When you don’t have a schedule you can’t be late

So, I’m pretty much doing what I did yesterday: eating and breathing…

Though today I’m in learning mode and have spent the day aboard Wight Cat swatting up , via the internet , on how to sail, for stats on countries that discriminate by law.

I say I spent the day aboard Wight Cat, I have not put foot on land since my brother Richard left a couple of days ago.

Anyway, one of my sisters (I have 3!) emails me today to say that I should post an email I sent her on my blog since it’s would be more interesting than the usual tosh I write; I agree, not least because the work has already been done- no effort .

Samantha says most people would want to read about sailing global stuff as opposed to my views on the price of wheat in China; I hold my counsel.

So this is the email I sent her last week, when the weather was bad…


The wind is still g8 level here, it dies down late morning though, so my plan, somewhat of pragmatic plan or chickens plan , depending on individual perspective is to head up the uk coast in the morning towards Dover and to then make the crossing of the channel at the narrower point where it’s only 12 miles as opposed to 70 miles.

I just heard, while typing this , The Solent coastguards gale warnings and forecast (Solent coast guard perform a more detailed version of r4’s shipping forecast , approx every 3 hours, they do so by announcing the upcoming forecast on vhf channel 16 – the emergency channel which everyone tunes in to, directing those who want to listen to the safety briefing and forecast to channel 63. Much like r4’s shipping forecast it is very relaxing , I particularly like the section ‘hazards to navigation’ part of the broadcast (in the last week there has been a sunken tanker in Osborn bay with its bow sticking up out of the water,  exposed piping on the sea bed for submarine wiring (not sure why subs needs to have piping laid for them!  And just now I learn via the Solent coast guard  0131hrs report of a fishing net  of some 5metres by 5metres adrift at the entrance to Chichester harbour! ) I digress,  3 gale warnings in sea area ‘Dover’ ( severe 9,  lowering to 8 imminent, ), sea area Portland ( severe 9 lowering to 8 immient ) and sea area Wight (8. Expected later): that forcasg might upset my plan, as above….

Re AIS system,  compared to the spot system, both work by using GPS (think both on the erridium satellite group), but spot and ais have very very different functions and jobs. The spot device is a small orange block device that is  water proof with a couple of buttons and a flashing light, it has 2 functions 1, to. Transmit location data back to the satilite and 2 , to enable the user to send their exact coordinates in a distress call for a search and rescue operation. The only people who have sight of the gps data and location are the user and whoever the user has shared that data with and obviously spot.

AIS , is more like a sophisticated radar system, conveyed by gps, as opposed to radar. The ais device transmits data to other ais receives sending them info as to exact location, and vessel details, (type, length , etc etc)  the ais also receives the same data Of other vessels from other ais devices. The ais device is a screen that has your vessel in the middle and then plotted on the screen is the location of other vessels in your location, so at night, u can see all ais vessels around and alarms go off if a vessel gets to close within a user defined prominty , usually 2 miles, promoting u to take evasive action to avoid collision. When I was adrift at sea the other night, my alarm on the ais went off, causing me in fact much more panic than reassurance, since on the screen both my vessel And another vessel (which. I couldn’t see by eye sight , it being pitch black) looked as if they were on top of each other , or just about to be, I dashed into a moment of sheer fear thinking Wight Cat was going to be struck by a tanker !  In the end , ie the morning, I realised ,, after not being struck by that evasive tanker !, that I had set the safe zone at 3.5 miles , plenty of space, so the alarm triggered when a vessel with ais came within 3.5 miles of me,  not metres as I assumed in fear the previous night as the alarm bell sounded   !,

So, with what is my easiest post today, a mere cut and paste job, I shall return to my pimms.


6 thoughts on “When you don’t have a schedule you can’t be late”

  1. Err… one problem with crossing at Dover is that it’s probably the busiest stretch of all (for the very reason that it’s the narrowest section). Probably the worst thing to do given that you’ll be in the path of many ferries. Plus you’ve actually got to get there from where you are … it’ll probably not be any shorter overall.


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