SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP By Capt. Ron Glendinning
1 Introduction This course has two phases: a series of 10 lessons giving you the background material that can be learned without much practical experience. When you cruise on Keewatin, you will be able to put much of your background learning to use and you will develop additional practical skills; marlinespike seamanship (knotting), steering by compass, piloting in coral waters by eye, dinghy work, skin-diving, swabbing decks, etc. You will then fill out what you have learned in these pages. The objective of the course is to give you enough basic knowledge and practical experience to enable you to go cruising on a small sailing yacht, and to conduct your cruise with the maximum of safety and enjoyment. Therefore, the 10 lessons include, beside the basic elements of sailing, enough practical knowledge of chart and compass, tides, anchors and anchoring, the Rules of the Road, management in heavy weather, etc. Hopefully, the information will keep you out of trouble, or at least, to get you out of trouble if you manage to foul up somehow. Much more detail on coastal and electronic navigation is given in our second course; the one you should take before you undertake any longer cruises in waters completely unfamiliar to you. That course provides more detail on publications available to the mariner, more advanced chart work and some techniques of electronic navigation. However, unless you’ve had a fair bit of experience, the present course is the right one for you. So let’s get underway. We hope that you will have fun with this course and learn something as well.
The schooner ‘Keewatin’
2 LESSON ONE Introduction In this lesson, we’ll take a brief look at the parts of a sailing yacht that will interest you at this stage of learning how to become a capable seaman under sail. As in any branch of knowledge, the art of sailing bristles with terminology: jargon if you like, much of which dates from the glorious days when sailing ships and boats were the only vessels afloat. In those days, the sailor spoke what was practically a different language from that spoken by the landsman. This is perhaps not surprising when we consider how complicated the rigging of a large ship was. They might have 2 or 3 dozen sails and literally hundreds of lines to control them; every one of which had its own name and special place in the pin rail where they were made fast. A sailor had to “know the ropes”. Some yachtsmen today carry this penchant for jargon a little too far. We’ve met some that sound like Long John Silver at his most nautical. We will try to avoid the picturesque phraseology as much as possible, in the interest of clarity. This lesson, however, will introduce you to a number of terms, and it is necessary, if you are to understand us in future lessons, that you learn them as painlessly as possible. In other words MEMORIZE THEM! Parts of the Hull The parts of a wooden hull are: Hull: the body of the boat, not including the spars and the wire and rope rigging that support and control the sails. Keel: the main longitudinal backbone of the boat into which all the upright frames and other supporting structures such as the stem and the horn timber are securely fastened. Frames (timbers, ribs): these are the vertical supports that are sawn or steamed into the shape of the cross-sections of the hull at the various ‘stations’ or points long its length. In England, the term ‘frame’ refers to those that are sawn to shape from one or more pieces of wood and ‘timber’ refers to those that are bent into shape after being made supple by steaming in a ‘steam box’. In North America, the terms are usually used interchangeably with frame being more common. ‘Ribs’ usually refer to the frames of a small boat or canoe and are always steam bent, that is they are virtually cooked in a steam filled box until they are flexible then placed into a position where they assume the shape of the boat and cooled. Bow: the front end of the boat. The term can also be applied to either side of the bow; for instance, the wind can be said to come over the starboard (right) bow, or the Port (left) bow. Forward refers to a direction. Going towards the bow is ‘going forward’. The Stem is the piece of wood, actually part of the keel at the bow. Stern: the back end of the boat. The quarters are the backsides of the boat near the stern. The wind can come over the port or starboard quarter. The transom is the actual piece or pieces of wood fastened across the stern of the vessel. To go towards the stern is to ‘go aft’. Rudder: the upright board or vane at the end of the keel that steers the boat. A tiller may be fastened to the rudderpost where it comes through the deck. The tiller, which is really a lever, turns the rudder. Beginners find steering with a tiller a problem sometimes for you push it the opposite way from the direction you wish to go. A wheel is usually found on larger boats since it is linked to the rudder with considerable mechanical advantage. One steers a boat with a wheel exactly as one steers an automobile. Deck: everybody knows what a deck is. Deck beams support it. Cabin: most cruising boats have one; it is where you live. The top of the cabin is called the coach roof when viewed from the outside. Planking: the wood that sheathes the sides of the hull that is fastened to the frames. An individual plank is called a strake…. But we promised to keep the jargon to a minimum! Forget strake. The strength of a wooden hull depends upon the size and strength of the components; keel, frames, deck beams and planking but more importantly, on the fastenings, the nails, screws and bolts which hold it all together. Other types of construction Fiberglass is probably the most common material from which modern boats are made. It is a plastic; a polyester resin, bonded to a fiberglass cloth or mat. Many layers of cloth and resin make up a hull. The material has great strength of its own, so a wooden keel and frames are not necessary. Strength in the transverse direction is usually increased by bonding bulkheads or partial bulkheads of plywood into the hull dividing the accommodations into separate cabins. Fiberglass vessels can be quite large. The largest at this time of writing is 85 feet overall.
3 Metal construction, usually steel or aluminum, is less commonly found in small yachts, although steel is the material from which ships are built. Metal construction closely follows the method used in wood construction; keel and frames are constructed and set up and plating is bonded to these in the place of planking. Metal hulls are very strong but corrosion is sometimes a problem. Steel hulls influence the ship’s compass to a great extent making it necessary to employ an expert to overcome this effect. Ferro-cement is becoming increasingly popular as a material for building hulls. It is a type of steel-reinforced concrete. The metalwork creates the form of the hull: rods and mesh laid over a wooden jig. The rods and mesh are tied together with wire, making a thin metal framework that is subsequently plastered with special concrete. Toweling attains a smooth finish. The finished hull is lighter than you would imagine since the thickness of the metal and concrete may be less than one inch. The method is suitable for amateur construction with the result that a fair number of ugly vessels have been produced. However, when properly designed and built, the boats are strong and seaworthy. Types of Rig The term rig refers to the particular arrangement of masts and sails found on a sailing vessel. We will restrict our discussion to those rigs seen on yachts. The rigs of large sailing ships are very complex and these days are of interest only to nautical historians. Ships use square rigs predominantly. These sails are rectangular and are supported from spars called yards that are mounted from their centers on the masts and are free to swing. By adjusting the braces that control the yards, the sails can be pointed almost straight ahead (to go to windward) or across the vessel (running free). Yachts almost always use a fore and aft rig in which the sails are supported at their forward edges by masts or stays. Gaff and Bermudan Rigs: these terms essentially describe the shape of the mainsail of the yacht . Gaff Rig is a type of fore-and-aft rig named for a spar known as a gaff. The sail is quadrilateral, the upper side of which, is called the head, and is laced to the gaff. Two separate ropes called halyards raise the gaff. The forward end of the gaff has jaws that partially encircle the mast and are secured with a lanyard and parrell ball, allowing the gaff to pivot through nearly 180 degrees without coming away from the mast. Bermudan Rig is also known as Marconi or jib–headed rig. It is the most common rig in these days of the pursuit of the ultimate in efficiency. Most yachts are designed to win races and races are usually won on the windward leg when ability to point close the wind and make a good speed on that point of sailing is important. Since Bermudan rig is more efficient on the wind, the gaff rig is never seen today on racing yachts. Note that because the Bermudan rig is more efficient when going to windward, it does not necessarily mean that it is more efficient on all points of sailing. There is a good deal to be said for the gaff rig when the wind is from the side or behind the boat. In these cases, gaff rig may be more efficient. Interestingly, the Bermudan rig is probably more ancient than the gaff rig since it derives from a sail shape called leg-o-mutton that can be seen today on the Bahamian conching smacks and on some classic Dutch yachts. Rigs and Rigging Spars Continuing with the parts of the boat with which you ought to be familiar, we’ll point out some features of the spars. Spares are poles that support the sails. Mast: everybody knows what a mast is. Keewatin, being a schooner, has two of them. The shorter one toward the bow, is the foremast and the taller one aft is the mainmast. With the gaff rig, a smaller pole is sometimes found fastened to the top of a mast and supports a small sail called a topsail. The pole is called a topmast. Keewatin has one of these on the mainmast. The masts of a gaff-rigged vessel are usually shorter and thicker than those of a Bermudan rig if the sail areas are equal. Also, they are commonly solid wood, either laminated structures or the hearts of whole trees. Today, most Bermudan masts are made of extruded aluminum. Boom: a spar to which the foot of some sails is fastened. The boom is joined to the mast by a pivoting fitting called the gooseneck. Gaff: another spar, at the head of a gaff sail, as already described.
4 Bowsprit: a pole extending over the bow of some vessels. These days the bowsprit is secured permanently to the vessel, but in the old days of sail, the bowsprit could be run in on deck. The purpose of the spar is to extend the base of the sail plan, allowing more sail to be set. Standing Rigging This is the rigging, usually of wire rope, which supports the masts and once set up, rarely needs adjustment. The wires which run from the sides of the vessel, where they are fastened to metal straps called chain plates by adjustable rigging screws called turnbuckles or by deadeyes and lanyards (system of blocks and tackle without sheaves) are known as shrouds. Those rigging wires, that run parallel to the centerline of the boat, are called stays. There is one from the bow to near the top of the mast called a forestay. On a sloop, there may be one from the masthead to the stern called a backstay. Two masted vessels naturally have more complicated rigging, including at least two stays from the forward masthead, one to the bow, and the other to the outboard end of the bowsprit. This outer stay is the jib stay. This arrangement is found on Keewatin. On vessels with more than one mast, there are also stays between the upper parts of the masts. On Keewatin they are known as the spring stay and the topmast stay. There is one type of backstay that can be, and is, adjusted rapidly and often. This is called the running backstay. There is one of these on each side of the mast, running to each quarter. These are usually setup by means of block and tackle purchases. Running backstays are often found on gaff-rigged vessels, where the presence of the gaff makes it impossible to install a permanent backstay. Running Rigging This is the most important part of the rigging as far as actually sailing the vessel is concerned. Constant attention must be given to the running rigging when underway and the sailor must be familiar with the use of every item of it. Halyards are the lines that raise and lower the sails. A Bermudan sail has one halyard of either rope or wire, usually the latter. It runs through a pulley at the masthead; the pulley wheel or sheave being inserted into a slot cut right through the mast in a fore-and-aft direction so that the halyard runs up the front of the mast and down the back. To get the sail up really tight, some kind of purchase is necessary on the halyard. Today, this usually is a winch that takes up the wire on a reel and is geared to provide a strong pull on the halyard when the handle is turned. Winches are expensive. On gaff-rigged vessels of any size, the halyards are composite tackle systems consisting of two or more parts of line rigged to provide a mechanical advantage of two, three or even four. Also, the final tightening of the halyard is accomplished by swaying or passing the line around a hook on deck so that one man may pull the line at right angles to its direction while another man takes the slack up on a belaying pin or cleat. Halyards are named for the sails they hoist. Thus we have the main halyard, the jib halyard, etc. Gaff sails have two halyards. The throat halyard hoists the forward end of the gaff next the mast while the peak halyard hoists the after end of the gaff where the peak of the sail is secured. The Topping Lift This is a line that runs from the end of a boom to a point high on the mast and back down to a cleat or belaying pin. Its sole purpose is to support the boom when the sail is not hoisted. When sails are being set, the boom is lifted above its ‘at rest’ position. Consequently, the sail does not take the weight of the boom until it is hoisted and set. Sheets The sheets of a sailing vessel are much like the gearshift and throttle of an automobile. They are, with the wheel or tiller, the controls of the vessel. Most of the art of sailing is concerned with the proper way to handle the sheets. Naturally, you already know that the sheets are not the sails. They are the lines that control the positions of the sails. In a sloop, you have only two sheets: the main sheet and the jib sheets. In a schooner, you also have a foresail sheet, a jumbo or staysail sheet and a topsail sheet.
5 The Mainsheet The mainsheet is almost always a block and tackle arrangement with a fairly high mechanical advantage. There are usually not less than four parts of rope taking the strain and on larger vessels, six parts or more. The purpose of the sheet is to control the position of the boom and with it, the sail. To achieve this, the sheet is rigged in various ways, sometimes to a traveler on deck (a rod or track that allows the tackle to slide from side to side and align it more nearly with the boom’s angle). From the traveler it is led to a block or blocks on the boom and back to the deck or on very small boats to the helmsman. The boom pivots at the mast and is free to swing over an arc of almost 180 degrees. The foresail sheet of a schooner and the mizzen sheet of a ketch or yawl are rigged in a similar fashion to the mainsheet although it may be of lesser power. A somewhat similar arrangement may also be found on those staysails or jumbos that have booms. See Fig. 1-1 for a typical mainsheet arrangement.
