Jackie Parry – author

Free Navigation Advice

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‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A gift from me to you

*pages of FREE navigation tips, tricks ideas & advice*

Be safe & have a wonderful Christmas & New Year – fair winds.


I read a great FB post this morning on how a cruiser found that different range scales on their electronic charts meant different information being shown. More critically, some hazards were not shown on a small scale.  Continue reading


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Passage Plan – Lyttelton to Waikawa

Viki Moore from Astrolabe Sailing prepared a fantastic passage plan for a recent voyage…. This is how it should be done! Thanks for sharing Viki!

Astrolabe Sailing

We are currently preparing Wildwood for our delivery trip North. We are taking her up the East Coast of the South Island of New Zealand from Lyttelton Harbour – where we live – to Waikawa Marina, which is nestled in the heart of the Marlborough Sounds.

Our aim is to take her up early December on the best weather window and then drive home to do the last couple of weeks at work and then drive back up again on boxing day for some holiday fun!

Last year I attended a passage planning session at the yacht club run by David Kennett who has done the trip many times and he had some good tips to share. I am now going over my notes again to make sure we have got all our ducks in a row for the upcoming voyage.


A couple of weeks out we start looking…

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Navigation: great links and me!

I love navigating, whether by stars, chart or GPS. Usually, on a voyage we navigate via GPS but back-up this wonderful device with good old chart work. On occasion we do sun-sights too.

Here are many diagrams on good navigation skills. Both recreationally and commercially, Noel and I have used every single one of these methods.

For example:

Parallel indexing in fog

range rings single pics

DR when the GPS has lost its signal (or as back-up)

9 nautical miles (DR)

Set and drift when heading to GPS co-ordinates, on an urgent rescue

course to steer (finding) single pic

Always learning

A few years ago I was a skipper on different ships in Papua New Guinea (Noel had his own-different-ship), with thirteen local men as crew. The charts were out of date, there were chart errors* and GPS errors. I HAD to rely on my navigation skills. This wasn’t easy, I was in new ports, fast currents, narrow channels and a boat with its controls labelled in Japanese (plus 300 passengers).

Coupled with all this fun, some of the boats were air-started… use too many forward and astern manoeuvres when docking (on a busy commercial wharf), and you run out of air, run out of….. engine!


My skills
I was told today that I don’t have enough skills to be a trainer – which is my job in Australia. Assumptions were made after reading my blog. So I’m giving myself a shout-out today.

I am proud of my skills, they have been earned. I’ve not only been a commercial skipper on the high-seas, but busy inland waterways and canals too. As a commercial skipper (up to 80 metres) I have had, not only, to sit tough exams (written and verbal and practical), to gain my tickets, I have to prove my commercial sea-time and prove my skills and experience by signed reports by Captains of a higher level. My qualifications were only granted after the assessments were done and, in some cases, years of sea-time had to documented.

So, yes, this is a shout out for me! …and…

By the by, combining Noel’s experience with mine, both recreational and commercial, into a book isn’t easy (it’s a big book) – but it is amazing value at $4.99! – more pictures here and here. Plus another great resource here.

9780987551504 - Copyreduced

  • Cruisers’ AA contains details on all the errors that can occur, and how to deal with them – some may well surprise you!

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CRUISING CLINIC – What’s so great about cruising?

Jackie Parry - author

This was my second question to Noel when we were searching for our first boat – (see the first question here).

At this point I hardly knew the front end of a boat from the back end. I also found the cruising world completely mind-boggling.

Noel’s response to this question, ‘getting to port’, holds a lot of truth (for us). I love being out there but with only two of us on board, after several days of a tag-team match (one is always on watch) it does become tiring. The constant demand on your body to move three-dimensionally, twenty-four hours a day, causes fatigue (the reason most accidents occur). Plus we are always looking forward to exploring our next destination.


What’s it like?

Sailing oceans is not like a plane or car ride. Nothing is certain except a vast puddle of water and a great stretch of sky…

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Cruising Clinic Snippets – Don’t sweat the small stuff

This was advice from a long-term cruiser and a friend.

I had to stop and think about this for a bit. I knew, with just five small words, she’d said something remarkable.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Months of hard growth on the lines - days of cleaning . . . is it worth worrying about?

Months of hard growth on the lines – days of cleaning . . . is it worth worrying about?

What is the small stuff on board?

  •       The laundry (in cold water, by hand)
  •       The blocked loo (marine toilets are renowned for this delightful occurrence)
  •       The entire boat turning into a workshop
  •       Running out of gas in the middle of cooking
  •       Salt saturated cushions that just won’t dry
  •       A lumpy sea
  •       Too much wind
  •       Big waves
Split stuff behind the cooker - is it worth getting worked up about it?

Cleaning behind the cooker – is it worth getting worked up about it?

