Sea kayak navigation equipment^

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Bunty Hargreaves
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Sea kayak navigation equipment^

Post by Bunty Hargreaves » Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:29 pm

What are people's recommendations for sea kayak navigation equipment both for chartwork and deck top navigation?
Bunty

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Douglas Wilcox
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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:36 pm

Hello Bunty
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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Sat Jan 28, 2006 8:28 pm

Yep! That's about it.

OS map.
Silva compass.
I've got a boat mounted compass filling the hole, but in reality it's a nice to have.

Those pointy compas thingies are useful - sometimes.

Mike.

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Erling
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Post by Erling » Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:50 pm

Apart from the colour, Douglas' deck could have been mine. A few additional points:

I scan the marine chart prior to a trip. Several scans will normally be necessary, as my scanner can only handle A4 size at a time. Then I use the photo stitch program that came with my digital camera (Canon) to automatically turn the several scans into one large, seamless chart. By exporting this map into Word, I can make an A4 printout.

Now that laminating machines have become affordable, I got one of these. I prefer a laminate rather than a waterproof map case, as these tend to be a bit too large – well, mine is, anyway.

Even if the GPS has maps installed and works as a map plotter, I use it mainly for making a track. When I have returned home, I import the marine chart scan file into the map software OziExplorer (free demo version here: www.oziexplorer.com) , and transfer the GPS track file to the map. This enables me to study where I have been and share with others.

Like today's trip: from Stavanger city center, across the fjord, lunch at a small island and return home. My track is the blue line.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:06 pm

MikeB wrote:I've got a boat mounted compass filling the hole, but in reality it's a nice to have.
Rather more essential if you are crossing open water and trying to keep a bearing without landmarks to judge by.


Plenty of flashy gadgets available, many of which are very useful and all fun to use. But if you can't find your way around the sea with just a map, compass and watch, you probably shouldn't be there.
Last edited by Mark R on Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Goldspoon
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Post by Goldspoon » Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:23 pm

I am in serious danger of becoming a "proper sea kayaker" but here goes (no beard as yet)...

I used to have "laminated A4 under deck lines".... but there are a few issues with it...

1. If you want a deck bag then the deck space becomes unavailable.
2. It is not a nice flat surface to work on with a compass.
3. With large cockpits the map is, in my opinion, too far away.

I like a deck bag (I know some don't have them or like them). In my deck bag I have warm hat, sunglasses, suncream, small water, chinagraph pencils, GPS, camera, allsorts of junk etc. I know some deck bags have bits of elastic on top for a map but have not seen anything that will keep the map there after large waves or anything like "nice and flat" (and still too far away).

I'll come back to this (sitting at the pc with a glass of wine - no stopping me now)...

In November I had a week of paddling with Rod, a mate who had come across from abroad. We paddled almost every day (Anglesey) and had some great paddling (including one day to the Skerries from Holyhead (Rod in a t-shirt and b/aid it was that sunny and calm). Anyway we also spend some time creating a full set of laminated charts each for Anglesey... and I set out to solve the problem of me "having stuff all over the place and losing stuff in big waves".

Tip: Get yourself a cheap laminator and create A4 laminated maps/charts. Much better than a map in a map case. Maps in map cases can easily get washed off decks (not so flat) and using a permanent marker on a map case does not work (map moves around inside for one so "note on headland" becomes "mark on car park"... and on my last map case it did not wipe off with acetone...). Use nail varnish remover to wipe off marker from laminated sheets.

Maps or charts. I like charts. Why? They have the following...

Overfalls are marked.
Tidal diamonds provide valuable information on tidal flow and direction.
It is easier to spot rocks and reefs.
It is easier to spot useful transit marks (chimneys and towers) as land clutter is not marked except for these.

Best to take both. I recently converted to charts for on the water and have an OS map in the third hatch for back up. It is also easy to laminate a bit of chart AND a bit of map for the "deck".

Mark the laminated maps with permanent marker before the trip and use a chinagraph pencil for on the water (I have a permanent marker in my buoyancy aid and get away with it at sea (mostly) by wiping the laminated map with my finger).

Tip: Use wooden Chinagraphs as the other ones uncurl themselves and fall to bits - you'll know what I mean if you've seen it. Also have three or four handy, they are light and if you have just one it will break (Sod's Law).

Anyway I keep my A4 laminated maps on a HARD piece of plastic on my spraydeck. The hard piece of plastic started life as a Staples branded clipboard. The plastic rectangle is held in place by four small clips (sewn on by a neighbour) which are attached to two vertical elastics (very tight) which cannot move left or right due to grroves at top and bottom). The clips also have short pieces of elastic on them to allow for stretching as the spraydeck goes on. I can slide the maps in and out, left or right. Storing twenty or more such maps is not an issue.