Jib sheets There are two jib sheets, both fastened at the same point on the sail, which is called the clew and is the lower after corner of the triangular sail. One sheet passes down the starboard side of the boat and the other down the port side where it angles down to the deck and passes through a block or fairlead. In small vessels, there is no mechanical advantage provided while larger jibs require two or three part tackle arrangements or lead to a winch near the helmsman. Only one sheet is in use at a time. The unused sheet, the one on the windward side of the boat is left slack. When tacking, turning the boat so that the wind comes from the other side, the sheet in use is released and the other is hauled in and made fast. At times, the jib is held aback, or not allowed to attempt to fill on the new tack so that the bow of the boat is forced around until the wind is on the desired side of the vessel. Sails The development of Dacron, or Terylene as it is called in Britain, has had a great impact on sails and sailors. Not only are sails now made from this material but rope is spun from it as well. It is chosen for sheets and halyards since it is extremely strong and long lasting. Nylon is another material used; not for sails except for every small or very light ones, but for rope where its qualities of strength and the ability to stretch make it very popular for anchor and dock lines. Sails used to be made of cotton that requires special attention when new so that they could be broken in properly. Also, cotton shrinks when wet, so constant attention had to be given it. Cotton mildews but Dacron does not shrink, mildew or stretch appreciably and is smoother than cotton so that the wind passes more easily over it. It is less permeable than natural fibers so air does not pass through the weave of the material. . Names of Sails Headsails: all sails set forward of the forward mast. Staysails: any sail set fastened to a stay. Sails set without being fastened to a stay are said to be set ‘flying’. Jib: The single headsail of a sloop and he outer most sail on rigs with two or more headsails. Staysail: this term usually refers specifically to the inner of two headsails. In Nova Scotia, this sail is called the Jumbo. It often has a boom at its foot. Mainsail: the sail set on the mainmast. Foresail: the sail set on the foremast of a schooner. Mizzen: the sail set on the mizzenmast of a ketch or yawl. Topsail: a triangular sail above the gaff on a topmast. Fisherman staysail: a quadrilateral sail set between the main and foremasts of a schooner. A large variety of other sails with many names such as ballooner, genoa, mizzen staysail, spinnaker etc. exist. Parts of the Sails A three-sided sail, i.e.: a Bermudan mainsail or mizzen, or a jib or staysail, has three sides and three corners. Sides: The front edge is called the luff. This runs up the mast on a mainsail and up a stay on a staysail and usually on a jib. The bottom edge is called the foot; running along the boom on a boomed sail and loose on others. The trailing or after edge of the sail is called the leech. On Bermudan or triangular sails, the leech, is usually rounded and thin pieces of wood or plastic that are called battens are inserted into pockets in the sail to keep the leech flat. 6
7 Corners: The top corner is called the head. The halyard fastens here. The forward bottom corner is called the tack, attached to the gooseneck. The trailing or after bottom corner is called the clew which is lashed to the end of the boom. Gaff sails: the only difference is that there are two corners to the top or head of the sail. The corner attached to the gaff at the jaws at the mast is called the throat. (Hence throat halyards). The after corner at the end of the gaff is called the peak. (Hence peak halyards. Securing the Sails to the Rigging Staysails and most jibs attach to their stays by clips called hanks that have a spring-loaded release so that the sail may be attached or released quickly. Bermudan mainsails and mizzens usually have a track up the after edge of the mast, and slides are fastened to the luff on the sail. The slides are inserted into the track from below, at the bottom end of the track, there is usually a stop of some sort so that once all the slides are in the track, they won’t fall out when the sail is lowered. Some small Bermudan-rigged boats have a groove cut in the back of the mast in which the boltrope on the luff of the sail runs. This is not a very good rig on larger boats. Gaff rigged vessels cannot have tracks and slides because the heel of the gaff presses against the back of the mast. This would damage the track, as well as interfering with the movement of the gaff. Some small boats have the gaff running in a track as well as the sail, but this most un-seaworthy owing to the stresses involved. Gaff sails are secured to the mast either by hoops that encircle the mast and are fastened to the luff of the sail, or by a lacing; a line passed around the mast and through the grommets in the luff of the sail. This is the arrangement used on Keewatin. Conclusion By now, you ought to be completely swamped in terms. But, believe it or not, you have been introduced to only the essential ones. We will have to use other ones as we go along but we promise that you won’t be inundated with jargon at the same rate in the future. It is difficult to explain sailing and seamanship to you without you being aware of the terms involved. There is nothing like a first hand acquaintance with the parts of a boat to make their names easy to remember. By the end of your second day on Keewatin you may sound a bit like Long John Silver yourself. “The general Properties belonging to the common Mariner is to hand, reef, steer, Knot and Splice, with which Qualifications he may safely value himself upon the Calling of a good Seaman.” A Naval Repository, 1761.
SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON TWO Introduction Now let’s get sailing. We’ll first look at the theory of sailing and examine the all-important concept of the points of sailing and look closely at two of these points, reaching and running. We can finish off with the maneuver called the jibe; how not to do it and then how to do it properly. A couple of terms first: Windward or weather side: the side of the boat toward the direction wind comes from. Leeward or lee side: the other side of the boat. The Theory of Sailing Points to Note 1. 2. 3. When sailing to windward, close-hauled, the ideal sail combination acts very much like an airfoil with a slot to ensure that the air moves without turbulence across the back of the sail. The jib tends to guide the air across the back of the mainsail or in the case of a rig with multiple sails across the back of the sail immediately aft of it, producing greater efficiency in it. The modern preference is for large jibs called genoa jibs that are very efficient at this task and posses a large driving force of their own. When sailing to windward, very little of the force of the wind is used to drive the boat forward. Most of the force is lost in friction on the sail and between the hull and the water and some produces leeway, a sideways movement of the boat away from the wind. All boats make some amount of leeway when going to windward, especially if there is a sea running, for the waves tend to knock the boat’s head down to leeward. As the boat is steered farther off the wind, that is, not to windward, but at right angles to the wind, the relative efficiency of the sails increases and leeway becomes negligible. It follows that this is the most efficient point of sailing. When sailing off the wind in this way, the boat is said to be on a reach. When running directly before the wind, the airfoil property of the sails is not in evidence and the airfoil shape is not necessary. A large sheet of plywood of the same area as the sail would be just as efficient in propelling the boat; in fact, it would probably be more efficient.
The Points of Sailing This diagram on the following page illustrates various possible relationships that can exist between the sailing vessel and the wind. These are called Points of Sailing.
Points of Sailing 2-1 Let’s start at the upper right-hand side of the diagram Fig.2-1, at point No. 1. The wind comes over the port (left) side of the boat, so the boat is said to be on the Port Tack. Here we see a vessel that is closehauled or on the wind or beating. The boat is shown sailing on a course that is at 45 degrees to the direction from which the wind comes. A modern Bermudan-rigged sloop ought to be able to point that close to the wind or higher if there is not much sea running. In this point of sailing, the sheets are pulled in quite tightly, and the sails lie almost parallel to the fore-and-aft line of the boat. When the boat is allowed to fall of a little (pointed away from the wind slightly), so that it steers a course some 20 or 30 degrees further away from the direction of the wind, it is said to be on a close reach. This point of sailing is not illustrated in the diagram but it falls between positions 1 and 2. The sheets are eased somewhat and the vessel makes a little better speed through the water. When the boat is steered to bring the wind over the side of the vessel and at right angles to the course steered, it is said to be on a beam reach. The sheets are eased still more and the boat moves faster. When the boat is steered to bring the wind anywhere from on the beam to a dead run (the wind directly aft), the boat is said to be on a broad reach. The sheets are eased still more. This is thought to be the fastest point of sailing. Position 4 on the diagram shows a boat dead before the wind. It is said to be running or on a run. If nothing is done to the jib, it will flap idly, as the mainsail steals all the wind from it or blankets it. On the diagram, it is shown held out on the side opposite the mainsail by a boom or a pole (whisker pole). The sheets are eased as far as possible. On a run, it is evident that it does not matter which side the sails are set on; one side is as good as another (if the wind is dead aft). On the diagram, the mainsail is shown set on the starboard side, so the wind is said to be coming from the port side and the boat is on the port tack. However, when running, it is possible to pull the mainsail and boom over to the other side. This operation is called a jibe (gybe) in England) and then the boat would be said to be on the starboard tack. If we assume that a jibe has been performed and the boat is steered as shown in position 5, then we are back on a broad reach but on the starboard tack. The diagram illustrates, on the left side, a broad reach, a beam reach and closehauled on the starboard tack . Those are the points of sailing. You can see that a sailing vessel must be on one of those points at any time.
11 Reaching Probably the best way for a beginner to learn to steer a boat under sail is to put the boat on a reach. Then let him sit at the wheel or tiller until he gets the knack of keeping the boat headed towards a landmark or on a set compass course without too much use of the helm. Reaching is undoubtedly the most pleasant point of sailing. On the wind you are always watching to take advantage of wind shifts and steering into a head sea is uncomfortable and sometimes wet. When on a run, you are usually fighting the boat’s tendency to yaw, to swing off course. Also you are watching for an accidental jibe. Not too much can go wrong on a reach; the boat is not being pressed over by the wind and steering across the waves is dry and comfortable. The exact positions of the sheets when reaching depends upon, which reach you are on. In other words, the exact angle between the wind and the boat’s course. NOTE: The rule for a close reach to a beam reach, with the wind anywhere forward of the beam, is to ease the sheets until the luff of the sails just begin to shake (called luffing) and then pull in on the sheets until the luffing ceases. This will usually result in a good sail balance and the helm will feel light and responsive. This condition will eliminate a tendency for the boat to head up into the wind (called having a weather helm), or to fall off onto a broach reach (called having a lee helm). The problem with having a badly balanced helm in either direction (a-weather or a-lee), is that you must constantly fight the boat’s tendency to swing off course either into the wind or away from it. Aside from being tiring, this also has the effect of acting as a brake and slowing the boat since the rudder is constantly on one side or the other rather than at dead center. If a strong weather helm is experienced, it usually means that the mainsheet has been sheeted in too much. Easing the sheet will ease the helm. If not, it may be necessary to sheet in the jib to balance the rig or shorten sail. This will usually result in a better-balanced helm but it will decrease the efficiency of the jib. Only experience will tell you whether this is better than putting up with the increased drag of the rudder as it counteracts the badly balanced sail plan. The more sails you have, the better you can balance your boat’s helm. A schooner’s jib is not as large a proportion of the total sail area as is a sloop’s. Decreasing its efficiency by sheeting it in is not, therefore, as great a detriment to speed. Also, we can set either a larger or smaller jib, in some cases, to assist in balancing the helm. NOTE: With the wind abaft the beam, the correct position of the sheets is such that the average position of the sail from head to foot (the sail twists outwards slightly from foot to head) is at right angles to the apparent wind. The apparent wind is the wind direction as felt on board the boat. The apparent wind’s direction can be seen by watching ribbons (telltales) tied to the shrouds or a wind vane or pennant at the masthead. The apparent wind’s direction is not greatly different from that of the true wind direction. It is simply the direction of the true wind plus the effect of the boat’s movement through the air. The apparent wind’s direction is always forward of the true wind’s direction; so on a broad reach, the sails ought to be sheeted in a bit more than you would expect from watching the direction of the true wind on the water. Running A run is a course directly before the wind, or nearly so. It is the slowest point of sailing for a modern yacht, although older boats may do as badly when close-hauled. A run was the desirable point of sailing for the square-rigged sailing ships, since their sails were designed to act mainly as vast areas of canvas set directly across the wind and not used as airfoils. The correct adjustment of the mainsheet when running is that which allows the average position of the sail (from head to foot), to be at right angles to the wind. When running before the wind, the true and apparent wind have the same direction but the apparent wind has a velocity of less than the true wind by an amount equal to the boat’s forward speed. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The mainsail of a Bermudan-rigged sloop when running establishes a large difference in angle between the clew and the head. The upper part tends to be blown forward. The optimum sheeting arrangement is such that the average position of the sail (about half way up) is at right angles to the wind’s direction. As the wind increases in strength, there is a tendency for the upper part of the sail to be blown even farther to leeward. This usually causes the boom to lift vertically and effectively reduces the area of the sail and slows the boat. This 11
12 can be controlled and the sail area effectively increased by the use of what is known as a vang. A vang is a tackle or a spring or hydraulically loaded spar that is set up between some point on the boom and the base of the mast at deck level. When this tackle is hove taut (sorry, that means pulled tight: Long John Silver strikes again!), the boom is pulled downwards. The sail then flattens and pulls the gaff aft a bit, decreasing the angle between it and the boom. This increases the sail area and speed. A vang is a standard piece of gear on racing boats for that reason. Vangs can also be seen on schooners. In fact, they were used even aboard the old fishing schooners that sailed to the Grand Banks. The ‘Bluenose’, the Nova Scotian fishing schooner, sports a monstrous tackle under her main boom that can be fitted to a large ringbolt in the rail of the vessel near the mast and hove taut. In the Lunenburg dialect, this is called a “wang”. This is not surprising since they say things like “werry good wessel”. The main boom of the ‘Bluenose’ is 85 feet long and about 2 feet thick, so the tackle and the crew have to be large. When running, the jib is commonly blanketed by the mainsail and does no work. On most racing and some cruising boats, the jib is often set on the opposite side of the boat from the mainsail and held out by a whisker pole. One end of the pole clips onto a fitting on the forward side of the mast and the other end has a point that is pushed through the clew fitting on the jib. Then the weather jib sheet is pulled taught and the jib acts like a miniature mainsail in the free wind on the side opposite the mainsail. Racing boats always set a triangular sail made of nylon called a spinnaker when running and often on a reach. The spinnaker is a large spectacular sail set flying; that is, not fastened to a spar or stay. On the weather corner of the sail, however, a boom called a spinnaker boom, runs to the fore side of the mast. Various lifts, downhauls and guys control the boom. The spinnaker is not usually seen on the average short-handed cruising yacht since a good deal of muscle is needed to handle a large spinnaker. On larger racing yachts, the spinnaker is several thousand square feet in area and the half-dozen fore deck hands resemble gorillas in size. When on a dead run, schooners often set their mainsail on one side and the foresail on the other. The jib and jumbo are pretty well blanketed, but this technique presents a lot of area to the wind. Usually, vangs or preventers are rigged to hold the booms in position. When running this way, schooners are said to be wing and wing or wung out. The Jibe Accidental One of the dangers to look out for when running is letting the boat wander off course to the extent that the wind begins to come over the side of the boat that the boom is out on. This is called sailing by the lee. When this occurs, the wind gets in front of the mainsail instead of behind it where it ought to be and blows the sail, gaff, and boom over to the opposite side of the boat with impressive speed and a dreadful crash. This is called an accidental jibe and unwary sailors have been killed in this way. The boom is a formidable weapon, even in a small boat. On a large boat, it is devastating. The main boom on Keewatin is a piece of solid wood 6” thick and 25’ long. While cruising downwind, every person on deck must be aware of the booms’ stability or lack of it and take the necessary precautions. On board Keewatin, the main boom is above head level but the fore boom is not and is always rigged with a preventer when on a long run. In addition to the dangers of the booms, the sheets fly across the decks and may entwine an unwary sailor and carry him overboard. There is a strong tendency for the boom, sail, and gaff to lift during an accidental jibe. In gaff rigs, this usually breaks the jaws of the gaff and on Bermudan rigs, entangles the sail with the mast’s standing rigging, tearing the sail and often breaking the gooseneck on the boom. If a running backstay is set up, it- can break that as well and has been known to bring down the mast. Moral: don’t jibe accidentally! One always has some warming before such a catastrophe occurs. As soon as sailing by the lee begins the jib and jumbo jibe, before the main. Thus, when you see this, it’s time to put the helm down and bring the wind over to the proper side of the boat. If you don’t notice the headsails jibing, the main boom’s slight lifting is often a warning. You are then very close to a jibe. The very best way to prevent such a jibe is not to sail by the lee. The next best way is to secure the boom in position so that it can’t jibe. If the vang is fastened to the side of the vessel, rather than to the base of the mast, it will prevent a jibe. Another way is to fastened a line from the end of the boom to some point on the boat forward of the mast. This is known as a preventer or a boom guy. It is an invaluable piece of gear anytime you are sailing with the wind abaft the beam. Not only does it prevent jibes when running, it acts as a vang and flattens the sail when reaching, increasing the sail area and lessening the possibility of the upper part of the sail chafing on some part of the standing rigging.
