Mike Broughton's Cowes Week nav tips

Former Whitbread navigator and Cowes veteran Mike Broughton gives his top tips for winning this week
Rapid Plotting - If you are trying to cheat the tide, close to a shoreline do it only with the largest scale charts - go for the Admiralty 1:20 000 scale charts (larger scale than Small Craft Editions) with more detail as you head towards the shoreline hazards. One particular trick that I use, when using paper charts on the rail, is to draw up a lat/long lattice over the intended race area. You can then very quickly plot your position using coordinates and interpolation, which is fast and allows you to fold the chart to a manageable size and you do not need to refer to the margins of the chart, or use awkward plotting instruments. Use a 'rapid plot' to home you into an area, then use visual pilotage once you have identified the key features around you. Highlight the important bits - Read both the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions and highlight the bits that are vital to you. Get a couple of other crew members to read them too and brief the rest of the crew on the salient points at the start of the week. Remember particularly the restricted areas, such as sailing south of Snowdon buoy, which continues to catch out boats every year - if you were to forget in the heat of a tacking duel, another crew member may well remember and save you from a huge embarrassment. Check out the Marks - Few have changed this year, but do go through the all the marks and have a rough idea where they are. Also check you have the WGS 84 horizontal datum set on your GPS (no longer OSGB) and that your waypoints correlate. One in particular to watch for is the old MDL mark of Old Castle Point which is