Results and Commentary by Joel Gould
For the past four years, the Gould family has hosted an Orienteering
meet at Prospect Hill in Waltham, MA every fall
(last year's results).
This year, however,
we decided instead to host a meet at Hammond Pond in the spring.
Hammond Pond is not a very interesting location for our advanced
orienteers. It is very small (less than 1 square kilometer) and has a busy
road running right through the middle of map. However, the map was
completely redone in 1998 and is now very accurate. And the new map
made it possible for Daphne and I to design a clueless-O to attract
the interest of our more experienced orienteers.
Daphne and I hosted our first clueless-O at Prospect Hill in 1997.
The goal of a clueless-O is to design a course that would be interesting
to advanced and expert orienteers at a location where fitting in even
a good orange course is a challenge. A clueless-O is done in score-O
format. 20 controls are placed in the woods and runners are challenged
to visit as many of the controls as possible within an 60 minute time
limit. However, unlike a normal score-O, with a clueless-O the runners
are not given clue sheets.
Without cluesheets, the runners do not know the description of the
feature where the control is located. But more importantly, without
cluesheets, the runners do not know the number of the control they
are supposed to punch. The only information that the clueless-O
runner has in order to
find the proper control is the map itself where the control's location
To make the clueless-O more interesting, there are extra, dummy controls
placed near the actual controls, often on similar features. Since a
clueless-O runner does not know the number of the correct control he
or she must be extra careful when reading the map to make sure that
the correct control is punched. For this reason, we need an up to date
map to host a clueless-O and Hammond Pond fit the bill.
Planning for this year's meet seemed very rushed. We did start planning the
courses at the beginning of April but then Daphne had her appendix taken
out which prevented any additional course work on April 8th. The next
two weekends were taken up by our Gould family vacation to
This left the weekend of April 29th to prepare for the meet.
Ben and Beth Gould designed the white course. The other courses were planned
on the kitchen table by Daphne and I. Then on April 29th, I went into the
woods to check the courses and flag the control points.
The clueless-O received most of our attention. We planned 20 controls but
their locations had to be carefully selected with additional locations for
plausible dummy controls. Since accuracy was critical, the placements of
every clueless control has to be checked and double checked. In the end
every control point was visited by at least two different people, sometimes
In addition, I wanted to be sure that the white and yellow courses were of
appropriate difficulty. Dean Sturtevant ran both the white and the long yellow
in order. Based on his recommendations and Daphne's subsequent checking
of the white, we ended up adding one more white control (#6) to help guide
the runners at one confusing trail intersection.
Control #10 on the long yellow was the most troublesome during field checking.
Dean had to visit the site three times before he found the flagging (which was
correctly placed). The morning of the meet, when Daphne placed the controls
themselves, she also had trouble finding the flagging. She had just given
up and decided to hang the control on the most likely tree anyway when she
noticed that the flagging was on the same tree she had selected.
Ben and Beth Gould checked out the short yellow and had no trouble finding
all the flagging. This gave me confidence that the short yellow would not
give anyone problems.
No one actually ran the orange course in advance of the meet. The course
looked fine on paper and all the control locations were carefully checked as
part of the designing of the clueless-O but we would have to wait until meet
day for someone to actually visit the controls in order.
After two days in the woods, we got all the flagging placed and checked. The
remaining time (five evenings) was spent preparing everything else. Master
maps had to be copied, and control sheets had to me made. The clueless-O
used a preprinted map and Daphne copied all 40 clueless-O maps by hand
and also designed and printed the punch cards.
The controls were selected carefully so that no set of controls near each
other on the clueless-O course had the same (or similar) punch patterns. Then
we prepared master maps and master clue sheets for the people who would be
hanging the controls and grouped the controls together in color coded sets
in preparation for hanging (half Friday night and half Saturday morning).
We used a total of 60 controls. 51 controls from NEOC and 9 of our own (left
over from when we trained the kids one summer). We had one spare which
bothered us since sometimes controls can disappear during a meet and need to
be replaced. Therefore, at the last minute, we called Bill Bryant who hosted
the Boojum Rock meet the previous weekend, and asked him to drop off the
set of controls he used, just in case.
The day of the meet, the weather was perfect. The temperature was in the
60's under partly cloudy skies. Five days before the meet, the long range
forecasts were predicting an 80 degree day which would have been too warm
(and which caused us to buy lots of extra water). But the day before the
meet, the forecast changed -- moderate temperatures with scattered showers.
Whoops, scattered showers, that was even worse than a hot day. But the rain
held off all day and we never had to bring out the tarps.
99 people showed up at the meet (based on registration signatures).
This was a light turnout for us which
seemed to be caused by two things. First, we did very little advertising.
Our vacation plans had limited the amount of time we could spend doing
advance advertising and except for a small blurb in the Boston Globe Calendar
magazine, and the entry in the NEOC schedule, there was little advance
warning of the meet
We were supposed to have more advertising. May 6th was National Orienteering
Day and some clubs were making a big deal out of the event. But NEOC was
rather quiet. And, although we did receive some very nice promotional posters
from the national club, they showed up late Thursday less than 48 hours before
the start of the meet.
