Newbie Reef Navigating - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
 Not a Member? 

Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


Like Tree7Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
vtp vtp is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
Thanks: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
vtp is on a distinguished road
Newbie Reef Navigating

Early this coming February me and a dozen of my closest friends are chartering two boats in Antigua. We want to visit Gravenors Bay on the south side of Barbuda (White Bay in particular) but both cruising guides suggest that the anchorages there are best left to “experienced reef navigators” and note that the charts available for the area are sketchy at best.

Most of our collective experience is in the waters of New England on the US East Coast (1000nm+ as skipper for me so far this season) where the water is not at all clear so we have very limited reef navigation experience. For the most part the charts for New England are accurate but we still have some additional gear for checking out unknown anchorages that we could bring. Most commonly we use my handheld depth sounder from the dinghy to check out anchorages.

Any tips for getting started reef navigating? Should we stick to what we know and figure our course in by dinghy and sounder? Any other tips? There has to be some preparations we can manage between now and February but I’m drawing a blank.
Attached Thumbnails
Newbie Reef Navigating-img_20140820_150253.jpg  

Last edited by vtp; 2 Weeks Ago at 05:41 PM. Reason: grammar
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,299
Thanks: 3
Thanked 68 Times in 60 Posts
Rep Power: 9
killarney_sailor is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

I can be intimidating at first but if you use common sense you should be OK. In some ways it is not all the difficult as long as you are good at seeing things and responding quickly in a non-panicy way to what you see.

Couple of things that help: you want to have a high sun, preferably behind you so the glare is reduced. For the areas you are talking about it would early afternoon. Polarized sunglasses are a big help too. You need to know how to handle your boat, for example if you have to stop quickly and backup what are the tendencies e.g. with prop walk. You will be going dead slow so need to know it handles then. You want to have one crew forward with a good measure of common sense. One of the interesting things when the water is really clear is knowing how deep - sometimes 6 feet and 25' look pretty much the same. You need a good means of communicating from bow to helm. A lot of yelling back and forth is not helpful when conditions get dicey. My wife and I have developed a set of hand signals for things like speed up/slow down, go to neutral and so on (beside left and right of course). In the old books they talk about going up to the spreaders to look. Not very practical on a charter boat, but I have noticed that my wife likes to stand on top of the windlass - even the extra foot seems to help. Also when you are going in turn on a track on your plotter, it helps when you are coming out and visibility might not be so good (e.g. early in morning).

Overall, discretion is the better part of valour. If you don't feel comfortable with the situation, don't do it.
Faster and vtp like this.
__________________
Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
The Following User Says Thank You to killarney_sailor For This Useful Post:
vtp (2 Weeks Ago)
  #3  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
Yorksailor's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Pacific side of Panama
Posts: 467
Thanks: 15
Thanked 15 Times in 14 Posts
Rep Power: 5
Yorksailor is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

Generally charter companies do not let you go where you are likely to run aground. The boat will have a decent depth finder and perhaps a chart plotter.

However, the general rule in the Caribbean is to go slowly in good light so that you can 'read' the waters and judge the depth by the color of the water. We often use the dinghy and a hand held but we never trust the chart plotter because once you leave Miami they are not sufficiently accurate for 'blind navigation'

Enjoy Phil
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
The Following User Says Thank You to Yorksailor For This Useful Post:
vtp (2 Weeks Ago)
  #4  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
vtp vtp is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
Thanks: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
vtp is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

Thanks guys. The boats definitely have chartplotters. I'll be sure to record the track on at least two plotters in case we need to beat a lower visibility retreat, that is an excellent tip!

I wonder about a compromise for getting a good view: standing on the boom travelered out to one side might get one a better viewing angle? I expect the helm position of the cockpit will have a much better view than the mono-hull.

Regarding sun angle, is "overhead" more important than "behind"? If noon is right overhead is 10am better than 4pm even if you're headed east?

Anyone know of a resource better than google maps for getting a sense as to what different depths look like?
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
Faster's Avatar
Just another Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 14,747
Thanks: 69
Thanked 203 Times in 195 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

We've been into that anchorage on a boat that drew 7 feet - it was a very slow go getting in and out.

