A few days ago we presented Sailing Living Lab, their project and their current plan to cross the Atlantic. Find part 1 of this article here. Their Captain, Diego de Miguel explains how he uses TZ Navigator on-board their boat, the Acrobat. After having spent time sailing across the Mediterranean, the team feels it is time to raise the anchor and set sail for Central America.
In the first part, thanks to the video demonstrations, Diego de Miguel tells us how to prepare and carry out a transatlantic route. In this second article, we will see how to download your weather forecasts that are optimized.
The TIMEZERO Frequently Asked Questions gather all the questions that you wonder about the marine navigation solutions with their answers. Divided in two categories (TIMEZERO for PC and TIMEZERO for iPad), the FAQ answer to a wealth of requests: software function, type of connection, differences between marine charts, compatibility with navigation hardware, …
Some of the request are more reluctant than other, so we have decided to concentrate the 5 most Frequently Asked Questions in this article. Find out all the answers about main subjects consulted in TIMEZERO FAQ.
In the warmer months of the year, boaters can enjoy the sun and spend time relaxing out on deck. However, the sea surface reflects sunlight and can intensify the rays’ strength as a result. The last thing you want is to suffer bad sunburn or worse, sunstroke while as sea. In this post, we give you some sun safety tips for how to avoid sunburn onboard.
Apply the right sun screen for your skin type
This goes without saying but some boaters tend to use an SPF that is too low for them. This is dangerous as it can easily lead to bad sunburn.
This chart gives a quick and easy guide to the factor you should be using for your skintype.
Understand how “resistent” your sun screen is
Waterproof Formulas – After getting into the water, these types will protect your skin for up to 80 minutes.
Water Resistant Formulas– After getting into the water, they will protect you for up to 40 minutes.
Sweat Resistant Formulas – Protect up to 30 minutes with continuous heavy sweating. Nice!
Children’s Sunscreens – Make sure to use maximum SPF (50) and re-apply regularly throughout the day. Do not use sunscreen on infants less than 6 months old.
Choose the right sunglasses
You don’t need a particularly expensive pair. Just make sure the ones you get are polarised (to cut the glare), and protect against UVA and UVB radiation.
Keep your head covered
It’s strongly advised to wear a hat when out on deck in sunny weather. This will help you avoid heat exhaustion and protect the delicate skin on your face. After all, you don’t want to wrinkle that precious mug!
Buying a boat is a big investment, so you have to be sure of your decision. This month, we list the 5 most important things to consider before buying a boat.
• Your navigational requirements
The first thing is to make sure that the boat will suit the owner’s plans, and the plans of the owner’s family, if they’ll be aboard too. It is very important to define the boat’s sailing program. What will you actually be doing with the boat – Running, cruising etc.? You must also assess the skills of the crew.
Depending on the size of the boat, an annual budget should be prepared to cover maintenance, handling, antifouling, deck hardware costs, berths, etc. The annual budget is approximately 8% of the purchase value.
• The rigging status
Some insurance companies will only ensure a boat if the invoice of the rigging is less than 10 years old. Changing the rigging is a costly job. The state of the sails should also be considered: changing them is a big expense, especially if the goal is high- performance sailing.
This is a natural aging process of polyester: you should base your buying decision on the progress of the osmotic state. If the hull has too many blisters, you will need to set aside budget of around €600 per meter for repairs. Also, the boat must be hauled between 6 and 12 months for drying and peeling.
• The state of the boat’s motor
It is important to check the number of hours that the engine has on the clock. An analysis of the oil and a compression plug will be needed if the engine has more than 3,000 hours. A good engine check is essential. Again, changing the engine would incur considerable costs so it’s best to avoid this.
• The berth
Availability is not the same across all geographic areas. In general, the English Channel / Atlantic sector is more accessible with waiting periods of 2 to 3 years, as is the case in Lorient for example.
During the waiting time, interim solutions exist such as temporary contracts, moorings or dry ports.
If you have any tips of your own for what to look out for when purchasing a boat, simply leave a comment below!
