Ken Fink navigation course question

Is anyone familiar with Ken Fink’s navigation presentation where he uses string and a plastic bag to do chart navigation? I can’t find my notes from when I saw his presentation a number of years ago and I cannot now remember what he said. Can anyone help me out?

sorry but other sources
sorry, no. but tow sources might help you.

One is 'Sea Kayak Navigation" by Franco Ferrero, a very very excellent and hands on practical manual. Very good, just out.

And the standby, but too in depth for some, Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation by Burch, 3rd edition. Burch is a world class sailor, navigator, and teacher. Look online for his in depth courses and internet teaching opportunities.

I took a marine weather course from him that was simply first class.

Thanks, I have those
I was interested in his replacing parallel rules with a plastic bag, etc. He ended up with a very inexpensive set of navigation tools.

Just out?
Copy I have says: Copyright 1999…

Good book.

Must be a newer edition
Sea Kayak Navigation: A Practical Manual, Essential Knowledge for Finding Your Way at Sea by Franco Ferrero (Paperback - Nov 11, 2007)

2nd edition
The new edition of Ferrero is much improved.

Published 2008, I think.

Yes practical tools too
Yes new one has tools.

Plastic Bag
I am not sure about the plastic bag, but a standard tool I have seen Ken use is to take a clear plasitc sheet and draw parallel lines a known chart distance apart with a Sharpie. I use the clear plastic cover from an 8-1/2 x 11 report cover like you would use in school.

Parallel lines should be equal to a known chart distance ( 1 nm, 1/2 nm , etc… depending on the chart scale). You can then slide the clear sheet over the chart and compass rose and pull a quick bearing and estimate distance/time of travel. The parallel lines serve the same purpose as a set of parallel rules. Not as accurate because of the slide/estimating factor but pretty close.

A card compass used as a protractor IMO will give you better on-deck bearings.

I think
Nav Aid by Chuck Sutherland works pretty good for me. You can make your own, pretty simple, but his is very nice and reasonable in $.

my .02



Took his class years ago
It was parallel lines on an overhead projector transparency sheet like you said. Simple, and very effective for kayakers.

I also have a Nav-aid for on the water, and a Weems & Plath “Bi rola rule”, which is pretty slick, too. They all work on the same principle, but Ken’s method is by far the cheapest, and easiest to replace.

Just draw em in pencil 1" apart on chart
Thus wat no matter where you toss your compass on chart a magnetic line intersects compass for an immediate mag bearing thus no need to walk to the rose.

orient the hand
compass on the chart and voila…you’ve got a heading. you have the line attached to the compass marked in same scale as chart…voila you have distance.

i already carry a hand compass as well as the compass up by the bow…figure if i can’t sort it out from there i oughta head to shore.

mistakes in the 2nd edition
On pp. 19-20 Ferrero ventures into etymology and gets it wrong: Spring was not the Viking word for ‘lack of’ (p. 19). That was neap. Accordingly, neap was not the Viking word for ‘abundance of water’ (p. 20), but had to do with ‘pinching off’ (nip and niggardly are cognate).

Interestingly, ‘spring’ and ‘neap’ then appear to be originally more current than tide-related (movement versus the lack thereof). Of course tide leads to current, so the distinction could be easily blurred.

It’s a small mistake and has nothing to do with the major thrust of the book–no doubt Ferrero merely intended it as a mnemonic device (etymology is so irresistable)–but if you’re going to go there at least get it right.

(Source: Pokorny, Indogermanisches Etymologisches Worterbuch, Bern, 1959)

the plastic bag part
If it is what I recall, he used a two gallon ziplock bag to put the chart into, onto which he had drawn parallel lines closer together than they tend to fall on charts. That was to get lines close enough together to be easily scanned/used to get a heading on the scale of charts that are usualoy used for paddling. The string probably used those lines.

I believe that practice pre-dated things like home access to laminating, so grease pencils and at-home stuff can create some pretty nice waterproof charts with grease pencil lines all the places you need.

It was also a pain to find the two gallon zip lock bags.