13 The Intentional Jibe Executed purposely, the jibe is a maneuver in which the boat is turned with her stern passing through the eye of the wind. As we have seen, doing this without attending to the sails and sheets is dangerous and can have disastrous results. The trick in executing a safe jibe is to trim in the mainsheet. The crew then takes a half turn around a cleat or pin or bollard. When the boom comes over on the new tack, there is very little sheet out and the mainsheet crew, keeping the boom under full control, may ease the sheet gradually. Jibing the Keewatin Let’s jibe the Keewatin: we’re on a broad reach on the starboard tack with the sails out to port. We decide to alter our course some 90 degrees to port and we know, therefore, that our point of sailing after completing the jibe will be a broad reach on the port tack. It will be necessary to jibe. We have four sails to manage: the jib, the jumbo or staysail, the foresail and the mainsail, each with its sheet to tend. Also we have the running backstays and we need someone at the wheel. If we have a large crew, we can put a man on each sheet and two on the mainsheet. Another is necessary for the backstays and another to steer. We will assume that the wind is moderate. The skipper calls ‘ready to jibe’ and the helmsman turns the wheel so that Keewatin alters course to port but not so much that she goes into a dead run; we must keep the wind slightly on the starboard side so that we don’t accidentally jibe before we are ready. At this point, the sailors haul in on the sheets. The jib probably needs to be trimmed only slightly, but the other sails should be trimmed pretty well right in. When this is done, the helmsman is hard pressed to maintain a steady course since the weather helm increases considerably. When the sails are trimmed in (and this is hard work for the men on the mainsheet), the sheets are made fast to the belaying pins or to the after sampson posts where the main is secured. The main sheet is not quite made fast but given sufficient turns on the post so that the crewman can readily control it. In a small boat, it is possible to hold the sheet in one’s hand, as the boom comes over, but not in a large boat. When the main boom is sheeted well in, the man on the backstays can set up the port stay and prepare to release the starboard backstay. The skipper calls ‘jibe Ho’ and the helmsman slowly puts the helm up, (turns to port, in this instance). As the boat turns downwind, the sails will jibe and the booms will come over without any problem, since the sheets are well in. The helmsman, however, will be hard pressed to settle the schooner on the new course until the sheets are adjusted and the set of the sails is corrected for the new course. As the main boom comes over, the man on the backstays releases the stay on the starboard side, which is now the lee side. Then the sheets can be released slowly as the boat settles on the new heading and trimmed for best efficiency. When short handed, the actions may be done in sequence. The jib may be ignored until the jibe is completed. The jumbo or staysail sheet need not be hauled in tight, since the boom won’t harm anything as it jibes unless you happen to be standing on the foredeck with other things on your mind! The foresail should be hauled in fairly tightly and the main has to be sweated in. After the jibe, the sheets are eased on the new tack in reverse order; the main first and finally the jib sheets changed. The weather sheet is eased and the lee sheet trimmed and made fast. If Keewatin had been running with the foresail wung out on the starboard side, jibing that sail would have been unnecessary as it would have already been in position for reaching on the new tack. Jibing a sloop or a cutter is identical to jibing a schooner except that you at least have fewer sails to worry about. Nothing to it with a ‘little practice’: you’ll soon be jibing Keewatin back and forth easy as pie.
14 SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON THREE Introduction In this lesson we’ll look at sailing to windward, closehauled, and the operation of tacking. Sailing to Windward The average small cruising yacht with a Bermudan rig will sail as close as 45 degrees to the direction of the true wind, providing that there is not a big sea running to knock her off course. A gaff rig is less efficient and a small cruiser with this rig will probably not point closer than 50-55 degrees while a gaff schooner like Keewatin is happiest about 60 degrees to the wind direction. Sailing to windward calls for the utmost in helmsmanship, for even in the Trade Winds, the wind strength and direction are not constant. It is the job of the helmsman to take advantage of every shift and puff to work the boat up to windward and to avoid being set down to leeward during adverse shifts and lulls in the wind. Therefore, when sailing to weather, the helmsman steers more by the wind and sails than by the compass. The trim of the sheets, when sailing to weather, is usually a one time operation and then largely forgotten, since the boat itself is steered to ensure that the proper angle between the wind and the sails is maintained. This is in contrast to the procedure when reaching. On a reach, the boat is put on the desired course; the sails trimmed accordingly and adjusted as conditions change. It is important that the sails are not sheeted in too tightly. This is one of a beginner’s greatest failings, trimming too flat and trying to point too close to the wind. This is usually called pinching. The sails do not luff and the boat appears to be moving, but feels lifeless. Easing the sheets a bit and heading the boat off the wind a little will improve her performance considerably. Usually, the jib is trimmed most carefully and set so that the first indication that the boat is pinching, is the beginning of a luff on the jib. Watch the jib closely, a few feet above the tack, close to the stay. As the boat comes too close to the wind, the sailcloth will begin to tremble and bulge inwards a bit as the wind begins to get around to the wrong side of the sail. This is the time for the helmsman to put the helm up slightly and turn the boat’s head downwind, keeping the jib full and drawing. While racing, this is what a helmsman does constantly. Many skippers sit to leeward when sailing to windward, the better to watch the jib. Only practice makes perfect helmsmen! Tacking We are all aware that sailing directly to windward is impossible. Using a maneuver called tacking; however, a vessel can sail to a destination that is to windward though not directly. As is obvious to you by now, it does this by heading as closely into the wind as it can on one tack, then turns through the wind and sails closehauled on the other tack and so on, thus zigzagging back and forth, getting closer to the destination each time. The distance traveled in tacking to a destination that is directly to windward will be approximately three times that of a direct course.
Tacking the Boat This is an easier and safer procedure than jibing in a fore and aft rigged boat. All the sails are secured to spars or stays at their luffs, their forward edges, and although they flap noisily as the boat passes through the eye of the wind, they do no harm. Let’s assume that Keewatin is booming along in a fresh breeze in the Northwest Providence Channel, in the Bahamas, with the Berry Islands under her lee. She’s closehauled on the starboard tack and we decide to bring her round to the port tack and head south down the chain of the Berry Islands.
15 On the starboard tack, the disposition of the booms and sheets is as follows: the starboard or weather jib sheet is slack and the jib is out on the port side with the port jib sheet taking the strain. The jumbo, foresail and mainsail are out on the port side, with their sheets made fast. The starboard backstay is set up. To bring her about, the skipper hollers ‘ready about!’ and turns the bow away from the wind for a minute so that she picks up a bit of speed. Then he calls ‘hard alee!’ and turns the wheel to the right. As she comes up into the wind, with all her sails luffing, the man on the jib sheets releases the port sheet and prepares to heave in on the starboard sheet. As the booms swing amidships, the man on the backstays tightens up the port stay and prepares to release the starboard stay, which he does as soon as the boom begins to move to that side. Keewatin continues to turn and the man on the jib sheet tightens the starboard sheet and makes it fast as the sails fill on the new tack. We square on the best course we can make on the port tack. That’s all there is to it, unless the seas are such that they stop the schooner in mid tack and put her in irons. If this happens, there are two options available to the skipper. He can either wear ship that is simply jibing through the wind to come on the new tack or have the crew back the jib and jumbo at the appropriate time to force her bows through the wind and onto the new tack. The latter course of action is much less work that the first and if space is limited, the preferred alternative. When going from closehauled on one tack to closehauled on the other tack, it is not necessary to pay any attention to the sheets on the boomed sails. The proper setting on one tack is fine for the new tack. Only the jib sheets and the backstays need any attention. Missing Stays There are things to look out for. In light airs, or with a big sea running, a big schooner with her bluff bows may need some help in sailing from one tack to another. She may not have enough speed (way) to complete the turn and can sometimes only get halfway around. There she hangs in the eye of the wind with her sails luffing madly and begins to drift backwards. This is called missing stays or being in irons. It is most often seen performed by beginners in dinghies, usually just off of the Yacht Club dock for the joy and entertainment of dockside loafers. A larger boat, with a deep keel aft, will usually turn on her heel after a bit and the sails will fill again. But to ensure this, on any boat, we back the jib on whatever side we do not wish to sail off on. If we wish to sail off on the port tack, with the sails out on the starboard side, we heave in on the port jib sheet. Since the boat is heading directly into the wind, the wind fills the jib on the forward edge of the sail and pushes the bow away to the starboard. One the sails have filled, the port jib sheet is released and the starboard sheet trimmed. See Fig. 3-1.
16 On Keewatin, in those conditions where missing stays is possible, we usually do not touch the jib sheets until the vessel has come around past the eye of the wind. That is, when turning to starboard, we keep the port jib sheet tight and allow the sail to back as we make the turn. Also we rig a tacking lanyard to the end of the jumbo’s boom and secure it to the leeward fore shroud to prevent the jumbo boom from swinging amidships as the bow turns into the wind. Thus both the jib and the jumbo will be backed one the schooner is in the eye of the wind. As a result, the bow is forced around onto the new tack and once there, the jib sheet and jumbo lanyard may be released and sheeted on the new tack. Forereaching When tacking in good conditions, that is with a minimum of sea and enough air to drive the boat, it is good practice to make a long slow turn, allowing the momentum of the boat to carry it directly into the wind before completing the turn and filling the sails on the other tack. This coasting into the wind is called forereaching and provided that sufficient way is kept on the boat to avoid missing stays, it is a wise maneuver, for it allows the boat to run up to windward, which is where we want to go. Jamming the helm down quickly tends to make the rudder act as a brake that kills the boat’s forward momentum. When the boat is on the other tack, it is moving so slowly that it sags off to leeward, where we don’t want to go. Figure 3-2 illustrates this.
When tacking to a distant destination, we have the choice of making two or more long tacks, or several shorter ones. Assuming there are no navigational obstructions, it is better to make several short tacks than a single long one. You should first place the boat dead to leeward of your destination, however, rather than well off to one side of it. Have a look at Fig. 3-3 on the next page. Here a boat leaves Port A for Port B, some 25 miles away, roughly to windward. The solid track is the recommended one. You sail first on the starboard tack until the destination bears abut 20 degrees or less forward of the beam, then come about and sail on the port tack until the destination bears about 20 degrees forward of the beam then come about again. Always tacking so that you remain within the dashed triangle formed with its apex at B. There are two reasons why this is a more satisfactory procedure. The first is that if any wind shift occurs, you are in a better position to take advantage of it. When you sail outside the triangle, you are in a way investing or gambling, some time and distance on the possibility that the wind won’t shift more to the east. If for instance, you get to point X and the wind shifts into the northeast, you will not be able to fetch Port B on the next tack and will have wasted the time taken to sail from W to X without getting any return from it. Another reason is that, if you are tacking correctly, and allowing the boat to forereach on each tack, then each time you tack you make good ground to windward. This is not terribly important when you have miles to go but in more restricted quarters, as in a race; it is an advantage to tack frequently, always providing you do it correctly. 16
18 SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON FOUR Introduction In this lesson we’ll take a look at some common maneuvers which we often have to perform in yachts and which many people consider to be more difficult than simply sailing about. They are: getting underway from a mooring or your anchor, picking up a mooring and coming up to or leaving a dock under sail or power. Getting Underway The majority of cruising yachts these days have auxiliary engines, placed in the boat for the purpose of enabling you to maneuver in close quarters. If you have an engine and are crowded into a maneuvering situation where you doubt your ability to sail out clear of all other craft, use the engine. It is anything but seamanlike to foul half the boats in the anchorage in an attempt to sail out. As you gain experience in handling the boat in close quarters, you will attempt increasingly difficult maneuvers, but practice handling the boat under sail in uncrowded conditions until you feel confident that the boat will behave as you expect it to. In a situation where we have no tidal current, or the wind and tide come from the same direction; we have lots of room and are riding to a mooring: just back the jib on the side you don’t want to sail out on, and slip the mooring. This is easy. If you are anchored in the same situation, haul up to the anchor; that gives the boat a little steerage (the ability to steer). When the anchor rode is up end down and the wind is on the correct side of the boat, break out the anchor and back the jib. In both of the above cases, you can set both main and jib before releasing the mooring or breaking out the anchor. If you are boxed in but without anyone behind you, rather than backing your jib, relax for a minute. The boat will be in irons and will drift backwards. When you are in the clear, back the jib and you are off. When there is a tidal stream in the same direction as the wind, it will guarantee that you move backward. In a small boat of say 5 tons or less, if there is no tidal stream and if you are on a mooring, you can sometimes get enough way on the boat to sail out in front of the blocking boats beside you. Release the mooring line at the bow, but hold on to it and walking down the deck, pull the boat ahead past your mooring. If you do this hard enough, the boat will have sufficient way on to be far enough ahead of the boat beside you to fall off and get the sails drawing. You’ll then be able to sail out ahead of the blocking boats. Using lines fastened to other boats, buoys, or docks, is called warping yourself into position. You can use your light anchor in a similar manner by taking it out in a dinghy, dropping it in an advantageous position, and hauling out to it after slipping your mooring. Using anchor after anchor to haul yourself along is called kedging after the light kedge anchor employed. In the situation where the wind and tide are opposed, the boat is likely to be riding to the tide. If so, hoist sufficient headsails to stem the tide and when conditions permit, round up and hoist the main. If the tidal current is strong and the wind fresh, the boat may be lying at some angle to the wind as the wind and tide compete to control her. This is a common situation. The answer is to see what the wind is doing. If the wind is forward of the beam, then you can probably hoist the main. Be careful to see that the boom can swing out freely so that there is no drive in the main until you are ready for it, and that parts of the sail will not entangle themselves with the lee shrouds. It is best to hoist the main only when the wind is well forward of the beam. You can hoist the jib anytime, and you would have no choice if the wind were anywhere aft of the beam. When anchored with the wind against the tide, you can have quite a merry-go-round going. Often the boat will be heading up tide, with the wind behind her, and you will find that your anchor is also behind you. The tide steers the boat so that it is aligned with the current but the wind pushes the yacht forward so that she sails ahead of the anchor. Figure 4 –1 illustrates this. When you pull in the anchor cable, you often turn the boat around so that you find you are heading into the wind. If you are confident that the anchor will break loose instantly, as you pass over it, (as it usually will in sand, but not always in mud), then keep hauling on the cable. Hoist the mainsail, since you are heading into the wind, and sail off, breaking your anchor out of the ground as you pass over it.
In mud it is wise to pull the boat back gently on the anchor cable until she is right over the anchor. Wait awhile, until the boat’s head turns around and faces up tide. Then hoist the jib and break out the anchor. Sail out to where you have some room before rounding up and hoisting the main. In the Bahamas, tidal anchorages are usually very narrow, so the engine is used in almost every case. The Bahamian conch smacks, which were not equipped with engines, generally avoided the narrower parts of these anchorages and remained where there was room to maneuver. The fishermen did not seem to mind the motion in these exposed locations but yachtsmen do; it’s difficult to pour a drink. Some Thoughts about Getting Underway 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Remember not to hoist a mainsail, foresail, or mizzen if the wind is abaft the beam. A jib can be hoisted with the wind in any quarter. A boat will not answer to her rudder until she is in motion, except under power or in a current. Long-keeled boats take a long time to turn, and need more room to do so than do short- keeled boats. Always know where the anchor is relative to the boat. Use a warp (line) to another boat or buoy, if you have to. Use an anchor to get clear of obstructions if you have to. Use the engine if you have to. Use your head all the time.
