Reprinted with permission from Catamaran Sailor Magazine, www.catsailor.com
Perhaps you have at one time
or another used a navigational range for going up a channel. A "Range" is simply
lining up two non-moving points and keeping them lined up as you cruise up the
channel. Government ranges are marked on the charts and the closest range marker
will be shorter than the one farther behind it.
But, other than these obvious
ranges, there are others that you can use on your own. Here are some good
1) If you are navigating across a body of water with a side current, you might
pick out a point (say a tree, for example) to steer toward. But, you should also
pick out another point beyond that tree and use it as a range, keeping them
lined up. If you didn't pick out a back point to make the range, you might keep
the bow right on the closest tree and it would appear you are on course.
However, you might be getting swept way off course. With the range, you would
immediately know you were being set to one side or the other. You need to keep
both points of the range lined up.
2) You anchor your boat and
think everything is set. It doesn't appear that you are moving. But, the best
way to be sure is to find a range. Pick out a point (another tree, perhaps) and
another stationary object behind it. If they do not stay lined up, your anchor
is not holding.
3) You are cruising along and
see a boat approaching at 90-degree angles from your right, making it the
right-of-way boat. Here is a great and easy way to assess an upcoming problem..,
and it really is valuable for sailboat racing. Look at the boat and then its
relation to the background.
A. If the boat appears to be
going faster than the background, it will pass in front of you.
B. If the boat appears to be
going slower than the background, you will pass in front of it.
C. If the boat appears to be
going the same speed as the background, you are on a collision course and you
must take action.
By the way, this trick will work no matter the
distance.., could be a mile or more away.
The American Boating Association
PO Box 690
New Market, MD 21774