By Alex Blackwell

You know you are stupid, at least I think I am, when something ‘hits you in the eye, like a big pizza pie’. It is like when you are sailing along at the rate of knots on a broad reach, in the certainty that you know this stretch of coast ‘like the back of your hand’ You marvel at the spectacular weather, the beautiful coastline, and about how lucky you are to be here and now. Then suddenly you see foaming white water mere metres from your bow. That is when you realize you are not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Well, that happened to me recently, though thankfully not quite so dramatically. We have been using the ICC Sailing Directions for a good number of years now. We pull the books out when planning a voyage and then again as we approach a given port. If we chance on something that has changed since the current edition, we always make a note and send it in to Norman Kean for his review and possible inclusion in the Amendments and the next issue.

Of course, understandably, we have never looked at what is written about our local waters. Why would we? We know our local area and have no need to check on anything. As I said at the outset: “Stupid me”.

Logic dictates that we should all pore over our local area. Don’t we know that ‘like the back of our hands’? Is it not our responsibility to ensure that the Sailing Directions for our waters are up to date and flawless? Do we all not want to ensure that all mariners coming to visit have the best information possible?

Draft overview chart of Clew Bay for the next issue of the South and West Sailing Directions
by Norman Kean

It was Norman, who prompted me to read and review the Clew Bay directions. And yes, we did find a thing or two. So, now is the time for each and every one of us to pore over the pages of our home waters, to check all lay lines, coordinates, channels, hazards, navigation aids, and of course anchorages. Only this way can we help to ensure that our fellow members and other cruising friends will have an uneventful and enjoyable passage.

Please do this as soon as possible and send your notes to Norman Kean.

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