Showing posts with label Boating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boating. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Definition of a Yacht

Photo: Maxpixel
There may have been a time when you did not know what the term "yachting" meant.  In fact, the very definition of what makes a yacht different from other boats often escapes many people.  For the yacht owner, there is probably no more frustrating experience than to be discussing this part of your life at a social gathering only to have someone respond "I know what you mean, I love my fishing boat."  The two could not be more different and the better people understand that the fewer strange looks you will get when you tell your associates that one of your passions is "yachting".

Two things that are most often true of yachts is that they are mostly large boats and that they are primarily used for recreation.  But despite some predefined notions of how yacht owners approach their passions, there is a lot of variety to how yachts are used recreationally.  For one thing, yachting is split between those who enjoy yachting for the luxury of cruising the high seas in maximum comfort and those who love yachts for racing.  Both approaches to yachting have strong populations and lots of support industry to feed the growing enthusiasm for yachting amongst the yachting population.  

Even within the luxury yachting set, there are distinctions in types of yachts and in how people go about enjoying this very diverse hobby.  One big difference is between motorized yachting and sailing.  There is a beauty to sailing that is undeniable.  But sailing also is also more demanding and it has a lot of equipment and specialized skills that are called to carry it off.  But it is an addictive side of yachting that you can grow into.  Many who love sailing yachts will start out sailing with a crew who are skilled at handling the rigs and then allow those talented sailors to teach the skill to the yacht owner.

Another distinction of yachts is the level of involvement you might bring to actually operating the boat on open waters.  A full crew yacht is one in which everything is done for you.  This is the ultimate of luxury because not only do you have no concerns for the actual act of taking the yacht from here to there on the waters, you are pampered with every need and desire by a crew dedicated to your comfort and happiness.  But if you want to get closer to the experience of running the boat yourself, you can go with a skipper only who can manage much of the details of the yachting but leave the "crew work" to you.  And then for the ultimate in taking on the seaman to elements you can take out a "bareboat" yacht which means you do all the work.



You can see there is a lot of variety in the experience you can have on a yacht and still call it a yachting excursion.  But in all of these cases, the yacht is devoted to one thing, to giving you fun and pleasure and excitement. Whether it’s the thrill of a yacht race or you alone in your yacht exploring the coast of Africa and having the adventure of a lifetime, you are fulfilling a dream.  And to most of us, that is what it means to own a yacht or even to charter one and feel like you own it.  You are giving yourself the chance to realize a dream and have that singular experience of fun, happiness or relaxation on a luxurious yacht in a luxurious setting.  What could be better than that?





Friday, August 31, 2018

The History of KAYAKS

Kayaks - Photo: Pexels
Canoeing and Kayaking go back to the dawn of human culture. The word "kayak" literally means "hunter's boat." The kayak was used for transport, but it was a miraculous hunting tool, facilitating a quiet approach towards one's desired prey. The covered deck of the kayak made it more sea-worthy and better able to shed waves than the traditional canoe. Kayaks are mostly used during summer months, primarily for hunting and fishing. 

Similar to the kayak, the umiak is a larger boat which can carry up to 20 people. The umiak and the kayak existed side by side, both finding useful niches for transporting and hunting throughout history. 

Kayak design varied according to the specific needs of inhabitants of particular regions. For instance, early kayaks designed by inhabitants surrounding the Bering Strait were wider and shorter. Whereas the kayaks from Greenland were sleek and low. Kayaks from Baffin Island were wider and longer. 

The kayak was first created by the Inuit, an artic people. Interestingly, despite being the birthplace of the kayak, very little archaeological evidence of the covered kayak can be found on the Siberian Coast.

Early Eskimos made kayak frames using driftwood, and early kayaks were wrapped in sealskins. 

In fact, most early kayaks were fabricated using wood for the frame and then tied together using sinew, or tendons, with a sealskin cover. Kayaks were virtually unsinkable with air-filled seal bladders. Today, very few traditional skin kayaks are still in use and the knowledge of their construction is quickly fading. Other early kayaks were made from whalebone or driftwood. 

The materials that have been used to make a kayak have changed significantly over the years. Europeans eventually discovered the versatility of the kayak, and kayaks once designed with sealskins were designed by Europeans with fabric covers. This method continued until the 1950's when a company known as Valley Products began producing the first fiberglass kayak. Then in 1984, the first plastic kayak was introduced. Kayaks continue to become lighter, sturdier, and more versatile. 

Now there are several types of kayaks designed with various materials suitable for a variety of sporting events. Today, kayaking is accessible to all skill levels, providing a quiet and gas-free form of breathtaking travel, exploration, and exercise.





Friday, August 3, 2018

Boats, A List Of Do’s And Dont's

Photo: Pxhere
Doesn’t the idea of a lovely three-day sail in wonderful old boat sound nice? Here are a few things to think about before you sail away.

1. Do check the price. It may be possible to take an actual, fairly luxurious cruise instead of sailing on one of the oldest boats in America.

2. Do make sure you fully understand the size of your "room " on the boat. If you are hoping to have any romantic action in your cabin it would be good to know ahead of time that you and your partner each have a small bunk and these bunks are not on the same wall.

3. Do know ahead of time if you and your partner can both even stand up at the same time in your "room" on the boat. If the answer is "no" consider other options.

4. Don't leave without checking more than once to make sure you have Your luggage. Even though you carefully packed All the luggage, did Yours actually make it to the boat? If not you will have a fantastic time with no changes of clothing and nothing warmer than a sweatshirt. Don’t leave without all your luggage!

