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Old 11-09-2016, 17:46   #1
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Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

I have a sailing catamaran and have a very little experience. It seems quite straight forward learning to sail and while I'm really clumsy at it I'll get better but there is no way to learn by your self about how to handle the dangers until it is dangerous so I was looking at some professional training that would give me most of the knowledge I need before/if/when the sh!t hits the fan.

Hopefully how to avoid it but if also how to handle it when I don't avoid it.

Suggestions?

Thanks
Dave
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Old 11-09-2016, 17:51   #2
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Nice boat, I would network with local sailors, find an experienced cat skipper that help you with the finer points of being safe and competent. Money that will be well spent...

Water time is everything, sail as much as you can!


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Old 12-09-2016, 02:08   #3
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Perhaps find a reputable professional skipper to sail some legs with you? Hopefully one that has plenty of experience with sailing cats and doesn't mind being asked lots of questions. Nothing like learning on your own vessel.

A coxwain training course will help with navigation, regulations, safety procedures, vessel stability, etc. It will have no content about sailing, and is designed for those wishing to work as commercial mariners. The course doesn't give you the licence. Sea time on commercial vessels is required before an unrestricted licence is granted. Be aware that due to reduced regulation of the vocational education and training "market" in Australia, the quality of such courses is quite variable. Some courses offer no practical boat handling training. For these reasons, coxwain training will not be a great assistance to you being able to operate your new sailing cat, but may broaden your marine education. 7
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Old 12-09-2016, 02:33   #4
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

This ^. A coxswains is a commercial course and not for newbies. You would be better off doing either a formal or non formal sailing course best suited to your needs.

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Old 12-09-2016, 03:36   #5
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
This ^. A coxswains is a commercial course and not for newbies. You would be better off doing either a formal or non formal sailing course best suited to your needs.

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+1 I teach coxswain, master 24m and 35m and have taught RYA courses. The coxswain courses are really set up for small comercial power boats. Still some useful info to be learned but best done when you have some more seatime under your belt. I'd reccomend RYA, I did my instructor training at the same time as Micheal Job from southern cross. He seemed like a good operator. http://southerncrossyachting.com.au/about-us/

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Old 12-09-2016, 07:52   #6
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
I have a sailing catamaran and have a very little experience. It seems quite straight forward learning to sail and while I'm really clumsy at it I'll get better but there is no way to learn by your self about how to handle the dangers until it is dangerous so I was looking at some professional training that would give me most of the knowledge I need before/if/when the sh!t hits the fan.

Hopefully how to avoid it but if also how to handle it when I don't avoid it.

Suggestions?

Thanks
Dave
I have a friend with a Schionning a little smaller than yours. Truth be told it is a much different boat than my Seawind. I would not feel comfortable sailing his boat even though I feel very comfortable on mine. His boat has a conventional fat head main while my big square top main requires a different approach to raising it so the battens don't get caught in the lazy jacks. I have two 9.9 Yamahas in wells that allow me to turn my boat in it's own length while he has a big 50HP Merc mounted in a single well on the center line that gives a higher top speed but limits its mobility in turning.

While you are correct in saying the learning to sail part is easy it is also correct to say every time you get on a new boat there is a learning curve. The only way to master a boat is time on the water in that boat.

But that is not really what you seem to be talking about. Just as there are conventional blurbs for learning how to sail (You only need to know three things to sail a boat; keep the crew on the boat, keep the water out of the boat, keep the mast side up) there are also blurbs about what I will call wisdom in sailing (I would rather be in port and wish I was at sea, than be at sea and wish I was in port).

One of the things you learn when you are on the water sailing your boat is how your boat reacts in different sea states and different weather conditions. It is important to develop a sense of which sea states and weather conditions you wish you were in port and which you wish you were at sea. This is a combination of both the abilities of the boat and the skipper.

Not saying sailing with an experienced skipper is useless; just that if you are out with one in calm seas and a steady 10 knot wind that won't help you when you are out alone in heavy seas and strong winds. Not to mention that most experienced skippers will try and go out in the best conditions given the chance.

The first thing I suggest you do is get in the habit of first thing you do after getting out of bed is tune in to CH2 (in the US) and listen to the weather report. Try and get a feel for the weather around you, what is headed towards you, what is headed away from you, and most important what you need to be aware of. I also use some cell phone apps to alert me to bad weather headed my way. Even when I am on land away from my boat I try and keep an eye on the weather; both where I am and where my boat is. The internet makes it easy to get moving pictures of the current weather radar. Until you feel more comfortable sailing you, and your boat, should stay in an area with good internet and frequently updated weather conditions.

