Monday, February 28, 2011

Memory aid for Port hand bouys

Port hand Bouys are like 7 up cans.
They are always green, odd numbered and have a square top.

This nugget of wisdom came from a Kayak blogger named Bonnie who is Bouy Crazy

Friday, February 25, 2011

How not to Navigate with GPS

The following is a list of stuff not to do when navigating with GPS

1) Do not place waypoints on solid objects.  This can lead to collision with said objects.

2) Do not "Drive the TV".  This is a situation where a skipper sits at the nav station and stares at the pretty boat on the screen and does not consider outside information.  The worst case of this is the powerboat skipper who sits on his flybridge at night with all the interior lights on and is not able to even see outside.  He just stares at the "TV" and does not keep any semblance of a proper lookout.

3) Do not assume the chart information displayed on your screen is correct.  Most chart software suppliers only provide updates to their data every year or two, where paper charts can be updated regularly by hand.  This can be an issue when depths change in an area of high silt deposit or other man made alterations to nav aids.  Also most electronic chart data is digitized from another source.  This is an opportunity for human error.

4) Do not assume GPS will always be available.  Murphy's law is an important consideration at sea.  Your GPS can fail from something as simple as lack of power, physical damage, or corrosion.  The American government can also de-activate selective availability and reduce your GPS from 10m accuracy to several hundred meter accuracy when ever they feel like it.  The safest option is to be prepared to take over from the chart plotter by recording regular fixes in your log or on a chart.  To do this you also need to have paper charts, navigation tools including a hand bearing compass, and the skills to use them.

In short, having a GPS aboard does not mean that you no longer need to know how to navigate by hand and eye.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Canadian Ocean racer rounds Cape Horn Safely

Yesterday Canadian Ocean Racer, Derick Hatfield, rounded cape horn safely.  He's past the most dangerous point on the whole circumnavigation, and is headed for the next stopover port in Brazil.

He has had a challenging race.  The first leg from L'oreant France to Cape Town South Africa started nicely, then he appeared to gybe to early and had less wind then the boats that went further off shore.  The second leg he promised to be more competitive and it looked really good.  He was first out of the port of Cape town,  and was challenging for second place for much of the leg.  Then the Polish skipper, Gutek, chose a better route into Wellington New Zealand and beat him in by a day or so.  In this third leg he has rounded the horn and is within 20 miles of the second place boat.  All the boats except for the Leader, Brad Vanlou are having issues on this leg.  The keel on Guteck's boat in moving several millimeters from side to side due to a broken component on the outside of the hull.  He has had to throttle down to stay safe.  Derick has engine issues that lead to low power available for the boats pilots and navigation equipment, as well as a leak in a forward compartment.  Then there is Chris Steinmouth Major.  He has had a ripped main sail that resulted in a marathon sail repair session.  He posted an excellent video of his work at the link below.  Chris has consistently done good video and written blog posts.  See them at the same site.

It looks like this will be Derick's last race.  He has made several comments that he feels he has done what he needs to do with ocean racing.  Time to go back to his young family and retire from his second career.    He's not done yet though.  The last leg from Brazil up to France is still to come.  Hopefully he can cross the line with a second place instead of the string of thirds that he has got so far.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A navigational poem

A Navigational Poem

Meeting steamers do not dread;
When you see three lights ahead
Starboard wheel and show your red.

Green to green or red to red,
Perfect safety, go ahead.

If to starboard red appear,
’Tis your duty to keep clear;
Act as judgment says is proper:
Port—or starboard—back or stop her.

But when upon your port is seen
A steamer’s starboard light of green,
There’s not so much for you to do,
For green to port keeps clear of you.

Both in safety and in doubt
Always keep a good look-out;
In danger with no room to turn,
Ease her—Stop her—Go astern.

 Copied from John Vigo's blog at:

And a poem about single handed sailing:

Pablo Neruda:

……and now, nothing more,

I want to be alone with my essential sea…… 
I don’'t want to speak for a long time, 
Silence! I want to learn, 
I want to know if I exist. 

From Royal Vic YC single handed sailor Andrew Evans e book "Thoughts, Tips, Techniques &Tactics For Single handed Sailing"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Boat Show highlights

Here's some Highlights from the 2011 Vancouver International boat show.

From the Vancouver Convention Center

Could this be my next coach boat please?...

 A cruising tug I liked ...

A Beneteau 30  I really liked ...

A Cruising Cat

Cabin of cruising cat

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Interesting sailing video

Here's some sailing videos I enjoyed this month:

Helicopter assisted yacht racing:

AC 45 on Auckland Harbor

Chris Stanmore-Major aboard eco 60 spartan in the velux 5 oceans race.  In the Cook Straight, New Zelland in 45 knots of wind.

Ryan Breymaier aboard open 60 Neutrogena in the Barcelona World Race

Ice Wind surfing with a wing and skates from earlier in the year

Crazy wind powered kinetic sculptures

Neutrogena pushing hard!/video/video.php?v=10150407337295501&oid=259689104089&comments
Hope you like 'em

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why IOC and ISAF decisions affect amature sailors - Part III

Continuing with the list of decisions made by the ISAF equipment committee and how they will affect local sailors.