5. Don’t get on a boat where the crew is planning on having a lot of assistance from you and the rest of the paying customers. Like, for instance, doing your own dishes or pulling in ropes and such.

6. Don’t think you will get everything outlined in the brochure. Will you ever go onto land during this excursion or will you just ride around and around on the boat being quite sure you’ve seen that same shoreline five times in three days? Do ask the boat crew if you will ever see any of the sea creatures promised and what about the island lobster bake?

7. Don’t plan on real bathroom facilities and do ask where the shower is. Ha!!

8. Don’t even think of taking this kind of boat trip if you don’t like small spaces. Not only is the berth area minuscule, there is no other place to play games or cards except the galley, also tiny and often being used to fix the meals.

9. Do consider this boat trip if you enjoy working while on a very expensive vacation in the smallest accommodations imaginable while possibly seeing no sea life and not eating promised lobster!

These are some do’s and don’t of a boat trip I’ve actually taken.




Thursday, June 28, 2018

Title: Anchors Aweigh - A How-To For Caribbean Sailing

Caribbean sailing - Photo: Pxhere
There is something magical about chartering a boat and sailing the clear, turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean. There is no finer way to get a break and relax than to sail from island to island. At some point during your Caribbean sailing experience, however, you will want to stop. Whether you want to fish, swim, snorkel or dive, have lunch or stay overnight, you will need to find an anchorage and either anchor or use a mooring ball. Anchoring a boat securely is one of the most basic skills in boat handling. The key is preparation and slow maneuvering. If you miss the first time, do not be embarrassed. There is not an experienced sailor afloat who have not encountered this problem. Just go around and start again. The important thing is to have it right! By anchoring poorly, not only are you endangering your boat, but also the other boats anchored nearby. By following these suggestions and techniques, you can feel confident that you will have safe, hassle-free anchoring.  

Selecting the Anchorage

The first step in anchoring is to pick an anchorage. Try to arrive at your anchorage relatively early enough in the afternoon. This allows you enough light to avoid any shoals or other hazards like rock/coral heads, fish nets or boats, ferries, freighters, mooring balls, crab pots, and cables. In addition, during peak season (December to April) many popular spots throughout the Caribbean become very crowded. By arriving early enough, you have extra time to go somewhere else before nightfall. 

When choosing an anchorage, there are several things to consider. For instance, is the anchorage protected? A good anchorage offers protection from the current weather conditions and will also offer protection from the expected weather. Are there any local weather (wind) conditions or exposure to swells that could make the anchorage too rolly? How well is the entrance and anchorage area charted or marked? 
  
How good is the holding? Charts should indicate the type of bottom. Generally speaking, most anchors will hold well in sandy bottoms. Rock, coral, and shale prevent anchors from digging in. If possible, avoid grassy bottoms, where it is very difficult to set the anchor. How crowded, noisy, dirty or smelly is it? Is the band from the beach bar going to keep you up until the wee hours of the morning or is the diesel smell of the inter-island ferry going to detract from your ideal scent of paradise? How pretty is the anchorage when you sit in the cockpit enjoying the dawn or dusk? How long a dinghy ride is it to shore and is there a decent place to dock the dinghy? What amenities are available on shore? What are the depth and tidal range? Enough depth is needed so that low tide does not present obstacles your boat might swing into and it is also important when determining scope. Finally, is there enough room? No matter where your boat is anchored, the largest possible swing range should be considered. 

Getting Ready

Once you have decided that the anchorage is the perfect spot to stop on your Caribbean sailing adventure, there are several steps to take before actually anchoring. Before doing anything else, work out a system of communication between the person at the helm and the crew member dropping the anchor. Remember that your engine will be running and therefore you will be unable to communicate verbally. Hand signals usually work best. Furl the sails and generally make the boat shipshape before entering the anchorage. Also, shorten the dinghy painter (the line that attaches at the front of the dinghy) if you are dragging the dinghy behind you. This prevents it from being sucked into the prop when you put the engine in reverse. Open the anchor locker hatch, and if your anchor has a safety line attached to the chain (usually found only in monohulls), untie and release it. Get the anchor ready to be dropped by disengaging the anchor from the bow rollers. This is done by using the remote control windlass (found in most Caribbean sailing charters) to lower the anchor about two to three feet. Make sure all fingers and toes are away from the chain! Finally, take a tour of the anchorage at very slow speed to get a sense of where you would like to be. 

Dropping and Setting the Anchor

After your tour of the anchorage, pick your spot. As the newest arrival in an anchorage, you must anchor to keep clear of boats already at anchor. Allow for any change in wind direction. It is always safer to leave extra space around your boat. Make sure you will have enough room to fall back on the anchor without lying too close to any vessel anchored behind you once you have laid out a 7 to 1 scope. In normal conditions, if you are using all chain, a safe minimum anchor scope ratio is 5 to 1 (chain length to depth). 

In heavy weather, the scope ratio is 7 to 1. Depth is the depth of the water at high tide plus the height from the water line to the bow roller. The scope is the actual amount of anchor line (chain) paid out when the boat is safely anchored. For example, if high water is 20 feet deep and your bow roller is 5 feet above the water, you need 125 feet (5 x 20 + 5 feet) of scope to anchor if using all chain, or 175 feet if using a 7 to 1 scope. Remember, putting out too little scope is one of the most common mistakes cruisers make when anchoring. 

With the bow to the wind, slowly motor up to the desired spot. Stop the boat exactly where you wish the anchor to lay and take note of the depth. Remember that if you are chartering a catamaran, a cat offers less resistance to the water than a monohull and thus takes more time to slow down than a monohull. Make sure the catamaran has completely stopped. You can keep a cat straight into the wind by using both engines at idle speed. Once your vessel has lost all forward movement, it is now time to drop and set the anchor. 

