Sailing…

Becoming an RYA Instructor: the nitty gritty.

Topmast gets a few enquiries from Sail Canada and ASA instructors who want to become RYA instructors. Because of the difference between the schemes there is no easy cross-over.  Find out how below. This is the process: 1. Become an RYA Yachtmaster with commercial endorsement. a. Take the Yachtmaster theory course. b. Obtain an appropriate…

Obeying The Buoys

  No one possesses the literary skills to make the subject of buoyage interesting – no one. Buoys, their markings and light attributes are a dry subject and a necessary evil in maritime training schemes. Still, getting them wrong can have very real repercussions. Positioning yourself on the wrong side of a lateral or cardinal…

Understanding Water Levels in the Great Lakes

It’s been a fascinating season sailing on the Great Lakes, not least of all for the unusually high water levels experienced this year.  While most RYA students are familiar with the subtleties of tidal heights and secondary port calculations from their theory classes, students here in Kingston have had to contend with the lesser-known vagaries…

RYA Training: non-linear route to employment.

‘Non-linear route to employment‘ is a fancy way of describing those who stay off the beaten track of post-secondary education in favour of doing something cheaper and more fun, which also gets them a job.  Learning to cook and becoming a chef might be an example, though I’m not sure about the fun part after watching…

Keel Failure and the Deadly Inversion

The Old Salt Blog recently posted a slightly inflammatory but informative piece on keels falling off (here) which raises more questions than it answers.  Whether or not the few tragic incidents require an overhauling of design specs or engineering standards is something which could drag on for a long time in the world of cost/benefit…

Falling Leaf – man overboard method gets a name.

Before RYA Examiner Dave De Wolfe came out to Kingston from Halifax to examine two of Topmast’s students at the Yachtmaster level we had a phone conversation about the efficacy of various man overboard techniques.  It took a few minutes but we both agreed there’s a big difference between theory and reality.  Unfortunately, many MOB exercises…

First RYA Powerboat Certificates in Canada

A wet May has made for some interesting challenges in the sail training business.  However, when Topmast ran Canada’s first Powerboat Level 1&2 course over the May 27/28 weekend there was nothing but sunshine. With every intention of carrying out the short theory component in the Collin’s Bay Yacht Club the sunshine instead kept us…

Where To Find Books On Sailing? Nautical Mind

Sailors are a literate crew and we at Topmast get a lot of questions about where best to satisfy their maritime intellectual cravings. Probably the best nautical bookshop we’ve encountered over the years is in Toronto, aptly called Nautical Mind. Located at 249 Queen’s Quay West in Toronto’s bustling harbourfront, Nautical Mind has everything from…

Can’t Fathom Depth in Metric?

Being back in North American waters has highlighted a rather unique feature of being a Canadian – units of depth.  Canada falls somewhere between the metric system and the US (Imperial) system of measurement.  We’re caught at that dangerous crossroads between modernity and antiquity.  Guess which system is which.  As a result we’re frequently pulling…