More of your correspondence
Dyslexia and sailing
I am responding to Jo Mooring Aldridge’s Letter regarding Dyslexic sailors (YM March issue). I too have mild Dyslexia, and I am also struggling to find my way through various aspects of the Day Skippers Course. Whilst finding the practical side fairly easy to understand, like Jo I also struggle with aspects of the course, usually involving Tidal or Course calculations. Basically any calculations which have more than a couple of aspects of figures and words, lines and symbols to reach the final result.
Whilst finding it relatively straightforward to understand the principles of these calculations, when it comes to actually doing them on paper they all become a blur of words and numbers. There is obviously a simple practical answer, to invest in a chart plotter and ditch the troublesome calculations. But as most of you know this is not actually a solution as much as an aid for navigation. So there is still the overall problem of understanding these calculations.
I have noticed that the layout on some of the information could be given in a slightly clearer more straight forward format, just to aid the understanding of how the process works. Personally once I can transfer these details in to practical terms I find them much easier to understand, as I think most people do. Any assistance the RYA can give to helping sailors with learning difficulties from mild to strong would be a benefit to all.
I think it’s important that these courses are accessible as possible to all sailors, as the overall importance of understanding this information is vital as it is to easy to fall in the trap of simply relying on your Plotter and GPS. After all is a viable excuse to the Coastguard, “Sorry my Batteries ran out…”
B. Melin 20ft Day Sailor (by email)
In response to the news item in your April issue concerning the “non-PC” nature of the radio phonetic code, which matter you state is now being considered by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, may I say how many of the words of this alphabet might be found inappropriate or culturally, socially or racially insensitive and the MCA is surely very capable of addressing the possibility that problems may be caused by it.
As stated, the words Golf, Hotel, Foxtrot and Tango may be considered relevant only to older people, (I know Tango is also the name of a popular children’s drink but surely it cannot be right to promote the consumption of sugary drinks by our increasingly obese young).
Of the European Christian names such as Charlie, Mike, Victor etc;, one can only observe their use may well be offensive to some other cultures, as must “Yankee”, but have not the words “Uniform”, “Bravo” and “Delta”, militaristic implications to many to whom such things are anathema?
The use of place names – Quebec for example, may be taken as evidence of a certain cultural insensitivity towards other parts of the world, and has it been considered that using the name of Peru’s capital city Lima, may possibly offend Paraguayans? Equally the use of “India” must surely not sit well with anyone from Pakistan given the political and cultural history of the two countries. Of the continued espousing of so misused and socially damaging a product such as Whiskey in this day and age no more need be said, and your article rightly points out that “Zulu” is felt racist by some. I accept that replacing some of these outdated words may prove difficult, and would point out that the use of the word “Zoo” instead, in this latter case, would also be completely unacceptable, given the new awareness of the feelings of animals caged in an environment that is alien to them. May I therefore suggest the use instead, for the letter Z, of the word Zog. As in planet.
A Campbell (by email)
Editor’s note: Just in case anyone missed the May issue of YM (on sale in April), the story referred to was our annual April Fool.
‘Chelsea tractors’ and climate change
I fear that Yachting Monthly has started to become a little less discerning about the people it keeps company with. Providing that the advertising revenue still comes rolling in and the bills are paid, it would seem, for a quiet life, you ask no questions and tell no lies. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but it could be argued that this has become your attitude when reviewing some of the recent editions of the magazine. And I’m talking about your advertising policy here. There are two types of advertising that I believe Yacht Monthly should have the integrity to ban from its pages.
Firstly, any advertisement championing the advantages and wonders of four wheel drive ‘Chelsea tractors’, should not be allowed anywhere near your pages, let alone on one. Yet, depressingly, I see in March and April’s editions that double page advertisements feature the new Audi Q7, which guzzles a whole gallon of fuel every 14.8 miles in urban driving conditions. Surely, this vehicle has got to rate as one of the best examples of a tacky, ‘footballers wives’ sports utility vehicle, which now only appeals to the likes of people with very low IQ’s or to half-witted fashion icons who don’t know any better. Perhaps that’s why it’s called a ‘Q7’, the number being the level of IQ required to buy one! Nobody with any intelligence or any form of social conscience would be seen dead in one of these monstrosities and yet here you are actively helping to promote this huge parasitic lump of vulgarity.
I’m sure a large proportion of us in the sailing fraternity have a real interest in preserving nature and in trying to halt climate change; that’s why we prefer to use wind power to move about. So the last thing we want to see is our beloved magazine selling-out to organisations whose main aim is to maximise profit whilst sticking two fingers up at the planet. Can you, therefore, please cancel any further ads of this nature and take a moral position about climate change and where you stand?
Secondly, for those of us that receive the magazine on subscription – in my case for fear of missing out on a single issue – I see the amount of ‘dandruff’ that falls out of my magazine every time I open it has increased. Some of these extra leaflets have useful stuff, I don’t doubt, but some definitely don’t. One such piece of dandruff, was a little scratch card that claims to give you a great prize if you get the same three characters in the right boxes. Of course we all know it is a complete con, because every card is a winner, and for that really to be the case the mathematics do not exactly stack up! We all know they want you to call their premium ‘091’ number and be charged a fortune before eventually giving up on a fruitless task of trying to claim your prize. Given the extremely dubious nature of these ‘promotions’ can you please take a moral stand and ban such worthless detritus from your dandruff pile, and do us all a favour?
I know editorial and advertising staff are different animals, and a level of independence between the two is important and healthy and that one should not over-influence the other, as readers will become sceptical if they think an advertiser wields too much influence. But, surely, editorial staff should be able to veto ads that are in direct opposition to what the magazine stands for – namely: honest enjoyment without damaging the fragile nature of the sea? And I hope the magazine will take a greener and a more moral stand on these issues and change your advertising strategy accordingly.
Having said all that. I still believe all is well with Yachting Monthly, even if you’ve started to dwell on all those sailing disaster stories again.