Picking up a Mooring With no tide, the trick in picking up a mooring is to approach the mooring buoy from downwind, with the sails luffing, and the boat gradually losing way until it is stopped dead in the water and the mooring pick-up buoy within reach from the foredeck. Easier said than done. It is essential that you know how much the boat will forereach when head to wind. The best way to practice is to find some anchorage with lots of room. Anchor a small mooring buoy, and practice bringing the boat up to the buoy. After doing this a few dozen times, you will have a basis on which to judge the boat’s behavior in different situations. In stronger winds, the boat will travel faster initially, but will also slow down faster when head to wind. In a lumpy sea, she will slow down faster. If you make a sharp turn before shooting up to the buoy, you will kill some of the boat’s speed in the turn. If you turn up slowly to the buoy, she will carry her way farther. In small boats, it is not necessary to have your forward motion completely gone when you come up the buoy, provided that there is a good mooring line, with a loop on the end, fastened to the buoy. Often these lines are made of polypropylene, which floats. In this case, providing you are not moving too fast, you can pick up the line as you pass, head 19
20 to wind, and drop it over your bow cleat or post. You must be sure to get your sails down instantly after doing this. The boat will charge on past the buoy and eventually bring up somewhere to windward of the normal position of the buoy. If the sails are down, she will drift docilely back. If they are up, she will begin to sail around the mooring, providing great entertainment for the dockside loafers, but not for you. When getting the sails down, get the mainsail down first, as once it is full of wind, it is next to impossible to get it down without damaging it. The boat won’t sail around much if the jib is still up, and anyway, you can lower the jib with the wind in any quarter. Dock Work Leaving a Dock As in mooring and anchoring, the situation depends on the direction of the wind and tide in relation to the boat the direction you wish to go. If the wind and current are parallel to the dock and the boat is bow to both, the mainsail and jib may be set; the bow pushed or sprung off, perhaps with the jib backed and provided you have room to leeward you are off. (Docking situations are seldom this simple). Avoid getting the mainsheet entangled with something on the dock. This is always good for a laugh, when it happens to someone else. If you are stern to the wind and tide, and there are absolutely no obstructions ahead, set the jib, or whatever headsails needed to give the boat way, cast off and sail out into the clear where you can round up and hoist the mainsail. If you are uncertain whether the sail area you are able to set is sufficient to drive the vessel, and the current is better than a half a knot, start the engine and back off the dock or wait until the tide changes. If the wind and current are opposed, unless the wind is fresh, plan your strategy based on the direction and strength of the current. If the wind is across the dock, and you are on the lee side, it again depends on whether the wind is forward or abaft the beam. If forward, you can probably set your main, but do not if there is someone tied up directly in front of you. With the main and jib set, you will sail parallel to the dock for a few yards before you have sufficient steerage to turn away. If the wind is abaft the beam, set the jib, sail out until you have room and round up to hoist the main. You can always cast off from the dock before you hoist any sail and the wind will push you away. If the tidal stream is running perpendicular to the dock (there are marinas built in this deplorable fashion) and is very strong, wait until you feel confident that your boat will stem it; leave a doubled bow and stern line attached to the dock. By slowly easing on the stern line, your bow will turn to the tide and you will be able to hoist sufficient sail to sail away. None of these maneuvers is recommended in tight or crowded situations. Either wait for the tide or get the assistance of a small skiff or dinghy with sufficient power to get you clear or use your anchor or warps. If the wind is blowing onto the dock, and you are on the windward side, if it is at all fresh, you are likely in trouble. There is only one way you can get away under sail or power. The average auxiliary doesn’t have the power to get away from the dock in this situation without using assistance from another boat or setting an anchor out to windward. Be certain that you lay out sufficient scope on the anchor so that when the bow is turned toward it, it will not break out unexpectedly. Anchoring and docking are not usually associated with one another, but at a pier in Montreal, a strong current sets on to it. Ships of 2000 tons or so come alongside here, but as they do, they drop an anchor out in the stream and let the cable run free as they dock. When they wish to sail, they haul out to the anchor, weigh, and proceed. Coming to a Dock As a general rule, no sailing yacht large enough to cruise in should be sailed up to a dock, unless the wind is extremely light and the speed of the boat is minimal. In days past, fishermen sailed to docks all of the time but their boats didn’t have the fancy finish of yachts. If you have to sail to a dock, have all of your lines prepared and make certain there is someone on the dock that knows how to make them fast. It is best to sail close to the dock and either heave a long line ashore to the dock assistant or anchor on short scope and row a line ashore. Then you may row ashore and pass a line. If the wind is blowing on to the dock, and then anchor off and the stern will gradually swing to the dock, at which time you can pass a line. Under Power Docking is much easier under power since you have the ability to reverse the engine and stop the boat. An hour or two spent watching boats come to the average fuel dock, however, will show you that many yachtsmen don’t know how to bring their boat alongside properly despite the luxury of an engine or even two 20
21 The best technique, used by all professionals but seldom by small yachts is to use an amidships spring line leading aft on the dock. It is the only line that is essential to get ashore until you are alongside the dock. Many modern sailing boats do not have a cleat or a chock located amidships, so it is often necessary to rig a block on the rail or jib track to lead a line through and back to a cleat or a winch. To do this, bring the yacht slowly alongside the dock within reaching distance of the dock or a short throwing distance. The loop on the end of the spring line is dropped over a convenient post or cleat on the dock. Almost all the way is taken off the boat before this spring line is made fast since once secured the bow most likely will want to turn toward the dock. Once secured, the helmsman turns the wheel away from the dock and applies power. The line tightens and the boat ‘walks’ toward the dock. A conveniently placed fender will absorb any shocks or scrapes. Leaving the engine in gear will pin the boat to the dock. Having placed the yacht in the desired location, the forward spring, bow and stern lines are rigged and the exercise is complete. Figure 4-2 illustrates this use of the amidships spring.
22 SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON FIVE Introduction In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the subject of anchors and anchoring. We’ll discuss three common types of anchor and their good and bad points; types of anchor cable or rode; scope, and some techniques of anchoring and weighing anchor under power and sail. Among cruising people, the subject of anchors is a favorite topic of conversation and debate. Everyone has his pet type of anchor and to him, most other types are practically useless. Don’t you believe it! Types of Anchor The Fisherman This is probably the most common name for what the English call the Admiralty pattern anchor. It’s a standard oldfashioned anchor and is quite common especially in the larger sizes. It is the recommended type ‘Down East’ anchor in Maine and Nova Scotia where the bottom is often rocky and thick weed abounds. The shape of the flukes changes a bit in different patterns of this type. Probably, the best all-round type is shown in Fig. 5-1. Here the flukes have a broad diamond shape, the advantage being that the anchor rode is less likely to foul on them and it holds well in sand and mud than the narrower fluke patterns. It is called the Herreshoff pattern. There are three major disadvantages to this type of anchor: 1. There is an upturned fluke on the anchor when it is set, and it is possible for the anchor cable to take a turn around the fluke. This allows the anchor to be broken out unintentionally very readily and this usually happens in the middle of a rainy night. 2. The shape of the anchor makes it rather cumbersome and awkward, both to handle and to stow on deck. Many people, who use the anchor, keep it lashed under the bowsprit where it is out of the way and ready to use at all times. You need a bowsprit; however, to do this and few people would fit a bowsprit solely for that purpose. 2. Its holding power to weight ratio is low, compared to other types of anchors, perhaps as little as 1/3 that of the CQR. As a result, a cruising boat of 5 tons or more ought to carry one not less than 50 lbs. in weight. The CQR This anchor is a British design but it is available in America. It is similar to two plowshares back to back and was designed to have greater holding power than the Fisherman and to be non-fouling. There is no upturned fluke for the anchor line to catch upon. If fulfills both requirements very well and it is the most popular anchor in Britain and rapidly becoming so elsewhere. A CQR of 35 pounds will hold amazingly well, especially in clay and mud bottoms. It is much less cumbersome than the Fisherman, but is not quite as easy to stow as is the Danforth anchor.
The CQR Anchor
The Danforth This anchor, an American design, was developed during WWII for use aboard landing craft. It has the ad vantage that it stows flat on deck or against the hull with a minimum of protrusions. Its holding power is equal to or greater than the CQR by virtue of its large fluke size, it is non-fouling, although it will occasionally pick up a large conch or tin can between the flukes on the bottom. The anchor comes in three types of construction: the standard, welded galvanized steel; the Hi-Tensile, of high tensile steel with larger and sharper flukes, and the cast Danforth, cast out of steel in the larger sizes, above 65 lbs. Every yacht ought to carry more than one anchor. The choice of which type of anchor you buy depends upon availability, preference and the size of your pocketbook. Anchors are inordinately expensive, so rig a trip line and buoy in case yours gets fouled and you need to retrieve it. Anchor Size There is a school of thought that feels that the best anchoring technique is to use a light Danforth anchor, a relatively small nylon line (3/8 or thereabouts) and a great amount of scope. Scope is the term that describes the amount of anchor cable you have let out. This school, which includes such prestigious yachting figures as Bob Bavier, the publisher of ‘Yachting’ magazine and ex-America Cup helmsman, feels that a light Danforth is almost as efficient as a heavy one. They feel that the use of the thin nylon line, which is very strong and elastic, relieves the anchor of the direct tugs and stresses that a thicker, less elastic line would place on it, thus improving the anchor’s holding power. While this is probably true, there are serious disadvantages. The first is that the light nylon’s strength is drastically reduced with the slightest chafe and small imperfections in the condition of the line that can easily go unnoticed. There is also the problem of handling line this small since under extreme loads its diameter could be reduced by one third. The lighter anchor, while probably having the fluke area to hold satisfactorily, is seriously affected by grass and other irregularities on the bottom, preventing it from digging in and allows it to ‘skate’ along the bottom. The rule of thumb is: use the heaviest anchors you can weight (get back aboard the boat), and afford to buy an appropriately sized line (1/2” nylon or better) unless you are a racer and weight is a consideration.
24 Anchor Cables Anchor cables are also called anchor lines or anchor rodes. They are all the same thing: the rope or chain that attaches the anchor to the boat. By far the most common anchor line used today is made of nylon. This is tremendously strong. It is quite elastic, and for this reason, is beloved by the light anchor and line school. These properties also endear it to the heavy anchor school as well. It is impervious to rot and mildew, so it can be stowed wet without harm. It is common on all sizes of vessels. Most cruisers use a length of chain leader between the anchor and the nylon line. While this complicates stowage, it eliminates the possibility of chafing the nylon on a rocky or coral strewn bottom. Also, the added weight is of help to the anchor’s holding ability. Some small and many larger yachts use anchor chain. The biggest drawbacks to its use are weight and the need for a winch to handle it. In small yachts using lightweight chain, a large roller at the bow equipped with a pawl makes it possible to bring the chain in by hand, especially if someone is at the wheel easing the yacht toward the anchor under power. Chain has the advantage of being chafe free, is strongly constructed and is heavy. The weight contributes largely to the anchor’s ability to hold and also creates a catenary arc between the yacht and the anchor that acts as a spring or shock absorber. This eliminates direct pulls on the anchor. The ‘Moorings’ (the world’s largest bareboat charter company) uses chain as the main anchor rode on all of their yachts. Chain’s major disadvantages are that it ultimately rusts; it collects mud, sand and whatever is available on the bottom and brings it aboard and is heavy and difficult to handle Scope All anchors are designed to dig in and hold when the strain transmitted along the anchor cable is applied in a horizontal direction and at an acute angle. This is why a length of chain between the anchor line and the anchor helps the anchor to hold. It is also the reason that that the scope (or length of line) is very important. The more scope you have in relation to the depth of water in which the boat is floating, the flatter will be the angle at which the pull will be transmitted, and the better the anchor will hold. Try to anchor in shoal water (15 feet or less) and you will nearly always have enough line to provide the scope necessary to make the anchor hold. A ratio of eight to one is common and in the Bahamas, it is sometimes necessary to add to that. Remember to take the tidal range into account when anchoring. Anchoring in eight feet of water at high tide in the Bahamas will result in grounding at low tide, if your vessel draws five feet. In some parts of the world, there are extreme tidal ranges. In an anchorage in the Bay of Fundy, you might put out fifty feet of scope in ten feet of water and feel secure at low tide. But since the tidal range is sixty feet, at high water your vessel would be floating free. So remember, calculate the state of the tide when anchoring and paying out scope. Buoying the Anchor It is generally good practice to attach a piece of polypropylene line to the crown of your anchor and a buoy of some sort tied to the other end. When the anchor is down, the buoy floats on the surface, telling where the anchor is. More importantly, if the anchor should foul, you have this trip line to heave on and bring the anchor to the surface with the crown uppermost. Upending the anchor in this way usually clears it. Anchoring Before we get into the procedure of anchoring itself, let’s look at some things to note before you actually put the hook down. The question is where exactly will we place the anchor? Look out for the following: Other boats: don’t anchor too close. Remember the wind may change. Although all the boats in the anchorage will swing around in response to the wind change, the relative position of the boats may not remain the same. Some may be on moorings and swing on a small radius, others may have a great amount of scope out and swing in a wide arc. Try to envision a wind shift bearing in mind the location of your neighbors’ anchor. The shore: don’t anchor so close that if the wind changes, you’ll find the boat ashore, 24
25 The height of the tide: you wouldn’t be the first yachtsman to find himself aground at low water. Any obvious channels or rights of way: it’s embarrassing to find you’ve anchored in the channel used by the ferryboat. Obstructions: there is usually a sign on the shore if there are underwater cables or other obstructions near your intended anchoring location. The chart will also show such obstructions. Procedure Anchoring under Sail You are asking for trouble if you just let the anchor plunge to the bottom with the anchor line on top of it, especially if you are using a fisherman anchor. Fouling is certain to occur, and can happen when using a Danforth anchor as well. Bring the boat into the wind or into the tide, let go the anchor and as the boat gathers sternway, pay out scope until there is sufficient to allow the anchor to grab. Watch the anchor line as the strain is applied and if it jumps, provide additional scope until it holds. Unfortunately, if it continues to drag you have two choices: either select another location, or try another type of anchor. Anchoring with the wind and tide opposed can be a complex and uncertain procedure under sail. If it is absolutely necessary to do so, get rid of the main if the wind is at all fresh, and leave only the headsails to drive you up tide. Drop the anchor, paying out scope as the boat slowly sails forward against the tide and if desired, drop a second anchor. Secure the first anchor rode and, as the boat turns to it, drop the headsails. You may then haul the boat toward the first anchor and pay out scope on the second anchor. Anchoring under Power Anchoring under power is usually very simple. You have the capability of stopping the headway of the boat with the engine, dropping the anchor, backing the boat down, and making the anchor rode fast (checking that the anchor is holding). Setting Two Anchors In crowded anchorages, setting two anchors is mandatory in a sloop with a fin keel that loves to tack around her anchor rode. Set the second anchor at about 60 degrees from the first with about the same amount of scope. This will limit the boat's movement so that your neighbors won't be uneasy about your boat's lively movement. Having two anchors to weigh can be a major problem if the wind shifts and a fouled hawse (the anchor rodes are wound around each other) occurs. Commonly, an anchor is set upwind and one down wind. This will keep the bow of the boat almost always in the same place. In the Bahamas, the Bahamian moor is common. Since so many anchorages are in tideways between the cays, one anchor is set up tide and the other down tide. Both rodes are hauled in tightly. There are a couple of ways to set the anchors. One anchor is set first, and then you can carry the other out by dinghy. Or, you can set one, assuming you put it out ahead of the boat, and let out twice as much scope as you think you need. Then drop the other one and haul the boat back to a point midway between the two anchors. The Bahamian conch smacks used to practice the Bahamian Running moor by sailing to the anchorage, dropping one anchor and sailing on. The line runs out freely and the boat heads into the wind and drops the second anchor. The sails are lowered and the boat is hauled back toward the first anchor and all is made fast in the midway position. This can be done under power, but watch the line nearing the propeller! There are occasions when anchoring with one anchor from the bow and another from the stern is very wise as in a canal or narrow waterway. Never do it in a tideway since boats behave very erratically with their sterns to the tide.
