How to Anchor a Boat with MaxSea TimeZero

Experienced sailors often say that mooring is the most difficult part of sailing. This week, MaxSea partner Leon Schulz talks to us about how to anchor a boat, using MaxSea TimeZero.

Leon outlines the steps to take for a perfect mooring. His boat is equipped with a fully-integrated system: MaxSea TimeZero PLOT, a Furuno BBDS1 sounder, and a Furuno NavNet TZtouch.

How to Anchor a Boat
Leon Schulz’ boat the Regina Laska
  • Understand the sea-floor. Navigate around the anchorage area many times. This is done to record bathymetric information so you know what kind of sea-floor you’re dealing with. To record this data, I use my MaxSea TimeZero PLOT, integrated with a Furuno BBDS1 Sounder.

Anchoring a boat with Furuno BBDS1

The BBDS1 sounder collects and sends bottom classification data to MaxSea TimeZero software. I can also share this new data-rich bathy chart with the integrated Furuno NavNet TZtouch system. Sand or clay is best for anchoring.

  • Check tidal range by displaying tidal data in MaxSea TimeZero. This is a really important step to know how much your boat will be raised or lowered by the tide, or vice versa.

How to anchor a boat with tidal data

You don’t want the boat’s keel to hit the ground during the night, just because the water has disappeared from under the boat. You must also avoid having the boat’s anchor break loose because the boat is suddenly 3 or more meters higher water than when it arrived!

  •  Calculate your desired minimum depth based on my boat’s draught + safety distance under the keel + allowance for tidal changes. Try to find a spot where the boat can swing freely in all directions according to changes in the wind or the tidal current.
  • Take a last look at the Furuno BBDS1 sounder to check the depth and soil conditions and to see if the boat is in the tidal flow or in an area of strong wind and bring the boat to a complete standstill.
  • Lower your anchor slowly until it reaches the ground. You can check the markings on the chain or just listen to how the anchor runs more smoothly when it has reached the bottom.
  • Give the signal to the helmsman to reverse the boat slowly while letting out the chain. At a ratio of 1:4 to 1:5 (from the highest tides expected), stop the windlass.
  • Wait until the anchor sets and the boat turns into the wind. Then it’s time to stretch the chain by reversing the gear carefully. Do so cautiously, so that there is no residue in the chain.
  • Once the engine is stopped, set the snubber. This is the piece of rope that is hung with a claw hook into the chain and relieved with the help of a jerk. This also makes the disturbing noise disappear from the chain rubbing against the bow roller.
  • In windy conditions, put a mooring sail aft, so the bow always points into the wind.

The advantage of MaxSea TimeZero is that you can so easily switch charts. So I often use raster maps at anchor, because there is a lot more information that are interesting for the anchors located. For example, the underwater cable at Iona (see image below).

Anchoring a boat with raster charts
Anchoring the boat off Iona, Scotland

Even small anchors are located on the raster maps. In comparison, the vector charts give less information about the anchorage.

Now it’s done, you can sleep soundly, even if the wind should freshen up in the night or the wind direction changes.


Leon Schulz is a MaxSea partner and is a RYA Yachtmaster Ocean instructor. His yacht, the Regina Laska is also available for charter. Learn more about his services on the Regina Sailing website.


 

10 point safety checklist

Sailing Europe – the Top 5 Destinations this Summer

Going on a sailing trip this summer? Luckily, there are plenty of great destinations in this part of the world – if you’re in Europe that is! Here are five of our top picks for sailing Europe.

5. The Greek Islands

This is a very popular destination for renting chartered sail boats, and you will certainly enjoy the warm waters and beautiful views. Sail from Santorini to Mykonos to experience idyllic island scenery and Mediterranean charm. Renting a boat with a few friends can be a good choice if you’re on a budget, and no need to stay in hotels at night.