We would like to thank our partners Team Jolokia, for writing this article. Team Jolokia is a truly unique racing team that promotes diversity. The team is made up of 25 men and women from different walks of life: seniors, young people, disabled or able-bodied.
Sailing and boating are wonderful pastimes, but it can also be a very dangerous environment and needs to be given respect. Whether you are messing around in a dinghy or racing across oceans – safety always has to be paramount. Champion sailor Alex Alley gives us 5 simple tips on how to improve boat safety.
“When I was learning to sail, I remember my father once said to me about the sea – ‘it makes a good servant, but a bad master’. It took me a while to understand what he meant, but I soon realized what he was talking about.
Safety has to be top of the list when boating. I once had to fill out a risk assessment form for a corporate sailing trip. It seemed that serious risks were everywhere, from falling overboard to being hit by the boom.”
By following a few simple rules, these risks can be easily reduced:
One of the top ‘rules’ for me is simply common sense – don’t mess around. If you run around the boat you are more likely to slip and fall – potentially over the side! The last thing any crew wants is a man overboard situation. It is one thing picking up a fender and a bucket during a drill – it is completely different picking up an unconscious person out of the water.
Alcohol and boating don’t mix very well. It impairs your decision making and can upset your balance and judgment. Although in the UK there is no specific law against drinking and sailing – it is a foolish skipper who does. Save the drinking for the bar once back ashore.
Be aware of your surroundings. That includes the weather and what to expect. If you are crewing onboard a boat, don’t always assume the skipper has seen everything around you. Make them aware of nearby boats and obstructions – they probably have seen them, but don’t presume that they have. There is nothing worse than running in to a buoy hidden behind the jib.
Sail within your limits. Often people get in to difficulty when sailing beyond their means. Too much sail up in strong winds makes the boat hard to control and likely to broach, which can in turn send crew and equipment over the side. It isn’t a fast way to sail the boat – generally boats are much quicker if they are more upright. It’s also safer and more comfortable.
Maintenance. It may not seem an obvious safety point at first, but worn or damaged kit can cause a lot of problems. Worn out equipment usually breaks when it is least convenient. A faulty spinnaker pole topping lift for example can cause the pole to drop on unsuspecting crew. Poorly maintained lifejackets and lifelines speak for themselves. Regular maintenance is the answer – prevention is better than cure.
Sailing is a great sport and past time and is there to be enjoyed by everyone. By using common sense and following a few simple rules it can also be enjoyed safely.
This month, world champion sailor Alex Alley gives us his tips for how to fight motion sickness onboard:
“One of the things I get asked about a lot when I am taking people out sailing for the first time, is sea sickness. Possibly the most debilitating thing that can happen to otherwise healthy people at sea.
It is real and it can sap energy out of the most upbeat person – however, the advice I would give is – don’t worry yourself about it, it can happen to the best sailors.”
My 6 top tips for fighting motion sickness:
There are many types of medication on the market, a popular one is Stugeron. There are pills, wrist bands and patches. Each have their fans, however some also have their drawbacks in that they can sometimes make you sleepy.
You can help yourself by not going out for a big meal with lots of alcohol the night before you sail.
There are also things you can do onboard if you start to feel a bit queasy. Firstly, keep warm, most important. Once you get cold, your body starts to shut down and you then can’t help yourself.
DON’T go down below if you can help it. Once you lose sight of the horizon, it tends to make people feel ill. I’m told it is the mix of signals to the brain. Your eyes tell you nothing is moving (you’re inside the boat so have no reference), but your ears are telling you that you are moving (the fluid in your ears gives you balance). This conflict of information confuses the brain and makes you feel unwell.
Try and eat something plain, such as a ginger biscuit (ginger is supposed to help) or a piece of bread.
Finally, the best piece of advice I can give is to occupy your mind. Maybe take the opportunity to take the helm if you feel confident and someone can guide you. This focuses your mind and stops you thinking about being ill.