The second thing that reduced our attendance was Souhegan Vally Rogaine
held the same day in southern New Hampshire. I think that it was the rogaine
which attracted many of the NEOC club members who would normally turn
out at one of our local meets.
The crowds that did come, came early. We had finished setting up and placing
all the controls by 9:30 which was a good thing because by 9:45 there was
already a line at the registration table. Since most people came
early and we were able to get everyone off the courses by 2:30 (a record for
us) which allowed us to clean up earlier than usual.
The orange course was the most popular (based on the number of people
who ran it) and we received a number of compliments
about the course design. It was not very long (at 3.2km) but it offered some
interesting route choices and the control placement was very fair.
But is was the clueless-O which received the most attention. Everyone who
ran the clueless-O liked it and there was a lot of post-course analysis going
on around the finish table. To ensure instant gratification, we scored
everyone's clueless-O card as soon as they finished. This gave the runners
a chance to see which controls they mispunched. Quite a few people were
surprised by the mistakes they made.
There are more details about the clueless-O below, after the course results.
In the final analysis, everyone had a great time. (Although we bought way
too much water.)
I would like to thank our meet workers. First,
who not only
helped on the day of the meet but checked most of the controls the week before
and helped me hang the controls the evening before the meet. Dean was hoping
to run the rogaine the day of the meet but he was unable to find a partner
in time. Our gain.
Jon and Joni Waldon.
Joni had the only
of the day but it wasn't while
she was working. Towards the end of the meet, Joni decided to try the orange
course. (Earlier she and her father had run the clueless-O.) But Joni slipped
and cut her forehead on a rock. As is typical of a scalp wound there was lots
of blood, but Don Springer leapt into action with the first aid kit and Joni
was cleaned up before her father got back from running an errand.
who risked life and limb to hang the finish banner.
and of course,
Ben and Beth Gould.
I would also like to thank Linda Kukolich, who was unable to show up but who
sent homemade cookies in her absence.
Finally we would like to give Liz Kotowski credit for donating some of the pictures
of the meet. Liz's pictures are on the third page
(the photos without a time of day).
White Course Results
|Anna Chapin|| 11:04|
|Zara Siebel|| 17:45|
|Laura Giberson|| 27:55|
|Brinks group|| 35:01|
|Claire O'Brien|| 47:09|
Short Yellow Course Results
|Mike and Andy Lints|| 29:47|
|Carmel Roach|| 38:29|
|Ellisa Yanover (Scouts)|| 39:20|
|Caroline Chapin group|| 44:19|
|Zara Seibel|| 45:53|
|Robert Spielvogel|| 50:22|
|Patti B. Sans group|| 55:48|
|Claire O'Brian group|| 58:45|
|Rebecca Jenness|| 62:36|
|Elaine Early|| 65:25|
|R. Hynes|| DSQ|
Yellow Course Results
|Jonathan Samuel|| 32:45|
|B. Samuel|| 39:03|
|Ray Jalette, Feiffi Fang, Terry Pan|| 54:45|
|Bob Roth group|| 57:40|
|Paula Crerar group|| 60:00|
|Jennifer Fitzsimmons (NEOC)|| 62:10|
|Allan Gold group|| 63:56|
|S. Khalsa, L. Adler (NEOC)|| 100:17|
|Karyn Ramsey|| 111:58|
|Jim Curran|| DSQ|
Orange Course Results
|Peter Frykman (NEOC)|| 59:15|
|Ken Krutt (NEOC)|| 60:06|
|Shaun Manseau|| 67:15|
|Paige Williams (NEOC)|| 69:05|
|Tony Maniscalco (NEOC-WM)|| 77:44|
|John Marold (NEOC)|| 81:05|
|Diana Tung (LAOC)|| 83:54|
|Patrice Miller (NEOC)|| 98:47|
|Michael C. Commons (NEOC)|| 98:47|
|Ginger Fitzsimmons (NEOC)|| 107:26|
|Leslie Turke (NEOC)|| 108:26|
|Paul Poppert (NEOC)|| 113:40|
|Amato group|| 124:40|
|Mike R. Smith (NEOC)|| 136:56|
|Diane Menzies|| 142:36|
|Stephen Baker group (Boy Scout Troup 40)|| 153:30|
|Paul, Josh and Jim (Boy Scout Troup 40)|| 160:22|
|David and Evan (Boy Scout Troup 40)|| 177:24|
|Joni Waldron|| DNF|
|Ray Collings|| DSQ|
|Jeff Saegar (NEOC)|| 92|| 47.55|
|Dennis Struble (NEOC)|| 79|| 52:13|
|Terry Keegan (NEOC-RI)|| 73|| 57:58|
|Samantha Saeger (NEOC)|| 69|| 57:03|
|John Hansman|| 69|| 58:43|
|Donn Springer (NEOC)|| 66|| 56:04|
|Jon & Joni Waldron (NEOC)|| 66|| 58:00|
|Ann Harrer|| 65|| 48:04|
|W. Scott Meeks (NEOC)|| 63|| 61:00|
|Kathy McArdle (NEOC)|| 61|| 58:06|
|Judith Karpinski (NEOC)|| 60|| 55:38|
|Peter Amram (NEOC)|| 60|| 58:58|
|T. Prokhorova (TAY/NEOC)|| 44|| 59:03|
|Liz Kotowski (NEOC)|| 43|| 52:47|
|Tyler Carpenter (NEOC)|| 33|| 58:43|
|Mochale Potter (NEOC)|| 32|| 54:54|
|Jim Butler (NEOC)|| 32|| 59:00|
|Timmy Reif|| -15|| 77:47|
I have compiled some statistics about this years clueless-O which might
18 different people tried the clueless-O this year. (Not counting Dean
Sturtevant who helped check the course and place the controls. Dean wanted
to see how long it would take him to visit all the controls, knowing where
they were -- 45:45.) Of those 18 people, the average person punched 16.1
times of which only 13.4 of the punches were correct. The average person
also skipped 4.3 of the controls entirely.