Sailing Europe Greece
The Greek island Mykonos

4. Croatia

Croatia has over 1000 islands in the crystal clear seas of the Adriatic, so plenty of beauty is waiting to be explored. Spend your summer taking in the views from the boat, or explore the many beautiful coastal towns, such as Split, Dubrovnik, or Makarska.

sailing europe croatia
The Dubrovnik Coast

3. Ireland

If warm weather is what you’re looking for, this may not be a safe bet. However, the port of Galway in the west of Ireland is beautiful and offers rich history and character. With an oyster festival and the finale to the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race taking place here every summer, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.

2. Slovenia

Slovenia offers easy access to the Adriatic Sea, and is becoming a hotspot for yachts. Visit the beautiful Bay of Piran, or the towns of Portorož, Izola or Koper, to explore some beautiful ports and marinas.

sailing europe slovenia
The Slovenian Coast

1. French Riviera

As MaxSea is a French company, we are slightly biased, but most sailors will agree that the French Riviera is a particularly beautiful spot to visit in Europe!

The French Riviera stretches along the Côte d’Azur, and features an all-star cast of sailing hubs, such as Cannes, Antibes, Saint Tropez and Monaco.

Wherever you end up going this summer, get there safely with MaxSea TimeZero navigation software.
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Free Guide: 10-point safety checklist before sailing

Learn to Sail: What are the Points of Sail?

If you want to learn to sail, a good place to begin is understanding the points of sail. Also known as “sail positions”, this refers to a sailboat’s heading angle in relation to wind direction. Here, we examine what they are. 

Firstly, you should never sail directly against the wind, and this angle is known as a “no-sail zone”. When sailing directly against the wind, the boat will slow down and eventually stop altogether.

The three main categories of sailing angle are classified as Close Hauled, Reaching and Running.  Each one is different and serves a different purpose.

On the way out of the Gustavia harbour

Close Hauled

In this angle, wind is coming from the forward direction. It is close to the no-sail zone, and approximately at a 45 degree angle to the wind.  This can be useful if the wind is strong and you want to take better control of the boat. Otherwise, it’s not very efficient.

Reaching

When in this position, the boat is more or less perpendicular to the wind. When reaching, the most important object is sail trim and holding your course. For most modern sailboats, this is the fastest way to sail.

MaxSea Training Sessions in Barcelona

Running

The boat is “running” when the wind is coming directly from behind, across the stern of the boat. Steering can be difficult when running because there is less pressure on the tiller to provide feedback to the helmsman, and the boat is less stable, meaning the boat may go off course more easily than on other points of sail.

learn to sail

Image source: www.dummies.com

 

If you wish to learn more about the points of sail, there are plenty of online resources. Have a look at this website for more details.

MaxSea also offers a range of support and training services to give you tips on sailing with MaxSea software, from a one-hour remote training to a full two-day live training session in Barcelona, Spain. Read about all the types of training available here.

A Doctor’s Advice on Boat Safety: Sun Radiation and its Risks

The ‘sailing doctor’ Jean-Yves Chauve shares his Boat safety: Jean yves chauvreadvice for how to protect yourself from a boating sunburn. When planning for boat safety, it is important to keep this in mind because the strength of sunlight is greatly increased by the reflection of the water.

 

All you need to do is look at the faces of fishermen to realise how aggressive ultraviolet rays are. The most dangerous type of ray are UVC, which are usually filtered by the ozone layer.

Boat safety: avoid sunburn onboard
The sun-damaged skin of a fisherman’s face

UVA rays promote immediate tanning, while UVB rays cause the skin to thicken and the production of melanin. A sailing sunburn is a real burn and this type of injury increases the risk of skin cancer such as carcinomas and melanomas.

Boat safety: sunburn

It is therefore imperative for people who boat to protect themselves from sunburn.

Here are a few simple preventative measures to take:

  • Wear colored and loose clothing, especially lycra
  • Apply high-factor sun block – choose according to your skin type

People with fair skin are most at risk. As well as sunburn, exposure to infrared rays may cause the body temperature to rise and subsequently can result in heatstroke. Heatstroke is very serious and the consequences can be severe.

To avoid this:

  • Stay in the shade as much as possible
  • Wear a hat to cover your head
  • Moisturise your skin regularly to help eliminate heat
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
Boat safety: Shade boat
Staying in the shade on a boat

Make sure you are prepared for whatever the weather holds – check the temperature forecast by downloading and overlaying free GRIB file data in your MaxSea TimeZero!

Read more of Dr. Chauve’s advice for boating safety in his three previous blog posts:

 

MaxSea TimeZero Free Weather Forecast Service

Top 5 Boating Blogs to Follow Right Now!

There are many boating blogs out there – some are general whereas others specialise in just one element of boating, from commercial fishing to safety rules and regulations. We’ve scanned the internet to pick out five great blogs that all boaters should follow! Here’s the countdown, from 5 to 1:

5. Capt’n Pauley’s Virtual Boatyard: This is very good DIY boating blog, with information on everything from rigging to boat restoration to engine maintenance. If you’re looking for some tips and advice and like to work on your boat, this is the blog for you!

4. Bitter End: Capt. Richard J. Rodriguez keeps you up to date on news related to the world of boating. A good mix of topics!

3. G-Captain: Captain John Konrad does a great job of writing entertaining and informative articles. This blog mainly focuses on commercial fishing, but even if you’re a recreational boater, you’ll find high-quality information and advice.

sailing anarchy

2. Sailing Anarchy: Scot Tempesta edits this sailing blog, and he’s a guy with attitude! This blog stands out because it takes a no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to sailing and yachting. It’s updated several times a day and if you love sailing, you’ll find the articles very interesting. Over 80,000 likes on Facebook too – impressive!

Ben Ellison - then and now!
Ben Ellison – then and now!

1. Panbo: Our number one pick has got to be the ubiquitous Panbo blog. MaxSea loves it because it covers virtually everything in the world of marine electronics. Writer and editor Ben Ellison has become well-known by most people who own a boat.

Why do we like this blog so much? Because it is updated so often and you can find thorough, informed reviews of just about every major marine electronics product here. Definitely one to follow!

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Download the free MaxSea guide: Cold Weather Sailing

4 of the Most Common Causes of Boat Accidents

To stay safe onboard, it helps to know what the most common causes of boat accidents actually are. Here, we list 4 of them so you can make sure to avoid them happening to you!

4 of the Most Common Causes of Boat Accidents

1. Not being prepared for the weather

Poor visibility can make boating extremely difficult – and sometimes very dangerous. It is indispensable to check the marine weather forecast before leaving port. Be sure that you and your boat are able to handle the weather that is forecast. Boaters can face problems such as lightning or waterspouts if they do not keep informed of the weather.

Weather forecast in MaxSea TimeZero: an essential tool to avoid boat accidentsLuckily, this is easy to do in MaxSea TimeZero, which includes free and unlimited GRIB file weather forecast downloads. Simply use an Internet connection to download marine weather forecast for the area of your choice. This information can be overlaid on your chart and you can animate the weather to see how it will progress for the next 16 days.

2. Not keeping lookout

When boats experience collisions, the most common reason given is failing to keep a lookout. Objects in the sea and other boats can approach extremely quickly, and it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.

An effective way to do this in MaxSea TimeZero is to to use the built-in AIS target overlay. You just need to connect an AIS-receiver to view the position, speed and direction of eacAIS/ARPA targets in MaxSea TimeZero: an essential feature to avoid boat accidentsh AIS target near your boat. You can easily set up a guard zone around your vessel. If a target enters this zone, an alarm will sound from your computer to warn you of a nearby boat. If you use radar onboard, even better. This will allow you to view ARPA targets on your MaxSea TimeZero chart. Display radar overlay on MaxSea TimeZero Explorer if you are using a natively-compatible radar.

3. Falling over board

This is an obvious one. It can easily happen and will usually just cause some embarrassment but nothing more. However, if you knock your head when falling, it is very dangerous. If the passenger loses consciousness, it is imperative that they are wearing a life jacket.

Always wear your life jack when on board! According to US Coast Guard statistics, around half of the drowning fatalities in boating involve boaters without life jackets.

Also, try to always wear the emergency engine cut-off switch lanyard so that you can cut the boat’s engine. This prevents the boat from riding away from you and also prevents you getting run over by the boat if it turns in hard circles.