Image

Image

Tucked in behind the maps with coloured tabs (tape) are two rather organised extra info sheets that can be pulled out and slid back as required (anorak like I know but it works)... on here I have "trip planner, overview of key times for the day", "assorted information", "empty scribble pad", "night nav light sequences".

Image

(ADMIN EDIT 29/6/08 - all the images can be seen in the Almanac article replicating this post here)

If I get out the boat it just "hangs around" on the spraydeck and is not a problem. However, I have a Karibiner on the b/aid and clip the front of the spraydeck onto it. Have had this on my deck a few times recently, including one session in Penrhyn mawr overfalls where we did some reentry rolls and rescues and wipeouts etc. Is fine and not at all likely to come off.

On the pics the yellow line is an elastic band... stops the two extra laminates falling out.

Anyway... Rod laughed his socks off as my little system developed (at one stage it did get a bit out of hand and a sccretary sitting on my back deck would not have looked out of place).... but he did say that the final version was rather slick and that could I make him one...

Ps. I have good eyesight but I still struggle to see what is happening on that Silva compass up front...
Last edited by Goldspoon on Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:25 pm

guidebook wrote:
Rather more essential if you are crossing open water and trying to keep a bearing without landmarks to judge by.

Nothing a Silva stuck under the deck bungees wont do though. Although constanly looking down at it can be a bit sick-making ;-)

Mike.

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Post by Canuck » Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:16 pm

I installed a compass in the hole up front on my first boat. Now that I'm a little older I have a hard time making out the numbers. Small comfort to know I'm not alone here.

On my latest boat I've gone with the sunto orca bungee compass. As I get older I can move it closer and I like being able to stick a chem light under it at night. I keep the compass at the fore end of my map case so most of the chem light is tucked away and under, only the end pokes out under the compass. I put electrical tape along one side of the light stick so when I whip it out to read the cart or what have you it doesn't bugger up my night vision.

I like the clipboard/aid memoire idea. Good pics too

My map case is attached on either side of the bungee nearest the cockpit and I flip it into my lap when I need it. Keeping in mind this covers up the release loop on the spray deck.

Mike

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:30 pm

I'm sure this is going to come back and bite me when someone locates a suitable photo!

Goldspoon - get an ocean cockpit then your maps will be close enough :)

I use the OS map (maps usually) in a good waterproof map case (the problem is making sure there is no moisture in when you load it). I keep a mapreading compass in there with it but have so far never needed it because my planning hasn't gone far enough awry!

Because of the ocean cockpit the maps are close enough to me to read. I also have my GPS under the elastics for convenience, but since I am always aware of where I am I can switch to compass and watch at any time - I usually have the GPS set up to measure my speed, which is great becasue if it does fail I have a very good idea how fast I'm going for dead reckoning!

In front of the maps and right at the limit of my reach is a Silva 70 UN removeable deck compass (tied in for paranoia) - it's close enough to read but far enough away to sight through the bow and I haven't found I get sick reading it, others I'm sure will. I have more elastics forward of that but they are a bit more complcated to set up - they are basically "flyaways" - I keep my SLR in a special dry bag attached to these such that it rests forward of the maps and out of my paddle sweep but close enough that I can just reach it, pull it towards me and temporarily clip it to the nearest elastic whilst I mess around photographing something. I often have water bottles on top of the map (move from side to side to see the bit I need) and have started carrying flares in a dry bag under the map.

Yes my foredeck is a cluttered but useful place!

I haven't mentioned that I very occasionally run out of space aft and lash a dry bag between the deck lines right forward over the hatch, it usually has real essentials like my tripod and a couple of cans of beer that I couldn't bear to leave!

Stuff like my sunnies and sunblock tend to go in my BA pocket, other sundries that I don't need at sea usually go in a dry bag between my legs (phone, anenometer, spare glasses, money) - easy to get at when I land or in calm conditions/rafted up and not in danger of getting stuffed into a hatch and broked!

Compared to the foredeck, the rear deck is busy! Built in pump, towline, back up hand pump, split paddles, helmet, Large drybag full of bits that wouldn't go in the hatch - usually this includes my boots which physically don't fit through the hatch and I don't want behind the seat (where the jubilee clips on the pump puncture dry bags so only hard stuff is allowed).

Has anyone found a way of securing an apple or an orange under the elastics?

JIM

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:39 pm

In case we forget:

Image

Jim doesn't have any room - - - - -

Anyway - I like gadgets, the clipboard idea is a good 'un! As to reading a fore-deck mounted Silva, that's not just an age thing. Anyway, even though I have one, and use it, it's marked in 5 degree chunks, so lets not get carried away with how accurate the things are.

