Ballydehob Bay, County Cork, Ireland
Located on Ireland’s southwest coast, Ballydehob Bay lies at the head of the extensive shallow Roaringwater Bay inlet. It offers a secluded anchorage in a remote area with access to the small coastal town up the estuary with a rise of the tide. It is also possible to dry out alongside the old town quay.Sheltered from the sea by rocks and islands to the westward of it, Ballydehob Bay provides a good well-sheltered anchorage. Access is available at all stages of the tide requires attentive daylight navigation to find and pass through a fairway leading to the bay through extensive marine farms ... More »
Poulgorm Bay, County Cork, Ireland
Located on Ireland’s southwest coast, Poulgorm Bay lies at the head of the extensive shallow Roaringwater Bay inlet. It offers a secluded anchorage in a remote area that is overlooked by the tower of a historic castle. Sheltered from the sea by rocks and islands to the westward of it, Poulgorm Bay provides a good well-sheltered anchorage. Access is available at all stages of the tide requires attentive daylight navigation to find and pass through a fairway leading to the bay through extensive marine farms in the head of the bay. ... More »
Castlepark Marina, Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
Castlepark Marina is situated less than half a mile upriver from Kinsale town on the east bank and opposite side of the River Bandon. The marina is a full-service marina with ample berths.Set upriver in the fjordlike valley estuary of the River Bandon, and in a virtually landlocked natural harbour, the marina offers complete protection. The same features and scarcity of hazards outside the entrance provide for safe access in all reasonable conditions, night or day on any state of the tide. ... More »
Fahy Bay, Ballynakill Harbour, County Galway, Ireland
Fahy Bay is tucked into the southern arm of Ballynakill Harbour on the west coast of Ireland between Cleggan Point and Rinvyle Point. It offers one of the best anchorages of the inlet in an entirely sequestered location with lovely views of the surrounding hills. The bay offers good protection from north round through west to south and should it become exposed perfect protection may be obtained via a short move. Harbour access is straightforward at any stage of the tide but only during daylight and the bay is obstructed by a sand bar that requires a rise of the tide to pass over.... More »
Elly Bay, Blacksod Bay, County Mayo, Ireland
Elly Bay lies on the northwest coast of Ireland, on the east side of the Mullet Peninsula and within Blacksod Bay. It provides a well-protected anchorage off a wide-sweeping arch of a beach in a quiet and secluded location near a small quay.The anchorage provides excellent protection and is considered the best anchorage available in Blacksod Bay in which it is possible to find complete protection from any wind direction. The bay may be safely approached at any time of the day, at any stage of the tide and in all reasonable conditions. ... More »
Green Bay, Bryher, Scilly, Cornwall, England
Green Bay lies on the east side of Bryher one of the smaller of the inhabited islands of Scilly. It offers a drying bay that is a perennial favourite for vessels that can take to the bottom. The bay provides good shelter from south-by-southwest through to north and tolerable protection from all other sectors save developed south easterlies at high water. Lying between the islands of Tresco and Bryher it may be approached from between the islands to the south or from seaward to the north. Both directions require attentive navigation, during daylight, as there are local offlying dangers and no l... More »
Old Town Bay, St Mary's Island, Scilly, Cornwall, England
Old Town Bay is located on the south side St Mary’s Island which is the largest island in Scilly. The bay dries and is full of local boat mooring but it is possible to anchor outside its entrance and land on its slip or beach.The entrance to Old Town Bay is well sheltered from the west through north to the northeast but becomes progressively more uncomfortable as the wind and swell become easterly and it is wide open to the south. Attentive daylight navigation is required as there as several hazardous outliers that need to be circumvented but it may be approached at any stage of the tide as ... More »
Porth Conger, St Agnes, Scilly, Cornwall, England
Porth Conger is a small northwest opening inlet that lies between St Agnes and its adjacent isle of Gugh in Scilly. It provides a pretty anchorage adjacent to the island's principal quay. The small bay provides a good anchorage in winds from northeast round through to south to west but is exposed wind edges further north. Access is straightforward at any stage of the tide with the benefit of daylight.... More »
The Cove, St Agnes, Scilly, Cornwall, England
The Cove is a small south opening inlet that lies between St Agnes and its adjacent isle of Gugh in Scilly. It provides an anchorage in a quiet and natural setting.The Cove is a good anchorage providing shelter from southwest round through west through north to east. It is also one of island group's most straightforward anchorages to approach and can be accessed at any stage of the tide with the benefit of daylight.... More »
Higher Town Bay, St Martin's, Scilly, Cornwall, England
