Over the last month or so I have been studying hard to pass my RYA Day Skipper course. Sat at the kitchen table with my charts spread out, dividers and chart plotter, sharp pencils and most importantly a good rubber to rub out all the mistakes. Day Skipper is the first level of navigation, chart reading, passage planning and all round good seamanship. It is a course run by the RYA and I decided that I could do it alone, online, and it was fine. A lot of head scratching and the floor covered in bits of rubber but I was able to get the hang of it. But there was so much to remember and it was tricksy without a real life teacher to ask.
Deviation, variation, tidal streams, tidal graphs, course over ground, cross track error, the difference between true and magnetic north, all the chart symbols, cardinal buoys, VHF, safety stuff, man overboard procedures, electronic GPS plotters, radars, use of flares, effects of wind and tide, meteorology IALA A and B…….. you get the idea a lot to learn. After nailing the Day Skipper I decided the best thing to do was keep the ball rolling and progressed directly on to Yachtmaster theory, that really cranked up the pace. Five days intensive learning, in a one to one classroom environment but this time with the friendly face of Gordon Hamill from Tradewinds Navigation to guide me. It really took everything that I had learned in DS to another level. Anyway to cut a long story short I passed. Next up is a trip to Gibraltar to do my Day Skipper practical. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer there than it is here today.