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Pre-Trip Planning and Chart Reading


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Thanks to Rob for posting this workshop. Sorry for the short notice, but we had difficulty locating an appropriate venue. This workshop is not officially part of the CAM series later in April and in May, but more of a prep for those who feel they need more background. A little more detail:

Date: Sunday, April 10

Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Location: Gould Barn, 1 Howlett St, Topsfield, MA

Potluck lunch.

Bring your own charts, reference books, chart software and favorite online resources. Bring a laptop if you have wireless internet access as you will be able to surf during the workshop.

RSVP here please so we can get a headcount for handouts.

Pre-Trip Planning Workshop

What kind of preparation and planning should a NSPN paddler do before a CAM trip? The club expects each member of a CAM trip to be personally familiar with the trip area as well as conditions expected for the trip. But how do you do that? This workshop focuses on getting this basic information before heading out as well as doing more serious research for extended trips. We will cover some of the following topics:

• Planning overview. Environmental factors and basic principles of what causes conditions on the water.

• Nautical charts. Where to get them, chart symbols, how to read charts, how to infer likely conditions. We will provide online sources of NOAA charts.

• Tides and Currents. Where to find tide and current predictions for the area of the paddle and how to interpret the information to predict conditions.

• Weather. Where to find marine forecasts and how to combine them with other information to predict conditions.

• Other resources. Coastal pilots, light lists, Notice to Mariners, cruising guides, etc.

• Local information. Launch sites, public sites, public access, etc.

• Online resources. Google Earth including NOAA and topographic overlays, online mapping services, MITA Online Guide, etc.

• Route planning. Based on all predicted conditions, plan routes given trip goals and experience of participants. Includes planning for contingencies (changed conditions, bail out points, etc.)

This workshop is hands on. While we will provide a lot of information, the spirit is sharing what people know. While suited for all levels of experience, it is especially aimed at paddlers who want to participate in CAM trips, but are relatively new to charts and marine forecasts, how to find them and interpret them. This is not a navigation class (we won’t be teaching compass reading, course headings, piloting, etc.), but rather planning for the paddling environment. This workshop is designed to prepare club members to take part in the CAM workshops later in the spring which will focus on the trip itself.

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Perfect timing as I am knee deep in figuring some of these things out


I am going to miss this one... Murphy's law, I am at the pool session...

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I'm hoping to make it. Sorry for the short notice.


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Sal, I will talk with Peggy at the Gould barn about either getting it back or leaving it there for our next event. No biggie either way.

Scott, thanks for the class!


Thanks Rob.....sounds good. And, Thank you Scott for an informative workshop.

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