Learning navigation is much more than looking at maps

There are a lot of aspects to sailing. I’ve dabbled here and there into a lot of different subjects, however I have tried not to get too overwhelmed by the sheer about of information I have yet to learn, even just the basic stuff. Navigation is something I’ve been curious about and have only really used onboard GPS systems, including the trip down the coast to San Fransisco.

An introduction class was offered through Lake Union Charters by Captain Alex Walter and of course I jumped on the opportunity to get a bit more knowledge on this topic. It was a great introduction to what I feel is a complete foreign language and covered quite a bit of topics for such a short class (1 1/2 hours). After the class, I realize this topic is probably the most complex and vast of all, when it comes to sailing. Second is the wind, which I’m still trying to grasp how it affects the sails and our direction. I suspect this, along with many other things will be a lifelong adventure of learning!

Good news, is I do understand the basic navigation information that was taught in the class. Further news, is it has sparked an interest in learning how water works in general concerning tides, currents, and the “why” behind why water behaves the way it does. Water + Wind = the two elements we have no control over and so much to learn about, and such major elements in sailing!

Below I have linked some of the recommended books for further reading. Lucky me I already had one of the books (“The Annapolis Book of Seamanship” given to me by a friend, THANK YOU!) and have gotten through quite a bit of the chapters that concern navigation. I will defiantly be getting the workbook recommended and work through it during these winter months!

Tidal Currents of Puget Sound: Graphic Current Charts and Flow Patterns
by David Burch and Tobias Burch
Inland and Coastal Navigation: For Power-driven and Sailing Vessels, 2nd Edition
by David Burch
Inland and Coastal Navigation Workbook: For Use with Paper and Electronic Charts
by David Burch
The Annapolis Book of Seamanship: Fourth Edition
by John Rousmaniere
How to Read a Nautical Chart, 2nd Edition: A Complete Guide to Using and Understanding Electronic and Paper Charts
by Nigel Calder (Includes ALL of Chart #1)
U.S. Chart No. 1: Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms used on Paper and Electronic Navigational Charts, 12th edition
by by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
United States Coast Pilot 7: Pacific Coast – California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Pacific Islands, 46th Edition
by NOAA (also free in pdf format at NOAA)

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