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Daphne Joel Beth Ben Events Orienteering  

National Orienteering Day
Hammond Pond Meet
May 6th, 2000

Photos Hammond Pond Pictures

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.

The Meet
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 is circled.

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.


Studing the Map
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 Eleuthera. 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 three.

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.

Where to Go First
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.


Discussing the Clueless at the Finish
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, Dean Sturtevant 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 injury 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.

Dennis Struble who risked life and limb to hang the finish banner. Liz Kotowski, Jim Butler, Scott Meeks, Liz Brooks, Tyler Carpenter, 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
Macklen  60:54
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

Clueless-O Results

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

Clueless-O Statistics

I have compiled some statistics about this years clueless-O which might interest you.

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.

# 1668 4
# 496 3
# 1115 2
# 14104 4
# 210332
# 511223
# 12123 3
# 1710215
# 9143 1
# 18132 3
# 115  13
# 20111 6
# 3161 1
# 715 21
# 8171  
# 139  9
# 1912  6
# 1014  4
# 1514  4
# 615  3

Here are the three most confused controls from this year's clueless-O

control #16 control #16 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 lower cliff.

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.

control #4 control #4 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 other.

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 ground.

control #1 control #1 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.