Course to Steer – Theory tips – RYA Day Skipper & Yachtmaster

Passage Planning and Tidal Streams

In our Theory Tips - Tidal Streams we told you how to look up the effect of tides. In this theory tip we are applying it to your proposed journey so we can write our passage plan.

1. Draw the Ground Track (from point A the start point through your destination point B);
(remember: 2 arrows = 2 feet on the ground!)

2. Estimate your boat speed;

3. Measure the distance so you can work out how long it is likely to take;

4. Look up the tide and draw on the Tidal Vector for an hour starting at the same place as our Ground track (from point A to point C);

5. Using your estimated boat speed place your dividers on the end of the Tidal Vector and see where is crosses the Ground Track (at point D);

6. This is known as the Water Track – and you can see what the bearing of the line which is the Course to Steer (do not forget to convert it to a compass heading {see Introduction to Chartwork for more information}).

Note 1: For us to work out our Course To Steer we must drawn a triangle, with each side representing the same length of time.

Note 2: The Course To Steer is the direction you point your yacht when accounting for tide to ensure that you reach your destination.

1. Course
2. Tide
3. Steer

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