Mike.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:24 am

[sarcastic mode]Thanks Mike[/sarcastic mode]

The flares are under the map (one of the reasons it bulges so much, it's also a pig to get the air out of that map case), I can see a platypus under the nearside bungy (looks about to fall off) just in front of my GPS. There is a cycle bottle under the far side bungy, and that large dry bag of essentials comes back level with my compass so you can't see it or the camera bag stashed on the far side of it. That was an exceptional foredeck load, the big drybag on the front is a rare occurence and If I recall I didn't need it by the end of the trip when the consumable had been drunk up.

I don't know where I'd put it all if I had a keyhole cockpit!

JIM

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atakd
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Post by atakd » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:23 am

MikeB wrote: As to reading a fore-deck mounted Silva, that's not just an age thing.
Mike.
Unless you fit a Silva 85 instead of a 58 or 70. Advantages:Easy to read, memory ring for setting course. Disadvantage: Sticks out a bit.

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Bunty Hargreaves
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Post by Bunty Hargreaves » Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:19 pm

Jolly good stuff on deck-top nav.

Any thoughts on navigational planning on shore, working indoors with a full size paper chart on a big table? Do you need more than a parallel rule, 2B pencil, pencil sharpener and rubber? I have a Portland Plotter and dividers but I think they are more nice-to-have than essential.
Bunty

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Post by CaileanMac » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:16 pm

Bunty,

Would echo Mark's comments about map, compass and watch. If you can't do it with those items alone, then you have to ask yourself what your doing doing trips on the sea. Gadgets are great but pretty sure folks get too used to having them...? = electronic crutch?? Perhaps I'm holding views which are old before my time there are too many people placing blind faith in technology - this isn't just a percived view but one which I hold through direct experience of working with folks of all abilities on the sea.

A cracking idea from Goldspoon to solve the problems of having a 'rigid' chart/map working area with a keyhole cockpit. Patent it Goldpoon!!!

As to shore based nav kit you mention, a portland plotter is on;y really useful only a few times in a paddling season for working out must know bearings / tidal vectors. A pair of dividers and 2B pencil + rubber are things which you will get real use out of on a 'trip to trip' basis. Dividers are great for measuring distance and getting a handle on how long between your lunchbreak and your take out so hence allowing you to work out how many sandwiches to make before you leave the house ;-)

CaileanMac

andreadawn
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Post by andreadawn » Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:29 am

Goldspoon wrote: I recently converted to charts for on the water and have an OS map in the third hatch for back up.
I recently switched the other way as most of my navigation is done with reference to land features which are shown in much greater detail on maps. Any tidal info or critical drying areas etc can easily be transferred to your working map.

Which do others prefer, map or chart?

Andrea.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:24 am

Depends on where I am paddling - and specifically the nature of the surroundings. Generally OS map plus tidal info etc noted down from charts/pilots etc, because most of what I do is coast-hugging or island-hopping. And this ties in with much of what I have heard/seen in symposium navigation sessions, 5* training, etc. The main exception to this which I have come across personally is the guys in Jersey CC who run the Jersey Symposium. They are very much into crossings between the islands or to outlying reefs, in a region of strong tidal streams. The chart is definitely their preferred tool - and it is easy to see why.

In short, I think it is 'horses for courses'.

Dave Thomas

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Pelagic
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Post by Pelagic » Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:29 pm

I am in serious danger of becoming a "proper sea kayaker" but here goes (no beard as yet)...
I have seen Goldspoons little gadget and its a fab thing, I seem to remember it survived R+Rs in Penryn Mawr so my initial thoughts that it may become "wavefodder" proved groundless, it seems to me that having a flat surface to work on is a very good idea, (something I myself have missed since becoming a keyhole cockpit convert). Very neat indeed.
On the subject of charts vs maps, Geoff and I have begun to print off both from memory Map at roughly the same scale on opposite sides of the paper, (A4 until we can find a cheap colour A3 printer) and then obviously laminate them, best of both worlds really. The charts are produced by Maptech but Memory Map will display them, of course if you are a real gadget freak you can export them to your PDAand GPS (kept in an otterbox) and have an illuminated moving map plotter on your deck.
Another boon for night nav is the trusty LED headtorch, so much easier to read a chart with the even light it produces, and lighting your silva works well too (didnt Geoff do a how to thing recently?).
Of course as Mark correctly points out the only gadgets not to be without are a watch, both Geoff and I have moved from BIG digitals back to good old analogue ones with hands so we dont need to see the numbers! and a compass, steering and handbearing for preference. Of course not forgetting the on board navigational computer MK1 which sits very snugly between your ears.
If Rod will be using the chartboard in Greece, I take it he will be replacing the tidal flow laminate with a todays specials at the beach taverna one?

