Part 2 of Learning to Sail
In our previous post we discussed the first stages of a learning to sail course. Here is the second part.
Bareboat Chartering is the next stage. Participants are expected to hold the Basic Coastal Cruising Certificate before doing this course. The theory side covers the preparation of both crew and boat for a one week cruise including the preparation of a passage plan. Meteorology is considered including a look at fog and onshore and offshore winds. Seamanship is looked at and students should know what action is required if the engine fails, they should know how to anchor the boat bow or stern to. On the practical side the student will be able to undertake weekly and daily maintenance tasks, manoeuvre the boat under power in a restricted space, pick up a mooring buoy, use the VHF radio. The following navigational skills are required, plotting a course and establishing the compass heading and calculating an estimated time of arrival. Establishing a fix using visual bearing. Use a chart to pilot the boat into an unfamiliar harbour. Students must interpret a shipping and obtain forecast. When completed the individual can act as skipper of a boat up to 50 feet in length sailing by day in coastal waters.
The next stage is known as Coastal Navigation. This is a theory only course and no prior experience or knowledge is required. Students will be required to demonstrate knowledge of various State and Federal regulations pertaining to sailing. They must understand how the use navigational instruments including both steering and hand bearing compasses, binoculars, depth sounder, log, parallel rule and dividers. When dealing with secondary ports, participants must display an understanding of tide tables and their use. They should be able to convert bearings and compass courses between, compass, true and magnetic, plot a dead reckoning position, understand the effect of current and leeway when estimating a position and plot a position by two or more bearings, a running fix and a bearing and distance. They will need to demonstrate a knowledge of buoyage and lights.
The Cruising Catamaran course deals exclusively with multihull sailing and concentrates on the differences a sailor finds as opposed to monohull sailing. Participants should have completed the Bareboat Chartering stage. On the theory side students must be able to identify and name the various parts of a multihull that are not found on a monohull including the different wing decks, hulls, cross arms, three point rig, bridle line, safety nets, seagull and dolphin strikers. They will be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of multihulls including, performance, comfort safety and the danger of capsize. On the practical side the sailor will demonstrate: how to cast of and leave the quay with at least two different wind directions relative to the bow and then berth and return alongside, pick up a mooring buoy, manoeuvre in a restricted space, reverse, recover a man overboard, the different points of sail, gybing and tacking, sail a compass course within 10 degrees. They will anchor in the following ways, two anchors of the bow or stern, bow anchor and bridle, single bow with a stern line to the shore and bow to fixed mooring. Upon completion the person can skipper a multihull sailboat of up to 50 foot in length by day in coastal waters.
Advanced Coastal Cruising follows and participants should have completed both the Bareboat Chartering and Coastal Navigation stages. Students will be required to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the theory of sailing, an understanding of meteorology including the various cloud formations and the weather that can be expected with each. They will understand the needs of heavy weather sailing, the necessary sail changes and the use of the correct safety equipment and procedures. They will be able to describe: how set a second anchor to reduce swinging, how to recover a fouled anchor, how to use a trip line and an anchor buoy and when and how to set an anchor watch. They will describe how to tow or be towed. They will have a knowledge of distress signals. Students will correctly describe the actions required in the following emergency situations: a dismasting, running aground on a lee shore and engine failure. Students will be able to carry out maintenance and repairs on the engine. On the water students must: sail on all points of the wind and tack and gybe in a wind of at least 15 knots, sail a compass course to within 10 degrees, carry out a man overboard recovery in darkness. They will demonstrate their ability to set, sail with including a gybe, pack a spinnaker and douse. They will stand a navigation watch of 20 miles both at day and night. When completed a person can skipper a sailing vessel of up to 50 feet in length both during day and night in coastal waters regardless of weather and sea conditions.
The next stage is called Celestial Navigation. The course is theory based and requires no experience or prior qualifications. The student must be able to demonstrate the Celestial Navigation required to navigate a sailboat on an offshore passage. The successful student will have demonstrated their ability to: Convert longitude into time and standard time and zone time to GMT. They will be able to calculate: the zone time given longitude, the chronometer error given the daily rate and a previous error, the time of meridian passage of the sun and calculate the boat’s latitude from the observed meridian altitude of the sun, the times of twilight, sunrise and sunset, plot celestial lines of position on a Mercator projection or on a universal plotting sheet and the true bearing of a low altitude celestial body in order to determine the error and deviation of the compass. The student will be able to apply the corrections for index error, dip of the horizon, and total correction to convert sextant altitudes of the sun, stars, planets, and moon to true altitudes, determine the latitude at twilight by means of the Pole Star and the approximate azimuths and altitudes of the navigational stars and planets at twilight. In addition they will be capable of solving the navigational triangle using a navigation table and advance the LOP obtained from a sun sight to another LOP obtained from the sun at a later time and find the boat’s position using a running fix (sun-run-sun).
This celestial theory can be put into practice during the Offshore Passage Making course. Entrants should be certified to the Advanced Coastal Cruising level. The student will plan a passage across either the Pacific or North Atlantic using Great Circle Plotting Charts and Climatic Charts. They must show an understanding of the essential factors to be considered when selecting a vessel for an offshore ocean passage of at least 1000 miles including hull construction and shape, rudder, keel, and rig water, type and fuel capacity. They must provide a list of spares and tools required for such a voyage. They must victual the boat for four people on passage for seven days. They must list the items to be carried in the first aid kit and describe basic treatments for injuries and illnesses that may occur together with identifying a source of mare advanced medical information while on passage. They will prepare a watch keeping system and define the duties of crew members both on and off watch. They will design a maintenance plan to cover: Bilges, electronic equipment, fuel system, hatches, galley equipment, rigging, safety equipment sea cocks, steering and the water system. They will describe the procedures to be undertaken in the following emergency situations: abandon ship, dismasting, fire onboard, lightning strike, man overboard. A comprehensive knowledge of the International Regulation for Preventing Collision at Sea must be demonstrated. When the course is completed is the sailor cans skipper a sailing vessel on offshore passages in any weather.