26 SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON SIX Introduction This lesson is a simple but practical one. We'll investigate the Tides and how to predict their heights. The Tides In school, you probably learned that the tides are caused by the moon pulling on the waters of the earth through the force of gravity. You likely saw a diagram that showed the earth and the moon, and two bulges of water on the earth, one right under the moon, and the other on the opposite side of the earth, like this:
The bulge shown nearest the moon is the result of the moon's gravitational force or pull on that point nearest the earth. The bulge opposite, is due to the centrifugal force of the earth's rotation against the near zero gravitational effect perpendicular to the moons line of force. Any given point on the earth passes under two bulges and two non-bulges per day. This is the basic reason why there are two high and two low tides each day in most places in the world. This 'day' is not an earth day, but a lunar day and is the time taken by any point on earth to go from directly under the moon until it is directly under the moon again. Since the earth is moving as well, a lunar day is equal to about 24 hours and 50 minutes. The Sun adds its effect as well. As the moon travels around the earth once a month, or approximately 29 days, the sun and moon are twice in line with the earth. Once we have earth-moon-sun and once we have sun-earth-moon. At both of these times, the effect is to increase the total pull, and at these times, we have higher and lower tides than usual. This happens every two weeks, and we call these tides Spring Tides, which have nothing to do with the season. In between times, the sun is at right angles to the earth-moon system, and cancels out some of the moon's pull, and then we have smaller tides than usual, that are called Neap Tides. In the course of a lunar month, we have springs, neaps, springs and neaps again. Since they are associated with the moon, you can tell roughly whether it is a time of springs or neaps by the moon's phase. When it is full, and when it is new, (not visible), we have springs, and when it is in either the first or last quarter (when half of the moon is visible), we have neaps. The height of the tide at any given place is governed by many complicated factors in addition to the phases of the moon. In the open ocean, the actual height of the tidal bulge is probably not more than one foot, but close to shore, its height can range from zero to over 50 feet. The height near shore has to do with the configuration of the coastline and the seabed near the shore.
Figure 6-2 above shows how the depth of the water at a location changes with the rise and fall of the tide. You will note that, at springs, not is high tide very high, but the low tide coming about 6 hours later is very low. The total range of the spring tide is greater than the range at neaps. The neap tide, having a smaller range, has lower highs and higher lows, so the depth of water doesn't fluctuate as much at neaps as it does at springs. On the chart, the depth of water, called soundings, is shown in many places. You may ask what purpose this serves when we've just seen that the depth of water is changing constantly because of the tides. The chart makers choose a reference point, called the chart datum, and all depths are reduced to that datum. For instance, depths on modern American charts are reduced to mean low water or lowest low water. If you went sailing and took soundings when it was a low spring tide, you would find that the depths charted nearly matched the depths you determined with your sounding line or echo sounder. At all other times, the depths will be greater than charted. You will add the rise of the tide at that time to the charted depths to find the real depth. Tide Tables How do we find out how much the tide changes, and when, at any given place? We make use of Tide Tables. These are published annually by the United States, Britain and Canada. One volume covers the East Coast of North and South America. About the same format is used in both the U.S. and Canadian volumes. All tide tables give the date, times, and depth for a series of reference stations and sub-stations. Times are given in 24-hour format and depths given in feet and tenths of feet. In time, all depths will be given in metric values. Many cruising guides also publish tide information and include similar content. On the next page is a sample of a simplified table for the Bahamas.
Courtesy Tropical Isle Publishers Interpolation for Time
There is an interpolation table given in many tide tables that will enable you to calculate the height of the tide at any given time of its ebb and flow. During the approximately 6 hours that elapses between high and low tide, the height changes as follows: 1/12 of the total change occurs in the first hour, 2/12 in the second hour, 3/12 in the third, 3/12 in the fourth, 2/12 in the fifth hour and 1/12 in the sixth hour. This means that the water level changes fastest in the third and fourth hours. Here's a simple system to determine how much actual change, in inches occurs each hour. Hour 1 2 3 4 5 6 Formula Range/ft 1 x 4.0 2 x 4.0 3 x 4.0 3 x 4.0 2 x 4.0 1 x 4.0 Change/inches = = = = = = 4 8 12 12 8 4
The formula is 123321 for hours 123456 of the tidal change. 28
Some useful knots you might learn.
Some old sailor’s axioms: Red sky at night is a sailors’ delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Mares’ tails (cirrus) make tall ships carry short sails. A stitch in time saves nine. (Refers to sail repairs)
Ability He is the best sailor who can steer within the fewest points of the wind, and exact a motive power out of the greatest obstacles. Henry David Thoreau (1817–62), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, “Friday” (1849).
SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON 7 Introduction This lesson deals with a simple subject, the Mariner's Compass. This is the one navigation instrument that the sailor finds most difficult to do without. It pays to know your compass, the corrections you must make to its readings to so that it is useful to you. The Compass The mariner's compass is a bar magnet pivoting on a jeweled point. The largest magnet in our neighborhood is the earth itself. By some process not yet understood, the earth creates a magnetic field. The two poles of the earth magnet are at opposite ends of the earth. The North magnetic pole is in the Canadian Arctic islands. As a Boy Scout, you were probably told that the needle of your Pathfinder Compass pointed to the North Magnetic Pole, but this is not strictly correct. In fact, the needle of the compass aligns itself with the lines of force within the earth's magnetic field. This is not quite the same thing, as the lines of force do not everywhere point exactly to the magnetic pole. The Boy Scout compass, with its needle, is a difficult compass to navigate by. The mariners’ compass is a more sophisticated instrument. Firstly, there are several needles, not just one in the mariners' compass. Secondly, the magnetic needles are all mounted parallel to one another on the bottom of a disc that is known as a card. The card rotates on a jeweled pivot, and on the upper surface of the card, a compass rose is printed. A modern card is shown on our Fig. 7-2 on the next page. Note that the circle is marked clockwise to 360 degrees, and that the 32 points of the old system have been reduced to a mere 8; the 4 cardinal points of N,E,S,W, and the 4 inter-cardinal points. Many yacht compasses are even simpler, showing no points at all, and only every fifth degree. This type is quite sufficient for yacht navigation, where the motion of the yacht makes the compass card whirl around like a dervish most of the time. It is difficult to read to better than 5 degrees in these conditions in any case, even if the card were marked every degree. If your course is 037, simply try to keep the lubber line (the post at the forward and after edge of the compass) halfway between 035 and 040. The card of the compass is pivoted on a jeweled post in the bowl of the compass that is mounted in pivots known as gimbals, so that it will remain more or less steady no matter how the ship moves. In modern yacht compasses, the gimbals are internal, and the card is suspended inside a hemispherical dome filled with fluid to damp out the motion. On the inside of the bowl, on the back of it as you look at it from the helm, is a post or line that is aligned with the fore-and-aft line of the yacht. This is called the lubber line. The compass heading of the boat is the direction in degrees directly in front of the lubber line on the card. It is important to remember that the card of a compass remains stationary and is aligned permanently with the earth's magnetic lines of force. The lubber line and the compass bowl revolve around it as the heading of the boat changes. To steer a compass course, the boat is turned until the lubber line is aligned with the desired number on the card. The important thing to remember while steering, is that turning the wheel moves the lubber line and not the card. If the line moves off to the right, relative to the card, then turn the wheel to the left and bring it back in position. If it moves to the left, turn the wheel to the right. As long as you envision controlling the position of the line and not the card, you'll get the hang of it quickly.
Fig. 7-2 A Modern Compass Card 2 Variation The direction of the earth’s lines of magnetic force varies over the surface of the earth, so that the quantity known to mariners as variation – the amount by which the direction of the lines of force differs from the direction of the true North Pole – (the North end of the earth’s axis of rotation) – changes with distance on the earth, sometimes by quite a bit over a short distance. The variation in any given locality is shown on charts. Fig. 7-3, on the next page, shows how variation is shown on charts. The Compass Rose is composed of three rings; the outer is aligned with the true N-S direction on the chart, which is always portrayed as being straight up and down, and is called the true rose; the middle ring is aligned with the magnetic lines of force in that locality and is known as the magnetic rose; and the innermost ring another magnetic rose, aligned with the first magnetic rose, but stepped off in the old-fashioned point system of compass nomenclature. On a chart covering a fair sized area, the magnetic roses shown on the chart – there may be for or five roses in different corners – probably differ slightly in variation, and when using the chart, use the rose nearest to the part of the chart your vessel is on. Variation changes slowly with time by a small amount. When using an up-to-date chart, the change is not worth worrying about, but an older chart may have accumulated enough change over the years to make quite a difference. Always use current charts if you can, for this and many other reasons. In the example on Fig. 7-3, the variation is shown as 3 degrees west in 1973, increasing 8’ annually, so that in 1974, the variation would have been 3 degrees 8 minutes west. However, this is not enough to worry about for a few years but in this current year, 2000 the variation would be 27 x 9 /60 or a total of 7 degrees plus 18 minutes west. Westerly variation means that the North or zero point of the magnetic rose is offset to the west of the True North point. Easterly variation is when the magnetic North point is offset to the east of True North. On the east coast of North America and in the Great Lakes, variation is westerly, ranging from about 25 degrees at the eastern end of Nova Scotia to 0 degrees in Florida. On the west coast of Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico, variation is easterly.
33 3 Finding the Magnetic Course In a couple of lessons, we’ll show you how to find the true course between any two points on the chart. However, as you know, the compass reacts not to true north but the magnetic north, so the magnetic course will not be the same as the true course. It differs in amount and direction from the true course by the amount and direction of the variation. The rule to convert from TRUE to MAGNETIC is simple: 1. MAGNETIC = TRUE PLUS WESTERLY VARIATION. 2. MAGNETIC = TRUE MINUS EASTERLY VARIATION.
If you do your sailing on the east coast, you can forget the second rule for now, and memorize the first. When you go to Mobile or Galveston, just remember to treat the variation in the opposite way you handle the westerly variation in your home cruising grounds. After you’ve done it a few times it becomes an automatic calculation for you.
Here is an example: True course Variation Magnetic 090 015W 105 (Add West)
Pretty simple, right? If you look at the rose on Fig. 7-3 on the preceding page, which shows a westerly variation of 003 degrees, you can find the magnetic course right away. If our true course is 090, find 090 on the outer TRUE ring, and directly inside this figure, on the MAGNETIC ring, you’ll see 093, which is the magnetic course. You can see it’s the same thing as the calculation above, which would become: True course Variation Magnetic 090 003 W 093
Let’s try some more examples: True 000 355 265 000 105 3.1.1 Finding the True Bearing Variation 15 W 15 W 22 W 02 E 05 W Magnetic 015 010 (355 + 15 = 370 = 10) 287 358 (Subtract E} 110
Another thing we’ll be using in a couple of lessons is a bearing. A bearing is the direction of one object from another such as the direction of a lighthouse from a yacht. We might say the light bears due East from us, or has a bearing of 090 degrees. Bearings are vital in finding your position in coastal navigation. Bearings are taken by sighting over the ship’s compass, or by using a small portable compass called a hand-bearing compass. In any case, since a compass is used, all the directions found are magnetic directions, while to plot them on a chart, we need true directions. So we have to convert again, this time from Magnetic to True. As you can imagine, it is not very difficult. You can figure it out yourself. TRUE = MAGNETIC MINUS WESTERLY VARIATION 33
34 TRUE = MAGNETIC PLUS EASTERLY VARIATION For example: Bearing 090 Variation 005W Bearing 085 True Here are some more examples: Bearing Variation 000 10E 021 10W 123 0 275 15W 357 4E 4 Deviation There is another factor that must be considered when working with the compass. If a quantity of ferrous metal (iron) is in the immediate vicinity of the compass, it has an effect on the ability of the compass to indicate magnetic north. Any error that is introduced this way is called deviation. In its simplest form, it is introduced by the temporary introduction of a metal object into a space a couple of feet around the compass. The biggest offenders are probably beer cans, pocketknives, flashlights portable radios and photographic exposure meters. The best way to handle deviation is to get rid of it. Be watchful for articles temporarily placed near the compass. However, such things as the engine under the cockpit or metal fuel tanks beside the cockpit or the engine controls and the instrument panel or if you should happen to have a steel yacht, simple solutions are not available. Generally, on a wooden yacht it is usually possible to get a compass away from metal objects. You may have to use two compasses; one to steer by which can be sited amid the disturbing influences, and another situated away from them. In which case, one would use the undisturbed compass as the main compass. Set yourself on course using that compass, and note what the reading of the steering compass to steer by. Generally any compass four feet away from any disturbing influences will be free of deviation. If a compass does have deviation, which can be tested by a couple of methods we’ll discuss in our advanced course, it is well to bring in a compass adjuster to adjust the compass to minimize deviation. The odds are that the deviation can be eliminated entirely. A problem with deviation is that it is not a constant figure for a given locality, as is variation. Since the disturbing magnetic influence is carried around on the boat, and since the compass card remains fixed in relation to magnetic North while the boat’s head, and the magnetic influence, can be turned around as the boat turns in a circle, the influence of the disturbing force changes as the boat’s direction changes. There will be a certain amount of deviation when headed in one direction, and another amount of deviation when headed in another direction. When the adjuster has eliminated all the deviation possible, the boat is swung. The boat is sailed or powered around in a circle, so that the readings of the compass can be compared with known magnetic or true bearings, and a Deviation Card is made out. This is a table of deviations found on a number of magnetic headings of the boat. A sample card would look like this. 188.8.131.52 Deviation Card – Keewatin 18/1/2000 Mag. Heading 000 015 030 045 060 075 090 Deviation 3E 0 2W 5W 7W 4W 1W Mag. Heading 180 195 210 225 240 255 270 Deviation 4W 8W 7W 5W 3W 0 2E 34 True 010 011 123 260 001 (+) (-) (-) (+)
35 105 120 135 150 165 0 2E 4E 7E 0 285 300 315 330 345 4E 2E 0 1E 2E
This card is posted near the chart table, and is referred to when determining a course to steer, or when plotting a bearing on the chart. Dealing with Deviation, once it is known, is just like dealing with Variation; the rules are much the same. The course, corrected for both variation and Deviation, is called the Compass Course. The rules are: COMPASS = MAGNETIC PLUS WESTERLY DEVIATION COMPASS = MAGNETIC MINUS EASTERLY DEVIATION Example: We want a magnetic course of 075. What will be our compass course on Keewatin, using the Deviation card above? Our Deviation Card tells us that on a magnetic heading of 075, we have a deviation of 4W. Compass = Magnetic + W. Dev. Magnetic 075 Deviation 4W (+) Compass 079 : Here's some more: Magnetic 090 150 015 285 210 357 183 002 Dealing with Both Variation and Deviation Suppose we want to find the Compass course on a voyage on Keewatin. We are sailing along the coast of Nova Scotia, and the true course is 055. Variation in this locality is 22W. TRUE 055 VARIATION 22W MAG 077 DEV 4W COMPASS 081 Deviation 1W 7E 0 4E 7W 5W 10E 6E Compass 091 143 015 281 217 002 173 356 (+) (-) (-) (+) (+) (-) (-)
1. First FIND the Magnetic course, (Add Westerly Variation). 2. With the Magnetic heading, enter the Deviation Card. 077 = 4W 3. Find the Compass heading. (Magnetic PLUS W. Deviation). This is a realistic situation. If we have a compass with deviation, we have to go through this computation every time we want to set a course for the helmsman to steer. This is a good reason to try to get your compass adjusted so the deviation is zero or minimal on all headings. This is in fact the case with most yachts, including Keewatin. Incidentally, in the northern and central Bahamas, variation doesn't exceed 3W, so a compass without deviation indicates headings close enough to true for the average yachtsman in those sunny waters.
