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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Deeper Deeper Deeper, over.

Another trip to the Morcambe and Heysham yacht club for our course on using VHF radio on Saturday. I had a look at Johns email on Friday night and discovered an attachment that I had missed which told us to learn the phonetic alphabet, which we would need for the course. Whoops, so on the way to Morcambe we took turns in spelling out road signs, or anything else that caught our eye. This is the alphabet in words, like Alpha for A, Golf for G, Lima for L, all the way to Zulu for Z. My favourite was trying to spell Leighton Conyers. By the time we hit Morcambe we figured we just about had it off. Oh Leighton Conyers is Lima, Echo, India, Golf, Hotel, Tango, Oscar, November,
Charlie, Oscar, November, Yankee, Echo, Romeo, Sierra.

There were three of us on the course, Jackie and I plus Peter, who I'ld say was in his early 30s'. He is living on a Westerly 33 at Glasson dock. He seemed to know quite a bit about boats, I think he was an engineer, and said he had just recently bought this boat after selling a Dutch barge that he had sailed across from Holland single handed, with no knowledge of how to use a radio, and we thought we were a little crazy.

We learned all about how to use the radio, and all about DSC, which stands for Digital selective calling which is much too complicated to go into but suffice to say that we eventually got the hang of it. Lot's of the course was to do with sending out distress messages in the event of some catastrophe. What is amazing about these new fangled radios is that it can read your GPS at all times and if you send out a Mayday message it will send your exact position to the coast guard, or to any other vessel within range.

We had a bit of a laugh reading out fictitious scenarios to each other and in the end came away feeling that we now knew what we were doing, although that first call for real will be a bit nerve racking I'm sure.
It was a much longer day than I thought it would be, in fact whilst watching a DVD all about EPIRBs which are basically radio beacons, I nodded off momentarily as did Jackie. At the end of the day we had to take the exam. Jakie got full marks 22 out of 22, I got 21 and Peter, our hardy long time sailor got 20. We passed with flying colours and can now apply for our radio licence.

We now need to build up our sea miles before putting in for our coastal Skipper. We have found a company in Largs that do weekend charter hire. So that will be our next step, to take out a yacht on our own for the weekend, probably a Moody 33. Now that should be very exciting.

This is Deeper Deeper Deeper signing off, Out.