MASTER CLASS
Yachting World|September 2021
PIP HARE ON HOW TO MAKE A 21ST CENTURY PILOTAGE PLAN

Creating a pilotage plan has long been a key navigational skill and most of us will have encountered various examples through our sailing lives. The plan is a simplified recreation of the chart, on a piece of paper that you can take on deck and annotate to aid with eyeball navigation en route. It allows the sailor to change the scale, focussing only on the features that are important to them, and is derived from the days when we all used paper charts and it was a cardinal sin to take them on deck.

Times have moved on. Most of us have chart plotters on deck and apps on our phones that allow us to see, in real-time, where we are on the chart, as well as monitoring traffic. So it would be easy to think old-school pilotage is dead.

However, the pilotage plan is still as relevant as ever and I’d suggest this skill is beneficial to all sailors, as the more we engage with and understand our movement through an environment the fewer mistakes and the more confident we’ll be to focus on sailing well. With that in mind I’ve been thinking about creating a pilotage plan in today’s world and how we can utilise technology to aid this traditional skill.

MAKE THE RIGHT PLAN

There is no ‘right way’ to make a pilotage plan. It simply needs to be relevant and useful to you and your circumstances. If you are a list person then make a list, if you process information better through drawings, do that. You could also annotate a screenshot of a chart – adding grids, bearings, distances over the top. Take into consideration whether you expect others to understand your notes, if you will be reading it in the dark, and what types of information will be useful. The trick is to bring the flat image on your chart into real life. I use a combination of notes, screenshots and pictures.

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