Once you feel comfortable with your ability to keep up with the weather around you start going out in good weather. Start doing things like tacking, balancing your boat to sail a course with no AP (or at least as well as it can do that), heaving too, shortening sail, and in general getting comfortable on the boat.

Realistically most of us are not going to round the great capes. Instead we will be sailing fairly close to home. I define my sailing area as the Florida Keys and Bahamas. I probably could go South and even through the Panama Canal and West; but realistically I will not. You need to define where you intend to sail and master the skills needed for that area. You also need to be realistic about this. I would bet you feel comfortable doing what I will call day sailing. So start sailing for a few hours, anchoring (you also need to have good ground tackle and know how to use it, read some of the threads at CF about that), spending the night on your boat, and sailing home the next day; keeping in mind the skills you have developed about weather predictions. Next is multiple nights anchored and understanding how to live with probably limited water and changes in diet, possibly with no or limited ice.

Bottom line for me is if you have a good feel for weather and good ground tackle you know how to use the rest is easy.

YMMV
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:15   #7
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Quote:
Originally Posted by meatservo View Post
Nice boat, I would network with local sailors, find an experienced cat skipper that help you with the finer points of being safe and competent. Money that will be well spent...

Water time is everything, sail as much as you can!


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That about says it all. Experience best teacher. Of course it may mean you die in the process .
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:47   #8
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

I was in the same position and did the AYF courses and the NSW TAFE coxswain course and the ACT TAFE navigation courses. All here worthwhile sea time is the thing that really works. You've gotten a great boat. Have fun in Morton Bay then come on up to the Sandy Straight and Hervey Bay. Michael s/v Rainbow Dreaming
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Old 12-09-2016, 14:21   #9
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

try not to put yourself at risk to learn about being at risk / best to avoid those situations / offer to crew on a racing multi to help you gain experience / watched some yachties doing their coxwains in lakes entrance / they jumped off a perfectly good boat, swam across to a life raft and climbed in / all those in the course succeeded in the task / at the time we were anchored at the old works jetty with a camping heater running to thaw the frost off the boat / sometime in the night it was obviously below zero degrees/ when they started their liferaft training air temperature would have been 5-6 degrees, would have been warmer in the water/we talked to a couple that were doing the course they were pleased they did even though they were both experienced sailors.
they needed the tickets for work
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Old 12-09-2016, 16:03   #10
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjcook View Post
I was in the same position and did the AYF courses and the NSW TAFE coxswain course and the ACT TAFE navigation courses. All here worthwhile sea time is the thing that really works. You've gotten a great boat. Have fun in Morton Bay then come on up to the Sandy Straight and Hervey Bay. Michael s/v Rainbow Dreaming
Hi Michael

We were in the same marina last week on the end of A arm, saw your boat there. We went out through the bar on Saturday morning and sailed to Mooloolaba then to Manly on Sunday.

I was very pleased to be anchored up when the storm went through south of Mooloolaba.
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Old 12-09-2016, 17:09   #11
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

My total sailing experience is sailing for 2 weeks with the previous owner and 2 days with an owner of a similar boat. Both different and both very helpful. I was lucky enough to experience most conditions from no wind to storms and the breeze from most directions (mostly not what we wanted). We sailed night and day which was also helpful.

Your spot on.

I worry about reading the weather and anchoring. I use the same apps as the previous owner, Sailgrib for wind and weather and it was wrong more often than it was right. I'm not sure if it was Sailgrib that had it wrong or BOM (Bureau Of Meteorology), I assume the info all comes from the BOM site so maybe I should just use that. It would be interesting to hear what others use.

The anchor is a big plough and it has dragged twice. I'd like to get an overkill anchor that won't budge if there is such a thing. I don't trust the one I have and can't sleep at anchor.

We had to heave too in a storm one night when I was on watch which worked well except we had no moon and no instruments at the time.

Balance is some thing that I haven't been shown. I assume good balance means the boat doesn't tend to pull up or down wind. My boat has a tall, 19.6m (64') mast and we ran the reacher with the un-reefed main and it would pull lightly upwind with a gust but with the jib it would pull strongly up wind, which kind of makes sense if it was pivoting on the dagger boards. The auto-pilot couldn't handle it and we sailed with it off, but it was hard work after a few hours. To achieve better balance should I have either put in 1 reef on the main or put out the reacher depending on the wind speed and direction.