Despite the term, "dropping anchor", you never want to throw the anchor over the side or let it run free immediately because the chain will run out at a tremendous speed and pile on itself rather than laying out straight on the seabed. A piled anchor chain prevents the anchor from setting properly and may actually foul the anchor. Instead, with the windlass, lower the anchor quickly to the bottom. Let the wind slowly push your boat back- do not try to reverse. Let out adequate scope as the vessel moves aft. If you are in a monohull, do not worry about being broadside to the wind. When the desired amount of scope has been let out, snub the chain and allow the wind to straighten out the boat. Once the boat is headed with the bow into the wind, gently put the engine into reverse and throttle at 1500 rpm for about 15-20 seconds. This should set the anchor and the anchor chain should start to straighten. If it vibrates or skips, let out more scope. An anchor that is set will not shake the chain. Once you are satisfied the anchor is set, turn off the engine. Put on your snorkel gear and visually check the anchor to ensure your boat is secure. If the anchor is lying on its side, caught in coral, or the chain is wrapped around a coral head, reset it. 

When the anchor is firmly set, look around for reference points in relation to your boat. These can include other boats or fixed landmarks like a house, rock formation or tower. Over the next hour, relax in your cockpit and make sure those reference points are in the same place. If not, you are probably dragging the anchor. 

Dealing With the Dragging Anchor

If your boat is dragging anchor during the day, it is not a major problem. Start your engine and put it into idle gear. Try to let out more chain. Wait a few minutes to see if the anchor sets itself. If not, you will have to re-anchor. If your boat is dragging at night, it becomes a little more challenging. If you are sound asleep and you do not bump into anything, you might not even know you dragged until the next morning when you wake up in a different place. I have friends who are extremely experienced sailors. They actually woke up in an entirely different anchorage after a night of dragging. On the other hand, you might become aware of night dragging when other people in the anchorage start screaming and flashing lights at your boat. Start your engine and keep it idling. Try to let out more chain and wait to see if the anchor resets itself. If not, you will have to re-anchor. Use your depth sounder to try and find another spot to anchor. Keep all the lights on the boat off to get the best night vision possible. Slowly move to another spot with extreme caution. If your neighbor's boat is dragging during the day, try and get their attention. Put out fenders to avoid damage to your boat. If nobody is on board the dragging boat (they are onshore drinking at the local beach bar), you can either get aboard their boat and reset the anchor, or if you are not comfortable doing that, you may have to move your own boat. During the night, if you are suddenly jolted awake when another boat hits yours, immediately start the engine and keep it idling. Wake up the crew of the other boat (yell, flash your lights, etc), put out fenders and do the same as during the day. 

The Mooring Ball Option

Throughout the Caribbean, but especially in the British Virgin Islands, professionally maintained mooring balls are located in many anchorages and are available for overnight use for a small fee. A mooring is a buoy connected to an extremely heavy anchor or weight. Besides protecting the coral from damage done by an anchor, picking up a mooring ball has three other advantages. First, you do not have to go to the bother of using your anchor. Second, the mooring's anchor probably is never going to drag. And third, because the mooring's anchor is so heavy and deeply embedded in the sea bottom, less scope is needed and, therefore, the boat will swing around in a tighter radius than it would on its own anchor. 

As in anchoring, approach the mooring area slowly with your dinghy pulled in on a short painter. Have a crew member ready with a boat hook at the bow to direct you and to pick up the mooring pennant (a line with a loop at the end). Have one end of a line attached to a bow cleat with the free end close by. If you have chartered a catamaran, one line is sufficient. If you have chartered a monohull, however, attach a second line to the opposite side bow cleat. Point the bow of the boat into the wind and slowly approach the mooring ball. By shifting alternately from forward to neutral, you can coast towards the ball. Shift into reverse to stop the boat as the crew member lifts the pennant on board and passes the free end of the line(s) through it. Quickly cleat off the free end of the line on the opposite bow cleat for a catamaran or on the same side for a monohull.. On a monohull, the two lines prevent chafing and limit the risk of breaking free from the mooring ball. On a catamaran, the line hangs low enough that chafing from tension is rarely a problem. Again, do not be embarrassed if you miss picking up the pennant the first time- it has happened to all of us! Just circle around and try it again. Once secured, adjust the lines, if necessary. 

To leave a mooring ball, make sure the dinghy is again on a short painter. Un-cleat the line(s) and simply let go of the pennant. Take care not to run over the mooring buoy and pennant as you leave for your next Caribbean sailing destination. 



Weighing Anchor

Before raising the anchor, preparation is again necessary. Make sure that loose items are stowed and hatch covers are closed. (The anchor locker hatch cover should be open). Shorten up the dinghy painter again. Start the engine. Most charter boats require the engine on to operate the windlass. Have a crew member stand on the most forward point at the bow with the windlass remote control. Using hand signals, the crew member instructs the helmsman to move the boat forward very slowly in the direction of the chain. Make sure the helmsman stops the motion of the boat before overshooting the anchor. While the chain is slack, start cranking it up. When you get to the snubber, put down the remote and remove the snubber. Then resume cranking. When the chain is taut again, with hand signals, instruct the helmsman to move the boat forward again in the direction of the chain. The whole idea of this is to avoid using the windlass to move the boat forward, as this causes incredible strain on the windlass and on the chain roller. At one point, you will find the boat straight above the anchor. Finish cranking the chain until the anchor is all the way up and settled on the rollers. Signal the helmsman that the boat is free. Reattach the safety line to the anchor chain if it has one, stow the remote control and secure the anchor locker hatch. Then return to the cockpit to help raise the sails. 

