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Day Skipper

Shorebased Course

Part One

NMCS Day Skipper
This course is designed to provide you with the tools necessary to increase your knowledge and understanding of navigation and seamanship to a standard rather higher than that required to gain the RYA Day Skipper shorebased theory certificate. Why do we ask you to do a little more work than is strictly necessary? Because you will feel more at ease when undertaking the final test assessment papers if you complement your Day Skipper shorebased qualification by taking a practical course you will feel comfortable that your knowledge is more than adequate to cope - not just barely enough the extra tuition will make the transition to RYA/MCA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster very much easier should you wish to progress further the more you know, the safer you should be

Please take some time to read the introductory notes to this course. In them we explain how the course is structured what you will need to complete the course how to study

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01244 311084 National Marine Correspondence School 3 Green Lane Vicars Cross Chester CH3 5LA


Lighthouses.Course structure The course is divided into five sections and supplied in two parts (below) Work through each module in order. completing the self-test exercises (assignments) Record your best assignment mark on the Assignment Completion card Continue in this manner through the first two sections On completion of section two complete RYA Assessment 1 and return to NMCS for marking together with your Assignment Completion card as they appear within them Part 1 Module 1 Module 2 Basic Navigation: Position and Direction Basic Nautical Knowledge } } Section 1 Module 3 Module 4 Charts and Publications: Simple Plotting Deck Seamanship Section 2 Assessment 1(DS) (return to NMCS) page 147 Part 2 Module 5 Module 6 Tides and Tidal Streams Buoys. Pilotage } Section 3 Module 7 Module 8 Understanding the Weather Sea Safety and Cruising Practices } Section 4 Assessment 2 (DS) (return to NMCS) Module 9 Module 10 Passage Planning Electronic Charts } Section 5 Return completed assignment card to NMCS 2 RYA Exam Papers Return both exams to NMCS for marking 2 . Beacons.

. we have marked each subject heading in accordance with RYA guidelines. almost without exception the reason for this has been an erratic attitude to study. referring to the page and paragraph in the text which you do not understand or to the precise example with which you are having difficulty. either they lose interest in sailing as a hobby or find that they are struggling with the course.' 3 . When the latter occurs. you will probably find your course more comprehensive and detailed than you originally thought and that there is a lot to learn. Your tutor will always be glad to help you when you need it. showing exactly where your difficulty lies. Doing a bit at odd intervals when the mood takes you is not the way to study any subject. the subject covered will be outside the required RYA syllabus.. they can be ordered using the NMCS supplies shop catalogue and order forms. although some people do fail to complete the course for one reason or another. The enquiry has to be precise and vague statements such as 'I do not understand navigation' or 'I do not understand meteorology' will leave your tutor as puzzled as you! Be specific. Where no such symbol appears.remember that many of the modules require more than a single reading in order to fully absorb all the concepts and methods described within them. You will have to try to allocate set times to apply yourself to the course. If you state your problem clearly like this. Resist the initial temptation to leap for the telephone to ring your tutor the instant you come across a point which is not immediately apparent. If you do not possess navigational instruments. It is important to note that any problems which you may encounter when reading a module are resolved when working the selftest exercises and assessments (they are designed to do this).. This can be for a variety of reasons. How to study Your objective in enrolling for this course must surely be to learn as much as possible about the subject matter with a view to your competence and safety at sea.. Since its inception the NMCS has been extremely effective in assisting thousands of students through their courses to a successful conclusion. but please seek advice only when you are experiencing difficulty. In order to help you decide how much emphasis to place on navigational topics when studying or revising. full knowledge required working knowledge required outline knowledge required '. Our service to you includes answering your study enquiries. Although none of the subjects which we deal with are particularly difficult. your tutor will be only too pleased to show you equally clearly where you are going astray and to put you on the right track.Navigational instruments You will require Breton/Portland plotter or parallel rule Dividers 2B pencils Eraser and pencil sharpener A pair of compasses is also an advantage but please note that none of these instruments are essential until section two of the course.

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Section One Module 1 Basic Navigation Module 2 Basic Nautical Knowledge Contents 5 .

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Describing our position on the earth's surface Introduction Position on the earth's surface Reading position on a chart Self-test exercise N1(1) 9 2. Charts and chartwork equipment Poles. sounding leads and lines The echo-sounder Soundings. speed and distance relationships Measuring distance and speed at sea Log books Personal checklist (on completion of chapter 4) 25 5. Expressing direction 3. Distance.Module 1 Basic Navigation: Position and Direction Contents 1. Answers to exercises Answers Answers Answers Answers to to to to exercise exercise exercise exercise N1(1) N1(2) N1(3) N1(4) Introduction to navigational charts Examination of Chart RYA 3 Personal checklist (on completion of first 2 sections of chapter 6) Equipment for plotting on charts Self-test exercise N1(4) 37 47 7 . time and speed at sea Nautical units of distance and speed Time. depths and heights Personal checklist (on completion of chapter 5) Self-test exercise N1(3) 32 7. Measuring the depth of water 6. Marine compasses Direction and angular measurement Indicating direction at sea Personal checklist (on completion of chapters 1 and 2) The mariner's compass Magnetic variation Magnetic deviation Siting a magnetic steering compass The hand-bearing magnetic compass Personal checklist (on completion of chapter 3) Self-test exercise N1(2) 14 17 4.

Abbreviations used in this module C CD cm E dev GRP HB lat kn or kt lbs LH M M (following a course or bearing) compass: direction as shown by the onboard magnetic compass chart datum centimetres east (magnetic) deviation glass reinforced plastic knot hand bearing (compass) latitude pounds weight lighthouse (following a course or bearing) magnetic: direction related to the magnetic north pole metres (following a distance) sea miles m MHWS mm N nM NP mean high water springs millimetre north NMCS ODAS miles (international nautical miles) (Admiralty) Nautical Publication Royal Yachting Association National Marine Correspondence School Ocean Data Acquisition System S T RYA south pole (following a course or bearing) true: direction related to the true north The RYA Training Almanac TSS var TA traffic separation scheme (magnetic) variation 8 .

Pilotage is the navigation of a vessel in confined or semi-confined waters by observation and estimation by eye rather than drawing lines on charts. Module 11 draws upon all the work previously undertaken in showing you how to plan and make short coastal passages. time and speed. how distance is measured with what we call a log (a kind of nautical mileometer). To practise navigation we need to know first of all where we are and where we want to go. It involves the techniques of finding where we are at sea. wrecks and reefs. are the building blocks of navigation. 9 . we need to know the direction of that destination from the position of our boat. The use of buoys. We conclude this module with a description of the charts (maps and guides) which are available to inform you about the sea area in which you are navigating. beacons. So this module sets out to explain these two important principles position and direction. how the sea can also move from side to side (tidal streams). beacons and lighthouses as navigational position markers is covered in module 8. and how these two very important factors are used in the practice of navigation. In NMCS module 5 we explain how the level of the sea rises and falls (tides). Coastal navigation requires no advanced mathematics because its problems are solved graphically by drawing and measuring lines on a chart. Secondly. and of moving along a safely planned route clear of natural hazards such as rocks. Describing our position on the earth’s surface Introduction Welcome to your NMCS course in navigation. and how the depth of water under our boat is measured with an echo-sounder. and we describe these. Next we go on to show how direction is measured by means of a compass. It is the art and science of guiding a vessel from its departure point to its planned destination safely and efficiently. NMCS module 3 describes how to use your plotting instruments to measure distance and direction on charts. subtract.1. Navigation is a composite word derived from the Latin navis (a ship) and ago (to drive). In order to plot lines of direction and positions on your charts you will need certain chart instruments such as dividers and parallel rules. in other words the position of our boat and the position of our destination. lighthouses and so on. A little elementary geometry (which we shall explain later) and the ability to add. This is the first of a series of modules which will provide the necessary theory upon which to build your practical skills at sea and which will give you the knowledge to plan and carry out short coastal voyages. It involves the recognition and understanding of seamarks and landmarks such as buoys. divide and multiply are all that is needed. together with the very important relationship between distance. All these. of making sure that we are going in the right direction.

On a crowded city map it may take some time to find the road within the square. the global grid enabling any point on the earth’s surface to be pinpointed with two coordinates (reference lines) called latitude and longitude. The latitude of the equator is 0º and positions north or south of it are measured by angle as if from the centre of the earth. The two shown in fig 1 might be described as 28 B2 and 28 D4. Figure 2 Figure 3 10 . It is this type of grid system which is used on sea charts. while in (b) it will be at 70º south. By consulting the index we can enter with the name of the road we are looking for and extract the map number and square in which to find it.Describing our position on the earth’s surface Position on the Earth’s Surface Most of us will be familiar with town street maps which use a system of squares. If the lattice was of sufficiently fine mesh every place could be precisely fixed at the intersection of a vertical and horizontal line. In fig 3(a) any place on the dotted line will be at latitude 50º north. Figure 1 The equator (fig 2) is an imaginary line running east to west dividing the earth exactly into two halves (or hemispheres) and is the reference line from which latitude is measured. Lines of latitude are called parallels. Clearly it would be much easier to locate a position if the square was subdivided by a lattice as in square B4.

Figure 4 Any meridian might have been chosen as the prime meridian. For example. A meridian is an imaginary line on the earth's surface joining the north pole to the south pole and is perpendicular (at 90º) to the equator. containing the tables which enable sailors to calculate their longitude by astronavigation. on the earth's surface. measured from 0º to 180º east or west from Greenwich. Figure 4 shows that because meridians of longitude converge at the poles they are never the same distance apart (unlike the parallel lines of latitude). Since there are 360º in a circle. and 180º is a half circle. Point Victoria lighthouse (chart RYA 3. the meridians of longitude spread out from Greenwich and meet at 180º east and west on the other side of the world. simply using whole degrees to define position is not sufficiently accurate as. In order to define position more precisely (as in square B4 in fig 1). (How we convert seconds into tenths of minutes is shown on page 13) 11 . For normal navigation purposes this high degree of accuracy is not necessary unless expressing positions from very large scale charts. Nevil Maskelyne. therefore • six seconds (6") = one tenth of a minute (0'. A minute represents about 1 mile on the earth's surface and because coastal navigation demands even greater precision than this. A precise position on a chart can therefore be expressed in terms of degrees. Because of the immense size of the globe. Remember that: • • there are 60 minutes (60') in one degree (º) there are 60 seconds (60") in one minute ('). and when using coastal charts positions are usually expressed in degrees. These tables. they provide valuable and accurate reference points (the upright lines of our 'mesh'). a minute is further divided into 60 seconds (60"). minutes and tenths of minutes.Describing our position on the earth’s surface Longitude lines are called meridians (fig 4) and are measured by their angle east or west of the Greenwich meridian (or the prime meridian).8N 06º15'. living and working in the Greenwich Observatory. Thus the longitude of a place can be defined as the arc of the equator from the Greenwich meridian to the meridian of the position. The British astronomer royal. based on the meridian of Greenwich.1). We know that there are 60" in one minute. For this reason they cannot be used for the measurement of distance but. a difference of one degree represents a distance of approximately 60 miles. minutes and seconds. nevertheless. Note from fig 4 that a meridian is a line joining the poles on one side of the globe only. first published the Nautical Almanac there in 1767.3W. CC is a meridian of longitude west of Greenwich and DD is a meridian of longitude east of Greenwich. near the top and left hand corner) can be described as being in position 46º27'. a degree is therefore subdivided into 60 minutes (60'). were soon used worldwide and in 1884 at Washington DC the International Meridian Conference established the Greenwich meridian as the world's prime meridian.

Describing our position on the earth’s surface
The word latitude is frequently abbreviated to lat and the word longitude to long, and sometimes the words are omitted altogether, so that there must be a convention as to which term is expressed first. • Latitude is always expressed first, before longitude, and the suffix N or S (for latitude) and E or W (for longitude) must be added to the appropriate term in order to avoid any ambiguity.

Note carefully that when writing the decimal fractions of a minute the minute symbol (') comes before the decimal point and not after the last figure of the decimal fractions. Thus for the latitude of Point Victoria LH we wrote 46º27'.8N and not 46º27.8'N. For the longitude we wrote 06º15'.3W and not 06º15.3'W. This convention is important to avoid confusion. For instance 50º12.25' is much more likely to be misread as 50º12'25" than 50º12'.25.

It may appear confusing that the same words 'minutes' and 'seconds' are used for the smaller gradations of circular measurement as those familiar to us in expressing time. In practice we shall find that the apparent complication seldom arises and is avoided by using the symbols for minutes (') and for seconds (") only when expressing units of circular arc and never for time. Units of time are usually written in abbreviated form as 'mins' and 'secs'.

Reading Position on a Chart
On a navigational chart the scale of latitude runs vertically up and down the right and left hand sides of the chart, while the scale of longitude runs horizontally along the top and bottom borders of the chart. Fig 5 shows the bottom right hand corner of a chart. Each main division on both the latitude and longitude scales represents one minute (1') and these main divisions are themselves divided into ten equal parts or tenths of a minute, so that position X, for example, is in lat 51º01'.4N long 01º53'.1E.


Figure 5: Chart Scales

Describing our position on the earth’s surface
To convert seconds to tenths of minutes divide the seconds by 60 Examples: 48''= 48/60 = 0'.8 33'' = 33/60 = 0'.55 56'' = 56/60 = 0'.93 To convert tenths of minutes to seconds multiply the tenths of minutes by 60 Examples: 0'.3 = 0.3 x 60 = 18'' 0'.7 = 0.7 x 60 = 42'' 0'.45 = 0.45 x 60 = 27”

Self-test exercise N1(1)
1. What would you say is the position of points Y and Z in fig 5?

Of the positions expressed below state which are correctly written, and which are incorrectly written or impossible, giving your reasons: 2. 3. 4. 5. 90º12'.3N 197º33'.2W 49º25.2'N 04º56.9'W 55º07'N 02º39'E 83º28'.2S 178º07'.9E

Re-write the following positions using tenths of minutes instead of seconds: 6. 7. 50º10'48"N 04º51'54"W 23º49'15"S 19º22'03"E

Re-write using seconds: 8. 9. 10. 51º28'.4N 01º29'.9E 50º01'.1N 04º59'.55W 05º13'.2S 58º31'.75E

Answers on page 47


2. Expressing direction
Direction and angular measurement
If you stand facing the north pole and extend both arms horizontally, your right arm will point in the direction we call east and your left arm in the direction west. Reference to fig 6 shows that east lies 90º to the right of north, and west lies 90º to the left of north. Turn through 180º from north and you will be facing south, or towards the south pole. These four directions, north, south, east and west are known as the cardinal directions. Figure 6 shows two systems of compass card marking, the inner (using letters) being points notation and the outer (using numbers) is three figure notation. The points notation is now seldom seen and is usually used only to indicate wind direction. Inearliercenturies compasses,anda vessel's steering ability, were less efficient than they are today so the 32 widely spaced compass points (with 11¼º degrees between them) were adequate for normalsteering purposes.
Figure 6: Direction and compass notation

The modern, three figure notation is the standard method of measuring direction in degrees clockwise from 000º (north) to 359º. North - the first cardinal direction - is therefore 000º or 360º (it doesn't matter which). East is 090º (note the three figures, not 90º), south is 180º and west is 270º. It is important to get these angular measurements (ie in degrees) of the cardinal directions firmly etched in your mind, so that if, say, 210º is quoted, you know instantly that this direction is somewhere between south and west. In describing direction we have already mentioned angles (eg 90º and 180º) which play a very large part in this and many other aspects of navigation. Figure 6 represents a convenient method of measuring angles where the complete circle is divided into 360 equal divisions, each of which is called a degree and denoted 1º. This is the principle of the circular protractor and of the compass card which we shall be describing later in this module. Small as it appears to be on a protractor, a degree is far too large a unit of measurement for some aspects of navigation. This is because we sometimes have to deal with very large circles such as the circumference of the earth itself - a circle which has a diameter of nearly 8,000 miles - so that a degree measured at the centre of the earth would measure 60 miles across on the earth's surface. Clearly, greater precision is necessary and for this purpose a degree is divided into 60 minutes, and a minute into 60 seconds as described above.


even other vessels or floating objects. a vessel heading for Plymouth may be steering course 360º or 000º (north) Figure 7 when Eddystone Rocks LH bears 270º (west) and a tanker on her starboard beam bears 090º (east). Before a vessel can be navigated from. other than the vessel's destination.1) six seconds (6") = one tenth of a minute (0'. Alderney to Plymouth. this distinction is necessary because it is frequently required to indicate the direction of places. Direction is therefore determined by the point on the horizon at which the destination lies. say. Three directions have been expressed . Indicating Direction at Sea When we are at sea our horizon appears as a circle drawn around our boat as centre and there may be nothing. A distinction is made in navigation between these two aspects of direction.Expressing direction The basic facts of angular measurement to remember are • • • • • there there there there there are are are are are 360º in a complete circle 180º in a semi-circle or a straight line 90º in a right angle (or quadrant) 60 minutes (60') in one degree (º) 60 seconds (60") in one minute (').1). Although the course of the vessel may well be the same as the bearing of her destination. which is called the course of the vessel. The direction in which a place or point of reference lies is called the bearing of the place or point. to help us distinguish one point on that circle from another. not even a land or seamark. the direction in which Plymouth lies from Alderney must be established. The direction in which a vessel moves in still water is the direction of her fore-and-aft line. Therefore it follows that • • six minutes (6') = one tenth of a degree (0º. points. In figure 7. or towards which the vessel is moving. 15 .one is the vessel's course and the other two are bearings from the vessel. When steered in that direction we shall arrive at Plymouth.

minutes and seconds in degrees. minutes and tenths of minutes how one minute is represented on a chart compass notation using the three figure system and how this relates to the four cardinals of the point system the difference between a course and a bearing the definitions of true course and true bearing 16 . this describes the direction towards which the boat is pointing. as we shall see later. Note that we said that both the yacht's course and the bearing were true. Suppose that you are in the centre of the yacht and that you are heading in the direction of the arrow. ie with reference to the true north pole. Directions can be given with reference to other points. are given in three figure numbers. or in 3-figure notation 000ºT (spoken as 'zero-zero-zero degrees true'). Personal Checklist (on completion of chapters 1 and 2) You should now be aware of • (a) (b) • • • • the global grid of latitude and longitude and the correct method of writing positions in degrees. True bearings. Your course would therefore be north. when we refer to the boat's head or the heading. like courses. In navigation. When this bearing is given orally you would say that the lighthouse 'bears zero-four-five degrees true'. point or object lies with reference to the vessel. The yacht's skipper would express the fact that the lighthouse is north-east of the yacht by saying that the bearing of the lighthouse from the yacht is 045ºT (or that the lighthouse bears 045ºT from the yacht). or required to proceed.Expressing direction It is easy to confuse these important navigational terms so it is essential to be quite clear from the outset as to their meaning: • • The course of a vessel is the direction indicated by the projection of the vessel's fore-and-aft line in the direction in which it is proceeding. Figure 8 Look at fig 8. The bearing is the direction in which a place.

against the 020º mark 2 is shown. and figures every 20º. Warships. It is not. most merchant vessels and the largest yachts are equipped with gyro compasses which use the rotational speed of the earth to align with true (geographical) north. The number of markings and figures will depend on the size of the compass card. The smallest cards would be marked as shown on the left-hand card in fig 10. cost and requirement for stable power supplies precludes the use of gyro compasses in the great majority of yachts. Yacht compass cards. The direction will be found to be approximately north. A yacht compass (fig 9) is usually a form of magnetic compass. The direction in which the magnetised needle lies when affected solely by the earth's magnetic force (and no other disturbing influences) is called the magnetic meridian. a simple mechanical device which makes use of the directive properties of the earth's magnetism.3. If a magnetised needle is poised horizontally on a pivot the needle will swing to and fro and finally settle to rest in one direction. so that the north and south points of the card lie exactly over the north and south ends of the needle and rotate with it. such as those illustrated in fig 10 show the three-figure notation in abbreviated form. then we have the basis of the marine magnetic compass. As well as supporting the magnetic needles. Larger cards may be marked as shown in the right-hand card in fig 10. against the 280º mark 28 is shown. The bowl is fitted with bellows so that the liquid in the bowl may expand and contract with temperature without causing a bubble to form or the bowl to burst. so the degree marking and figures must be well separated and bold. at every 2º and 5º with bolder marks and figures every 10º. the compass card carries graduations to allow the direction of the yacht's head to be read. Figure 9: A yacht compass 17 . Marine compasses The Mariner’s Compass In order to steer a course or to measure the bearing of another vessel. at every 5º. and so on. For example. Unfortunately their bulk. hazard or navigational 'signpost' at sea we need an onboard reference point. If we attach to a magnetised needle (freely poised as described above) a circular card graduated in degrees and/or points of the compass. The last digit (and the first up to 100º) is omitted to permit a larger figure being shown. The bowl of the compass is filled with a liquid which helps to damp down oscillations of the card caused by the yacht's movement. This is because the cards are small and the compass must be clearly legible at some distance and sometimes in a poor light. as a rule. As our boat turns this marker must remain aligned to the external influence and must not turn with the boat. each 10º mark being bolder. a marker which will stay aligned in some fixed direction. the true north because the earth's magnetic poles (to which the ends of our magnetised needle are attached) do not coincide with the geographical or true north and south poles.

It is important to realise that a compass card points in the same direction all the time. Variation is measured east or west of the true meridian. The angle between the true meridian and the magnetic meridian at any particular place is called the magnetic variation at that place. at point A the variation is west because the magnetic pole lies to the left of the true pole. The boat's heading. For instance.Marine compasses Figure 10: Types of compass card For steering purposes. T is the true (geographical) north pole. Fig 11 shows that the variation depends upon where you are on the earth's surface. but the magnetic poles do not coincide with the true geographical poles. pedestal or binnacle so that a straight line from the centre of the compass card to the lubber line is exactly in. magnetic meridians and a magnetic north and south pole. the fore-and-aft line of the yacht. is then read from the compass card against the lubber line. Crude magnetic compasses were in use in the Mediterranean Sea by the 12th century but no-one knows their true 'inventor'. The earliest north-seeking devices at sea were magnetised needles inserted into straw or cork. At point C the variation is nil because the true and magnetic poles are in line. The Chinese are often credited with the first use of a magnetic compass but modern research suggests that this is not correct although they were probably aware of the northseeking properties of a magnetised iron bar. while at point B the variation is east because the magnetic pole lies to the right of the true pole. called the lubber line. a line or pointer is painted on the inside of the forward side of the compass bowl (in some makes the line may be represented by a black pin or wire). around the static card. floating freely in a basin of water. or parallel to. or compass course. that gives this impression. Magnetic Variation The earth resembles an enormous magnet with a magnetic field. while M is the magnetic north pole. It appears to rotate when the boat changes direction but it is the movement of the boat itself. The compass bowl must always be carefully mounted in its bracket. stand. Figure 11: Magnetic variation 18 . In fig 11.

Figure 13: A compass rose Variation in 2005 Decrease in 2 years (2 x 8') Variation in 2007 7º30'W 16' 7º14'W Earlier. Now we know that when courses and bearings are read from a magnetic compass they are called magnetic. magnetic meridians do not lie in straight lines between the magnetic poles. As shown above. better to illustrate it) is shown in fig 12. The outer ring represents the true compass and the inner ring represents the magnetic compass. we described courses and bearings as true when they were measured from the true or geographical north pole and designated ºT. so we have to know what the variation is at all times in the area we are navigating. Because of this it will be seen that variation is not the angle between true north and magnetic north but the angle between the true meridian and the magnetic meridian. RYA Chart 3 has four such compass roses. In this case variation 7º30'W (moving east) is decreasing. and the year to which it applies. if we wish to find the variation in the year 2007. You will see from fig 13 that in the position indicated by the centre of the compass rose the magnetic variation was 7º30'W in 2005. The inscription in brackets (8'E) shows the annual rate of change and its direction. Because of the irregularity of the earth's magnetic field. because the magnetic north pole rotates slowly around the true north pole. Figure 12: Irregularity of magnetic meridians Every chart has at least one compass rose printed on it. is always printed across the compass rose together with the amount by which this variation is increasing or decreasing annually. In addition. one of which is reproduced in fig 13. So.Marine compasses It should be appreciated that fig 11 is a simplification for the sake of clarity. The variation. there is a slight change in the magnetic variation every year in the same place. Since we measure direction at sea using a magnetic compass. 19 . measured from the magnetic north pole and designated ºM. This phenomenon (exaggerated. we must be able to convert magnetic direction to true direction in order to plot courses and bearings on our chart. variation depends upon geographical position and can be as much as 30º in certain parts of the world.

because the true north pole is 9º to the right of this. Thus to convert a magnetic course of 256ºM to a true course Magnetic course Variation True course 256ºM + 3ºE 259ºT Magnetic course Variation True course 256ºM .3ºW 253ºT Conversely. and when the magnetic north lies to the right of true north the variation is said to be easterly. the amount of variation is added. When the magnetic north lies to the left of true north the variation is said to be westerly. the amount of variation is subtracted.Marine compasses As we have just seen. with a variation of 9º west a course of 009ºM will be 000ºT a course of 289ºM will be 280ºT but with a variation of 9º east a course of 009ºM will be 018ºT a course of 289ºM will be 298ºT Figure 14 The same rules apply equally to bearings. so that with (say) a variation of 12º west a bearing of 045ºM will be 033ºT a bearing of 252ºM will be 240ºT while with a variation of 12º east a bearing of 100ºM will be 112ºT a bearing of 310ºM will be 322ºT From the above examples we can infer the following rules for converting a magnetic course or bearing to a true course or bearing • • with easterly variation. the rules are reversed • • with easterly variation. the variation in fig 14 is 9ºW because magnetic north lies 9º to the left or WEST of true north. the amount of variation is added with westerly variation. The yacht in the centre of the diagram is steering 059ºM because the lubber line on her magnetic compass lies against the mark for 059º and we say her course is 059ºM. Taking this a step further. the amount of variation is subtracted with westerly variation. For example. to convert a true course or bearing to magnetic. the yacht's true course is 9º less than the magnetic course and written 050ºT. variation can be westerly or easterly. 20 . However.

