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Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:16 pm
by tjaffey
What tools do you use for journey planning, itineraries and float plans?

Every time I want to go kayaking for the day, I seem to do a bunch of research.
The night before, I look at the weather forecast across multiple web sites. I try to find data for the tides, wind, rain and sunset. I consider the wind speed, wind direction and tide to work out how to get a free ride in at least one direction. I look at nautical charts to check that I'm not crossing any shipping lanes, waterskiing areas or other hazards. I might also check the water depth if going up a creek, to make sure I'm not going to get stuck in the mud at low tide.

Then, once I've done all that, I have to communicate the plan with my kayaking buddies and get their input, revise the plan, etc.

It's all a bit of a pain, are there any good apps or tools which make this stuff easier?


Re: Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:53 am
by Jim
Having done most of my trip planning over the years either in the pub the night before, or in camp the night before, all sitting around able to look at maps, charts, tide tables etc. to chip in thoughts, probably the most useful thing you could use right now is a video conferencing app like zoom, and be sure to get to grips with the "share screen" option so you can bring up charts etc. and indicate proposed routes for discussion.

In terms of finding forecasts, tidal predictions etc. make a sub-folder in your bookmarks/favourites and keep links to all the sites you use together, also you can order them depending on how frequently you use them.

Re: Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:59 pm
by charleston14
In Franco Ferreros book sea kayak navigation
He uses a planner to plan and communicate info to a group it’s a good checklist to make sure nothing is missed. See page 103.

It’s a good book. ... avigation/

I think a photo of that planner might breach some kind of copyright so I’ll just refer you to it.

Re: Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:54 pm
by Chris Bolton
There are various templates like the one charleston14 mentions, but they only provide a format to set down the planning and make sure you haven't forgotten anything. For me, the planning is part of the interest - but it also means that when I'm on the water, the relevant facts have stuck in my memory and I can re-plan on the fly if required. If I had an app that would do it for me, I wouldn't have it in my head.

Re: Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:53 pm
by DaveB
Although it is self described as not to be used for navigation purposes the website has a lot(not all) of the info you will need on a single site.

Re: Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:00 pm
by MikeB
I just use a range of on-line and paper resources - most of the on-line ones I noted for easy access here.

In terms of physical resources, a Silva type compass and a piece of string generally replace the more trad nav tools like dividers and parallel rulers, especially at sea. My maps are mostly all marked up with tidal info, often during the pre-trip planning. Actual details on the day end up usually on a note in the mapcase, and rather along the lines Chris noted, having actually done the calculations they tend to stick in my mind better.

Templates are useful, if you find them useful.

Re: Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:39 pm
by charleston14

Re: Tools for journey planning?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:32 pm
by seawolf856
Seems to me that you have discovered the hidden magic of sea kayaking - its all in the planning!! I absolutely agree with Chris Bolton that for me the planning is part of the interest and the more resources you get used to using, the better (and safer) your plan is going to be. Your basic building blocks are all there, weather forecast, tide times and charts/maps. There are some VERY good Apps which I always use for planning my coastal paddling trips. I would personally highly recommend "Windy" and "Wind Finder" as both of these give wind strength and direction, local high water/low water times, swell height and direction all in one place as well as a great map function so that you can see the wind direction arrows overlaid on the area you are going to paddle - this is really useful to help identify where you might get some shelter or be exposed to the most wind driven conditions. I also use "Tides near me" but I also like to have the old fashioned printed tide tables for my area which is Liverpool and Holyhead. The tide tables are pence from Amazon.
I don't use a paddle plan template, I tend to write down the major points and work out the launch time and direction of travel based on the tidal flows on the day, but our peer group always plan for the same paddle separately then we compare plans either the night before on on the day to see if one of us has made any obvious mistakes - a common one is not adjusting tide times for GMT vs BST. If our launch times coincide and our HW/LW times are generally in line then we have a plan that is based on data that has been independently checked using various resources.
Writing the tidal strength and direction along with times of flow direction change on a section of map and carrying it with you will avoid any major mishaps in your timings once on the water and try to stick to the plan unless conditions change and dictate otherwise. Using local guidebooks on complicated parts of the coast is a very useful resource. You may or may not know that local HW and LW may not always coincide with a change in direction of flow, just ask anyone who regularly paddles the Anglesey coastline. Oh and always tell the coastguard where you intend to be paddling.