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Old 26 November 2003, 06:08   #11
Country: UK - England
Town: Wickford, Essex
Boat name: Seahorse V
Make: Avon Searider
Length: 4
Engine: Mercury 50HP
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 57
I agree, I dont think you can beat GPS. I found much the same thing when I did my Dayskipper course. Everyone apart from me used sail not power, and the instructor was very biased about sail and usually made jokes about power during the course. Fortunately, the instructor himself was a GPS person and used GPS all the time and swore by it.

Someone on the course asked the question 'But what if the GPS fails'. His reply was 'Then I just get my portable GPS from my bag'. He was then asked 'But what if that one got flooded or the batteries were flat as well'. He replied 'Then I would just ask my passengers, with GPS prices what they are, there are normally at least 2 or 3 passengers on my yacht that have brought their portable GPS with them'.

Of course you should learn the compass skills as well but once on the RIB, I just set my course and follow the line and I always end up within a few metres of where I intended to be. If you go off course for any reason it shows you on the line, there is no having to stop, take a fix and try and work out where you are like when using charts and a compass.

Of course, people that use charts and a compass all the time become very good at it and they are very accurate, but this comes with experience. With GPS you can virtually get a very accurate position from day one.

I do think it's a shame that the Dayskipper course, when run by some instructors, is so biased. There are plenty of power boats out there to justify the course being aimed at them as well.

Having said all that, I learnt almost everything I know now on my Dayskipper course and I do understand more about other vessels as well. It is worth staying to the end.

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Old 26 November 2003, 08:03   #12
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Country: UK - England
Town: Berkshire and Devon
Make: Lodestar
Length: under 3m
Engine: Mercury 5hp
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 5,015
Originally posted by slangley
His reply was 'Then I just get my portable GPS from my bag'
That's great, and I would do the same, but would the chap have entered all his waypoints into the spare unit, or just into the main unit that's now kaput? Also bear in mind that GPS is George W's train set, and he can play with it in whatever manner he likes. So if things are kicking off a bit in the middle east he might just make the unencrypted non-military data transmissions unavailable for a while.

I think GPS are great, and I've got three, but my biggest navigational clangers have come from relying on them too much!

I'm also happy with RYA tuition taking the traditional approach - like mathemetics, I still believe that it's a good approach to become proficient at mental arithmetic before learning to use an electronic calculator.

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Old 26 November 2003, 08:17   #13
Country: UK - England
Town: Wickford, Essex
Boat name: Seahorse V
Make: Avon Searider
Length: 4
Engine: Mercury 50HP
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 57
There are regular places that I travel to and all my emergency waypoints ( like how to get home ) are always in my backup GPS.

Regardless of that, if 2 GPSs go down then I would consider that an emergency situation that I hope does not happen too often. Then I would go to the charts, work out the position I need to get to and then type that position into another GPS and go from there. It is just as easy to make an error using charts and compasses.

I am also, all for the traditional approach and I am glad that I did the course. But, I still don't see why powerboat and GPS are dirty words when it comes to the dayskipper course. There is a lot about sailing in the course which is usefull to know. BUT since you dont use it very much the likelyhood is that you would have forgotten it. I know I for one cannot remember all my lights, shapes and sounds that I learnt, only the ones I use and see regularly.

When ever I venture out further or go somewhere that I dont know very well I always have my charts with me just in case.

Commercial ships ( at least the ones that I have been on ) nearly always use GPS as their main navigation tool as do airlines. Charts are merely a backup.
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Old 26 November 2003, 09:04   #14
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Inverkip
Make: Redbay 11m Cabin
Length: 10m +
Engine: 2 x Yamaha422Sti 275
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 566
When I did my Commercial Licence (about 8 yrs ago)the examaner check all my course/position fixing by his own wee Garmen GPS However I was not allowed to use the one fitted to the Vessel
Hard or Soft it's never BIG enough
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Old 26 November 2003, 09:17   #15
Country: UK - England
Town: London
Make: Larson
Length: 7m +
Engine: Volvo D4 260hp DP
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 275
Well I am doing my Yachtmaster theory at night school at the moment and find the course invaluable for my circumstances. I have enjoyed all the chart work but do believe that in this day and age it is 'old hat' (but still an invaluable backup) with the new technology that is available. The problem is that you have older lecturers who have not got the experience in using modern GPS plotters and therefore 'blinkered' as to their superb benefits. Don't get me wrong, I am sure there are some lecturers are bang up to date, but I have one of the older school lecturers .

I am more than happy to learn the hard way, but feel that it is very wrong that more is not put into modern GPS methods. Most people that knock the new plotters and GPS seem IMHO to be the unfortunate ones who cannot afford the kit, or who are plain technofobes. I use the Garmin Blue Charts which are superb, I can't imagine driving a powerboat and messing about with paper charts at 42knts, but still keep paper charts just in case. I also have a spare basic GPS which I can use as a back up if required.

