaking boat is just one of the Rules of the Road that are illustrated in our self-paced learning and self-test program, the Nautical Knowledge.

Main menu of Nautical Knowledge

Sailing highlights for 2009

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The other day I wrote about the overall winner of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, Two True. It was also one of the sailing highpoints published in last week’s newsletter.

The other highlights for me were:

Three round-the-world yacht races:

  • Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
  • Vendee Globe 2008-09
  • Clipper Round the World 09-10

Two short-handed/solo ocean voyages:

  • Berrimilla’s return to Sydney from Falmouth, UK
  • Jessica Watson’s solo, unassisted circumnavigation attempt on Ella’s Pink Lady

And, finally, the launch of our new product, Nautical Knowledge.

Visit our Newsletter Archive to read more about these highlights and, while you’re there, sign up to receive the newsletter direct to your email inbox each week.

Rules of the Road

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Whether racing or cruising, you need to know which is the burdened boat, i.e. which boat must give way, in many different circumstances.

Giving way to boats on starboard may seem obvious but what about when you see a yacht running downwind towards you? Can you be sure which side the wind is crossing her deck? In fact, COLREGS state in Rule 12:

(iii) If a vessel with the wind on the port side sees a vessel to windward and cannot determine with certainty whether the other vessel has the wind on the port or on the starboard side, she shall keep out of the way of the other.

This is just one of the rules you can learn from our interactive Rules of the Road quiz, which is one of five comprising our brand new download, Nautical Knowledge.

Know your nautical buoyage – IALA Regions A and B

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Some years ago, approaching the finish of the Melbourne-Osaka double-handed yacht race, one boat came to grief. The crew, probably excited about completing the 5,500 mile race, forgot that Japan is located in IALA Region B. So, instead of steering their yacht through safe water, they ran it aground. Ouch! And after all that effort.

To save you from suffering a similar fate, we’ve developed Buoyage – IALA Regions A and B. As well as listing the countries under their region, there’s a section where you can learn or revise the cardinal, lateral and all the other buoys – their shapes, colours and the lights they display at night.

When you’re ready, you can take an interactive quiz to check your recognition of all the buoys.

Buoyage – IALA Regions A and B is just one of five quizzes we’ve developed in the Nautical Knowledge. The other subjects are:

  • Rules of the Road
  • Navigation Lights
  • Signal Flags
  • Fog and other Sound Signals

The Nautical Knowledge is available as a download for only AU$9.95.

Nautical Knowledge

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I’ve been having a bit of a break from blogging, working on an exciting project. But now I can announce the release of our new product. It’s called the Nautical Knowledge and is an audio-visual representation of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS).

Yes. The team at The Boating Bible has developed a stand-alone download from the five interactive quizzes that are otherwise to be found on individual CDs in The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship.

This means that you can learn, revise and then test yourself on five key areas of safety and seamanship:

  • Rules of the Road
  • Buoyage – IALA Regions A and B
  • Navigation Lights
  • Signal Flags
  • Fog and other Sound Signals

What’s more, you can refer to the Nautical Knowledge over and over again.

For instance, if you’re sailing at night and see a configuration of lights that puzzle you, you can scroll through the learning section of Navigation Lights to locate the vessel. At sea at night you need to know whether a vessel is fishing, towing or at anchor so that you can take steps to avoid it.

Why not get your copy today? The Nautical Knowledge download is available immediately after you have completed the order process. You don’t have to wait!