36 SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON EIGHT Introduction Two topics will be discussed in this lesson. We'll first take a look at the nautical chart and the information to be gained from it, and then at the buoyage system used in North America. The Nautical Chart A chart is a map with a difference. A land map shows the layout of towns, roads elevations and leaves the water areas plain blue. A chart, on the other hand, devotes great attention to the water showing the depths, and locations of above and below-water obstructions and hazards to navigation, such as reefs, rocks, and wrecks. The land on a nautical chart is left largely blank except for the location of objects of interest to the mariner; the shoreline, ports, conspicuous hills, and manmade objects such as water tanks, radio towers, steeples, and chimneys. Where a land map is usually used only for reference, the chart is a navigational tool. It is printed on heavy paper, so that it can be written on and erased. Distance can be measured on it and the direction to be steered between any two points can be taken from it. It is the primary tool of the navigator after the compass. Most countries with a seacoast make their own charts. The three you are most likely to encounter are Canadian, American and British. Canadian charts are issued by the Canadian Hydrographic Service of the Marine Sciences Branch of the Dept. of Mines, Energy, and Resources in Ottawa. They publish a catalogue of all their publications and you can get free Information Bulletins covering the area you are interested in. Bulletin 8 covers the Atlantic coast of Canada. American charts are issued by different agencies of the US government. Charts of coastal waters come from the National Ocean Survey, formerly known as the Coastal and Geodetic Survey. You often still see charts with C&GS numbers on them. They too issue a free catalogue of publications as they apply to different areas. Catalogue #1 covers the east coast. The Great Lakes are covered by the Lake Survey Center of the NOS in Detroit. The US Naval Oceanographic office, Washington, DC, covers all other waters of the world. This used to be called the Hydrographic Office, so you still see charts with the prefix HO. Later charts are re-numbered and prefixed NO. The NO Office issues a catalogue in sections, 9 sections covering the world. Charts are usually available locally at chart agents. Official chart agents for the agencies mentioned above are not as common as smaller suppliers. Almost every marina and marine supply store in the US sells charts of the local area. An agent who has a world-encompassing inventory is Bluewater Charts, SW 17th Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale. Charts have become quite expensive. The last price we have for NO charts is $13.50 each. Scale: Any chart of map is a miniaturized representation of a large area of water or land. It must obviously be scaled down, or it would be a little cumbersome to use. The basic way of describing a chart is by its natural scale, which is an expression of the relationship between a given distance on the earth and its representative distance on the chart. This is usually expressed as a ratio: like 1:80,000, or as a fraction 1/80,000. This means that 80,000 units on the earth boil down to 1 unit on the chart. 80,000 inches on earth occupies 1 inch on the map or chart. Large-scale charts have a scale that is a larger fraction than small-scale charts have. When you think about it, 1/5000 is larger than 1/80,000, just as ½ of an apple pie is larger than 1/12 of the pie. The easiest way to think about it is: a large-scale chart covers a small area; a small-scale chart covers a large area. This might not sound right, but it is. A scale of 1/5000 would be a harbor-plan, covering merely a harbor. A chart of 1/40,000 is called a general chart; it is a comfortable scale for safe navigation in reasonably restricted waters. As a yachtsman, you would rarely be interested in a scale much larger than 1/40,000, although harbor plans are nice when they appear as insets on a chart covering a larger area.
Latitude As you know, the earth has been plastered with man-made invisible lines, which enable us to locate ourselves on the surface of the globe. This coordinate system has two components: parallels of latitude, and meridians of longitude. Reference points on earth are few and far between, unless we define them ourselves. However, the Poles, the ends of the earth’s axis of rotation, are fixed on earth, and so is the Equator, a line circling the earth midway between the poles, plane of which is a right angles to the axis of rotation. Using these references, the complete coordinate system was invented years ago. Latitude is based on the Equator, which has latitude of 0. If you look at the planet earth from the side, it is a circle with the poles at the top and the Equator across the middle. If you could stand in the center of a transparent earth, right at the point where the axis of rotation goes through the plane of the Equator, and looked out at the surface of the earth, you could see the line of the Equator right in front of you, and the North Pole right over your head. When looking from the Equator up to the pole, your eyes would have swept an arc of ¼ of a circle or 90 degrees. It is possible to mark off that arc in single degrees and parts of a degree. If you selected, say, the 10 degree mark, and then turned your head around where you were standing, you would draw a circle around the globe at the 10 degree mark. It would be parallel to the Equator all the way around, and you would have drawn a parallel of latitude. By convention, we call all the parallels on the North Pole side of the Equator North Latitude, running from 0 at the Equator to 90N at the North Pole. This half of the earth is called the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the parallels of latitude run from 0 at the Equator to 90S at the South Pole. Longitude There is no fixed reference point from which we can refer to places East or West along the Equator, so it was defined arbitrarily two centuries ago as a line which runs from the North Pole to the South Pole and passes through the town of Greenwich, England, where the Royal Observatory is. Any straight line, which passes through both poles, meeting the Equator and other parallels of latitude at right angles, is called a meridian, and the one that passes through Greenwich is called the Prime Meridian. From this line, other meridians are marked off along the Equator. West Longitude comes westward from the Prime Meridian for 180 degrees, and East Longitude goes eastward along the Equator for 180 degrees, and they meet at the back of the earth from Greenwich at the International Date Line. See Fig. 8-1. The Point P below has latitude of 50 degrees N, and a longitude of 60 degrees W.
The Mercator Projection In order to portray the curved surface of the earth on the flat piece of paper that is a chart, some distortion must be introduced. Dozens of methods of drawing maps have been devised, and all are called projections. A Dutchman, Gerardus Mercator, invented the Mercator Projection in 1569 and it has been used for nautical charts to the exclusion of almost every other. Fig. 8-2 illustrates the Mercator Projection on a chart. The distortion, which is obvious on a world map, is rarely noticeable on the average chart, because of the difference in scale. Even when the distortion is present, it does not interfere with the basic features of the projection, which make it so valuable to mariners. Features of the Mercator Projection 1. 2. 3. The parallels of latitude are all straight lines. The meridians of longitude are all straight lines. VERY IMPORTANT – any straight line drawn anywhere on the surface of the chart in any direction, is a line of constant bearing. The line crosses all the meridians at the same angle. This is known as a rhumb line, and is the course between any two points.
So that all we have to do to find the course between on place an another on the chart is to draw a line between the two points, and find out what the angle is between the line and the true North line, the nearest meridian, and this angle is our true course. As we saw in Lesson 7, there \ are compass roses located in several places on the chart to help us determine the course angle. We’ll look further into this in the next lesson.
Reading Degrees and Minutes In an earlier section of this lesson we described the system of dividing up the surface of the earth into areas, using the degree - symbol0 - as the unit of measurement. We said there were 90 degrees of latitude in the quarter-circle between the Equator and the North Pole, and 180 degrees of longitude between Greenwich and the International Date Line.
39 In measurement of arc, the degree is the unit, but not the smallest unit. Each degree has 60 minutes – symbol ‘, and each minute has 60 seconds – symbol “. Don’t get confused with minutes and seconds of time - they have nothing to do with one another. You can forget seconds for most navigation purposes. So we have-60 minutes in a degree a position could be described as lat 44 degrees 38'N, long 68 degrees 33'w. This is the position of Halifax, N.S. You find the position of a place from the chart. On each side, there is a latitude scale. You will see the degrees numbered there, and depending on the scale, a number of minutes in between. On all but quite smallscale charts, each minute is represented on the latitude scale. See Fig. 8-2; on the right-hand side, there is a scale of latitude. At the top of this scale, you see the figure 41 30’, below that 25’and so on. In the northern hemisphere, latitude increases from bottom to top of a chart. In between each 5’ line there are 5 black. and 4 white, bars, each representing 1 minute. Therefore the position of the ship on the chart is shown as 41022’N. The same arrangement works for longitude. West longitude increases from right to left across the chart, and the scale is printed at the top and bottom of the chart. The ship in the figure is at 71degrees 5'W. Distance The minute of latitude has been proclaimed to be equivalent to one nautical mile. One minute of latitude on your chart, or on the earth, is the same as a nautical mile. (A Minute’s a Mile). If you divide the distance, in feet, between the Equator and the Pole, by 5400, the number of minutes in 90, you get the figure 6076, the number of feet in a nautical mile. This is about 1/6 greater than the statute mile of 5280 feet used on land. The nautical mile is a much better mile, since it is directly tied into the degree system on coordinates on earth. You never use anything else in marine navigation. Both distance and speed are based on the nautical mile. The knot is the unit of speed - it means one nautical mile per hour. To find the distance between any two objects on your chart, place one point of your dividers at one object, and the other point at the other object. Carry your dividers over to. The latitude scale on the edge of the chart, and see how many minutes (miles) apart the points of your dividers are. This is the distance in nautical miles between the objects. On very small-scale charts, the distortion built into the Mercator projection mean that you have to be careful where you measure this distance. Since the length of the minutes of latitude appear to become longer the farther away from the Equator you get, you must be careful to place the dividers at approximately the same latitude as the objects you are dealing with. On charts of the scale normally used in navigation, you don't have to worry about this. NEVER use the Longitude scale for distance - a minute of longitude is equal to a mile only at the Equator. Features Shown On Charts Chart 1 shows all the symbols used on the Canadian charts. They are very similar to those on American and British charts. You should make yourself familiar with most of them. Fortunately, almost all are rather obvious, and don't need much study to identify. Pay special attention to Section 0 - Dangers. You must be able to recognize various obstructions shown on the charts. Sections K and L are important for navigation, as they describe the symbols for lights, buoys and beacons. Section M gives you some of the symbols for various kinds of radio aids to navigation. Section R gives the system of depth contours used. Note that besides the color change shown. At the 3-fathom (18 feet) line, each fathom of depth has its own symbol in the dotted line, which shows the limit of that depth contour. Thus the 1 fathom (6 feet) line is a continuous series of dots:....., 2 fathoms is.. .. .., 3 fathoms is: … … …, four is: …. …. …, and so on. On any charts that you will use on this continent, you will see. that soundings a re given in either feet or fathoms. Always look at the Title of the chart right under that you’ll see the statement ~Soundin8u in Fathoms" or feet. Make sure you know which is used on the chart - it's embarrassing to find you’ve run into 5 feet of water instead of 5 fathoms1 especially if your yacht draws 6 feet. If you look at Figure 7-3 of Lesson 7, you’ll see soundings dotted all over the chart. A number of them look like this: 4(3) This means 4 fathoms 3 feet, or 27 feet of water. 3 means 3(1) fathoms, 1 foot, or 19 feet. Section S gives you the symbols for the quality of the bottom, which is good to know if you plan to anchor. Stay away from Bo, Co, and It if you can. 39
Buoyage Systems All countries with coastlines have provided aids to navigation. These include buoys, day-beacons, lights, fog signals, ranges, and radio-beacons. Buoys are floating objects anchored to the bottom. They have several characteristic shapes and colors, and may be equipped with a light, bell, gongs or whistle. Day-beacons are unlighted structures, usually a single pole or clusters of poles driven into the seabed, but. often found perched on rocks, reefs, and so on. They are equipped with a day-mark - a pointer, or other marker, of a characteristic color or shape. The term Lights refers to any lighted structure, not just to lighthouses, although these are the major types. They are built on shore or in shallow water, and carry lights of more power than is found on buoys, as a rule. Each light has its characteristic: it may be fixed (indicated on the chart as F); flashing (Fl), where the period of darkness is longer than the flash; or Occulting (Occ), where the period of light is greater than the period of darkness. They may be colored: white (w), red (R), or green (G). The characteristic of a light as shown on the chart may look like this: Fl Lt 10 Sec, 15 mi. This would be a light that flashes every 10 seconds, visible for 15 miles in clear weather. This range of visibility depends both upon the candlepower of the light and its height above the sea. It is always assumed as well that the observer on the ship has a height of eye of 15 feet, which is somewhat higher than your eye will be on the average yacht. Fog signals are horns, whistles, bells, gongs and explosive devices. Whistles, bells, and gongs are usually found on buoys, and operate all of the time as they depend upon the movement of the water for their operation. Horns are found at lighthouses, and only operate when visibility reaches a certain minimum. Ranges are lighted or unlighted structures. Two structures constitute a range. They are placed so that when you keep the two in line, and head toward or away from them, they will lead you up or down a narrow channel, or past some underwater obstruction. Radio beacons are small radio stations that transmit a characteristic signal that can be received on a directionfinding receiver. Buoys These are the most common aid to navigation. In North America, they are rather different from their counterparts in Europe. Unlighted buoys Can buoys are cylinders, always black, unless they are striped black-white or red-black. Nun buoys are cones or truncated cones, always red, unless they are striped red-black. Spar buoys are sometimes used as minor buoys in Canadian waters. They can be red or black. Lighted Buoys These are the more imposing structures than unlighted buoys, and usually are equipped with a sound apparatus as well as a light. They are constructed as metal floats, with a skeleton tower on top. Modern ones are constructed so as to reflect a radar beam, and the older ones sometimes are equipped with a radar reflector, and are identified by a special symbol on the chart. The shape of lighted buoys is about the same, no matter what color they are. In U.S. waters, you sometimes come across “Superbuoys”. These are very large buoys, with a float about 30 feet in diameter, and a tower about 30 feet high. They replace the old lightships in some areas, and are equipped with a powerful strobe light, and sound and radio gear. 40
41 The Lateral System This is the system of buoyage used in North America. The Cardinal System is used in Europe. The Lateral System is simple and straightforward, and you should not find it difficult to become familiar with it. It serves the same purpose as traffic lanes on a highway, and is just as important to the traveler. The first and most important thing to remember is the mnemonic “RED RIGHT RETURNING”. This tells you that when entering from seaward, you are to keep the Red buoys on your right hand. “BLACK RIGHT OUT” indicates that the Black buoys are to be kept on your right hand when you leave the harbor for the sea. Black buoys are cans if unlighted, and always bear an odd number when they are numbered. If lighted, the light is white or green, and the characteristic is Flashing or Quick Flashing. Red buoys are nuns if unlighted, and bear an even number. If lighted, the light is red or white, with a Flashing or Quick Flashing characteristic. The following table summarizes the important things to remember out buoys:
When buoys are encountered some distance from the shore, they are called Sea Buoys, and usually indicate the seaward end of the normal navigation route into port, or are placed to warn of shallow water or some other obstruction. The side they are meant to be passed on is given by the color – Red Right when proceeding South or West along the Atlantic coast.
SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON NINE
Now that we've seen something of charts, let's look at some of the things we can do with them. We'll start with plotting our latitude and longitude, arid then go on to course lines, bearings, plotting our position by cross-bearings, and dead reckoning. We can finish off with a discussion of a simple passage that you might take along the coast of Nova Scotia. Plotting Tools Before we can plot, we need some tools: dividers, and parallel rules or other course-plotting device. Dividers come in a variety of forms - the pair you get in an ordinary drafting or geometry set are sufficient for home use. Ideally, for sea going, they should be rustproof, fairly large, and if possible, be the type known as single-hand dividers, which may be operated with one hand. Every yacht should carry a couple of dividers. Plotting devices are legion. The purpose of them is to draw a line on a chart in a particular direction in. relation to the True North-- in other words, a course line or a bearing. Parallel Rules are the standard instrument. These are two rulers tied together with metal bands, pivoted so that the rulers can be pulled apart and still remain parallel. See Fig. 9-1 below. You lay one edge on the course line, and "walk" the rulers over to the nearest compass rose. They require a flat chart table and a bit of practice to use. A pattern called the Captain Fields type has a protractor inscribed around the edge, so that they can be used from a meridian of longitude as well as from the rose.
Fig. 9-1 Capt. Fields Parallel Rules Another plotting device is popular on small cruisers. It is essentially a protractor set into a flat sheet of plastic about l5” long and 4tt wide. It is used by the U.S.Power Squadrons, and is called a Course Plotter. Yet another device has a protractor with a movable arm attached to it, which is swung onto the course line when the protractor part has been aligned with a meridian of longitude. Plotting Figure 9-2 on the next page illustrates the method of plotting your position, assuming your latitude and longitude are known. Examine the edges of the chart -latitude up the sides and longitude across the top and bottom, and just by eye you'll be able to place your hand roughly in the area of your position. The place one edge of the parallel ruler along a parallel of latitude near your position, ensuring that one end of the ruler overlaps the scale on the side of the chart. Then walk the rules up, making sure they remain parallel, until the edge is at the latitude of your position. With the dividers, measure along the scale on top of the chart from the nearest meridian to your position. Then bring the dividers down to the rules, and prick the chart at your position.
There are obvious variations on this theme – you may have to use the ruler vertically along the top or bottom of the chart, depending on your position. It can also be done without the dividers, getting both latitude and longitude with the rules. Get your latitude first, and draw a line on the chart through your position. Then get the longitude, and where your ruler crosses the latitude line is your exact position. Sometimes you may know that your position is say 5 miles south of a certain point, or 3 miles bearing 200 degrees True from a certain point. Again you use your plotting tools. Find the certain point on the chart, and then place your ruler across a compass rose so that one edge passes through both the center of the rose and the degree mark in question. - say 200. Your rules are now set to the correct bearing. Walk the rules up so that one edge passes through the point. Then with your dividers, and by reference to the latitude scale on the side of the chart, step off the 3 miles distance from the point. (1 minute. 1 mile). This is your position. Figure 9-3 shows this operation.
Fig. 9-3 Position by Bearing and Distance Setting a Course Here is where your chart comes into its own. With it you can find the course to steer between any two points. But remember from Lesson 7, that the chart gives you TRUE directions from the true rose, and MAGNETIC directions from the magnetic rose. To set your course, find the place on the chart where you are, and where it is you wish to go, and draw a line between the twp places. This is your Course Line. Place an edge of your parallel rules along the course line, and then walk the rules over to the nearest compass rose, until an edge of the rule passes through the center of the rose. Your true course will be read off the true rose, and the magnetic course from the magnetic rose. See Figure 9-4. Make sure you take your course from the proper side of the rose. Remember that the ruler edge will pass through both sides of the rose, so that there are two figures under the edge of the rule. In Fig. 9-4, since our proposed course is approximately towards the NE, to the right, we use the right-hand side of the rose, and read O4O~true. On the opposite side of the rose, l8O~ away, is the reciprocal course of 2200 true. If, when we get to B, we turn around and go back to A, we will steer the reciprocal course - 22O degrees True.
Fig. 9-4 Setting a Course If you are using a Course Plotter, don't refer to the compass rose. The plotters are designed to work against a nearby meridian. You slide an edge of the plotter along your course line until the center part of the protractor touches a meridian. Then where the meridian passes udder the arc of the protractor, you'll see the course and its reciprocal printed. This is the True course, and variation will have to be applied to it. Plotting Bearings We've already plotted a bearing, in Fig. 9-3. There we drew a line from the point ashore to the ve88el, which had a bearing of 200 degrees true from the point. In fact, we normally take a bearing from the boat to the point ashore. Let us say we are cruising along somewhere south of Point A, the lighthouse in Fig. 9-3. We took a compass bearing of the light, and found, after we corrected the bearing for variation, as we learned to do in Lesson 7, that it bore 020 degrees true from the vessel. If the light bears 020 degrees from the boat, then the boat bears the reciprocal direction from the light. If the light is due North of the ship, then the lighthouse keeper sees the ship due south of the light. If the light bears 020 degrees from the ship, then the ship bears 200 degrees (020 + l80 degrees) from the light. So we set our parallel rules on the true course 200 degrees on the compass rose on the chart, and walk them over so an edge passes through the light, and draw a line down from the light. We know that we must be some-where on this line - we have found a line of position of the boat. Fixing the Ships Position There are many ways to fix the ships position on the chart, but in this course, we examine only the most common method, using cross-bearings. This method is really very simple. We have just seen that by taking a bearing of an object ashore, we can find a line of position of the vessel – that is, a line from a point ashore, or whose position is known, in a particular direction, upon which the boat must be. We don’t know exactly how far along the line we are, just that we are somewhere on that line. Now, if we take another bearing of another object, we can get another line of position (or position line) that the ship is also on. When we draw this line on the chart, we find that the lines intersect at a point offshore. Obviously, there is only one place the vessel can be and still be on both position lines at the same time, and that is at the intersection of the two lines. So we have fixed the position of the ship within the limits of accuracy of the two bearings we have taken. This determination of the position of the vessel is called a fix. Fig. 9-5 illustrates this. 46
Fig. 9-5 Getting a Fix If you can get bearings of three objects at a time, you’ll get a more accurate fix. Two of the bearings will intersect, of course, but it will be a rare occasion that the third bearing will intersect at the same point. More than likely you’ll get a small triangle called a cocked hat. We normally assume that the ship is in the middle of the triangle, as in Fig. 9-6.
Fig. 9-6 A fix on 3 Objects Ashore Probably the most accurate way of getting a bearing is by using a good hand-bearing compass. This is a portable compass with a sighting device on it. If it is held away from the steel rigging, or other metal object, there will be no deviation to worry about. (But check to see if your metal-rimmed eyeglasses cause any movement of the bearing compass card when they are brought close to the compass). Always take bearings of objects close at hand in preference to those farther away, if you have a choice. That way, any error in obtaining the bearing will have the least effect on the accuracy of the fix when plotted. If you use parallel rules, and not a plotting device, you can use the magnetic rose on the chart. This means you won’t have to worry about variation, since the magnetic rose accounts for variation for you. Take the bearing with the compass, set the rule to its reciprocal on the magnetic rose and walk the rules to the object you took the bearing of, and draw your position line from the object. Incidentally, if you place the edge of the rule through the center of the rose and the bearing, the reciprocal will be found under the edge of the rule on the opposite side of the rose.
48 Often you will be able to use the boat itself as a bearing compass. If a known object is dead ahead of the boat, then the ships compass heading at the time, assuming no deviation, is the magnetic bearing of the object. This means, assuming that there is no leeway or current, that the course line is the bearing. Draw the reciprocal of your course through the object, and you have a position line. Sighting along a cabin top at right angles to the fore-and-aft line of the ship will give you a bearing abeam - at right angles to the boats heading. Say you are heading directly for a buoy on a compass course of 270, and you sight a lighthouse directly on your starboard beam. It will have a bearing of 000 magnetic. You have just taken a cross bearing, which can be plotted on the chart to give you a fix. It is by no means always coincidental that you happen to find a lighthouse or other object directly abeam of you. If you are traveling along a coast, heading directly for a buoy or island in front of you, then naturally a succession of objects will be passing your beam as you sail along. You can then keep track of your position by a succession of fixes as you bring the objects abeam. Danger Bearings These bearings can warn the navigator by compass bearings when the yacht is standing into danger. Suppose a yacht is steering 269 true, as in Fig. 9-7, near Royal Island in the Bahamas, and obviously, the skipper wishes to avoid the rocky ledge just south of the course. First draw a line from the light so that it clears the danger area, and note its direction, in this case 274 true. This is the danger bearing. As long as the bearing of the light from the vessel is less than 274 true, the vessel will be on the safe side of the danger line. Note that the navigator took a bearing of the light at point A and found it to be less than 274 degrees, indicating that the boat was well clear of the ledge. If the bearing had been greater than 274 degrees, the vessel would have been heading into danger, and the skipper would have to alter course to starboard to bring the vessel back to the safe side of the danger line.
Fig. 9-7 Danger Bearing This technique is of great value if only one object is visible, as in the example above, if it were at night. But even where more than one object is visible, it allows the vessel to stay clear of danger without having to continuously get fixes of the vessel’s position
Dead Reckoning This term has two meanings: 1. The process by which the vessels position is carried forward by courses and distances from the last fix. 2. The position so found, usually abbreviated DR. The point of departure is the point from which the course line is first drawn. It is usually a buoy, or light vessel, but an accurately determined fix is better. The course to plot is the true course steered. The distance to plot is the distance run through the water. This is usually determined by the use of some sort of log. The simplest kind is the taffrail log, which indicates distance run on a dial, the mechanism being turned by a rotator towed behind the vessel on a line attached to the dial mechanism. It sounds improbable but it works very well. Distance is also determined, especially in powerboats, by knowledge of the vessels speed and the time elapsed. The distance run in 2 hours by a boat with a speed of 10 knots is 20 miles, for example.
Figure 9-8 Dead Reckoning The navigator normally keeps track of his position by keeping the DR up-to-date. When a fix is obtained, the DR is adjusted to this new known position, and the plot is started again with this fix as the point of departure There are some conventional ways of plotting on a chart. See Fig. 9-8. Starting at a known position -the point of departure, Bell "6" in this case -the plot is carried on. The time of departure, and all subsequent times, are written in 24-hour notation, and written at an angle to the course line. The course itself is written above the line, and called C--- (3 figures), followed by T for true, or M for Magnetic. If you know your speed, and are using it to get the distance run, enter the speed as SlO for 10 knots, and write it under the course line. Small circles on the course line show the DR positions. In Fig, 9-8, the distance run between 0830 and 0930 is taken from the log, and plotted (1 mile = 1 minute of latitude). Before any course alteration, plot your DR position, as at 1030, and then your new course, here 205 True. When you get a fix, draw the bearing lines and label them with the time and bearing. At their intersection, circle the intersected lines and label it FIX with the time. This fix becomes your new point of departure, and the DR plots starts again.
SAILING AND SEAMANSHIP LESSON TEN
Introduction In this lesson, three topics will be discussed. First we'll have a look at the Rules of the Road - how to avoid collision. We'll also give you some simplified rules to remember. In keeping with this topic is a discussion of safety when afloat. We'll give you some hints on staying aboard the boat and what to do if somebody doesn't. Finally we'll discuss the management of the boat in certain periods of stress -heavy weather, and when you are aground.
Rules of the Nautical Road
There are two sets of Rules of the Road, the Inland and the International Rules that differ from one another in only a few details. The International Rules are used In Britain, Canada, and most of the world except the U.S.Coast. All U.S, Coastal charts have a line showing where the Inland Rules apply. Don't get too worried about them - they differ from the International Rules mainly in the lights that yachts carry, and the whistle signals made in certain situations. Sectors and Lights All vessels carry Running Lights for passages at night. They are required to be lighted at sundown, and extinguished at sunrise. The lights are arranged to be visible over certain sectors, based on the old 32-point compass. There is a light at each side of the vessel, known as a sidelight, carried on lightboards attached to the shrouds, usually. Sometimes these lights are combined into one lamp with two sectors in it, known as a combination lamp, which is usually carried at the bow. There is also a sternlight. A sailboat carries on her starboard side a green light, visible from right ahead to 2 points abaft the starboard beam. Since a quarter circle is 8 points, the whole light sector is 10 points, or 112½ degrees. A sailboat carries on her port side a red light, visible from right ahead to 2 points abaft the port beam - another 10 point light. At her stern, a sailboat, under International Rules, carries a white light visible from 2 points abaft the beam on one side of the boat around the stern to 2 points abaft the beam on the other side - 12 points in all. See Figure 10-1 for an illustration of the lights. Since it is impossible to limit the light sectors to the exact specified angle, in practice there is a little overlap, and the onlooker can see at least one light no matter in which the direction the vessel steers. From dead ahead, both sidelights are visible. A motorboat - or a sailboat under power, even if the sails are set -carries, in addition to the lights above, a 20-point white light on its mast, or higher up than the sidelights, visible over the same arc as the sidelights combined and called a mastlight.