Killarney makes some great points.. a forward observer, good hand signals that both/all parties understand, mid day, etc.

From what I recall that anchorage is very swell-dependant.. if the swell is running large there won't be enough depth to ride it through the troughs either entering or perhaps even trying to stay there. As it was I managed to dump a coffee filter full of boiling water on my hand as we rolled in there - a nasty burn/scald that put a crimp on the swimming that trip! (That and the fact that our hosts are still finding coffee grounds here and there from time to time!)

Pretty, scenic, but not much shelter from wind or swell.. I'm a bit surprised that the charter company is OK with that destination. If it works out for you, watch out for the donkeys, the bumpy cab ride and boat ride to the Frigate Bird colony is a worthwhile daytrip, the debris all over the eastern beaches is a little depressing, but the beaches are otherwise deserted!
vtp likes this.
__________________
Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
The Following User Says Thank You to Faster For This Useful Post:
vtp (2 Weeks Ago)
  #6  
Old 1 Week Ago
vtp vtp is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
Thanks: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
vtp is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

During previous charters we've avoided the areas they've expressly forbidden but other than that I think we can sail and anchor wherever as long as we don't leave the allowed area. I guess we'll see what they say in the briefing.

Can't see any other way to become an experienced reef navigator other than to navigate some reefs
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 1 Week Ago
aeventyr60's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Andaman Sea
Posts: 1,529
Thanks: 5
Thanked 27 Times in 25 Posts
Rep Power: 4
aeventyr60 is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

Reef navigators mantra: Blue, blue go on through, Brown Brown go around. Eyes on the water, color change.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



"Your dreams minus your doubts equals your net worth"

Life is a short journey, filled with emptiness and pain. Get all the sailing and booty you can.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 1 Week Ago
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 106
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 5
nolesailor is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtp View Post
Can't see any other way to become an experienced reef navigator other than to navigate some reefs
I don't think the charter company would have quite that level of enthusiasm with the use of their boats . That said, if there are questions as to whether they would let you go there, you could always inquire ahead of time. That way, if it is off limits you could adjust your planning accordingly, rather than waiting for the briefing...
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 1 Week Ago
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,299
Thanks: 3
Thanked 68 Times in 60 Posts
Rep Power: 9
killarney_sailor is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

As to time, it all depends on the glare conditions. Before you get in the shallow bit you can go on course and see what the glare is like. Something nasty is when there is cloud and little glare and then sun appears just when you don't need it.

Not sure I am a fan of the standing on the boom trick. What happens if you do hit something. At best, the person falls into the water (video running?), at worst they fall on the deck. Also if they are swung out to one side they are even further away from the other.

In most ways it is not that hard as long as you are really careful and take your time.
__________________
Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 1 Week Ago
vtp vtp is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
Thanks: 7
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
vtp is on a distinguished road
Re: Newbie Reef Navigating

Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
Not sure I am a fan of the standing on the boom trick. What happens if you do hit something. At best, the person falls into the water (video running?), at worst they fall on the deck.
That could make an entertaining video.

I envisioned standing on the boom with one arm wrapped around the mast, shoulder pressed against the mast, as high and forward as practical. Travelered over just to put the boom underfoot a bit. Wherever you stand the plan is to move slowly enough that a collision doesn't knock anyone down.

I guess at the spreaders you'd be sitting in the bosun's chair not standing on a spreader...

Last edited by vtp; 1 Week Ago at 02:12 PM. Reason: grammar
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Navigating locks GoodOldBoat Good Old Boat 14 02-20-2014 04:28 PM
How to reef a lateen with reef points MattMcc804 General Discussion (sailing related) 9 05-06-2013 12:52 AM
Navigating with an iPhone? PaulSail51 General Discussion (sailing related) 42 11-27-2008 12:12 PM
To reef or not to reef, that is the question blackpearlsailing General Discussion (sailing related) 12 05-28-2008 07:46 PM
Navigating with Radar Jim Sexton Seamanship Articles 0 03-29-2002 07:00 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:46 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.