5) Introduce a high performance skiff class for women.  There will be an equipment trial for this event that will possibly result in new skiff designs that can be sailed by mixed husband and wife teams.  As this new boat gets exposure and becomes more popular, it may start turning up at our local club races.  A new toy toy to play with can only be a good thing.

6) Introduce a new kite boarding medal event for men and women.  As more people see kite boarding on TV in the Olympics, more people may want to come out and try it.  There is a local windsurfing school.  This school may take up teaching kite boarding as it increases in popularity.

7) Keep the 49er for the men's high performance skiff.  This decision affects local sailors similarly to the 470 as the 49er has a youth development boat that leads directly to the adult version in the 29er.  Keeping the 49er won't have much affect locally as there aren't many 29ers or 49ers around locally.  It's still a cool boat though.

8) Keep the Laser full rig for men single handed sailors, and the Laser radial for women single handed sailors. Both of these boats have served our sport well.  They are all affordable and sailed in large fleets locally.  They are also an awfull lot of fun to sail.  The introduction of a dinghy that filed the same niche could only be counterproductive at both a national and local level.

9) Keep the Finn for single handed heavy weight men.   The Finn has served international sailing well as a more technical boat to sail than the laser that is suitable for a more average weight man.  The laser requires a crew weight that is slightly below the average male.  This is the one decision that I am not sure about. It seems a bit odd to have both a light weight single hander and a heavy weight dinghy.  This class may be vulnerable for replacement with a boat that better meets IOC criteria.

And that brings me to the end of how high level political decisions in the sailing world governing bodies affect local sailors  Did I give you some information you didn't have?  Was this post useful to you?  Should I continue with such long wordy posts?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why IOC and ISAF decisions affect amature sailors - Part II

Here's the first 5 decisions made by the ISAF equipment committee regarding medal events for 2012 and how they will affect local sailors

1) Remove the Men's keel boat competition that is currently sailed in Stars.  There are some local Star sailors, but they are unlikly to be affected by this change.  They will still happlily sail against each other in their own events.  Less CYA resources will go to Star sailors nationally, but they aren't getting much now anyway.

2) Keep the Woman's match racing format that will be first sailed at the London games in 2012.  I predict that since match racing meets the spectator and media friendly requirements of the IOC, the men will want to get in on the action as well.  This may result in a mixed keel boat match racing event with both men and women.  Locally I hope this trickles down to a local match race event.  It seems like something the M242 fleet would be interested in.

3) Reintroduce a catamaran event.  This event will be sailed with mixed teams of men and women.  The concept of mixed sex events is unique to sailing.  No other sport can do this on a level playing field.  This is one of the things that will help keep sailing in the Olympics  A lot of local fleets have mixed crews already, but this may result in some more respect for the crews that do this.  Hopefully this will influence the high performance classes like the Volvo 70s.

4) Change the 470 event to a mixed teams event.  The national level sailors are not happy about being required to break up the teams that they have spent years developing, but it will probably turn out for the best.  IOC is not going to allow more medal events for sailing, so there have to be some changes.  The athletes will probably accept this decision because it is better than having your event removed from the games as first the cats and now the Star have had to deal with.  The 470 class has a direct effect on local sailing. The 420, its development class, is very actively sailed locally.  I think it will be mostly positive as the class will probably get more exposure as they are breaking new ground and trying new things.

Continued in part III...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why IOC and ISAF decisions affect amature sailors - Part I

First off some definitions.  IOC is the international Olympic committee.  They make the rules governing the Olympic games.  ISAF is the International Sailing Association of Federations.  They govern the rules of the sport of sailing for all participating national sailing organizations and classes of boats.  Each national sailing organization is set up essentially to develop Olympic competitors. In Canada this is CYA.

Now, the first decision that affects us as sailors is the IOC's criteria for a sport to remain part of the Olympics.  Early last year the IOC updated its criteria to keep the Olympics relevant and interesting to all nations.  My understanding of this extensive document is that In order for a sport to stay part of the Olympics they must: be accessible, affordable, played by the majority of countries in the world, and spectator friendly, and generate media interest and coverage. IOC also decided that sailing would be required to stay with the same number of medal events.

This raises some issues for sailing.  We have some classes such as the Star boat that do not meet any of these requirements but are an Olympic class.  (  We also have several classes that only meet most of the requirements such as the Laser.  Lasers as you know have an international following, are popular in many areas of the world, and are affordable when compared to other race boats.

Now we get to the ISAF decision that affects sailors.  ISAF must keep sailing as an Olympic sport in order to justify its own existence.  If there is less international sailing competition, there is less need for the ISAF.  So the ISAF equipment committee wrote a recommendation in November that will make some major changes for the classes and formats that compete for medals in the Rio games in 2016.  Here are some of the changes that were recomended in november and how they may effect local sailors.  These changes are not official and will be voted on in the spring.  I will detail these in part II.