Kent Narrows Sail and Power Squadron recently held a predicted log in Eastern Bay. Predicted log contests are a long-time tradition in the United States Power Squadrons that not only tests an operator’s boating skills, but also helps to improve his knowledge and boating skills as well. In this day of electronics, the predicted log contests bring back time tested skills, relying only on the tachometer and compass. Not even a watch! Occasionally electronic wonders fail, knowing your boat and how it is affected by tide, current and other influences, gives the confidence to reach your intended destination safely.
Prior to the race each skipper is given the course, from which he/she must predict the time it will take to complete the course Ideally each skipper will have a “speed curve” showing what his speed is, in knots, at various rpm on the tachometer so the time for each leg of the race can be calculated. The traditional 60D=ST, familiar to USPS members from their classes, makes it easy to do the calculation. Skippers also must be aware of any tides or currents that could have an effect on their boat speed. Experts even take crew weight and placement into consideration!
Predictions are given to an observer on each boat in a sealed envelope that is later given to the committee. The observer is responsible for recording the time at each mark on the course for later comparison to the prediction. The skipper with the smallest error is declared the winner. This time, because KNSPS hasn’t run any races for several years, we used this as a learning experience for the skippers and the planning committee. The weather was a little cloudy, some rain, with smooth water and little boat traffic…ideal conditions for novice competitors. After the contest we all met for a late lunch at Kent Island Yacht Club to discuss the results and how to improve future races.
USPS offers the basic boating course (required for the Maryland state boating certificate for anyone born on or after July 1, 1972) and more advanced courses for members. For information about membership, educational opportunities, activities and more visit our website www.uspsd5.org, select Kent Narrows on the right side of the screen, or contact our Commander Ken Treadwell 410 643-0952, Educational Officer Ted Reiss 410 827-9549 or Membership Chairman Jack Yeigh 410 643-2106.