I have seen a lot of birthday interviews lately and wanted to start the tradition of asking my kids these questions on their birthday.
I tried to print your excellent page but I only got half of the questions and the word; BIRTHDAY is cut off after D.
I really love the idea of a Birthday Interview, I would have loved to see my answers from the years past. For the LTSC Annual Cruise I was supposed to be on-board Selene with all the other boats in France. The plan for this yeara€™s cruise was Normandy, going across first to Fecamp, then on east to Dieppe, back to St Valery-en-Caux, Honfleur, Oistreham, Caen, back to Oistreham, Carentan, and St Vaast. The first step on Friday 3rd June was supposed to be to either Gosport or Brighton dependent on choice. But many, many other sites are now available if you carry some device that will connect to the Internet. The problem for a yottie with the Shipping Forecast is that the sea areas are pretty big: a€?Dover, Wight, W Force 4 - 5 but 3 at times, soon veering NW increasing F 5- 7, perhaps Gale 8 for a timea€? actually tells you a lot.
All these sources are actually based on things called GRIB files, which are the way the international met community shares basic data on pressure, wind strength, temperature etc.
The photo shows the output for 1754 UTC June 17th from an App (program) called PocketGrib on my iPad.
In the ten years I have been a member of LTSC I have been on all or part of 4 Summer Cruises, and had been intending to go on two more.
However, it has to be said that the Flotilla Cruise nature of the LTSC cruise, with a carefully pre-planned day by day itinerary, is not my preferred format even when all is well. The thing that really needs to be got rid of in all this is that old-fashioned word a€?phonea€?, which causes so much confusion.
So it is interesting that Apple Inc has now downgraded your computera€™s status, be it a Mac or a PC, a notebook or a desktop.
In practical terms that has been true for a while - there is nothing really I do on my desktop machine that I cannot do on my iPad. That is where Apple is leveling the playing field between a€?computersa€? and other devices. I have been playing with computers of various kinds for 50 years, and for perhaps 10 - 15 years have been counseling people who were just beginning to realise they might need one to keep in touch with their friends let alone keep up with the world.
Finally, here is John Stacey emerging on to the deck of his boat, Mixit, during one Meander long ago. For the LTSC Annual Cruise I was supposed to be on-board Selene with all the other boats in France.A  Sadly, I had an accident (me this time, not the boat), tore some muscles in my chest and between my ribs, and was told medically I should not go, indeed that I should not sail at all for several weeks.
These guys (and girls!) pulled out all the stops to be able to propose to their partner on stage, in front of not only an audience of cheering supporters, but also their favorite band! Michael Shepard proposed to his fiancée, Roseanne Moore, on stage in Philadelphia on May 22, 2015. Well, the mince pies are all gone, and I have been to the Boat Show at Excel (yawn), so it must be 2011.
My Annual Post-Christmas Turkey Hunt went OK, although this year I could only find a frozen one. I was much helped in my culinary efforts by advice for cooking turkeys kindly sent to me by Phil Ball. As a venue Excel beats the old Earla€™s Court in that the air conditioning is much better, so part-cured GRP odours do not get up your nose so much, but that is about all. I had two nautical as opposed to social purposes in going to Excel, and both were easily achieved without any queuing or waiting about.
One was to visit a€?Hanse UKa€? (Inspiration Marine), say a€?Hia€? to the folk I dealt with when buying Selene last year, and take a look at the new Hanse 355, which model has replaced my 350. The other serious purpose was to visit Selden and talk about a small removable mini-bowsprit for Selene to make the chute set better and handling it even easier. Of course we all want to look out for the perfect piece of multi-purpose navigation and safety equipment. So what should this hypothetical ideal piece of navigational and safety electronics be able to do?
So no wonder I was not particularly excited about trying to find new charts, plotters, or almanacs at Excel - I had it all in my pocket anyhow!
The iPhone is not perfect for reading books or magazines and newspapers because of its screen size, although you can do both,, nor for playing Scrabble or Monopoly round the cabin table when weather-bound in port. But the point is that the iPhone, like its bigger cousin the iPad, is a really seriously useful piece of boat gear. My policy on Selene for cruising as opposed to day-sailing is that each crew-member is already expected to have at least a basic mobile phone as part of their personal safety gear. I shall be surprised in three years or so if most yotties do not carry a GPS equipped smart-phone.
On Wednesday 19th January, we on Selene in company with Bonni Lady, LTSC Commodore Derek Eastera€™s last boat, were able to salute him coming down the Solent from Chichester in his new boat, Dawn Bird, which appropriately for her name, is equipped with red sails.
