Other seas

OK, so you have decided on the best way for you to enjoy the waters close to home, but what about when you have an urge to see what is to be found in other seas?

Chartering comes in all shapes and sizes, just like other boats. From a narrow boat in England to sharing a catamaran with your friends in Monaco, you are going to find a wide range of options and pretty much anyone who can afford to vacation in those locations in the first place can find a charter of some kind to suit their budget.

Do you want a bareboat charter or a crewed charter. For bareboat, do you meet local requirements (this is where America’s Boating Club BoC certification may come in handy!)? Even bareboat charters come with different levels of help, as some companies will do your grocery shopping for you before you take possession.

Do you want to charter from a Mom and Pop shop to support the local economy or from a well known brand that you feel you can trust?

How many friends are you going to bring along? Boats for charter often have lots of cabins so that groups can pool resources to offset the costs. Do you get along with your friends well enough to take advantage of this or were you looking for a private getaway for your anniversary?

If you think you will enjoy the experience, you will likely find that the pricing for a charter maybe similar, or even less, than the all inclusive resort that your cousin recommended. And if it is a crewed charter, you will still be waited on hand and foot ūüôā

 
Keep safe, keep learning
Tanya Weimer
SEO

Cost of Boat Ownership

One thing hasn’t changed since yesterday’s email: it is still hard to estimate how much it costs to own a boat.

Boats are one of those toys that everyone puts a lot of thought into the initial investment, but a lot of people forget about the ongoing¬†costs. This article has a good list to get you moving in the right direction. Another good idea is to talk to people who have a boat similar to the one you are considering. While a lot of people don’t like to talk about money, you can at least ask what surprises¬†they have had. Most boat owners LOVE to talk about your boats. I may have been known to drag people onboard to check out our SeaDek and brag about its comfort and safety…

Even regulations can make for a surprise. San Diego is considering limiting how often boat hulls can be cleaned in the water. If this passes, divers may well need to raise their prices in order to continue their businesses. That will come as a surprise to folks who aren’t keeping up with proposed rule changes.

What kind of maintenance costs need to be considered? How much work can you learn to do yourself?

Another surprise for a lot of people can be how much towing costs. Or even what exactly is covered by tow insurance, if you purchase that.

There are good surprises, as well. If you are buying a new to you boat, San Diego Marine Exchange will sign you up for a special new boater discount for the first three months! And many people are very surprised¬†to realize that if you can dock your boat at a yacht club, you can make up your costs rather quickly. How quickly will depend on what your upfront fees were, which will often depend on your age, which we don’t have much control over. However, I can say that for us, the yacht club dues¬†+ galley fees¬†+ slip fees¬†+ electricity is still about 25% less than our marina fees were. And while we are no longer living aboard, the additional fee for that at our club is significantly less than it was at the marina. However, not many local clubs currently allow liveaboards.

Keep safe, Keep learning
Tanya Weimer
SEO

Covid cancels Course

Due to the current health situation, which limits our access to classroom space, I have decided to cancel this course.

Please consider taking the course online (https://www.americasboatingclub.org/learn/online-boating-education/americas-boating-course) in order to get up to speed and apply for your CA boaters club. If you do take the online class, we will still let you join in our next in person class so that you can have the advantage of the hands on activities. Any version of the ABC course, plus membership ( https://www.americasboatingclub.org/join) will qualify you to take our on the water training, as well. If you do any of these online activities, please let me know, so that I can follow through with more information, as it becomes available.

To stay up to date, you can also check out our website at SDSPS.org.

Tanya Weimer
SEO

Cost of Boat Ownership

How much does it cost to own a boat?

How much does it cost to go cruising?

How long is a piece of string?

Boating costs are hard to quantify, but very important to consider when making boating decisions. In normal times, your best financial bet is to have friends with boats, but that may also be a good way to stay onshore in our current environment.

For many casual users, renting a boat or joining a boat club is going to be the best option available. The buy in fees for a boat club are usually significantly less than a boat itself and the ongoing fees are often comparable to slip fees, but you aren’t responsible for the maintenance and you can choose a different boat depending on whether your want to go out fishing or take the family out to splash around.

Renters and club members never spend their weekends fixing their boats instead of using them. While that is a financial plus, not everyone considers it an overall benefit: some folks just like tinkering! In the same vein, you may not have the ability to take along trip to Catalina in a shared or borrowed boat, depending on which service you actually use.

Rental places in San Diego, such as Seaforth have put procedures into place to protect their staff and clients. As such, be sure to call any place you might be considering before you go, as most do not allow walk ins at this time. Clubs, such as Convair Sailing, Harbor Island Yacht Club and Freedom Boat Club also have extensive training available for members.

This Discover Boating article has a good analyses of the pros and cons of clubs and compares them to both renting and ownership.

Stay Safe, Keep Learning,
Tanya Weimer
SEO

Chart 1210

Chart1210

Perhaps you aren’t looking for education per se. You already have a solid grounding. You own all of the navigation tools, or can figure out how to get them. You own Chart 1210 and don’t even remember why, but there must have been a reason, so you roll it back up and put it back in the tube to rediscover again the next time you try to have a clear out. Maybe you are even tired of online anything and are planning to turn the computer off as soon as you finish this email.

Be sure to write down two things, first:

-888-449-7011 (Seabreeze Nautical Bookstore)
-Navigation Workbook 1210TR by David Burch and Larry Brandt
 
You can also order the book as an ebook. It contains lots and lots of navigation exercises using training chart 1210, so you can practice to your heart’s desire.

Stay Safe, keep learning
Tanya Weimer
SEO

NauticEd

Still looking for more in depth education opportunities online?

