Navigation Courses…a lot more than just navigation!
Autumn - a time for learning!
The autumn is on the way! The season afloat will come to an end soon – the days are getting shorter and the evenings darker! On Wed 22 October we begin our winter series of navigation courses...just like we have done for the last 30 years. But......what is a navigation course? It is much more than just navigation - we look at –weather, tides, safety afloat, buoys and lights, rules, charts and chartwork, electronic navigation, pilotage and passage planning
We now have time to take stock of the season afloat and prepare for next year – the perfect time to take a shorebased course to increase our knowledge about matters afloat!
There are many things we need to learn about –weather, tides, safety afloat, buoys and lights, rules, charts and chartwork, electronic navigation, pilotage and of course putting all the information together to form a passage plan. These are the elements of a navigation course and it is the perfect platform to study all of these areas and help you become more proficient afloat.
Back in the 1960’s my late father, Eamonn English, brought me along to my first navigation course - given by a sea captain here in Cobh. We ran out the door after the first night – the course was all about trigonometry, log cosines and versines and learning lots of things off by heart – to me it was a very dark science. Modern navigation is much simpler than that and is a joy to learn!
Luckily I persisted and with the help of two late greats – Eric Healy and Denis Doyle I began a love affair with navigation. I now have had the privilege of teaching navigation all over the country for over 30 years.
Navigation is not a dark science - the basics are now learned very easily in a well structured scheme, delivered by trained, qualified instructors who are there to help every individual to enjoy the learning experience of a navigation course.
It is important to remember that there are huge changes in the areas covered by these navigation courses – GPS receivers have evolved intochartplotters, VHF radio now offers usDigital Selective Calling as well asAIS (Automatic Identification Scheme) – so a nav course now differs hugely from one just 10 years ago – it is so important to keep abreast of changes and stay safe afloat.
They come in many forms –the Basic Navigation course for beginners – a very short course taken over a weekend or over just 3 evenings
Day Skipper Navigation Course for beginners and improvers is a fully comprehensive navigation course over 20 evenings, a couple of weekends or a 5 day week.
Then there is the “Holy Grail” of navigation courses – the Yachtmaster Shorebased Navigation Course. This can be taken over 20 evenings or 3 weekends or 6 days. This is and advanced course and designed for those who have already completed the Day Skipper navigation course or have been navigating for many years.
Pupils at nav classes come from all quarters – at SailCork we have traineddinghy sailors, cruiser sailors, racing sailors, powerboaters, motorboaters, anglers, fishermen, sea kayakers, passenger boat drivers, workboat drivers, windsurfers and kitesurfers.
The "Social Dimension" - Navigation Courses bring together people of like minds and kindred spirits - all with a similar goal - so friendships are born and there is a great feeling of mutual support and tremendious enjoyment to be had from a navigation course.
Now is your chance to sign up for a navigation course as evening classes begin during October here and in up to 50 centres all over Ireland.
Other Shorebased Courses
Several other shorebased courses are run to facilitate the mariner at this time of the year including VHF Radio Course,Diesel Engine Maintenance,Meteorology, iPad Navigation etc – all are delivered in a friendly enthusiastic manner helping participants to increase safety awareness and help to make life afloat in Ireland safer.
Autumn Courses Afloat
We are still operating full tilt afloat during the autumn - we have Junior Sailingevery Saturday, Yachting Courses and Day Sails at w-ends, Powerboat Courses at w-ends and of course our series of Dinghy and Powerboat Instructor Courses.