At about the same time poor Silver Flame, a Westerly Konsort (identical to my last boat, Dawna€™s Early Light, see Other Stuff), literally hit trouble somewhat inshore from the Hamstead Ledge buoy. Very bad luck, but it serves to remind us that the Solent is still littered with WWII debris in various places.
I mentioned last time the great 2011 Cruising Programme Launch that Andie and Mike Smith are running at 1830 hours on February 4th.
I thought last months photo quiz - Portland Bill Light from the inshore passage, taken from my boat in August 2009 - would be too easy. I have had a few offers of photos for the cruising archive, but there must be masses more out there. Another route if you have some topical photos, sailing or social, is that LTSC now has a Facebook page established by the IT guys, and you could paste them up there. The other serious purpose was to visit Selden and talk about a small removable mini-bowsprit for SeleneA  to make the chute set better and handling it even easier.
At about the same time poor Silver Flame, a Westerly Konsort (identical to my last boat, Dawna€™s Early Light, see Other Stuff), literally hit trouble somewhat inshore from the Hamstead Ledge buoy.A  She stuck fast on something, much to the surprise of those on board. The first 10 days included 4 days with gale warnings in Dover and Wight, and the cruise ended with more gales and gale warnings with only one of 10 boats making it back to the UK, and most of the others temporarily parked in St Vaast or Cherbourg. The Cercle Nautique da€™ Honfleur were in Lymington for the annual race with LTSC and supper, which was most enjoyable, on Thursday 2nd and were warning that Fecamp in the North Easterly F6 then forecast would be bad news because of the nature of the approach into the harbour. Of course the Met Office forecasts, and perhaps Meteo France, remain the gold standard in forecasting, and you can get these on your Navtex.
And although we all have our favourites, it is important to realise that where things like wind-strength are concerned they are all really simply re-packaging the same data which is widely shared internationally.


GRIB stand for Gridded Binary and the merit of GRIB files is that they are very compact and hence good for transmission and interpretation on e.g. The first time I pulled out was because I had just discovered what was not then yet public knowledge, namely what had been going on behind my back in my then marriage. You could always do this and drop in on the LTSC Cruise as and when you feel like it, taking pot luck about marinas etc, which Mike Kelly puts so much excellent effort into arranging for those who prefer to sail as a group. Yachting Monthly has just caught up, the July edition having a lengthy piece entitled a€?Has the iPhone killed the Chartplotter?a€?.
With their new Operating System(s), anything you type or generate on your a€?computera€? is immediately available on all your other devices. However the speech bubble is of course entirely the product of my warped imagination, since Mixit was safely moored at the time. Shepard also left the cutest comment on the video letting us know what went down after the big moment! Or to be exact I went to meet up with a friend, to drop in briefly on the Boat Show with her (mainly for lunch), and then in the evening to meet older son Ed for a meal and go on to stay with him and his lovely wife, Maria for three nights over that weekend. Ita€™s quick and easy enough to get to from Lymington, via South West Trains, Jubilee Line, and the Docklands Light Railway (although my friend, who lives much closer to London, was thinking about something else, and despite having been to Excel last year, had to text me to say she would be late - she was on autopilot and had gone to Earla€™s Court by mistake!) But once you get to Excel, the surroundings around it are a desert. The hull, deck, and rig, are identical apart from the shroud chainplates having been moved from the deck to the side of the hull.
My individual subscription to the RYA paid for itself via the membera€™s lounge where we had quite a good lunch. The various sailing comics like Yachting Monthly provide all the information about the available makes of baggy wrinkle, widgets, or electronics, you could ever need. The point is I already had one of these marine wonder devices in my pocket - it is called my iPhone.
Right now it has 14 days worth, continuous without repeats, of my favourite music on it, ready to plug into Selenea€™s sound system.
For that you need an iPad and its bigger screen, although that does fail the pocket-size test.
It is a back-up for all my fixed gear on Selene except the echo sounder, and in most cases can do just the same job.
There are situations where a€?999 Coastguarda€? on your cell-phone could be easier to do than to remember the procedure for a VHF Mayday, particularly on a strange VHF set.
My iPhone is certainly the best all-round piece of kit I have acquired in the last 2.5 or so years.
Hamstead Ledge is, I believe, the remains of a barrier which stretched across to Sowley Boom, and the chart shows a narrow band from the IoW right across to Sowley marked as a€?Obstructions, No Fishing or Anchoringa€?.
According to QI on the box it takes 8 weeks for Spring to get from Landa€™s End to John Oa€?Groats, so no wonder there are so many Scots around down here. Details of all these events are now on the LTSC Web site, but I will outline them here as well.
I am afraid I shall not be there because that evening I should be at about 110 N 890 W underway from Barbados to the island of Curacao. Mike Kelly was the first to venture an answer in public on the Forum - he said it was a€?the Pointe de Raz opposite the Ar Men lighthouse in the Raz de Seinea€?.