Higher Town Bay is a shallow open bay located to the south of St Martin’s, Scilly. It offers an anchorage for vessels that can take to the bottom or for shoal draft vessels during neaps.The bay provides good shelter from west round through north to northeast. Access from the south requires attentive navigation with good visibility and it must be approached with a sufficient rise of the tide. ... More »
Kilmore Quay to the Isles of Scilly
This is a route from Kilmore Quay on the southeast corner of Ireland to the Isles of Scilly. It is a direct route passing to the east of the Saltee Islands to the deepwater anchorage of New Grimsby Sound, between Bryher and Tresco, in the north end of the Isles of Scilly.... More »
Old Grimsby Sound from St Mary’s Road (Scilly)
This is a passage across the broad stretch of shallow water that lies to the east of Tresco to allow vessels in Old Grimsby Sound to connect to St Mary’s Road. Large sections of the route are shallow and parts dry to 0.4 metres LAT so a sufficient rise of tide is required and it is ideally addressed on the flood. The route is sequenced from to St Mary’s Road to Old Grimsby Sound but it may is available both ways.... More »
Crow Sound to Tean Sound (Scilly)
This is a passage across the broad stretch of shallow water that lies between the islands of Tresco and St Martin’s connecting Crow Sound with Tean Sound. Large sections of the route are shallow and parts dry to 0.4 metres LAT so a sufficient rise of tide is required and it is ideally addressed on the flood. The route is sequenced from Crow Sound to Tean Sound but it may is available both ways. ... More »
Western cut into the Tesco Channel (Scilly)
This is a cut from the western side of the Isles of Scilly into the Tresco Channel that lies between the islands of Tresco. It is approached and entered to the south of the Northern Rocks and Mincarlo, to pass in between Bryher and Sampson. The passage between the islands is deep but the Tresco Channel itself is shallow and drying. ... More »
Broad Sound (Scilly)
Saint Mary's Road, at the heart of the Isles of Scilly, may be approached from seaward through five entrances, Saint Mary's Sound, Broad Sound, North West Passage (formerly known as the 'North Channel'), Smith Sound and the tidal Crow Sound. Broad Sound is approached and entered from the southwestern side of the Isles of Scilly. .... More »
North West Passage (Scilly)
Saint Mary's Road, at the heart of the Isles of Scilly, may be approached from seaward through five entrances, Saint Mary's Sound, Broad Sound, North West Passage (formerly known as the 'North Channel'), Smith Sound and the tidal Crow Sound. The North West Passage provides an entrance to vessels approaching from the north and west. It is approached and entered from the western side of the Isles of Scilly, to the west of the Northern Rocks, Bryher and Samson, heading southeastwardly before turning towards Saint Mary’s Sound, to the north of Annet, to set up the approaches to Saint Mary's Pool... More »
Crow Sound to St Mary's Pool (Scilly)
Saint Mary's Road, at the heart of the Isles of Scilly, may be approached from seaward through five entrances, Saint Mary's Sound, Broad Sound, North West Passage (formerly known as the 'North Channel'), Smith Sound and this entrance the tidal Crow Sound. It is an alternative to the generally recommended St Mary's Sound to St Mary's Pool The route requires a rise of the tide to pass over Crow Bar, a shallow bank that separates Crow Sound from St. Mary’s Road, that has the least depth of 0.4 metres LAT through its channels along this passage. The use of this entrance route must, therefore, b... More »
St Mary's Sound to St Mary's Pool (Scilly)
Saint Mary's Road, at the heart of the Isles of Scilly, may be approached from seaward through five entrances, Saint Mary's Sound, Broad Sound, North West Passage (formerly known as the 'North Channel'), Smith Sound and the tidal Crow Sound. Of these Saint Mary's Sound is the primary route that leads onward to Saint Mary's Pool. It passes in through Saint Mary's Sound that lies between St Mary's Island and the tiny island of Gugh situated about a mile southwestward and attached to St Agnes by an isthmus. It then continues through Saint Mary's Road to set up the approaches to Saint Mary's Pool... More »
Tresco Channel crossing the Tresco Flats (Scilly)
The Tresco Channel is a narrow stretch of shallow water that lies between the islands of Tresco and Bryher. Large sections of the route dry and it is best made during the rise 2 hrs after LW for vessels carrying up to 1.3 metres and at half flood for vessels of 1.8 metres. cutting across Tresco Flats but is available both ways. If there is any concern that there is not sufficient depth to cross its shallowest point of Tresco Flats a slight detour is also available to gain better water by circumventing the flats. ... More »
Milford Haven to Kilmore Quay
This route takes a vessel from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Wales, to Kilmore Quay in Wexford Ireland. It is optimised for a vessel that can make up to 5 knots through the water so that the arrival at Kilmore Quay has a favourable approach tide over St Patrick's Bridge, or if progress is delayed to pass in using Saltee Sound.... More »
Naming convention for describing objects relative to the vessel's heading
When navigating a vessel it is important that direction from which objects appear can be efficiently and effectively communicated. Having a single clear sectorial naming convention for the surrounding sea areas with reference to the various relative points of the vessel delivers this.
