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Old 25-04-2009, 06:27   #46
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Retired,

As I recall, there were only about 4 or 5 questions on chart symbols on the test. Kelp, a rock that uncovers, a mid-channel buoy, and a demarcation line, and maybe a sea bed symbol like hard sand. It's important to know the major symbols but if you miss a few on the test it's not the end of the world. The things you need to be very comfortable with are: The speed/distance/time formula..and solving for one unknown. ( the old.." if a train leaves a station at x time and travels at y mph, what time will it arrive ). Converting 10ths of hours into minutes!! and visa versa.

Know how to convert through TMVDC, Current triangles, ( direction of current is always in T. unless otherwise stated) know how to read tide and current tables, and don't forget to check if for daylight savings time, know what a danger bearing is, and how to take bearings for a fix.

The test will generally take you on a trip leaving from one point and traveling to an end point.
questions will be asked all along the trip, So an incorrect plot early in the trip can create incorrect answers further along in the trip. Practice using your dividers and reading distances accurately. Bring a fine point pencil.
Know the " rules" nav. lights and sound signals.

Best of Luck..
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Old 25-04-2009, 14:33   #47
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Retired,

As I recall, there were only about 4 or 5 questions on chart symbols on the test. Kelp, a rock that uncovers, a mid-channel buoy, and a demarcation line, and maybe a sea bed symbol like hard sand. It's important to know the major symbols but if you miss a few on the test it's not the end of the world. The things you need to be very comfortable with are: The speed/distance/time formula..and solving for one unknown. ( the old.." if a train leaves a station at x time and travels at y mph, what time will it arrive ). Converting 10ths of hours into minutes!! and visa versa.

Know how to convert through TMVDC, Current triangles, ( direction of current is always in T. unless otherwise stated) know how to read tide and current tables, and don't forget to check if for daylight savings time, know what a danger bearing is, and how to take bearings for a fix.

The test will generally take you on a trip leaving from one point and traveling to an end point.
questions will be asked all along the trip, So an incorrect plot early in the trip can create incorrect answers further along in the trip. Practice using your dividers and reading distances accurately. Bring a fine point pencil.
Know the " rules" nav. lights and sound signals.

Best of Luck..
I also remember it exactly as Tempest explained here. For me the hardest part was a few of the chart symbols, but they did not add up to a lot of points. The other thing I remember as being challenging was predicting the affects of currents when the tide table you have is for another location. - For example, you may be navigating in an area 8 miles up from the inlet and are given only tide information for the inlet. Also calculating drift. It's not complicated, it's just I'm used to calculating my set from a known drift, not the other way around.
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Old 25-04-2009, 14:43   #48
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TMVDC? You flunked!

and on the current problems there are three basic types each where one of the variables is unknown (set, drift or course). You need to know how to solve it each of the ways
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Old 26-04-2009, 06:21   #49
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OOPs! :-) TVMDC
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:23   #50
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Well, folks, I passed my 105 exam. Nothing in it I didn't recognize from the course material (except for a couple of chart symols I missed), but it certainly was thorough. It took me 4 hours to finish it, and about an hour checking answers before I gave up from mental tiredness. My main errors were a couple of 180 degree mistakes by giving the heading from B to A instead of from A to B as the question asked.

After over 20 years of sailing, I learned a few things from this exam. I'd never done a running fix, learned a lot more than I knew about reading and interpreting charts, and just feel more confident about handling nav situations. Now, where did I leave my GPS?
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Old 03-05-2009, 13:57   #51
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Glad the exam went well for you. Although it's easy to rely on GPS these days, it is nice to know you have those skills tucked away when you need them. I think they also help hone your sixth sense of intuitively knowing when something just doesn't feel right, navigationally speaking.
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Old 03-05-2009, 14:46   #52
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Glad the exam went well for you. Although it's easy to rely on GPS these days, it is nice to know you have those skills tucked away when you need them. I think they also help hone your sixth sense of intuitively knowing when something just doesn't feel right, navigationally speaking.
Thanks. Thinking of going for the USCG 6 pack next, the 105 seems like a good jumping off spot for that one.
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Old 03-05-2009, 22:32   #53
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Yes, congratulations on passing! It sounds like we had similar experiences. I thought the course was interesting material and the test was a challenging four hours for me. I got a lot out of 105 and I'm glad I took it. I'm planning tol take the celestial navigation course (107) maybe a year or two from now.
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Old 04-05-2009, 15:48   #54
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Retired, Congrats!!

If you're inclined..to take the 6 pack; do it soon while everything is still fresh in your mind.

My experience was that the ASA 105 test was more challenging that the Coast Guard nav test.

As I recall the CG exam came in several parts. ( it's been years)
Deck General, Navigation, Rules, and maybe 2 others.

For the Coast Guard...you need to know the CFR rules!! Know your lights cold! you are only allowed 2 wrong answers on the rules...as I recall. 3 wrong is a fail.

I would recommend getting your sail endorsement and towing endorsement right away too.
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Old 07-05-2009, 16:24   #55
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Retired, Congrats!!

If you're inclined..to take the 6 pack; do it soon while everything is still fresh in your mind.

My experience was that the ASA 105 test was more challenging that the Coast Guard nav test.

As I recall the CG exam came in several parts. ( it's been years)
Deck General, Navigation, Rules, and maybe 2 others.

For the Coast Guard...you need to know the CFR rules!! Know your lights cold! you are only allowed 2 wrong answers on the rules...as I recall. 3 wrong is a fail.

I would recommend getting your sail endorsement and towing endorsement right away too.
Thanks. Those are good suggestions, I've wanted to get a 6 pack license for several years. I'm ok with knowing the lights, but the CFR rules might be a bit sleep-inducing. I looked online and there's several courses that I can take but they cost 700-800 or so, but if you pass their course you don't have to take the USCG test. Is this a good idea, or can I study on my own and take the test?

I'll look into the sail and towing endorsement.
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Old 07-05-2009, 19:40   #56
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Hi Retired,

I haven't checked prices in awhile, but $700 to $800 sounds steep.
I used " Sea School" for my courses. I had an excellent instructor, and believe I learned much more than I would have studying on my own.

If the $ is a deal breaker, perhaps you can pick up one of those Captains License study guides they sell in the bookstores. Do all the exercises.

The School, administers the tests, and all the classwork prepares you for them.
They will also adminster the drug screening right there, and send your results to the CG. They allow you to retake any sections you may not pass, up to 3 times if necessary.

The Rules aren't all that bad...most of the underway rules you know already.
It's the lights, horns and whistles, required equipment, day shapes etc. that stump people I think.

