The exploits of Kadey-Krogen owners are numerous, from ocean crossings, and exploring from the Baltic Sea to Alaska and everywhere in between. If we were to attempt to identify a singular trait amongst these nearly 700 owners, it would be their methodical preparation and healthy respect for the sea. With this in mind, although every Kadey-Krogen is equipped with the latest marine electronics selected by the buyer, we feel it’s still key to a safe passage to maintain the navigation fundamentals.
Simply put, if we don’t understand the basic navigational principles, we can’t fully exploit the capability of our electronics. And of course if you have a solid understanding of navigation you’ll be able to get home in case the electronics fail due to an issue outside of your control. Thus dead reckoning is a key skill that any prudent yachtsman must understand. It’s the plotting of an approximate course on a chart relying on speed, time, and distance traveled. A key to dead reckoning is knowing your previous position, and then plotting the course using course steered, speed, and elapsed time.
Our team is bluewater veterans highly recommend you plot your position on a paper chart, especially when your electronics are working. How often you do this will depend upon your distance from land and hazards. Once you have your starting point on the chart, you can draw your intended course. Then it’s a matter of plotting the distance (D) along the course using speed (S) and the elapsed time (T). Three formulas we all should know are D=ST, S=D/T, and T=D/S. You may want to get kids or grandkids involved in learning this as well. It will keep them busy and help to develop future mariners who know the basics. Next steps: Make sure you have a set of dividers, parallel rules, the correct paper charts, and some sharp pencils.
Knowing your distance off land or a navigational aid is helpful. Even for peace of mind. One tool that you may need to dust off is the hand bearing compass. Then within sight of land and hopefully a large structure such as a lighthouse, take a bearing on the light when it is 45 degrees off your bow, maintain course, and then take another bearing when the light is 90 degrees off your port beam. The distance run between the two bearings is equal to the distance offshore. The two legs of the triangle that meet to form the 90-degree angle are equal. So if you traveled 3.0 miles from where the light was at 45 degrees to where it was at 90 degrees, then that point of land is 40 miles away. (Next steps: Include a hand-bearing compass in your navigational tools. They aren’t just for racing.