The Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

I use the Round Turn and Two Half Hitches more frequently than any other knot.  It's perfect for fenders, and perfect for tying up the dinghy.  Any time there is a load on the line, the round turn takes the load and you can finish it easily with the half hitches.  I use a variation that I haven't yet seen elsewhere, by making the second half hitch in the opposite direction of the first one.  The result is a knot that is more compact and stable - meaning less likely to loosen itself up as the line gets worked, and that makes it more secure.

The Diabetic Sailor

I’ve been keeping it mostly to myself and my students over the last many years, but I feel I need to talk about being diabetic, being a sailor, and being a sailing instructor.  I intend to write more about this subject, so please stay tuned. 

I’m a type 1 diabetic since 1983, a sailor, and a sailing and cruising instructor since 1998.  I have a Coast Guard 100 ton License, and I teach for a number of sailing schools and do my own cruises.  I am certified as an instructor by US SAILING, the governing body for the sport of sailing in the US, and by the American Sailing Association (ASA).  And, I do trips in the Sea of Cortez, the Grenadines, California’s Northern Channel Islands, and so on.  I’m used to being away on multi-day trips and deliveries, sometimes for 2 weeks at a time, with no resources other than what I have with me. 

And with that brief intro, let me tell you more about the life of the diabetic sailor that I am.  I’ve made it work pretty well and at age 57, as of this writing, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since college.  At 6 foot 2 and 195 pounds, my last A1c was 6.8.  I tell you, it’s the sailing that made the biggest difference. And then, there is that marvelous CGM by Dexcom.  More on the CGM by Dexcom below. 

I hope to inspire conversation and questions from very active type 1s and those who care about them.  It’s a tough thing to commit to a multi-day or multi-week journey without assistance from your doctor, the pharmacy, your spouse, friends who could help you in some way, and so on.  It is totally doable though, and I’ve been doing it.

My Story

One of my early sailing memories is being with Ed, a friend of my Dad’s, on his Hobie 16 catamaran on Lake Mojave.  When the wind came up in the afternoon and it was too rough to ski, I’d go sailing with Ed.  He had a pack of those little Snickers bars and told me that he was diabetic and sometimes needed those.  I didn’t really know what he was talking about back then.  I do now.

At age 23, I was in my first real job out of college.  I had the worst sore throat I’ve ever had, and went to see the Doctor.  After that visit, I lost 15 pounds in about a week and a half, found myself incredibly thirsty and I had to pee constantly.  Toward the end of this period, I had a bunch of problems:  I found I couldn’t focus on my face in the mirror; shaving was difficult because my cheeks were sunken; I’d eat lunch and feel like I needed to sleep for a decade; my tongue would dry out sometimes, and that is a very strange experience; I rationalized – I told myself I was thirsty because I had become dehydrated, and I had to pee all the time because I was drinking so much soda, water, iced tea, and anything I could get my hands on. 

I remember my Dad telling me about a dream or a vision he had before he was diagnosed as a Type 1:  he saw himself lying in a river with his mouth open to the upstream flow, drinking it in, and peeing constantly downstream.  That’s kind of how it felt for me.

My boss said, “Marc, you need to see a doctor.”  I did, and I was hospitalized that same day.  The doc told me that by rights, I should be in a coma.  My blood sugar was 600+, and normal is 80-120.  After 2 days they released me with a pack of syringes and some insulin, and wished me well.  That first day was scary.

Over the years I’ve gotten used to it, accepted it, and I have learned quite a bit.  I just don’t produce any insulin.  A sailor who is a nurse and was on one of my trips described my situation as a “viral onset.”  The literature these days says no one knows the cause for Type 1, but another sailor with a son who has Type 1 said she thought the research was going to point to the viral issue.  And so, here we are, even if we don’t know the exact cause.  I still have to deal with it, and so do you if you are Type 1.

And Now

The remarkable thing to me is that I feel that I am in the best shape of my life since college.  I tell you, it’s the sailing.  More to come on that subject.

Two key issues have made the difference for me in the last couple of years.  First, I got on with Kaiser Permanente for health care, made possible through my employment with OCC.  And if you are looking for a health care insurance option, I say go with Kaiser.  Go with Kaiser if you possibly can.  Second, my Endocrinologist at Kaiser recommended the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) system by Dexcom.  I just have to say, there’s nothing like seeing a graph of where your blood glucose has been and where it’s going to help you control it.  It is this system that enabled me to get my A1c below 7.

I welcome your comments and questions.  I can’t give medical advice, but I can tell you a lot about what has worked for me.

I hope to see you on the water!

Marc Hughston

2. Recognizing Lights at Night

Imagine that it’s a pitch black night, and you are exiting Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard.  You see these lights up ahead.  What kind of vessel is this?  Do you give way to it, or do you stand on?  Which side should you pass on?

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Scroll down to see the vessel

Scroll down to see the vessel

This dredge is working in the entrance to Channel Islands Harbor.  In the daytime it shows the day shapes for a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver – the Ball, Diamond, and Ball above the wheel house.  At night, she shows Red, White, and Red lights in a vertical line. 

