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South Coast: Passage Planning Course
4th March 2018 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm£37.50
WOA “First Channel Crossing Course”
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a newbie skipper in possession of a good Westerly must be in want of a channel crossing. “
So there we were, ten of us, all at about the same sort of stage of experience – a few years in charge of a boat, happy now with skippering trips fairly close to home, and thinking about the next big thing. Karen Derontic was there to lead us through the various stages of planning a crossing, suggest some do’s and don’ts and to help us make a realistic assessment of what we might be letting ourselves in for, if we were to go for that long trip for a pleasant day or two out in Cherbourg or Alderney. After self- introductions we got stuck into a round table discussion led by Karen on the things to take into account when starting to plan a trip. One thing I hadn’t really thought through before was getting the right mix of crew together, for the first trip I would plan where, as skipper, I might need to leave the deck and get my head down for a few hours, leaving Osprey in someone else’s charge…. Hmmm. We talked about documentation, diesel (red and white), dark hours and departure timing; about starting points, safety kit, seasickness , shopping, spares to take and stuff you might get fined for; and forward planning, planning in advance and having a good plan evolving in the run up to the day; and Plans B and C, contingency and emergency.
We were then ready for… a cup of tea and a biscuit. After which, Karen led us through working out and tabulating tidal calculation, before handing out charts and tidal stream atlases, splitting us into pairs, and setting us to plan a crossing. When, from where, what route? “Your call…”
Rowena and I went for Nab Tower to Cherbourg, August 6th (near when the WOA group crossing will be). We rapidly found that Karen’s methodical tabular system paid off, as did working and cross-checking between the two of us. We planned to arrive after a small-hours start with a good few hours of daylight left. We added up all the vectors east and west – which in the end mostly cancelled out, leaving us with a starting course to steer of 206°, with allowance then to be made for leeway and aiming to arrive a bit upstream. Karen then fired up, as promised, the “software that will do it all for you” (Neptune Planner Plus) – very slick and impressive, which gave 205°, so well done us – and well done Karen, for showing us how to do it!
A morning well spent. Are we up for a crossing this year? Maybe; It still seems like a big step. But so did the first time we cast off with our own boat, with only us in charge. See you in Cherbourg, I hope!