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Old 02-27-2011, 05:51 AM   #1
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G'day everyone. Sure need some well thought-out advice with this one. 'Big time' - for sure!! Anyone want to make a qualified comment on what is or which is or are the 'best of the best' Navigational courses with respects to knowledge. It would be great to receive top value vs cost as an additional bonus. That said the 'best of the best' knowledge has to be the overriding value to be considered here, IMHO. Whilst I need to be mindful & frugal of my pension, I don't want to hit the bricks. After 55 years of missing them so far I don't wish to change that batting average. Needless to say I've a few stumbling-blocks (other than being male & old - ha) in that I'm as dyslexic as all heck & old enough to find 'text' learning a tad difficult, to say the least.

All this started with my desire to do some cruising & racing with a minimum of crew, caused by a distinct lack of large amounts of excess money. I looked at 'Nav courses' in my search engines & came up with a book; Emergency Navigation by David Burch. That lead me to 'Starpath' which I believe he is 'founder' of. They have the book @ $13.95 US $ (Amazon is only a few cents cheaper & an Australian distributor is $32.95 Aust $ - so I wont go to them). Starpath also offer a few options; 1/ Starpath Training Pak - containing * Weather Trainer Live, * Radar Trainer, * Chart Trainer - for $229.00 US $ . As an alternative they have an 'Emergency Navigation' on line Home Study Course, including; * printed textbook - 'Emergency Navigation', plus * Reference texts in E-Book format - - * The Star finder book, * Long term Almanac, * Stark Tables for Clearing the Lunar Distance.- for $179.00 US $

Well now - - that's all well & good if only I knew what it all meant, which I don't, not 1 little bit. So I'm unable to properly evaluate either, both or any other course(s).

We have lots of very knowledgeable yachties in these forums as well as a few highly qualified commercial sea-persons. I sure do need all the assistance I can get with this one. This is not a 'hypothetical' i however it is what I've going to do, just want to get it right the first time around (not aground - & that's not a ha).

I can sail, make boats travel safely & smoothly & even go fast & win races. I can design them, build them & rescue

/rebuild them - but; so far I've assisted an on-board navigator to get to the destination all in one piece but I need to be much more independent than that at this time in my life. I can read a chart & have good 'DR' skills through fog, sleeting rain & cyclones however I need much, much more knowledge to go in safety where I wish to go.

So to anyone out there that wishes to help keep this 'geri-hat-trick' alive, well & safe - - Please Help (that's yelling politely) I appreciate this is a 'big' ask however I asking - Please & Tnx, james

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Old 02-27-2011, 06:48 AM   #2
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Tall order this one James!

Your post reminds me of an old coastal steamer captain from the Swedish province of Bohuslän. Captain McFie came from a Scotts family who lived, and stil does, in a small coastal community called Lyckorna. He had been working on these small vessels, man and boy, for very many years, always trading along the coast of Bohuslän and further up towards Oslo or Christiania as it was then. He was asked one day by a lady passenger where he had learnt navigation. This was before the days of compulsary examination for ships officers and old McFie replied, "I never learnt navigation madam".

"Well," the lady interjected, "how is it that you do not run the ship aground?"

"Simple," replied McFie, "I know where the rocks are."

In your case James, I expect you know where the rocks are provided you. like McFie, keep to waters you know well but I get the impression that you want to venture further.

I know none of the titles you have listed but would say directly avoid anything which mentions lunar distances. The method of calculating longitude by lunar distances fell into disuse with the introduction of the chronometer which, admittedly, took very many years after its invention due to the cost of the timepiece.

My navigational bilbe has always been Bowditch. I love it because everything is explained in great detail although, being an American publication, it did neet some compementary information for European conditions. As an example, Bowditch hardly mentions Decca whereas OMEGA gets a very detailed description yet I have only sailed on two ships fitted with OMEGA and very many fited with Decca. Of course, GPS has made both systems obsolete.

I would strongly recommend Bowditch but only to someone who wants or needs that depth of knowledge and bearing in mind that it is not an easy book to read.

Being a professional navigator, I do not feel the need to buy navigation books but one book I have heard very strongly recommended is Mary Blewitt’s “Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen”. If you do decide to buy this book, living in Oz you will probably find the British edition more appropriate than the edition modified for the US.

Otherwise, my recommendation, given your special circumstances as well, would be to try and attend a navigation course at a local institution of yacht club.

I know this is not much of an answer but I hope it helps at least in some small way.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:13 AM   #3
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G'day, Thanks & Aye // Stephen. Very helpful & I thank you. Yacht Clubs are not what they should be out-here (that's down-under). However there are some (or were some) Technical institutions - sponsored by the government - that have 'navigation courses' & I'll look into that. I've passed a few but they aren't near enough for what I'll soon need. Got to Hobart (in a Sydney to Hobart yacht race) without any electronics through 36 hours of fog & for the next 3 days & came 2nd in our division. Battery leads fused and 'cooked' every electric & electronic device on board, including the compasses. I'll never sail with an electronic compass ever again. Needed to correct the crews direction that they were sailing as it was north & we should have been going south, as Hobart seems to be south of Sydney. Couldn't & still can't figure out why they were sailing in the wrong direction, for an hour before I wore up - knowing that we were going in the wrong direction - sea-state, boat motion & there seems to be some kind of 'compass type' thing in my head. Something to do with the - earth's magnetic grid, me thinks, which seems to be in my head, that I can use on demand & even as required without asking it to turn-on & work. No answer for that. I've just had a similar experience while sailing a yacht out of Darwin (at the top end of Aussie) & missed the non charted bricks just under the water. Won a few Sydney to Brisbane races with the same 'luck'. However sailing through all the small islands in South East Asia is not without - very high risk - (as I'm sure Richard will attest to) thus the thirst for more formal educated knowledge. Thanks again for you help. I'll follow up on that direction. Ciao, james
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:52 AM   #4
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Without spending any money, here's a link to Bowditch Online

A start, anyway.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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Hi James,

I guess with today's electronics - If with one knows where one is, ie: Lat/long then the ability to transfer that data to a good paper chart is half the challenge.

Some years ago a 1st mate who knew zilch about navigation had been forced to secure the Skipper to the binnacle. She knew how to talk to us on the radio - she knew how to read the compass bearing, they were originally heading for Singapore. We gave her a bearing for Vietnam, couple of days later she could describe what she could see in Vietnam, we could match that on our charts and give her new bearings.

Eventually Cruisers from Malaysia came out and brought her and her skipper into Tioman Island - Malaysia.

Richard
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:13 PM   #6
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Hi James,

I know he charges about $300 but there is a guy in my home yacht club who operates a business called "learn to sail by mail"

Jim is a great bloke and is fully qualified. His program is easy to understand and he is always willing to explain anything you don't understand. I did one of his other courses a number of years ago and still hit him with questions when I bump into him.

I know it's not free but sometime you need to go the extra mile when its as important as navigation.

Cheers

Rob & Annette

S/V Blue Lady
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Qldcruiser View Post

Hi James,

I know he charges about $300 but there is a guy in my home yacht club who operates a business called "learn to sail by mail"

Jim is a great bloke and is fully qualified. His program is easy to understand and he is always willing to explain anything you don't understand. I did one of his other courses a number of years ago and still hit him with questions when I bump into him.

I know it's not free but sometime you need to go the extra mile when its as important as navigation.

Cheers

Rob & Annette

S/V Blue Lady
G'day U 2. Thanks for that. I'll chase that down promptly. Never did think I would not have to pay for the knowledge to help me stay alive. Life is worth far to much to take any short cuts. As we as - down-under - - Wouldn't be dead for quids. Thanks again, james
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:11 AM   #8
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I just bought a copy of the Blewitt book for around $7(US) at Amazon. Seems pretty straight forward. I will be practicing with the notes during my trip to the BVI later this week.

Incidentally, going to look at a Cheoy Lee 41 in a couple of weeks - pretty excited about that.

So much to do and know before we go!
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:14 AM   #9
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I just bought a copy of the Blewitt book for around $7(US) at Amazon. Seems pretty straight forward. I will be practicing with the notes during my trip to the BVI later this week.

Incidentally, going to look at a Cheoy Lee 41 in a couple of weeks - pretty excited about that.

So much to do and know before we go!
G'day Cptndghy & Lady. Thanks for that info. Think I need some very high level navigation course/skills for the - 'big ocean' places I wish to risk sailing in. Thanks though. I will check it out thoroughly !!!

Now about your looking at a CL 41' Sent you an e-mail direct, which in hindsight I might/should have put that info in these 'forums'.