No matter where your Caribbean sailing adventure takes you, at some point, you will want to stop. Anchoring is among the most important activities you will do while cruising. Anchoring is as much an art as a science. The helmsman and crew have to orchestrate their efforts with the wind, current and vessel. The important thing to remember is not to be embarrassed. Even the most experienced sailors have difficulty anchoring at times. As the old adage says, "Practice makes perfect." To perfect your anchoring skills and enjoy the most relaxing vacation ever, contact Virgin Island Sailing to arrange your charter. Nothing else beats Caribbean sailing!





Sunday, May 13, 2018

10 Reasons To Do A Basic BOATING Course!

A group of people riding a wooden boat off a b...
A group of people riding a wooden boat off a beach in Venezuela. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boating is a great adventure on any type of boat and is being enjoyed by many on a daily basis, but with that comes a great responsibility. It is not mandatory to do a boating course at this time but there are some very good reasons to get your self-informed about the rules of the road.

1) You will learn about safety equipment and what you are required to have on your boat before you undertake any boating excursion. This is very important because what you don’t have with you could make the difference between being able to handle a situation or not. Also, that outing for the day could cost you if the sheriff stops you to spot check your boat and fines you for not having all the safety equipment required for your specific boat.

2) You will learn that driving a boat is vastly different from driving a car. You are dealing with air and water currents. If you have never docked a boat you may think that it is easy until that is, the current is pulling you in the opposite direction that you want to go. Understanding air and water currents will help you learn how to dock your boat.

3) Knowing how to work with lines and tying knots is part of boating. You have to be able to secure a boat properly. If your boat gets away, it is amazing how quickly the current will take it out of your reach and you will probably require the assistance of another boater to help you get to it. So learn your knots.

4) You will learn what the channel markers mean. We learned the hard way the first time we went out on a boat and ran aground outside the markers. We also had no clue what the red and green markers meant on the poles. This you also learn on the course.

5) There are speed limits on certain waterways but unlike the roads, they may or may not be posted. Ignorance may not be enough to get you out of a ticket.

6) Using charts for coastal navigation can be a lifesaver. It’s your roadmap that helps you stay away from the shallows and shows where all the markers and bridges are, and by using measurements you can calculate the distance and time it will take to get somewhere. It can be a valuable tool for navigation.

7) Just like on the roads, there is the right of way. On a boating course, you will learn who has the right of way and why.

8) Every boat should have a horn. You may hear one long toot or 2 short toot and so on, and you’ll learn what they mean.

9) There are boating regulations and laws that must be followed by all boaters, for example, (and I have seen this rule broken so many times) you are not allowed to sit on the bow of the boat with your feet hanging over board. There are many more regulations to learn and not knowing them can cost you.

10) Anchoring a boat is not just a matter of plopping it down to the sand. There is a mathematical technique applied to anchoring that has to do with the size and length of your boat. Knowing how to do this correctly will give you that extra insurance of knowing your boat is going nowhere until you want to move it.

There are different ways to enjoy pleasure boating such as the fast pace of ski boating or the slow pace of a trawler, kayaking or canoeing. In whatever way you want to do it, it is a good idea to know the rules of the road. Then you can avoid potential situations and get on with the fun of being out there with all that sky, sun, water, family and friends.

Enjoy!




MyBoatPlans


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Crewed Motor Yachts – Sail The Seven Seas Without Stress

Crewed motor yachts are yachts that you charter for a vacation without needing to have any sailing experience. With the crewed charters, you don’t have to do any work in handling the yacht or navigating the waters of the location you choose. You can choose to have a luxury charter where you have exquisite surroundings and meals prepared by a chef. Waiters bring you drinks and the members of the crew will provide instructions for water sports if you need any. Crewed motor yachts range in size from yachts that can only take 2 passengers to ones that can take up to 12 or more. 

English: Motor yacht sailing in the bay of Gda...
Motor yacht sailing in the bay of Gdansk in Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A crewed motor yacht charter is an excellent choice for a family vacation. Children are welcome on these yacht charters, but none of the crew will be assigned to looking after them, even with luxury motor yacht charter. Parents are expected to keep the children entertained and to bring whatever they need for enjoyment aboard with them. Crewed motor yachts are perfectly safe for children, but like any location, you do need to keep them within your sight at all times. 

When you choose a luxury motor yacht charter, you have a personal chef to prepare your meals. However, before you arrive to meet the yacht, you will already have informed the company about your food preferences through the food preference sheet. This sheet also includes a list of beverages for you to choose from, which include soda, wines and alcoholic beverages. The chefs of crewed motor yachts take great care to prepare meals that you will enjoy and only use the freshest ingredients. In the case of fruits and vegetables, the chef of a crewed motor yacht charter may buy foods at the various locations. 

Whether or not you experience any seasickness on crewed yacht charters depends on you. It is probably a good idea to take some form of seasickness medication with you so that you can thoroughly enjoy being on a luxury motor yacht. If you are new to vacationing on a crewed motor yacht charter, be sure to let the crew know so they can choose routes that will cause you less discomfort. If you smoke, you will have to limit your habit to the outside areas of the yacht. Since the interior of the yacht consists of close quarters, yacht charter companies do not permit smoking inside. 