So when do you ‘sweat’? Well usually you don’t, usually there’s no time.

Maybe you’d sweat during a storm, which can last for days. But, generally ‘sticky’ moments on board are in bursts:

  •       fingers of lightning
  •       winds shifting to create an untenable anchorage
  •       dragging anchor
  •       broken rudder . . .

. . .  these are moments when you may sweat . . . IF YOU HAVE TIME.

Instead of sweating you’ll be too busy doing what’s necessary.

The great thing is, those moments where you don’t have time to sweat are great training for when it really matters.

Rough seas - do what's necessary to make the boat safe, then relax

Rough seas – do what’s necessary to make the boat safe, then relax

Yes, cruising can have its shitty moments, it can be scary, but each challenging moment will build your confidence and faith in your boat and yourself – creating comfort and a more relaxed life that just keeps on improving.

Tomorrow is the next instalment on our CRUISING CLINIC – What’s so great about cruising?

Stop by and let us know what you think.

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Cruising Clinic – How much does cruising cost?

When Noel and I decided to go cruising, as a complete beginner I had two very pertinent questions on my mind. I asked these questions as we hopped on the back of Noel’s motorbike, searching for a boat.

‘So, what’s it going to cost, running a boat?’

He replied, ‘Everything we’ve got.’

A little perplexed, but not yet deterred, I then asked, ‘What’s so great about sailing anyway?’

Noel, with his brutal honesty and years of experience with boats replied, ‘Getting in to port.’

‘Good grief’, I muttered. After about two hours of silence while I digested these little gems, I said, ‘Why do it then?’

Without hesitation Noel responded, ‘It’s the closest thing to freedom I know.’

That did it for me. It was right then that I was sold on the idea. Sixteen years later I still see the wisdom in his answers.

What's so great about sailing . . .?

What’s so great about sailing . . .?

I’ll write about the ‘what’s so good about sailing?’ question down the line. Right now, I guess you’re thinking, ‘well so what?, that doesn’t help me very much.’ However, think about this: cruising WILL cost you everything you have, if you let it.

So, let’s look at the right questions to ask to see if we can make sense of all this:

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat?

2) What will it cost to run?

3) How will I earn money along the way?

4) How can I save money along the way?

Boats can be as expensive or as cheap as you make them. We find that living on board is a cheaper way to live, but we know how to save money, I am extremely prudent with our dollars and we employ smart tactics. AND you have to start with a good boat, then maintain it – constantly (a job a day, however big or small).

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

We were still trying to figure out where to stow everything!

Now, let’s try and find some answers.

1) What budget do I have to purchase a boat? Whatever budget you have it is extremely likely that you will find a boat you love for a ‘bit’ more and go over your budget. This amount does NOT include:

a) all the unexpected problems found during survey that need to be fixed

b) all the things the vendor neglected to tell you that needed to be fixed

c) all those things that just pop up at inopportune times that need to be fixed

d) on-going maintenance and repairs

e) additional equipment (your own ideas/wants)

Summary: Keep at least 10% of your budget for those unexpected issues.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

A job a day kept Mariah ship-shape.

2) What will it cost to run? It depends on where you started from. If you are really lucky and have a good, well maintained boat, then it will also depend upon:

a) the size of your boat*

b) amount of use (little use is not always a good thing)

c) your skills (can you maintain it and carry out repairs? Or do you need help?)

d) your time

*(great examples on actual living costs on various sized boats, on Sail Far Live Free: http://www.sailfarlivefree.com/2012/12/what-does-it-cost-to-go-cruising.html)

3) How will I earn money along the way? Be creative. Use the skills you have. Other cruisers need expertise in all areas. We’ll tackle this subject later on too. However, running your own business is not easy on land, don’t expect it to be easy while cruising. You have the added challenge of communications.

4) How can I save money along the way? This is the easy bit – if you are prepared to change your lifestyle.

Stop spending it! Really. Don’t eat out all the time, figure out how to fix stuff yourself. Learn how to get the best bargains on boat equipment, learn how to keep food for weeks and weeks (without a fridge if necessary, we did for nine years), anchor out and avoid mariner fees. I could go on and on, and I did in our book Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen). I’ll supply more tips down the line, on each of these subjects.

If this all sounds off putting, well you’ve given up too soon. Cruising life is fantastic, but it is not for everyone. If you like a challenge, can adapt to new situations and want to enjoy your life in a way you never dreamed of – then maybe it is for you.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

A good boat to start with & on-going maintenance will ensure you get to all those places you dreamed of.

I’ll write more on all these subjects (1-4) in the coming weeks. Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen) covers all this and much more in far greater detail, see www.jackieparry.com for more information – available in paperback & ebook). (Or look at the top of this page and follow the links!)

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!

You can sail to the most wonderful places & experience new escapades!