Easy reciprocal (back) bearing maths calculation method
We largely live in a world that uses base 10, or 'decimal' for mathematics. But this not the case with time and bearings which use base 60 or 'sexigesimal'. Because of this, the mental calculations required to quickly generating a back or reciprocal bearing can be perplexing for our decimal-based minds.
Checklisting for seaworthiness before departing the dock
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) state that the... 'safety of a yacht and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the person in charge, who must do his or her best to ensure that the yacht is fully sound, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by an experienced crew who have undergone appropriate training and are physically fit to face bad weather. He/she must be satisfied as to the soundness of hull, spars, rigging, sails and all gear. He/she must ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained and stowed and that the crew knows where it is kept and how it is to be used.'Seagoing vessels are highly complicated craft. Ensuring that all the critical items have been checked, that the crew have been fully briefed and that nothing has been overlooked, will stretch human memory and attention to the potential limits.
Maritime flags and their meaning
Code Flags are commonly displayed on commercial vessels during regattas and races or used as bunting at shoreside events. But the principal use of code flags is communication between vessels. Commercial vessels use code flags and shapes alongside sound signals when moving, anchored or alongside terminals to communicate their intentions.
Understanding yacht rigs
The rig of a sailing yacht is the primary source of propulsion and it can be considered the equivalent in importance to the engine in a ship, or motor vehicle or indeed an aeroplane. But just as there is an enormous range of engine types for various applications, so there are many variations of sailing rigs which offer different properties and trade-offs to the user. This can be somewhat confusing.
Using the engine as an emergency bilge pump
Holed boats take on water very quickly. A 10 cm will leak 1100 litres per minute. Enough to sink a 30ft yacht in 12 minutes. Such an inrush will overwhelm even the best of bilge pumps.
Understanding the seagoing capabilities of a vessel
It is difficult to interpret the seagoing capabilities of a vessel from its appearance. However, if you overestimate a vessel's capabilities and use it into conditions that it was not designed for, it could be overwhelmed.
A bilge pump warning light
Whilst underway the sound of the automatic electric bilge pump is often drowned out by general boat noise. Never more so than when operating under power. This pernicious oversight could lead to the vessel sinking. Good examples of engine running issues are failures in the stuffing boxes or of an impeller. The stern gland is one of the few thru-hull fittings designed to allow some water into the boat. This is about 2-3 drops per minute when the shaft is turning but if there is a problem this drip could turn into an in-flood without anyone knowing it above decks. Likewise, an impeller could give way causing the engine to overheat and its hot gases to melt the engine raw-water hose. This opens the closed loop cooling system and allows water to enter the boat.
Staunching a hole that may be only addressed externally
If a boat is holed below the waterline and you can’t get at the hole to stop the flow from below decks, you have to get to it from outside. Typically, this is too dangerous a situation to put a crew member in the water as you are only compounding the danger.
Understanding the Beaufort scale
The (nautical) Beaufort scale, or to give it its full name the Beaufort wind force scale, is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. The scale of wind forces are described for practical purposes by name, range of velocity, and classified from force 0 to force 12, or, sometimes, to force 17.
