Starting out at sea

PaulJS

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Hello again,
I have JUST started sailing, taken the 5 day RYA course on local inland loch, great fun. My question is, what training do you all recommend next for me and my ancient (1972) plywood dinghy? I have access to sheltered coastal waters in the SW of Scotland. Also, what safety/navigation equipment should I get before venturing into the salty stuff? In case I sound too naive, I'm planning on buying a handheld VHF, GPS, and inshore flares before even starting. Also no intention of getting out of sight of land that I actually recognise!
Any advice appreciated /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

AIDY

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read frank dye's book he took his wayfarer to iceland ! /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

seriously... do you have auxillary power ie... outboard do you know how to use a chart ? an rya day skipper theory course and a vhf course would be a start.
 

bdsweeting

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[ QUOTE ]
Plywood dinghy + GPS /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

[/ QUOTE ]Why the rude reply to a fair question? /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif

Everyone has to start somewhere but obviously we all need to keep out of your precious way in case we make a mistake.
 

Rabbie

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May I suggest you join my old and very knowledgeable association?. http://www.dca.uk.com/ I started cruising in a 14' WL West Wight Potter which is about 2' shorter than a Wayfarer. The WWP has crossed the Pacific so there is nothing to hold you back. Best o' luck.
 

simonfraser

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using a chart in a small boat is a challenge, get a hand held gps plotter, that makes it very easy
or don't get lost, easier said than done
second the water proof handheld vhf, more usefull than flares in my opinion
 

DinghyMan

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Have a search around the sea kayaking sites - we carry flares & parachute flares, large orange smoke (the big throw in the water kind), first aid kit inc survival bag, powerful torch, GPS, laminated colour scans of small areas of the charts, food & drinks when kayaking and it doesn't take up much room - I'm a gadget freak though so like to have all the toys.

I would ensure that your dinghy has good bouyancy - my Enterprise has two air bags each side with another under the front. If you need a bow bouyancy bag PM me your address and for the price of postage I'll send you a spare Enterprise one (like the bow bag on Trident except bright yellow)
 

AIDY

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thought so. i'm talking about current members. always interested me his adventures, had a good chat to him down at the maritime museum last year
 

Rabbie

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Did you know that Margaret Dye was the only exhibitor allowed to regularly spend the night in Earls Court Boat Shows. She would erect her tent over her Wanderer and kip down there.
 

PaulJS

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I appreciate the prompt replies and have a sense of humour, so not too upset that somebody thinks the idea of a handheld GPS is funny. If you don't know where you are, you're lost!
Anyway, as to the more serious replies, I've actually worked at sea for nearly 25 years albeit in the noisy department, so I can sort out the wet bits of charts from the dry bits. I reckon that the Dayskipper course sounds interesting, and I wouldn't put the boat in the water without a reliable motor.
Still appreciate more responses, just don't take the mick too much please.
 

EdWingfield

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Mr Sailorman I'm not sure I understand your sense of humour. Q1. Why should a beginner not start out in a dinghy? Q2. Why should a sailor not remain in a dinghy?
 

Rabbie

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I stand corrected. Blame it on old mans memory since I was the DCA Mem.Sec. a long time ago. /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif
 

capt_courageous

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Hi Paul
Lots of good advice so far. I don't know if it counts as safety etc. stuff but when we sailed a dinghy on the sea we wore wetsuits in nasty weather. We launched off a beach so got wet before even starting to sail. Whatever you do get some good foul weather kit. You can't always stay dry but staying warm is essential. As Gandy said get some oars - they used them on lifeboats. On a dinghy an outboard is really good thing until you need it.
 

Searush

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I learnt on a dinghy Cat in Liverpool bay. Very fast & very wet. Getting to know your tides was vital there. In W Scotland tides are less of an issue! Buoancy, an anchor (with chain & warp) and oars are minimum needed. If you are just pottering up & down in sight of land you will need little else. I never had any foul weather gear but sailed only in hot weather & went ashore if cold. Spent a lot of the time wet but thoroughly enjoyed it! Seldom did much passage making as we always had to return to the trailer at the end of the day. Still covered 5-10 miles on the more adventurous trips.

If cruising from one location to another, add foul weather gear, hot drink, & some food (Mars bars & bananas will do), a compass & a photocopy of the relevant chart sealed in a clear plastic sleeve. You do not need any electronics, motors etc unless making extended passages where tidal gates must be met.

Tell someone where you are planning to go & report in when you arrive or if you change your plan. A mobile phone will do for that in most cases, use a payphone if coverage is poor.

Get a copy of John Glasspool's "Open Boat Cruising" ISBN 0 7136 5721 9 from your local library. It is full of advice & ideas to make open boat cruising safe & comfortable. Frank & Margaret Dye's books will frighten you to death - but do show what CAN be done if you are determined enough and develop the appropriate level of seamanship. No amount of electronics will EVER make up for a lack of common sense (which is what seamanship really is!)

The smaller the boat, the greater the fun is what they say! But don't stress or worry about fancy gear, just get to know the locality and plan your passage carefully with suitable alternatives in case conditions or citcumstances change.

There are thousands of lovely and relatively easy passages on the W coast that can easily be done in a small dinghy. But be aware that the weather can (and will) change at almost every headland! Know where you can get ashore in a sheltered bay. Maybe add a waterproof sleeping bag & boom cover in a buoyancy tank! Have a good time & extend yourself a little at a time, and review every passage for lessons to be learnt. And please let us all know about your adventures!
 
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