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Southern Spars - North Technology

Rob Starkey, cruising sailor, brings high skills to the sailing world

by Nancy Knudsen on 28 May 2013
Rob’s Passage Planner .. .
When many of us begin sailing we take the skills we learned in 'other lives', everything from diesel mechanics to cooking to refrigeration, and these often benefit the sailing community in general. With no-one is this truer than with Sydney cruising sailor Rob Starkey.

These days Rob is a long standing member of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Sydney and a leading light in that Club's hugely successful Cruising Division. He and his long-time partner Donna Rohrs have become familiar sights in the rallies and cruises run by the Club, sailing a Holland 46, Windsong. Apart from local cruises they also sail the New South Wales and Queensland coastlines, alone and with organised rallies.

However, Rob, with his strong background in electronic engineering in the design of computer integration solutions, has not been content to merely sail his weekends away. After many years of research, he wrote the greatly successful 'Rob's Passage Planner', a pilot companion for the entire east coastline of Australia, first published in 2012.

Rob will be presenting two seminars at the Sydney International Boat Show's inaugural Master Class, one on the subject of this book, and the other on Applied Navigation, drawing on his long experience as a design engineer and principal of the Applications services practice at Compaq and Hewlett Packard based in Boston Massachusetts. These will be valuable seminars for any cruising sailor, no matter how experienced, and should not be missed.

Passage Planning:
Part of the challenge for the recreational cruising sailor is the amount of research required to undertake a passage, whether it be a day sail or a six month sojourn.

Passage Planning is similar to Project Management. The probability of success is highly dependent on available information, passage making knowledge and experience.

Plan your passage, sail to your plan and you will have minimal exceptions and surprises, arriving at your destination within time expectations and most importantly with the crew in good spirit.

Passage Planning is collecting the information required; charts, weather, tides, distances, alternate destinations, etc.
This seminar is an overview of the what and how of passage planning.

Applied Navigation for Cruising Sailors:
This is a top level overview of knowledge required for coastal cruising navigation.

It introduces charting basics as a navigation foundation, covers modern electronic navigation aids and concludes with a solid navigational methodology to cover many of the cruising navigation risks.

The focus is on the what knowledge is required rather than the detailed how.

About Rob's Passage Planner:
Rob’s Passage Planner, which was beta-tested for years before being introduced to the market, addresses the information challenge of sailing the East Coast of Australia, from Lizard Island in North Queensland to Hobart Tasmania.

This is NOT a Pilot; rather it complements the many excellent Pilots for this region by bringing together information such as State regulatory and safety requirements, weather sources and trends, communications, seamanship information, incident management and health care.

At its core, is a set of 10 chartlets in 3 variants, plus a set of marina maps. Passage scenario chartlets detail rhumb line distances for the likely passages between anchorages with a passage time calculator. Lights chartlets show the major coastal lights, plotted at their location, showing visible distances and light characteristics.

VHF Repeater chartlets detail the location of VHF repeater stations with maximum and minimum transmission distances. Marina maps covering the major marinas along the coast are presented in a standard format, detailing contact information, arrival point, entry, berth configuration and available services.

This Planner cruising sailors to manage your passages with greater ease because you have the information at your fingertips, it will also allow you to change your plan, when conditions demand it, with greater speed and efficiency.

The Planner has been many years in the making and the extent of detail and its accuracy, shows. It will not only provide a wealth of material to complement the existing pilots and cruising guides, but you'll be able to rely utterly on the highly detailed information.

You can buy the planner online at Boat Books, by http://www.boatbooks-aust.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=30712&osCsid=45b9e0d42733dfde399732b387c3dd58!clicking_here. It is now in its second limited print edition.
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