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Old 12-01-2012, 06:25   #31
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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My difficulties are that one almost have to almost micro search the planet for markers. There is nothing to accurately tell you whether there will or will not be markers in a given area.
OK, I guess that's fair. We're not very well filled out in the South Pacific. We also only have a couple of anchorages in the Antarctic. The very remote areas are going to be the last. The data doesn't come from us - it comes from everyone out there cruising. Certainly the very far away places will take the longest amount of time to fill out.

For the vast majority of cruising boaters, the very remote areas aren't really very important.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:29   #32
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Yes. Use printed guides. Especially the official government pubs. Very valuable.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:37   #33
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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That's funny... I actually collect old cruising guides. I mean really old, like from the 30s. I've got one on Long Island Sound that was originally printed around 1935 that I still use for ideas. Of course, I don't depend on it for navigation and it is severely lacking in web addresses
That sort of collecting is the first thing that went out the door when we became liveaboards.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:50   #34
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I spent last summer on the Nova Scotia coast, and used a printed guide, a pdf electronic guide by Peter Loveridge, and a 20 year old book about Nova Scotia harbors that had really good hand drawings of harbors that were very useful. All three of these documents had out of date information concerning shoreside facilities. I did not have the offline version of Active Captain at that time - I hope Active Captain's coverage of Nova Scotia will fill a gap that exists for anyone heading over that way. Many of the docking spaces and stores mentioned in the three printed or electronic guides no longer exist in the harbors N/E of Halifax which we found rather frustrating. And as for hazards, Active Captain, please step in - we found a rock right in the middle of the entrance to one harbor by coming down smack right on top of it with the green and red buoys on either side of the boat. Ouch! Next well took us off and no harm done fortunately.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:58   #35
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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I'm not a member of ActiveCaptain (although my wife is). My difficulties are that one almost have to almost micro search the planet for markers.
Exactly what I found when casually clicking around..
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:05   #36
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

We use paper based ones extensively. But in New Cal we had one that was an electronic-based: with sat pictures, anchorage photos, chartlets, etc. and we LOVED it.

I bet this is where the future is. The first one to move into the e-book Cruising Guides niche will win.

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Old 12-01-2012, 07:06   #37
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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There are a variety of problems with printed guides. First and foremost, the ones with advertising appear very biased toward pushing you toward their advertisers. Each of us then unsuspectedly spends $40 only to realize later that we've spent a fair amount on advertising. This is the exact same problem that boating magazines find themselves in today. The result is that readership is way down, content is bleak, and they're dropping away like flies. Even the magazines have realized that their issues need to be free. And yet, we're still suckers to pay for guidebooks.

. . .

Contrast that with the free digital data available on the internet. It's updated daily. It's available offline when no internet connection exists, it's easy to have a backup on multiple devices/phones/laptops, and it can be always with you especially if you have it on your phone (offline even).

In our own case, there are 15 shipping products that license our data and provide it in their navigation products. There are another 20 in development including some by the largest marine electronics manufacturers - watch what comes out at the Miami Boat Show - it's going to change everything (you heard it here first).

In addition to factual data, you can also obtain review and opinion information from other cruisers. Taken individually, a review isn't worth much. But put 20 or more together and you start to get a good idea about a facility or anchorage. We provide background info about each captain in each review to allow you to make some evaluation about their experience, boat type, etc.

And what about anchorages? Notice how many aren't documented in the advertising-based guidebooks? That's because they don't pay. Even worse, local marinas don't want nearby anchorages listed. Anyone with experience in an area can see the obvious missing anchorages in proximity of full-page-marina-paying advertisements - it's really quite disgusting.
The gist of this is that all pilot book compilers are corrupted by advertisers and can't be trusted.

This seems to me to be taking a page out of the Craig Smith method of promoting your own product. You might consider how that worked out for Craig.

I am all in favor of electronic media and use them enthusiastically. I will be very happy if something like Active Captain comes out for my area. But the great pilot books -- like the legendary Shell Channel Pilot, for example -- are notable exactly for their integrity, and not the lack thereof. They are complied by great sailors like Tom Cunliffe who provide a rich fund of their own personal and subjective experience which is so valuable to us. This fulfills a somewhat different purpose from electronic media which is why I use both. The great pilot books are updated often enough. And a careful sailor will always look at an almanac, if not something online, to be sure that a new pier hasn't been built, a marker moved, or a cut silted in in the four or five years since his pilot book came out, and to make sure he's got the right VHF channels and telephone numbers. But he'll start with personal account and comments in the pilot book, which will be hard to replace with anything electronic.

I have never seen a pilot book with advertising in it, and have never read anything in any of them to suggest that there is any lack of integrity. I don't think that this blanket condemnation is either fair, or indeed becoming of someone who is promoting a competitive product.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:11   #38
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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I hope ActiveCaptain's coverage of Nova Scotia will fill a gap that exists for anyone heading over that way.

...

And as for hazards, ActiveCaptain, please step in - we found a rock right in the middle of the entrance to one harbor by coming down smack right on top of it with the green and red buoys on either side of the boat.
I think we have pretty good data for Nova Scotia and the Bras d'Or Lakes areas. Look around and see.

But the second comment misses the zen of ActiveCaptain. It's as if there's the idea that Karen and Jeff are sitting in their boat filling out the anchorages and hazards of the world. What we realized in 2006 is that no one person or company can do that. It doesn't work. It has never worked. What it takes is the community of boaters working together to add and update the data. We created an architecture whereby anyone can add and edit data. We provide some mechanisms to evaluate the opinion data from others and we do much to validate the factual data. We have also committed to keeping it free for everyone - both free to access on open systems like the website and free to navigation product developers who want to bundle the data into their products.

But it's not for us to "step in". If you know a specific hazard in Nova Scotia, you need to step in! And in doing so, you gain points, get awarded products, and know that you're having your thoughts recorded for many thousands of other boaters to see and use much like you use their contributions.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:25   #39
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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I have never seen a pilot book with advertising in it, and have never read anything in any of them to suggest that there is any lack of integrity. I don't think that this blanket condemnation is either fair, or indeed becoming of someone who is promoting a competitive product.
But you're proving the point I was making. The pilot books you use have no advertising and you believe they have total integrity. I agree. Totally.

Now go look at some of the advertising-driven guidebook publications and tell me the same thing.

I even used the Taft book about cruising Maine as an example of one that I purchased and used. I like the Gunkholer's Guide to the Chesapeake too. Neither have a sentence of advertising and are quite reputable in my opinion of cruising in both areas extensively. I can't say the same for many other things I've read.

Comparing me to Craig Smith is quite unfair. To me, this is all passion. To Craig it was about making sales. I believe in what we're doing. Use ActiveCaptain, don't use it. The income to me is the same - zero. What I want is more people to use it so more data is generated making it all better in a similar way that Wikipedia was built. Years ago there were raucous debates between the founders of Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britanica. This is no different.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:33   #40
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Comparing me to Craig Smith is quite unfair. To me, this is all passion. To Craig it was about making sales. I believe in what we're doing. Use ActiveCaptain, don't use it. The income to me is the same - zero. What I want is more people to use it so more data is generated making it all better in a similar way that Wikipedia was built. Years ago there were raucous debates between the founders of Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britanica. This is no different.
Fair enough -- I even somewhat believe you. However -- I would still caution you to avoid unwittingly falling into Craig Smith style rhetorical habits. It turns people off.

What I don't believe is that you are uninterested in whether people use your system or not. Naturally, your project will succeed and gain value only on the basis of whether people use it or not. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:39   #41
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The gist of this is that all pilot book compilers are corrupted by advertisers and can't be trusted.

This seems to me to be taking a page out of the Craig Smith method of promoting your own product. You might consider how that worked out for Craig.

I am all in favor of electronic media and use them enthusiastically. I will be very happy if something like Active Captain comes out for my area. But the great pilot books -- like the legendary Shell Channel Pilot, for example -- are notable exactly for their integrity, and not the lack thereof. They are complied by great sailors like Tom Cunliffe who provide a rich fund of their own personal and subjective experience which is so valuable to us. This fulfills a somewhat different purpose from electronic media which is why I use both. The great pilot books are updated often enough. And a careful sailor will always look at an almanac, if not something online, to be sure that a new pier hasn't been built, a marker moved, or a cut silted in in the four or five years since his pilot book came out, and to make sure he's got the right VHF channels and telephone numbers. But he'll start with personal account and comments in the pilot book, which will be hard to replace with anything electronic.

I have never seen a pilot book with advertising in it, and have never read anything in any of them to suggest that there is any lack of integrity. I don't think that this blanket condemnation is either fair, or indeed becoming of someone who is promoting a competitive product.
I think you've expressed my thoughts better than I could do it myself.

I mentioned that I collect old cruising guides, and one of the reasons I do is for the writing, which in the best old guides is both enlightening and entertaining, and a window into a long-lost era of cruising.

One that I was re-reading again last night is Duncan's 1937 "Cruising Guide to the New England Coast". While I wouldn't depend on the piloting information in the book, it's remarkable how little the coast line has changed since 1937. What has changed is the number of boats jammed into them!

And you are right about the importance of the writer. On my voyage last summer up the ICW, I had all the Claiborne Young guides, and another set of guides. After using both for a few weeks, I realized I trusted the information in the Young guides more, and thereafter, used them exclusively.

Crowd sourced electronic guides can cover more area and generate lots of data inexpensively, but as anyone who participates in online forums knows, some people's opinions are worth more than others. Sometimes a lot more. So you have to take everything you read online with a grain of salt.

Skepticism isn't what you want when you are racing a storm into an unknown harbor, with wife and 2 kids aboard. What you want is a calm voice you can trust.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:42   #42
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Yep. Doyle's pretty loaded with adverts. But they are clearly separate from the body text.

Have never had any problem telling the difference between an advert and the anchorage chartlet there. Have you?

If there is an ad in a publication, it does not mean I have to read it or heed it.

;-)
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:46   #43
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Crowd sourced electronic guides can cover more area and generate lots of data inexpensively, but as anyone who participates in online forums knows, some people's opinions are worth more than others. Sometimes a lot more. So you have to take everything you read online with a grain of salt.
That's why no one person's opinion can count much. It's the community of input that provides the truth somewhere. In the disorganized discussion format of forums, consensus can be hard to see. When it's organized, it becomes obvious.

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Skepticism isn't what you want when you are racing a storm into an unknown harbor, with wife and 2 kids aboard. What you want is a calm voice you can trust.
And hopefully that calm voice has been in the area you're racing towards in the last 5 years or since the last storm. That regatta of boats a day ahead of you were...
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:50   #44
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Have never had any problem telling the difference between an advert and the anchorage chartlet there. Have you?
Yes. Examples abound. You have to know and watch for them. We have purchase order copies for advertising placement specifying that the marina gets to write the editorial for the surrounding area.

Even more specifically is the quote that Deltaville, VA is the "Cruising Capital of the Chesapeake". That's not in an ad. That's the name of a section. It just so happens that the publisher owns 2 marinas in the Deltaville area. I guess he's never been to Annapolis.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:21   #45
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

One other point from my own experience...

On my 2000 mile trip around FL and up to NY, I used my iPhone extensively for navigation, weather, tides, etc. Except for some large patches in the GA swamps and the wilderness of NC, I had internet access for most of the trip, at least at night when I was tucked up in an anchorage.

I used Navionics for charts, RadarScope for radar, TideGraph for tides, and StarPilot for the few times I was able to use my sextant (just for fun), as well as a permanent bookmark to the NOAA site, and other weather apps (never did find a weather app I really liked). I also used it to google info, post to my blog, and keep in touch.

My point: by the time I got back to New York, the socket on the bottom of the phone, where you plug in the charger, was badly corroded. To the point where it eventually became unusable.

I *NEVER* brought my phone out on deck. It never got wet, from either rain or spray. But Apple did not engineer the iPhone or iPad for the marine environment. I think you could say the same about any phone or computer. If you use it long enough on the water, you will damage it, eventually.

On the other hand, my books and paper charts (I had paper charts for the whole route) are water stained, bent, folded, and otherwise mutilated from being used on deck in all sorts of weather. They are still usable, and actually, I kinda like looking at their water stained covers. They remind me of good times. And could replace all the books, if I wanted to, for less than the price of an iPhone.

With that said, I now have an iPad and would never go cruising without it. I'm just VERY VERY careful with it.
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