Route Planning The A to Z Challenge
R is for Route Planning: Our Top 8 ResourcesThursday, April 21, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA
One of the most exciting decisions you can make on a boat is where to go: The countless possibilities. The discovery of the unknown. The world, or at least a small portion of it, at your stern. Once the decision is made, the excitement continues as you pull out the cruising guides to start researching the possibilities. It’s at this stage that the trip starts to take shape and becomes real. There’s a sense of romance in planning a passage. To me, choosing where to go is one of the most exciting decisions you can make on a boat: It’s where the dream of cruising starts to take on a life of its own. Where anticipation takes root and begins to grow. And as frustrating as the process can be sometimes, it’s where the fun begins.
How do we choose which anchorages to visit? We look for good protection first and “amenities” second. Both David and I are fairly conservative when it comes to cruising and seek out all-weather anchorages with good holding – we’ve done our share of “roadsteads” in the past and prefer a good night’s sleep to location. Because we have a dog aboard, going to shore safely is a priority – if there’s a place to take a walk, even better. We prefer isolated anchorages but, every now and again, it’s necessary to rejoin society to buy provisions and do laundry, so we take that into consideration as well.
Route planning is a personal thing. What works for us, may not necessarily work for another boat and vice versa. But there are some basic resources that are fundamental to a safe and enjoyable trip.
are a good way to view the area as a whole when planning and essential to navigation when cruising. Many countries require you to carry traditional charts aboard when in their waters, so it’s important to know each country’s carriage requirements before setting out. You can get by with small-scale charts which cover large areas and are low on detail, but we carry a full complement of charts with us at all times. Why? Because they’re not susceptible to electronic failures.
Planning maps help us get a clear picture of the area we want to cruise. The
Inside Passage is an intricate maze of inlets, channels and islands and
it’s easy to get lost in all the possibilities. The maps give us a visual on
the overall area that regular charts and chart plotters can’t provide.
provide tide heights and current flows for a designated area. Here in the PNW, areas can see flows up to 16 knots and timing really is everything and an integral part of route planning.
while not essential to planning a route, is crucial to safe passage making (to see a list of our weather sources, click ,here).
are great places to read about first-hand accounts and opinions about areas you plan to visit.
provides a bird’s eye view of shorelines, hazards and anchorages.