Navigating the Ash Cloud

When the storm hits, commitment to good navigation is key! Which is perhaps the guiding principle ASA instructor Captain Brian A. Earl of Sea Safaris Sailing School operated upon when he refused to let Europe’s ash-related flight cancelations get in the way of his Coastal Navigation class. One prospective student, Jim Sarns, had enrolled in the class but remained stuck in Ireland, where he’d been traveling on business, and his flights were repeatedly canceled right up until the day his Coastal Nav class was to commence in Wisconsin.

With a bit of technological ingenuity and cooperation from Jim’s stateside wife, Mary Ellen, who was also taking the class, Captain Earl connected with Jim via Skype, facilitating his participation in the group session completely. Although Jim was 6 hours ahead of Central Standard Time and thousands of miles away, he was able to keep pace with the class’s charting exercises over the camera and used emailed copies of the other reference materials from Captain Earl. Though Jim is scheduled for a flight home and will be attending the next session of the class in person next week, his classmates suggested that instead he cruise home from Ireland, the perfect opportunity to employ his newfound navigation skills.

The Irish would say, there’s no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down, but Captain Earl could say, there’s no need to fear the wind as long as you have good navigation skills–and a Skype connection!