The difference between the two sailing yachts you have mentioned (the 44' a friend has or suggested) is similar to comparing a 'VW - Bug' to a "Maserati' / 'Lamborghini' or a 'house brick' to a 'polycarbonate laminate'. With the CL 41' as the 'VW' / 'house brick'. One can do the job while the other excels in doing the best job possible in the safest most seaworthy manner in 'off-shore' canditions. IMHO. Might not be a popular comment however I don't retract it. If you want to go 'real sailing' then buy a real sailing yacht don't be conned into buying a 'smooth, sheltered waters - marina poser vessel. Again IMHO, Ciao, james PS Why not take both yachts for a 2 day sail in 30 knots & see what you evaluate as suitable for you? You two should take-up Brenda & Davids offer (I sure know I would) , I seriously suggest you would learn much more than by taking a course, but then I've only been sailing for a little bit. jj

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:35 AM   #10
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You two should take-up Brenda & Davids offer (I sure know I would) , I seriously suggest you would learn much more than by taking a course, but then I've only been sailing for a little bit. jj


Thanks for the comparison of the two boats. Both actually seem a little larger than what I suspect 2 people should be looking at (recommendations from my reading seem to point at 32-38 being the ideal range).

I may have missed a post along the way but I am not sure what you are referring to above.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:17 PM   #11
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Thanks for the comparison of the two boats. Both actually seem a little larger than what I suspect 2 people should be looking at (recommendations from my reading seem to point at 32-38 being the ideal range).

I may have missed a post along the way but I am not sure what you are referring to above.
G'day there. CptnDghy & Lady. I sure hope that lots of other people will learn something from these discussions, if only one small thing is gleaned then what we are discussing (even though it is only - - from our perceived positions & in our opinions ! - -) then we may have contributed to what these 'forums' are all about & intended to be for. IMHO

Thanks for the honour of 'friends', I'm sincerely honoured !!

Your subject: "Sailing Schools" etc. etc. on 4/Feb/11 @ 0346 hrs. was replied to by several. One of which was - 6/Feb/11 @ 0623 hrs. from 'Wildernesstech' - David & Brenda. Suggest you go back & re-read your 'posts' answers. The check out David & Brenda & their very fine yachts, 'profile', 'topics', etc & learn a whole lot of valuable information. If I were over in your neck-of-the-woods, I'd be knocking on their door @ 0700 hrs with a very large plate of - pancakes, Canadian Maple Syrup & thick rashes of bacon, then hope they let me in and offered me a large cup of strong tea. Offered a s 'payment' or 'bribe' - whatever. If they could find the time to take me sailing on either of their fine vessels & allow me to learn about just some of the - first-aid - & sailing knowledge they have, I'm sure all this would - save my life - many times over. I'm very pleased that you have some 'old' codgers to guide you. Take-in lots of advise but - follow your own star. IMHO, 32' is to cramped to - stretch-out - get some private space & have long enough 'legs' to make for smooth sailing. Yes you 'can' do it but why would want to??? I've raced & cruised on a S&S 34' for 6 years. Great yacht - may well be the best ocean going sailing vessel ever designed & built - they've been around the world at least 6 times under 4 different skippers, but not enough room inside to be 'nice' & comfortable. IMHO. Just because you may choose a 36', 38', 44' or what ever doesn't mean you should ever have up more sails than is safe - for the conditions - than you are capable of handling safely. The same goes for the conditions you go to sea in. Many small steps - taken carefully c/w thorough lateral vision plus careful studying of the horizon (all 360* of it & regularly) - - makes for safe travel whether on land or water. Softly, gently, cautiously & with great care should be a great guiding mantra to follow. The 'wave-centers' vary depending where you are around the globe, however one thing that does not vary is that the longer the waterline of the yacht the better chance of a smoother passage for the most hours per day, generally speaking.

You mention the Mercer 44' amongst others, which I will research & offer some humble observations. You mention that the Mercer 44' is more money. More than a CL 41' - well yes - I should hope so. The 'Maserati' - Mercer 44' - is a 'bona fides' yacht - whilst after my experience with sailing a CL (regardless of size) in the South China Sea, I would not be so sure about the 'bona fides' qualities of either their seaworthiness nor especially their construction. Don't take my opinion - go sailing 'in the big ocean' on both & make up your own minds. No short cuts here !!! Make sure you do all your homework thoroughly. Bad decision may equal bad boat may (read as probably will) lead to loss of life - yours !!!!!!!! - or worse, someone that has come to rescue you. Make important (life safety) decisions with great care - - then live long, enjoy, love the experience & minimize the pain.

I'll research carefully the boats you mention; Baba 30, Allberg 35, Bristol 35.5, Cape Dory 33 Endeavour 37 & offer my limited humble opinion as a builder & sailor of sailing yachts for some time back.

You take care, stay focused, keep healthy & enjoy your sailing. Ciao, james 'JJ-geri-hat-trick'

Far to long a 'post' - - SORRY - - people - not intended to bore but inform, jj

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