Merry Christmas 2012

Holly corner

 

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year for all my faithful followers.

I haven’t had time to share all my adventures from 2012 with you yet, so next year I will be bringing you more of my adventures from 2012 and I will be continuing to share my Skipper’s Tips with you.

All the best for 2013, let’s hope it’s a great year for us all.

Rich 🙂

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventures.

 

 

 

Skipper’s Tips #3 – Winter Cruising

I am a year round boater.  Come rain or come shine I’m to be found out on the sea and I have to tell you that despite the rain, which I loathe and the cold which you can wrap up against, time spent on the water during the winter months can be some of the loveliest.  Apart from anything else, the sea is virtually empty during these months: you can careen about like lunatics and not upset a sole.  Marinas are practically empty; there’s never a problem finding a parking spot and sometimes the sun will be shining down through crystal clear blue skies that make you feel supremely glad to be alive.

I first experienced the thrill of winter boating when I took some prospective Sealine purchasers over to Yarmouth for lunch. We were out on the water trying out a boat that they were thinking of buying.  We set off from the Hamble at ten o’clock and after whizzing around off Cowes for a while, we made our way to Yarmouth.  By one o’clock, we were sitting down, outside, under the most beautiful blue sky, to fish and chips – this was in December!

Each year, as summer draws to a close, many of us think about taking our boats out of the water, ‘winterising’ them, and resorting to magazines to fill the gap; it doesn’t have to be like that.  The winter months are peppered with bracing, yet calm and gloriously sunny days. The seas are empty and the ‘playground’ is ours. Imagine going out on Christmas day for a spin around the block and lunch at a waterside restaurant, with a roaring fire in the grate – what could be better?

If you do decide to take the plunge and keep your boat in the water for winter, I would suggest that you think carefully about the consequences of low temperatures and the effect this could have on your boat.

  • Have your boat lifted, scrubbed, anti-fouled and check the anodes
  • Service the engines, to make sure you have all new fluids and filters and identify any problems
  • Put heaters below decks – propping open the doors to allow the warmth to circulate. Greenhouse style tube heaters are ideal, especially for the engine room
  • If the temperatures are going to be particularly cold, you might even need to drain down your fresh water system – including the calorifier, open all the taps and take the shower head off the bathing platform shower hose
  • Make sure all your covers and the tonneau fit properly and are not ripped
  • Ensure your boat is tied on correctly and even put extra lines on if high winds are expected
  • Remember, boats sitting in fresh water, will not be as well insulated from the cold as boats berthed in salt water which is unlikely to freeze
  • Have your lifejackets and life-rafts serviced, check to see that your flares are all in date

Remember, it is even more important, during the colder months, when there are fewer people around and the water is that much colder, to take all the usual safety precautions, and to wear the right clothing and footwear.

Providing you are sensible, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy your boating all year round.

See you on Christmas day!

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventures.

Skipper’s Tips #2 – Close-quarters manoeuvring

The mainstay of my job as an instructor, if you can actually call it work, has always been practical boat handling.  This has to be the most daunting part of boat ownership, especially if you are stood at the controls of your new boat for the first time or indeed, if you haven’t even got the boat yet and you’re sat in front of a salesman signing on the dotted line thinking, ‘Am I going to be able to drive this boat…?’

Rest easily.  All you have to do is imagine that you are pushing a full shopping trolley around the aisles of a supermarket, and the floor is constructed of ice!

Actually, for sailing yachts this really doesn’t apply, as your keel will enable you to point your bow exactly where you want it to go. For a sailing yacht the biggest problem is going backwards.   As you pick up speed the rudder will come under huge pressure and if you turn it, even slightly, the force of the water passing across it can snatch it out of your hand and send it hard to one side or the other. Beware of going backwards too quickly!  The other problem area for sailing yachts is prop-walk or prop-wash as it’s sometimes called.  We’ll look at this in another one of my tips ‘Turning on the spot’ when we consider turning in close proximity to other boats.

Now, let’s get back to considering motor yachts.  Apart from the caveats listed below, the best piece of advice I can give to you is to proceed as slowly as possible, without losing steerage; give yourself plenty of time to work things out and go in straight lines.  In other words, if you have to go around bends or corners STOP, turn on the spot and then continue in a straight line.

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Close-quarters manoeuvring

  • Before you untie the lines work out what the wind and tide are doing; you really don’t need to be caught off guard at this point
  • Every channel has a safe side and a danger side.  Keep to the safe side; you will need to establish which of the two forces is having the most effect on you and then move towards the side of the channel that force is coming from
  • Before entering a narrow channel, plan how you will turn around and get back out
  • Keep your speed down when manoeuvring in tight spaces but don’t spend too much time in neutral as the elements will start to drift you towards your danger side
  • If you feel it is impossible to avoid hitting another boat, STOP and then come gently alongside the other vessel
  • Remember, your boat has a bow and a stern; if your bow goes to starboard, your stern will go to port (every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction)

The key to successful close-quarters manoeuvring, is to be aware of what the tide and wind are doing so that you can utilise the effect of the wind and tide rather than trying to fight it.  By manoeuvring into wind or into tide, either bow first or stern first, you will be able to turn your boat without having to go any great distance forwards or backwards.  This will keep the speed of the manoeuvre to a minimum and allow you to stay in control.  Importantly, if you turn your stern to the wind it will make it easier to maintain a stationary position whilst your crew prepare fenders and lines than it would if you turn your bow into the wind.  This also applies to yachts but to a lesser extent.

However, if your best efforts suddenly go to pot and coming into contact with another boat is unavoidable, STOP!  Use both engines, either ahead or astern, whichever is appropriate, to stop yourself dead in the water and in a straight line.  Touching another boat with your fenders deployed is only the same as rafting up and should do minimal, if any damage.

Whereas, trying to drive out of a sticky situation can often lead to a glancing blow which can potentially do a lot of damage!

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventures.