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Old 06-02-2014, 12:33   #1
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To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Hi All,
Just getting into this cruising thing. I live in Sydney and the BIG plan is to take the family cruising the south pacific about two years from now.
Before that I intend to get as much learning as I can about boating.
I've grown up on boats but 99% of it done in Sydney Harbour which I know very well and can navigate with my eyes closed. I need to learn how to navigate in unfamiliar locations - and how to get there. Preferably without hitting land!
What's the best way to learn? I've got a 47 Excalibur power boat with a bunch of raymarine stuff on it (Chart plotter/GPS autopilot etc) but have never used it. I'll be doing a few coastal runs in the coming weeks and intend to build up to an East Coast (Australia) treck early next year.
Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:53   #2
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Ummm... here in the US, our Coast Guard Auxiliaries and also the US Power Squadrons offer courses in navigation, as do the various independent sailing and boating schools around. Perhaps you have some equivalents, there?

And... our Chart #1 contains all the keys to reading US NOAA charts... so perhaps you have an equivalent there, too?

I expect many of the locals down there can chime in

In the meantime... the owners manuals for your Raymarine stuff also offers boatsloads of insight into how to use the equipment for navigation purposes. Assumes you know how to read a chart, of course.

And then there are a bazillion books on the subject. Google can help.

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Old 06-02-2014, 15:09   #3
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

First thing to do is use that chartplotter when you are running around Sydney Harbour. Make sure that it is recording your track so that you can examine it afterwards. Get right into the bays close to shore (try following the 5 meter line) and compare what you see on the the plotter with what you see on the ground. That will give you a good feel for electronic charts. Then set yourself a short, simple course with a few waypoints and try to follow it (something like Benelong to Vaucluse going south of Clark and Shark Islands
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:18   #4
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Sounds like a nice plan.

Have you considered getting a book on navigation? Up our way Chapman's boat manual and Dutton's Piloting are old "bibles," but any good thorough book, like Calder's Cruising Handbook, or Rousmaniere's has tons of valuable information.

I just Googled "online navigation course" - try that, too.
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:36   #5
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

As Stu says, turn the Raymarine chart plotter on.

Then watch it while you go around home waters.
Its pretty self explanatory.
Then whack in some routes etc. find the instruction book online.
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Old 06-02-2014, 17:37   #6
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

I've run round Sydney Harbour for a while, with and without a chartplotter.

While agreeing with the need to practice I found it necessary to lay my track on a chart (or those excellent cheap Maritime Authority maps) and then to transfer that track onto my plotter.

First time I tried it I had myself gong straight through South Head!

The software on my plotter (Standard Horizon) does allow me to check my track but validating it on the chart is "easier".

I also read up Lucas' guide for where I'm going.

When doing the track I also check the time for each leg (just to make sure I'm somewhere safe when the next front comes through) and the distance (to check fuel required).

There's something I vaguely remember from my private pilots' course about a point of no return (being the point at which there is insufficient fuel to return to the departure point) that I usually try to make a mental note of.
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Old 06-02-2014, 18:00   #7
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Agreed with everything said above! I volunteer with Aus Volunteer Coastguard - VIC (not available in NSW), and run Navigation courses. As we have just begun a new Nav course last night, i'd suggest getting a hold of a "Admiralty Charts Publications - Chart 5011 (Edition 5)" book with ALL Navigation Symbols, Abbreviations etc used on all Admiralty Paper charts...

The BEST boating guide that also includes EVERYThING about boats inc Navigation is the "Australian Boating Manual" (Dick Gandy) Australian Boating Manual - Ocean Publications Available in book, OR now ipdad/android format. the book is HUGE & covers all material for Coxswain training.

There's plenty of lesson videos online (youtube etc) too, so just hunt away. The more times you practice/read the more familiar it'll become! Good luck!!!
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Old 06-02-2014, 18:18   #8
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

dont forget to check the tides and weather conditions
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Old 06-02-2014, 18:49   #9
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

. For a blue water journey, its wise to prep yourself with a proper course. If it was just Barrenjoey to Newcastle there would be no big deal, aside from Rivken rocks. Or Stockton boatpark to the north.

Most coast guard stations provide well priced courses as do any of the sailing schools on the harbour.

But when the plotter is down and you have to use Dead Reckoning or calculate set and drift (which you never have to do on the harbour unless your in a high end yacht race) you will be thankful you did a course for a few bucks.

Heres some things a plotter wont teach you.
How to use Leads.
Variation
Deviation
Creating a Fix
Creating a running Fix
What Datum means and converting it
How to use a traffic separation zone
Occulting vs other Sequences
Which plane on the chart to take measurements with.( you WILL have charts also, wont you?)
Using a compass rose and Parallel Rule
Degrees vs NM vs Long and Lat
Rule of 12's

Not trying to be in your face about it mate. But definitely do a certified course for a journey to into the pacific. At the very worst, you get to sit in a room full of people who want to talk about boats :-D

Enjoy your planning and most of all enjoy the trip.
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Old 06-02-2014, 18:58   #10
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

As an old, not so bold, retired pilot, I would like to pass on some sage advice that was imparted to me as a young pup. "The best navigational device ever invented is the ole' Mark 1 eyeball!" Learn how to navigate, how to read the water, how to read the weather and don't rely totally on technology. Use everything available to you all the time! The secret to a long and successful aviation career can be summed up in 3 words "Don't hit nuthin". I would apply that to a boating career as well. Be cautious, but don't stress uselessly! Enjoy! That is what you are out there for. George
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Old 06-02-2014, 22:06   #11
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Learn these















The last one is found growing on rocks.

Take a navigation course in a classroom setting - it really helps.
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Old 06-02-2014, 22:29   #12
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozskipper View Post
. For a blue water journey, its wise to prep yourself with a proper course. If it was just Barrenjoey to Newcastle there would be no big deal, aside from Rivken rocks. Or Stockton boatpark to the north.

Most coast guard stations provide well priced courses as do any of the sailing schools on the harbour.

But when the plotter is down and you have to use Dead Reckoning or calculate set and drift (which you never have to do on the harbour unless your in a high end yacht race) you will be thankful you did a course for a few bucks.

Heres some things a plotter wont teach you.
How to use Leads.
Variation
Deviation
Creating a Fix
Creating a running Fix
What Datum means and converting it
How to use a traffic separation zone
Occulting vs other Sequences
Which plane on the chart to take measurements with.( you WILL have charts also, wont you?)
Using a compass rose and Parallel Rule
Degrees vs NM vs Long and Lat
Rule of 12's

Not trying to be in your face about it mate. But definitely do a certified course for a journey to into the pacific. At the very worst, you get to sit in a room full of people who want to talk about boats :-D

Enjoy your planning and most of all enjoy the trip.


1st step is to do a navigation course and practise what you have learnt from the course on your own vessel.
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Old 06-02-2014, 23:43   #13
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Why would you want to leave Sydney?

I wish I was back down there again...
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:58   #14
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Thanks to all - a course sounds like the go.
Any Sydney folks care to recommend one?
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Old 07-02-2014, 13:10   #15
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Re: To Start With - I don't want to hit a rock!

Quote:
Originally Posted by madforboats View Post
Thanks to all - a course sounds like the go.
Any Sydney folks care to recommend one?
East Sail at Rushcutters Bay close to the CYC.
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