Care and maintenance of batteries
Once a vessel is cast off from the dock all the power it requires has to be self-generated and then stored in batteries which require some working knowledge and maintenance.
Battery options for boating
Once a vessel is cast off from the dock all its electrical requirements have to be self-generated and stored in batteries. But there are many different types of batteries with slightly varying properties and widely varying costs that can make this area somewhat confusing.
Electrical power generation on a sailing yacht
Electricity is one of the most important blessings that science has given to mankind. It has become so much a part of modern life that we couldn't think of living without it. All devices which facilitate our activities and impact on a big portion of our life require electricity. But once we cast off from the dock we also unplug from the almost limitless power source that we have become accustomed to. Aboard a seagoing vessel, we have to generate all the power that the vessel and its crew require.
How to smooth out the black caulking in teak deck joints.
Manufacturers and suppliers of teak deck caulking recommend using a flexible putty knife to smooth out freshly squeezed-out caulking.
A practical, low cost solution to monitoring charging and batteries
How to keep an eye on the state of your battery at all times, at rest, in use, and when charging.
The three magic numbers for optimum sailing comfort and efficiency
Newcomers to sailing can easily get overwhelmed by the complexity of the boat, the points of sail, the complex sailing environment and all the strings that need to be pulled aboard to make it happen. Worse, in this environment, it is all too easy to over canvas a boat and get into a right mess and even break gear.
An easy low cost system to store the mainsail
Gathering up, flaking and lashing down a big mainsail that’s sprawled all over a cabin top is a heavy wearisome and often daily task aboard a boat. It is particularly difficult with a high-set boom, when the sail is being blown about on a slippery rolling deck and as often as not approaching a busy harbour. It can be an absolute pain to handle shorthanded and particularly singlehanded.
Getting to grips with berthing (or docking) your vessel
In a three year circumnavigation, I can count on one hand the number of times I was berthed alongside in a marina. More than a dozen years later I have bought a boat twice the size, to accommodate my growing family, for sailing in The Solent on England’s south coast. But the first day out I realised my sailing experience to date almost counted for nothing. For gone were the vast deep oceans and open bay anchorages, it was all about operating in tight channels, and coming into river marinas with tidal streams whistling out beneath their pontoons. Worse, at 47 foot, my new boat was approaching a third longer and more than double the breadth of my lean circumnavigator. And, being in excess of 14 tonnes. it was way beyond what could be in any way physically manhandled. But with three young children, it was still all down to my wife and I to berth her. This all had to be handled in the area of peak density of UK boating, The Solent, and in tight marinas that were optimised for boats that were 20% smaller so there was with little margin for error. In short, it was a bit of a rude awakening. All of this had raised a level of unease within me that was approaching an aviation experience; tense take-offs, momentary liberation, then the apprehension for the inevitable tense landing. We even gave it a name, berthing anxiety, and it became an impediment to the enjoyment of our family boat.
Emergency cutless bearing fix
You discover you have a cutless bearing that has become badly worn causing the prop shaft to vibrate a lot. Your holidays are about to be ruined because you have to haul out the boat to fix that, right?
Buying a used sailing vessel in the UK
Buying a boat is one of the key ways to experience the pleasure of a countries coastline with family and friends. It is very much like buying a car and just as easy. However, as with a car purchase, key paperwork and legal matters need to be correctly attended to before a buyer may safely part with his money and take secure and unfettered ownership of a vessel. A new boat buyer has implicit Sale of Goods Act rights but not so a used boat buyer that are only covered by the laws pertaining to misrepresentation.
Getting about ashore more efficiently
A dinghy or berth will take the crew to the shoreline, but after that sailors tend to get about on foot. This is very slow going and range restrictive to the extreme.
'Rule of Twelfths': a simple method for estimating intermediate tidal heights
Applying a graphical procedure, found by reference to an appropriate almanac and the times and heights of high and low water, a navigator may precisely work out intermediate tidal heights and times. This then enables depth restricted vessels to pass into shallow waters supported by tidal water and accurately plot a position where a vessel may anchor and stay afloat.However plotting tides to this level of detail is a skilled, onerous and time consuming task. It is for many cruisers more for the world of merchant sailors. Moreover, tidal curves are often only available for major ports where most leisure vessels would have ample water, not in out of the way anchorages. In the real world, even if the information is available, few sailors would go to this level of detail.