It is not simply the movement of the boat that makes you sick. Many people say they get motion sick in a car as a passenger, but not as a driver. Tthe motion is exactly the same – so some other process must surely be at work! Perhaps it is driven by anxiety, or the feeling of not being in control?
I’m not a psychologist so I can’t say with any authority what the cause may be. I do however spend a lot of time sailing and I’d like to finish this article by referring back to my first piece of advice – don’t worry about it, anxiety will only increase the chances of you feeling ill, in effect you will make yourself feel sick!
Embrace the experience of sailing, learn about it and try and understand it, that way you will know what to expect, you will feel less anxious about it, you will have fun and trust me, you won’t be sick…
We would like to thank Alex Alley, MaxSea sponsor for sharing this advice with us. Alex is a round the world yachtsman, inspirational speaker and world champion. Learn more about Alex.
If you have any tips of your own for combatting seasickness, simply leave a comment!
Visibility while boating is obviously very important, but can be difficult due to reflections on the water surface. A good pair of marine binoculars is very useful onboard but what should you look for when purchasing? Here is a quick guide to choosing the right marine binoculars.
The magic numbers: 7×50
Binoculars are classed according to magnification power and the diameter of the front lenses. Higher magnification is not always better, as high-powered binoculars are harder to hold steady on target because they show a smaller section of the landscape. A 7×50 binocular is optimum for marine use.
The second most important thing to look for when it comes to marine binoculars is image stabilisation. The mechanics of these marine binoculars keep your image steady and help you avoid getting seasick.
It should however be noted that a set of marine binoculars with an extra-wide enough field of view won’t necessarily need image stabilisation.
Light Transmission and Coatings
Light is lost as it passes through binocular optics – sometimes as much as 50% in less expensive models. High-quality binoculars on the other hand will transmit between 80 and 90% of light.
Lenses are sometimes coated, typically with magnesium flouride, in order to increase relection and pass more light to the user’s eye. Avoid “full-coated” products and try to opt instead for “multi-coated” or even better, “fully multicoated”, sometimes abbreviated as FMC.
Field of View
This is the area you’ll see through the binoculars, expressed either in degrees or in the width of the area seen at a one kilometre range. A field of view of seven degrees (or about 115 metres) is usually considered optimum for general marine use.
Some marine binoculars feature “extras” such as a
These features can help you find magnetic north, and properly judge an object’s size and distance when the open sea can make it difficult to understand in relation to yourself. It does require practice to learn how to use these features correctly. However, once you do, you’ll need less gadgets on the boat with you.
When buying boat equipment, sometimes it’s hard to know when you should splash out and when there’s no need to pay more for quality. This week, we ask some of the MaxSea partners for their advice on when to spend big and when you can be frugal.
In our experience, there are certain items that must be of high quality. Don’t try to use cheaper items as you will most likely need to re-buy them again! Here are some examples of these types of products:
There is some boat equipment that costs less but is not any lower in terms of quality. In this case, we should take advantage of the cheaper product! But sometimes I prefer to choose quality even though it is more expensive. In this way, I will not need to repurchase new equipment every year. This is certainly the case for tools, which can deteriorate rapidly.
In general we always try to buy the best item we can afford. Otherwise we wait until we can afford it. Here are some tips to follow:
It is not necessary to have absolutely every tool related to your boat, just the items that match your real needs.
Equipment wears away on a boat than at home due to movements, saline air, sunlight etc.
Yachting stuff is sometimes calculated for an occasional use and don’t last long.
It is sometimes better (and cheaper) to buy home equipment than products from a ship chandlers’.
It is not necessary nowadays to dress in old clothes and full of paint stains and I prefer comfortable and smart ones, especially shoes and oilskins which are part of security.
Do you have any examples you’d like to share? If so, leave us a comment below!
Learn more about the activities of each of these MaxSea partners:
If you are considering sailing Europe, then Croatia could be the perfect destination. This beautiful coastline off the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea offers pristine beauty and more than 1500 islands.
Our contact Romeo Demes from Charter Orvas has given us some insider tips on the nicest areas to sail to in Croatia.
Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to the Lastovo Archipelago Natural Park and the Island Mljet National Park where you can view exotic flora and fauna. There are several yacht charters where you may rent a boat and sail on your own or you may choose to use the numerous cruise tours offered by different hotels.
Highlights: Dubrovnik is probably the first place that comes to mind when you think of Croatia. This walled Medieval city whose walls have totally stood the test of time is a beautiful coastal town that borders the Adriatic. It is home to quite a number of islands like the Elafiti Islands which make the perfect environment for an exciting sail and excursion. For a feel of some great historical architecture, visit Kornati town located on the Kornati Island where you’ll also find the knight’s game of Moreska is still practiced.
Recommended route: Dubrovnik to Lopud to Saplunar Bay to Pomena to Lastovo to Korcula to Polace and back to Dubrovnik and at each stop, it is best to spend a full day so as to enjoy all that Croatia has to offer.
The Kornati Islands are a cluster of many islands including the Pag, Pasman, Dugi Otok, earning it the name Kornati Archipelago. Its indented coastline together with the perfect wind conditions provide the thrill needed for an exciting sail around these islands.
Highlights: The islands are home to the Plitvice Lakes National Park and the Kornati Islands National Park in case you want to get in touch with nature. The historical towns of Zadar and Sibenik are also nice spots to visit.
Recommended route: Sail through to Biograd then to Bozava Bay, to Telascica Bay then to NP Kornati. From there sail to Zlarin, to Skradin, to Vrgada Island, to Biograd then, back to Kornati. Along the way, enjoy the rich Croatian culture, the beautiful weather, warm beaches, deserted islands and the serenity and calm of the waters.
Island of Vis
Vis, the hidden gem of Croatia is home to some of the most exciting features of the Mediterranean.
Highlights: Head to the Blue Cave also known as the Blue Grotto and the Zelena Spilja, the Green Cave. These are great places to dive and enter, using their below sea-level entrances. The beautiful blue waters of the Adriatic and the beautiful beaches at Vis make an ideal environment for diving, snorkelling, swimming and excursions.
Recommended route: A great route to follow is from Kastela to Maslinica Bay then to Komiza, then to Bisevo, to Islet Budihovac to Stonicica. From here, sail to Hvar, to Stari Grad to Milna and back to Kastela.
Croatia is a sailor’s paradise. Most of it is almost untouched by man. The spectacular coastline, beautiful beaches, peaceful waters and picturesque sights will keep you glued to this country once you visit it.
We would like to thank Romeo Demes from Charter Orvas for writing this article.
What kind of boat propellers do you use? Do you take care of them regularly? MaxSea partners from IMERPOL, Joëlle & Janusz Kurbiel explain the importance of your boat’s propellers. Here, they tell us about their experiences during their polar expeditions:
It can be quite a terrifying experience to navigate a vessel when there is no wind for the sails making all movement entirely dependent on the engine and propeller. However, this situation can often arise. It happened to us several times while navigating around the Poles.
Caged vs. non-caged fixed propellers
In the Nordic countries, a kind of protective cage is often built around the propeller which is attached to the hull on small vessels.
Even if this cage effectively protects the propeller against large pieces of ice sliding over it, pieces of debris can still get lodged between the spokes. This could be pieces of wood, ropes, nets or tarpaulins floating in the water or even small pieces of ice. This can be a real pain to remove!
We had protective cages on our vessels Vagabond, Vagabond Vagabond’eux and Exploraglobe. However, for our later vessels Vagabond’eur and Vagabond’elle, we finally opted for a fixed propeller which is unprotected but thicker. These propellers were made especially for us, with an oversized rope cutter.
Strengths of fixed propellers:
They allow the driftwood or ice to escape on its own, and
If the rope cutter is effective against small ropes, it also protects against nets and other coverings
Recently, during the launch of Vagabond’elle, a piece of carpet got twisted around the propeller. We needed to take the boat out of the water and two of us worked for an hour to remove. You’re either lucky or you’re not…
Interested in learning more about IMERPOL? Here are the previous blog posts they have written for MaxSea: