As in many walks of life, there are now some very sophisticated and ‘user-friendly’ voyage estimating programmes available for general use, or even astute colleagues who can use their computing talents to design personalised programmes ‘in house’. Nevertheless, it is vital that those setting out diligently to learn about voyage estimating learn the basics and that is made very much easier by starting with hand-produced calculations prepared by no more sophisticated a method than brainpower, pencil and paper, aided where necessary, by a pocket calculator. The aim should be for students of voyage estimating to build up confidence by the knowledge that if necessary and the computer ‘goes down’, a relatively accurate voyage estimate can be hand-produced in reasonable time. It will help you considerably in producing consistent estimates to use a standard estimate form for each calculation. Appendix 7:1 provides a sample form containing all the necessary elements, and it may be that you will discover that form provides you with all that is required for successful voyage estimating throughout your career. A voyage estimate consists broadly of income minus expenditure, like any profit and loss account. Which form of procedure you use is, however, a matter of personal preference, but all can be classified under the heading of ‘method’. It is easy to reduce an estimate to the back of an envelope and, indeed, there may be isolated occasions when speed of negotiating will make this a necessity. But if all the various elements are set out in front of you, it is far more difficult to overlook the odd, important item, which can make all the difference between profit and loss. So whether you intend to undertake voyage estimates regularly or simply for the initial purposes of this course, select a suitable form and use it constantly. Usually in an Institute examination involving voyage estimating, a blank form will be provided for a candidate’s use. However, an estimate can quite adequately be made on plain paper. The vital thing is to acquire ‘method’. In this Lesson, therefore, we will be following the stages listed above and, indeed, the later examples are used on that system.