Figure 10-1 A large ship, over 150 feet in length, carries two white lights on her masts, called range lights. The front one is the same 20-point masthead light that all power vessels carry, visible ahead. The second one, on a mast near the stern of the vessel, is also white, and covers exactly the same arc as the first, but is mounted at least 15 feet higher. This means that from any position from 2 points abaft the beam on one side to 2 points abaft the beam on the other side, you can see two white lights on large ships, besides one or other of the sidelights - or both, if the ship is heading straight at you. Range lights are very useful, because you can see them long before you can see either of the colored lights, and since the after light is higher than the forward, you can tell which way the vessel is heading. So, if you see only a red or a green light, you are meeting a sailboat. If you see a single white light, it means you are seeing the stern light of either a sailboat or a power vessel, and you are overtaking it. (It could also be the mast light of a power vessel, the sidelight not yet visible.) If you see a red or green light and a white one over it, you are looking at a powerboat. If you can see both red and green lights, a boat is coming directly towards you -if there is a white light over the colored lights, it is a powerboat. If there are two white lights in line above the sidelights, go someplace else - a steamer is aiming at you. If you see what appear to be all the lights of Coney Island out at sea, you are looking at a cruise liner on its way from Miami to Nassau or back. Rules of the Road, Abridged The reason we've spent some time examining the lights carried by vessels is that the same sector principle governs who has the right of way in certain cases. Here are some abridged rules, as they can be found on the Small-Craft series of charts, published by the National Ocean Survey. Motorless craft have the right of way in almost all cases. Sailing vessels and motorboats less than 65 feet in length shall not hamper, in a narrow channel, the safe passage of a vessel that can navigate only inside that channel. A motorboat being overtaken has the right of way. 51
52 Motorboats approaching head to head or nearly so should pass port to port. When motorboats approach each other at right angles, or obliquely, the boat on the right has the right of way. Motorboats must keep to the right in narrow channels, when safe and practicable. Remember these rules, and take a good look at Figure 10-1. You will see that unless you are overtaking some one, in which case you have to keep clear, the only vessels you have to give way to are those which show up in your green sector from dead ahead to 2 points abaft the starboard beam. And some of these vessels will pas clear of you without requiring a change of course on your part. For night passages, here's a little rhyme to remember. It applies to situations involving two powerboats, or two sailboats. When a powerboat meets a sailboat, the powerboat keeps clear. Green to green or red to red, Perfect safety, go ahead. If to starboard red appear, T'is your duty to keep clear. But when upon your port is seen A steamer's starboard light of green, There's not much for you to do For green to port keeps clear of you. This all means: if green appears on your green side, or red upon your red side, there is no way that the vessels can collide. They will pass clear in every case. If you see red on your green, this is the danger situation. At this time, take a bearing of the other vessel, and watch it carefully. If subsequent bearings do not change, then the vessels are on a collision course. If the other vessels bearings draw ahead, then it will pass ahead of your boat. If they draw aft, the other vessel will pass astern of you. Alter course if necessary to pass clear of the other vessel. Make large alterations of course if you are going to -it's not much use changing course 5 or 10 degrees - make it 30 or 45 degrees, so the other skipper can see that you have made a course alteration. There are two rules especially for sailing boats, which were derived from the Racing Rules, and are now incorporated into the International and Inland Rules. 1. 2. Starboard tack has the right of way. Windward boat keeps clear, when both are on the same tack.
You know enough about sailing now to know that the boat that has the wind coming from its starboard side is on the starboard tack, and has the right of way over one on the port tack. When racing, it is customary to scream "Starboard" when calling for the right of way. When the vessels are on the same tack, the one that is to windward has to keep clear of the leeward one. In the Inland Rules, but not in the International Rules, is a rule that says that a boat that is running free has to keep clear of one which is close-hauled. It is unfortunate that this rule is not the same in both sets of rules. It was taken out of the International Rules in 1965, for no identifiable reason. However, it is a good rule, and worth obeying if you find yourself in the position of having to keep clear under this rule, whether the other vessel insists on the -right of way or not. Better to be safe than sorry. There is a rule - No 27.in the International Rules - which says that you should use your head at all times and not insist on your right of way in dangerous situations. Your first duty is to avoid collision. This epitaph ought to be better known: Here lies the body of Michael O'Day Who died maintaining the right of way. He was right, quite right, as he sailed along, But he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong~
53 Safety at Sea The accident most likely to occur when cruising is the loss of a man overboard. The proper action here, performed quickly, can save a life, especially in conditions of heavy seas, cold water, and poor visibility. The boat ought to be equipped with lifelines and guardrails at least 30" high, to keep the crew aboard. In addition, in bad weather, and at night, crewmembers ought to wear some kind of safety harness, securely attaching the person to some point on deck by a strong, short line. If the line is short enough, the man won't go overboard. If a little longer, at least he'll be towed along beside the boat. It is a good practice to have the crew wear lifebelts in bad weather. If a man goes overboard, the first thing to do is to get a life ring over the side to him. This ought to be equipped with a flashing strobe light, and the racing rules these days insist than a dan buoy with a flag also be attached to the life ring. The next thing to do is to get the boat turned around to pick him up. The standard routine, and the best in most cases, is to jibe, since this is usually the fastest way to reverse the boats direction without losing way. The boat ought to be brought up to the person overboard as if he were a mooring. It is often difficult to get a man in water-soaked clothing back on board due to his weight. It may be necessary to get a line around him and hoist him on one of the halyards. Heavy Weather When it begins to breeze up, you will soon be aware that the boat is no longer happy under full sail. She will be pressed far over to leeward, and will begin to wallow through the water. This depends to some extent on the point of sailing. The closer to the wind the boat is, the less will she stand up to a breeze. You often have to reduce sail when going to windward, and yet are passed by boats of identical size running before the wind with all sail set. At first, the wind may come in gusts between periods of normal wind strength. If you're close to a harbor and want to go in, you can usually get through the stronger gusts by easing your mainsheet as the gust hits, spilling some of the wind from the sail, Keep your jib tight as before, and you'll continue to sail, without slackening speed, but without leaning over heeling is the term -as much as you would if the mainsail were fully in. When the gust passes, trim the mainsheet again. This is a very common practice in small racing boats. In these small craft, it is very bad practice to make your mainsheet fast to a cleat, except temporarily, for a slight puff could capsize the boat if you don't ease the sheet in a hurry. When the wind strengthens further, you'll have to consider reducing sail. If you are carrying a big genoa jib, you may want to change it for a smaller headsail. However, many racing skippers prefer to keep their genoa jibs up as long as possible because of the great driving power of this sail, and so they may reef the mainsail instead. If it continues to breeze up, you'll have to reef with reef points. Slacking the halyard or halyards, securing the reef cringle on the luff and the reef cringle on the leach that becomes the new clew and then securing the reef points and taking up once again on the halyard or halyards does this. Les this sound simpler than it is be advised that it can become quite an operation in a seaway where the boom and gaff are determined to sweep the deck and you overboard. If you are making a short passage and have the slightest doubt about carrying normal sail, reef before you leave the anchorage. This is the oldfashioned method of reefing, sometimes called slab reefing today. It may be old-fashioned, but most of the larger racing boats today use this method, since it results in a better setting sail. Roller reefing is not new. It was common on the working fishing craft of Britain before the turn of the century. The most common type is the worm-gear type. This exerts a powerful turning force on the boom, allowing it to roll up like a window blind. It is not as easy as you might think. If the sail still has a bit of wind in it, as it should to get the best results, there is a good deal of friction in the gear and weight of wind and sail to overcome. It is best to reef when hove-to, since the mainsheet attachment on the boom, which swivels as the boom rotates, has a habit of getting accidentally rolled up with the sail when the boom is broad off, as it would be if you were attempting to reef when on a broad reach. In most normal summer weather that one is likely to meet on the East Coast, or in winter weather in the Bahamas, you are quite unlikely to have to resort to more than reducing sail when meeting heavy weather, since really bad weather is uncommon during the yachting season
54 On the Great Lakes and on the central East coast, the worst summer weather you are likely to meet is in connection with frontal passages, or isolated thunder-squalls. Here you will meet the phenomenon known as a line squall. You may meet a Caribbean relative in the Bahamas, when a bad norther comes through. The line squall is a fast-moving line of strong winds. You can see it coming - the sky in the direction of the storm looks as if the end of the world is imminent, and usually the squall itself appears as a white wall coming your way. The winds are really strong - hurricane force, sometimes, and speeds of 50 or 60 miles per hour are not uncommon. The squall is shortlived, so if you have the sea room, get all sail down and let it blow. The seas will not get big enough to cause harm to anything but a small open boat. Heaving-to is a common maneuver. Most cruising yachts will heave to quite easily, while some racing yachts with cut away underwater sections may not. A good long-keeled sloop will usually heave to easily by simply lowering the jib, tightening in the main - reefed if the weather is bad - and adjusting the tiller, which can usually be lashed down somewhat while you go below out of the wet to get something to munch on, like a beer and a sandwich. With the jib set, the routine is to back the jib slightly, so that it is to windward of the mast. The object is to reduce the boats forward motion as much as possible. The mainsail will drive her forward, while the backed jib stops her. The result is that the boat points about 45 to the wind, but in fact moves more sideways that forward, usually making a track of about 90 degrees to the wind. If you find yourself drifting into danger, you can come about and heave to on the other tack. Humphrey Barton brought heaving-to to the status of a fine art while crossing the Atlantic from England to New York in 1950 in the 5-ton sloop Vertue XXXV. He spent a good deal of time hove-to and discovered that a minute adjustment of the jib sheets made a great difference. He found that by not backing the jib too much, the boat would go slowly forward unattended, thus covering ground in bad conditions. When conditions worsened, a little pull on the backed jib slowed the boat further, and kept heavy seas from coming aboard. Read about it yourself: the book is very instructive, and is called Vertue XXXV. It is published in England in the Mariners Library by Rupert Hart-Davis, London. Heaving-to is a good maneuver to know. Often you can heave to even when under no stress of weather. We once spent a night hove-to off Egg Island in the Bahamas because the boat arrived in the dark, and we did not want to attempt the passage on to the bank through the cut south of Egg Island, and were afraid of the reef further to the south. Schooners like Keewatin often heave to happily under foresail alone, as the fishing schooners of Newfoundland used to do on the Grand Banks. If you run into a real storm, all is not lost. There are things you can do to survive. Storm trysails, as mentioned in Sailing, are good things to carry, even if you never run into heavy weather. The mainsail may come to grief in a variety of ways, and a trysail is a convenient spare that may get you to the sail maker. In heavy weather, they are handy to have, especially in gaff-rigged yachts, as they enable you to get that heavy gaff down, and set a small jib-headed trysail instead. No one today would carry a gaff-headed trysail. Once the trysail is set, you can heave to in pretty ghastly weather. Beware of using the sea anchor as described in numerous sailing manuals. All the authorities agree that no sea anchor will hold a modern yacht up head to wind - not a sailing yacht anyway, although it may do so on a shallow-draft motorboat. If you use a sea anchor, put it over the stern. Make sure you have a cockpit that is self-draining, and strong doors on the companionway. Forget about using a long trip-line on a sea anchor as pictured in Fig. 47. The sea anchor has a tendency to revolve, and the trip-line rapidly entangles itself with the sea-anchor line, making it difficult to pull the sea anchor in after the blow, and causing unnecessary chafe. Towing an automobile tire behind you while running before the sea under bare poles is probably just as effective as a sea anchor, and you can use the tire as a fend-off in port. Some authorities recommend lying a-hull. This means simply letting the boat drift sideways to the sea, with the helm lashed down. The pressure of the wind on the bare spars will heel the boat over to leeward, and the weather side of the hull will fend off the seas. This is the theory, at least. This technique can be used safely only if the waves do no get too large. Miles and Beryl Smeeton, in Tsu Hang, a powerful 46-foot ketch, which rolled completely over west of Cape Horn while lying a-hull. Use this technique with caution. In the ultimate storm, probably the best bet is to run before the seas, either towing lines behind you, or not. At this stage of the, game, any small vessel will need a good deal of luck to survive. If you want to scare yourself half to death, read 54
55 Heavy Weather Sailing, by Adlard Coles. This book gives many accounts of the behavior of yachts in bad storms, and reviews most of the methods used to survive. To cheer you up, you should know that storms of a strength such as to make survival techniques necessary are extremely rarely met with by yachtsmen. If you sail around the world, or visit Cape Horn, you may meet a bad storm, especially if you spend much time in areas where bad weather is common, or do not avoid the seasons of tropical revolving storms in different parts of the world. However, we met a couple that spent 10 years sailing around the world in a 30-foot ketch, and in all that time, they never met a wind stronger than about 35 miles per hour. Running Aground Running aground is very easy. All you have to do is sail the boat into an area of shoal water, and before you know it, the stern of the boat will rise slightly and she will stop moving forward. You are hard aground. If you have a choice in the matter, don't run aground on rock or coral. Mud and sand are best. Always try to run aground on a rising tide, and in an area where there is little sea running. In some parts of the world, it is extremely easy to run aground. The Intracoastal Waterway, down the U.S, coast, is famous for it - you can't see the bottom through the murky water, and a moment's inattention as you steer down the narrow channels will put you on the putty. The Bahamas is another place - you are always trying to get closer to shore in a harbor than you should. Getting off is not always as easy as going on. If you've run aground on rock, or coral, or on a sea beach, there is a good chance you will lose the ship, for the sea will pick her up and pound her against the bottom, and it won't be long before she opens up and sinks. In happier situations, which fortunately are the most common, the boat will simply sit there, waiting for you to float her again. Embarrassment is all you suffer. If you have been driven ashore when running, then get the sails down as quickly as possible, to prevent being driven further aground. If the tide is rising, all you have to do is wait. But get an anchor out to windward into deeper water, so you won't be pushed further aground, even with the sails down. Then as the tide rises, keep a strain on the anchor line, and you will pull the vessel off in a short time. On most cruising yachts, the deepest part of the vessel is aft. Often a boat can be broken free of the ground if the anchor is placed at right angles to the bow, in deep water. Heaving on the anchor line tends to pull the bow around and often breaks the vessel free. Sometimes the draft of the vessel can be lessened by deliberately heeling her over. One way is to hang a weight on the end of the boom - the crew makes a good weight - and swinging the boom out to one side. In a smaller boat, getting the weight of the crew forward may lift the vessel's stern enough to come clear of the bottom. If you are stuck on a falling tide, and can't get the boat off, try to ensure that she will remain upright when the tide drops. Usually a pair of 2 x 4's or the spinnaker booms lashed to the chain plates will act as legs and keep the boat from falling over The sheet winches can produce a lot of power on an anchor cable if you have a couple of strong men turning the handles. On ocean racing yachts, with a large number of powerful winches, a big crew can often exert a pull on the anchor line or lines greater than the weight of the boat, and they can literally drag her off the mud in any circumstances. If you are stuck well, and have to wait for the next tide, you might as well enjoy it. The fall of the tide will give you a chance to scrub the bottom and touch up the anti-fouling bottom paint. We once spent a few hours on the mud in a Nova Scotian harbor watching the harbor seals lurking hopefully around the fish plant, a sight we'd have missed if we were on our way. Happy Sailing