21 . Magnetic deviation As we have seen.. west of the Boothia Peninsula.. a magnetic compass depends upon the earth's magnetic field and if uninfluenced by other disturbing forces will align itself with the magnetic north pole.. The compass used by the helmsman on a boat is known as the steering compass. is usually influenced by other forces. Since then the pole has continued to wander. The best way to reduce deviation in a steering compass is to have it adjusted by a professional compass adjuster. It was not until 1831 that Sir James Clark Ross located the then precise position of the magnetic north pole in the Canadian Arctic. Most modern compasses contain tiny bar magnets which can be rearranged around the compass to compensate for deviation. It can be affected by the close proximity of ferrous metal (particularly large masses such as the engine). Since he did not understand magnetic variation this worried him greatly.Marine compasses So. to convert a true bearing of 029ºT to a magnetic bearing True bearing Variation Magnetic bearing 029ºT 7ºE 022ºM True bearing Variation Magnetic bearing 029ºT 7ºW 036ºM Another way of expressing exactly the same rules would be to say when working from true to magnetic and when working from magnetic to true { { add westerly variation subtract easterly variation add easterly variation subtract westerly variation It is said that it was Christopher Columbus in 1492 who first discovered that as he sailed farther west the magnetic north shown by his compass differed more and more from true north.. A boat's compass. This is a skilled job during which the adjuster will manoeuvre the boat round in a circle in the procedure known as swinging the compass. The angle of deflection is called magnetic deviation and is measured east or west of magnetic north. Any remaining deviation will be tabulated for each compass heading in a deviation table such as that shown. This is in a fixed position on board. in an attempt to reduce the deviation to a minimum. All of these produce influences which may cause the compass needle to deflect away from magnetic north. electrical circuits and electronic equipment containing magnets. however.

since a steel hull 'screens' the compass from the earth's magnetic field. • • The minimum distance from magnetic materials is: • • • 1. unless the compass is sited in the best possible position on board. beer cans. steel buckle on belt or safety harness. but with the elimination or reduction of deviation in mind. The lubber line must be accurately aligned with the yacht's fore-and-aft line. but the final position selected should be the best possible compromise. loudspeakers. Similarly. Having removed all possible influences from the vicinity of the compass it is still necessary to compensate for any deviation remaining and have a deviation table drawn up .8 metres (6ft) from movable magnetic material 0. headphones. objects on the person have been known to upset the compass if the wearer is close to the compass. All compasses should be sited as far away as possible from iron and steel.2 metres (4ft) from fixed magnetic material and other compasses 1.9 metre (3ft) from switches. knives etc).this is best done by a professional compass adjuster as described earlier. An iron bucket placed about 2 feet away from a compass can produce deviations up to 15º. In a wooden or GRP yacht a well-sited compass may have very little deviation if the engine and iron keel are far enough away. The positive and negative leads of DC wiring in the vicinity of a compass must therefore be laid side by side so that the field of one lead cancels that of the other. even steel-rimmed spectacles. buckets. especially movable iron and steel (eg running rigging. since the effect of symmetrically disposed iron and steel will then tend to cancel out. gas bottles. 22 . and precautions are taken to prevent metal objects or portable radios being left carelessly near it.Marine compasses Siting a Magnetic Steering Compass It should be apparent that on a yacht considerable deviation may be expected. Electric wiring carrying direct current also generates a magnetic field. eg jack knife. the following factors should also apply to the location of any compass: • • • • The compass should be sited on the centre line of the yacht. On a steel yacht the compass should be sited as high above the deck as practicable and never within the hull. tin mugs. all compasses should be sited as far away as possible from electronic equipment because this (especially loudspeakers) generates strong magnetic fields as can the AC wiring supplying it. Obviously. a steering compass must be in such a position that it can be seen easily from the helm. In practice it is virtually impossible to satisfy all the above conditions. In this context. ammeters and other instruments containing magnets.

W deviation + E deviation The Hand-Bearing Magnetic Compass Later in this course it will be shown that the most accurate method of fixing the position of a yacht when at sea is by taking the compass bearing of one or more distant landmarks such as a lighthouse. church tower or radio mast. Few yacht steering compasses are positioned to enable that compass to be used for this purpose with any ease so that. a separate hand-held magnetic compass is used (illustrated in fig 15). Figure 15 23 .Marine compasses Variation Rule True Mag Use True Virgins a r Make a g Dull e v Companions o m Mag True +W -E -W +E variation variation variation variation Or Cadburys o m p Dairy e v Milk a g Very a r Tasty r u e Deviation Rule Mag Comp Comp Mag + W deviation . for taking bearings of landmarks. buoys and other vessels in the vicinity. and then plotting these bearings on a navigational chart.E deviation . headland.

The commonest mistake is to rush the process. the HB compass is held close to the eye and the beacon aligned with the reflected compass card. It will. so that any bearings taken with a hand-bearing compass are magnetic bearings (ºM). When the card stops swinging the bearing under the beacon is read. Personal checklist (on completion of chapter 3) You should now be able to: • recognise the need for a compass as an onboard direction reference recount the principles of the magnetic compass and its alignment with the magnetic meridian interpret the printing on a compass card and explain the need for the lubber line define magnetic variation and associate it with earth's magnetism describe a compass rose and account for the annual rate of change of variation define magnetic deviation and account for its causes show that deviation changes with each change of course and relate this to a deviation card state the need for a hand-bearing (HB) compass and explain its use • • • • • • • Self-test exercise N1(2) 1. Bearing 217ºT 144ºT 356ºT Bearing 359ºM 032ºM 177ºM Variation 6ºW 5ºE 10ºW Variation 4ºE 3ºW 7ºE Correct the following magnetic bearings to true bearings (a) (b) (c) Answers on page 47 24 . Since it is not fitted in a permanent position. ie well away from rigging and all the other adverse influences described previously. and if insufficient time is allowed for it to do so. To take a bearing of a landmark. say a beacon as in fig 15. Taking accurate bearings with an HB compass requires practice. in this case 065ºM. inaccurate bearings will result.Marine compasses Modern designs of hand-bearing compass have optics arranged to eliminate parallax errors and can be carried on a lanyard round the neck. The card may take as many as 10-15 seconds to settle. there is usually no deviation table for a handbearing compass so it must be used in positions on board the yacht where there is negligible deviation. Correct the following true bearings to magnetic bearings (a) (b) (c) 2. this is the magnetic bearing of the beacon from the boat. be subject to variation. however.

a knot is not a nautical mile and such an expression would be equivalent to saying '8 international nautical miles per hour per hour'.4. For instance '3 cables' is 0. A fathom (1. Although it is strictly erroneous to refer to sea miles as nautical miles. In figure 5 the parallel of latitude of position Y is 3 miles and 5 cables or 3. Since the earth is not a perfect sphere. for which the accepted abbreviation is nM. since it is necessary to provide a fixed or standard unit for measuring speed.5M above the parallel of 51º00'N and is in latitude 51º03'. The unit of land measurement in the United Kingdom is the statute mile of 1760 yards (or 5280 feet) equivalent to 1609 metres. Heights and depths on British charts are shown in metres. in normal practice the errors arising from using international nautical miles instead of sea miles are very small. and for the lengths of ropes and cables. the length of 1' of arc varies from 1842. If you will refer back to figure 5 of this module you will see that each graduation of 1' on the (vertical) latitude scale now represents one sea mile.9m at the equator to 1861. The use of feet for height and fathoms for depths (which used to be the measuring standards employed) is obsolete and nearly all British charts have been converted. 'Four miles and three cables' would be shown as 4'. A vessel which is sailing at 8 knots is moving at a speed of 8 international nautical miles per hour.3. This unit is NEVER used in navigation.3 or 4. Please note the difference: metres m. It was used when measuring depth with a hand lead and line. Distance. those of distance and time.3M or 0'.825m) is a measurement of six feet and is the length of the outstretched arms of a man of average height.hence the outstretched arms. the knot is equal to one international nautical mile (1852m) per hour. 25 . The navigational unit of length is the sea mile which is defined as the length of one minute of arc (1' ) measured in a north-south direction in the latitude of the position in which we are 'working'. In the United States (which does not use metric measurement) fathoms and feet are still used. Thus the direct link between measurement of arc (1' of latitude) and the measurement of distance (one sea mile) is helpful because on British Admiralty charts such as RYA Chart 3 the latitude graduation forms a scale of sea miles. miles M. A cable is one-tenth of a sea mile and is written as a decimal.3M. (We shall explain this more fully in module 3. Many seamen do in fact interchange the two terms.7m at the poles with a mean value of 1852. The international nautical mile is a standard fixed length of 1852 metres.) The unit of speed in navigation is called the knot (abbreviated kn or kt) and. The correct abbreviation for metres is 'm'. Note that it is incorrect to say '8 knots per hour'. time and speed at sea Nautical units of distance and speed We discussed the navigational dimension of direction in chapter 2 and we will now introduce two more important elements. and you will find them used synonymously in most publications.5N.) So the sea mile is denoted ' which is also the symbol of a minute of arc. to embrace .3m at latitude 45º. (Old English faedm. It can also be expressed as M (so that 'ten sea miles' can be written as 10M or 10').

what distance was covered? The answers to these questions can be supplied rapidly and accurately using the following formulae: Example: A boat has travelled 20 miles in 4 hours.85kts 26 . speed and distance relationships Among the problems most frequently encountered at sea are those involving distance. what was the speed? Given a certain speed. we have used round numbers for illustrative purposes. what was her speed? speed = speed = distance time 20 4 = 5kts Example: How long will it take a boat travelling at 5kts to cover 20 miles? time time = = distance speed 20 5 = 4 hours Example: What distance was covered by a boat travelling at 5kts for 4 hours? distance distance = = speed x time 4x5 = 20 miles In the three examples above. what was her speed? speed speed = = distance time 13. In practice we are more than likely to encounter something like the following examples and although the figures become more cumbersome.Distance. • • • After having travelled a certain distance in a certain time. time and speed at sea Time. Example: A boat has travelled 13½ miles in 3½ hours.5 = 3.5 3. how long will it take to travel a certain distance? After having spent a certain amount of time travelling at a given speed. time and speed. the same simple formulae still apply.

36 hours.36 hours = = 1 hour (. we normally work in hours and minutes as opposed to hours and fractions of hours.6) 1 hour 22 mins To convert decimal fractions of an hour to minutes.36 x 60 = 21.36 hours Example: What distance was covered by a boat travelling at 3.62 hours = 47 hours 37. Although this answer is arithmetically correct. practically. For instance. time and speed at sea Example: How long will it take a boat travelling at 5½kts to cover 7½ miles? time time = = distance speed 7.3 x 4.2 mins so 47.2 mins or.62 hours 0.Distance.5 = 1. Again we use the same formulae but now multiply or divide by 60 so that we arrive at an answer which is in minutes as opposed to hours.3 X 60 = 5.3 minutes? Using the formula for speed = distance time Speed = 4.3kts for 4½ hours? distance distance = = speed x time 3.55 60 so 6 hours 33 mins = 6.85 miles In the second example the answer was 1.34 knots 48.62 x 60 = 37. Let us look at some more examples: Example: What is the speed of a boat which covers 4. Example: 1. how far will we travel in half an hour.55 hours There are times when we need to apply the speed/time/distance formulae to units that are less than a whole hour. 47 hours 37 mins To convert minutes to decimal fractions of an hour.5 5.5 = 14.3 27 . so we will convert the answer into hours and minutes in order to give us a proper concept of time.3 miles in 48. divide by 60 eg 6 hours 33 mins 33 = 0. This is done simply by multiplying by 60. multiply by 60 eg 47.

474 x 60 = 28 secs Time taken to cover 6.3 miles covered 60 This concept of time.6 .474 mins 7. time and speed at sea Example: How many minutes and seconds will it take to travel 6.9 miles @ 7.9 X 60 = 54. Distance Calculations Remember this triangle S Speed Time Distance = = = D T Distance x 60 Time Distance x 60 Speed Speed x Time 28 .Distance. distance and speed is fundamental to successful navigation.6 knots = 54 mins 28 secs Example: What distance would be covered by a boat travelling at 6 knots in 43 minutes? Using the formula for distance = speed x time Distance = 6 X 43 = 4.9 miles at 7. Speed. Time. please re-read the above section before moving on. If you are not too certain of their relationship.6 knots? Using the formula for time = distance speed Time = 6.

Figure 16: Log display The length of logline to use depends on the average speed of the boat and the height of the register above water level. sometimes called the patent log. for short. pressure and electronic logs to some modern examples of high technology. As with most navigational instruments the choice of logs and speedometers is bewilderingly large. In this way speed came to be recorded in the number of 'knots'. Figure 17: Trailing log 29 .Distance. simply the 'log'. The inboard end of the logline is attached to a counter mechanism or register. Hull-mounted logs may be mechanical. Towed logs have been in use for over 150 years and are reasonably accurate provided the rotator is not damaged and the logline is of the correct length. The logline was knotted at precisely calculated intervals and the number of knots to pass over the stern counted against the sand glass timer. The two types most likely to be encountered in yachting are described here. In the 16th century speed at sea was often measured by a 'logline' run out astern and timed against an accurate sand glass. time and speed at sea Measuring distance and speed at sea The instrument used for measuring the distance and/or speed a vessel travels through the water is called a marine log or. and the maker's recommendations in this respect should clearly be followed if accurate results are to be expected. utilising a rotor mounted under the hull with a flexible wire drive to the display. or an electronic counter to measure speed and distance and transmit this to a display at the chart table or in the cockpit. which are indicated on the dial of the register. in which the twist of the line is dissipated and the number of revolutions converted into miles. ranging from simple towed (or trailing) logs. consists of a streamlined gunmetal rotator having four pitched fins and towed from a boat by means of a patent logline. through hull-mounted mechanical. The rotator revolves at a speed proportional to the speed of the boat through the water and induces a constant twist into the line. The towed log.

ie 5.Distance.8).2 . Basic page layouts for log books for both a sailing yacht and a motor yacht are illustrated in fig 18. cold and possibly seasick as well. Throughout this course.6M in one hour. Everything that is of navigational interest should be logged. The proper place for navigational information to be recorded is a notebook specially set aside for the purpose. although it contains a record of all the essential navigation information needed to allow chartwork to be checked and the boat's position monitored.8 sea miles between 0900 and 0930 (50. 30 . then her speed through the water must be 5.47. if we pass close to a certain buoy at 0900 when the log reads 47. you could easily draw up your own in a hard-backed exercise book. the boat has travelled 2. There is no need to write an essay in the 'Remarks' column. Such a navigational record book has for centuries been called the log book because. Since the log reading is such an important piece of navigational information to which a Figure 18: Types of log book navigator will have to refer many times in the course of a single sea passage. The simpler the entries the more inclined you will be to make them when you are wet. time and speed at sea Log books We have seen that the purpose of a marine log is to measure the distance that a boat has travelled through the water in a measured period of time so that we can calculate her speed.6M from the buoy at 1000. and in practice at sea.8M in half an hour. There is a tendency for these to make provision for too much information. but we should get enough down to ensure that we will understand it a few hours on.2. Notes and scribbled calculations in the margin of the chart become a dangerous muddle and loose scraps of paper will soon get mislaid. Simplicity is the key. Log books are discussed in more detail in the passage-making section towards the end of this course.6 knots. it must be accurately recorded.4 and at 0930 the log reads 50. For example.4 = 2. the most important piece of this information is the log reading. If you cannot find one similar to this. This is obviously of great importance for the navigator. we will have to refer to what we call the log reading at a specified time. and if she has travelled 5. she will probably cover twice this distance. There are a number of forms of yacht log book available with ruled columns and boxes for recording information. and work up the distance travelled between one log reading and another. By referring back to previously known or estimated positions we can use the log information to 'work up' our present position and to make projections as to future movement. but they are introduced here to emphasise the importance of log readings and keeping accurate navigational records. and that the time and log reading of each event are recorded (without these we cannot estimate the speed and future positions). We could take this a step further and say that if she covered 2.

31 .Distance. time and distance recount the basic features of the marine log understand the need for a properly compiled logbook. speed and time recall that the unit of length is the sea mile and show that this is directly related to one minute of arc of latitude define the length of one cable recognise that heights and depths are shown in metres on British Hydrographic Office charts explain the unit of speed (the knot) use the three basic formulae listed in the calculation of speed. time and speed at sea Personal checklist (on completion of chapter 4) You should now be able to • • • • • • • • appreciate the relationship between distance.

Measuring the depth of water Sounding leads and lines More often than not the land closest to us is directly below the keel so it is vital that we always know the depth of water in which our vessel is floating. Eventually he became a famous author and he took his pseudonym from his riverboat days when he would hear the leadsman. although they are infrequently seen today (fig 19). Since the early 1970s the British Hydrographic Office. shells. 32 . The base of the lead is hollowed out into a 'score' which can be filled with tallow or soap if a sample of the sea bed is required. This process is known as arming the lead so that the sand. At At At At At At 2 metres 3 and 13 metres 5 and 15 metres 7 and 17 metres 10 metres 20 metres two strips of leather a piece of blue bunting a piece of white bunting a piece of red bunting a piece of leather with a hole in it a piece of leather with a hole in it and two leather strips Figure 19: Lead lines Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 . This is then compared with the sea-bed characteristics shown on the chart and can be useful when trying to check your position in fog. measured in metres. a hand lead line suitable for measuring depths up to 20 metres traditionally consists of a 25 metre length of line with a long eye-splice at one end to which the lead is attached. call the leadline mark for two fathoms. soundings are taken with a lead and line or by echo-soundings. or in locating a suitable place in which to anchor. In deeper water. sounding in shallow places. has been converting depths on its charts from the obsolescent fathoms-and-feet to metric measure. Most lead lines bought from chandlers today will be a nylon line marked every metre with a red mark and every 5 or 10 metres with a black mark.5. For yachting purposes. The simplest method of taking a sounding in shallow water is with a pole and for this reason barge-poles. The call was ‘by the Mark Tw i ’ an. the world's greatest chart producer. gravel or whatever the sea bed is composed of can adhere to the tallow and be recognised when the lead is recovered.1910) was first a printer and later became a Mississippi riverboat pilot. A measurement of the depth of water is called a sounding. The lead consists of a tapered bar of lead weighing about 3 kilos (7lbs). The traditional marks are as follows. This work is now nearly complete. bearing-off spars and boat-hooks should be marked off in metres and decimetres.

one on each side of the keel. It should be remembered that an echo-sounder shows the depth below the position of the transducer and that the distance this is fitted below water level must be added to the depth indicated on the display to obtain the correct sounding. consideration should be given to fitting two transducers. Regardless of whether an echo-sounder is fitted or not. a hand lead and line should always be carried. Early echo-sounders were sonic but most sets today are supersonic. working under gravity. of which there are a bewildering array of models available on the yachting market. the leeward one. because when the yacht is heeling steeply when sailing on a tack a single transducer fitted on the windward side of the keel would not be sending impulses directly to the sea bed. Impulses are directed downwards from the hull and a percentage of the returning echo pulses from the sea bed enter the transducer where they are converted into electrical oscillations. With transducers fitted on either side of the keel. usually at the most inopportune moment). which will be pointing more or less vertically downwards. and therefore the total depth of water can be determined. Switches are available which. amplified and passed to a display instrument which indicates the depth of water. The echo-sounder is based on the principle that since the velocity of sound in sea water is known.Measuring the depth of water The echo-sounder An electronic method of measuring soundings is by means of an echo-sounder. On a sailing yacht. automatically switch from windward to leeward transducer. can always be used in these circumstances. Most models of echo-sounder combine the transmitter and receiver in a single unit mounted on the inside of the hull called Figure 20: The echo-sounder a transducer (see fig 20). the interval of time between the transmission of a sound from a vessel's hull and the reception of its echo is proportional to the depth of water under the hull. since a prudent navigator regards all electronic devices merely as aids to navigation on account of their dependence on electrical power (which can fail) and their complicated circuitry (also liable to fault. the transmission taking the form of a series of supersonic impulses (the term supersonic is used here to describe impulses whose vibrations are above the range of audible sound). 33 .

For example: 6 7 represents a depth of 6. The sea level shown at H is constantly ranging up and down between high water and low water (twice per day within the UK). The important point to appreciate here is that the depth of water in which our boat is floating will not be the depth indicated by the chart for the boat's position. Note that if the bank at D dried at 3m then. All other depths are shown in whole metres. as the boat passed over D there would only be a depth of water of 2m. depths between 21m and 31m may be given in half metres. This depth is supplemented by the actual height of tide. then the actual depth that we would experience would be 9m. On metric charts the height of drying banks and rocks in metres and decimetres above chart datum is shown by underlined figures. if we were in a position marked on the chart as having a depth of 4m and the height of tide was 5m. ie the difference between levels B and C on fig 21. On metric charts depths are shown in metres and tenths of metres (decimetres) in depths of 21 metres or less. We must therefore have a fixed level to which we apply the height of tide. depths and heights It is important to have a clear understanding of just what depth the echo-sounder (or lead-line) is measuring. Thus charts show the least depth of water to be expected in all normal Figure 21: Tidal levels circumstances. Nor are successive high waters and low waters the same height. Drying heights are banks and rocks which cover and uncover as the tide rises and falls (the area above D on fig 21 is one such bank).9 metres 29 represents a depth of 29 metres. because they vary according to the lunar cycle. as the height of tide in fig 21 is 5m. The reason why we relate depths to a fixed datum is because sea level does not remain static.Measuring the depth of water Soundings. 9 34 . Where there is sufficient data. to find our actual depth for any given time.9m (9 decimetres) above chart datum 3 indicates a bank or rock which dries 3 metres above chart datum. For example. The numbers displayed all over the sea area of a navigational chart are the depths (or soundings) below a level we call chart datum (level B on fig 21). How to find this height of tide will be demonstrated later in this course.the lowest level to which the tide will fall owing to astronomical influences. Fig 21 gives an idea of the levels that are involved and should be referred to when reading the text below.7 metres 0 9 represents a depth of 0. For example: 0 indicates a bank or rock which dries 0. Chart datum on all modern charts is approximately the lowest astronomical tide (LAT) . but that depth plus the height of tide for that particular time.

Height datum is taken to be the average height of high water at springs (a time of the month when high water is at its highest) known as mean high water springs (MHWS).Measuring the depth of water All charted information relating to depths and drying heights is measured from chart datum (CD). charted depths (soundings) and heights of features on land explain that height of tide should be added to the charted depth to produce the actual depth of water. hills. All heights on charts (other than drying heights). All charts have confirmation of these two levels printed on them under the title plate. In this section we have introduced a number of terms and concepts that we will explain in greater detail as the course progresses. so that • • depths are measured below CD drying heights are measured above CD both being shown in metres and decimetres. towers. and not to the top of the structure itself. but from a level known as height datum. is an aid and liable to failure realise the necessity to carry a hand lead line as back-up to the echo-sounder recall the working principles of the echo-sounder define the principal levels used in tidal work namely chart datum and mean high water springs use CD and MHWS to explain drying heights. On chart RYA 3 the notes concerning depths and heights are shown here. 35 . At this stage it is important to remember only that • • depths and drying heights are measured from a level known as chart datum the height of buildings and land is measured from a level known as mean high water springs (MHWS) or height datum. mountains. ie heights of buildings. together with other relevant information. not from chart datum. while a very useful navigational instrument. etc. are measured in metres. Personal checklist (on completion of chapter 5) You should be able to • • • • • • • recognise the importance of being able to measure the depth of the water beneath the vessel at all times appreciate that the echo-sounder. you can refresh your memory by referring to any chart. lighthouses. In the case of lighthouses this height is measured to the focal plane (centre of the lens) of the light as shown in fig 21. masts. If ever you are uncertain about these levels.

How far would a boat travel (a) (b) in 39 minutes at 15.1. If a boat passes a beacon at 1600 when her log reads 137. what was the boat's probable speed through the water? How should a modern hand lead line be marked at (a) 10 metres ? (b) 13 metres? at 1630 5.5 knots? in 2.8 miles in 1 hour 20 minutes? covers 3. heights of buildings measured? 8.5 knots? What is the speed of a boat if it (a) (b) covers 7.Measuring the depth of water Self-test exercise N1(3) 1.2 metres and its transducer is 0.8 metre below water level. 6.3 knots? 4. (a) 53. what is the actual depth of water? From what level are (a) (b) (d) (c) soundings on a chart measured? heights of tide measured? drying heights measured? 7.9 miles in 54 minutes? 3.9 miles at 5.7 and later passes a buoy when her log reads 141. If an echo-sounder indicates a depth of 4.9 knots? 4. what depth of water would there be at each of the following soundings if the height of tide were 3 metres above the level of chart datum: (a) 5 2 (b) 1 9 (c) 23 (d) 32 Answers on page 48 36 .2 miles at 18. How long will it take to sail (b) 2. On a metric chart.3 hours at 4.

beacons and lights that will help us find our way. Some medium scale charts also include large scale plans of harbours that may be covered by the area of the chart. But we need to know about the depth of water. This shows more detail. depicts a much smaller area in considerable detail.RYA charts 3 and 4 are compilations produced from several Admiralty charts. whereas a chart is exactly the reverse. a medium-scale chart (or coastal chart) is used. sufficient for this type of coastal navigation. covering the world. RYA training charts are examples of Admiralty charts. Fig 22 and 22a shows a portion of a medium scale chart as well as a portion of the larger scale harbour plan. They will be referred to as RYA chart 3 and RYA chart 4. When approaching land and navigating offshore along a coastline. A large-scale chart. Norie and Wilson Ltd and is available through yacht chandlers and bookshops. depths of water close to the coast and every land feature visible from the sea to help the navigator to approach a harbour or anchorage as safely as possible. indicating the nature of the coastline. A catalogue of Admiralty charts of the British Isles and adjacent waters (NP 109) is available free from most chart agents. Warning .they produce over 6000 of them. Laurie. and these are available from Admiralty chart agents situated in most ports and large cities in the UK. 37 . The navigator is only interested in the land to see the lie of the coastline and to see where prominent objects are that will help identify the vessel's position. So a chart is filled with detail over its sea area whilst much of the land area is comparatively blank. A limited series of yachting charts (based mainly on Admiralty charts) is produced by Imray. and only the most important lighthouses and radio aids are marked on the coastlines.6. the chart is said to be a small-scale chart. It can be seen how much more detail is included in the larger scale portion. The difference between a map and a chart is that a map deals with land and shows little or no detail of the sea. When a large area of the earth's surface is represented. and at principal ports around the world. such as RYA chart 3. which are based upon standard Admiralty charts but contain information of specific interest to smaller boats. Many of the geographical positions and features shown are fictitious. These are used mainly for sea or ocean crossings to enable the navigator to plan a route and plot the position. Many of the charts covering European waters are available in Small Craft editions. On no account should real-life navigational passages be planned or conducted from these charts. the location of rocks and sandbanks. Charts and chartwork equipment Introduction to navigational charts A chart is a mariner's map. The Hydrographic Department of the Ministry of Defence is the largest and most important publisher of charts in the United Kingdom . about buoys.

