'Alma', river Trent, June 2015

‘Alma’, river Trent, June 2015

One of the great features of our class is the steady stream of informative and inspiring articles in our magazine, and our extensive log library. In recent years however, submissions to the log library have been few and far between. When we discussed this the committee also noticed that many magazine write-ups are indistinguishable from logs and the Editor noted that what he is always short of is pictures, rather than words! We are hoping to find a way to increase the number and quality of logs as reference material for the Wayfarer sailing community, and also to increase the visual interest of our magazine, Wayfarer News.

Ideally we would like there to be a log in the library and an article in the Wayfarer News for many if not most cruises that are written up. We could achieve this by asking members to send in two versions, one for the magazine and one for the library. But obviously members are free to submit whatever they wish – we can only strongly recommend!

Whilst there is a big overlap between logs and articles, here is how we see the essential differences:-

A Magazine Article:

  • Is intended primarily to entertain, whilst also being informative. A good article will leave a reader keen to read the log, particularly if they are thinking of undertaking a cruise in the same area.
  • Has lots of pictures!
  • Mostly describes the “standout” experiences of the cruise – weather, travelling, events, humour, scenery, camping, eating and drinking, wildlife.
  • Gives a lively impression of what it was like to sail that cruise.
  • Describes the key lessons learned (these can be serious or humourous).
  • It can have many of the features of a log (see below) but these aren’t essential.

A Cruise Log:

  • Is primarily intended to be informative, but a good log also has entertainment value!
  • A log emphasises key information about passage planning, route and places visited and lessons learned.
  • A log would almost always be longer than a magazine piece about the same cruise, particularly in terms of word-count. One of the things a log can do is to provide fellow Wayfarers with information they would be hard pressed to find in published sources. A log gives your fellow sailors the benefit of your experience.

Now the last thing we want is logs written to a pro-forma. Write the log you want to write, but to help guide you a log would contain most, or even all of the following elements:-

  • How you planned the trip and/or something about passage planning
  • A decent map showing where you went
  • Details of wind, weather, tides/currents, distances sailed
  • Plans, diagrams or photographs to illustrate particular points of interest of lessons learned. One of the easiest ways to do this is to draw a diagram and take a photograph of it!
  • Specific information gleaned from the experience that is not available in published pilots/charts etc.  (e.g. estimated tidal height to get you into Eigg inner harbour). Ask yourself if there is something you learned that you would have liked to have known in advance.
  • What went particularly well
  • Lessons learned from either what when well or what went less well.
  • Any mistakes that were made – this is actually really important and useful for others.
  • One last suggestion: co-ordinates or other clear location information for key places described which aren’t “named” or readily found on a map. It can be frustrating to read about a lovely camping spot but have no clear idea where it is!! Co-ordinates can be easily generated by Google Map browsing for the spot, or taken from navigation software.