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Good read BP

Can’t fault any of it

We hove to in the 2012 RNZ for a watch (3hrs) when the weather bomb was approaching, we had been doing 3 hour watches for 3 days two up and got a good sleep, then we were up to sailing through the worst of the bad stuff.

Tiredness is probably even more dangerous than a calendar

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I was asked for this in another thread. Flame away.       First this is about cruising, racing is a whole nuther story. And since the majority of long distance cruisers are either couples or short

experiment... shows for me ,Photobucket is working again ( for how long I don't know). I always liked this photo taken when we were hove to off the Kermadecs on my mates 46 ft Davidson. Usually windy

Good read BP Can’t fault any of it We hove to in the 2012 RNZ for a watch (3hrs) when the weather bomb was approaching, we had been doing 3 hour watches for 3 days two up and got a good sleep, then

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IT I think you need a gems column where post like BP’s can be kept as a resource for all to read again

There is some dribble on this site like all, but sometimes a gold nugget like this appears and need to be put aside as a reference

Just my humble opinion

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Yes good read thank you BP. I especially like the fact it is real world figures ie it actually is really unpleasant and hard on the gear to sail to windward in over 30 knots!


I really must practice heaving to. I always mean to but never do. Time to just do it.


When you refer to learning Navigation (beyond reading the plotter manual) what do you mean? Simply being able to place a waypoint on a chart, manually working out distance, bearing etc? Or right back to basics and being able to navigate with a sextant?

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Navigation today is a tricky one as I am not fully aware of What is being taught if you sign up for a course these days.

What is in my mind is a kind of situational awareness. How does the information you are receiving relate to the real world? How accurate is it? What is a reasonable course based on these considerations.

With a sextant we learned to put a "circle of uncertainty " around a fix. It might be 10 miles or more depending on conditions etc. You would then lay off a course that avoided everything harder than water by 15 miles.

We also learned there is no advantage entering a port (especially one you haven't seen before) in darkness. None whatsoever.

You can heave to and sleep and go in with daylight. Chances are customs will charge you more before 9 am so have breakfast first.


I hear people tell me things they have done relying on instruments and it sends a shiver down my spine.

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I agree BP, too an extent. The basic rule of navigation I use is always to have 3 data sources. One can be the mk1 eyeball. Does what you see agree with the plotter, the depth finder, the bearings to obvious features.

Way more yachts are lost due to poor pilotage than offshore.

Can/do you take bearings to check the plotter position

Can you work your tides?

Do you know the rule of 12ths for areas without tidal data?

I have no issue with relying in instruments, provided you check their accuracy.

Old navigation systems (sextant, paper charts etc) can also be wrong, and people make mistakes.

Don't cut corners, be safe out there...

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You can rely on them . It's what decisions do you make based on the data they give you.


Would you attempt a 100m entrance in zero visibility with gps? Gps plus radar? But what do you gain by doing so and what do you risk? Whats wrong with heaving to till dawn anyway?


These are human decisions that too many get wrong.

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 You'd never do a tricky pass in first time at night ,...But we left an island in the dark in the Lau last year.  2 boats , we waypointed the hazards on our way in and ran tracks.

 Between the 2 boats I think we were running  6 different chart systems including Google earth. 3 miles across the lagoon and then a pass.

 The reason you do it as you know is you need to time your arrival at your destination and because it was 70 miles  we had to leave early. We had intended to do a new pass ( to us ) into Vanua balavu so that drove the timing, that had to be in daylight. We didn't have problem with it  and had plenty of information . Plus it was fairly windy so we had slop breaking on the pass entrance / edges as great confirmation  that we were bang on track..

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I agree, tiredness is a problem, especially with decision making when it gets tough and if you are the skipper the pressure is on to make a call.  Keep rested and try and sleep, easier said than done sometimes when it's rough.  


In some ways these days we have so much information especially weather you are more inclined not to make a decision.  Often you have 3-4 weather models and making the right call means sometimes waiting.  In the old weatherfax days you only had a rough idea.  


Also when the weather turns nasty for me I sometimes push to get somewhere harder than I should.  You just want to get somewhere else, and probably the more prudent thing to do is to ease the sheets reef and take a rest.  

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