To compensate for the east-west distortion so caused. The great advantage of a Mercator chart to the navigator is that a straight line cuts each meridian at the same angle so that true bearings and true courses along the line will remain unchanged along its length. However.Charts and chartwork equipment Figure 22 A chart is a representation of a portion of the earth's curved surface projected on to a flat piece of paper. parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude appear as parallel lines at right angles. This can be seen clearly in the Mercator chart illustrated in fig 23. meridians of longitude meet at the north and south poles. RYA chart 3 uses this projection. In reality we know that this is not true because. the parallels of latitude are spaced increasingly further apart as the distance from the equator increases. on a globe. Figure 22a 38 . There are several ways of doing this but the main type of projection used for sea navigation is the Mercator projection.

for instance. say B and C. The horizontal scale along the top and bottom of a chart is the longitude scale and this must never be used for measuring distances. Some very large-scale harbour plans. this is done between latitudes 35º and 40ºN. this must always be measured level with the boat's position because the latitude scale increases towards the poles. RYA training chart 4.Charts and chartwork equipment The vertical scale on the left and right hand sides of a chart is the latitude scale and this is used for measuring distances because (as shown earlier in this module) one minute of latitude is equivalent to one sea mile. Thus when measuring the distance between. Although the latitude scale is used for measuring distance. trans-ocean charts and charts of very high latitudes (which obviously cannot be represented in Mercator's projection) are constructed on the gnomonic projection. the distances from B to C and from D to E are noticeably different when using the dividers but represent the same distance (5º x 60' = 300 miles) when measured on the scale of the chart. When measuring the distance between D and E. Figure 23: The Mercator projection This point is illustrated in fig 24 which represents a Mercator projection and shows the parallels of latitude spaced at increasing intervals towards the north pole. If this rule is not adhered to. Figure 24:The increasing latitude scale on Mercator charts 39 . As you can see. in this case between 25º and 30º. that part of the scale which is immediately adjacent to that area should be used. errors will occur because of the changing scale according to latitude. being charted in 'Transverse Mercator'. Variations on Mercator's projection are frequently used.

and these will now be discussed. but you must know where to look them up. soCy (soft clay). but to be avoided by vessels anchoring. depth unknown. The contents are listed in sections which are prefixed alphabetically from A to X. Rock awash at level of chart datum Wrecks Submerged wreck. Depth contours are lines joining certain soundings of equal depth. You are not required to recognise all the symbols and abbreviations contained within NP5011 (although many will soon become old friends). In general. The value of this information lies in the ability to compare your own specimen of the sea bottom (taken by arming the hand lead) with that given on the chart. metric charts are tinted blue up to the 5-metre contour line. but this may differ according to the scale of the chart. Certain of the more important abbreviations and symbols must be understood before navigation can be practised on charts. This can be a valuable clue to position in thick or foggy weather. eg gyM (grey mud). This booklet is an important reference tool and you are encouraged to study its content and layout. with a ribbon of blue tint on the shallow side of the 10-metre contour line. not considered dangerous to surface navigation Wreck showing any portion of hull or superstructure at the level of chart datum Submerged wreck over which the depth has been obtained by sounding (eg 4. trawling etc Other Dangers Overfalls and tide-rips. DANGERS Rocks Underwater rock over which the depth is unknown but which is considered dangerous to surface navigation. Section K relates to rocks.g.6 metres) but not by wire sweep The remains of a wreck or other foul area not dangerous to surface navigation. 40 . thus giving a general picture of the seabed. e. and in selecting a suitable place in which to anchor. considered dangerous to surface navigation Submerged wreck. The most important of these abbreviations are: S M R Sn Sh Sand Mud Rock Shingle Shells Cy P St Ck Wd Clay Pebbles Stones Chalk Weed f c so h sm fine coarse soft hard small The RYA Training Almanac includes certain of these symbols and abbreviations on pages 6 to 9 which are referred to in both the NMCS and RYA tests and assessments.Charts and chartwork equipment The depths of water (soundings) are indicated all over the sea area of a navigational chart in the manner described earlier in this module. races (discussed in module 5 Tides and Tidal Streams) Eddies The standard symbols and abbreviations used on Admiralty charts are listed and illustrated in the Admiralty booklet NP5011. wrecks and obstructions whilst Section E deals with landmarks as illustrated in the text at the bottom of page 47. We strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of NP 5011 which may be purchased from the NMCS Supplies Shop. depth unknown. capital letters are used for names and small letters for descriptive words. A description of the quality of the sea bottom is given on most charts by letters placed below certain of the soundings. In general.

as follows: B R black red Y BW yellow black and white G green and so on. but may be found in either format depending on the age of the chart. Alongside this symbol will be found an abbreviated description of the light. Shown thus: The ODAS (Ocean Data Acquisition System) buoy shown south of WEST POINT on RYA 3 is another. Buoys may be fitted with fog signals such as a bell (abbrev Bell). A full description of the various types of navigational light and the abbreviations used for them will be given later in this course. A superbuoy is a buoy of very large diameter (12m or more) which may be a large automatic navigational buoy (Lanby) or a mooring buoy for very large ships. 41 . on larger scale charts Lighted beacons are normally shown by means of a light-star. or etc.Charts and chartwork equipment Abbreviations which may be used in conjunction with any of the above danger symbols are: (PA) (PD) (ED) Repd Position approximate Position doubtful Existence doubtful Reported LIGHTS AND LIGHTHOUSES The position of a navigation light or lighthouse on a chart is denoted by a star symbol thus: To make this symbol more readily distinguishable from a vast amount of data printed in black on the chart. LANDMARKS Symbols used for depicting landmarks which can be identified from seaward are particularly useful to learn in order to identify landmarks of which bearings can be taken for position fixing. pear-shaped flash. magenta flash and abbreviated light description. LIGHT VESSELS. it is overprinted with a magenta-colour. LIGHT FLOATS. a whistle (Whis). specialised superbuoy. Unlit buoys are depicted as follows according to shape Underneath each buoy there is an abbreviation indicating the colour of the buoy. If the buoy is fitted with a light. Unlit beacons are depicted as on general charts. The actual position is denoted by the small circle in the base of the symbol and the name of the station is printed alongside. a gong (Gong) or a horn (Horn). BUOYS AND BEACONS Light vessels and light floats are depicted as shown on the right. These symbols are currently being updated. a magenta flash is depicted either on top of the buoy or below it.

We must always take care to read latitude and longitude in the correct direction Latitude Latitude Longitude Longitude 7.0N.00W at the left. 5. particularly the warning that the chart is not to be used for navigation. You will see that this ranges from latitude 45º37'. Helen's Island close to the right hand border of your chart you will see that it is situated at the second of the smallest divisions and three full divisions above the parallel of latitude drawn across the chart at 45º50'. above mean high water springs (MHWS).4N or 45º53'24"N (fig 25). small craft navigators must be aware of the existence of TSS and. They are indicated on charts in magenta. to return to the chart and find them again when needed even if they have been forgotten in the intervening period. otherwise.2 of a sea mile.Charts and chartwork equipment SEA TRAFFIC SEPARATION SCHEMES (TSS) have been established in many areas of the world where shipping is dense.00N to latitude 46º30'. The Admiralty catalogue number 'RYA TRAINING CHART 3' in the top-left and bottom-right hand corners. The longitude scale along the top and bottom borders . the Lawrence Channel TSS is shown on RYA Chart 3 with the central shaded separation area bounded on either side by the shipping routes. each minute (1') of latitude being equal to 1 sea mile. the direction of traffic flow indicated by the magenta arrows. keep clear of them. is also the scale of distance. as the course continues. upwards in the northern hemisphere downwards in the southern hemisphere from left to right when east of Greenwich from right to left when west of Greenwich. 4. so that each of the smallest divisions on the latitude scale of this chart represents 0.00N as we move from south to north. 2.Region B (red to starboard) for navigational marks in the Neptune Islands. The scale increases in value westwards because we are west of the Greenwich (prime) meridian.) The use of IALA Maritime Buoyage System . as on all charts. The inscription giving the date of publication in the centre of the bottom margin of the chart. The latitude scale along the left-hand and right-hand borders. 6. the rules for doing so are laid down in Rule 10 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea (IRPCS). Please note: 1. Don't try to learn or to remember all of these points at our first acquaintance 'visit' but please do look at all the features mentioned. so far as practicable. (Beware! Some special symbols denote height above ground level. We would therefore write its latitude as 45º53'. The title plate towards bottom centre of the chart and the notes beneath it. The latitude graduations on this chart are for one minute (1') of latitude each subdivided into 5 equal parts of twelve seconds (12") and this. Although intended for large vessels. Examination of Chart RYA 3 We are going to conclude our introduction to charts with a more detailed look at Chart RYA 3. 42 . This will make it easier. 3. The scale increases in value upwards because the area covered by the chart is north of the will see that this ranges from longitude 005º35'. that the depths are shown in metres below chart datum and that heights are above chart datum if drying heights but. To read the latitude of Richard's Rock north of S. If the TS routes must be crossed.00W at the right-hand side to 006º25'.

6º00'W. with morse identification. 46º00'N and at 10' intervals until the northernmost at 46º20'N. The depth soundings distributed over the sea area of the chart. Extra longitude scales have been provided at latitude 45º50'N and 46º10'N. The meridians have been drawn vertically at 5º40'W. How to do this is described in NMCS module 3. and the nature of the seabed denoted by abbreviations under and between certain soundings. These can be very helpful when a large chart is folded onto a small chart table. 6º10'W and 6º20'W. 12. beneath the black margin line. Small corrections are published in the Admiralty Notices to Mariners and show the year of publication followed by the serial number of the correction. 45º50'N. Position on the chart can be described by use of the latitude and longitude scales.Charts and chartwork equipment 45º53’. The centre of the true graduations on each rose is denoted by a circle with a dot in the middle. of which there are four on this particular chart. How navigational lights (star symbols) are made more conspicuous by magenta-coloured flashes. and by aligning a parallel or roller ruler between the centre dot and the required graduation on the rose. 43 . 5º50'W. Lightfloats and light-buoys have the magenta flash from the small circle in their base (which is their actual position). Parallels of latitude have been drawn at 45º40'N. Angles (such as courses and bearings) can be measured by means of the compass roses.4N Figure 25: Latitude of Richard's Rock 8. but distance on the chart can be measured on the latitude scale only. These are to aid us in measuring our position without unduly cluttering the chart. The 'Notices to Mariners' entry bottom left-hand corner. Note also the depth contour lines on the chart. On this chart they are in metres (under 21 metres in metres and decimetres) below the level of chart datum. 13. 10. An example is Louisa Rks lighthouse off Stevenstown where there is a Radar transponder beacon. 11. Radar navigation aids are also made conspicuous by having magenta circles drawn around them. but some underlined figures are drying heights above chart datum (on green background). and a further latitude scale is shown at longitude 6º00'W. That the longitude scale is not the same as the latitude scale and must never be used for measuring distances. a true bearing or course can be plotted or read off the chart. 9. responding within the 3cm (X) band.

17. 44 . 16.Charts and chartwork equipment 14. Use of this data is fully described in NMCS module 5. The six rectangular outlines at various localities on the chart. if you have time to do so. The sixteen small lettered diamonds etc. Personal checklist (on completion of the first two sections of chapter 6) You should now have an awareness.remember the chart limit lines are printed in magenta while the parallels and meridians are printed in black. All the important items will be dealt with in detail as your course progresses but. These show the areas covered by the larger-scale chart RYA 4. The traffic separation schemes in the Lawrence and Farlow channels. printed in magenta at various points across the entire sea area of the chart. an outline knowledge of the Admiralty chart and its various components but do not worry if you cannot remember much of it at this stage. 15. 18. These are the positions at which observations of the tidal streams have been made and details of these observations are given in the tables in the top centre of the chart. Care must be taken not to confuse the sides of these rectangles with parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude . The various notices and warnings on the land areas towards the upper and lower borders. please re-read chapter 6 sections one and two in the near future. The tidal levels reference table extreme bottom-centre.

Charts and chartwork equipment

Equipment for plotting on charts
In the next navigation lesson of this course (NMCS module 3) you are going to take your first steps in chartwork. Chartwork consists of plotting and drawing points (representing positions) and lines (representing directions, ie courses and bearings), and measuring distances. To help the navigator do this quickly and accurately a number of instruments have been evolved for measuring angles and distances, and for drawing parallel lines. As for other aspects of navigation, there are many different ways of doing this, and the same job can often be done with a variety of different instruments. Which one to use depends more on the training and preference of the user than in any inherent advantage of one instrument over another. You will develop your own approach, but you should at least be familiar with other methods in case you find yourself navigating a boat that does not carry your favourite tools. Experience is the only true guide to making a final individual decision on which instruments to use; various instruments are preferred by different people to a degree which makes a firm recommendation difficult. To assist you we provide below a description of most of the major chart plotting instruments and ancillary equipment. They should all be purchased on the basis of their quality and accuracy. It is a mistake to buy cheap, flimsy and inaccurate instruments for navigational work. 1. Pencils for chartwork should be of good quality with soft leads (grade 2B is the best) and hexagonal in shape (round ones roll off the chart too easily). All lines and marks should be drawn lightly for easy erasure after use. Harder leads than 2B dig into a chart and are difficult to erase. Good charts are not cheap and you will want to plot on them again and again. Soft leads do wear down quickly and buying a box of 2B pencils is a good investment. Pencil sharpener should always be ready to hand since the soft pencils recommended above soon blunt or break and you need sharp accurate lines and figures on your chart. Erasers are essential to remove errors and to clean off a chart after use. Two or three soft, good quality erasers are recommended. The 2B pencil lines drawn on a chart can sometimes smear when rubbed and it is for this reason we recommend they are always drawn lightly. Keep erasers as dry as possible and avoid using them on wet charts as this tends to rub off the top layer of paper and the print. Chart dividers (fig 26) are required for measuring distances and scales on a chart and, to avoid frustration, should be at least 150 to 175mm (6 or 7 inches) long for navigation purposes. Good dividers for marine use are made of brass with stainless steel points. These points should be sharp enough to catch the surface of the chart without digging in and making holes. As fig 26 shows, there are two kinds of dividers. Some people like the old bow or single-handed dividers (left), but the straight or plain ones right) are just as good and with a little practice can also be used with one hand. Chart (pencil) compasses at least 150mm (6 inches) Figure 26: Chart dividers long are required for drawing arcs (such as ranges of lights), circles and general chart plotting work. It will pay to buy a good pair with soft pencil-leads incorporated rather than the child's school type in which an ordinary pencil is inserted. Equally unsuitable are the draughtsman's bow compasses which are adjusted by turning a screw since this takes too long to alter. Keep the pencil lead in the compasses sharp - preferably wedge-shaped or chisel point. A piece of sandpaper, or even a matchbox, is useful to fine the edge.

2. 3.




Charts and chartwork equipment
Portland course plotter (fig 27) is a variant of the Breton plotter. This instrument is made from transparent acrylic and is 350mm (14") in length by 130mm (5¼") in width. By aligning the ruling edge with a course or bearing on the chart and turning the circular protractor north-up so that the central grid is coincident with the nearest meridian (vertical line) or parallel (horizontal line) printed on the chart, the direction can be read off instantly without moving the straight edge away from the required course or bearing (ie without 'walking' or 'rolling' the instrument). A directional arrow helps to prevent accidental reading of reciprocal values, that is to say reading 180º in error. Provided that its extra features (which can be confusing) are disregarded it is a useful tool.

Figure 27

Self-test exercise N1(4)
1. What is the difference between (a) a map and a chart? (b) a small-scale and a large-scale chart? (c) a sounding and a depth contour? (d) plain and single-handed chart dividers? 2. 3. 4. What are the 4 principal properties of a Mercator projection chart? Give three uses of a chart on the gnomonic projection. (a) Of what value is chart information on the nature of the sea bottom? (b) What would be the nature of the sea bottom at the following abbreviations? (i) cS (ii) soM (iii) syCy (iv) bkSh

Answers on page 49


7. Answers to exercises
These self-test exercises form student assignments for your course . You should work through the exercises carefully, marking them with the model answers and marks which follow. If necessary, refer again to the text of this module and repeat the exercises. Record your final results on the assignment report card provided.

Answers to exercise N1(1)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Y is in lat 51º03'.5N long 01º55'.6E Z is in lat 50º59'.9N long 01º58'.1E 10 marks

Impossible because latitude cannot exceed 90º and longitude cannot exceed 180º 5 marks Incorrectly written because the minute ' symbol should precede the decimal point Correct in all respects Correct in all respects 50º10'.8N 04º51'.9W 23º49'.25S 19º22'.05E 51º28'24"N 01º29'54"E 50º01'06"N 04º59'33"W 05º13'12"S 58º31'45"E 5 marks 2 marks 3 marks 5 marks 5 marks 5 marks 5 marks 5 marks

Total marks = 50

Answers to exercise N1(2)
1. 2. (a) (a) 223ºM (b) 003ºT (b) 139ºM 029ºT (c) (c) 006ºM (356 + 10 = 366 = 006)6 marks 184ºT 6 marks

Total marks = 12


Answers to exercises

Answers to exercise N1(3)
1. (a) (b) 4.9 x 60 = 53.45 minutes = 53 (.45 x 60) = 53 mins 27 secs 5.5 53.2 18.3 = 2.91 hours (0.91 x 60 = 54.6 mins) = 2 hours 54.6 minutes = 2 hours 54 mins 36 secs 2. (a) (b) Speed = 7.8 x 60 80 Speed = 3.9 x 60 54 15.5 x 39 60 4.9 x 138 60 4 marks 4 marks

= =

5.85 kn 4.33 kn 8 marks


(a) (b)

= =

10.08 miles 11.27 miles 8 marks


141.1 - 137.7 = 3.4 miles in ½ hour or 6.8 miles in 1 hour = 6.8 knots (a) black mark 4.2 (a) (b) (c) (d) + 0.8 = (b) red mark 5 metres

5 marks 2 marks 3 marks

5. 6. 7.

below chart datum

above chart datum above chart datum above MHWS (mean high water springs) 5.2m + 3m height of tide = 8.2m depth 3m tide less 1.9m drying height = 1.1m depth 23m + 3m tide = 26 metres depth 3m tide less 3.2 m drying height = no water 8 marks


(a) (b) (c) (d)

8 marks

Total marks = 50


4 marks (i) coarse sand (ii) soft mud (iii) sticky clay (iv) broken shells (b) 8 marks Total marks = 40 49 . 2 marks Parallels of latitude appear as horizontal lines running E-W across chart. (a) (b) (c) (a) 6 marks 4. whereas a chart shows the sea in great detail but only those landmarks which are visible from the sea. 4 marks Small scale shows a large area of the earth's surface with little detail whereas large scale shows a small area of the earth's surface in great detail. 2 marks There is very little difference between plain and single-handed dividers other than in appearance (see fig 30). (a) A map depicts the land and shows little detail of the sea. 3 marks Parallels of latitude are spaced further apart as distance from equator increases. To compare own specimen of sea bottom (from arming the lead) with the chart description to assist position finding in fog or anchorage selection. Both can in fact be used single-handed. Meridians of longitude appear as vertical lines running N-S down chart. (d) 2.Answers to exercises Answers to exercise N1(4) 1. 3 marks Trans-oceanic passages Polar charts Very large-scale charts (harbour plans) (d) 3. 2 marks (b) (c) A sounding is the depth of water at a point whereas a depth contour is a line joining soundings of equal depth. (a) (b) (c) 3 marks 3 marks Any straight line drawn on the chart cuts each meridian at the same angle so that true courses and bearings remain unchanged throughout length of line.

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6. Basic nautical terms and definitions The language of the sea Terms relating to parts of a boat Terms relating to position and direction within and outside a vessel Terms relating to the movement of a ship or boat Terms used in sailing 54 3. Miscellaneous terms relating to boats. sea and weather Self-test exercise Exercise S1 Answers to exercise S1 71 75 51 . Masts and spars Cordage Ground tackle Rope securing equipment Dinghies. yacht tenders. Seamanship and safety Definition of seamanship Seamanship and safety 52 2. liferafts and safety equipment Navigation. wind. Types of seagoing craft Small sailing craft Small power craft 63 4.Module 2 Basic Nautical Knowledge Contents 1. radio and electronic equipment Principal items of a boat's equipment 65 5.

you will be respected for it. practical training and. who will not heed advice. or better solutions to old ones. So if you are a beginner there is no reason to be ashamed at asking for help or guidance on any aspect of seagoing. This course will provide you with this knowledge. of the environment in which they sail . above all. the lessons of the sea. This course gathers together a sum total of this experience. Remember that even the most experienced seaman is continually learning. Sometimes practical experience indicates that a particular situation was badly handled. Too much faith in so-called 'common sense' can lead to trouble because although commonsense is important it must be guided by properly acquired knowledge. but of ships and boats in general and the equipment they carry. boats. experience will provide you with the ability. The person whom professional seamen or experienced yachtsmen find hard to tolerate is the foolhardy novice who thinks he knows it all. and of the multitude of factors. This knowledge. there are always fresh problems. harbour and coastal features. coupled with the ability to sail and handle your own boat constitutes seamanship. Seamanship and Safety Definition of seamanship The art of sailing and handling a boat must be based on sound knowledge not only of your own particular boat and her behaviour. and it would be foolish to ignore the experience of others who have gone before you. rivers and estuaries. In fact.the sea. and who then becomes another statistic of the coastguard or the RNLI. The school of experience is a hard school to attend on your own. Figure 1: A lighthouse 52 .1. or re-learning. and it is only by acquiring this knowledge that the budding offshore sailor can become fully aware of the many pitfalls to be avoided and the wrinkles of which to take advantage. people and organisations which constitute the sailor's world. of ships. and this may prove to illustrate how that situation could be better resolved the next time it arises. the sea and all things connected with them.

but isn't this the very reason to do it? Man has always sought to overcome. Those who trust purely to luck and who go to sea in small craft without the necessary knowledge and ability are irresponsible and foolish . as they inevitably do.the person and their boat. to conquer. which only you yourself can acquire. 'I have known the sea too long to believe in its respect for decency'. This module aims to provide you with some essential 'background' nautical knowledge on which a proper understanding of seamanship depends. but because they risk the lives of those they take with them. some danger or hazard to overcome. an inexperienced newcomer can go out in a well-designed. Yachting on the open sea can be hazardous. In nearly all sports there is some difficulty. as we have shown. the lives of those who attempt to rescue them. an armoury of pyrotechnic distress signals or auto-alarms which go 'bleep bleep bleep' . and the greater the danger involved the greater the achievement in conquering. and he must know all the major items of a boat's equipment (the 'tools' of seamanship).not just because they put their own lives in serious danger. 53 . but the operative word here is 'skill'. and finally he should know something about all the harbour and coastal features which constitute a sailor's environment. The seaman has a multitude of terms and expressions used daily which must seem almost like a foreign language to the newcomer. nor is there any such thing as a 'safe' boat. Experienced yacht deliverers sometimes nurse the most indifferent craft through dreadful weather conditions with their expertise and seamanship. Safety is intrinsic. something 'built-in' to the whole unit . who must therefore come to grips with this new vocabulary before he can delve deeper into the subject. boats and their equipment . not just the type in which he intends to sail. Safety depends much more on the conduct and ability of the crew and the individual in charge of a boat than on the boat and its equipment. and when they get into difficulty.useful though these things may be. Seamanship (and therefore safety) is. A good seaman must have a general knowledge of all types of seagoing craft. On the other hand. The thrill of pitting one's skill against such a force is the great attraction of offshore sailing. Safety is not something to be bought as an 'extra' in the form of man-overboard equipment.probably the greatest and most potentially dangerous of all the elemental forces of nature.all of which we can provide in this course . in offshore boating it is the sea . Safety cannot be bought at the chandlers. a combination of knowledge about the sea. well-built and well-equipped vessel in comparatively calm weather and get into trouble in no time at all.Seamanship and safety Seamanship and safety Seamanship is synonymous with 'safety at sea'.and practical experience. of which the great seaman and author Joseph Conrad wrote.

but some are peculiar to sailing boats and others to power boats. but if you encounter a term which is unknown to you and which is not explained. not merely your own. Some of these you may know already and many more you will learn as the course proceeds and your experience increases. Good seamanship includes a knowledge of the working and limitations of all seagoing craft. Basic Nautical Terms and Definitions The language of the sea This section contains some of the basic sea terms and definitions you will encounter both throughout this course and in your practical training and experience. In the terms relating to boats most are common to all types of craft.but it is important to start with a basic vocabulary. and power enthusiasts will not require a detailed knowledge of sailing boats. A general knowledge of all types of craft. Although those keen on sails will not require a detailed knowledge of power craft.look it up! By no means all sea terms are included in this introduction . Many further terms will be used throughout your course. together with an understanding and appreciation of other seamen's problems and points of view.indeed it would take several large volumes to explain all the terms which are in common use . most of which we will explain whenever a new one is introduced. should be aimed at. Read through them a couple of times and whenever you come across one you can't remember . it is not wise to be too selective at this early stage. At first sight this seemingly endless list of new terms and definitions may seem a little daunting but don't be too alarmed if you are unable to remember them all after a single reading. do not hesitate to ask your tutor its meaning.2. Terms relating to parts of a boat Figure 2: Parts of a yacht's hull 54 .

The lowermost part of the hull under the bottom of a boat is called the keel. therefore. The part of a hull which curves in towards the stem is called the bow and. The curve given to the surface of a deck so that water will drain away to the boat's side is called the camber. The fore-and-aft curve of a deck is called the sheer or sheerline. while the centre part of the hull is called amidships.Basic nautical terms and definitions The word yacht came from the Dutch 'jacht' and in modern usage describes a vessel used for pleasure purposes. the topsides and the bottom. A band of hard paint around a hull parallel to the waterline. traditionally this is lowest amidships and rises more towards the bow than towards the stern. may be called the port bow or the starboard bow. Any line which runs lengthways in Figure 3: Positions on a boat the boat is said to run fore-and-aft and the line which joins the middle of the stem to the middle of the stern is called the fore-and-aft centreline (fig 3). The depth of the keel below the waterline at any point along the hull is called the draught. and when she has more draught aft than forward she is said to be trimmed by the stern. The displacement of a boat is the volume of water which it displaces by flotation and which is equal in weight to the total weight of the craft. The horizontal upper surface of the hull is called the deck or. the weather deck. the midships part. when she has more draught forward than aft she is said to be trimmed by the head. decked sailing boats providing minimal accommodation for the crew are referred to as yachts. When a vessel has the same draught forward as she has aft. but a flat sheer is seen on some boats or even a reverse sheer in some smaller craft. The main body of a boat (fig 2) is called its hull. When standing anywhere in or on the hull. covering the area between wind and water. The part of a hull which curves in towards the stern is called the quarter (port or starboard). The height of the deck above the waterline at any point along the hull is called the freeboard. depending on which side is being referred to. the term motor yacht being reserved for larger power boats. a person is facing forward (pronounced forrard) when he faces the bow and facing aft when he faces the stern. The fore part ends in the stem and the after part in the stern. Figure 4: Types of hull form A displacement hull is one. the relation of a vessel's fore-and-aft axis to the horizontal. is called the boot topping. the waterline divides the hull into two parts. When a boat is afloat. Trim is. and this volume flows beneath and to the side of the craft to emerge at the stern. 'Between wind and water' is the term used to describe the area near the waterline which is alternately submerged and exposed by the movement of the waves and rolling of the vessel. but some keels can be retractable (ie. but small power vessels under about 45ft (14 metres) in length are more usually referred to as motor cruisers. which pushes the water away with its stem. as the name suggests. Quite small. The lowermost part of the stem is called the forefoot. The length of the hull extending at bow and stern beyond the waterline is called the overhang. and the after part. they can be drawn up into the hull) and are called centreboards or dagger plates. 55 . which is divided approximately into three . The keel of a seagoing boat is usually fixed.the fore part. she is said to be on an even keel. because it is exposed.