With crewed motor yachts you have comfort and style. You do not have to bring anything with you and all the linens, dishes and utensils are there for you to use. Both the exterior and interior of these yachts are roomy so you can sit back and enjoy the charter in comfort. You don’t have to worry about the wind because the motor will take you to your destination on time. You can enjoy air-conditioning with luxury motor yacht charters, although most of the charter yachts do have this feature included. Depending on the location and type of charter, some crewed charter yachts include scuba diving equipment, kayaks and other equipment you would need to enjoy a variety of water sports.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

10 Reasons To Do A Basic BOATING Course!

Boating is a great adventure on any type of boat and is being enjoyed by many on a daily basis, but with that comes a great responsibility. It is not mandatory to do a boating course at this time but there are some very good reasons to get your self informed about the rules of the road.

A group of people riding a wooden boat off a b...
A group of people riding a wooden boat off a beach in Venezuela. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1) You will learn about safety equipment and what you are required to have on your boat before you undertake any boating excursion. This is very important because what you don’t have with you could make the difference between being able to handle a situation or not. Also, that outing for the day could cost you if the sheriff stops you to spot check your boat and fines you for not having all the safety equipment required for your specific boat.

2) You will learn that driving a boat is vastly different from driving a car. You are dealing with air and water currents. If you have never docked a boat you may think that it is easy, until that is, the current is pulling you in the opposite direction that you want to go. Understanding air and water currents will help you learn how to dock your boat.

3) Knowing how to work with lines and tying knots is part of boating. You have to be able to secure a boat properly. If your boat gets away, it is amazing how quickly the current will take it out of your reach and you will probably require the assistance of another boater to help you get to it. So learn your knots.

4) You will learn what the channel markers mean. We learned the hard way the first time we went out on a boat and ran aground outside the markers. We also had no clue what the red and green markers meant on the poles. This you also learn on the course.

5) There are speed limits on certain water ways but unlike the roads, they may or may not be posted. Ignorance may not be enough to get you out of a ticket.

6) Using charts for coastal navigation can be a life saver. It’s your road map that helps you stay away from the shallows and shows where all the markers and bridges are, and by using measurements you can calculate the distance and time it will take to get somewhere. It can be valuable tool for navigation.

7) Just like on the roads, there is the right of way. On a boating course you will learn who has the right of way and why.

8) Every boat should have a horn. You may hear one long toot or 2 short toot and so on, and you’ll learn what they mean.

9) There are boating regulations and laws that must be followed by all boaters, for example, (and I have seen this rule broken so many times) you are not allowed to sit on the bow of the boat with your feet hanging over board. There are many more regulations to learn and not knowing them can cost you.

10) Anchoring a boat is not just a matter of plopping it down to the sand. There is a mathematical technique applied to anchoring that has to do with the size and length of your boat. Knowing how to do this correctly will give you that extra insurance of knowing your boat is going nowhere until you want to move it.



There are different ways to enjoy pleasure boating such as the fast pace of ski boating or the slow pace of a trawler, kayaking or canoeing. In whatever way you want to do it, it is a good idea to know the rules of the road. Then you can avoid potential situations and get on with the fun of being out there with all that sky, sun, water, family and friends.

Enjoy!


Saturday, April 23, 2016

BOAT DOCKING Techniques Made Easy

Each year, around this time, thousands of people start flocking to the waterways to enjoy a day of boating. While many are experienced boaters, there are plenty of first time boaters hitting the water... and the docks.


Boat Dock
Boat Dock
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Docking techniques are always going to be dependent upon the weather and wind conditions, but there are a few simple things you can keep in mind. First of all, especially in this particular case, practice makes perfect. Although we can provide tips, docking techniques in boating are going to be something you will have to personalize to your experience, your boat, and the dock itself.

Many boaters make the common mistake of attempting to dock their boats by approaching the dock in a straight line. It is much easier to get close to the dock  and improve the accuracy of your approach by approaching the dock at an angle. Also, the speed at which you come in to the dock must be controlled.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Often, even idle speed on a boat is too fast and coasting reduces steering capability, making it even more difficult to accurately line up with the dock. The best way to counter this problem is to alternate between power for steering (short shots of forward gear) and coasting for speed control.

You'll have to practice this one over and over. As you get closer to the dock start to turn the boat and decelerate to a stop by using reverse. Again, the deceleration reduces steering capability. You are going to have to rely on the momentum of the boat to get you over this obstacle.



Momentum and speed are not the same thing. Momentum is simply the forward motion of the boat that will actually carry you into the dock. You will need just enough momentum to get you to the dock and allow you to smoothly make the shift to reverse to stop. Once you've actually mastered this task, you'll probably agree that the best docking technique is the one that you learn by trial and error. Nothing will be a better teacher than practice, practice, practice.

The best advice would be to take it slow, don't get nervous or discouraged and most importantly, remember that every time you try it, will make it a little easier the next time.



Friday, April 1, 2016

BOAT Towing

Boat towing or trailering across the United States is subject to different state laws as far as maximum speeds, trailer equipment requirements, trailer dimensions, brakes, insurance, and accessories such as reflectors are concerned. A separate permit for boat towing in each state is also required.

English: Lowe Boats recreational fishing boat
Lowe Boats recreational fishing boat
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most Americans live within a 100 miles of boatable waterways, and boat trailering is something of a national craze. Statistics show that the easiest boats to tow on a regular basis measure within twenty-five feet in length, since these allow for easier maneuvering on highways. Boat-towing vehicles and trailers differ quite a bit from other kinds because of the unique shape and dimensions of these crafts.

There is a mind-boggling array of towable boats available on the market today. These include air boats, fishing boats, bow riders, canoes, cuddy cabins, day sailers, deck boats, sailing dinghies, flats boats, jet boats, inflatable boats, and a host of others.

