Saturday, 7 February 2009

Day Skipper Day 3

39 nautical miles
To start off we did some maneuvering round the marina - you can almost never do too much of this when you start skippering.

We had another instructor for the next couple of days - Colin from Coral Bay Sailing. Colin's a Brit who has been sailing most of his life bringing his boat out here and setting up another RYA sailing school.

Colin is a quietly spoken sailor with a ready smile and way of encouraging everyone he teaches. A fountain of knowledge born out of many years sailing single handed and with crews, he sits and imparts words that help us all.

Sophocleus and Colin looking up at the wind indicator. Slowly I'm getting more comfortable feeling the wind in the yacht now but still checking up to the indicator. The electronic one is knackered. Apparently the Medium Wave transmitter off Potamas killed it - so its no longer possible to calibrate so that the main unit and repeater read differently. Very confusing.

Then we just sailed out and round the bay towards Limassol New Port. Michalis [wearing yellow in the photo] had to work later in the day and we were to meet the pilot cutter which would take him off to the port to work. That was an interesting extra maneuver not in the Day Skipper syllabus... transferring a crew member from a moving boat to a pilot cutter!

From there we went south and did some more man overboard practice especially for those who didn't do it last weekend. Then I had a go at picking up a man overboard using sail rather than power. Strangely it was almost easier... but... you have less backup options that way.

From there we sailed in to Ladies Mile and anchored up and rested waiting for the sun to set. We worked on charts and chart plotter planning a route back. We fixed three way points - one just north of the fish farm that is south of the new port, one almost due east from that to take us away from the port approach and a final way point south east of the marina.

Time for life jackets and safety lines as its now dark. And... the anchor winch is a pain, with the chain jumping off the winch. Oh well... then motor north round the fish farm observing the cardinal buoys. The south cardinal is [still] not fixed so you have to guess where the southern end of the fish farm is.

We turn east at the waypoint and then hail Limassol VTS on channel 9. I confirm our route to them... "Thank you, captain, you are free to proceed." But there is also a large merchantman coming out of the port at the same time. So, since they are larger and faster we turn south to avoid any possibility of colision, wait for them to pass our bows and then return to the new path to our second way point, having used the GPS to calculate the new route.

Final turn to home. Although we had plotted our bearing to way point, the sharp eyed helmsman spots the marina lights six miles off and so steers towards the marina itself, till we get close and then bear off to the way point and then round and into the marina.

Passing the munitions ship the marine police flash us with their search light. So I hail them on VHF explaining who we are and route. They ask me to spell the ships name. I start, and then my mind goes blank on the phonetic alphabet. I had memorized the letters for my Wayfarer Galini, but True North... yipes what is U in phonetic... fortunately Colin is on hand and knows it backwards so I confirm our boats name to the marine police. Again a polite 'Thank you, captain...'

I don't know what it is about the phonetic alphabet. I have worked on this to try and learn it, but cannot seem to lock it into my brain. Maybe because I don't use it very much. I'm sure I could remember it to pass a test... and then forget it 24 hours later. I think I will type it up and stick it to my VHF handheld so I have a reference.

Back in the marina I park the boat - which is interesting coming stern to the jetty after dark, somewhat different to the same manoever in daylight. Then its off for a drink with a friend, a bite to eat [cooked up on the boat] and sleep in the for'ard cabin.

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