This obvious advantage can be offset by the lifting mechanism required to perform this operation. A later development of the long keel is the 'fin and skeg' in which the total area of the keel is reduced. The part of the bottom of the hull which is flat or nearly flat is called the bilge. Each has its own merit and the choice of keel largely depends upon the purpose for which the boat has been bought. To prevent the stern sinking at high speeds. 56 . Figure 5 Various types of keels found on sailing yachts are illustrated in fig 6. resulting in a keel which is stuck in one position. as do all speedboats. and it could possibly fail. The chine is the angle between the topsides and bottom of vee-bottom boats and these are usually single chine. At sea she will sail closer to the wind. leaving the boat upright and comfortable to stay aboard. but such craft are usually controlled from a raised platform or wheelhouse amidships. Generally. because at the very least it will substantially intrude into the living accommodation of the boat. some boats have bilge keels fitted at the turn of the bilge. Many power boats also have a cockpit. Lifting keels and centreboards offer a compromise between a fin keel and a bilge keel boat. This gives rise to two types of hull form (fig 4). Only a few small sailing yachts and fast powered boats are of the hard-chine type. they will not sail as close to the wind Figure 6 as single keel boats. but their design makes them difficult for close manoeuvring in busy marinas.Basic nautical terms and definitions A planing hull displaces the water when at rest or slow speed. but sometimes double chine where a fuller shape is required. one where the cross-sections are round-bilge. The stern of the boat may either have a transom stern or be double-ended (canoe stern). Bilge keels or twin keels are ideal for sailing areas where the range of tide is such that many harbours and anchorages dry out. usually in the after part of the hull. and the area where this curves into the sides of the boat is called the turn of the bilge (on a round-bilge hull). most seagoing vessels. as when the keel is retracted the boat has both a shallower draught and the ability to sit upright on its hull. Since the round-bilge type of hull has better sea-keeping qualities. but at speed the hull is lifted above the static trim level by dynamic lift forces which almost take over from buoyancy as a means of support. however. The greatest width of the hull is called the beam. from which a sailing yacht is controlled. The more traditional long keel is found on many long-distance cruising boats where strength and directional stability is paramount. sail and power. Fast powerful naval vessels have this square transom stern. A single fin keel means that when a boat dries out she will lie at an acute angle. and on some designs where the bilge keels are set wide apart they can be uncomfortable when sailing to windward. unless supported by a set of legs or a harbour wall. many motor yachts have wide flat transom sterns to provide maximum buoyancy. The cockpit is a well. and the other where they are vee-bottomed or hard-chine. but there is still a fairly substantial fin keel and protection for the rudder by way of a skeg. are of this type.

Basic nautical terms and definitions Fig 7 illustrates the principal parts of a small sailing cruiser. and may be of a light alloy or wood. is the spar holding the foot of a sail. are horn-shaped fittings screwed or bolted to the deck or mast to which lines may be secured. is the upper exposed surface of the doghouse or saloon. Running backstays (ie adjustable by tackles or backstay levers) are sometimes used as extra support on high-masted Bermudian rigged yachts in addition to standing backstays. Boom Burgee Cleats Coachroof Figure 7: Principal parts of a sailing yacht 57 . is a triangular or swallow-tailed flag. Backstays are part of the standing (fixed) rigging and in conjunction with the forestay support the mast against fore-and-aft flexion forces set up by the sails. rigged as a Bermudian sloop.

Usually of stainless steel wire led through stanchions bolted to outer edge of deck. If self-draining. is the name for a flat stern extending from waterline to rail. are the lines for hoisting sails. Deep. The bow fairlead (bow roller) should be large and securely bolted so that anchor cable or warp cannot pull it out under stress.Basic nautical terms and definitions Cockpit is the well in the after part of the hull from which the craft is controlled. Sheet fairleads regulate the direction of pull of the sheet and therefore the set of the sail. holds a mast upright against the forces set up by the sails. are part of the standing rigging used to support the mast and convert athwartship bending forces into vertical compression ones. ropes. A similar fitting at the stern is called a pushpit. narrow rudders are more effective than wide ones. Samson post is a strong post on the deck for securing the anchor cable or mooring lines.a small compartment right in the bows of a yacht for stowing stores. etc. Pulpit Rudder a permanent tubular steel guardrail at the bow. the floor should be above the waterline and deep enough to protect a crew in bad weather. is attached to the end of the boom for controlling the set of the mainsail and is usually of plaited synthetic rope led through blocks for additional power. are ropes attached to the clew (the back) of the jib or headsail for controlling this sail. It should be fixed right through the deck and thoroughly reinforced. exerts a direct leverage on the rudder head and is used by the helmsman to steer the boat. Scuppers Sheet winch Shrouds Skeg Spreaders Tiller Topping lift Transom are drains in the deck for carrying away seawater washed on board. 58 . is a hatch (cover) over access to the forecabin or forepeak . controls the direction of the boat. (sometimes called 'crosstrees') are horizontal athwartship spars on a mast which carry the upper shrouds to the masthead. (not illustrated) an extension of the hull offering protection and support for the rudder. (or lifelines) should run from pulpit to cockpit. Fairlead Forehatch Forestay Gooseneck Guardrails Halyards Jibsheets Mainsheet Piston hanks are used for attaching the luff (the front) of the headsail to the forestay: a spring-loaded plunger engages around the stay and is attached to the sail. is a guide for rope. spreading the angle for better leverage and support. Balanced rudders have a small area of the rudder forward of the rudder post. wire or chain. is the universal joint between boom and mast. is a supporting line between the masthead and the end of the boom to take the weight of the boom when the sail is lowered. is a means of providing extra power for controlling the sails.

further accommodation etc.Basic nautical terms and definitions Fig 8 shows a seagoing motor cruiser of about 12 metres (40ft) length. 15. The numbered parts of the seagoing motor cruiser shown in fig 8 are: 1. After cabin . Forward cabin . 13. VHF and/or position fixing system aerials.located above engine compartment. 9. the descriptions of the various numbered parts being similar to those for the sailing cruiser above. with a horizontal yard-arm and suitable halyards. galley. 10. Wheelhouse containing all steering and engine controls . etc. 6.timber fender to protect topsides from damage when berthing. the support of a radar scanner. 12. Figure 8: Principal parts of a motor cruiser 2. or an ensign. except where given. the support of the navigation steaming light. 14. Boom or gaff can be used to support a mizzen or staysail. 4. 5. 11. or.accommodation. If mast and boom are sufficiently strong it can also be used as a derrick (crane) for lifting. toilets. a means of flag signalling. Mast is much lighter than on a sailing craft (and in some power craft is non-existent). 7. Cockpit Transom Pulpit Samson post Stem Forefoot Rubbing strake . 3. Keel Propeller Rudder 59 . stores. 8. Functions can include the support of a boom.

walls are called bulkheads. Figure 10: Position outside a vessel Ahead. To describe a position in the fore-and-aft direction in a boat you would say. for instance. Within a boat's hull. Examples might be 'lying fore-and-aft on the port side forward or lying athwartships on the starboard side amidships' and so on. The expressions fine and broad may be used relative to ahead or astern. the pulpit is before or forward of the mast. an object may be fine on the starboard bow. and when midway between abeam and astern it is said to bear on the quarter. Comparing the position of objects one with another. astern and abeam are terms used to describe the direction of an object or point of reference outside a vessel (see fig 10).Basic nautical terms and definitions Terms relating to position and direction within and outside a vessel 'Board' is the old name for a ship's side. In addition. while the term outboard refers to anything outside the boat's sides. hence the term inboard refers to anything within a boat. the ceiling is called the deckhead and the floor is the cabin sole. Combining the terms just described with port and starboard. the position of an object on board can be Figure 9: Position of objects on board a vessel described accurately as shown in fig 9. for example. 'the mast is forward' (pronounced 'forrard') and 'the cockpit is aft'. for instance. the cockpit is abaft (aft of) the saloon. or broad on the port quarter (or abaft the port beam). A position across the width or beam of a boat is called athwartships. on a large yacht a dinghy may be either stowed inboard or slung outboard. The steps leading down from the cockpit to the accommodation are called the companionway and the procedure of going down these is called going below. whether or not it is actually attached to the boat. a position along the length of a boat is referred to as fore-and-aft. 60 . Ascending the companionway is going on deck. when an object is midway between ahead and abeam it is said to bear on the bow.

When the helm is put to weather. The names of the various parts of a sail are shown in fig 11. Close-hauled is when the sheets are hauled in tight and the boat is sailing as close as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing. Figure 11: Parts of a sail 61 . if she is making headway and at the same time being blown sideways by the wind. when moving astern she is going astern or making sternway. When two vessels are sailing parallel to each other and are level with each other they are said to be abreast. a vessel is said to be going ahead or making headway. A vessel is said to heave-to when she stops at sea. but although under way is not regarded as making way. and careful distinction must be made between the terms underway and making way. and when put to lee the bows will luff up or turn towards the wind. the other. and she has steerage way when her speed is sufficient for steering (ie the rudder becomes effective). A vessel moving sideways is said to be moving broadside-on (to port or starboard). the bows will pay off or bear away from the wind. A vessel gathers way when she begins to move through the water. nor aground. and in directing its movement reference is made to the weather or lee side of the craft. perhaps in heavy weather to await the passing of the storm in order to minimise damage to the vessel by forging ahead. A vessel is only making way when she is actually forging ahead or astern under sail or mechanical power.Basic nautical terms and definitions Terms relating to the movement of a ship or boat A vessel is underway when she is not made fast (ie secured) to a buoy or quay or the shore. When a vessel is moving through the water she is said to be making way or to have way on her. however. When the wind is blowing on to one side of the vessel. When moving ahead. so that a vessel which is stopped and drifting through the water merely under the influence of wind and waves is underway but not making way. A vessel hove-to in this manner may use a little sail or engine power to maintain her position with the seas on one bow. and the points of sailing are illustrated in fig 12. if she is moving too fast she is said to have too much way on. she is said to be making leeway. the tiller is referred to as the helm. Terms used in sailing In steering a sailing craft. that side is called the weather side. nor at anchor. sheltered side is called the lee side. Note. that a vessel may be underway but stopped. When a vessel is lying next to another vessel or next to a quay it is said to be alongside the other craft or quay wall. A vessel is said to be adrift or drifting when broken away from her moorings and without means of propulsion.

A boat tacks or goes about when she changes from one tack to the other by luffing up into the wind and then bearing away from it on the opposite tack. and on the starboard tack when she has the wind on her starboard side. To heave to is to stop a craft under way for any reason (eg. Figure 12: Points of sailing To shorten sail is to take in sail by reducing the number of sails set or by reefing. The wind's eye is the actual direction from which the wind is blowing at any given time. Gybing is the procedure of changing tacks when running. ie sailing so that she is free to manoeuvre on either side of her course without having to go about. for a breather.a boat is on the port tack when she has the wind on her port side. Running is when a boat is sailing with the wind abaft the beam. Tacking . See goosewing. 62 . To bear away is to alter course to bring the boat's head away from the wind.) To weather an object means to pass to windward of it. light sailing boats. To miss stays is to fail to go about when attempting to tack.Basic nautical terms and definitions Full-and-by is sailing not quite so close to the wind as close-hauled. Beam reaching is when a boat is sailing free with the wind abeam. She is on a close reach or fetching when the wind is forward of the beam and on a broad reach when the wind is abeam or slightly abaft the beam. To goosewing is to set alternate sails to starboard and to port when running before the wind. (Rarely experienced in small. Sailing free is when a boat's sails are filled and she is not sailing close-hauled. so that the boat pays off on her original tack. See tacking. Beating is the series of alternative tacks a boat makes when her destination lies directly upwind. to reef. with the sails full and a consequent gain in speed. or because the weather is too bad to continue). In irons is to fail to go about when attempting to tack. To set sail or make sail is to hoist the sails and get underway. To luff is to alter course to bring the boat's head closer to the wind. putting the stern through the wind. To back a sail is to trim it so as to catch the wind on what would normally be its lee side. so that the boat lies head to wind unable to pay off on either side. To reef is to reduce the sail area. A sailing boat is usually hove to as close to the wind as possible carrying minimum canvas.

The square sails of the past were ideal for driving big sailing ships in the constant trade winds of the world. the latter having a spar called the gaff at the head of the mainsail. but mainly because sail has now become the province of the leisure sailor and is no longer used commercially. Figure 16 63 . coming to a point at (or near) the masthead. ruggedness and manageability in heavy weather. Although several craft of both types have made successful ocean passages. however. sailing boats in northern latitudes favoured the gaff rig.) The Bermudian sloop is the simplest of rigs. the sail plan is often split between masts. In the ketch and the yawl. the mainsail is proportionately smaller and the mizzen larger than in the yawl. there is still controversy over their seaworthiness and stability. A schooner usually has two masts. but if they are capsized in heavy weather they are unable to recover. With the advent of modern materials. as in the ketch.3. Once the most popular rig for larger yachts. particularly in the variable winds of the temperate latitudes. the home of the schooner. Figure 14 For ease of handling sails in larger boats. usually a larger vessel than a yawl. Figure 14a Multihull craft developed originally from Polynesian outrigger canoes. the vessel is a yawl. the mainmast being aft. partly due to technical innovation. Damage could be easily repaired with materials on board because Figure 13: Types of sailing craft this rig has fewer specialised parts. This is a rig in which all the sails set on the masts are triangular in shape. but are useless for small sailing craft with a relatively small crew. strong mast. But even with this type of rig. (This type of rig is called the Marconi rig in the USA. In a ketch. They have the advantage of being shallower and much more spacious than conventional deep-keeled craft. The catamaran is a twin-hulled motor or sailing craft. with its short. with a smaller mizzenmast aft. and the trimaran has a normal immersed type of hull with a subsidiary hull on either side. the more efficient and easily handled Bermudian sloop rig has come into its own. but occasionally has three or more masts. This might be either a Bermudian cutter or a gaff cutter. Types of Seagoing Craft Small sailing craft The rig of sailing vessels has changed through the ages. the schooner has been largely replaced by the ketch even in the USA. being a single-masted yacht setting a mainsail and only one other sail (at any one time) ahead of the mast. In the past. fashion has changed. the mainmast (largest) is the forward one. and another spar extending ahead of the bow called a bowsprit on which the forward headsail is set. If the mizzenmast is aft of the rudderpost. The modern fore-and-aft rig allows a boat to sail closer to the wind and to be more easily managed. A single-masted vessel carrying two headsails at any one time is called a cutter. yawl or schooner. Their large beam gives them great initial stability.

in some sea conditions there may be pounding under the chines. are fully powered boats from about 7 metres (20ft) to 14 metres (45ft) in length. 64 . for any normal deterioration in performance during service and to extend the life of an engine. Motor cruisers. Consequently deep-water commercial fishing craft have exerted a strong influence on the design of offshore motor boats. The diesel's disadvantages in terms of price and weight are considerably offset by lower running costs and by eliminating electrical ignition systems and the potential fire hazard of petrol engines. forcing its way through the waves. In spite of the foregoing paragraph and the expense of fuel. heavily built. together with the length of stroke. The typical planing hull with sharp V bow. those with planing hulls which at speed rise bodily above the water. a wide flat stern and chines is unsuitable for extended passages offshore not only because of difficult steering tendencies in rough following seas. The revolutions per minute at which the power is developed. and when this type of hull lacks adequate flare and freeboard forward it could lack sufficient buoyancy for safety in head seas at any speed. or perhaps days. being deep-bodied. full-ended. not the maker's quotations of maximum power. Many powerful but high-revving engines may be splendid for towing water skiers round the bay but not for punching a heavy yacht against wind and sea over a period of several hours.which for a continuous running marine engine should not be over 1500 rev/min. it is wise to power a vessel with engines of up to 25% greater power than will normally be required in service in order to allow a reserve of power for adverse conditions. dictate the piston speed . Figure 17 Most powerboats can be fitted with any one of the wide variety of engines. A powerboat thrusts itself at the seas.Types of seagoing craft Small power craft Boats driven by engines have a different character to sailing craft. displace the water at their bow. and those with displacement hulls which remain evenly trimmed and. relying on their speed to reach their destination in calm to slight seas. and pleasure craft of this kind are often called MFV (motor fishing vessel) type yachts. In general. Powerboats generally fall into two categories. In considering the size of engine required it is the continuous rating which is significant. high-speed planing motor yachts have become increasingly popular in recent years. and with a displacement type hull. Heavy fishing-type power craft have long been regarded as the safest kind of motorboat for extended passages offshore. but also because steering may be difficult under any conditions at low speeds when the submerged fine bow causes the boat to lose directional stability. as their name suggests. The prime decision is whether to install a petrol or diesel engine. as the name suggests. Furthermore. Larger craft 15 metres or more in length would more appropriately be described as motor yachts. Sailing takes advantage of the elements using the wind to propel the vessel.

4. Principal items of a boat’s equipment
This section contains only a brief description of the basic permanent and expendable items of a boat's equipment for introductory purposes. Most of these items and their use will be described in greater detail in later modules.

Masts and spars

Figure 18: Standing and running rigging

Virtually all masts and spars nowadays are made of aluminium alloy because this provides almost twice the strength for barely half the weight of wood. As previously mentioned, power boats, unless they are motor sailers, may have only a short mast for supporting navigation lights, signal halyards, etc, or perhaps no mast at all, but in a sailing vessel the function of a mast is not only to support the sails but to transmit the propulsive force generated by the wind in the sails to the vessel's hull. Older sailing craft with wooden spars have either solid 'grown' masts (whole trees) of fir or Norwegian spruce, or hollow 'built' masts. Bermudian rig masts must remain absolutely straight and staying is complicated, but masts for gaff rigged craft do not need such powerful staying as they are not under such high compression.


Principal items of a boat’s equipment
A boom is a spar holding the foot of a sail, and may be either flat or round in section. It is connected to the mast by a universal joint called a gooseneck. Spreaders or crosstrees are spars horizontally athwart a mast which carry the upper shrouds to the masthead, spreading the angle for better leverage. A gaff is a spar at the head of a gaff sail, projecting aft from the mast at an angle of about 45º. A bowsprit is a spar carrying the jib sail forward of the bows, whereas a short spar called a bumpkin can extend over the stern to take a backstay or the lower block of a mizzen sheet. A mast is stayed (i.e. supported in position) by its standing rigging, consisting of forestays and backstays which support it in a fore-and-aft direction, and shrouds which support it in an athwartships direction. A sailing vessel's sails are controlled by running rigging, consisting of halyards for hoisting and lowering sails, sheets for trimming the sails, and a topping lift which supports the boom when no sails are set. Fig 18 shows the main items of standing rigging of a sloop. For clarity, the running rigging has been omitted and is shown separately in the inset. Running rigging which is duplicated port and starboard is only shown on the starboard side.

Rope, or to give it its proper name, cordage, forms an important part of any sea-going vessel's equipment, and until recent times was made from natural fibres of hemp, manila, cotton, sisal or coir. Nowadays, however, the majority of rope is made from synthetic fibres such as Terylene, nylon, polypropylene, etc, because of their greater strength and immunity to rot. As Terylene does not stretch it is ideal for halyards on sailing vessels and in the manufacture of the sails themselves. Nylon, on the other hand, will stretch 20% in length and will absorb shock loads four times greater than wire rope of the same size; for this reason it is particularly suitable for anchor warps, tow ropes, etc. Polypropylene also stretches, floats and is cheaper than nylon so is ideal for mooring ropes. Wire rope (which is not classed as cordage) is generally used for standing rigging and is usually made of stainless steel. When a vessel is berthed alongside a quay wall, pier or jetty, or between buoys, she is secured by mooring lines or, in the case of larger vessels by hawsers. A line used for mooring a vessel by heaving on it to ease her into a lock or dock, or to move her along a quay, is called a warp. Figure 19: Parts of rope Small craft may have a warp attached to the end of their anchor chain for veering or weighing anchor. A heaving line is a light rope used when berthing to establish initial contact with the shore in order to pass the mooring lines or a warp.

Ground tackle
Ground tackle is the general term used for anchors and their associated equipment. An anchor is a hook, attached to a length of chain or rope called a cable or warp, by which a vessel can be held temporarily to the seabed in comparatively shallow water. On sea-going craft anchoring equipment is an essential and important emergency item to prevent a disaster when the vessel's motive power (sails or engine) has failed. Anchors check all sorts of embarrassing situations quite apart from their main purpose of tethering the vessel when she is not in use. No offshore craft should have less than two anchors, but unfortunately many standard small craft are sold with only one, which often is too small and light for its intended purpose. For long-distance cruising three anchors are needed and four are not unusual on well-equipped vessels.


Principal items of a boat’s equipment
Because seabeds vary, it is commonsense to have different types of anchor. For instance, a kelpcovered seabed is a notoriously diificult holding-ground and only well-proportioned fisherman or Admiralty anchors have the ability to penetrate the weed. Other types include the CQR or ploughshare-type, the Danforth type, and the Bruce anchor.

Figure 20: Anchors

An anchor cable wherever possible should be of chain, but where the weight or stowage facilities make this difficult a mixture of chain and nylon warp may be used. When the weight of chain and anchor is too great to manhandle aboard a windlass is an essential piece of equipment; this consists of a rope-warping drum and a chain gypsy either geared down for manual operation by handles or levers, or powered by electricity on larger craft.

Rope securing equipment
A rope or chain, be it halyard, sheet, hawser, warp or anchor cable, would be useless on board a vessel or ashore without a strong fitting on which to make it fast. On a quay, jetty or pier there are often metal rings for securing mooring lines and warps, or alternatively there may be single bollards [fig 21}. On board vessels, twin bollards [fig 21)] are common fittings for securing mooring lines and warps. Fairleads [fig 21)], as their name suggests, lead lines and cables clear of obstructions or corners which may chafe the rope, and are usually made of metal, open at the top and wide enough for the rope to drop in easily, with smooth internal surfaces to reduce friction. Samson posts serve the same purpose as a single bollard, but usually take the form of a stout vertical piece of timber, well secured through the deck and down to the vessel's keel. Bitts [fig 21] are two strong vertical posts secured through the deck to the frames with a stout cross-piece joining them a little below the top of the uprights. Both samson posts and bitts are ideal for securing an anchor cable on board.

Figure 21

Cleats [fig 21] may be made of wood, metal or plastic secured in such a position that the pull of a rope comes in the lengthwise direction of the cleat itself, and are usually fitted for the purpose of securing halyards and sheets. A slightly more elaborate fitting is the staghorn [fig 21], which may also be used for securing mooring lines and warps.


when screwed up. ie. Figure 22: Shackles and rigging connectors Tackles are commonly used in all types of vessel to augment the available manpower whenever a load has to be moved or lifted. yacht tenders. When attaching fittings to one another we use a variety of shackles. Figure 23: Blocks and tackles Dinghies. a dinghy is a means of access to and from the vessel and the shore when at anchor or on offshore moorings . 68 . The block may be of wood. A tackle is a combination of pulley blocks with rope or chain which form a purchase .Principal items of a boat’s equipment When a rope may have to be cast off while still under strain it should never be secured with a bend or hitch (knots). as there is no danger of the rope jamming. Each davit has a block and tackle and a boat may be swung inboard for snug storage at sea. The most usual one. taking sufficient turns round the fitting to hold the rope by friction when it takes the strain. illustrated in fig 22(a) is the straight shackle. and most of the fittings described above are designed for belaying the rope. Davits are small crane-like devices for securing and launching dinghies or lifeboats.a device that will increase the force available. metal or reinforced plastic. except perhaps a 'slipping' one. A belayed rope can always be cast off quickly. They are often found on quay walls for the convenient launching of small boats. shorten and hence tighten the rigging or vice other words we say that the dinghy is used as a yacht tender. or swung outboard for lowering down into the water clear of the vessel's side or stern. liferafts and safety Equipment For the sea-going yacht or powerboat. in which the pin can be unscrewed and removed. Under no circumstances should a dinghy be regarded as part of the vessel's lifesaving equipment. There are also snapshackles. and on larger sea-going yachts to secure dinghies or tenders. which may either be of the spring type [fig 22(b)] or the plunger type [fig 22(c)] and bottle-screws (rigging screws) shown in fig 22(d) which. indeed at sea a dinghy is mainly distinguished by its nuisance value and wherever practicable should be left behind on the mooring and not towed astern. Fig 23 shows just three of the many combinations which may be used. and comprises a shell with one or more revolving sheaves.

as its name implies. Figure 25 Navigation. Electrical or mechanical pumps may be installed but they must be backed up by at least one hand-operated pump. so that in an emergency the raft can be thrown overboard in its valise. They can be difficult to row in a strong wind or adverse current. It is contained in a compact valise or container which should be stowed in a locker opening directly on to the deck with the operating cord attached to some strong point on the yacht. The hand-bearing compass may also serve as an emergency steering compass. which is usually filled with liquid to dampen excessive movement. radio and electronic equipment The primary item of navigational equipment essential for all offshore vessels is a marine magnetic compass which indicates the direction in which the vessel is heading. but they are easier to stow than the traditional wooden dinghy and are more forgiving to the topsides of a boat when moored alongside. A hand-bearing compass. is a small compass which can be held in the hand and is used for observing bearings of shore objects. when a sharp tug on the operating cord will immediately inflate the liferaft automatically. lifebuoys (either ring or horseshoe-shaped) stowed within reach of the helmsman and fitted with a self-igniting light. and which is illuminated for use at night. and at least two bilge pumps . Basically this consists of a compass card (fig 26) on the underside of which two or more magnetised compass needles align themselves with the earth's magnetic field when freely pivoted within a compass bowl. Fire-fighting equipment must include an adequate number of fire extinguishers. and safety harnesses of webbing with a length of line ending in a snap-hook so that a crew member may clip on to some secure part of the within reach of the helmsman. Other essential items of safety equipment for boats working offshore are lifejackets for each person on board. Figure 26 Compass 69 .Principal items of a boat’s equipment Inflatable dinghies are the most common type of yacht tender and may be propelled by oars or outboard engine. An inflatable liferaft of sufficient capacity to accommodate all on board Figure 24 the vessel is an essential item of seagoing equipment for all types of offshore vessel.

