More of your correspondence

 Dyslexia at sea
I am severely dyslexic and can vouch that Jo Mooring Aldridge is completely
right about the positive impact sailing can have for people who struggle in
other aspects of life. I have sailed since my earliest days (my father was a
boatbuilder). Like Jo, I have developed my own strategies for navigating. By
and large, I stay on the blue bits of the chart.
Jo is also right about RYA courses. I had a very unhappy experience at a Day
Skipper evening class. To be fair to the instructor, it was the other
students making pointed comments about my holding them back that I found
unpleasant. I eventually withdrew from the class. I have spoken to sailing
schools about the problem but I am not convinced that they understood – I
remain cautious about committing to doing the course again.
Apart from offering Jo some mutual support, I would be very interested to
know if the RYA has anything to offer. It’s true that the sea does not make
allowances for dyslexics – but we are not asking for anything unreasonable.
I would be surprised if the RYA was not already working on this issue -it
has a good record of helping as many people as possible to fully enjoy our
wonderful sport.
Robin Fielder, by email

I am a Yachtmaster instructor and have taught both theory and practical
courses. One student on a Day Skipper theory course didn’t disclose the
problem until it became obvious from the homework. I arranged for him to
bring his daughter with him to read for him during the classes. He also
taped my classes. When it came to the exam, my wife did the reading for him.
She read the questions and then noted his reply. This was probably a harder
test than the normal exam, as he had to explain himself in each answer. We
gave 20 minutes’ extra time and he passed. His chartwork was spot-on.
Ian Papworth (by email)

Don’t cross her bow!
I received a copy of Maritime Feedback Issue No: 17 with my copy of Yachting Monthly. I was concerned that on Page 2, “Non-Compliant Coaster” that 2 RYA qualified skippers should consider that tide has any affect on the relative position of 2 underway vessels in open water. Furthermore, although there is little detail of the exact position of each vessel, I can think of no instance where bearing away to increase speed to pass across the bow of a boat underway is a safe manoeuvre. I am a racing skipper and can imagine the chaos such a manoeuvre would cause. I suggest you consider publishing this warning in Yachting Monthly unless other readers consider an article in CHIRP to be gospel.
Additionally, it would appear that the CHIRP organisation is excellent in Maritime Law as applies to commercial shipping but probably has less experience of sailing boats and their capabilities. If I was the Coaster Skipper I would have been concerned.
Stuart Duffin (by email)

Red Diesel
I am glad that the uncertainty is over, and being a totally unbiased sailor, I hope that it may keep some of the motor-boaters who tear past me on a calm day, spilling all the wind out of my sails, and possibly, even more seriously, spilling my drink, in their marinas! I don’t have a diesel heater, so I think I won’t have to prove to anybody that some of my diesel is being used for heating (unless I can get some dispensation for using a calorifier on my engine for producing hot water?). I shall not personally be too unhappy to double my annual fuel bill to £100! I pay three quarters of that every time I fill my car.
But I have been led to believe by my friendly marine engineer that road diesel contains additives, detergents and some other goodies which are better for my engine than the red “cooking” diesel. If this is true, presumably, either the refineries will start to put all those things into the pink stuff, or it will anyway still be cheaper? Or am I once again going to be surprised at man’s hypocrisy?
Yours cynically, Richard Openshaw (by email)

Boat show tosh
Your verdict on the ExCeL London Boat Show (YM March) was total tosh. I attended both shows and can speak for all my friends who did the same. Earl’s Court was 10 times better than Excel, Southampton, and the Old Earl’s Court show. I went twice, because I’d had so much attention paid to me by the stallholders, who offered bags of advice – not just the hard sell that I tend to get at Excel.
Earl’s Court should have got 8/10 for trying – and also, for family fun, Earls Court realised the family may come with you – and they may not be interested in boats. It was marvellous to have an ice rink, climbing wall and simulator all within sight of the Guiness Bar. There was also a free concert that even toddlers enjoyed, and loads more.
So, how does 8/10 go with ‘offers weren’t great’ ‘limited dayboats’ and ‘expensive with seating hard to find’, 3/10 at best? I bought loads at Earls Court Both times because there was no pushing and shoving, or dodging my way round other people. I go to Excel but find it cold. The best part was left to the end when Id succumb to the wit and charm of Sally Kettle, then bought her book
Alf Cackett (by email)

Watch systems
I enjoyed reading Alastair Buchan’s article on Standing your watch but may I make a couple of observations. Please don’t have a section on Traditional Watches and then refer to the First Dog Watch and the Last Dog Watch, they are the First and Second Dog Watches! I am sorry if I am being petty but it grates.
Another watch system I have used on a long passage across Biscay with three of us aboard in settled weather was “A” had the watch from 21.00 – midnight then “B” had the watch from 00.00-0300 “C” had the watch from 03.00-0600 when “A” came back on watch 06.00 until relieved by “B” at 08.30. “A” who served as cook ( she wouldn’t have eaten anything we prepared ) made a light breakfast for B before having another snooze. In addition to a visual watch during the hours of darkness a Radar watch was kept. Basically we had the opportunity for six hours sleep at a time and felt well rested at the end of our passage.
Terry Bailey (by email)

Alastair Buchan replies: I was brought up to call them first and last dogs because the second dog watch was the last dog watch….there is never a third dog watch. But different ships, different cap tallies (others would say, different ships different long splices) and it doesn’t grate with me if it’s called the second dog watch.On the watch system Terry Bailey describes….there are probably as many watch systems as ships and they all have their variations. The aim of any watch system is to give the off watch crew enough proper rest and keep them dry warm and fed so that when they come on watch they remain alert for the duration of their watch. The other side of that coin is that those on watch do not end their watch completely shattered. Any system that achieves that and works for a particular crew is a good watch system.