Phil

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:43 pm

guidebook wrote:just a map, compass and watch
Oh, and a torch.

I found myself totally and completely lost at sea after the sun had gone down twice this last summer. First time (during a complex open crossing!!!) I discovered that my headtorch was too weedy to illuminate the deck compass, throwing all my planning out of the window. Second time, it wouldn't have mattered even if I had had a decent light to hand...my map and compass were safely stowed in the back hatch.

Do I pass my five star?
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Post by Owen » Tue Jan 31, 2006 5:45 pm

A bit of string, very usful for measuring off a curved deck.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:03 pm

Goldspoon - can you take the whole plastic board off your spraydeck to use as a chart table in camp? I really like the concept, I don't need one with my ocean cockpit and that map case I keep raving about (it does have drawbacks) is way bigger than A4, but a "slate" that I could stash under the mapcase (need to check out the curve of my deck) could be useful for making notes in voyage, if I may reference your other thread, to keep track of parts of calculations I have solved while I deal with another thread.... And of course it's uses as a chart table in camp shouldn't be overlooked.

Do I have enough gadgets Phil or can I make one of these too? :-)

JIM

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Post by Goldspoon » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:15 pm

Yes. Just unclip the four plastic clips (ten secs).

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:46 pm

Just an observation, but perhaps the difference between 4* and 5* is the emphasis on charts (and chart work) in the 5*?

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Pelagic
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Post by Pelagic » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:43 pm

Do I have enough gadgets Phil or can I make one of these too? :-)
Could you make me one too Jim? one that floats, has a little light on a snakey thing and a built in butter dish for use as a cheeseboard. Of course we will have to credit Julian with a small royalty fee.........


Just an observation, but perhaps the difference between 4* and 5* is the emphasis on charts (and chart work) in the 5*?
The BCU define the difference as "leadership" Mike, which could be interpreted as appearing to know what you are doing, Olly calls it "looking slick". It would further appear that on assessment any perceived weak areas will get a lot of emphasis, repetition or questioning from the examiner, I suppose that is why some people sometimes find this particular assesment to be hard, unfair or biased in some way, however if your all round knowledge and practise is good (read safe) its not that hard, and you shouldnt get picked on too much!
One of the reasons there is an emphasis on chartwork in particular, precise working rather than "seat of the pants " is the requirement for the chart exercise to be done from an unfamiliar chart, makes sense really...........

Phil

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Post by Bertie.. » Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:44 am

guidebook wrote:
guidebook wrote:just a map, compass and watch
Oh, and a torch.

I found myself totally and completely lost at sea after the sun had gone down twice this last summer. First time (during a complex open crossing!!!) I discovered that my headtorch was too weedy to illuminate the deck compass, throwing all my planning out of the window. Second time, it wouldn't have mattered even if I had had a decent light to hand...my map and compass were safely stowed in the back hatch.

Do I pass my five star?
Mark, anglers use mini-snap lights for lighting god knows what - which are ideal for taping to the top of your deck mounted compass allowing you to read it at night.

Getting lost in the dark? And you have to ask the question about whether you'd pass your five star... lol!! ;-)

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:05 pm

Pelagic wrote:
Do I have enough gadgets Phil or can I make one of these too? :-)
Could you make me one too Jim? one that floats, has a little light on a snakey thing and a built in butter dish for use as a cheeseboard. Of course we will have to credit Julian with a small royalty fee.........
My plastic chopping boards have just passed my 'sink' test (put it in one, see if it does) but only just. I think ice has more reserve buoyancy so I'm looking for a different material - I reckon signboard would do it but the only bits I have are my number plates for my buggy.

Beties suggestion about mini snaplights is pretty good - anglers (coarse) attach them to the top of their float when float fishing at night, you can even get special floats designed to take them (since it will alter the buoyancy of that very delicate device), but I might see if I can find a way to rig an external power source to a gameboy light which is already on a primitive snaky thing and as a single LED shouldn't wreck night vision or consume much e-lectrcity.

What sort of royalties are we looking at?

JIM

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:21 pm

Maybe we should produce a UKSKGB branded one?

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Post by Dave Thomas » Wed Feb 01, 2006 1:50 pm

let's see the T-shirts before we start planning further branded goods ;-)

Dave Thomas

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:33 pm

Done!

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Pelagic
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Post by Pelagic » Thu Feb 02, 2006 2:56 pm

What sort of royalties are we looking at?
Its gotta be a beer really..........hes already got loads of gadgets.

Incidentally Bertie must eat more carrots than us, or his compass is closer!
Whats the trick Bertie?

Phil

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