It is impractical in shallow and confined waters where the line can get tangled and snag on the seabed.Principal items of a boat’s equipment Charts are maps of the sea areas of the world of which over 4. also available from chart agents. These are available from Admiralty chart agents. and the charts of the area to be sailed are a necessary part of the equipment of all offshore vessels. but because charts are being continuously updated by new information these require to be corrected from Notices to Mariners.000 are published by the Hydrographic Department of the British Admiralty. do not reflect a very good echo on radar. A marine log is a device for measuring the distance and speed a vessel travels through the water. The great advantage of this log is that it can be cleaned of weed and dirt far more easily than the paddlewheel log (which has to be withdrawn through a hole in the hull). but a properly-designed octahedral reflector hoisted correctly and as high as possible is remarkably effective. the most common type being the paddlewheel or impeller type. measures the time interval to its return and displays the recorded depth on a digital or analogue gauge. Depth is now measured on most boats by means of an echo-sounder (fig 28). which bounces a high-frequency impulse from a transducer fitted to the bottom of the vessel's hull to the seabed. Figure 27: Towed log A means of measuring the depth of water in which a vessel is floating is another essential aid to navigation and the traditional method of doing this was with a hand lead and sounding line. One essential item for all offshore craft is a radar reflector so that they can be detected (and thus avoided) by other vessels equipped with radar. Small vessels. Some small craft are fitted with radio position-fixing systems such as Loran-C or with satellite systems such as Satnav or GPS. an essential item is a radio-receiver with which to obtain the shipping weather forecasts. but many craft are equipped with VHF radio-telephones (fig 29) for direct communication with the shore or with other ships. Figure 28: Principles of the echo-sounder 70 Figure 29: VHF radio-telephone . Of radio equipment. especially of wooden or GRP construction. An alternative to this is the towed log (fig 27) which is streamed astern. These have a small rotator mounted in the hull which is connected via electronic impulses to either a digital or analogue display unit giving the speed and distance travelled through the water.

which left us on our beam ends? (Not often we hope!) Abate Aground Aloft Awash Ballast Ballast keel Bar Bare poles Batten Batten down Beam ends Bearing Becalmed Berth Bluff Breaker Broach-to When the wind force lessens. to slew round inadvertently broadside-on in the trough of the waves. Not recommended. A shoal (shallow area) formed at the mouth of a river or harbour by the action of the tides. A sailing vessel under way with no sails set is said to be under bare poles. sea and weather This is a glossary of miscellaneous terms that you may come across from time to time in your course. making an involuntary gybe imminent. Level with the surface of the sea. Weights. The direction in which an object lies from you or your vessel. Used colloquially to describe a precarious position. A vessel is said to be on her beam ends when she is lying over on her side. A flexible piece of wood or plastic placed in a pocket in the leech of a sail to prevent curl. When the keel of a vessel rests on the bottom of the sea. wind. A headland with a broad. only to be taken aback by the boss as he said he had to lose some spare ballast. perpendicular face. When there is no wind. how many times have we battened down the hatches at a time when we were no longer awash with work. When running before wind and sea. Many nautical terms are used unknowingly in everyday language. 71 . You are not required to learn them all by heart.5. but please refer to them whenever the need arises. Above the deck. To give a wide berth is to keep well clear of anything. To close all openings in the weather decks and superstructure of a vessel at onset of heavy weather. usually of iron or lead. without means of propulsion. with her decks perpendicular. carried in the bilges to increase stability or adjust trim. it is said to abate. a sailing vessel is becalmed. For instance. The crest of a wave which is breaking. To shift berth is to change position. Weight of iron or lead carried externally at the base of the keel. The allotted place or position for a vessel or a man. Miscellaneous terms relating to boats. By the lee Sailing with the wind astern and blowing from the same side as that on which the mainsail is carried. Broken water Surf caused by breaking waves.

turn bottom upwards. A vessel is said to draw so many metres or feet of draught. Fetch Fit out Flotsam Fore peak Foreshore Foul Founder Green sea Ground swell A heavy swell caused by a distant storm or by one which has passed. A prefix meaning temporary. Any temporary rig erected following breaking of the craft's conventional rig. wind. The distance over the sea which a wind has blown without obstruction. stores and provisions for a voyage or for a new season. Entangled.Miscellaneous terms relating to boats. A horizontal movement of water caused by meteorological or oceanographical forces. The top of a sail. First sight of land after a passage in the open sea. eg jury mast. 72 . The compartment or space below the deck in the bows of a vessel. sea and weather Capsize Carry away Choppy sea Clear Current Draw To overturn. irregular or confused waves usually caused by wind opposed to a tidal stream. To sink. A wind blowing from ahead. jury rudder. A sea toilet. Good visibility. To take a vessel out of service or commission. The beach below high water mark. Items thrown overboard . To bring ashore for the winter. A vessel is said to draw ahead of you if its position relative to yours advances. A vessel is shipping it green when unbroken water is driven aboard. When rigging or gear of any kind breaks. To lie over or list at an angle from the vertical. steep. Surrounded by land. Short. To rig and provide a vessel with her complete equipment of gear. (See also tidal streams).jettisoned in an attempt to save a vessel from sinking. A sail set forward of the mast. An unbroken wave. it is said to carry away. Items floating from a sunken vessel. but not tides. obstructed or dirty. Also free from shipping or obstructions as in clear channel or clear horizon. Head Headsail Head wind Heel Jetsam Jury Landfall Landlocked Lay-up The bow of a vessel. and to draw astern if it drops back. as in clear weather or clear sky (cloudless). When the wind fills a sail it is said to draw. (Also to reach a destination in a sailing craft without having to tack).

Tides are said to be making during the period between neaps and springs when their height and range progressively increases. Abbreviation for length on waterline. Fore and aft motion of a vessel about its centre when in a seaway. a vessel aground is said to be neaped when the next tide will not refloat her. (See also take off) To secure (moor) a vessel to a quay. The difference between the highest and lowest level of any one tide. A sailing vessel which is close-hauled. posts.Miscellaneous terms relating to boats. Heavy impacts of head seas against the bow. Distance off the shore or an obstruction. A shore towards which the wind is blowing. (See also neap tides) The lateral movement of a moored vessel caused by swell or the wash of a passing vessel. wind. A heavy sea. If the design of a craft is such that she tends to bear away from the wind. usually with reference to the sheets of a sailing craft. the distance a powerdriven vessel can travel on its fuel capacity. fast-moving clouds. Scud Seaway Spindrift Spring tides Surge 73 . A tidal stream running in the same direction as the wind. thereby pushing the boat up to windward and tending to increase the speed. A sailing vessel is sometimes said to be scudding before a gale when she is running before it. Low. (See also weather tide) To let go instantly. buoys or between two anchors. Spray blown from the crest of waves. A vessel is said to scend when she rises and falls bodily on the crests and in the troughs of heavy seas (not the same as pitching). A vessel which cannot leave harbour except at spring tides is said to be neaped. Any point of sailing except close-hauled. she is said to carry lee helm. Tides between full and new moon with a lesser range than spring tides. The extreme length of a vessel. or against the vessel's keel or bottom. Abbreviation for length overall. Tides just after full and new moon which have the maximum range. which is always less than the LOA. sea and weather Lee-bowing Lee helm Lee shore Lee tide Let fly LOA LWL Making Moor Neap tides Neaped On the wind Off the wind Offing Pitch Pound Range Scend Sailing so that the tidal stream is on the lee bow. The scend of a sea is the vertical movement of its waves.

A vessel at anchor in tidal waters is said to be wind-rode when she is lying head into the wind rather than to the tidal stream. This can be quite dangerous for small boats. wind. To train a new crew to an efficient state. Weather tide Opposite of lee tide. Wind-rode Work up Yaw 74 . The disturbance in the water made by the movement of a vessel through it. An erratic course with quick alternate swings to port and starboard. A horizontal movement of water caused by the tide-raising forces of sun and moon. Not necessarily due to bad steering as it can be caused by sea conditions. A vessel which is full of water but still floating. (See wind-rode). Unable to put to sea owing to bad weather. sea and weather Swell Take off Tidal stream Tide-rode Unship Wake Wash Waterlogged Weatherbound Large undulating movement of the sea remaining after the wind causing it has gone. A strong wind blowing over a tidal stream coming from the opposite direction will result in a steep and unpredictable sea. Weather helm Opposite of lee helm. (See current) A vessel at anchor in tidal waters is said to be tide-rode when she is lying head to the tidal stream rather than to the wind. To remove anything from its appointed place. The path which a vessel leaves in the water behind her.Miscellaneous terms relating to boats. (See tide-rode). (See ground swell). The tides are said to be taking off when their heights and ranges decrease progressively between springs and neaps.

5. 8. Record your final results on the assignment report card provided. Explain the difference between a displacement hull and a planing hull. Briefly describe two types of multihull craft and the advantages and disadvantages of such craft. List the possible functions of a mast if fitted to a motor cruiser or motor yacht. 75 . You should work through this exercise carefully. Exercise S1 1. refer again to the text of this module and repeat the exercise. 2. 7. Explain the meaning of each of the following nautical terms: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) heave-to going below under way but stopped going about steerage way 4.6. What is the difference (if any) between a motor cruiser and a motor yacht? Name each of the following parts of a boat: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) the the the the the the the the lowermost part of the hull (at the bottom of the boat) extreme end of the fore part of the hull part of the hull which curves in towards the stern near horizontal upper surface of the hull greatest width of the hull part of the hull above the waterline height of the weather deck above the waterline depth of the keel below the waterline 3. then mark it with the model answers and marks which follow. Self-test exercise This self-test exercise forms a student assignment for your course. If necessary. What are backstays? Explain the difference between standing backstays and running backstays. What is meant by the phrases: (a) (b) (c) on an even keel the turn of the bilge fine on the port bow 6.

bitts and cleats. What is meant by careening a boat? 76 . 13. State the principal uses for Terylene. 11. 12.Self-test exercise 9. Explain the difference between bollards. Either explain the following sailing terms: (a) (b) (c) or luff up bearing away beating explain the following power craft terms: (i) (ii) (iii) single-screw installation MFV-type craft motor sailers 10. What is a yacht tender? Name the most common type and state its possible means of propulsion. nylon and polypropylene rope on boats.

still underway but not making way going down the companionway into the accommodation not made fast to a buoy. while those 15m or more are generally termed motor yachts. 6 marks (a) (b) (c) vessel having the same draught forward as aft where the sides of a boat curve into the bottom looking ahead. A displacement hull floats wholly in the water displacing a volume of water equal to its own weight. not at anchor or aground but not moving through the water (on a sailing boat) changing from one tack to the other a vessel has steerage way when she makes sufficient speed for her rudder to become effective 10 marks 4. quay or shore. Only size. VHF and/or position fixing system aerial. while running backstays offer additional support for high masts and have tackles or backstay levers with which their tension can be adjusted as necessary. powered vessels less than 15 metres in length are generally called motor cruisers. navigation steaming light. 6 marks 7.8. 6 marks 6. 6 marks A catamaran is a twin-hulled motor or sailing craft and a trimaran has a central immersed hull with a subsidiary hull on each side. A planing hull is lifted above the water at speed. they are nevertheless unable to recover if capsized. Much more spacious than conventional craft with great initial stability. 77 . 3 marks (a) (b) (c) (d) keel stem quarter deck or weather deck (e) (f) (g) (h) beam topsides freeboard draught 2. or a means of flag signalling. 6 marks Support of a boom or gaff. 8 marks 3. 8. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) a vessel heaves-to when she stops at sea . Standing backstays are fixed (non-adjustable). Backstays are part of the standing rigging which support the after side of the mast. between 1º and 45º on the left hand side 5. although it still displaces water when at rest or slow speed. support of a radar scanner. Answers to exercise S1 1.

a single engine connected to one propeller (screw) usually installed on the centre line of the boat. Polypropylene is used for mooring lines. Motor fishing vessel type of heavily built motor yacht (diesel-engine powered) with moderate beam and draught. 9 marks A small boat used to ferry personnel to and from a moored or anchored yacht. a vessel in which about half the propulsive power is provided by an engine and half by sails Terylene is used in the manufacture of sails and halyards. 5 marks 12. ample sheer and round bilges. bitts are two strong vertical posts on deck with a stout crosspiece ideal for securing anchor cable. Total marks = 86 78 . heaving lines. The most common type is the inflatable dinghy propelled by oars or outboard engine. but also for tow ropes and mooring lines. while cleats are T-shaped fittings secured so that the pull of the halyard or sheet secured to it runs in the lengthwise direction of the cleat itself. Nylon is used principally for anchor warps. A bollard is a strong vertical post with an upper lip fitted either to a boat's deck or to a pier or quay on to which a mooring rope can be secured. 9 marks 6marks 11. 13. Either (a) (b) (c) to turn towards the wind when the helm is put down to turn away from the wind when the helm is put up to weather a series of alternate tacks to reach an upwind destination or (i) (ii) (iii) 10. etc. 6 marks Grounding or beaching a boat on a falling tide so that she heels over and exposes her bottom for cleaning or repairs.Self test exercise 9.

Section Two • • Module 3 Charts and Publications: Simple Plotting Module 4 Deck Seamanship Assessment 1 (DS) Contents 79 .

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93 3. 108 5.Module 3 Charts and Publications: Simple Plotting Contents 1. Chart measurements: latitude. 98 4. 120 81 . direction and distance Reading latitude and longitude Measuring distance on a chart Measuring direction on a chart Plotting a position by bearing and range Personal checklist Self-test exercise N2(1) Nautical publications and chart correction Publications in general The Admiralty publications Commercial nautical publications Chart correction Personal checklist Fixing your boat's position Position lines Achieving good visual fixes Other types of position lines and fixes Personal checklist on completion of chapter 3 Self-test exercise N2(2) Working up positions The dead reckoning (DR) position The wind and leeway in navigation The effect of tidal streams and currents The estimated position (EP) Personal checklist on completion of chapter 4 Self-test exercise N2(3) Answers to exercises Answers to exercise N2(1) Answers to exercise N2(2) Answers to exercise N2(3) 83 2. longitude.

object .distance (sequence to relate vessel's position to a charted navigational mark) (of a course or bearing) compass centimetres course over the ground dead reckoning (position denoted +) east estimated position denoted global maritime distress and safety global positioning system ground track annotated hand-bearing (compass) (annotated against a chart fix or P/L) Loran lighthouse (of a course or bearing) magnetic the Macmillan-Reeds Nautical Almanac north north-east north-west (Admiralty) Nautical Publication (as in NP5011) Ocean Data-Acquisition System position line radio direction finding (annotated against a chart fix or P/L) radio (bearings) (annotated against a chart fix) satnav south south-east speed made good speed over the ground sea position south-west (of a course or bearing) true (RYA) Training Almanac tidal stream vector denoted west water track vector denoted 82 WT .Abbreviations used in this module BOD (!) C cm COG DR E EP GMDSS system GPS GT HB (L) LH M Macmillan N NE NW NP ODAS P/L RDF (Rº) (S) S SE SMG SOG SP SW T TA TS W bearing .

Plotting navigational information on a chart is a straightforward process but the techniques depend on the actual equipment used. Try to experiment with as many of these as you can so that you can find out which suits you best. Longitude. Scale B would be used on a medium-scale chart and in this example 5 sea miles measure 3. 5 sea miles measure only 1cm. Chart Measurements: Latitude. Between these two there are the various types of protractor and proprietary plotting instruments we described in module 1. Some navigators prefer a parallel rule for laying off directions and parallel lines. it can be seen that in scale A. each having its devotees. The navigational chart is a precise and valuable instrument in itself and should always be treated with great care.) Very large-scale charts would use scale D or wider. which would be used on a small-scale chart. Ideally charts should be stowed flat in a portfolio cover.75cm. whilst others use a pair of triangular navigational protractors for the same purpose.1. From this. We will now refresh our memories concerning one or two important points about charts that we examined in module 1.5cm.3cm. Figure 1: Methods of graduating latitude scales on Admiralty charts 83 . · Fig 1 shows the various types of latitude graduations used on Admiralty charts. Scale C in fig 1 would be used on a fairly large-scale chart. 5 sea miles measuring 8. (RYA 3 uses a scale in which 5 sea miles in the latitude of the Lawrence Channel are represented by 9. · · · the latitude scale runs vertically up the left and right sides of the chart the latitude scale is used for measuring latitude and distance the longitude scale runs horizontally along the top and bottom of the chart the longitude scale can only be used for measuring longitude and must never be used for measuring distance. A freshly sharpened soft-leaded pencil should be used (2B is ideal) with as little pressure as is necessary to leave a distinct line. Plans A and C on RYA 4 use such a similar scale while the other plans on RYA 4 use even larger scales. each chart having no more than a single fold. We will now combine these elements and help you to take your first steps in navigational chartwork. Space limitations in a small boat usually preclude this but it is vital to keep the number of folds to a minimum and to stow the chart in its original folds after use. Direction and Distance Reading latitude and longitude In module 1 we made our introduction to navigational charts and discussed the more common plotting instruments. In scale D a distance of 5 sea miles is depicted by 16.2cm.

Chart measurements Only on the small-scale chart (A) does one small division represent one sea mile or one minute of latitude. an extract from a small-scale ocean chart. You will recall that the scale of latitude widens as we move from the equator towards the poles. on a globe.1 of a minute or 6 seconds (0'.35cm at the head of the chart. 84 Figure 2: The scale of latitude widens toward the poles . In scale B (and on chart RYA 3) each small division represents one fifth of a sea mile (or 0'. you will find that 5 sea miles is represented by 9. illustrates the widening of the parallels much more clearly. the expansion in scale being evident to the eye without the need to measure. then move alternate 'legs' of the rule (keeping the other leg firmly on the chart) until one edge of the rule cuts both the + and the vertical latitude scale.2) while on the two large-scale charts C and D (and on the plans on chart RYA 4) each small division indicates one tenth of a mile. This can be done with a parallel rule as shown in fig 3 here. Suppose you want to read the latitude of the small +. The latitude scale widens in both directions from the equator towards the north and south poles. they meet at the poles. The latitude scale therefore widens as we move from the top of the chart towards the bottom. Read the exact latitude from the scale to the nearest 0'. Reference to fig 5 in that module will remind you that the latitude of a point is read by taking that point horizontally to the nearest latitude scale (vertical sides of chart). Place the edge of the parallel rule carefully and accurately along a parallel of latitude (horizontal line on chart) near the +.2cm at the foot while the same distance measures 9. Figure 2 shows the southern tip of the African continent so we are in the southern hemisphere. 0. In NMCS module 1 we showed how latitude and longitude could be read off a chart. Chart RYA 3 represents a section of the earth's surface in the northern hemisphere so the scale becomes wider as we move from the bottom of the chart to the top. if you measure carefully. as shown in fig 3.1.1 or 06"). Figure 2. (This is to compensate for the distortion caused by showing meridians of longitude as parallel in Mercator's projection whereas we know that. It is because the latitude scale is variable that we always measure distance in the latitude in which we are navigating.) This widening effect is not very evident on a chart of the scale of RYA 3 but.

The rule would then be 'stepped' or 'walked' across the chart until one edge cuts the + and the nearest longitude (horizontal) scale. say 49ºN and 51ºW. is by using dividers. but requiring great care.1 is then read off the scale. 85 . To find the latitude [fig 4] place one divider point on the + being measured and the other point on the nearest parallel of latitude as near as possible vertically below (or above) +. The rescue authorities always read the latitude first. To read the longitude [fig 4] repeat the process using the nearest meridian (vertical line) to the +. This convention is not an arbitrary one. Figure 4: Reading position with dividers An easier and quicker method of reading latitude and longitude.9E.Chart measurements Figure 3: Reading positions by parallel rule The longitude of + would be found in a similar manner. latitude is always written first followed by the longitude.1N 0º14'. holding the dividers as near horizontally as possible. and reading the required longitude from the horizontal scale at the top or bottom of the chart. now place one point on the same parallel of latitude on the latitude scale and read off the required latitude where the other point indicates on the scale. So always quote the latitude first and try to remember to quote N and S on the latitude and E or W on the longitude. and in your hurry you omit the N and the W. eg 50º42'. Remember that. Suppose you had to report your position urgently in an emergency in an area where the latitude and longitude were numerically close to each other. when writing down or recording a position. The exact longitude to the nearest 0'. Without disturbing the dividers. so if you have given them 51º 49º they would take this as 51ºN 49ºW and be looking for you more than 100 miles from your true position. but in this case the parallel rule would be placed vertically on the chart and first aligned on a meridian (vertical line on chart). but a vital safety factor.

please plot position 46º22'.8W Figure 5 86 . using one of the methods described below.Chart measurements It is now time to plot our first chartwork position on Chart RYA 3 so.8N 6º17'.

mark this longitude on the latitude line.) Draw a short line through the graduation on the latitude scale (to give a final check on alignment). you will need to adjust the rule very carefully.8W) is to the east of this (to your right as you look at the chart).Chart measurements If you are using an expanding parallel rule Align the rule with its top edge along the parallel of latitude 46º20'N on the left hand side of the chart (fig 5). If you are using a Breton or Portland course plotter First. Mark the indentation with your pencil.8W graduation on the longitude scale and the 06º20'W meridian. It should appear exactly as in figure 5. Vertically beneath this (or as nearly vertically as you can judge) draw another short horizontal line along the upper edge of the rule. Taking care not to alter the width between the points of your dividers place one point on the 06º20'W meridian on the top edge of the parallel rule and gently indent the chart with the other point on the short horizontal line already drawn. Draw one short pencil line through 46º22'. Finally.8N. If it doesn't. look along the longitude scale at the top of the chart for the required longitude (06º17'. You have now plotted the latitude.8W. prepare the plotter by turning the central 'compass rose' until the N triangular pointer aligns exactly with the zero marker on the 'Total Error' scale.8N graduation and adjust the plotter to the left or right so that any vertical grid line to the right of the 'compass' aligns with a meridian on the chart.8W).8N graduation on the chart. Hold the lower arm firmly and move the upper arm of the rule to 46º22'. There is a useful meridian of longitude printed on the chart at 06º20'W so our required longitude (06º17'. vertically and horizontally. please try again. using dividers.8N on the latitude scale (to check alignment) and another on the same parallel directly beneath longitude 06º17'.) All grid lines on the plotter will now be parallel. Do not prick a hole in your chart.8N 06º17'. (This scale may be marked 'Variation' on some models. (If it isn't. Align the upper edge of the plotter with latitude 46º22'. Put your pencil against the upper edge of the rule so that the pencil point is exactly on the 46º22'. 87 .8W where the two arms of the cross intersect. the 06º20'W meridian being an obvious choice. Still holding the rule firmly. remove the parallel rule and dividers and draw a short vertical line through the mark. With your dividers measure between the 06º17'. You have now plotted position 46º22'. Move the lower arm up to close the rule so that you can continue to hold the rule firmly without it slipping when you are plotting.

The accuracy of measurement required will vary with the scale of the chart. by definition.0M 88 . place one point on A and the other point on B. If the convenient opening of the dividers used was 10' and it took two steps to (almost) reach the second place (2 x 10' = 20'). Finally. that the precise position of a lightvessel or buoy is the small circle in its baseline. First. to check your accuracy. close the dividers so as to pick up this small remaining piece of the line. protractor or equivalent plotting instrument.1M 2. Remember. ie half the smallest graduation on the latitude scale.5 miles or 28. then transfer the dividers to the latitude scale at either side of the chart but as near as possible to the same latitude as the points being measured. Suppose you wish to measure the distance between A and B on the chart shown in fig 6. If you do not get the exact answers given. For instance. Measurement of distance on a chart is done as follows. pick up a convenient opening of the dividers (say 10' = 10 sea miles) and. try again. too. and the remaining piece of line measured 8'.5 sea miles or. distance is measured in sea miles and.5.5M because only sea miles are used in navigation. try measuring the distance between the following places on Chart RYA 3 and compare your results with the correct distances given.1 of a mile. then read off the distance (eg 1'.8M 18.Chart measurements Measuring distance on a chart As we explained in module 1. again using that part of the latitude scale roughly parallel with the places. then the total distance measured between A and B would be 20' + 8'. one sea mile is equivalent to one minute of latitude.2 minutes of latitude = 1. and of a lighthouse the centre of its lightstar. Using a pair of dividers. Remember. you should aim for an accuracy to the nearest 0. count the number of steps of the divider it takes to (almost) reach the second place. 28.2 sea miles). accuracy is important.5 = 28. Accuracy in chart measurement is important so. starting from one of the places. Then.7M 33. more simply. In this case the distance must be measured in steps. join the two places (A and B on fig 7) with a light pencil line drawn with the edge of a parallel rule. With a chart of the scale of Chart RYA 3 supplied with this course. and by using the latitude scale again measure this remaining distance (fig 7). Figure 6: Measuring distance on a chart Figure 7: Measuring longer distances on a chart Sometimes the distance to be measured exceeds the full opening of the dividers. you can achieve much greater accuracy with a large-scale chart than you can with a small-scale one. Cape Balshaw LH (lighthouse) to 'LCW Buoy' Steven's Rock LH to West Point LH Sweetwater church to Sandquay church Misery Point LH to Point Victoria LH 6.

180º is south and 270º is west. but clearly the Figure 9 direction of the pier from A is 085ºT as indicated by the arrow in fig 9 and you would say that the pier is on a bearing of 085ºT. that the direction 330º is between NW and N. if extended. A line drawn from the figure 060º to your position would. Spend a few moments comparing fig 8 with the true compass rose until these directions become second nature to you. From this you will see that zero degrees (000º or 360º) represents north. NE 045º and SE 135º? A navigator must be able to do this. that the direction 110º is between east and south-east. so you must take great care as to which one you are referring. The reason for this will become clear after reading the next paragraph.Chart measurements Measuring direction on a chart The three-figure notation for expressing direction was introduced in module1 and it will be recalled that this was expressed as a compass circle starting from 000º (north) and moving clockwise to 360º (again. north). 89 . It is a sad fact (but. Suppose your boat is at position A on the chart in fig 9 and you wish to find the direction of the end of the pier on headland B. perhaps. First you would align the edge of a parallel rule between the boat's position and the end of the pier. east and west. 090º is east. south. pass through the figure 240º. you say. but if she is pointing in the direction 240ºT her course is 240ºT. joined the 'Reciprocal Club' so great vigilance is needed. for example. that the direction 250º is between SW Figure 8 : Cardinal and intercardinal directions and W. from the end of the pier the bearing of the boat would be 265ºT. and so on. Look now at the compass rose at the western end of the Lawrence Channel on chart RYA 3 and compare this carefully with fig 8 here. Reciprocal direction is any direction expressed in three-figure notation plus or minus 180º (060º + 180º = 240º). But without looking at the compass rose could you say that SW (southwest) is 225º? Or that NW is 315º. This edge will also pass through the directions 085º and 265º. Simple. A boat pointing in the direction 060ºT is on a heading (or course) of 060ºT. Imagine that you are standing at the centre point of the compass rose looking out in the direction 060ºT. However. a comforting one!) that few professional navigators have not. Once again both bearings are represented by the same line on the chart. The same line can therefore indicate two directions. If you move forwards towards the figure 060º you are travelling in the direction 060ºT (between NE and E). between SW and W) is called the reciprocal direction. Since both courses are represented by the same line on a chart it is very easy to read the reciprocal direction unless you are absolutely clear in your mind as to the direction in which your boat is travelling. We must all have a very clear understanding of how these three-figure directions relate to our orientation to north. We must know instinctively. this being the reciprocal of 085ºT. The direction behind you (240ºT. Then walk the rule so that the edge passes through the centre of the nearest compass rose on the chart. at some time.

. in an emergency. zero six degrees two zero decimal seven west ”. Supposing that.DISTANCE (BOD!) The great advantage of BOD is its simplicity. The chances of that being transmitted and received correctly are slim. 90 . The accepted sequence is BEARING . we had to transmit by radio our position in fig. This method of indicating our whereabouts uses the direction (the bearing) from the object and its distance (the range). For instance. We are sure that you will agree that “My position two three one degrees true from West Point lighthouse five decimal four miles” stands a much better chance of ungarbled transmission and reception.Chart measurements Plotting a position by bearing and range The most accurate method of expressing our position at sea is by latitude and longitude but we may also state our position relative to an easily recognisable landmark or seamark. if we were sailing through the Farlow Channel we may be closer to the water tower at Port Rampton than to Johnson Point LH but the latter is much more easily recognised on the chart and would be the better mark to choose. 'Easily recognisable' means that someone ashore trying to plot this position must be able to find the mark on the chart quickly. We could use latitude and longitude: “My position four six degrees one seven decimal eight north.(from) OBJECT . 14 to the coastguard to request assistance.

