Passage planning - Sources

When planning a passage then you need to look at a variety of different sources of information. This allows you to paint a better picture of where you are going and what to expect.

Sources of Information

  • People - We have joined a variety of local facebook groups, that are relevant to the area that we wish to sail in. We have talked to local sailors and we have attended talks. Talking to people about your plans and finding out what they know is a great topic of conversation, People love to talk about where they have been and they share with you lots of interesting places to go When we gain some interesting knowledge, we write it down and put it in our pilot book for that area
  • Paper charts - We like to use these to give us a feel for an area. They allow us to plot our position when we are out at sea, but they really allow you to get a sense of scale of how long a passage will take. They are also a good back-up for when you have a system failure like loosing power.
  • Tide tables - You can purchase small tide tables for a few pounds that will cover a small area. If you have an up to date copy of Reeds then you can gain tidal information from them. There are tidal diamonds on paper charts, while there are current arrows on electronic charts. There is also a product called quick tide which can quickly give you the highs and lows for a particular area.
  • Reeds Almanac - This gives you information such as tidal information. Information on local tidal streams, contact information for marinas and harbours and some information on anchorages. We bought a bound version of the almanac but you can get spiral bound versions and loose leaf versions, so look around before you buy.
  • Pilot Guides - These represent the local knowledge of a group of sailors for a particular area. These are really great for people who want to anchor out, as it gives you the information you need for navigating a particular passage, what to look out for and other information. What we also like are the photographs that they include, as they really give you scale, they also allow you to look at the sea bed, so you can gauge depths.
  • Electronic Charts - These are really great as they can give you the overview and the detail view. Once we have planned our passage, we create way points for our electronic charts as it is these that we will use once we have planned our passage
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