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Old 21 October 2001, 15:57   #1
Country: UK - England
Town: Ardnamurchan
Boat name: Out of the Blue
Make: Ribcraft 585
Length: 5m +
Engine: Yamaha 100
MMSI: 235 079 253
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 236
Pathfinder Powerboat Club

On Saturday evening the Pathfinder Powerboat Club ran their annual Night Exercise. I joined the club last year and this was the first time I had been out with them. I would highly recommend the club to anyone based in the South East who wants to meet up with a bunch of fun boaters where the only thing taken seriously is safety. In our group we had 6 RIBs and 1 hard boat. We left Hamble around 19.00 and had a lot of fun charging around the Solent on a beautiful clear night and returned at 23.00. I learnt a lot about navigating at night and really enjoyed myself and met some great people. They run a host of rallies through the summer months with the simple aim of having fun with the emphasis on safety.
Thats probably enough of a plug for now. If you are interested have a look at their web site

Geoff Campbell
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Old 25 October 2001, 01:18   #2
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Hilton-of-Cadboll
Length: no boat
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,801
Hi Geoff

I think that the sea at night is very frightening. I've had a look at the charts and lights etc. but to be honest It would really worry me being out there in the dark. I suppose this is where GPS really comes into it's own. Is navigating at night as difficult as I imagine?

Keith Hart

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Old 25 October 2001, 04:05   #3
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Country: UK - Isle of Man
Town: Peel, IOM
Length: no boat
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,486
Navigating at night is just like diving at night before you have done it for the first time. INTIMIDATING !!
The navigation bit is easy. What is dificult is seing obstructions in the water like marker bouys, bits of flotsam etc. and, in a dificult sea, being able to "read" the water ahead.
However, that said, it is a beautiful experience especially on a moonlit night in a calm sea. You actualy learn a lot more about lights, bearings, conspic. features etc. which tend to be much less important during the day.
If you can, try it out by entering a busy, major harbour at night, and be amazed at all the navigation facilities put in place just for you, by the relevant authorities.
Try it. You will love it.
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Old 25 October 2001, 06:54   #4
Country: UK - England
Town: Upavon, Wiltshire
Boat name: Dromedary
Make: Ribtec
Length: 6.55
Engine: Honda 130
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 183
Having done the RYA advanced powerboat exam which includes navigation at night (mine was in the Solent) and you cannot use GPS it was quite an exilerating experince. I was lucky to have a calm night to do this but unfortunatly no moon. You need to understand your charts as the flashing on the bouys can be very similar. also to understand the look of the nav. lights on other boats and if they are crossing comming at you or away. I would recomend that you try it, if you feel you need someone along ask someone who has done this before but you take control unless you have problems and draw on their experience.

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Old 25 October 2001, 07:46   #5
Country: Ireland
Town: Ireland
Boat name: Ally Cat
Make: Several
Length: 6m +
Engine: Several
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 333
Definitely the ISA / RYA Advanced Powerboat course is essential for anyone contemplating Night Driving for the first time .

It's really not as frightening as you think as there is not that dark out ther once you take the proper precautions to preserve your night vision .

You will really feel you have earned your pint of black after a good night driving session .
Stuart McNamara
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Old 25 October 2001, 08:37   #6
Country: UK - England
Town: London
Make: Humber Ocean Extreme
Length: 8m
Engine: Optimax 225
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 313
My first time out at night was some years ago from Calais to Ramsgate;Not having been out even in the dusk before it was frightening but at the same time exhilerating and an experience not to be missed.

In addition to the chart decca and written route I had a separate piece of paper with the lights in order and one crew was designated just to check this.

Coming out of Calais harbour I really questioned whether this was a good idea but carried on;to be fair once you clear Calais Approach the S.Goodwin light will see you across in reasonable visibilty.

The course up inside the Goodwins needed care but in many respects was easier than in daylight.

The biggest problem was Ramsgate Harbour-the lights of the town totally confused me and I spent some 15 minutes jilling around in the waves refracting off the harbour wall before being sure of entry.

The outer harbour was full and I eventually rafted against a local fishing boat despite some choice words from them about being disturbed at 3a.m.

The recent Rib course in Greece included a night exercise which was carried out in calm seas on a very warm night-it doesn't get much better!
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Old 25 October 2001, 10:42   #7
Country: UK - England
Town: Shaftesbury
Make: currently boatless (formerly Tornado)
Length: 5.4
Engine: Mariner 40
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 35
As Phil points out, the lights of a town can make identifying the stuff you have selected from the chart a real nightmare. However it is worth taking the time and trouble to get used to navigating at night as it opens up another brilliant aspect of boating.

I remember being just about as excited as a small child on Christmas morning the first time that I encountered bioluminescence (thats all the little creatures and whatnot that glow in the dark when they are disturbed) I could hardly believe my eyes, I had thought that things like that only happened in exotic far away places!

Do take the chance to get out and about at night, it's a terrific experience, and also very useful when everything goes wrong and the trip that you had planned to finish before sunset runs late and you cannot avoid being out after dark.

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