If one isn’t an expert, it is important to follow a trailering-safety checklist while towing.  The checklist should include guidelines to loading, leveling, driving, unloading, and launching. Probably one of the most common and dreaded hazards that all boat towers face is compromised tightness of the nuts on the trailer wheels. These tend to loosen with distance covered. Wheel maintenance in all its aspects should be a primary concern of every boat trailer owner.

As with most other kinds of towing, each state has its own set of trailering laws that will prescribe limits to weight, speed, and minimum equipment. These are strictly enforced, and it is wise to be prepared for all eventualities.





Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BOAT SHOWS

Boat shows are great for new and experienced boaters alike

It doesn't matter if you were born on the water or if you just started lake boating outing for you to go to. Boat shows are held all over the country, from Seattle to Chicago to Miami, and they include not only boats, but seminars, new product displays and more. If you are interested in seeing a boat show near you, ask your local lake officials where and when the nearest show is coming.

Jersey Boat Show 2011
Jersey Boat Show 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what most boat shows cover:

About a gazillion boats: At it's core, a boat show is in fact a showing off of boats, meaning you can shuttle around the water checking out some of the most prestigious, shiny new boats from other boaters. The bigger boat shows could have upwards of a hundred or more boats while smaller shows may have 10 or 20 boats. The boaters that are displaying their boats often prepare for this event for some time before hand, to make sure their vehicle is clean and ready. If you want to have your boat displayed in a show, talk to the event hosts well in advance.

Seminars: Most boat shows also have seminars for different things relating to boats. Seminars may inform you of the best ways to clean certain parts of your boat or may include guest speaker appearances. The seminars are either held on a bigger boat docked on the water or on shore.

New product give-a ways: Retailers from the boating industry flock to boat shows. Since boaters navigate their way to boat shows when they are around, retailers find it the best place to sell boating equipment, parts and boating accessories.  Many of these retailers do raffles, free product give-a-ways and more. If you are looking for equipment, a boat show is often a good place to go.

Boat shows are held all over the nation and are the place to be for interested boaters. Free entertainment, great boats, boating apparel, food and more are often available. It isn't uncommon for thousands of people to attend the boating events. The shows bring together boaters with similar interests and sometimes last several days. Some of the bigger boat shows in the United States include: The Seattle Boat Show, the Fort Lauderdale International Show, and the Atlanta Boat Show.



Friday, February 5, 2016

Once In A Lifetime Experience - Yacht Charter SAILING In Greece

Greece is a country chosen by the Gods Offering its visitors spectacular beaches, interesting villages, an abundance of history, as well as flowing green country sides, Greece is an ideal destination for a wide variety of groups.  Greece boasts one of the world  largest and most beautiful coastlines and over 2000 islands to choose from.  Therefore, chartering your own private, crewed yacht is quite simply one of the best ways to visit this exciting destination.  With numerous luxury yachts adorning the perfectly blue, crystal-clear waters off the coastline of Greece, Yacht Charter trips in Greece has turned out to be one of the favorite past times of the country and an awaiting adventure for its many visitors.  As you island hop your way through the islands of Greece, a wide variety of available activities and land base excursions are at your disposal.  Drop anchor for a while and wander the winding cobbled streets, experience a Greek coffee or a taste of sizzling grilled octopus at one of the many small island taverns, visit one of the many beautiful beaches, or take a cooling swim in the sparkling sea.  A Yacht Charter in Greece is not your ordinary vacation  it  a trip of a life time and an experience that is sure to be filled with adventure, history and fun.

Poros
Poros (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For our clients interested in Yachting Vacations in Greece, we offer quality yachts, professional crews, friendly service, and 12 years of hands on experience owning and operating our own charter yachts, at no additional cost to our clients.  We make it our business to know the yachts, the crews, and our destinations we recommend first-hand.  Therefore, we recently attended the charter yacht show in Poros, Greece where we had the opportunity to step aboard classic Sailing Yachts, stunning Motor Sailers and sleek Power Yachts galore.  In addition, we took the opportunity to explore the most popular grouping of islands in Greece, the Cyclades, which include well-known Mykonos and Santorini.  These are the islands that typify Greece with their white washed villages, beautiful beaches, and cosmopolitan nightlife. Other popular island groupings in Greece include the Ionian, the Argo-Saronic and the Dedoconese.  The Argo-Saronic Islands, with their close proximity to Athens have a rich history. The picturesque harbors and cobbled streets of Aegina, Poros and car-free Ydra are still lined with Neo-Classical mansions of a time gone by. 

The Ionian Islands, which lie off the west coast of mainland Greece, are the greenest of the island groups, less visited than the popular Cyclades islands, and therefore a "crew favorite" among the yachts of Greece. These islands, which include Corfu and Ithaca, enjoy crystal-clear seas, superb beaches and inviting towns and villages.  The Dodecanese Islands are situated at the most eastern part of Greece, along the West coast of Turkey. These islands, including Rhodes and Kos, offer their visitors a wonderful blend of architectural styles with both eastern and western influences. Discover traditional villages, crystal clear waters, splendid beaches, historical sights, and an exciting nightlife.


In addition to destination choices in Greece, there are various types of yachts available for Yacht Charters in Greece, including Monohulls, Motor Sailers and Power Yachts.  Monohulls are the perfect choice for the traditionalist as these yachts provides a classic sailing experience. Guests aboard this style of yacht will experience the exhilarating thrill of sailing as well as the traditional features of these yachts.   Motor Sailers are a traditional yacht style found in Greece.  These yachts typically use their engines in tandem with their sails. This would be an excellent choice for those wishing to explore the islands of Greece in luxury while enjoying the character and exhilaration found onboard a sailing yacht.  Power Yachts are a suitable choice for those interested in greater mobility in the islands. This type of yacht is a popular choice in Greece as the distances between many islands are greater than those found in the Caribbean.  This category additionally features yachts of over 100 feet in length, which could be individually classified as "Mega Yachts". This type of yacht is suited to the high-end customer interested in world-class amenities, cuisine and service while traveling the islands of Greece aboard a private, luxury yacht.




