Q&A: Custom Log Book

Question: I read your article, “Knowing Where You Are“, in January’s Cruising World magazine and was wondering if I could see a copy of your custom log book page.

Answer: Note that the blank column can be used for whatever you wish; we usually use it for recording water temperature, both when crossing the Gulf Stream and when in icy waters to monitor for the presence of pack ice.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

2 comments… add one
  • Chuck B Jan 6, 2017, 2:20 pm

    Hi John, happy new year! 🙂 Found this via your new “Navigation” book, thank you for sharing.

    Would you mind elaborating on how you use the various columns in your log? Some of them are not clear to me, for example:

    – What do you put in the “Log” column?

    – What do you put in the “Distance” column? Is it distance covered since last log entry? Is “Water” value obtained by time elapsed * estimated average speed (via knotmeter)? Is “Ground” distance over ground? Are you using GPS for this, or computing via the delta latitude & longitude since last log entry, even in the case of an estimated fix (dead reckoning)?

    – What is the “Bar” column, atmospheric pressure?

    Thank you, I love to learn how other folks do things and get ideas.


    • John Jan 7, 2017, 9:03 am

      Hi Chuck,


      Log: Distance measured by the log rotor (through water).
      Distance: Difference between two log readings (water). Distance on chart between two plots measured with dividers (ground). This is left over from when we plotted on paper. Difference tells us what current affect is.
      Bar: Barometric pressure.

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