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What's your Magnetic Variation - the compass not you !

Mag1Sitting at home staring out at the rain on a wet and windy Sunday in East Sussex while planning our trip to the Channel Islands this summer, it occurred to me that I dont really pay that much attention to magnetic variation since the variation is so small that it normally doesnt make much of a difference especially when you factor in all the other ways in which either my navigation, my estimation or the various real vagaries of wind, tide and so on affect a course and an eventual landfall. I guess it would make a real difference on an ocean passage but that wont concern me this year – unfortunately:-)

What’s your Magnetic Variation – the compass not you ! → Click here to continue reading →


World Cruising Wiki...


I have written about the excellent Active Captain project before, but I have recently discovered the World Cruising Wiki which seems to be a tremendous use of wiki technology to collate the wisdom of cruisers from around the globe. Active Captain is focused on collating local navigation and pilotage information from its registered skippers but also on bringing this knowledge to your smart phone – an endeavour that is still bleeding edge – but will eventually be perfectly acceptable and reliable…. As smart phones get better, and GSM or CDMA more reliable and extensive then of course access to all sorts of knowledge bases will improve.

The founders of the World Cruising Wiki aims are ….” The World Cruising and Sailing Wiki (an online world cruising guide) has been established so that all cruisers around the world can have free access to as much information on cruising around the world as possible. Information on Countries, Immigration and Customs procedures, world ports, navigation and approaches, marinas, anchorages, etc. A FREE, ONLINE WORLD CRUISING GUIDE!

This World Cruising and Sailing Wiki is a resource to which all cruisers are encouraged to freely contribute and thereby help to build a great reference resource for the benefit of all cruisers that are sailing around the world….”

I will certainly be exploring this wiki and its associated forum over the next few weeks…and hopefully adding to the wiki with respect to the English Channel area….I recommend that you have a look and contribute to the section that refers to your sailing area… apologies if you already knew and use this wiki…I can be a bit slow at times!


Let SeeSnake take you round the bend !

The Wireless Ridgid Seesnake Micro Inspection Camera System display is clear, even in moderately bright light and,SeeSnake since there is no focus adjustment to fiddle with, you just point and shoot. You can use this to see under the boat even while in the water! …imagine you’ve snagged another fishing net or stray rope – using this handy device you can at least see what the problem is before you don the scuba gear… or look under the engine mounting to see where that leak is cominig from…

Let SeeSnake take you round the bend ! → Click here to continue reading →


Starry, starry night, paint your iPhone blue and grey...

Mastering even the rudiments of astro navigation is still an ambition for me. Its one of those skills that really must be learned through practice – especially practice at sea.

Practical celestial navigation usually requires a marine chronometer to measure time, a sextant to measure the angles, an almanac giving schedules of the coordinates of celestial objects, a set of sight reduction tables to help perform the height and azimuth computations, and a chart of the region. With sight reduction tables, the only math required is addition and subtraction.

Starry, starry night, paint your iPhone blue and grey… → Click here to continue reading →


7 days sailing just to cross the garbage in the North Pacific

North Pacific Subtropical Convergence ZoneCapt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.

While competing in the Transpac 1997 veteran seafarer Charles Moore came across what some have since deemed the world’s largest “landfill” — actually a huge water-bound swath of floating plastic garbage the size of two Texases. Trapped in an enormous slow whirlpool called the Pacific Gyre , a mostly stagnant, plankton-rich seascape spun of massive competing air currents, this Great Pacific Garbage Patch in some places outweighs even the surface waters’ biomass six-to-one.

Ninety percent of all rubbish floating in the world’s oceans is plastic. In 2006, UN environment programs estimated that every square mile of ocean contained at least 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. Floating in the surface layer are plastic products, tons of drift nets, plastic bags, packing straps, and common household items like soap, television tubes, automobile tires and deodorant bottles. One suspected spill of plastic bags was measured to have covered ten miles of ocean.

7 days sailing just to cross the garbage in the North Pacific → Click here to continue reading →