I would recommend the course to anyone, it is heavy going and a big commitment, but the knowledge gained is great for me and has been well worth the effort.
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Old 26 November 2003, 10:30   #16
Country: Ireland
Town: Cork
Boat name: Iago
Make: Cobra
Length: 5.8
Engine: Mariner 90 4-stroke
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 42
I did the Yachtmaster theory last winter and found it tremendous. All the little things that you'd never had thought about...and I found it bang up to date...even down to the picture of the RIB with dive flag.

Regarding the chartwork, I found it ok but after a tough day at work, there were times you felt like giving an evening a miss.
At the very least, working the maps the "old" way gives you a lot of confidence and takes the mystery out of all those symbols...the very same symbols that appear on the chartplotter! So the information is far from lost...

As for GPS, our instructor brought in a Garmin salesperson one evening to do a class on GPS. Worked out for both sides I imagine.

We finished the charts by Christmas and straight into weather and regulations. All very interesting.
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Old 26 November 2003, 10:59   #17
Country: UK - England
Town: east cowes
Make: academic
Length: no boat
Engine: fresh air
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 540
this could be one reason for knowing your charts.

Date of Conviction: 6 October 2000

Offence: Contravention of Rule 10(b)(i) of the Prevention of Collision Regulations 1996 (COLREGS).

The CLUB MED is a very large and fast catamaran purpose built for The RACE, which is a round the world non-stop endurance race beginning in Barcelona in December.
The CLUB MED was sailing from Southampton to London and during the night of Wednesday 4th October was observed by Dover Coastguard to be entering the traffic lane and heading against the traffic flow. The yacht sailed in the wrong lane against other traffic for 24 miles.
The CLUB MED was sailing at speeds of up to 21.5 knots in the dark and passed 13 ships including 2 passenger ferries and had close quarters situations with a number of these ships and passed only 1 cable away from a cargo ship carrying dangerous goods and marine pollutants.
The CLUB MED did not respond to radio calls by Coastguard and a spotter plane and the Emergency Towing Vessel were sent to indentify the yacht.

Penalty: Mr Dalton was fined 12000 plus 3000 costs.

Ooh that hurts.
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Old 29 November 2003, 07:14   #18
Country: UK - England
Town: West Wickham
Boat name: Aries IV
Make: Scorpion
Length: 8m +
Engine: Etec 250
MMSI: 235036477
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 273
Like many on the Forum, I too did the RYA Day Skipper theory at evening classes. However, GPS hadn't become available then, so Decca was the hi-tech navigational aid of the day.

A fat lot of good that was - mine worked well PROVIDED THE ENGINE WASN'T RUNNING ! Fortunately, GPS doesn't seem to be affected by electrical interference from the HT ignition circuit and is rather more accurate/reliable that the old Decca system, especially now that selective availability has been turned off.

It was a few years before I invested in my first GPS set, so I used charts and a compass exclusively. It's a great feeling coming out of fog or heat haze and arriving right on the mark, having used just a compass, charts and an assumption for windage. Tide was rarely a problem, as I could get to most places (such as across Lyme Bay) at slack water.

Perhaps because of my enforced reliability on the compass (I had a magnetic compass and - in the last 5-6 years- an Asimuth fluxgate compass - fantastic! - as well as a hand-held) I always prepared a "flight plan". I still do this or I would, if I wasn't between boats!.

Why? Some might ask. Well, first Aries II only had 2 speeds - 29kts (cruising) and 36kts (flat out) - so there wasn't time to wait for the GPS to catch-up at turning points (especially around the Needles, for example). Second, I could do the entire trip without the GPS, if it (and the back-up) died.

In addition, I always had the current chart open on my chart table. OK, I appreciate that this is not an option for most RIBs and I don't expect to be able to use a chart on my new RIB, when I eventually get it. But I shall certainly have the charts on board, prepare a "flight plan" (created using the charts) and use the compass and GPS together.

So back to the beginning of this thread - Yes, I think that the Day Skipper theory course is still valid for those of us that do 5kts at tick-over and it does provide an insight into what those odd characters that helm yachts are likely to do when we come across them!

Good luck with the course!

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Old 29 November 2003, 08:30   #19
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Country: UK - Isle of Man
Town: Peel, IOM
Boat name: Saffron
Make: Scorpion
Length: 8m +
Engine: I/B Diesel 315hp
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,197
OK-I'll buy it !!

What is a "an Asimuth fluxgate compass" and how does it difer from the err...other type?
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Old 29 November 2003, 08:43   #20
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Country: UK - England
Town: Gosport
Boat name: April Lass
Make: Moody 31
Length: 9m +
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,837
Its an electronic compass giving a digital display. Supposed to be more accurate than the magnet type especially bouncing through the waves but i have found my big Plasimo compass works well.


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