Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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It depends on what kind of sailing you're doing. If you're just out day sailing, a detailed log isn't so important, and I might just jot down where we went, who was aboard and any special events that might have occurred, like seeing whales or dolphins...
For a longer passage, with a specific destination in mind, then I'll generally keep a much more detailed log. This log is useful to document weather, fuel usage, engine hours, as well as have a fairly detailed record of the course and distances run. This information becomes very useful to look back upon when sailing the same area in the future. Jotting down the basic information every hour or two, like course, heading, distance run, barometric pressure, lat/lon position, and weather conditions only takes a minute, and gives you a lot of good information on a longer passage.
For instance, if the barometric pressure is slowly dropping, you can expect a low pressure system and front to be coming, but not too serious in terms of weather. If the barometric pressure is dropping quickly, you can expect a fairly intense, but often short-lived storm front to pass over.
I will often have a page of "refuge" harbors in the log of each passage leg—that notes the ATONs I should expect to see, as well as the rough course and distances I should expect to run if I were to need to enter one of these harbors. These notes would also include any important warnings, like the presence of a large, mostly submerged breakwater northeast of Rockport Harbor, and notes about the harbor and what conditions it would be good for, not good for—like noting that Tarpaulin Cove is only good if the wind is out of the North-NorthWest or West... and rather unprotected, especially with winds out of the east, or that Great Misery Island can have lots of mosquitoes at it...
In the case of heavy weather, I'll usually write notes of what the conditions were and how they were dealt with... this is usually done after the fact... but mainly serves as a record of what worked, what didn't and what could be improved.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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