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Simple Kayak Navigation: Practical Piloting for the Passionate Paddler Paperback – May 1, 2006
About the Author
Ray Killen is an American Canoe Association-Certified Coastal Kayak Instructor/Trainer/Educator and the former chair of its Coastal Kayaking Committee. Killen also cowrote many of the organization's coastal kayak courses. A former British Canoe Union level three coach, he holds a four-star rating and was given the BCU's Canoe Safety Award.
Top customer reviews
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This book was "updated" to include a now-dated section on GPS, which felt a little tacked-on and obligatory - Killen is really all about chart and compass,which is fine with me. We just finished a 5-day circumnavigation of whitewater bay in the Everglades and never touched our GPS once (by the way, I would be hard-pressed to buy a dedicated GPS today - put your phone in a waterproof phone holder, add an external battery (get a phone holder big enough for both phone and battery), and check out the excellent "Boating" app from Navionics and download the charts you need for offline use - free or $15/year depending on features).
I skimmed this book before we left (I have some orienteering experience so the ideas weren't completely foreign) and took it along for night-time reading. Really illuminating one evening after we fought a 3-knot tidal current in a narrow passage for an hour-and-a-half, right at high tide when I assumed there should be no current. Killen explains very clearly why tides and tidal currents do not necessarily track each other. This allowed me to make sense of our observations from the previous days and come up with reasonably accurate back-of-the envelope current predictions for the last two days that avoided a repeat (and also had us leaving before dawn one day and taking a 2-hour mid-day break on another).
Killen convinced me to buy a deck compass - best thing ever, absolutely recommended in addition to your regular hiking compass: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HYKD8M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1. The other key purchases were a seal-line map "case" (bag really - i go the medium), a waterproof digital watch, and a pair of grease pencils (also from Amazon). The pencil is for marking known locations and times on the map bag, which you rub off from time to time. works great. Attach the pencil to the map case and the case to your decklines with biners and string.
Technical water navigation can be intimidating and, granted, I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, but the book does an excellent job of starting at the foundations and building up to greater details/information...and at the same time, keeping the explanation of the information as basic and easy to understand as possible.
The book has provided an excellent understanding of the effect of tides/current and wind on water navigation (which sets it apart from land navigation).
I, too, discovered the error on page 54, which immediately threw me off. I read the section over and over, and realized it was an error. I was quite proud I caught it and that I was actually understanding the subject. I checked on the internet to veryify it was indeed an error and verified it in one of the above reviews, and Mr. Killen's comment above. Actually, I think the error helped me understand the section.
I highly recommend this book. I wish I had picked it up as my FIRST read. I would very much like to take a Navigation class from the author.
(Mr. Killen, there is also a minor error on page 71 where you are talking about biking and use the word paddle instead of peddle. Didn't know if that has been brought to your attention.)
I originally purchased "Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation" by David Burch.
Why? Because I was told by several instructors that it is the `standard'. Well, Mr Burch's book makes for a decent desktop reference guide on kayak navigation (i.e. you want to know more about a particular navigation topic). However, if you want to learn sea kayak navigation this book is not well organized and this makes for a very difficult read (i.e. high snooze factor).
Update (7/30/2010): Please see my attached comment in regard to an error I found in this book after a second through reading. You may want to print it out and stick it between pages 53-54 as a reference.