The prelude to any trip at sea should be the Passage Planning.
Not only will having that written plan on hand ensure a
relaxed trip but the planning itself can be a fun way to anticipate the
Even for that short trip around the bay, working out before hand how far you can go before you need to head for home and which is the best way to go will make the sail much more enjoyable.
One of the main
reasons for having a passage plan is so
that there is an easily accessible, easy to read, list of all the
relevant to your trip on board.
Quite how you record the
information is up to
you, some like to write it into their logbook, others keep a dedicated
with all the details.
Now I'm all for
compiling the information in
longhand, somehow writing the information out by hand seems to make
more of a
connection with the brain. Navigation
However, a typed list
will be easier to read
quickly, I know that I have difficulty sometimes reading my own
And there will be times when someone else, crew members, will need to read the plan.
best ways I
have found for
recording my passage plan is by printing it out on A4 sheet then
into a folder.
There are a variety of presentation folders available quite cheaply from any stationers.
They have plastic covers
and contain clear
plastic sleeves that your printed sheets can be slipped into, to keep
There are several
passage planning software
programs available which I'm told are quite good and which allow you
However, I still prefer
satisfaction I get from passage planning trips the old fashioned way.
Sometimes the passage
planning is almost as
much fun as the passage itself.
Remember the plan should be available for everyone on board to read, so there may be items that you as skipper should consider in your planning but which may not be appropriate to record.affiliate links
Your passage planning should be done before you set off.
Working on your passage planingn at home is a fun way to anticipate the trip and it will allow you the time to really think through all the relevant aspects.
However, it should be updated with any relevant information as it becomes available.
While the navigational aspects of you trip will probably be the main substance of the plan there are other consideration which should be taken into account.
And it is worthwhile having a checklist so nothing gets overlooked.
Every year boaters find themselves in trouble because of some overlooked or forgotten detail.
The following list of Passage Planning headings and prompts will help you to prepare for your trip.
They are also something you should be monitoring right up until the end
So, your plan should include a list of all the weather services available in the area you intend to cruise.
Navigation; the fun
You should already have factored tidal effects
into you route
However, noting the times and heights of high and low water for standard ports on you route and in an appropriate time zone will save time and possible confusion if you need to alter your plans on route.
A note should be made of the timing of any tide gate on route so that progress toward and eta can be constantly checked against your progress.
Using a Tidal Stream Atlas is an ideal way to view tidal effects over the range of a tide.
should include a list of buoys,
marks, hazards and
transits and in the order in which they will appear.
These visual checks will back up and verify your course steered, the
can often look completely different from the chart view.
If there is the remotest chance of arriving or departing in the dark the list of marks should include their light characteristics.
Whatever the reason, your Passage Planning should include information on alternative
The more information you have to hand the easier it will be to make the
decision to divert, especially if it is an emergency.
So make sure that you have appropriate harbor and pilotage plans.
And check, if entering that harbor
has any tidal or
weather restrictions and what facilities are available.
It may be that the most appropriate course of action is to either return home or carry on.
The more information that your passage planning can accrue prior to setting off, the easier it will be to make the appropriate decisions on route.affiliate links