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Old 11-01-2012, 10:19   #1
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Do You Still Use Cruising Guides ?

With all the advances in GPS/chartplotter technology, I still find myself depending on good old-fashioned paper cruising guides while planning my summer excursions (hey, gotta do something in January!)

I was just wondering if I'm out of date on this. Are there any electronic cruising guides that have the same sort of information as the thick books in my cruising library? I haven't seen anything with the kind of detail you can get in a 500 page book.

In fact, I just ordered a rather expensive book from Amazon for the Maine coast, since that's my goal for next summer, and now I'm wondering if I'm the only one still buying them.

Any alternatives out there? Are you still buying cruising books?

-- John
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:32   #2
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I am not aware of any electronic/digital cruising guides and frankly I wonder why they are not available yet. Maybe the limited market is not sufficient to justify the cost of digitizing?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:37   #3
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Given I have no computer / internet access when I am sailing I rely totally on printed cruising guides. I also find it easier to passage plan with reference to a guide and use full size paper charts. Passage planning on a small 12 inch screen is just tiresome.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:42   #4
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

John,

I assume you ordered the Taft / Rindlaub guide, A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast. . Not only is this a solid cruising guide, with lots of first-hand piloting information, but it also offers nice illustrations, photos, and well-written tidbits of history, wildlife, local attractions, etc. True, there's a companion website, but 1) much of the Maine coast is outside the coverage of AT&T, Verizon, etc, and 2) it's pleasurable to sit in the cockpit with the Taft guide and a cup of coffee, flipping the pages and planning your day.
-Colin
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:44   #5
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I use both paper and online sources. As far as online, ActiveCaptain comes to mind, but I also look for websites about the areas in which I travel. Ex: bootkeyharbor.com
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:49   #6
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Paper and Plotters really go together !! to go with just one it would have to be paper,it's not gonna drop out on ya !! I have and use both, NOW,12 yr's ago it was Paper and a simple GPS, with a hand held back up, and lots of batteries LOL Great Pacific Loop was no problem !! a lot easier then 25 yrs ago paper,sextant, and an old aircraft Loran,LOL. But we found our way and had a lot of fun! but back then it was me no lost, Island lost !! Bob and Connie
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:50   #7
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

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Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
John,

I assume you ordered the Taft / Rindlaub guide, A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast. . Not only is this a solid cruising guide, with lots of first-hand piloting information, but it also offers nice illustrations, photos, and well-written tidbits of history, wildlife, local attractions, etc. True, there's a companion website, but 1) much of the Maine coast is outside the coverage of AT&T, Verizon, etc, and 2) it's pleasurable to sit in the cockpit with the Taft guide and a cup of coffee, flipping the pages and planning your day.
-Colin
Yes, that's the book.

I agree that it's more pleasant to flip through a book, but that might just be because I'm of the book generation.

I also think it's still easier and more efficient to use a good book, than to try to google the same info, although I can imagine an iPad app that would have the same info and be at least as easy to use. I just haven't seen it, yet.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:00   #8
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Nice work on Blue Moon, John! Will you stop by Wooden Boat and show her off?
Maybe the ERR in August?
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:05   #9
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

paper cruising guides mainly for the harbour chartlets & anchorage guides, could never afford large scale charts of everywhere. Lonely planet & google earth for shoreside and trekking hints. Laptop for passage planning.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:12   #10
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I grow increasingly frustrated at the number of out-of-date cruising guides I own. This would be a great argument to switch to a tablet-based guide formatted as an upgradable app in the future.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:14   #11
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I love the web sites and electronic stuff, but still can't do without a nice printed cruising guide to go with with my coffee in the morning, and learning about the places and history that you can't get in a practical format online.

FYI: Skipper Bob Guides are offered as E-books, which works since they are very straight-forward in a mile-by-mile approach. Unfortunately, there's no book yet for the Maine coast. The Waterway Guide Northern Edition covers Maine, but is not offered as an e-book yet.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:23   #12
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I try to read every pilot book I can get my hands on before I visit a new area. I am not comfortable if I have read only one pilot book on a new area -- in my experience, no compiler of pilot books ever gets it completely right or manages to cover everything you need to know. Now most of my cruising is in the English Channel, which is an extremely challenging place from the point of view of pilotage; maybe other areas require less study.

I have at least five pilot books covering the English Channel -- the Shell Channel Pilot, the North Brittany and Channel Islands Cruising Companion, Secret Anchorages of Brittany, Channel Havens: The Secret Inlets and Secluded Anchorages of the Channel, and there's another general Channel pilot I can't remember the name of.

The splendid Reed's Almanac also has detailed pilotage information on every port of Atlantic Europe, and since this is updated every year, I am sure to consult this last.

Like others, I prefer to do planning with paper charts and paper pilot books. I also have paper tidal atlases (essential in the Channel) and a paper nautical almanac, the splendid Reed's Nautical Atlas.

We do have, however, four electronic tools which I have found to be very useful.

One of them is the electronic version of Reed's, which is extremely well done. This is updated not once a year, but continuously, so you can't beat this for up-to-the-second pilotage information. Besides that, it is available offline on your laptop, so is extremely useful for planning. If you buy the large paper almanac, you get a free subscription to the electronic almanac -- a terrific combination (wish they sold charts like that!).

The second tool is a website called UK Wide Harbour Pilotage, View Full Size Marine Charts Online. This is supposed to be a comprehensive online pilot guide, and it is very useful for local knowledge and very good electronic charts of ports.

The third electronic tool is Navionics electronic charts on my IPad. I am not yet entirely happy with the INavX program I bought to run them (I'm am still not sure, however, that I have figured out all of the functionality - still working on that). But even with that, I find it extremely useful to have all of Western Europe, available offline, on my IPad wherever I am. It is terrific to be able to pick up the IPad and see in an instant what the port of La Rochelle looks like, for example.

The fourth electronic tool is Google Earth. There isn't any nautical information on here, but I have found it to be extremely valuable for getting an idea of what the land looks like in a given area -- gives me a great way to get oriented. I wish Google Earth would add nautical information -- they already have Google Maps -- why not Google Charts? Seamlessly joined? Would be terrific!


As you can see, I am a little obsessive about passage planning. It might not be necessary in less challenging areas.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:34   #13
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I downloaded the Cruising Guide to the Hawaiian Islands on my Kindle for PC--saved at least a pound and space on the bookshelf, in addition to being cheaper than the printed version. I could also use the search function to help find places.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:51   #14
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I grow increasingly frustrated at the number of out-of-date cruising guides I own. This would be a great argument to switch to a tablet-based guide formatted as an upgradable app in the future.
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
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:59   #15
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Re: Do you still use cruising guides?

I used Chris Doyles Cruising Guides, Combined with Charts by Nautical Publications with companion CD's. WWW.cruisingguides.com.

As far as I know Chris still hauls his boat at Power Boats in Trinadad for the hurricane season after a cruising season of visiting the places he writes about.
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