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Interview with Jacky Parry

A few months ago, we chatted with Jackie Parry, navigation advocate, from her ‘building-site’ home in rural NSW. Jackie, with her business partner Shelley Wright (founder of Women Who Sail Australia), via SisterShip Magazine were about to commence their first Coastal Navigation course for women.

So, how’d it go?
Well we rode out the raging storms of pre-event organisation challenges and steered into smooth waters at the weekend of the course. Thirteen women came from different states (one woman driving 13 hours!) and we all met at the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club. The venue is superb and we could all view the boats on the water while we pondered magnetic variation.

One of our measurements of success was smiles on faces and “aha!” moments and we had plenty of them!

Pantaenius were very generous in their support of training resources and Lake Macquarie Yacht Club donated the venue in support of women on the water. We’d like to offer our sincere thanks.

What did you cover?
Lots! The women went from the basics right through to commercial skipper level questions. And they did it brilliantly. I was overwhelmed with their ability and desire to learn.

We talked about ‘where on earth are we?’ and moved on to, ‘what does that mean for us?’ Navigation is the art of determining where you are and what direction and distance you must go – safely. At all times, we should know where our safe water is. We also need to view the big picture. That’s a key element that paper charts provide.

We started with understanding how degrees were measured on the earth, I’ve found this foundation helps underpin the entire learning sequence, through all the calculations.

We looked over the chart. Every letter and number on the chart is helpful to us. We couldn’t go over everything, but we learned they key points to note focussing on safety.

We went on to latitude and longitude, position plotting, distance/speed/time, bearings, true to compass and compass to true. And much more…  It was a packed two days.

What’s the most important aspect?
That’s tough, every part is important, I’ve worked hard at honing the fundamental points of navigation for this course, but if I had to pick one it would be translating what you see on a chart into reality. For example, narrow passages and running tides; set and drift over a distance; measuring distance – understanding that ‘tiny measurement’ could be 90 metres; ZOC (Zone of Confidence) knowing where to take more care (another important aspect of paper charts); depths/soundings for anchoring and picking your way through reefs –  spring/neap tides; offsets on charts and how this applies to GPS readings.
Passage planning was discussed throughout the two days, we can’t cover every eventuality but preparation and planning is fundamental. There’s a lot we can do before heading out on a voyage.

What’s your favourite part?
Showing that you can find your position without relying on GPS (they can stop working and they can have discrepancies) http://www.noelandjackiesjourneys.com/our-travels/navigation-paper-charts-or-electronic-charts. Step by step we built up over the two days to completing some really neat tricks and suddenly the group found they were actually navigating.

And when those AHA! moments happen – I love that!

What’s the key message?
Safety, as well as understanding that navigation isn’t rocket science. This knowledge goes a long way to staying safe on the water and reducing marine incidents. That leads to becoming more relaxed while on board and enjoying the cruising lifestyle more – that’s what we all want.

Are you running more courses?
Yes, we’ve had a huge response and we’ve since run five more. We are organising other venues for Brisbane and Melbourne and maybe further afield. We partner with Yacht and Sailing Clubs and provide them with advertising when they provide their venue.

We also run mixed courses now. With Noel (my husband), we offer courses for men and women together. Our first one is in Merimbula, NSW, as I write, it is five days away.
What feedback did you receive?
As well as huge demand for more courses, here’s what the attendees said:

“Jackie has broken down very complicated content and presented it in a logical sequence. Well done!”
“Shelley and Jackie are wonderful women, the confidence I have gained through their nav course has given me the strength to continue my dream of sailing. I cannot thank these forward-thinking women enough. Top marks to you both!”
“Jackie is super knowledgeable and very informative, great at explaining. Thanks for a wonderful weekend, I’ll be looking forward for your next course!”
“This session was FANTASTIC!!!”
“Thank you for such an enjoyable and comprehensive course.”
“The manual is fantastic!”
“Thank you Jackie and Shelley. An informative and comprehensive weekend with practical information and theory.”
“Very enjoyable couple of days. It’s a great opportunity to meet other women sailors – well done!”
“So comfortable. A very reassuring, friendly and encouraging learning environment. I had a great time and learning experience – THANK YOU!”
“Great weekend, thank you Jackie and Shelley. I came hoping to learn the basics of navigation. This has been exceeded, I feel so much more confident. A great group of girls too!”
“I learnt so much & met some lovely ladies. Great weekend all round. Thanks Jackie & Shelley.”

Jackie Parry
Cert Master 5, Cert Master 4, MED3, Commercial Skipper/Professional Mariner, Marine Rescue Skipper, TAFE Maritime Teacher and Instructor of Professional Level Courses for several years. Cert 4 Trainer, Recreational Sailor (ocean sailing, inland waterways, sailboats and motorboats), Author of Practical Maritime Book/Pilot Books/Articles, Speaker at Nautical Events.

Contact: editor@sistershipmagazine.com

Find out more about Jackie:

SisterShip Training

SisterShip Magazine

SisterShip Press

Women Who Sail Australia




Sistership Press Pty Ltd


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