Thanks
Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
I have a friend with a Schionning a little smaller than yours. Truth be told it is a much different boat than my Seawind. I would not feel comfortable sailing his boat even though I feel very comfortable on mine. His boat has a conventional fat head main while my big square top main requires a different approach to raising it so the battens don't get caught in the lazy jacks. I have two 9.9 Yamahas in wells that allow me to turn my boat in it's own length while he has a big 50HP Merc mounted in a single well on the center line that gives a higher top speed but limits its mobility in turning.

While you are correct in saying the learning to sail part is easy it is also correct to say every time you get on a new boat there is a learning curve. The only way to master a boat is time on the water in that boat.

But that is not really what you seem to be talking about. Just as there are conventional blurbs for learning how to sail (You only need to know three things to sail a boat; keep the crew on the boat, keep the water out of the boat, keep the mast side up) there are also blurbs about what I will call wisdom in sailing (I would rather be in port and wish I was at sea, than be at sea and wish I was in port).

One of the things you learn when you are on the water sailing your boat is how your boat reacts in different sea states and different weather conditions. It is important to develop a sense of which sea states and weather conditions you wish you were in port and which you wish you were at sea. This is a combination of both the abilities of the boat and the skipper.

Not saying sailing with an experienced skipper is useless; just that if you are out with one in calm seas and a steady 10 knot wind that won't help you when you are out alone in heavy seas and strong winds. Not to mention that most experienced skippers will try and go out in the best conditions given the chance.

The first thing I suggest you do is get in the habit of first thing you do after getting out of bed is tune in to CH2 (in the US) and listen to the weather report. Try and get a feel for the weather around you, what is headed towards you, what is headed away from you, and most important what you need to be aware of. I also use some cell phone apps to alert me to bad weather headed my way. Even when I am on land away from my boat I try and keep an eye on the weather; both where I am and where my boat is. The internet makes it easy to get moving pictures of the current weather radar. Until you feel more comfortable sailing you, and your boat, should stay in an area with good internet and frequently updated weather conditions.

Once you feel comfortable with your ability to keep up with the weather around you start going out in good weather. Start doing things like tacking, balancing your boat to sail a course with no AP (or at least as well as it can do that), heaving too, shortening sail, and in general getting comfortable on the boat.

Realistically most of us are not going to round the great capes. Instead we will be sailing fairly close to home. I define my sailing area as the Florida Keys and Bahamas. I probably could go South and even through the Panama Canal and West; but realistically I will not. You need to define where you intend to sail and master the skills needed for that area. You also need to be realistic about this. I would bet you feel comfortable doing what I will call day sailing. So start sailing for a few hours, anchoring (you also need to have good ground tackle and know how to use it, read some of the threads at CF about that), spending the night on your boat, and sailing home the next day; keeping in mind the skills you have developed about weather predictions. Next is multiple nights anchored and understanding how to live with probably limited water and changes in diet, possibly with no or limited ice.

Bottom line for me is if you have a good feel for weather and good ground tackle you know how to use the rest is easy.

YMMV
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Old 12-09-2016, 21:44   #12
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
SNIP

I worry about reading the weather and anchoring.

SNIP
Balance is some thing that I haven't been shown.

SNIP
Not sure how things in Oz work but in the US a government agency (NOAA) broadcasts local weather conditions on the lower VHF channels 24/7, and warnings if necessary. Several web sites I can pick up with my cell phone also have real time radar and weather information. Most folks who live on boats in the US use these, and other sources as well, to keep up with current and expected weather conditions. For longer passages the resources you mentioned come into play but I suggest you hold off on that for a while.

The only topic at CF causing more arguments than which anchor is best is firearms on a boat. Still there is something to be learned about anchoring by reading some of the threads. The key in my mind is that you don't need a good anchor, you need good ground tackle. To me this includes at least two anchors on the bow ready to quickly deploy and more spares elsewhere. Both the two primary anchors should have adequate chain for the conditions. Most cat skippers also use a bridle and several folks also use snubbers. There are lively arguments on how to attach the bridle to the bows of the cat and to the anchor chain as well. Even with a less than idea anchor if the spot chosen to drop the anchor has good holding and plenty of chain is let out along with a bridle that is set well you will most likely be better off than if you have a brand new expensive anchor on a bad bottom with a short chain. I always look for a sandy spot in 8-10 feet of water, drop the anchor and maybe 15 feet of chain, let it get tight, let out 10-15 more; and keep repeating till I have a 7-1 rode (e.g. 7 feet of chain for each foot of water depth. Then I set the bridle. As a rule both sides of the bridle are the same length; but if the wind and current are not from the same direction you can adjust one side shorter/longer than the other to get the waves to meet the bows head on. The result is not only a more comfortable night's sleep but less strain on the anchor. I then sit down in the salon; turn on my anchor alarm, I use Drag Queen, a free cell phone app but there are plenty of these. I try to get a feel for how the boat is swinging at anchor. I also take some bearings on landmarks if possible. Next I back down the anchor; another contentious subject as to should this be done at 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or full reverse. In any case after spending probably half an hour or more anchoring I feel comfortable assessing if the anchor will hold or if I need to pull up the hook and look for another spot.