Hopefully, you never need it, but just in case, remember that there is a MOB tool (Man Over Board) in MaxSea TimeZero to mark the exact position of the fall. Then use the Go-To tool to send your boat back to position.

4. Running Out of Gas

If you are in a calm area, this is usually not a huge problem. Just call a towing agency and they can bring you enough fuel to return to port. However, there are many areas with strong currents, or approaching waterfalls where you definitely don’t want to run out.

In this case, prevention is definitely better than cure. Use the 1/3 rule.  One third of your fuel going out, 1/3 coming home and 1/3 for what you didn’t expect. Next, always leave with a full tank and know your fuel consumption rate.

If you have a fuel gauge on board, connect it to MaxSea TimeZero so that you can constantly monitor your fuel rate and level.

Unfortunately, these are just a few of the causes of boat accidents. Boating can be dangerous, so please follow this advice and always think safety first!

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Free Guide: 10-point safety checklist before sailing

My Favourite books about the Arctic, by Janusz Kurbiel

Since 1975, Joëlle and Janusz Kurbiel from IMERPOL, have dedicated their lives to the exploration of the North Pole. For the last few years, they have navigated through this region with the help of TZ Navigator, their marine navigation software.

In this post, Janusz shares his favourite books written about the Arctic. So if you planning to navigate in this region, make sure to read as many of these books as you can!

Arctic Ice.

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Books about the Arctic Ocean

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  • Tilman, H.W. – The Eight Sailing – Mountains-Exploration Books, Diadem Ed., 1987.

If you need further information on how to purchase any of these books, just leave a comment below. Safe journey!

Cold Weather Sailing Guide

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A Doctor’s Advice on What to Eat Onboard

The ‘Sailing Doctor’ returns to our blog! This week Dr. Jean-Yves Chauve gives us advice on what type of food to eat while sailing.

Jean yves chauvre

You may have already heard of Dr. Chauve as he is well-known for specializing in providing remote medical assistance to sailors and boat racers. He has been involved in several high-profile cases in which he aided racers via telephone to avoid dangerous health situations.

When at sea, we use a lot of energy. The constant motion of the boat, the wind and maneuvering a sailboat may require nearly 5,000 calories in 24 hours.

To compensate for these losses it is very important to eat enough . This is not always easy especially when you are feeling seasick, or when weather conditions make it impossible to cook.

However, freeze-dried meals such as those eaten by offshore racers will make it easier to eat hot food. Just boil water in a kettle, pour the hot water into the bag and wait a few minutes for the food to re-hydrate.

Food for Short Trips

Sandwiches provide a good amount of energy and are well-balanced.

Food for Longer Trips

When each sailor takes it in turn to navigate, it is best to eat at the end of your shift before going to bed.

Calories used for digestion are also included in the amount of energy needed each day and eating at the end of the day will make food energy available to the muscles when you wake.

food onboard

What to Avoid

Avoid eating simple sugars such candy bars, as much as possible. Contrary to advertising, they rather promote sleep and can actually make you feel drowsy.

Last but not Least…

Finally, remember that you should drink water regularly throughout the day. With the wind and sun, dehydration can creep up on you unexpectedly and affect the physical and mental abilities.

Read more of Dr. Chauve’s sailing advice in these two previous blog posts:

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MaxSea Training Sessions in Barcelona

In Search of Fish with Maxsea TimeZero

This week, MaxSea partner Olivier Journaux, A.K.A. Cpt. OJ, gives his advice on how to find the best fishing spots. He does this both by using the right onboard equiment, and by understanding the types of areas that certain fish like to be found. Cpt. OJ is an accomplished athlete who now provides sport fishing lessons in France. 

When fishing with a line, jigging or vertical bait fishing, it has become essential to be extremely precise. In my line of work, I coach recreational sport fishing.

For this, it is important for me to position the boat as close as possible to the fish so that my customers can enjoy close contact with the beautiful fish.

It is also essential to constantly discover new fishing areas, which allow me to manage the amount of fishing in each spot. In this way, I take one or two fish per area out of the water and practice the “catch and release” technique that I described in this earlier MaxSea blog post here.

