One definition of navigation is knowing where you are and how to safely and efficiently get to where you want to go. That's a very good thing to know if we want to venture farther than the local lakes. Whether you want to start learning navigation or want to review, practice and sharpen your existing skills, this class is for you.
Taught by Michelle and Jeff Forseth and Peggy O'Neal, this course is designed for kayakers whose main venues are the inland lakes and rivers of the Midwest. It will cover:
- Route planning
- Piloting and dead reckoning
- Maps and charts, compasses and bearings
- Aids to navigation
- Lines of position and fixing position
- Effect of wind and waves
The class will include an optional day paddle in the spring focused on practicing our navigation skills on the water.
Please bring the following to class:
- Base plate compass (If you don't have one, see "Notes on base plate compasses" below.)
- Straight edge (e.g., ruler)
- Notepad and pen for taking notes
Optional Items (if you already have them):
- Any navigational tools you have and want to practice using (parallel rulers, nav aid, dividers)
- Chart Number 1
We plan to offer a follow-on course focused on Coastal Waters Navigation this winter as well, but are waiting to confirm location and date. The Coastal Waters course is focused on building the navigation skills to start exploring coastal venues with tides and currents, ocean swell, and significant magnetic variation.
Notes on base plate compasses
As we've taught this course over the years and seen a variety of compasses, we've noticed that some work better for what we want to do with them than others. Jeff, Michelle and Peggy all like the Suunto M3 compass (available at REI) for the following reasons:
- It's long enough to provide a straight edge for laying out a course but small enough to fit into one of our PFD pockets.
- It has several vertical orienting lines to line up with a longitude line.
- It has one horizontal line which is frequently useful if there's a latitude line in the right place.
- It has a small magnifier.
- It has rubber feet to make it less likely to slip.
- It has a Direction of Travel mark.
It would be perfect if it had a mark 180 degrees opposite from the Direction of Travel mark, but so far we haven't found a compass with all of these features.