So lets now see what Peter himself looks like on an LTSC Meet when he has been trying for ages to work out which boat the party is on (in this case some years back on Mike and Annie Stevensa€™ Manike at Gunwharf Quay).
This is mainly so those who are away can post short pieces so that family and friends can see where we have all got to and what is going on.
Piece of cake.A  Selden (whose stand like everyone elsea€™s was pretty much empty) make all the bits needed in a range of sizes, and were very helpful.
The Sea Start Rib, which came to her aid, also thought when alongside that there should be enough water under Silver Flamea€™s keels. Hamstead Ledge is, I believe, the remains of a barrier which stretched across to Sowley Boom, and the chart shows a narrow band from the IoW right across to Sowley marked as a€?Obstructions, No Fishing or Anchoringa€?.A  So it can pay to be much more cautious than the depth-sounder might lead you to believe is necessary. Mike Kelly was the first to venture an answer in public on the Forum - he said it was a€?the Pointe de Raz opposite the Ar Men lighthouse in the Raz de Seinea€?.A  Peter Upcher soon put him right and gave the correct answer.
And you are right, you forget the gifts and decorations, this is something you could look back on for years.
Most boats set off on the Friday, but by then the forecast for the Saturday was NE Gale 8 and that continued through Sunday, so everybody was expecting a couple of days rest on this side of the Channel.
But it does not help you much with working out what to actually expect point to point in a passage. 17th June was a windy day mid-channel - three full feathers on a Wind Arrow means 28 - 32 knots. My problem is that when I get somewhere that I like, the weather is lovely, and the bars and restaurants are good, I have a tendency to want to spend yet another day sitting on the harbour wall or outside a bar watching the world go by.
That is what it says on the cover, but when you get to the article it is actually about the iPhone versus handheld chartplotters. I still prefer a real keyboard to a virtual touch-screen one, so typing things like this blog gets done at the desk, but that is about it.
The end of the idea that you need some sort of special training to use a computer lest it rise up and attack you.
It can also mean that they think there is some mythical set of rites, a religion, you have to be taught and follow if the thing is to work - an idea fostered by Windows as an operating system. I still prefer a real keyboard to a virtual touch-screen one, so typing things like this blog gets done at the desk, but that is about it.A  The central position of my iMac computer in Burgess Towers nowadays is simply because that is where all my data has always been kept and fed out from. The whole video shows the entire lead-up to the big moment, shot beautifully by Staney's friend Aaron Rector. Jostling through the heaving crowds, one went from stall to stall discovering new galvanised widgets which with ingenuity one could turn to some purpose quite different from that for which they had been designed, and so improve onea€™s little boat. That is simply because the cabin has been redesigned and it eliminates the substantial rods which on my boat take the shroud loads down through a locker to the bottom of the hull.
And for reading in the cockpit in bright sunlight, why then you need a Kindle with its e-paper screen. And at least you do not have crew members wandering off at lunch-time to try and find a phone-box in Brixham, as happened in 2009!
I have had someone comment that Selenea€™s chart-plotter being positioned by the wheel is not ideal because the crew cannot see where we are! Just log-in and search for Lymington Town Sailing Club (LTSC has been grabed by some other organisation).
I came back much refreshed with the winter blues chased away a bit.A  But I do not think the Excel Boat Show had much to do with that! It was obviously a very local obstruction because she is twin-keeled yet was beginning to list as the tide fell.


Mike Knowles transferred his flag from Selene to Barry Danielsa€™ Juniper when it turned out I could not go, and Juniper got to Brighton and then, after a couple of enforced days off, across to Dieppe, and thence down to St Valery, so back on plan. Looking at the synoptic charts, now and predicted, will tell you more, but still in a fairly broad-brush manner.
You can also see the veer and slight decrease further West as the front passes and the decrease near both the English and French coast.
This year the withdrawal was much more prosaic being simply due to aching and injured ribs! Touch screen devices like the iPad blow both worries out of the water whilst still doing everything and more that your old-fashioned beige box could do. And they tell me some sort of world sporting event is to be held down in Docklands next year?
Things that onea€™s local chandler had never heard of, and certainly did not stock, and which otherwise could only be obtained from some place in deepest Essex. Oh, and the other change on-deck is that the Eberspacher exhaust outlet has been moved - which would have saved me two separate fenders when crew have slung them over the stern rail whilst the heater was running! Then it must be able to display our position automatically on up-to-date electronic charts, perhaps carrying charts for the whole of the English Channel all the time, but with any other area easily and cheaply available.
