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Old 01-05-2015, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default Extreme Ocean Yacht Master course?

Hi sea farers

I've just been browsing yacht master courses in the hope of getting more ocean passage making experience and came across an 'Extreme' course based on a 3 week passage between Cape Town and Mauritius and back. I'm interested in whether anyone has experienced this course? Pros and cons?
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:11 AM   #2
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No experience on such courses. Do you already sail?
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:17 AM   #3
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No experience on such courses. Do you already sail?
Yes. I live on my yacht , a Bavaria 50, in Fiji but want to gather the confidence to do ocean passages alone or with inexperienced crew - as yet I've always crossed oceans with someone equal or of more skill/experience than myself . . I am yet to encounter anything over 40 knots as I always wait for weather windows. I think it would be comforting to know I could deploy a sea anchor, get storm jib up etc if I had to.

I was wondering whether a 3 week ocean passage in hesvy seas would be good learning opportunities as it may be almost too full on.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:45 AM   #4
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Ah, yes, I see.

There are a few such courses around of a similar design. They take on crew to teach and go to the "wrong place at the wrong time" to capture those learning experiences. I'm drawing a blank but I saw one that looked quite nice just the other day. hum, I'll have to think about it.

I, for one, would not do the course but rather I'd try to get some one-on-one time talking to sailors who have experienced heavy weather and try to get their take on specifics that are key to me as a person and my own vessel in terms of performance in those conditions. I would also go out and try to obtain the seatime on my own vessel in some of the more challenging conditions of big waves and sustained high winds. You can learn a lot in gale force winds and do remember that at some point of high winds and big seas you're not going to be sailing but rather just hove to and waiting out a storm. I'm not so sure that sort of thing is very instructive to go looking for. With a large enough vessel, which you seem to have, sailing in gale force winds, OTOH, I believe is a useful thing. My husband and I did that this spring as we sailed North from San Francisco to Alaska in the typical spring storms and southerlies that run along the coast in winter/spring along the west coast of North America. We succeeded in ah, hem...challenging ourselves sufficiently to feel that the boat and we are more capable than we'd imagined.

I'll look around and see if I can't find that other heavy-weather course instruction I'd seen, too.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:56 AM   #5
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Ah, yes, I see.

There are a few such courses around of a similar design. They take on crew to teach and go to the "wrong place at the wrong time" to capture those learning experiences. I'm drawing a blank but I saw one that looked quite nice just the other day. hum, I'll have to think about it.

I, for one, would not do the course but rather I'd try to get some one-on-one time talking to sailors who have experienced heavy weather and try to get their take on specifics that are key to me as a person and my own vessel in terms of performance in those conditions. I would also go out and try to obtain the seatime on my own vessel in some of the more challenging conditions of big waves and sustained high winds. You can learn a lot in gale force winds and do remember that at some point of high winds and big seas you're not going to be sailing but rather just hove to and waiting out a storm. I'm not so sure that sort of thing is very instructive to go looking for. With a large enough vessel, which you seem to have, sailing in gale
force winds, OTOH, I believe is a useful thing. My husband and I did that this spring as we sailed North from San Francisco to Alaska in the typical spring storms and southerlies that run along the coast in winter/spring along the west coast of North America. We succeeded in ah, hem...challenging ourselves sufficiently to feel that the boat and we are more capable than we'd imagined.

I'll look around and see if I can't find that other heavy-weather course instruction I'd seen, too.
Thanks for your thoughts. I haven't done any Southern Ocean sailing. Might just knuckle down and sail to New Zealand next cyclone season here. I think it's a confidence thing for me. I have my master 5 skipper licence and have sailed around 17,000 nm but I get freaked out when there is no one else I can rely on!

One on one I'd say yes to that with a female. I tend to find guys get all macho when they come on the boat. Wish there were more female instructors around.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:26 AM   #6
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Smudge.
I am in agreeance with Brenda (redbopeep).
Anything you get from a course, while it may seem wiley at the time is still a relatively speaking a controlled environment. And if you are still with people of equal or greater experience then its like trying to fly with a safety net....
On the flip side neither do I in any way recommend you go looking for trouble... if you you've done 17k nm and only seen a gale good for you...
When guys come in talking about heavy weather if it seems glamorous they are just being macho.

I have been unfortunate to see hurricane force winds (cought in hurricane Gustav in 2008 during an ill timed delivery) and been in a couple of tropical storms to boot.
There really is nothing to learn from these experiences.
In those situations you can't even heave to. You just put out sea anchors (everything, every pot and pan and line to be had) and hope you don't get pitch poled and/or dismasted.
At times like that you either fall apart and go curl up on your bunk or you don't fall apart and go curl up on your bunk...
As Atkinson said, "man has never built a vessel that can ride out any kind of sea"
I vote you just stick with your current sailing paradigm and avoid foul weather when you can... and if you can't, pray that both you and the vessel are equal to it.
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:45 AM   #7
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Good point about either way you'll be curled up in your bunk.

I hope that we never find ourselves dealing with "beyond hove to" but it is realistic to say that situation comes along. I've often wondered about the sensibility of heaving to when waves are so big that you won't be seeing the winds while in the trough and thus negating the benefit of heaving to. This fall we had a fellow, Ben, of the sailboat Walkabout lost in a storm this August (see link), stop by and visit us on the boat while we were in the Delta--he'd just lost his sailboat in exactly that way as hove to. They ended up more laying a-hull due to the lack of wind in the troughs.

Our discussions with Ben led David and I both to think we'd do anything we could to continue running (trailing all we could trail in a true Bob Griffiths fashion). We don't carry a sea anchor for deployment off the bow but that would be the other solution in such conditions to face up.

Hawaii Breaking News - Stranded sailors describe 'perfect storm,' rescue - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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