To measure the distance set your dividers to 7. then remove the plotter.) Then place the NS line on the circle exactly over the 6ºW meridian on the chart and adjust the plotter up or down until the upper edge passes through the light-star of Lizard Point LH (see fig 10). turn the circular protractor north-up and then rotate it 20º clockwise until the 70º graduation on the protractor aligns with the 0º arrow on the 'Total Error' scale.0M on the latitude scale at the left side of the chart. Figure 10 : Using a Portland (or Breton) course plotter (Please note that figure 10 is for reference only and the position is not on chart 3 or 4) First.0M. transfer them so that one point is on the small circle at the centre of the lightstar. gently pricking the chart with the other point to mark the position required. using a Portland (Breton) plotter. • • • • • • • • 91 .e in a 070ºT direction). Personal checklist You should now be able to • recognise the need for neatness and accuracy in chartwork measure distance using the latitude scale and a pair of dividers measure angles using protractors or parallel rules or a proprietary plotting instrument (the choice is yours) measure the latitude and longitude of a position plot a position. Draw in a pencil line from the lightstar along the upper edge of the plotter (i. (Some instruments may have the scale marked 'Variation'. given its latitude and longitude plot a course and measure a bearing plot a position by bearing and range of a charted mark and recognise that the accepted sequence for expressing this is bearing-object-distance locate a course or bearing in three-figure notation within the cardinal and inter cardinal framework of the compass point notation appreciate the care needed to avoid the plotting and/or measuring of reciprocal courses and bearings.Chart measurements Let us suppose that we wish to plot position 070ºT Greenwich Lanby LH 7.

1 (a) the monument on the southern edge of Farlow Bay. What is the true bearing and distance of (a) (b) (c) (d) Danger point monument from Linards Point LH Misery Point LH from Colville Point LH Cape Donne LH from South Head LH Sweetwater Church from False Cape old LH Answers on page 120 92 . Write your answers on a separate piece of paper. (c) Fraser pilot boarding position.9N 06º02'. Without looking at a compass rose or a protractor. SE. E. not on your chart. Describe fully the chart symbol in each of the following positions: (a) (b) (c) (d) 4.8N 05º45'. 2.4W State the latitude and longitude of the position 245º from Christopher Point LH 6. (a) (b) express this course in 3-figure notation what is the distance between the two positions? 6.0M east of Arundells Point red and white beacon. Carry out your plotting lightly with a freshly sharpened soft (2B) pencil and erase any previous work on your chart before starting.Chart measurements Self-test exercise N2(1) For this exercise use Chart RYA 3 and TA.0M south west of Hill Head to 1.5N 06º11'. Plot the course from the Ocean Data-Acquisition System (ODAS) superbuoy (about 3. 1.4W 45º38'. (d) the dangerous wreck about half a mile north of Point Victoria.0M 5. state between which of the eight cardinal and inter-cardinal points (N. 46º23'. 3. (b) the wreck showing at the level of chart datum on the southern edge of Glyn Reef to the west of Slade Island. NE.5W 46º06'.5N 05º54'.6W 46º13'. (e) Steven’s Rock raido direction finding station. etc) the following three-figure directions lie (a) 327º (b) 149º (c) 293º (d) 067º (e) 195º (f) 259º State the latitude and longitude of the following to the nearest 0'.

Much more information is needed to give a full illustration of all the services and safety provisions available in our chosen sailing area. Alexander Dalrymple in 1795 became the first British Hydrographer. It gives a comprehensive list of all relevant charts and publications. the limits of all small craft editions of Admiralty charts and lists all small craft products together with the titles of small craft editions. Tide Tables in 1833 and Notices to Mariners in 1834 by which time over 2000 Admiralty charts had been published. Nautical publications and chart correction Publications in general Excellent as navigational charts are. Dalrymple's successor. together with warnings of the hazards which may be encountered and advice on how best to avoid them. The Sailing Directions and the Lights Lists were introduced in the 1820s. and 'commercial' books published by various companies. The principal ones are: Home waters catalogue NP 109 . the 'official' books produced by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. The Admiralty publications There can be little doubt that the most complete and authoritative publications are those produced by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office.2. backed up where necessary with other source material. pictorially. He prevailed upon the Admiralty to sell naval charts to anyone interested in buying them and to ensure that naval ships should carry out the surveys. RYA TA has been produced to give representative information to cover the same area as RYA Charts 3 and 4 and it will be used throughout this course. at best they can only give a 'flat' two dimensional picture of an area. Because European colonisation and trade had spread worldwide the 18th century saw the establishment of Hydrographic Offices in many countries. Thomas Hurd (Hydrographer 1808 to 1823) was the first of a long line of naval officers to hold the title. the first being France in 1720 and Denmark in 1784. These data can be extracted from a variety of nautical reference books which can be grouped into two categories. Of some 240 publications currently in print those which directly concern the leisure user have been prepared in a format specially designed for small craft. From this a smaller version is produced called Catalogue of Small Craft Products NP 109A which shows. and the chart agents from whom they may be obtained. RYA TA contains extracts from many reference sources listed on its title page (page 1). most of which reproduce information originally supplied by the Admiralty to augment their own texts. his work being largely devoted to sorting out the mass of hydrographical information that had come in to the Admiralty from naval vessels during voyages all over the world.all Admiralty charts of the British Isles are shown together with continental waters from Bordeaux to the Texel. 93 .

and the Sail and Power Nautical Almanac (previously published by Boatswain Press). weather. A new edition of each volume is published about every 18 months. Some of the information contained in RYA TA is a reprint from Macmillan which offers data on radio and visual aids to navigation. Symbols and Abbreviations used on Admiralty Charts (NP 5011) . The Macmillan-Reeds Nautical Almanac (which will be referred to as Macmillan throughout your course) is published by Nautical Data Ltd. safety. The use of these tables is described later in this course but in the meantime you can see extracts from them on pages 33 to 35 of RYA TA (and throughout that volume). British Islands and Adjacent Waters contains charts illustrating the directions and rates of the tidal streams around the British Isles based on the times of high water at Dover. They are the 'handy hints' derived from the experiences of many navigators. radio weather services. Admiralty Notices to Mariners are described under Chart correction later in this chapter. Volume A of which covers the British Isles. or the Lights List as it is usually called. Atlas of Tides and Tidal Streams. nine of which are devoted to the coasts and adjacent waters of the British Isles. The Macmillan-Reeds Loose-Leaf Almanac (another Nautical Data publication) combines a log book with an almanac of tidal data. etc). Admiralty Tide Tables are published annually in four volumes covering the world. is a stand-alone handbook of the essential navigational information needed by yachtsmen sailing the waters around the United Kingdom and Ireland. it takes the place of the former Seafile. There is also a series of pocket Tidal Stream Atlases. inshore passages and local weather they have no equal. port radio stations. local harbour authorities. radio navigational aids (such as radio beacons. These volumes include information on coast radio stations. there is one in particular which seeks to combine as many perspectives as can be reasonably contained within a single volume. The Almanac. harbour. current and tidal streams. For descriptions of coastal features. Lights Lists contain detailed descriptions of all navigation lights (except lightbuoys) and fog signals. routeing and detailed information on numerous ports and yacht harbours. The Macmillan-Reeds Nautical Almanac combines the best features of the former Macmillan Nautical Almanac. and the European waters from Denmark to the Franco-Spanish Atlantic border. pilotage. Volume 1 covering European waters including the Mediterranean Sea. as more information is given in the Lists than on the charts. etc. is published in eleven volumes covering the world. 94 . The Admiralty List of Radio Signals is published periodically in eight volumes which are corrected up to date by Notices to Mariners. satellite navigation systems and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). Examples of tidal stream charts can be seen on pages 13 to 25 of RYA TA. surveyors.Nautical publications and chart correction Admiralty Sailing Directions (or pilot books as they are frequently called) number 74 volumes covering the world. Produced in loose-leaf format (to allow ease of updating). Commercial nautical publications While there are far fewer commercial publications dedicated to a single aspect of navigation than are produced by the Hydrographic Office. routeing and safety information. radar stations. the now defunct Reeds Nautical Almanac. covering particular areas around the British Isles. Admiralty List of Lights and Fog Signals.originally produced in chart form (and still called Chart 5011) this handy A4 booklet contains a wealth of information in colour to enable you to 'decipher' the many symbols used. issued yearly. and should always be consulted in addition to the chart whenever these lights are used.

They usually include photographs and chartlets of harbours to help visitors when approaching an unfamiliar port. possibly followed by one or more dates. and on the extreme left below the bottom border will be found a line of figures headed ' Notices to Mariners'. 95 . Chart correction It is necessary to understand the 'dating' on charts. Continental coasts and the Mediterranean. Under the bottom border of every chart. On proper navigation charts (but not instructional charts supplied with this course) to the right of the inscription there is the notation 'New Editions'. etc since little provision is generally made for correcting them after publication. and are unlikely to be up to date in respect of lights. such as the Cruising Association Handbook. is the inscription. the addition of newly discovered dangers. The same proviso applies to cruising guides and handbooks produced by various clubs and associations. A number of pilot books for yachtsmen are published commercially covering limited areas such as the most popular cruising areas of the English Channel. Figure 11: Examples of Admiralty Notices to Mariners Admiralty Notices to Mariners are published weekly but there is also a special small craft edition for British and adjacent continental waters which is published four times a year and contains amendments of particular significance to smaller boats. and so on. together with information on the local facilities available. The information from which hand-inserted Small Corrections can be made is issued by the Admiralty in small booklets called Admiralty Notices to Mariners which contain details of changes and alterations to the position or descriptions of buoys and lightvessels. which states the date of the original publication of the chart and the name of the responsible Hydrographer. They are always to be regarded as supplementary to the information on the corrected chart. alterations to the sectors over which a light is shown. as this will enable you to see whether or not you are using an up-to-date copy. leading marks.Nautical publications and chart correction Nautical Data also publish abridged almanacs under the Macmillan name covering such favoured cruising areas as the Channel and the west coast of Scotland. These publications can be very useful but are not necessarily uniform in their quality or their coverage of different sections of the coast. but not overriding the chart. buoys. in the middle.

the date of the reprint enclosed in square brackets is shown. so it is possible to check that no correction has been missed. This should be done in violet waterproof ink. Each Notice shows the number of the last correction to the charts affected. and the year and Notices to Mariners number of each correction should be noted in the bottom left-hand corner of the chart after 'Notices to Mariners'. The first sort is always announced by a Notice to Mariners.Nautical publications and chart correction A typical extract from Admiralty Notices to Mariners is shown in fig 11. Thus the line of Notices to Mariners may contain intimations of important and less important amendments in the following manner: 96 . Because of frequent corrections by Notices to Mariners. which is of course a very tedious business. each to the precise scale of that particular chart. 2045. while improving the chart. so charts are reprinted frequently with the corrected information included and the Notices to Mariners numbers inserted after Notices to Mariners in the bottom left-hand corner of the chart. etc) will also have blocks prepared for them. from which the navigator's copy can be corrected by hand. Such a block with its accompanying Notice to Mariners is shown in figs 12 (notice) and 13 (block). It will be seen that the block only pertains to chart 2050. only a limited number of copies are printed at a time. are not vital to its practical utility. Figure 12: Examples of Notices to Mariners requiring a printed block There are two principal sorts of Small Corrections: those which are of immediate importance to safe navigation and those which. When the correction is too large to be completed neatly by hand a printed 'block' is produced which must be cut out neatly and glued in exactly the right place on the chart. If some minor improvements are made which have not been the subject of a Notice to Mariners. and since no chart is ever sold (by appointed chart agents) which is not up-to-date. The other charts shown in the correction (3418. Stocks are corrected by hand.

2000-106 This notation shows that the chart was corrected from Notices to Mariners 1219 and 2243 of 1997. You will become more familiar with some of these as the course unfolds and it is not intended that they should be the subject of self-test or tutor-marked assessment questions.12]-1998-159-[1. 97 .Nautical publications and chart correction To accompany Admiralty Notice to Mariners No 3196 to 1998 Block for Chart No 2050 Figure 13: One of the blocks to accompany the Notice to Mariners in figure 12 Notices to Mariners: 1997-1219-2243-[22. Weekly and small craft editions of Admiralty Notices to Mariners can be obtained from Admiralty chart agents and depots. Personal checklist Chapter 2 has given you an insight into some of the extensive list of nautical books which are available to assist safe navigation. from British Mercantile Marine Offices and Customs Houses. 87 of 1999 and (by hand) 106 of 2000. and certain yacht clubs and marinas. The UK Hydrographic Office publishes a useful booklet (NP 294) entitled How to Correct your Charts the Admiralty Way. This is available from Admiralty chart agents.3]-1999-87. Minor amendments were made on 22 December 1997 and on 1 March 1998 while further corrections were incorporated from Notices to Mariners 159 of 1998. with the exception of the sample of symbols and abbreviations from NP 5011 as listed in the RYA Training Almanac.

We cannot plot magnetic bearings on the chart so we must first convert to a true bearing by applying the variation for the area in which we are sailing. because some time may have elapsed since her position was established with any accuracy. but to start with we shall introduce the technique of position fixing. This is because it takes time to observe. a beacon or a water tower for instance. The easiest way to obtain a visual position line is to use the hand-bearing compass as described in module 1. In fig 14 the navigator is observing a chimney which bears 065ºM.3. Figure 14 98 .predicting the future position by plotting the course steered and the distance run and allowing for the influence of wind and tidal stream. You will see that our definition included the proviso 'as nearly as possible to present time'. and that the procedure for converting from magnetic to true was outlined in module 1). record and plot the necessary bearings on a chart so we are really plotting where we were (at the time of observation) rather than where we are (having completed the necessary calculations and plotting). The two main reasons for fixing a boat's position are 1.defining our location relative to charted features as nearly as possible to present time dead reckoning (DR) . When the yacht is close enough to the land to observe charted landmarks we can take their bearings and obtain position lines which can then be plotted. A position line is any straight or curved line drawn on the chart on which the yacht's position is known to lie. DR and EP will be discussed later in this module. A pencil line is now drawn on the chart leading towards the charted position of the observed landmark in the same direction as the true bearing. 2. Any charted landmark can be used as long as it is clearly recognisable . to find out where she really is. (You'll remember that variation is shown on the compass roses on the chart.a lighthouse. and that she is continuing to follow a safe course. Fixing your boat's position Position lines There are three principal methods by which we establish our position at sea: • • • position fixing .predicting our future position by using only the course steered and the distance run with no external influences intruding estimated position (EP) . to establish or to confirm the course and speed being made good.

If the magnetic variation for your locality is 5ºE. this would not be a fix because. so that the third bearing will confirm (or not) the other two. the fix in fig 16 will represent your true position at 0900. suppose that in addition to observing the church at 0900 you also took a bearing of the chimney and found this to be 070ºM. Note that each of the two position lines has an arrow at its outer end and that the point of intersection has been ringed with a small circle. 99 . This would be a position line. for example.Fixing your boat’s position Suppose. then the true bearing of the church would be 355ºM + 5ºE = 360ºT (or due north). would jot them down on a notepad quickly (before the numbers were forgotten) together with the time and the log reading (these last two being very important to enable future positions to be predicted. By applying the variation of 5ºE this would give you a true bearing of 075ºT. Turning to your chart. at 0900 you observe the church spire in fig 15 with your hand-bearing compass and find the bearing to be 355ºM. which when plotted on your chart would intersect with the bearing of the church as shown in fig 16. so it is usual in navigation to observe three bearings to fix the boat's position. So to fix the yacht's position in the previous example her navigator would in practice observe three prominent and charted landmarks as nearly simultaneously as possible. as will be shown later). However. Where two or more position lines intersect constitutes a fix. you would draw a pencil line towards the church in the direction 360ºT as shown in fig 15. In navigation. and having identified the same church as the one you observed. To obtain a fix you must have at least two position lines. In the above example. The correct symbol for a position line is a single arrow at its outer end as shown in fig 15. Provided that your observations have been accurate and that your hand-bearing compass has not been influenced by any magnetic forces other than variation. Figure 15 : Observing and plotting a bearing However. the symbol for a fix is a dot surrounded by a small circle thus. because if your bearing was an accurate one your boat must lie somewhere along it. you still do not know precisely where. then. although you know you must lie somewhere on this position line. you cannot be Figure 16: Two-bearing fix absolutely sure of these provisions. returning to the chart table.

Other possible causes of error include misidentification of one of the marks. if the present position is really uncertain). the fix must be retaken and plotted (and it will be prudent to slow. in turn. How do we adjust the plotting to cope with a cocked hat? If a very large cocked hat occurs. church B and chimney C at 0900 when the log reads 27.0 CHURCH B 355ºM 5ºE 360ºT CHIMNEY C 070ºM 5ºE 075ºT These three position lines would be plotted on the chart as shown in fig 17. . This is the standard to aim for. at sea. The term 'position line' is usually abbreviated to P/L. provided that there are no hazards in the immediate vicinity and the cocked hat is small.Fixing a boat’s position Figure 17 TIME 0900 Let us suppose the navigator observes lighthouse A. careful display of your data and calculations is vital to safety. then it is acceptable to make the centre of the triangle the boat's position. In practice. misreading the compass. three position lines only rarely intersect at a common point. showing that there is a mistake in one of the position lines. In practice. in this case intersecting at a common point marked with the fix symbol. Why? Because. may spell disaster. 100 An example of this can be seen in fig 18. and which will be expected in all your arithmetical workings throughout the course. or using the hand-bearing compass where it is affected by ferrous metal or electrical equipment which has induced deviation (see module 1). The notebook entry would look something like this: LIGHTHOUSE A 286ºM Variation 5ºE True bearings to plot on chart 291ºT LOG 27. or even heave to. the time and the log reading. Careless scribbling can produce errors which. Please note the neat. logical presentation of the bearing conversions (from magnetic to true in this case) for the 'navigator's notebook' entry in this example. particularly if the boat is moving fast or the observer is unsteady in a rough sea. as shown in fig 17. If there is a hazard on the course ahead (or close to it) we should assume a position on the corner of the cocked hat nearest to that hazard. It is much more likely that they will form a triangle known as a cocked hat. using the wrong variation.

30 knots and there is a time delay of 20 seconds between the observations of each of three bearings. say. log reading 39 a motorboat on course 065ºT is passing north of Sark when HB compass bearings are taken of Point Robert LH 213ºM.Fixing your boat’s position Figure 18: Plotting a course from a cocked hat At. 101 . the boat will have travelled 666 yards (610 metres) between the first and final bearings so a cocked hat is automatically 'built in'. 2010. Noire Pute LH 247ºM and Platte Fougère LH 279ºM. building rough seas over the Banc). our predicted course 065ºT takes us too close for comfort. But if (as we ought to do) we assumed our position to be the northeastern apex of the cocked hat. It might then be considered sensible to alter course 20º or so to starboard until the Banc is well clear abaft our port beam before resuming course 065ºT (particularly if the wind is of any strength. say. They will be entered in the navigator's notebook as TIME 2010 LOG 39 COURSE 065ºT POINT ROBERT LH 7ºW 206ºT 213ºM NOIR PUTE LH 7ºW 240ºT 247ºM PLATTE FOUGÈRE LH 279ºM 7ºW 272ºT (from chart) variation When these true bearings are plotted a cocked hat results. If we plotted course 065ºT from the centre of the triangle (pecked line in figure 18) we would pass more than a mile south of Banc de la Schôle. Cocked hat? If you are in a motorboat moving at.

As shown in fig19. etc. because the effect of any small errors in observing or plotting is thus decreased. water towers. Never observe bearings where the angle of cut is less than 30º or more than 150º since position lines so obtained will be unreliable. or any electrical equipment such as instrument display panels. 102 . For the same reason. and of course their moorings may drag. the mark should not be observed for a fix. church spires and towers. islets (which always appear much bigger in reality than they do on a chart). particularly conspicuous objects such as lighthouses. We must always be very careful if we choose a floating object such as a buoy for a fixing mark. If in any doubt about the identification of a mark on the chart. radio masts. at low water buoys may not be Figure 19: Floating objects as fixing marks in their charted positions. chimneys. be so placed that their bearings differ by nearly 90º. Where a yacht's position can only be fixed by two bearings the objects chosen should. if possible. Further considerations to observe in visual fixing are: • • • • • choose nearer objects in preference to distant ones since any angular errors in the bearing will be magnified with distant marks bearings on the bow or quarter should be observed first since bearings abeam will alter more rapidly off-lying marks may merge with the background and be difficult to locate visually although clearly identifiable on the chart at night. three bearings should have a relative difference of 60º. and the ends of land such as headlands. Wearing steel-rimmed spectacles can also have a devastating effect on an HB compass.Fixing your boat’s position Achieving good visual fixes When sailing in coastal waters ('coasting') we should always be looking ahead for landmarks suitable for fixing the vessel's position. fishing or other small boats bobbing up and down on the waves or car headlights ashore can easily be confused with the lights of a lighthouse ensure the HB compass is not held close to any ferrous metal such as standing rigging or metal stanchions. all of which are usually clearly identifiable on the chart. unless they have steep vertical drops into the sea (sloping ends of land may in fact continue to slope below the horizon so that the point observed is not the end of the land at all). Marks not so good for fixing are hills (which appear different from varying directions). all of which could induce deviation.

Fig 21 shows what the transit might look like from seaward and fig 20 depicts the transit plotted on the chart (with the bearing subsequently measured as 223ºT). The transit is the finest visual source of position line. We don't even need a compass observation (although it is customary to take one in order to check for deviation).Figure 21: Transit seen from seaward 103 .4) Madeux beacon in transit with the middle one of the three coastal water towers at Saint-Quay-Portrieux. Since we must be somewhere on that line any HB compass cross-bearing of another mark will establish our position. because once the two charted objects are sighted in line with each other it follows that our boat must lie along the extension of that line. Let us suppose that we are sailing in the western part of the Baie de Saint-Brieuc when we observe at 1410 (log reading 62.Figure 20 : Transit plotted on chart Foreground . Background .Fixing your boat’s position Other types of position lines and fixes We introduced the concept of the transit in chapter 3 of module 1 but only in the context of checking for deviation and compass error.

A gently shelving seabed can give very inaccurate contour readings particularly where there is a high rise and fall of tide. Beneath it is shown the seabed contour profile exactly following this line. A depth contour line can be used to obtain a P/L by using an echo.sounder (or a hand lead line in shallower water). through a difficult approach into a harbour. Several are shown on Chart RYA 3. even allowing for the vertical exaggeration of the profile. the only positions in which depth contours will provide reasonably sure P/Ls are over the Banc itself and close inshore. Perhaps even more importantly. sometimes to mark the start and finish of ‘measured mile’ areas but more often to provide an exact steering line. It will be seen that. Figure 22 : P/L from a depth contour Figure 23:Seabed profile : Banc de la Schole to Dielette 104 . Fig 22 shows how the position line curves along the depth contour.Fixing your boat’s position When using a transit remember that the greater the distance between the two charted objects. the greater will be the accuracy achieved. most are lit. a typical example of leading lights being at the entrance to Victoria (between Greinsham Point and Knights Bank). Marks in transit are often deliberately constructed. It is vital to remember that the accuracy of such a P/L depends upon the definition of the seabed contours on the chart. allowing night access too. neither of which is a desirable place to be! Between these points the bottom shelves far too gradually for accurate navigation (about 25 metres in 12 miles) and this in an area where the tidal level may rise and fall 8 metres twice each day. called a leading line. Fig 23 shows a line drawn east/west in the area from Banc de la Schôle to just north of Diélette.

if possible. a good fix would result. if the depth contour P/L in fig 22 were crossed with P/Ls from one or more visual bearings of objects ashore. from which to observe bearings list methods of obtaining position lines (other than visually) and appreciate their shortcomings explain the navigational values of a charted transit.Fixing your boat’s position A mixed fix is one where P/Ls from different sources have been combined. time and log reading appreciate the requirement for neat. a third bearing should be added to confirm the first two show how to annotate the fix position on the chart with the correct symbol. logical entries in the navigator's notebook realise that three bearing fixes usually result in a small cocked hat choose the safest position within the cocked hat in which to plot the fix differentiate between good and poor seamarks and landmarks. 105 . A summary of position lines and a comparison of their potential accuracy will be given in module 5. For instance. Personal checklist on completion of chapter 3 You should now be able to • • • • • • • • • • • • name the three principal methods by which we establish our position at sea recognise the requirement to know a vessel's position at all times define a position line explain how a visual bearing of a charted object taken by HB compass is plotted on a chart demonstrate that a second bearing taken immediately after the first will constitute a fix but that.

Vincent LH Plot the bearings. From a motor yacht south of Fiddler’s Race the following HB compass bearings were observed at 1542 (log 16. All conventional symbols and notation described in this module so far must be shown on your chartwork. (a) (b) what type of fix is this? 052ºM state the latitude and longitude of the fix position. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) Does visual fixing indicate a vessel's present position? Explain your answer. (a) (b) what type of fix is this? state the latitude and longitude of the fix position. Erase all previous work from your chart and plot lightly with a soft (2B) pencil.3): Pentire Island LH Race Rock LH Tintagel Island LH Plot the bearings. Data and calculations should be written on a separate piece of paper (not on your chart). Give an example. 2.8): Token Rocks LH 297ºM Cape S. The navigator of a yacht east of Dymond Reef observes the following HB compass bearings at 0555 (log 48.Fixing your boat’s position Self-test exercise N2(2) 1. Why do we need to fix a vessel's position? What is a position line? How many position lines constitute a position fix? In what part of a cocked hat should we assume our position to be? reliable position line? What criteria must be borne in mind when accepting a depth contour line as a Define a mixed fix. 3. (g) For questions 2 to 6 of this exercise use Chart RYA 3 and assume variation 7ºW. 051ºM 345ºM 309ºM 106 .

while Guillemot I. LH bears 307ºC. (a) (b) find the compass error and deviation for the yacht's present heading state the latitude and longitude of her position. LH 084ºM Plot the bearings.Fixing your boat’s position 4. Approaching Stubbington Bay (approx 46º18’N 06º11’W) from the south west on course 050ºM the skipper of a sloop observes the following bearings on her HB compass at 1905(log 104. Anthony’s Head light 020ºM 097ºM At the same time the corrected depth on the echo-sounder shows 100m. 5. (a) (b) (c) Cape Woodward Coastguard Station what type of fix is this? South Falls Martello Tower 350ºM 041ºM state the latitude and longitude of the fix position you have chosen give your reason(s) for selecting the position in (b). At 1104 (log 27. from a yacht approaching South Douglas Sound from seaward the navigator observes (using an HB compass) Mount Douglas in transit with South Head LH bearing 042ºC. Using an HB compass the navigator takes the following bearings at 1028 (log 71. shallowing. A yacht is on course 060ºM in the Falls Deep channel.6): West Point light S.4) Guillemot I. Answers on page 121 107 .7). Plot the fix position. (a) (c) (b) what type of fix is this? state the latitude and longitude of the fix position what position fixing value would you place upon the sounding taken? 6.