When I started sailing, I used¬†NauticEd. Although they sell themselves as a sailing school, the material they cover largely applies to all boats. Furthermore, I will assert that if you are boating in an area like San Diego, it is important for power boaters to have a basic understanding of sailboats and their limitations. What are the options for that sailboat that is currently approaching the shore as you pass them? Will they be able to choose a course that doesn’t interfere with yours?

This is not a cheap option, but it isn’t ridiculous, either. One thing I like about NauticEd is that the materials were designed to be delivered online, which can make a big difference in the experience.

Keep safe, keep learning,
Tanya Weime
SEO

AIS

WhatisAIS
AIS

It’s Friday! If nothing else, that means you won’t be hearing from me for two days, just know that it is the weekend, I haven’t forgotten you!

For today I promised to address AIS. Not to be lazy, but I found this wonderful BoatUS article that covers what I wanted to cover. 

 
For the record, I personally have passive AIS on my smartphone that I only use to track fleets, such as the Baja Haha; passive AIS with my VHF that only works with my old charplotter, which is the main reason the old chartplotter is still installed at the nav station; and a B&G AIS transponder/VHF on my list of projects for next year.

Keep safe, keep learning,
Tanya Weimer
SEO

About Chartplotters

So, if GPS is just spitting out a series of numbers and the paper chart requires those numbers to tell you where you are, where does your chartplotter fit into everything?

The reason that I had you start thinking about paper charts first is because you can see the limitations of the chartplotter. Even if you project your electronic chart onto your 80″ screen, it is going to be a bit more difficult to see all the details that you can calmly peruse on your paper chart. That doesn’t mean that your chartplotter isn’t an amazing tool that we should all learn to revere and to harness.

Whether you are using small, handheld, the slightly larger screen of your smartphone or a state of the art 12″ screen, you have an amazing computer at your disposal. In most cases, the screen size just determines how much detail you can see at a time.

 
Modern chartplotters cannot only tell you where you are and help you determine the safest route to get where you want to be. That tiny computer tends to contain an entire library of pilot charts and tide tables, as well. You can find out the tide predictions for your favorite anchorage so that you know how much scope to put. Determine currents going through Ballast Point so you know whether to sail or motor. Most can even help you find a dock and dine restaurant. All of that before you even hook up the wind, depth and AIS instruments!

The best way to get to know your own chartplotter is to play with it. Zoom in and out to see how the level of detail changes. And you should be aware that even professional navigators have made the mistake of zooming too far out and not seeing details that could have saved their vessel (I’m looking at your, Team Vestas). Use it every time, even when you are cruising very familiar grounds, so that you are confident about what you are looking at should you go to less familiar waters. Set a course for your next day cruise and learn how to follow it – particularly challenging for sailors!

Don’t have a chartplotter on board? Download an app on your smartphone. At home,¬†download OpenCPN and learn how chartplotters work, in general. How far out is 3 miles, where you can pump overboard? How far is it to Catalina? Where is the Mexican border on the water? What are those yellow buoys in the middle of nowhere? What would be your magnetic bearing if you were to follow the measured mile on Harbor Island? What is the best course to follow for a tour of Mission Bay? How long would it take you to run that course at 5mph (4.2kts)?
 
OpenCPN can also be used to do your preparatory chartwork. For most onboard chartplotters, naming waypoints and routes is a tedious process of scrolling through letters and symbols, so it can be nice to create a route on your computer and transfer the file to your chartplotter.
 
OpenCPN is opensource software. While it is free to download, if you find yourself liking it, you should consider a donation to the project. They have to pay for the servers to keep it available!

Keep safe, keep learning
Tanya Weimer
SEO
Chartplotter
GarminChartplotter
Chartplotterbuiltin

Lats & Longs

LatLong

So if GPS is just a really elaborate system for working out latitude and longitude, where do we go from there?

Honestly, I still recommend that everyone take the time to at least learn the basics of a paper chart. For one thing, if you have raster charts on your chartplotter (don’t worry, I will explain that in the coming days), it is literally just a picture of the paper chart for the same are.

One big difference between paper and electronic charts is that on the paper chart, you can’t miss the¬†latitude and longitude lines, nor the compass rose. On some electronic charts, you can’t see them! While the numbers will eventually start to mean something to you (ie, you can ignore the warship calling out to a boat off its bow because you know that you are miles and miles away from those coordinates), as you are learning the paper charts have lots of tools to help you remember.

So how does a beginner remember¬†which lines run which direction? One way is Jimmy Buffet. When he referred to “Changes in Latitude” he wasn’t trying to get to Europe! A more direct way to remember is that longitude lines are literally long – every single one of them runs from pole to pole. In contrast, the latitude lines that run AROUND the poles are actually quite short. If it helps, learn the British terms: they consistently refer to parallels (latitude) and meridians (aka, the Prime Meridian).

This is important to remember because it means that latitude lines are always parallel to each other. There is a standardized distance between the lines. This distance works out to 1 nautical mile per minute of latitude. There is no equivalent in longitude. these lines touch at the poles and spread out at the equator, so there is no consistency.

On a paper chart, this means that you can use the latitude markers along the side to determine distance. Often, the scale is only listed, not demonstrated, like on a paper land map. But you always have your latitude lines.

Similarly, the compass rose on a paper chart can be a wonderful learning tool for understanding the difference between true and magnetic directions (aka variation). It is literally right there, with a visual representation. No math is required to get the basic concept, although if you have a particularly old paper chart, some math may be required to be entirely accurate.

 

Be forewarned, a phase out of paper charts in the US has begun. NOAA is now only producing electronic charts, and you will have to request a print out. It is unclear at this point if the production of waterproof chart books will continue. However, these paper charts will continue to be an excellent learning tool, as their shear size allows you to visualize the process of navigation in a way that your tablet does not allow.

Keep safe, keep learning

Tanya Weimer
SEO