Good Luck, whatever you decide.
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Old 19-05-2009, 21:58   #57
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It has been 18 years since I did any real sailing. So, I decided to brush up on skills and take the ASA Coastal Cruising Course and challenge the basic Keelboat course. I will be taking it out New London CT on the 26th and 27th of this month.
But, I like the remark of Knowing when something is not right. For example, I was headed out of New London with my boat and crew of 5 and headed for the fishing grounds off of Block Island called the East Grounds. The morning was fogged in and I was running the channel by calculating the tidal current and using compass along with my watch to pick up the channel markers. Two of my crew, one being green came into the pilothouse with fresh coffee, one, which was for me. The green fisherman was playing with a pocketknife and I asked him to get me a sandwich from the galley. I had no idea what was taken him so long but I just felt something was wrong. I back off on the throttle and a moment later saw the danger buoy. I don't want to repeat what I said but a quick glance at the chart and I knew I was 90 degrees off course. I tapped the compass several times after I had come to an all stop but it held in the same bearing. It took several minutes of looking at the compass when I finally looked behind it. There behind the compass was a pocketknife. The greenhorn had put it down and when the boat rolled in some swells the knife had slid behind the compass.
I needed to get back to the channel marker the same way I left the last marker. I picked up the knife and the compass spin 90 degrees back to where it should have been. I tried to mentally plot a course with the knife removed - adding-subtracting and then it donned on me I put the knife back behind the compass and turned 180 and steamed until I picked up the buoy.
The point is that it was early morning fogged in and still dark but the feeling that something was not right even though everything else indicated it was fine made me slow down and investigate. Had I not done that I would have been one very embarrassed skipper among the fleet for running the boat on the rocks before even getting out of the harbor.
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Old 19-05-2009, 22:03   #58
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It has been 18 years since I did any real sailing. So, I decided to brush up on skills and take the ASA Coastal Cruising Course and challenge the basic Keelboat course. I will be taking it out New London CT on the 26th and 27th of this month.
But, I like the remark of Knowing when something is not right. For example, I was headed out of New London with my boat and crew of 5 and headed for the fishing grounds off of Block Island called the East Grounds. The morning was fogged in and I was running the channel by calculating the tidal current and using compass along with my watch to pick up the channel markers. Two of my crew, one being green came into the pilothouse with fresh coffee, one, which was for me. The green fisherman was playing with a pocketknife and I asked him to get me a sandwich from the galley. I had no idea what was taken him so long but I just felt something was wrong. I back off on the throttle and a moment later saw the danger buoy. I don't want to repeat what I said but a quick glance at the chart and I knew I was 90 degrees off course. I tapped the compass several times after I had come to an all stop but it held in the same bearing. It took several minutes of looking at the compass when I finally looked behind it. There behind the compass was a pocketknife. The greenhorn had put it down and when the boat rolled in some swells the knife had slid behind the compass.
I needed to get back to the channel marker the same way I left the last marker. I picked up the knife and the compass spin 90 degrees back to where it should have been. I tried to mentally plot a course with the knife removed - adding-subtracting and then it donned on me I put the knife back behind the compass and turned 180 and steamed until I picked up the buoy.
The point is that it was early morning fogged in and still dark but the feeling that something was not right even though everything else indicated it was fine made me slow down and investigate. Had I not done that I would have been one very embarrassed skipper among the fleet for running the boat on the rocks before even getting out of the harbor.
Interesting story, Ray. It's one of those "I learned about boating from that" kind of stories.

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Old 29-05-2009, 07:57   #59
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Well I just finished the ASA 103 course. I took the course out of New London Ct. I challenged the 101 course and passed with a 98 score. The course was interesting but I was a bit disappointed. Not with the course but with the Catalina 28. That seemed to me to be one tender boat with a lot of weather helm. The conditions were overcast with 15 to 25 mile easterly winds and occasional gusts to thirty. I also felt that more time on the water could have been had during the cruise - the more time sailing the more learning. But overall it is a good course, though I question that some one starting out really has enough experience to sail by themselves after taking the course.
The GPS plotter is nice though, didn't have those 18 years ago when I was sailing. Definitely have to get one for my boat when I head down the ICW this fall.
I must say that I am not impressed by the new beamy cruising designs. They seem to be built more for creature comfort then sailing.
The instructor seemed a bit surprised when I told him I had had a charter license back in the late 70' but had it taken away because my PTSD condition. (A local competitor had gotten wind of my service-connected disability and turned me in.) But that is in the past I don't plan on chartering and even it I did the VA evaluation states that I now show no signs of my PTSD so I might be able to get it back but I don't want to deal with the public anyway.
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Old 29-05-2009, 11:23   #60
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The course was interesting but I was a bit disappointed. Not with the course but with the Catalina 28.
We took it in San Diego on a Hunter 28. In the afternoons I thought the same as you did. Out in the ocean with 4 ft waves it was more than tender. The smaller boats are easier to train on though so it isn't a bad thing. They also get better if you can get more hours with them in varied conditions. I still wouldn't pick one.

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though I question that some one starting out really has enough experience to sail by themselves after taking the course.
I think anyone with experience will agree with that as well. All certification of anything is based on a set of "Minimum Criteria". I considered myself minimally qualified. Knowing enough to know what you don't know really isn't a bad place to start. It comes with the presumption that you would never do something you knew was not the right thing. Not having enough experience does at least tell you a lot about what more you need. You should be able to set your own limitations after certification with realistic expectations. I think the courses do that well enough.

More sail time is always better. Doing the course in a a group of two works better for sail time. If the group gets to be more than 4 I think you are getting ripped off. Watching someone else is a method or learning too just not the better of you doing it more.

It sounds like you got as much as possible from the experience. That is far more than minimally certified.
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