Sunday, January 24, 2016

The All Inclusive Luxury MOTOR YACHT Charter

What is so unique about a luxury motor yacht charter? The list goes on and on, but the most poignant trait may be it is the only vacation you will ever take where you get both the control of calling all the shots and the pampering of an all inclusive vacation package. Whether you choose a motor boat or sailboat charter you will be on the trip of a lifetime. Hire a crew to make your vacation even more carefree and you’ll never travel any other way again.

English: luxury yacht Christina O
Luxury Yacht Christina O (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Destinations of the Sea

A typical vacation for you may have been to some pretty exciting or peaceful destinations. Chances are you booked your flight and hotel online or through a travel agent then anxiously awaited your vacation. You fly to a specific airport then perhaps rent a car to use public transportation. Next you see all the sites within a day’s drive of your hotel, hope your flight home and it all becomes a distant memory as you try desperately to recuperate from your adventure.

When travelling aboard a luxury motor yacht charter the experience is entirely different. First and foremost you are not limited by geography and you don’t have to worry about booking a hotel for each city you visit. Your luxury suite travels with you along with your personal chef and butler. On top of that, all of your closest friends and family can come along.

Luxury yacht vacation packages that also include a flight to the departing port can range from weekend trips around the Caribbean Islands and the Bahamas to week long travels to the Mediterranean sea.  Generally the Caribbean is reached via Miami and European Islands and those in the Mediterranean are reached by a number of different departure cities. The all inclusive trip is yours for the designing. You choose where you will stop and how long you will stay. There are no other passengers to accommodate other than those you have invited so the choice is yours.

What Is It Like Aboard a Luxury Motor Yacht Charter?

Imagine the finest hotel with the best restaurant in the city at your disposal 24/7 and you only begin to see the luxury of a privately chartered cruise. Now add to that the best a private spa has to offer with exercise equipment, a spa tub and steam room and refreshing dips in a private pool. Now you are getting closer to the luxury of a private charter.



Accommodations are not the only aspect of luxury. Service that is top notch and available around the clock adds to the overall experience. A well trained and knowledgeable crew is always at your disposal. This includes the skipper, a first mate, the finest chefs, and discretely efficient housekeeping services. After experiencing such service you’ll want to take the crew home with you so you can extend the luxury of this type of travel.

Make a date with luxury by taking an online tour and reserving one of the finest sailing vessels on the sea. Your next trip will be the standard by which all others are measured.




Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Finding The Perfect USED BOAT

Finding the perfect Arizona classified ad with the perfect boat for you, especially if you are a first time boater, may seem like a very difficult task to accomplish.  To help you in your quest for the perfect boat, there are a few things you should know.


Deciding what is important Choosing the right boat is more than just locating one for sale on one of the many Arizona online classified ad sites, like Qwixo.com. Really, its all about knowing what is truly important to you.  You will need to decide whether you will be using the boat for your own private use, fishing, or cruising.  You should also consider your families wishes and feelings, since buying a boat for your own personal needs without consulting your family will probably lead to disappointing experiences or less time spent on the water.



Typically, boats will fall into five categories which are fishing boats, power boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and self powered boats.  To help you find the perfect boat, well take a look at some of the features that each one offers.

The designs for fishing boats will vary quite a bit, as are the places you can use them.  The boats that are meant for shallow waters of inland lakes and rivers are not the same boats meant for deep seas and great lakes.  There are many different designs, even boats that serve no other purpose besides fishing.

These types of boats normally have stowage and holders for bait, fishing poles, tackle, and even special tanks to hold live fish.  Other types of fishing only boats feature an open platform where anglers can fight fish from all sides of the boat.

Power boats are the most popular boats sold.  The designs on and of power boats are as varied as their uses.  Boats with seating in the front are called bow riders, which are mainly used for towing skiers or rafts.  Most boats can also be used for fishing as well.  If you want to do both, there are ski and fish combinations available.



When you first learn to pilot a sailboat, it can be very challenging, although very rewarding as well.  A sailboat requires more skill and knowledge to operate than some other types of boats, although they are also considered more rewarding once mastered.

With all available sailboats, the single masted sloop is the most popular design.  For those who only boat on occasion, catboats, daysailers, and dinghies are small and easily trailer able.

When you finally decide on the perfect boat for you, look at what each one offers and how you plan to use it.  The perfect boat for you is out there, all you have do is find the one that best matches your needs, and an online Arizona classified ad site is the best place to start.



Friday, November 27, 2015

MARINE ELECTRONICS

Autopilots The first self-steering gear was introduced in the 1920's to control model yachts but it was not until 1948 that the principle was applied to full scale yachts. Standing at the helm for lengthy periods, monitoring instruments and keeping a good look out can be very tiring. An autopilot relieves the helmsman from steering the correct course leaving him free to maintain a proper watch. The autopilot can be set to either steer a compass course or a course relative to the wind. A fluxgate compass or electronic wind indicator feeds information to a microprocessor which then makes the necessary rudder movements to return the vessel to it's required course. The mechanical power is applied to the rudder by either electric linear activators, hydraulic pumps or rotary drives. GPS/Chart
plotters can be used to input navigational instructions to the autopilot.

