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One doesn’t read much about boat logs.  I suppose that now days many consider their blog to be their boat log.  Some even say that on their site.  I don’t see them as the same at all.

Continuously posting photos of the wife that was hot in the 80s…as if she’s still hot now is not a boat log.  And, posting an endless stream of children photos that all look the same with only the blog name being different is not a ship’s log either.  Nope, and it doesn’t matter how many newly learned nautical terms are thrown in for good measure.

We keep a ship’s log.  We keep it simple, but we do keep one.  One of my New Years Resolutions is to keep a better ship’s log.

What do we keep in our log?  Well, here is our ship’s log and a typical example from last summer.


The log.  Sorry, I like pink.


As mentioned, we keep our logbook simple.  We enter data as we deem it necessary.  Generally speaking, that is at least twice a day in good calm weather…after every watch if things are dicey.

The basics of every entry are:





Engine Status

Wind Speed and Direction

Sail Configuration

Sea State

General Notes

Last night, for whatever reason, I pulled out our log book and read through it.  It’s kind of amazing how quickly one can forget a passage.  Here is one verbatim entry from our ship’s log:

1819 Local  6/21/13

N29 – 11.8  W92 – 34.9

Heading – 272 M

Speed – 6.0 Kts

Engine – Running good.  185 temp.  Yesterday in Fourchon – added .5qt of coolant, first of trip.  Added .5qt of oil.

Wind – 10 kts at 270…right on nose.

Sea State – smooth rolling swells 2’-4’

Sails – mainsail only

Pulled into Fourchon yesterday to tank up.  Used 80 gallons from Tampa – 72 hours.  Fourchon was not an easy stop.  Narrow channel with numerous huge offshore supply boats.  Exited channel around 2200 local.  Destination: Galveston, Texas.  Distance: 248 nm.  Distance traveled in past 24 hours: 141nm.  Distance to Galveston: 107 nm.  ETA: 1234 local.

By reading that entry I’m almost magically transported back to the early evening just off the coast of Louisiana in a smooth gentle swell shortly after I took my watch.  What I didn’t write in the log (that the entry reminded me of) was a small black butterfly I happened to see about 20 yards off the starboard beam as I was making the entry.  It followed the boat for about 10 minutes.  It never landed, just flapped crazily to keep abreast before actually turning due north for the coast many miles away.  I wonder if he made it.

We keep a separate engine log…not nearly so much fun.


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