It also has the King James Bible, the Quoran, the Baghvad Gita, and a book on Buddhism (as a rationalist I like to be able to hold my end up if I get into religious arguments) plus the complete works of Shakespeare in fully searchable form.
No doubt the usual suspects will have been heard talking about what will happen when Scotland gets its Referendum and becomes independent. Mary and Adam Reay will look after the supper in my absence and Adam has devised a cunning after-supper entertainment which involves Mike Peyton cartoons. I have not used Facebook much, but there is a quite surprising and growing band of us LTSC wrinklies on there now. I had never thought about Twitter until the last Round the Island Race, when one could access on the race web site the a€?tweetsa€? from various boats as things proceeded, which made it all very alive. Unfortunately, whilst Sea Start pulled her off, the transom-hung rudder broke off below the lower of the two stainless supports. I have not used Facebook much, but there is a quite surprising and growing band of us LTSC wrinklies on there now.A  Pasting photos on Facebook is useful to the IT team who are always looking for good photos about the club for the club web site.
And as I struggled to my kitchen to try to get a glass of water, I involuntarily coughed very hard indeed and a small hand-grenade went off in my ribs. Thereafter all was well until near the end, when Gale Warnings were again the order of the day and Brittany Ferries did a brisk trade in repatriating crews of the seven yachts that were being left in France pending the arrival of better weather.
That is probably a consequence of the fact that for the first 25 years all my cruising was in a family context, but there we are. YMa€™s only real point favouring dedicated handheld chartplotters is that some are waterproof - but you can get a waterproof case for your iPhone.
Touch screen devices are genuinely much easier to learn and use than old-fashioned a€?computersa€? but they also seem so much friendlier and more intimate than the old beige boxes and keyboards. YMa€™s only real point favouring dedicated handheld chartplotters is that some are waterproof - but you can get a waterproof case for your iPhone.A  YM then goes on to review the six marine chart iPhone Apps now available - that is up from just two alternatives when I wrote about such things just three months back. Books written by gnarled mariners (or, at the least, Maurice Griffiths) about long voyages down muddy swatchways accompanied by roaring paraffin stoves. Down below lockers etc have been changed, with more stowage for books etc, but overall somewhat darker and more joinery dominated than my boat. But if you really need to do that side by side at a show, air fares are cheap, and going to a show in Dusseldorf in January is as feasible as traveling around Britain.
There are several other books I keep on it in case I get bored, and I can use it to buy others if I need. The Kindle, like the iPad, also downloads newspapers nicely whilst you are waiting for your train to leave, instead of scrumming in W H Smith, as I proved when coming home from London. There are several other books I keep on it in case I get bored, and I can use it to buy others if I need.A  It has my Calendar and all my Contacts and Phone numbers.
And you can find your chums from the club, and get prompted to say Happy Birthday to them as the years go by, as several of us have just done to Adam Reay, who has just caught me up in years by having his big 70th. The forecast information, such as above, is available at 3 hour intervals over a 5 day span, and can be seen in animated form if you desire. So type a letter in Lymington on your a€?computera€?, sail off on your boat with your iPad or iPhone, and the letter is there for you on that device.
Cunningly implemented protractors said to make navigation in a rough sea a doddle and to be so much better than my trusted Captain Fielda€™s parallel rules (no, they werena€™t, and yes I still have my parallels.) A new discovery down every aisle in those days. The same device should also have access to the widest possible range of weather forecasts, and data, including synoptic charts. It can do so anywhere in the world where there is a 3G phone signal, and Amazon pays all the network charges. How can they be certain we English will not get there first and have an English Referendum on whether to continue the Union or not? Two days or so later I noticed a large 20 cm bruise running down from my ribs towards my groin. However, I came away with a couple of good ideas for handrails, and thus lee cloth fixings.
Why stint things whilst we are at it - why should it not also give us easy access to talk to the Coastguard in both ordinary and distress situations?
And you can carry around up to about 1500 books in a single device weighing less than the average paper-back. No problem, all such data is safely synchronised automatically at all times with my back-up system up on the a€?MobileMe Clouda€?. So the next day I tried to a€?be a mana€? as I was brought up to be (that never really worked), and to ignore it, and went sailing, and I regretted doing so in some agony the next day. The App (a€?programmea€?) you used to type it did it all for you via Applea€™s iCloud as you typed - so long as your word-processor was made by Apple. The App (a€?programmea€?) you used to type it did it all for you via Applea€™s iCloud as you typed - so long as your word-processorA  was made by Apple.
And Harbour Masters and Marinas likewise?A  And loads of other useful data, like it being able to find the restaurants nearest to whichever marina you are in, and then guide you to them?
I can type on it, and produce documents, and I can send or receive e-mails, or, of course, text messages.




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