Then I move on to another area before returning again several days later.

cpt oj

Finding predator fish

To catch a predator fish, first we must find the place it is most likely to be. This is obviously the biggest job, the hardest and longest one to master.

Where are the fish

95% of the time, bars, shade-fish and saithe can generally be found near the water surface. They position themselves above their prey and upstream of the current. The pout, their main food source, usually hides in hollows. As a result, it is very common to catch bars and lean on rock surfaces as this is where the pouts can be found.

Onboard equipment

To be able to localise the fish, it is essential to have a sounder and GPS system with nautical charts. Unfortunately electronic charts are never 100% accurate. Maxsea TimeZero PLOT or MaxSea TimeZero SportFishing are perfectly suited to fishing as it allows the user to record the sea floor and generate their own, extremely accurate chart of their favourite fishing grounds.

Useful features within MaxSea TimeZero

A computer with MaxSea TimeZero connected to the GPS and sounder can store unlimited depth points, and adjusts for the current water level depending on the time and date (integrated tide information).

This means that by simply navigating in your fishing spot, you are simultaneously saving thousands of contour lines and the precision of your seabed data becomes increasingly sharp.

Thus, in places where all charts tell you that the bottom is flat, you discover hidden contours, sometimes more than 10m high over distances of 500m long. All you need to do is to explore the area with your sounder.

MaxSea offers the ability to create whatever you want, ideal routes, specific marks that can represent fish, rocky peaks , buoys, wrecks etc.

Then you can also add comments to each mark. In TimeZero software, you can consult classic hydrographic office charts, and add your own bathy data, and even record a bottom classification to view the type of sediment in each area

two fish

Types of spots favoured by fish 

Depending on the direction of the current, we can have a good idea of where fish are most likely to be found.

They are usually

  • upstream of the current and
  • above the rocks (the highest point)
  • just below the first step of a rocky “staircase” if there is one in the area. They like these spots because it means that they are high up yet sheltered from the current. It is often a favourite spot for saithe when the current exceeds 1.5 knots.

By following these steps, I personally found wonderful fishing areas in the rocky waters of Antioch and Breton in France where I came across beautiful fish that had never previously been disturbed by humans.

Read more about Cpt. OJ on his website (in French) by clicking here.

You can email him at olivierjournaux@neuf.fr or call him on +33 (0) 6 50 58 56 59.

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MaxSea TimeZero SportFishing

A Doctor’s Advice on Sleep Onboard

Last November, the well-known French doctor Jean-Yves Chauve gave us advice on how to combat seasickness onboard. This week, he is back with more useful advice about the importance of adequate sleep, especially for racers.

Jean yves chauvre

Dr. Chauve is a doctor who specialises in providing remote medical assistance to sailors and boat racers. He was involved in several high-profile cases in which he aided racers via telephone to avoid dangerous health situations.

A doctor’s advice about sleeping onboard

Offshore racers know this from experience: Sleep is a necessity to maintain vigilance. It is imperative for assuring good security and your own physical performance. Tests have proven that after 16 hours without sleep, your level of drowsiness is equivalent to a BAC of 0.5 g. This means that your level of concentration is substantially impaired.

It is therefore very important to have regular periods of sleep when navigating. To sleep effectively, you must be aware that throughout the day, there are times when one is predisposed to sleep. Yawning is a sign that the body sends to indicate that it is ready to sleep. This is the moment when you should try to sleep or take a nap.

eat sleep boat

How Long should I Sleep?

Sleep duration depends on the constraints of navigation. The ideal length would be to sleep for one a complete sleep cycle, which is from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Otherwise, it can be useful to take short naps for 20 to 30 minutes. Napping regularly can be very effective for a few days. If napping is not possible, then there is the final option of “flash” naps, consisiting of just a few seconds of sleep.

When “real” sleep is impossible, this brief disconnection can allow the brain to de-stress, which is very important when engaging in such a physically demanding activity as navigating.

No matter what, make it a priority to get at least some sleep while onboard. Otherwise your judgement and physical ability will be significantly impaired.

The Ultimate Guide to Boat Rentals