The safe side to pass on is indicated by the two black Diamonds on the right side of the wheel house, though the lower one is obscured.  At night, this is indicated by the two Green lights in a vertical line.

The danger side is indicated by the two black Balls on the left side of the wheel house, indicated at night by two red light in a vertical line.

In the Navigation Rules, Rule 3 General Definitions section (g) states in part, “The term ‘vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver’ means a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.”

This is a good example of a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver.  You can see it has nothing to do with being big, slow, or difficult to turn or stop.  This vessel has gear in the water sucking sand off the bottom, and it is connected to a huge hose that runs ashore where the sand and water is pumped out.  This vessel simply cannot maneuver for you, and that is what “restricted in her ability to maneuver” means.

You can buy the card pictured above at West Marine.  It includes sound signals, and on the other side, aids to navigation.  Keep this in your sailing bag for reference when you need help interpreting lights at night.

You can buy the card pictured above at West Marine.  It includes sound signals, and on the other side, aids to navigation.  Keep this in your sailing bag for reference when you need help interpreting lights at night.

2017 OCC Basic Cruising and Trip Schedule

This is the Basic Cruising Schedule for the OCC School of Sailing and Seamanship.  While subject to change based on enrollment, Marc will be leading these classes and trips in 2017.  Contact www.OCCSailing.com for fees, the most current schedule, and to register for classes.

DATES                     TIME                        CLASS                                     # SESSIONS

Sat, 1/28-2/11      10 am - 5 pm      US Sailing Basic Cruising Certification          3

Sun, 1/29-2/12     10 am - 4pm       Basic Cruising 1                                               3 

Sat, 2/25-3/11       10 am - 4 pm     Basic Cruising 1                                                3

Sun, 3/12-3/26     10 am - 4 pm     Basic Cruising 2                                               3

Fri-Sun, 4/7 - 4/9  9 am Fri to 5 pm Sun Anchoring at Catalina   3-day live aboard

Sat, 4/22-5/6      10 am - 5 pm      US Sailing Basic Cruising Certification        3

Sun, 4/23-5/7     10 am - 4 pm      Basic Cruising 1                                              3

Wed-Sun, 5/10-5/14  8 am Wed-5 pm Sun Northern Channel Islands Cruise  5-day live aboard

Sat-Sun, 6/3-6/11    9 am - 1:30 pm    Basic Cruising 1                                         4

Sat-Sun, 6/3-6/11    2 pm - 6:30 pm    Basic Cruising 2                                       4

Sat, 6/17              11  am - 4:30 pm        Summer Sailstice                                     1

Fri-Sun, 6/23-25    9 am Fri to 5 pm Sun  Anchoring at Catalina   3-day live aboard

Sat, 7/8-7/29       9 am - 1:30 pm     Basic Cruising 1                                           4

Sun, 7/9-7/23      10 am - 5 pm       US Sailing Basic Cruising Certification       3

Fri-Sun, 8/4-8/6   9 am Fri to 5 pm Sun  Anchoring at Catalina   3-day live aboard

Sat-Sun, 8/12-8/20   9 am - 1:30 pm    Basic Cruising 1                                        4

Sat-Sun, 8/12-8/20   2 pm - 6:30 pm    Basic Cruising 2                                       4

Sat-Tue, 8/26-8/29   8 am Sat to 5pm Tue CA Cruising Leg 1 - NB to SB  4 day live aboard

Thu-Sun, 8/31-9/3    8 am Thu to 5pm Sun CA Cruising Leg 2 - SB to NB  4 day live aboard

Sat-Sun, 9/9-9/17     9 am - 1:30 pm     Basic Cruising 1                                         4

Sat-Sun, 9/9-9/17     2 pm - 6:30 pm    Basic Cruising 2                                        4 

Fri-Sun, 9/22-9/24   9 am Fri to 5 pm Sun  Anchoring at Catalina   3-day live aboard

Wed-Sun, 10/4-10/8  8 am Wed - 5 pm Sun Northern Channel Islands Cruise 5-day live aboard

Sat, 10/14-10/28        10 am - 4 pm      Basic Cruising 2                                        3

Sun, 10/15-10/29       10 am - 4 pm      Basic Cruising 1                                        3 

Sun, 11/5-11/19           10 am - 4 pm      Basic Cruising 2                                       3

Sat, 11/18-12/2            10 am - 4 pm     Basic Cruising 1                                        3

Santa Cruz Island Cove Chart

This is a composite of NOAA Chart 18728 "Santa Cruz Channel" and Chart 18729 "Ancacapa Passage."  The labels are mine, and are not part of any NOAA chart.  There is not a "one-page" chart of Santa Cruz Island, at this scale, except for this one that I have created.  Please do not rely on this chart for navigation.  Instead, use NOAA charts 18728 and 18729 for navigation in this area.

For a larger view, right-click and select open in new tab, or, copy image and paste into a Word document.

Composite of NOAA Charts 18728 and 18729

Composite of NOAA Charts 18728 and 18729