The simple definition of how to balance a boat is to get the CE (Center of Effort) directly above the CLR (Center of Lateral Resistance). If you float a match stick in a bowl of water and push one end the end moves, but if you push in the exact center of the match stick the whole match stick moves sideways; both ends move the same. This is the CLR. If you hold up a 4X4 sheet of plywood in the wind and put a stick in the exact center the sheet will not blow over. The same holds true for a single sail. Simple physics will allow the calculation if two sails are flying.

So far we have only talked about static concepts, but sails are dynamic, same for boat hulls moving through water with waves. If you sheet in a sail the CE moves aft, if you sheet out it moves forward, same goes for adjusting the traveler. Not sure about your main but many modern sails like square tops and fat heads are described as opening up (the top part of the sail twists out more than lower parts) as the traveler is adjusted. Another factor is what is called the slot, the space between a head sail and main looking from the cockpit to the bow. As a rule you want the curve of the trailing edge of the head sail to look like the curve of the main where the trailing edge of the head sail is in relation to the main. But adjusting any of these things can shift the CE fore or aft of the CLR. Spending time at the wheel and playing with the sheets and traveler is the only way to get to know how your boat will react to changes.

Just remember the first rule of sailing; I would rather be in port and wish I was at sea than be at sea and wish I was in port.
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Old 12-09-2016, 22:45   #13
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

You may find this useful:

file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/MoretonBaybeacon.pdf
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Old 12-09-2016, 22:54   #14
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Hi, Ok so these courses are for professional masters. not sailors. I have a masters 4 and my wife had master 5. The courses start at Cox'n, master 5, 4 and up to 1 which is foreign going master. These are formal Aussie government courses. I was always glad to have done, within the training,
2 day ship board fire control course
2 day survival at sea course.
Ship handling
lots of navigation.
Ship construction
Col regs.
Cargo handling, that's probably a bit over the top for sailing.
Advanced radar, etc etc.
Any use ? when I took out insurance and put in, where it ask for qualifications and I put the above, I got a 25% reduction
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Old 13-09-2016, 00:53   #15
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Re: Training / Coxswain or other. How much benifit

Quote:
Originally Posted by les graham View Post
Hi, Ok so these courses are for professional masters. not sailors. I have a masters 4 and my wife had master 5. The courses start at Cox'n, master 5, 4 and up to 1 which is foreign going master. These are formal Aussie government courses. I was always glad to have done, within the training,
2 day ship board fire control course
2 day survival at sea course.
Ship handling
lots of navigation.
Ship construction
Col regs.
Cargo handling, that's probably a bit over the top for sailing.
Advanced radar, etc etc.
Any use ? when I took out insurance and put in, where it ask for qualifications and I put the above, I got a 25% reduction
Hi Les, and welcome to CF.

Your points are valid and I wish that more of our fellow cruisers had the benefit of training such as yours.

Just a couple of points of clarification regarding commercial skippers' licences in Australia; the "course" doesn't give you a "ticket ". Undertaking a coxswain or masters course, if successfully completed will give you a qualification.
This qualification as well as sea time, perhaps "task books" and a good old fashioned oral grilling "assessment " by the issuing authority is required before you get a the ticket. Sea time on recreational vessels is not given much credibility, or none at all, depending on the ticket sought. In order to continue to hold these licences, regular commercial marine work must be logged, unless your ticket is of the older "perpetual" type that some of us old folk hold.

There is, as you point out, value for a recreational yachtie in just undertaking these commercial mariner's courses, even if they don't intend to follow through and gain a ticket. In my view the RYA/AYF courses are better suited to recreational yachties. Either are better than none.

I'll repeat my warning with regard to "formal Aussie government courses". As someone who has taught in the vocational education and training sector for many years, let's just say that things ain't as good as they used to be. Good courses still exist, but shop hard for quality.

Finally, who is your insurance company?
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