Battery Chargers will keep batteries fully charged thereby extending their working life.


Chart Plotters Typically a chart plotter consists of an antenna, mounted high on the boat, to track GPS signals and a display unit sited either at the at the navigation station or the helm of the vessel. The vessels position is sent from the antenna to the display unit which in turn shows it graphically on the chart. The Chart itself will look similar to it's paper equivalent and show depth, land mass, navigational aids such as bouys and potential dangers in the form of wrecks and obstructions. The user can add way points to the chart and zoom in and out of the display. Chart plotters can be connected to drive an autopilot and/or send GPS data to a fish finder or radar. They can also interface with a laptop enabling complex passage planning to be done away from the boat and then entered into the chart plotter after arriving at the boat.


Magnetic Transmitting Compasses work like traditional compasses using magnets to determine the vessels orientation to the earth's magnetic field they then transmit the boats heading to an electronic display. They make steering easier than with conventional compasses because they display steadier headings and do not suffer from the "lag" that occurs when making a turn. They can interface with chart plotters, autopilots and radar. Fluxgate Compasses consist of two pieces of readily saturated magnetic material with coils wound round them in opposing directions. AC current is passed through the coils and the material is saturated in one direction and then the other. The earth's magnetic field affects slightly the time at which saturation occurs, earlier in one coil and later in the other. The difference is then calculated giving an output proportional to the earth's magnetic field. They are accurate to 0.1 of a degree. Their output can be displayed digitally to the helmsman or they can interface with autopilots, chart plotters and radar.

Echo Sounders work on the same principle as sonar. A transducer emits a narrow beam of  high frequency sound. This is reflected by any solid objects and the time between transmission and receipt of the echo is measured. The speed of sound through water is know and so the range or distance to the sea bed can be calculated. That is then displayed in metres. Forward Looking Sonar (FLS) enables you to see the underwater hazards before you're actually on top of them. A typical range for a FLS is 150 metres.

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is a piece of equipment designed to float free of a vessel in distress. It then sends a radio signal that can be detected by Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) satellites. They relay a message to a ground station that in turn can instigate a search and rescue operation.

Fish Finders use the same technology as sonar. A narrow beam of high frequency sound is transmitted by a transducer, this is reflected by solid objects such as the sea bed. By developing this technology fishfinders provide displays that show where the fish are and they can differentiate between bait fish and larger species

Global Positioning System (GPS Receivers) - This system was originally designed for military purposes and is owned and operated by the United States Department of Defence. 24 satellites are arranged in a "birdcage" around the globe, they are positioned in such a way that at any place on the earth's surface a direct line of sight can be established to a minimum of 4 satellites. A fix is obtained by measuring accurately the distance between a satellite and the GPS receiver at a precise time. Because the exact position of the satellite is known, these distances provide position lines which are converted by a microprocessor within the GPS receiver to read outs of latitude and longitude.

The log is used to measure the boats speed through the water. A paddle wheel or impeller, mounted below the waterline is turned by the flow of water, this generates electrical impulses that are fed to a microprocessor that displays both speed and distance run.



Inverters - On most boats today you will find domestic equipment of one sort or another. For on board entertainment there are televisions and stereo systems. With the popularity of chart plotters comes the PC or laptop. Maintenance often requires the use of power tools. Liveaboards might have a washing machine, dishwasher or microwave. Can take 12v, 24v or 48v supply and convert it to a stable 110 v or 220v AC supply.

Navtex can perhaps best be described as a continuously updated telex service providing navigation and weather information within specified areas. An on board receiver, tuned to 518kHz, the worldwide Navtex frequency, if left turned on will either print out or display the latest massages sent from a local station. The service is available up to 400 miles from the coast.

Radar enables you to see what otherwise would be invisible. They offer greatest benefit at night and in fog or rain and are of particular value when close to shore or in busy shipping lanes. They consist of an antenna and a display. The antenna sends out a stream of RF energy which is reflected back off hard objects. When this energy is bounced back it is converted to a signal which displayed to the user. The antenna rotates every few seconds, the display continuously calculates the direction of the antenna and so a precise bearing to the target is calculated. The time is measured for the energy to be reflected and so the distance of the target is also displayed.

Satellite Phones consist of an antenna, a modem and a normal handset. They are powered by an iridium battery. Their range is anywhere covered by in Inmarsat Mini-M satellite. Voice, fax, email and data can be transmitted.

Satellite TV requires an antenna and of course a television. Reception is available within a "footprint" which is based on EIRP (Effective Isotropic Radiated Power) of a transmitting satellite. The EUTELSAT together with the two ASTRA satellites cover Europe. NILESAT and the two ARABSATs cover Africa and the Middle East. Good coverage is also available in North, Central and Southern America.

SSB Radio has a range of several thousand miles. You will need an FFC license, or the equivalent in whichever country you plan to operate it. Power consumption is a consideration. Up to 100 Watts may be required for transmission. SSB radio requires several items of equipment. A transceiver capable of SSB operation, An antenna, this must be 8 metres long and in practice most boats use a backstay or shroud for the purpose having fitted the necessary insulators. An antenna tuner matched to the transceiver model. If you want to send email you will also need and radio modem and computer.

VHF Radio The power required to transmit is minimal, all sets have the option of transmitting on either 1 Watt or 25 Watts and the lower power should be used whenever possible. Unlike telephones that allow you to both talk and hear at the same time most VHF sets require you to press a transmit button prior to talking. This is known as simplex. Duplex sets are available but are much more expensive. VHF radio waves travel in straight lines so the aerial should be mounted as high as possible, preferably at the masthead.