Two of the runners made no mistakes, but each failed to visit all the
controls (Ann Harrer, 13 controls, and Judy Karpinski, 12 controls). Jeff
Saegar visited all the controls but punched wrong at number 16.
In addition to person-by-person statistics, I have compiled the following
table which lists the controls themselves in order from the most confused
to the least confused. For each control, I indicate the number of people
who punched correctly (5 pts), the number of people who punched one of the
dummy controls (-3 pts), the number of people who punched both the correct
control and a dummy control (2 pts), and the number of people who skipped
that control entirely (0 pts). As you can see, Jeff was not alone in having
trouble at control number 16.
|# 16||6||8|| ||4|
|# 4||9||6|| ||3|
|# 1||11||5|| ||2|
|# 14||10||4|| ||4|
|# 12||12||3|| ||3|
|# 9||14||3|| ||1|
|# 18||13||2|| ||3|
|# 11||5|| || ||13|
|# 20||11||1|| ||6|
|# 3||16||1|| ||1|
|# 7||15|| ||2||1|
|# 8||17||1|| || |
|# 13||9|| || ||9|
|# 19||12|| || ||6|
|# 10||14|| || ||4|
|# 15||14|| || ||4|
|# 6||15|| || ||3|
Here are the three most confused controls from this year's clueless-O
This is a picture of the area around control #16 (shown with and without
control circles). The upper circle contained the real control #16 and
was shown on the clueless-O maps. The actual control was placed at the
bottom of the northern end of the cliff. (Note that the circles drawn
in this picture are somewhat different than an actual copy of the
clueless-O map because of the tools used.)
The lower circle contained the dummy control. (The lower circle was not
drawn on the clueless-O maps.) The dummy control was placed at the top
of the second cliff, right next to the rock.
When I designed the course, I did not expect anyone to be fooled. The
second cliff, with the dummy control, is clearly a corner cliff both on
the map and in reality. Also, there is a trail passing just north of
the upper cliff (with the actual control) and no trail anywhere near the
However, when I talked to people, I discovered that may people were
confused because of the rocks. At least one person punched the dummy
control because it was next to a rock and they assumed (based on the
circle drawn on their map), that the real control feature was a rock.
This is a picture of control #4. (Again I have included two images,
one with the control locations marked and one without.) The lower
circle was the actual control and was the only circle drawn on the
clueless-O maps. Both the real and the dummy controls were placed
at the bottom, center of their respective cliffs.
I actually expected this control to give some people problems. There
is some brush along the bottoms of all three cliffs just east of the
swamp. Because of this, you cannot see the two controls from each
Yet, a good orienteer should have been able to find the correct control.
When I flagged the controls, I approached from the south and counted
cliffs. When I hung the controls, I approached from the north. In
both cases it was easy to tell the correct cliff from the incorrect
cliff. And yes, the angle of the incorrect cliff is obvious from the
Finally, here is a picture of control #1. The two controls (real and
dummy) were both placed on patches of bare rock with actual rocks
just to the northeast. The correct control was the southeastern control.
I believe that people confused these controls if they approached them
from the north. The top of the hill can be confusing to people (even
through the map is very accurate) and if the orienteer follows a bearing
to find the control, they could get misdirected.
On the other hand, when approached from the south (there is a path
there), the correct control is obvious, it is the only control just
north of a cliff.
In conclusion, the clueless-O was a great success judged by the
interested of the participants. Even in a small area like Hammond
Pond it is still possible to challenge good orienteers. We hope to
be able to design more clueless-Os in the future.
This web page (http://www.gouldhome.com/HammondPond.html) was last updated on December 19, 2001.
For any comments or suggestions about the site contact Daphne Gould.
Contents copyright © 1999-2003 by Joel and Daphne Gould.