Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Aye Aye Captain

Securite Securite Securite. All ships. Be advised to keep a good lookout for new navigational hazard in the vicinity of Ft. Lauderdale. Out.

Well it's over. There is a new captain born to this world. Actually there are three, as Yan and Artur also passed. Like there aren't enough captains in the world!? But maybe with Global Warming and melting icecaps, soon everyone will be ferrying around via boat!?

What now? Who knows? But with these new qualifications I had better make up the tuition costs with a higher salary! In any case I am more marketable now.

Well that's it. Back to work. (Actually a relief)

Captain DJ

Monday, April 30, 2007

Yachtmaster Offshore School

So I've keeping pretty busy. Nothing really exciting. We started off this month with a 4 day charter to Miami. After we got back I did some last cramming before starting school for the Yachtmaster Offshore class. Pierre warned me that it would be pretty intense, even loaning me his course materials. I'm thankful he did and that I got a pretty good handle on everything prior to the class start. Our instructor, Bruce, also warned us at the beginning that the course is very challenging, almost to the point where we felt we should all walk out of the class. Nobody walked, but the warnings were right on. The British Royal Yachting Association accredits this course and over there they teach it over a 13 week period. Here that 13 weeks gets fit into 10 days! With 13 weeks to work you can learn the material along the way. With only 5 days of classroom time (the last 5 days are spent in the boat completing the practical part of the course) you need to know what you are doing going into it. No time to figure it out, it's more of a quick prep for the exam.

The challenge level was also evident by the fact that sitting the class were Paco (Spain) and Sam (Texas) who failed the first time around, but would pass on this second round. In addition, along for the ride were; Artur (Russia), David (Mexico), Yan (Britain/Oz) and from Finland, Tatu. That's his nickname, none of us could pronounce his real name. So we slam through course during the day and work on homework into the night. It's evident that some of the class is woefully unprepared.

On Saturday we went in for the exam. Out of the five of us taking the test for the initial time, two passed. Yan and myself. Since then Artur has retaken and passed the exam. David failed on his second attempt and Tatu still has to give another try.

So this week we have been on the M/Y Durabo working through the practical part of the course. Day and night cruises where we work on navigation and piloting. Practicing our dockings in various winds and tides, picking up mooring balls, getting fixes,chartwork, plotting and steering courses as well as Man Overboard Procedures.

Oh I have to mention that we did tear up the boat a little on the first day. While pulling away from the dock one of the lines got caught on the dock, jumped out of the fairlead and when it tensioned up bent up a stanchion. Nothing major, but not a very promising start and a little uncomfortable.

So I've got one more day of practical and then we take our final practical exam which will hopefully be early this week. It's a fair amount of weight hanging on my back which I don't mind saying will be a significant relief when it's removed.

Yan gave me a heads up that a big beautiful yacht is looking for crew to do a crossing over to the Med. in three weeks. I'd really like to give that a go, but it just doesn't fit in the schedule now. So now I'm just going to finish up with school, work a few more weeks here and if the plan doesn't change head up to Jersey at the beginning of June. That's all for now.....