More of your thoughts and opinions

Here are some more readers’s letters that we couldn’t squeeze into the November 2006 issue of YM.

The Fast-track interview with Tim Pyne (YM August 2006, p9) mentions Crab Searle, whose nickname was an illusion to his flying style in biplane fighters. Group Captain Searle’s sailing school at Emsworth taught me to sail in 1961. He was a pioneer of such establishments. I learned that the two most useless things in a dinghy were a wheelbarrow and a naval officer. This was indiscreet because Admiral Sir Casper John, C-in-C Portsmouth, had awarded him a contract to teach naval persons to sail dinghies rather than desks.
Robert Spier, via email

Trinity House is not the only organisation that takes the mariner’s safety seriously (Jeremy Halpert’s letter, September). Some years ago some geriatric friends and myself hired some boats on the River Shannon (motor boats, I confess, but in mitigation let it be said that our primary intention was a relaxed week of Guinness fishing on the Shannon). We were given a brief of Celtic clarity.
“Listen lads,” said your man, “let me just talk you over the maps of Loch Dearg and the River Shannon.”
“Now you lads (!) from the Navy will call them charts,” says he, “but we call them maps over here so as not to confuse the more motorist of our clients.”
“Now lads, you’ll see that the buoys on the left are painted red and the buoys on the right are painted black. They should be green, but green doesn’t show up very well in Ireland, now, you know.”
“Now lads,” says he, “you’ll see that we’ve painted most of the black buoys white, so that you can see them more easily.”
Whether the white was paint or guano we never did quite decide, but we did achieve a very satisfactory catch of Guinness.
David Cunningham (by email)

The newly reformed Cobra & Seawolf Owners’ Association is looking for members. Originally formed in September 1999 for owners of Cobra and Seawolf yachts, the website was resurrected this summer and we have the approval of David Feltham, the designer.We can be contacted via the website:
Phil Hopcroft

I have before me three yachting magazines, all displaying excellent articles about arriving at and leaving from a berth. However, they all demonstrate the process of coming alongside pontoons and finger pontoons longer than the boat in question and all with a plethora of cleats.
Life is not like that in the real world. Many marinas today have finger jetties which are two thirds to a half of the length of my Moody 33S and do not have a suitable cleat to mate with the boat’s midships cleat. In Cherbourg, there are no cleats at all on the “bouncy castle” type finger pontoons – only a horizontal hoop at the outboard end!
My home berth is two thirds the length of the boat, has a cleat at the outboard end, one near to the root of the finger pontoon, and two on the “mother pontoon” for securing the bow. This does not allow the conventional and ideal solution of securing at the midships cleat to control the swings due to tide, wind and prop wash. I berth starboard side to, and the astern prop wash takes my stern to port and there is insufficient room to make an “Admiralty Sweep” to correct the prop wash, so getting alongside in some conditions can be quite tricky. I do have a solution to the problem, which is to secure a line to the midships cleat and lead it back through the stern fairlead. The resulting loop is dropped over the outboard cleat on the finger pontoon and pulled in to keep the stern in line with the pontoon. This gives a temporary spring to prevent the boat from going too far forward and a temporary stern line to keep me in line, until the normal lines are secured.
In Cherbourg one crew member has to step onto the bouncy castle, and on hands and knees, rapidly pass a stern line through the hoop and return it to the cockpit. As the aggregate age of the crew (3) is often around 200 years, it causes some amusement to onlookers, but we manage!
Perhaps in your next articles on the subject, you could share with us, your solutions to securing to short cleat-less finger pontoons!
I look forward to more revalations
Alan Spruce
Severn Lady

I have since found that there is a range of Navionics ENC charts
which can be used with MacENC, but these are incompatible with the
Navionics charts used in chart plotters, hence the problems in
understanding Mr S Pavey’s reference. Indeed the UK Navionics agent
was unable to tell me that there were 2 different sets of Navionics
charts available. Have now located the European distributor for these
Navionics ENC charts, who is based in Germany.
Am pursuing the advantages/disadvantages of the 2 different sets of
Navionics charts, the prime one of which must be the additional costs
of 2 different sets of digital charts.
David Hide (BY EMAIL)