When these are not available we must fall back on our own resources and find some other means to keep track of our boat's position. Whatever the conditions. say. and unless external positioning sources can be incorporated at suitable intervals the errors of the DR will rapidly accumulate to a point where it becomes difficult to make sensible decisions. a DR can always be maintained using the simple onboard instruments of compass and log. at one mile intervals along the course steered line. Working up positions The dead reckoning (DR) position Having examined position fixing. These forecast positions are dead reckoning (DR) positions and the conventional symbol for a DR is +. and keeping a record of their readings in the log book. DR takes into account only two factors. depth soundings and radio navigational aids. the course steered and the distance run through the water. DR positions are important since they give an indication of the vessel's present and future positions . Dead reckoning is the name given to the process of working up the position of a vessel from the last reliable fix by taking account of the direction and distance that the vessel travels from that position. From this fix the navigator would draw in a line representing the course that is being steered. It can indicate future approximate positions but its accuracy is limited. If the boat's speed through the water as indicated by the log is. Since the expression has been in use at sea for about five hundred years it is more likely to have implied working towards the unknown because 'dead' seas to a sailor were those of which very little was known. the navigator could mark the boat's forecast positions with a small cross. then she will cover one mile every 12 Figure 24 minutes. the most accurate of the three positioning methods listed at the start of the last section. or which existed only in rumour. Position fixing relies on the ability to establish position lines from one or more external sources such as landmarks. we now turn our attention to the least precise which is called dead reckoning and almost always abbreviated to DR. A DR has only limited accuracy. in this case 100ºT. So.4. As you can see. Suppose a fix obtained at 0700 is plotted on the chart as shown in fig 24. 5 knots. 108 . The term 'dead reckoning' is thought by some to have evolved from 'ded. as shown in fig 24. reckoning' an abbreviation of 'deduced reckoning' but this origin is highly debatable.because by the time a fix has been plotted the vessel has moved on. It is the only means by which a position can be worked up without reference to the world outside the vessel.

But if another fix is obtained at 1330 [figure 25 (b)] which shows that the boat is some distance to the right of the indicated track. mild panic would ensue while a feverish attempt to update the plot was underway. No rocks.. times and log readings (see Log books in module 1).. Figure 25 We shall shortly explore the factors that account for the discrepancy between the predicted DR and the fix but despite its limitations we must always maintain a DR plot • • because a DR is derived from sources within the vessel (direction and speed) and is always available because it is a valuable check on outside observations as it is totally independent of them .Working up positions When we are next able to obtain a positional fix the forecast DR must be updated. you are taking a well-earned break below when at 1047 the helmsman shouts "Skipper! I'm going to have to alter course for a sailing yacht in a few minutes. • At its simplest... wrecks.consistency between independent sources of information is always a great comfort in navigation but most importantly because a DR position is needed as a starting point for more advanced plots and calculations... 109 .. And all the time that sailing yacht is getting closer. DR navigation requires no more than the meticulous recording of courses. Are we OK to turn to starboard?". However.. For example. followed by a very simple plotting exercise.. the course steered (080ºT) is plotted from the fix and the DR predictions for 1330 and 1400 are marked along that track. A quick glance at the cabin clock and at the chart shows that we should be about midway between the predicted DR positions for 1030 and 1100. a fix at 0920. in order to have a more accurate forecast of present and future positions the navigator needs to take into account additional factors such as the wind and the tidal stream to give the best possible estimate of the vessel's position. On passage in your motor yacht. say. cup of tea in hand. shallows or other hazards are indicated within five miles to starboard and you give the helmsman immediate reassurance. as will be shown later in this module. But if no DR had been plotted since. if the navigator of the boat in fig 25(a) obtains a fix at 1300. the DR must then be predicted and plotted from the new fix.

but because of the north-easterly wind she is moving through the water to the right of this track. Except when she is sailing with the wind astern. sideways movement is called leeway. (She will be crabbing through the water. The leeway angle is xº and the water track is 090ºT plus xº. Note (from figure 28) that if the wind had been on the other bow (say from a south-easterly direction) the yacht would be blown to left of track and the leeway angle would be subtracted from the course steered. and so on.west wind is one which is blowing from SW towards NE. Figure 27 : Leeway angle added 110 . a north wind is one which is blowing from north towards south. A sailing yacht cannot sail directly into the wind. hull and gear. If the leeway angle in figure 28 is 5º then the water track will be 085ºT (course steered 090ºT minus 5º). As shown. Similarly a south. besides moving forwards she will be pushed sideways by the pressure of the wind on her sails.Working up positions The wind and leeway in navigation The first thing to note about wind at sea is that wind directions are always given as the directions from which the wind is blowing.) A power driven yacht can move directly into wind but she will similarly be subjected to sideways movement unless the wind is from ahead or astern. and the more packages you are carrying. You have been subjected to leeway. using the compass point notation rather than the three-figure notation (see fig 26). This downwind. If the leeway angle is 5º then the water track is (090º plus 5º) = 095ºT. Leeway is defined as the angle in degrees between the course being steered and the track that the vessel is making through the water (which is called the water track). The more clothing that you are wearing. Constant correction of your balance and steering is needed to prevent being blown into the path of oncoming vehicles or swerving in front of those approaching from astern. If you have ever ridden a bicycle along a very windy street you will have been aware how difficult it is to maintain your intended line of advance. the worse the effect. Figure 26 : Wind direction In fig 27 the yacht is being steered on course 090ºT.

Working up positions Fig 29 illustrates a sailing yacht tacking against the wind where the course steered is shown in continuous line and the water track in pecked line. Figure 28 : Leeway angle susbtracted Figure 29 : Leeway angle alternating To avoid any confusion as to how to apply leeway. otherwise the deviation obtained from the deviation card may be in error 111 . strength of wind. speed. The designer's figures may help but. how to do this in a later module. It is much more usual (as you would expect) to steer to compensate for leeway in order to stay on our intended track. in the end. the golden rule is always draw a sketch for leeway problems. leeway angles up to 20º can be experienced. Note carefully that leeway should be applied only to a true course. At this stage of your course we are introducing the concept of leeway. or motoring head or stern to wind. At best this can only be an approximation. freeboard. design characteristics. It will be seen that the leeway angle (assuming 5º) is minus on the 1st leg but it is plus on the 2nd leg. in detail. (Leeway is at its maximum when close-hauled and nil when running free. state of the sea and her point of sailing. Figure 30 : Leeway estimate by wake angle leeway can only be reliably decided by building up a continuing record of your own yacht's performance in a wide variety of wind. How do we estimate leeway? The amount of leeway made depends upon a vessel's draught. We shall examine. A rough estimate of leeway is sometimes made by taking a bearing of the wake and comparing this with the reciprocal of the compass heading as in fig 30.) In strong winds with steep seas. never to a compass course or a magnetic course. sea and point of sailing conditions.

Fig 31 : Fair and foul tidal streams .Working up positions The effect of tidal streams and currents The body of water which supports a boat may move horizontally under the influence of a current (caused by the long-term circulation of water round the globe) or tidal streams (caused by the gravitational effect of the sun and the moon). we must be able to find out the likely directions in which they will flow and their likely velocities. The distance a given current or tidal stream will move in a given interval of time. and if a stream is said to be 'setting 270º' this means it is flowing from east towards west. suppose a boat is steering a course 090ºT at a speed of 5 knots through the water in a tidal stream also setting 090º at 2 knots. but for the moment an important fact to remember in connection with all horizontal movements of water (currents and tidal streams) is that they are always named according to the direction in which they are flowing. The velocity of a current or tidal stream expressed in knots. Another name for the direction in which a body of water is moving is set. so remember: WIND WATER is named according to the direction from which it blows is named according to the direction towards which it flows Terms used in connection with currents and tidal streams are: SET DRIFT RATE The direction in which a current or tidal stream is moving (in 3-figure notation true). the T is sometimes omitted. will be set in an 050ºT direction and will drift 2 miles in one hour. In order to make allowances for the effect of currents or tidal streams. the course of a vessel will only affect the vessel's speed. rate 2 knots. In fig 31(a). A vessel which experiences a tidal stream setting 050º. The effect of a current or tidal stream which is running with. If the water in which a boat moves is itself moving. or directly against. Directions quoted for currents and streams in this way are always expressed true in three-figure notation. Here. the boat's speed over the ground is 5 2 = 3 knots. since the movement of the water is in the opposite direction to that in which the boat is moving through it. and shown in miles and tenths of miles. the boat is still steering 090ºT at a speed of 5 knots through the water but this time the tidal stream is setting in the exact opposite direction 270º at 2 knots. The boat's speed through the water and the movement of that water itself in the same direction will complement each other. so that the boat's speed over the ground (seabed or earth's surface) is 5 + 2 = 7 knots. How to obtain this information will be described in some detail in module 5 Tides and Tidal Streams. or 1 mile in half an hour. This is the exact opposite to the way a wind is named according to the direction from which it blows. and so on. A current setting 180º is flowing from north towards south. As it is always true. then the navigator will not know the boat's position unless a suitable allowance is made. 112 In fig 31(b).

the bearing of the harbour the powerboat has just left is not 345ºT (the reciprocal of the course steered). If we assume that there is no leeway the angular difference between the course steered and the ground track is caused by the tidal stream movement setting the craft bodily downstream as shown in fig 32(a). or speed made good (abbreviated to SOG). The effect of a current or tidal stream which is running in any direction other than directly with or directly against the course of the boat will affect both the track and the speed of the boat. Unfortunately. called the ground track (GT). but. but is shown here to emphasise the fact that the boat's head always points in the direction of the course steered. The course steered is the direction of the boat's heading. this is seldom the case.) As we shall see in module 5 considerable information is available to help us in predicting the direction and rate of tidal streams but. not in the direction of the ground track. because she is crabbing sideways. in retrospect. Figure 32: Effect of the tidal stream across vessel’s course 113 . with what we have already discussed. but note that the boat's head always points in the direction of the course steered. the tidal stream that we have encountered. but the track made good is the direction of the track relative to the seabed. In other words it is our actual track across the surface of the earth and is measured from the true meridian only (so all ground tracks are expressed as true). The speed over the ground. in which a powerboat leaves a harbour steering a course of 165ºT obliquely across a tidal stream which is setting 270º. 005ºT so that the ground track must be 005ºT + 180º = 185ºT. it is at least possible to determine. Before we look at how this is done there is one more word to add to our navigational vocabulary and that is vector. This shown in fig 32.Working up positions Note that in both cases the log used by the yacht only registers the speed through the water. This would be drawn on a chart as shown in fig 32(c) in which the line with the single arrow represents the course steered and the line with the double arrow represents the ground track. If the tidal stream was always directly with us or directly against us our calculation of SMG would be relatively simple. say. must be calculated either by adding or subtracting the velocity of the tidal stream. (The figure of the boat would not of course be drawn on the chart. In fig 32(b) it can be seen that after steering for some time a course of 165ºT.

It is called estimated position.wind and tidal stream . The best possible approximation of our present or future position takes into account the factors involved in DR but also allows for the external factors . Please note the correct chartwork symbols and apply them in all your future plotting: • • • the water track vector is marked with a single arrow the ground track vector (between the 1700 and 1800 fix positions) is marked with two arrows the tidal stream vector is marked with three arrows Finally. and this is a point which will be emphasised frequently. By joining the 1800 DR to the 1800 fix we obtain the tidal stream vector. obtaining a fix at 1700 and another fix at 1800. Each of the lines in the triangle shown in fig 38 is a vector because it indicates both direction (by measurable angle on the chart) and magnitude (by its measurable length on the chart). In fig 33 the tidal stream experienced between 1700 and 1800 was 340º at 2 knots. abbreviated to EP and shown on the chart as a triangular symbol 114 . say. as in this case. and by measuring its direction accurately with a protractor or parallel rule we get the TS direction. while its length represents the drift of the TS. given the course steered and the vessel's ground track. marked on the chart with the symbol +. a vessel steers 100ºT Figure 33: A vector triangle at 7 knots for one hour. In fig 33. 2 miles this means the TS has a rate of 2 knots if our triangle is for a period of one hour. If this is. the ground track vector had been measured between 1700 and 1900 then the water track length would have been (2 hours x 7 knots) 14 miles long and the tidal stream vector would be 4 miles long  4 miles  = 2 knots    2 hours  The estimated position (EP) We have already seen that a position obtained using only the true course steered and the distance run by log is called a (dead reckoning) DR position. say. ALL THREE SIDES OF A VECTOR TRIANGLE MUST REPRESENT THE SAME ELAPSED TIME In fig 33 each of the three vectors represents one hour but if. If we assume that the force moving a vessel from its DR position is tidal stream only we can find the direction and rate of the tidal stream.which conspire to move our boat away from the DR position.Working up positions A vector is a line that represents both direction and magnitude (distance).

from fix position A draw in the course steered 100ºT for 11 miles and mark the DR position. Plot 104ºT for 11 miles from fix position A. If required it can be drawn in and marked with two arrows.7 miles (in direction 111ºT). 115 . apply the leeway 4º downwind from the course steered to give the water track 104ºT. terminating in the sea position (B in fig 34). the ground track. as in fig 34.Working up positions Fig 34 and its accompanying explanation will demonstrate all these factors and show how we arrive at an EP. The motor cruiser has not followed any of them because she has been sailing along the line AC. Mark the water track with a single arrow.eastward of the course steered and to increase her ground speed. Since the time interval between fix position A and the EP at C is one hour the speed made good (SMG) by the motor cruiser has been 12. Her speed through the water is only 11 knots so the combined effect of leeway and tidal stream has been to set her south. (This step is not strictly necessary but is included to show how the various elements interrelate).7 knots. Mark the TS vector with three arrows and the EP with the triangle symbol. • • The lines drawn so far are just geometrical construction lines to help us to plot the EP. Factors involved in plotting an EP The setting • • • • • The problem What is her EP after one hour? The solution • Figure 34 a motor cruiser logging 11 knots through the water obtains a fix at position A she then steers 100ºT for the next hour the wind is northerly her estimated leeway is 4º the tidal stream is setting 150º at 2 knots. In fig 34 we used one hour vectors for convenience but EPs may be plotted for any period of time provided that all the vectors represent the same elapsed time. from the sea position plot the tidal stream vector 150º for 2 miles (the drift in one hour) to give the required EP after 1 hour (position C in fig 34). If we measure the length of the ground track we will find it to be 12.

is 4ºW wind is NW leeway is estimated at 5º the tidal stream is setting 053º at 0.6 knots 2 = 1.58M x 2) = 3. 116 .58M made good in ½ hour so the SMG (speed made good) will be (1. Mark the TS vector with three arrows.16 knots.3M on water track 025ºT to the sea position SP Mark the water track with a single arrow. say.6 knots Figure 35 The problem What will be her EP at 1000? The solution • calculate the water track course steered variation course steered leeway away from NW wind so the water track is • plot ½ hour run along the water track 024ºM 4ºW 020ºT + 5º 025ºT 2. Note that all three sides of the vector triangle represent the same (half hour) period of time.3M (the drift in ½ hour at 0. • • • from the sea position plot the tidal stream vector in direction 053º for 0. This represents a distance of 1.6 knot).Working up positions We will illustrate this in fig 35 and its accompanying explanation. The setting • • • • • • • the skipper of a sailing yacht obtains the fix shown at 0930 the yacht is being steered on course 024ºM the variation. at the end of the tidal stream vector mark the 1000 EP the ground track will be a line joining the 0930 fix to the 1000 EP.6 knot her speed through the water is 2.

sea position and EP. the EP can be derived by plotting the water track and sea position for the passage. a DR position and an EP appreciate that the two natural forces that offset a vessel from her intended track are wind (leeway) and tidal streams (or currents) recognise that the amount of leeway carried by a vessel can only be determined from experience of her behaviour in a variety of weather conditions recall that wind is named by the direction from which it blows but that water (tidal stream or current) is named for the direction towards which it flows explain tidal stream set. note that the ground track represents only the mean (the average) of the courses and tidal streams over the duration of the passage. You should now be able to • • • • • • • • • differentiate between a fix position. then adding all the tidal streams for the same number of hours consecutively. If the course steered is altered during the period of the plot. However. drift and rate define speed through the water and speed made good construct a vector triangle and identify the ground track. If any aspect needs revision this should be carried out before attempting self-test exercise N2(3). water track and tidal stream vectors by using the correct number of arrow symbols recognise that all three sides of a vector triangle must represent the same period of time plot a DR position. as shown in fig 36 for a period of 4 hours. Figure 36 Personal checklist on completion of chapter 4 We have examined a number of important concepts in this section so it will be sensible to check the following list very carefully.Working up positions For a passage of several hours. two or more water tracks can be plotted consecutively to obtain a sea position. from which the tidal streams for the same (total) period of time are plotted to derive the EP. 117 .

0) if she was steered on course 320ºM from the 1030 fix. NOT on your chart. If a yacht was steered on each of the following courses. calculate the water tracks to be plotted on her chart: Course Steered (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) 2.0 knots 118 . 067ºM 309ºM 191ºC 264ºM 142ºC Variation 4ºW 3ºE 2ºW 5ºE 2ºE 4ºW 4ºE Deviation Estimated Leeway 5º 10º 7º 5º 8º Wind N N W S E The diagram below shows a typical chartwork plot. From a yacht close south of Dymond Reef the following bearings were observed at 1030 (log reading 2.5): Robens Island Summit Warsash Rk Beacon Green Point (a) (b) 175ºM 115ºM 078ºM Plot and state the latitude and longitude of the 1030 fix. 3.2 knots 183ºT 1. then (a) (b) (c) insert the correct symbols for the water track. the ground track and the tidal stream state the type of positions shown at 1940 and 2000 state the type of positions shown at 1920 and 2020 For questions 3 to 5 plot lightly on Chart RYA 3 and assume a variation of 7ºW throughout. State the latitude and longitude of the yacht's EP at 1230 (log reading 7. Calculations and answers should be written separately. Re-draw the plot.Working up positions Self-test exercise N2(3) 1. Leeway was negligible and the tidal streams were 190ºT 1.

At sea you will find that this commonsense approach acts as a mental spur. Leeway was estimated at 6º on the first course and 8º on the second course. you will find it very much easier to continue the workings when you return.Working up positions 4.8) the navigator of a sailing yacht observed Cape. What is the latitude and longitude of her EP at 0715 (log reading 58. Vincent LH 097ºM distance 1 mile. S. rather than having to start them all over again.1250 1250 .1350 210º 218º 0. At 1150 (log reading 19. The tidal stream is setting 055º at 1.8 knot When you consult the answers please note carefully the neat.2) when course was altered to 316ºM. (a) (b) quote the latitude and longitude of the 1150 fix quote the latitude and longitude of the yacht's EP at 1350 (log reading 27. The motor yacht is being steered on course 339ºM in a SW wind and it is estimated that she is making 5º leeway. The yacht's heading was 286ºM and she continued on this course until 1240 (log 23. Try to follow this as a pattern throughout your course.7)? 5.8). 119 .4W by GPS satellite observation at 0645 (log reading 49. 'automatically' introducing the next step in the sequence.4 knots.6 knot 0. The navigator of a motor yacht fixed the vessel's position in 45º44'. the wind being SW'ly throughout. logical layout of the calculations with every line 'labelled' correctly. And if you are called away in the middle of a calculation to attend to some extraneous problem.0N 06º19'.2) if the tidal streams experienced were 1150 .

0W 45º51'.7N 05º58'. Record your final results on the assignment report card provided.7W 46º28'.2W 6 marks (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) 46º03’.9W 46º19'. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) 2. marking them with the model answers and marks which follow. (a) (b) (c) (d) 281½ºT 066ºT 141ºT 252½ºT 10. 45º51'. (no defined limits) Rock which covers and uncovers.95M 22.4N 05º54'. refer again to the text of this module and repeat the exercises.4M 4 marks 6.3M 20.1N 05º48'.5.1N 06º15'. height 1m above Chart Datum. You should work through the exercises carefully.8W (a) (b) 157ºT 6 marks 23. Answers to exercises These self-test exercises form student assignments for your course.6N 05º38'. If necessary.6N 06º18’. (a) (b) (c) (d) 5 marks 3 marks 4. Answers to exercise N2(1) 1. 5. Fishing prohibited Chimney 12 marks 3 marks 3 marks 3. 327º is between NW and N 149º is between SE and S 293º is between W and NW 067º is between NE and E 195º is between S and SW 259º is between SW and W 46º09'.3M 8 marks Total marks = 50 120 .4M 11.8W Recommended anchorage.

(a) No – it shows where we were at the time the bearings were taken. a mix of radio bearings. Chartwork symbols/notation correct? Total for question 3 = 15 marks 121 .g. visual.8W 2 marks 10 marks 3 marks See Plot on page 124.Answers to exercises Answers to exercises N2(2) 1. 2 marks • to find out where she is • to check that she is continuing to follow a safe course • to check the course and speed being made good (b) 3 marks (c) (d) (e) any straight or curved line drawn on the chart on which the vessel's position is known to lie 2 marks at least two but preferably three 1 mark • if no hazard exists. electronic radio aids.6W See Plot on page 123 Total for question 2 = 10 marks 2 marks 8 marks 3. (a) (b) two bearing visual fix 297ºM var 7ºW = 290ºT 052ºM var 7ºW = 045ºT True bearings plotted give position 45º49'.2N 05º41'. but in the period needed to record and plot the bearings the boat will have moved away from that position. the course should be projected from the apex of the triangle which is closest to the hazard 2 marks • the charted seabed must be well defined with closely spaced contours • it must not be a gently shelving beach • high rise and fall of tide may negate the depth contour (f) 3 marks (g) • a fix where two different sources (or more than two) have been used to obtain position lines • e. visual transit and/or depth contours 2 marks Total for question 1 = 15 marks 2.5N 06º13'. the centre of the triangle • if a charted hazard lies in the vicinity. (a) (b) three bearing visual fix 051ºM var 7ºW = 044ºT 345ºM var 7ºW = 338ºT 309ºM var 7ºW = 302ºT True bearings plotted give position 45º44.

9N 06º17'. Chartwork symbols/notation correct? Total for question 5 = 18 marks 3 marks 6.8W See Plot on page 126. Chartwork symbols/notation correct? 12 marks 12 marks 122 .7N 05º50'. Course 060ºM var 7ºW = course 053ºT See Plot on page 125.compass error 4ºW = 303ºT (b) plotting bearing 303ºT to cross the transit gives position 46º05'.0N 06º02'.dev 3ºE) = 4ºW (see pictorial representation below) The true bearing of Guillemot Island LH will then be 307ºC . Chartwork symbols/notation correct? Total for question 4 = 18 marks 5 marks 3 marks 5. (a) from Chart RYA 3 the transit bears Bearing 038ºT var 7ºW = but the compass bearing is so the deviation must be 038ºT 045ºM 042ºC 3ºE The compass error is therefore (var 7ºW . 5 marks See Plot on page 126. (a) (b) three bearing visual fix giving a cocked hat 084ºM var 7ºW = 077ºT 041ºM var 7ºW = 034ºT 350ºM var 7ºW = 343ºT True bearings plotted give position 46º06'. (a) (b) mixed fix using two visual bearings and a sounding 097ºM var 7ºW = 090ºT 020ºM var 7ºW = 013ºT True bearings plotted give position 46º13'.1W 2 marks 8 marks (c) the sounding generally agrees with the position indicated by the crossed bearings and confirms the accuracy of the fix.Answers to exercises 4.2W (c) 2 marks 8 marks position chosen is N apex of the cocked hat because this is closest to shallow water and toRobinson Rocks (breaks heavily) on the port bow at about one mile distant.

Answers to exercises Calculation in (a) shown pictorially Total for question 6 = 24 marks Total marks = 100 Plot for Exercise N2(2) .Question 2 123 .

Question 3 124 .Answers to exercises Plot for Exercise N2(2) .

Question 4 125 .Answers to exercises Plot for exercise N2(2) .

Answers to exercises Plot for Exercise N2(2) .Question 5 126 .

Question 6 127 .Answers to exercises Plot for Exercise N2(2) .

0N 06º19'. (a) 3 marks (b) (c) The positions at 1940 and 2020 on the water track are DRs (dead reckoning positions) 1 mark The positions at 1920 and 2020 on the ground track are fixes (observed positions) 1 mark Total for question 2 = 5 marks 3.0N 06º14'. (a) (b) 1030 fix 45º45'.1W 1230 EP 45º46'.Answers to exercises Answers to exercise N2(3) 1.7º leeway = 186ºT water track 264ºM = 269ºT + 5º leeway = 274ºT water track 142ºC = 138ºM = 140ºT + 8º leeway = 148ºT water track 1 mark 1 mark 2 marks 1 mark 2 marks Total for question 1 = 7 marks 2. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) 067ºM = 063ºT + 5º leeway = 068º T water track 309ºM = 312ºT .10º leeway = 302ºT water track 191ºC = 195ºM = 193ºT .2W see plot on page 130 Method (a) Convert the magnetic bearings to true by subtracting variation 7ºW Robens Island Summit Warsash Rk Beacon Green Point 168ºT 108ºT 071ºT 6 marks 128 .

5M Lay off given course (320ºM . This is the sea position (SP) at 0715.2M) and mark it with three arrows.49.2. Annotate it with a triangle and the time and log reading as shown on the plot on page 131. The outward end of the second TS vector is the EP for 1230 and must be marked with a triangle.7M).5 = 4. From the 0715 SP lay off the tidal stream vector 055º for 0. Mark this water track with a single arrow and the terminal point with the + symbol (1230 DR position). Difference in log readings (58.6N 06º23'.7 .5 miles. time and log reading 1230/ 7.0 .8) is 8.4 knots for ½ hour = 0.0M) and mark it with three arrows.Answers to exercises When plotted these should intersect at a single point which should be marked with a circle for a fix and annotated 1030/2. EP at 0715 is 45º52'.7M (1.5W Method : NOTE THAT THIS IS AN HALF HOUR VECTOR PROBLEM Calculate the water track: course steered variation course steered leeway away from SW wind water track Plot the GPS fix position 339ºM 7ºW 332ºT + 5º 337ºT 3 marks From the 0645 fix lay off the water track 337ºT and annotate it with a single arrow. Then plot the TS vector for the second hour (183º 1. The end of this TS vector is the EP at 0715.9M so measure this distance along the water track and mark it with a small cross.5 (b) Distance travelled through the water is the difference between the 1030 and 1230 log readings: 7.var 7ºW) = 313ºT from 1030 fix for 4. 7 marks Total for question 4 = 10 marks 129 .0 10 marks Total for question 3 = 16 marks 4. From the 1230 DR plot the tidal stream vector for the first hour (190º 1.

time and log reading.1350 was 4. For example.0N 06º12'. Annotate this fix with a circle time and log reading. (a) (b) Method Calculate the true bearings and courses: Cape S. From the end of this vector lay off the second TS vector 218º for 0.2 .Answers to exercises 5. Difference in log readings 1150 .4M (23.4M to the 1240 SP marked with a small +.8W 1350 EP 45º53'.2 .1240 was 3.8 mile (mark it with three arrows).23. Vincent LH to give the 1150 fix.2) so lay off the second water water track (again marked with a single arrow) from the 1240 SP in a 317ºT direction for 4M to the 1350 SP (also marked with a small cross).8) so lay off the water track (marked with a single arrow) from the 1150 fix in a 285ºT direction for 3.7N 06º22'. From the 1350 SP lay off the first TS vector 210º for 0.6 mile and mark it with three arrows. then the SMG = 10 ÷ 2 = 5 knots. Annotate it with a triangle.7W 4 marks Plot the true bearing and distance of Cape S.19. Vincent LH variation bearing 1st course variation heading leeway water track 097ºM 7ºW 090ºT 286ºM 7ºW 279ºT . Difference in log readings 1240 . if the GT measures 10M in 2 hours.0M (27. 8 marks Total for question 5 = 12 marks NOTES The distance travelled through the water (ie along the WT) in a given time is the difference between the log readings at the beginning and the end of the given time. The end of this TS vector is the EP at 1350. If you want an estimate of the SMG (speed you will make good over the ground) divide the length of the GT by the time interval between the initial fix and the EP. Total marks = 50 130 . If you want to see the mean ground track (GT) you will cover. draw a line between the initial fix and the EP and mark it with TWO arrows.6º away 285ºT 2nd course variation heading leeway 2nd WT 316ºM 7ºW 309ºT + 8º away 317ºT 1150 fix 45º51'.

