The passage plan

The wind is forecast westerly, about force 4, and it's spring tides. A quick look at the passage chart reveals that the journey breaks into two parts. The first will be a 5'/-mile beat down to the buoy labelled 'Bridge' just west of the Needles light. I might get lucky and be able to lay this in one, but sod's law suggests that I shan't. I'll therefore definitely need fair tide for that section because I can see from the atlas that streams run strongly.

Thereafter, it's about 60 miles almost due south to Cherbourg. A study of the tide tables tells me that streams off the French coast run like an express train, so I'll plan to arrive up-tidc of my destination, even if that means I'm a bit downwind. Making up ground with a 3 knot tide under you is easy. Trying to fight back against it after a long day is brutal. I don't need that, so I'll make sure right from the outset that it doesn't happen.

The tide will be ebbing west past Yarmouth from 0300 until 0900, which will get me off to an early start. It's August, so dawn is around 0530. I'll turn out at 0500 and chuck some bacon in the pan to make butties; my shipmates will soon smell it and wake up slavering. Far more civilised than booting them out of their bunks. Our boat is 35ft long and I expect we'll be out and under sail by 0600. We'll have the early-morning forecast under our belts, and if nothing has changed, we'll go for it. No need for any alternative heavy weather harbours in force 4 - a good thing, because there aren't any mid-Channel!

Our Vmg (velocity made good to windward) should be around 3'/ knots, but with 2'/. knots of tide we'll be out by the Bridge in an hour or so - could be less if we get a slant. Then we'll set course straight down the rhumb line and sec how fast we're going. The likelihood is we'll make 6 knots. If we don't, we want shooting. That'll be around 10 hours to Cherbourg. If so, and we're at the Bridge by 0700, we'll have the last 2 hours of the west-going tide, then we'll receive the full 6 hours of east-going, followed by a short, stiff shove to the westward at the end. I'll add up all the east-going and subtract the west-going from it. I'll also make up a little table showing what the tide will actually be doing at my probable hourly positions, assuming 6 knots or so. That will be useful for plotting EPs and will save trouble on passage.

I'll expect a net tide vector of around 5 miles to the east, so I'll steer initially for a point 3 or 4 miles west of the rhumb line. There are two entrances a couple of miles apart, so we'll head for the eastern, or up-tide one. That'll give us an extra 2 miles in the bag if need be.

I'll have plenty of time to work up a pilotage plan for my arrival on the way.

There's one final issue. A note on the chart tells me that although the central Channel is not officially a TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme), I am told to cross the shipping lanes as nearly as practicable at right-angles. East and west-bound big-ship traffic can be expected in the area I will be crossing and the lanes are shown on the chart. Complying with this instruction will be easy with this wind and weather. It will also place me even further up-tide when I reach the other side, so I'll do it to the letter. If I were close-hauled and unwilling to bear away, or otherwise hampered, I might stretch the wording of 'as nearly as practicable' a little, but I'd make sure that I hit that right-angle if any shipping looked like coming close enough to be interested in me. In fog, I would cross at right-angles like a shot, even if I had radar, and I'd make sure it was my course that made 90 degrees, not my track, bccause that is what the regulations specify. If the area were a full-on TSS, there would be no discussion at all. Right-angles it would be.

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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