A tide and current predictor when cruising in unfamiliar waters
When crossing oceans and seas to new sailing destinations it is not easy to have arrival tidal data. Typically boats acquire local tidal data after landing.
A simple and effective solar panel implementation
Solar panels perform well when they are free of shade, or even in partial shadow, and the sun is directly above. However finding a position on a sailing vessel that will be continually optimised for light capture is unlikely. To make matters worse a sailing vessel is highly space constrained, and large solar panels will easily encroach upon boat operations and crew comfort. The best solution is to build a dedicated panel gantry so that the panels are clear of the deck and are in an area of relatively little shade. However this is an extensive piece of engineering, requiring some investment and specialist work, and it will dramatically alter the vessels aesthetics.
Cutting through stainless steel rope and rigging wire
Many people carry at least one spare length of the heaviest / longest rigging stay aboard plus a pair of swageless terminations or compression terminals. These terminate stainless steel rigging cables with simple hand tools and because they are so easy to assemble, the terminals are ideal to use in temporary jury-rigging situations. However, the problem many people face is cutting the hard stainless steel rigging wire to size. In the best of circumstances, it is very difficult to cut multistranded stainless steel rope let alone heavy rigging in such a fashion that it is even and the strands of cable do not become unlaid in the process.
Using smartphones, tablets and other electrical devices in an external boating context
Smartphones and tablets are increasingly being introduced in sailing circles to provide convenient chart plotters, pilotage and information services in the cockpit. Likewise, Bluetooth speakers are often deployed in the cockpit to liven up a passage. But water and electrics do not tend to mix very well and it is difficult to tell how much exposure to water a device can take, the vague marketing term waterproof is difficult to pin down.
Optimising electronic automatic pilots on tiller steered boats
The most common tiller pilot on a smaller sailing boat is an electrically operated ram connected between the tiller and the side of the cockpit area. By changing the length of the ram, the autopilot changes the position of the tiller. Tiller pilot installation typically involves a simple two-step modification. First drill a hole in the cockpit combing and hammer in a brass pedestal socket for the tiller pilot base unit. Alternatively, a cantilever socket can be used to mount against the cockpit side with wide vessels. Finally, you then either drill a hole and hammer in a pin, into the top of the tiller itself or mount a bracket underneath for the pilot arm to gain purchase. The problem with this set up is that over an extended period of use the pin in the tiller or bracket typically works itself loose. The constant back and forth motion is simply too much for the timber grain to sustain, holes widen causing the pin or screws to rock back and forth and then the rate of wear increases exponentially. This causes the pilot arm to increasingly fall off and finally to become inoperable. Although the cockpit fibreglass is less subject to this wear the pedestal socket will also fail just the same as the tiller pin in time. In use, the setup is less than convenient as the tiller is down and sweeping the cockpit under the instruction of the pilot. Another problem emerged in conditions when we used the tiller pilot most, when running downwind when the wind steering gear mechanical devices are less reliable, and in this sailing condition we often had a roll. Too many times we were surprised by a roll, overbalanced and where normally we would just drop across to land on the opposite seat of the cockpit we instead fell upon the tiller with all our weight. This weight in turn transferred in a highly leveraged fashion into the controlling tiller pilot ram mechanism. Something that I am sure can only dramatically shorten the working life of our piece of equipment.
Dealing with the different GPS conventions for describing a waypoint
GPS transformed the art of navigation forever, but there are subtleties of expressing a position that need to be understood. There are three different GPS conventions for describing a waypoint and it is important to know which convention you are using and the format of information you are being provided with from external sources.
Making it easy to depart from a berth with slip-lines
Departing a berth or pier can be difficult shorthanded or solo. The shorelines have to be manually released from the wall or pontoon resulting in a last moment dash by the releasing crewmember to jump aboard the departing vessel. This is made worse if two-handed, as with a cruising couple, because once you let one end of the boat off you then have to run to release the other and clamber aboard. This can be challenging with an offshore wind as the vessel might quickly drift once the lines are released leaving the crew member stranded.
Preventing mischievous youngsters untying vessel's alongside town piers
In busy town piers, that are open to the public, you can occasionally get mischievous youngsters who see a vessel's belayed shorelines as just too much temptation. A strange mischievous nature can possess them to untie the lines and scarper.