Question 3 131 .Answers to exercises Plot for Exercise N2(3) .

Answers to exercises Plot for Exercise N2(3) .Question 4 132 .

Answers to exercises Plot for Exercise N2(3) .Question 5 133 .


seizings.Module 4 Deck Seamanship Contents 1. Cordage materials and construction Definition of deck seamanship Materials used in ropemaking Construction of rope The choice of rope for various applications The measurement. strops and mousing Protecting rope from chafe 140 3. Self-test exercise Exercise S3 Answers to exercise S3 147 135 . sizes and strength of rope 136 2. The use of cordage Care of rope Terms used in ropework Basic rules in handling rope Elements of bends and hitches Basic bends and hitches Whipping a rope's end Cordage splicing Lashings.

the ability to make at least the basic bends and hitches and simple splices. Experiments have shown that after six months' immersion in fresh and sea water. when approaching their breaking point give no audible or visual warning. sheets. Materials used in ropemaking Synthetic fibre ropes were introduced in marine applications many years ago. The smaller the rope the greater the loss of strength owing to exposure to sunlight. and with considerable recoil should the rope fracture. Polypropylene ropes are the worst-affected by such exposure to the sunlight. polyester (Terylene or Dacron) and polypropylene. seizings and strops.1.e natural and synthetic fibre ropes) and wire ropes. Cordage materials and construction Definition of deck seamanship Deck seamanship is that branch of the sailor's art which is concerned with cordage (i. and are equally flexible wet or dry. unlike natural fibre ropes. ladders and bosun's chairs. and since then have become firmly established as superior to natural fibre ropes. finishes and strengths. and in all their uses aboard a vessel . lashings and rigging. Synthetic fibre ropes. Stretch imparted to man-made fibre ropes is recovered almost instantaneously with release of tension. Nowadays virtually one hundred per cent of the ropes used are synthetic. Nylon loses about 7% of rope strength when saturated but recovers to full strength on drying out. All synthetic fibre ropes are immune from attack by water or marine organisms. synthetic fibre ropes showed no significant loss of strength. and a knowledge of the mechanical advantage to be gained from the use of purchases and tackles. Although motor yachtsmen are perhaps less concerned with cordage than their sailing counterparts in that motor cruisers and motor yachts have minimal standing and running rigging. thimbles. It involves a knowledge of cordage materials and construction. It is also concerned with the use of all the many rigging fittings which are associated with rope and wire. rigging screws. rope nevertheless plays an important part in the life of every vessel (eg mooring lines and warps). blocks and tackles. Essentially all of these are entirely man-made in that they have no counterpart in nature. All this knowledge is not only necessary for the day-to-day environment of a sailor's world. followed by nylon and Terylene. and as they are all thermoplastic materials they can be tailored by heat manipulation and orientation to a wide variety of sizes. the ability to secure lashings. unlike natural fibre ropes. the use and care of fibre and wire rope. mooring lines and warps. as almost all the rope yarns are on the surface of the strands. whatever the type of vessel in which they may sail. are not affected by general weathering but are attacked by sunlight. but is absolutely essential in the various emergencies which inevitably arise from time to time on board any vessel both in port and at sea. Thus deck seamanship is one of the skills which every sailor must acquire. The three types that more or less cover the range of synthetic ropes are nylon. Synthetic fibre ropes.halyards. such as shackles. 136 .

polyester filaments are almost as strong but less susceptible to stretch and are also very hard-wearing. and no tendency to unlay. good winching properties. low stretch. Plaited and braided synthetic ropes (fig 2) are used increasingly on board yachts. The advantages are softness in handling. The primary object of twisting fibres together in a rope is that they are held together by friction when stress is applied to the whole. Left-hand lay is the reverse of this. three or sometimes four of the latter being finally laid up into the finished rope. Figure 2 The choice of rope for various applications The three types of synthetic rope materials vary in their suitability for different applications: nylon has a high tensile strength and quite considerable elasticity. and this is described as a Z-twist. and also that synthetic ropes develop a surface hairiness very soon in their life but this is not necessarily an indication of chafe and the rope may (with proper care) remain serviceable for a number of years. excellent wear as the outer sheath protects the strong inner core. while polypropylenes are not as strong as either but are light and less expensive. which are later twisted up into yarns. Note that with the excellent modern finishes the different materials are not readily distinguishable at first glance. Figure 1: Construction of a 3-stranded rope Right-hand lay means the final laying up of the strands is the same way as in a screw-thread. 137 . rope is of a three strand composition which may be made up in one of two ways. These yarns are then twisted into strands. freedom from torque. described as S-twist. These are illustrated in fig 1. Traditionally.Cordage materials and construction The construction of rope Rope is manufactured by combining selected fibre into long ribbons known as sliver.

Rational use of these colours for sheets and halyards can lead to a considerable improvement in deck work by aiding identification. for spinnaker sheets and halyard. White for mainsheet and halyard. Sheets: braided Terylene should be used as it is kind to the hands and has a good frictional surface for gripping the drum of a sheet winch. Anchor warps: always use nylon because it is strong and elastic with excellent shock-absorbent property. but port and starboard can be different. There is no logical reason why a specific colour should be used for particular applications. Most manufacturers nowadays produce their rope in colours apart from white . either as a solid colour or speckled. and also for various miscellaneous applications. braided Terylene is kinder on the hands and will lie better when coiled. For wire halyards where a rope tail is used. red. You may wish to choose your own colours but the important thing is to differentiate between control lines. but as most of the rope manufacturers suggest more or less the same coding. green and yellow. it seems reasonable to comply with this in the interests of standardisation. Yellow for foreguys and other control gear. where confusion might have undesirable consequences if the wrong line is thrown off in the heat of the moment. Halyards: for rope halyards use pre-stretched polyester (Terylene or Dacron). in which case one should be of a different colour).Cordage materials and construction We recommend various types of synthetic rope for the following applications. This recommended code is as follows: Blue Red for headsail sheets and halyards (except where two genoa halyards are carried. Plaited nylon is most suitable as it will lay better when uncoiled and about 4-5 metres of chain must be used between the nylon and the anchor so that the anchor correctly lies on the Mooring ropes: nylon is strong and shock-absorbent but the cheaper polypropylene is usually adequate if renewed periodically. 138 .

and as stated above most modern ropes selected from the above table will be in excess of the minimum safe working load for their purpose. whether made from natural or synthetic fibre. It should be noted that strength data supplied by manufacturers applies only to new rope. stretch and reduction in size are all important factors in this case which can only be left to judgement and experience. most modern ropes are far in excess of the minimum safe working load required because if a synthetic rope were chosen to be of just adequate strength for a given purpose. 139 .Cordage materials and construction The measurement. Appearance. it would be too thin to handle with any comfort. The strength of rope in general should be gauged from the manufacturer's data. For this reason it is handling characteristics as well as strength which determines the selection of size. As far as strength is concerned. The table below shows suitable minimum sizes of synthetic ropes for offshore yachts and although the size of a boat is an indication of its displacement it must be appreciated that there can be a considerable difference in weight between a 10 metre round-the-cans flyer and an 11 metre fully kitted-out long keeled world-girdler. It is not possible to lay down rules which can be applied to determine the degree of deterioration in tensile strength which has occurred in used rope. is measured by its diameter in millimetres. sizes and the strength of rope All rope and wire.

The reverse applies to left-handed ropes. knots reduce the strength of a synthetic fibre rope by between 50% and 70%. No attempt should therefore be made to put a heavy strain on a rope which has been well used. This indicates that the rope has stretched under heavy load and has failed to return to its normal condition. ie the coil is unwound left-handed. but consideration must be given to age. Examine ropes regularly and frequently for chafe. splices are in a rope. If a rope shows no sign of damage or fatigue it is unlikely to be much below its full strength. or more.2. or once loaded to near breaking point. (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) (k) 140 . Because of (f) above. Such a rope should only be used with great caution. Fatigue shows as a reduction in the diameter of the rope below its specified size. Salt crystals should be washed out of ropes as frequently as possible since they harden the fibre and cause internal abrasion. Never attempt to pull a kink out of a rope . Dry any wet ropes naturally. because the fibres tend to slip a small amount under each load in spite of the twist given during manufacture. Therefore a right-handed rope is coiled down so that the turns form clockwise and a left-handed rope coiled down so that the turns form anticlockwise. A rope can be cleaned by dousing well in fresh the kink along the coil until it runs out at the end. A right-handed rope should always be uncoiled by taking away that end of the coil which enables the turns to be taken off anticlockwise. Splicing is the best way of joining ropes. A rope is not progressively weakened by an increased number of splices . Kinking permanently damages a rope and sharp angles must be avoided. The use of cordage Care of rope The life of rope will be considerably prolonged if the following points are noted: (a) The life of a rope depends on the amount it is used under strain. not by artificial heat. Cut out any particularly worn or damaged parts of a rope and splice up.the approximate 10% reduction in rope strength at a splice is equally effective if one.

Tapered wooden pin used to separate the strands of a rope when splicing. belaying pin. Reeve Pay out To pass the end of a rope through a block. Slack Splice Standing part That part of a rope which is secured to some fitting. To pinch or close in upon. To haul or pull on a line. To slack off on a line. Bitter end Chafe Coil To wear the surface of a rope by rubbing against a solid object. To break. To wedge tight. Temporary holding of two lines together side by side or end to end. Tight. Lashing Marry Nip Part Lanyard Marlinspike A passing and re-passing of a rope so as to confine or fasten together two or more objects A tapered steel pin used as a fid to splice wire rope. The joining of rope by intertwining the strands so as to increase the diameter of the rope as little as possible. eg a knife lanyard. A rope ring or sling made by splicing the two ends of a short piece of rope and used to handle or lift heavy objects. to slack off. middle part of a rope between its two ends. Heave Jam Kink Hauling part Fid That part of a rope or tackle which is hauled upon. Running part That part of a rope or tackle which runs through the blocks. To pass a line around a cleat or bollard to hold on. A line attached to an article to make it fast. To protect a rope from chafe by binding it. The rope of a tackle. To allow rope to run out. To lay down rope in circular turns. The last part of a rope. thimble or other opening. That part of a rope hanging loose. in contrast to the hauling or running Strop Take a turn parts. The twisting or turning of a rope so as to fasten it to some object.The use of cordage Terms used in ropework Belay Bend Bight To make fast to a cleat. Whipping Veer Unbend Taut To bind the end of a rope to prevent the strands unlaying. the opposite of taut. or allow it to run out. To lay out a rope in long loose turns ready for paying-out quickly (often termed 'flake' Fake down Fall down). Secure Seize Serve To make fast. bitts or bollard. A twist in the rope. To bind two ropes together. To untie or cast adrift. 141 .

After belaying. or over the side. or loss of tools over the side. rain or spray. therefore never stand in the direct line of pull when heavy loads are applied. and the blade should be sufficiently deep and thick to cut without bending. (h) (i) (j) (k) 142 . the rope is ready to be checked under control. Always look out for chafe anywhere and take steps to prevent it. (f) Figure 4 (g) All synthetic fibre rope stretches to nearly half its own length before parting. The coil will then form correctly. When coiling a right-hand-lay rope in the right hand the rope should be held with the right thumb pointing towards the end [fig 3(a)]. and when coiling in the left-hand the left thumb should point towards the bight. It is a tool and not a weapon and the end of the blade should therefore be rounded. When a rope is cut its ends should immediately be whipped to prevent it unlaying. all tools should be secured with a lanyard either to a part of the rigging or round the body to prevent possible injury to persons.The use of cordage Basic rules in handling rope (a) Seamen regard their knife as their best friend and carry it with them wherever they go. A rope which has been set up taut when dry will shrink when subjected to dew. It will be seen that when the figureof-eight turns are removed. or any line or rope which is being hauled in. Cleats are not suitable for belaying wire. A sailor always keeps a lookout aloft and never stands below an object which is being hoisted or lowered. Working aloft. the surplus rope should be coiled in the hand as described in (e) above and the coil hung over the top horn of the cleat so as to keep the deck clear and the rope dry. should be coiled either in the hand or the deck as it is hauled aboard so that it is immediately ready for further use. Figure 3 : Coiling a rope (b) (c) (d) (e) A heaving line. nor stands inside the coil or bight of a rope. so the turns should not be completed with a halfhitch because this may jam them. take the initial turns as shown in fig 4 then continue with figure-of-eight turns round the horns of the cleat as many times as are required. A rope belayed to a cleat must be ready for casting off at a moment's notice. when the stretched rope immediately whips back directly along the line of pull. It may slip suddenly and cause injury. When belaying rope to a cleat. not pointed. Such extra strain must be relieved at once otherwise the rope may part or become permanently damaged. Exercise extreme care when easing out from a cleat or bollard under heavy load.

A second clove hitch is made near the end of the stick at the bottom and the burgee is ready to hoist away. the first loop is made and the end of the stick passed through. behind the back and with one hand and the teeth! Most bends and hitches consist of a combination of two or more of the elements illustrated in fig 5. followed by the second loop in the same way. rail or post. it will Figure 7 : Slippery hitch slip along the rail or spar Figure 6: Round turn and 2 half hitches if subjected to sideways pull. Figure 8 : Uses for the clove-hitch 143 . hitches and knots as a means of making fast a rope so that it would hold under strain and yet be cast off easily when required. but a 'good' knot is not always the one which serves the situation best. The second loop is then made as shown and the hitch tightened by pulling on both the line and the free end. A vast number of these have been devised to suit almost every conceivable circumstance. When applied to a rail or spar as in fig 8(a). the free end is taken with the left hand and. which will not jam under strain or if it becomes wet or frozen. and which will not nip or chafe the line unduly. The slippery hitch (fig 7) would be used on a cleat to make a temporary fastening. When used to secure a line on to a post or bollard [fig 8(b)]. but the one which can be securely tied under the circumstances. The round turn and two half hitches (fig 6) would be made round a post or mooring ring. Basic bends and hitches Hitches are the simplest knots. but these should be thoroughly understood and then used in the right place at the right time.The use of cordage Elements of bends and hitches Figure 5 : Elements of bends and hitches Our forefathers devised various bends. The half dozen or so basic bends and hitches described here are quite sufficient to serve our purposes. They should be practised until they can be performed in the dark. A clove hitch (fig 8) consists of a pair of hitches to secure a rope to a spar. with the right hand holding the line. as for example when securing the burgee stick to the burgee halyard [fig 8(c)]. the first loop over the post is made with the free end on top. under water. To make a clove hitch in an endless line.

which will either slip or jam and is never used at sea. It is also used to bend a small rope to a larger one as shown in the figure. or to any other small eye. Figure 10 : Figure of eight knot Figure 11 : Reef knot The reef knot (fig 11) consists of two overhand knots made consecutively.The use of cordage The rolling hitch (fig 9) is used for securing a rope to a spar when the pull is expected from one side or the other. The end should be stopped to the standing part as shown. and normally used for bending a rope or warp to the ring of a kedge or anchor. or to another rope under strain. It is more difficult to cast off than a sheet bend. Figure 9 : Rolling hitch A figure-of-eight knot (fig 10) is used to prevent a rope running through an eye or a block. and is used as a common tie for bending together two ropes of approximately equal size. Always pass the two turns on the side from which the pull is expected. but will tend to jam and is not so easily cast off. Figure 14: Buntline hitch . A half hitch on the opposite side completes the rolling hitch. An overhand knot (fig 5) can also be used. and is used to secure a rope's end or sheet to the cringle of a sail. It is not reliable if the ropes are of unequal size or very slippery unless the ends are seized back to their standing parts. otherwise the result will be a 'granny'. then left over right or vice versa). It will not slip and is easily cast off. each turn crossing the standing part. The sheet bend (fig 12) is used to secure a rope's end to a small eye (eg a sheet to the clew of a sail). Figure 12 : Sheet bend The fisherman's bend (fig 13) is an alternative to the round turn and two half hitches. It is more suitable for a jerking pull. To form a reef knot care must be taken to cross the ends opposite ways (ie right over left. Figure 13: Fisherman’s bend 144 The buntline hitch (fig 14) is a clove hitch on the standing part. It is made by passing the end twice round the spar or rope.

It is formed as shown in fig 15 by making a loop in the standing part and holding the cross of this loop with the thumb of the left hand. In many cases it is not desirable to have a knot on the end of a rope to prevent the strands unlaying and instead it is bound with seaming or whipping twine. The eye or bight of the bowline.The use of cordage The bowline [fig 15] is the most useful knot for making temporary eyes in ropes of all sizes. taking the bight of the twine over the end of the rope with each turn. haul this second end of the twine through the turns which you have passed over it until taut. then passing turns of the twine over the rope against its lay. This is called whipping a rope. the first two operations in its formation being the same as for a simple bowline. if correctly made. It is used for lowering a person from aloft or over the boat's side. will not slip. working towards the end of the rope and hauling each turn taut. thus completing the last turn round the rope and cut off the end (c). The common whipping (fig 16) is made by placing the end of the twine along the rope as in (a). Then lay the other end of the twine along the rope as in (b) and pass the remaining turns over it. as a lifeline round somebody's waist and for a great variety of similar purposes. round behind the standing part and then down through the loop. the bowline on the bight is made with a bight of rope as shown in fig 15. Figure 16 : Common whipping 145 . When the bight becomes too small to pass over the end of the rope. It is used for bending a heaving line to a mooring rope. As its name implies. but must never be placed round a man's body. Figure 15 Whipping a rope's end The running bowline [fig 15] is used to make a running eye in the end of a rope. Every sailor should be able to tie a bowline round their own waist with their eyes shut. With the right hand now pass the end of the rope up through the loop.

Leave the short end of the twine where it is. a sailmaker's whipping should be used backed up by a common whipping about 7 . lay up the rope with the right hand. Figure 18 146 Figure 19 : Back splice An alternative to whipping provided the rope is not required to run through a block. When sufficient turns are on. using the next strand to the left till the back splice is complete as in (c). and pass it over that strand where the latter comes out at the end of the rope [fig 17(b)]. take the bight of twine. with the middle strand furthest away. Cut off the loose ends. is the back splice (fig 19). then unlay the strands to the whipping. and then reef knot the two ends in the middle of the rope and out of sight [fig 17(c)]. Then. and with the long end pass the turns of the whipping. to the left and against the lay of the rope as shown in (b).The use of cordage The sailmaker's whipping (fig 17) is the most secure: it will not work adrift under any circumstances. pull the strands taut and tidy up this first tuck until each strand is uniform. Make a crown knot [fig 19(a)]. always to the left. working towards the end of the rope against its lay. Then insert two more tucks with each strand. with the two ends towards you. Now haul on the short end so as to tighten the bight and bring this end up outside the whipping. If the end of synthetic rope is not first fused. First temporarily whip the rope at a distance from its end equal to fifteen times its diameter.15 cms from the end of the rope. cut the temporary whipping and tuck each strand over one strand and under the next. Unlay the rope for about two inches and hold it in the left hand pointing upwards as in fig 17(a). again following the lay of the rope. with the bight of the twine hanging several centimetres down the back of the rope and the ends pointing down. Figure 17 : Sailmaker’s whipping The ends of synthetic fibre ropes may be prevented from unlaying by applying a hot iron or flame to the end of the rope thus melting or fusing the fibres into a solid mass [fig 18(a)]. but a common whipping should be made additionally as a precaution. pass it up outside the whipping. Now make a bight in the twine about 20cm long and pass this bight over the middle strand only. After each strand is tucked. Plastic sleeves [fig 18(b)] are available which shrink on to the rope when gently heated and plastic insulating tape will temporarily hold in an emergency. following the lay of the strand around which it was originally put. .

State the good and bad properties of synthetic fibre ropes. 7. Self-test exercise Exercise S3 1. If necessary. refer again to the text of this module and repeat the exercise. Give three methods of construction for synthetic rope. 4. bends or hitches below and state the most common use for each. white blue yellow red How is fatigue in a rope made evident? By how much would the strength of a synthetic fibre rope be reduced by (a) three knots along its length? (b) two splices along its length? Identify each of the knots. Record your final results on the assignment report card provided. 3. 2. You should work through this exercise carefully.3. then mark it with the model answers and marks which follow. Why are plaited and braided ropes being increasingly used on yachts? Rope manufacturers usually colour ropes made for running rigging. 147 . 6. For which purpose is each of the following colours usually used as control lines? (a) (b) (c) (d) 5. This self-test exercise forms a student assignment for your course.

Rolling hitch . 8 marks 2 marks 4 marks secure a rope to a spar or sail when there is a pull from one side or the other. 18 marks Total marks = 53 148 .used for main sheets and halyards.Self test exercises Answers to exercise S3 1. low stretch.used for spinnaker sheets and halyards. no audible or visible warning of attach a rope to a spar or sail (not very securely). Sheet bend . Figure-of-eight knot . 6 marks Because they are soft to handle. 7. 6 marks (a) white . (a) 50% to 70% A B C D E F (b) 10% 3. have good winching properties.used as a stopper knot to prevent a rope unreeving through an eye or a block. 6.used for foreguys and other control lines. (d) red . Bad: loss of tensile strength in prolonged sunlight. (a) three strand (b) braided (c) plaited 9 marks 2. pile or mooring ring. Clove hitch .to bend a small rope to a larger one or a rope's end to a small eye. Reef knot .to secure a rope to a bollard. free from torque. By a reduction in diameter below the specified size of the rope. durable and easy to handle. (c) yellow . Good: immune from rot and dampness. 4.useful binding knot for reefing sails or joining ropes of roughly equal size. (b) blue . excellent wear and no tendency to unlay.used for headsail sheets and halyards. Round turn and two half hitches .

with contour lines and colours used to give clarity. On completion return your answers and charts 3 & 4* to NMCS for marking in the envelope provided.Admiralty Symbols. as may (Chart) NP 5011 . Please work all the calculations and state the answer to each question on your answer sheets. ) of latitude equals 1 sea mile. not on your chart.90W 149 .00N 46º 11’. The green areas? The dark blue areas? The pale blue areas? Which letters refer to the following? i ii iii iv 000º 270º 045º 180º v vi vii viii 090º 225º 135º 315º 3. No time limit is set and where necessary reference may be made to the NMCS modules. If one degree (1º) of latitude equals 60 sea miles then one ………… ( …. with your completed Assignment Completion Form. CHART FAMILIARISATION USE RYA CHART 3. What is the significance of: a) b) c) 2. What is the meaning of the following chart symbols? a) b) c) d) e) f) 5.Assessment 1 (DS) Instructions All questions on this assessment should be answered. Please photocopy chart plots and return to NMCS along with your answers. 1. Please write your answers on lined A4 paper.70N 006º 12’. leaving space between them for tutor comments and support.10W 006º 08’. Please pay attention to annotation and depth of answer given. This assessment should not be attempted until modules 1 . 4. distances to one decimal place of a mile and courses and bearings to + or .1º. *Overseas students should not send their charts. For this assessment you will need to use charts RYA 3 & 4. RYA Training Almanac may be consulted for further data if required. Quote positions accurately in lat and long. Depths on this chart are given in metres.4 have been completed. What features are in the following positions? a) b) 45º 43’.

and give the latitude and longitude in your answers 150 . 12.3 miles? 246º (T) from South Head Lighthouse 9.80N 005º 57’. approximately 5 miles north east of the South Head Lighthouse? The red and white safe water mark in Fitzroy Bay. Plot the fix at 1050.º(M) 090º(T) variation 15ºE = …….7. What features are in the following positions? a) b) 041º (T) from South Head Lighthouse 6. USE RYA CHART 4. What is the latitude and longitude of these buoys: a) b) The yellow FCN buoy. a) b) 11.º(T) 270º(M) variation 15ºE = ……. Which publication lists all the symbols used on Admiralty charts for reference? CHARTWORK: POSITION FIXING 10.20W? 7.50N 005º 36’.1 miles? 8.º(T) What is compass deviation? What are some of the possible causes? Use Variation 7º W.00W) to: a) b) The LCE buoy in position 45º 59’. While passing south of Rozelle Cove the navigator sees that the radio tower on Plover Hill and the observation tower at West Point will come into transit and plots the transit line on the chart. approximately 13 miles south of Christopher Point Lighthouse? 9.6.º(M) 270º(M) variation 7ºW = ……. in 2006 to the nearest degree? Is this the same on the rest of the chart and on RYA chart 4. to the nearest degree? 090º(T) variation 7ºW = …….40W? The beginning of the leading line in position 45º 46’. a) b) a) b) What is the magnetic variation on RYA chart 3 south of Namley Harbour. 13. Plan F 14.90N 005º 47’. The transit occurs at 1050 and at the same time the bearing on the Range Head south cardinal buoy is 094º(M) and the log reading is 14. What is the direction and distance measured from the chart in degrees TRUE from the Christopher Point Lighthouse (45º 53’.

A friend calls the skipper on the VHF and offers a tow. position and log reading are recorded in the logbook. Use Variation 7ºW.40N 006º 24’. The following is an extract from the logbook of a boat leaving the anchorage to the east of S.1W after a family BBQ to return to Sweetwater. but cannot meet for an hour. Plot the DR position for 1235. Alter course to 010º (M) DR position. Isolated danger mark abeam to starboard.1 13. A fishing vessel with engine problems is returning to Hamilton for repairs. Cape St Vincent lighthouse abeam to starboard 1727 010º 8.1 SE2 1004 Plot the DR positions and give the latitude and longitude in your answers. a) b) c) d) At 1135 the time. making only 4. The boat is steering 100º(M).5 SE2 1004 DR position. if the tidal stream is 349º(T) 2.0 Depth 8.7 9.50W.2 Wind SE3 Baro 1004 Remarks Weigh anchor 1615 350º 1. Calculate the EP for 1235.0N 06º12’.0 knots.5 knots. Time 1555 Coº(M) 350º Log 0. What is the latitude and longitude of the EP to pass to the other boat? 151 . Shaun Island in position 45º43’. 16. Plot the 1135 fix in position 45º 38’.USE RYA CHART 3 15.

wire or chain where the bottom of a boat curves into the sides of the boat a timber fender to protect the topsides from damage when berthing the unobstructed distance which the wind has blown over the sea to reach a certain position a shore towards which the wind is blowing the side of a pier or jetty towards which the wind is blowing a twin-hulled motor or sailing craft a spar carrying the jib sail forward of the boat 152 .SEAMANSHIP 17. Explain the difference between a) c) e) g) under way and making way pitching and pounding a mooring line and a warp a halyard and a sheet b) d) f) h) neap tides and spring tides a fixed keel and a retractable keel a tidal stream and a current flotsam and jetsam Give the nautical term for i) j) k) l) m) n) o) p) q) r) a flat stern extending from the waterline to the stern pushpit drains in the deck for carrying away sea water washed on board a deck fitting which acts as a guide for rope.

18b.SEAMANSHIP 18a. 153 .

Please check that the correct postage is paid to ensure minimum delay or loss of your assessment in the postal system. Please return your answers for RYA Assessment 1(DS) including your chart(s). Assignment Completion card in the envelope provided to NMCS.Congratulations! You have successfully completed Part 1 of your Day Skipper course. 154 .