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Old 18-02-2008, 09:02   #1
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PAPER CHARTS

Does anyone out there have a particular brand ie. Admiralty Charts, Imray-Iolaire charts etc. that they prefer for the Caribbean. And if you have a preferance why? I don't mind paying more if it's worth it........Ed
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Old 19-02-2008, 03:25   #2
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I generally recommend that cruisers use Larger scale charts for their greater accuracy, except for passage planning, where Small scale "Sailing" charts are more convenient.

CHART SCALES:

There are several scale levels of charts. A large-scale chart covers a small geographical area in greater detail, while a small-scale chart will cover a larger area in less detail.
Because large-scale charts show areas in greater detail, many features (that appear on a large-scale chart), do not show up at all on a small-scale chart of the same area.

The larger the figure indicating the proportion of the scale, the smaller the scale of the chart. A chart with a scale of 1:25,000 is on a much larger scale (and more detailed), for instance, than one whose scale is 1:4,500,000.

Harbour Charts: are large scale, 1:5 000 -to- 1:15 000, and are used for navigation in harbours or intricate, hazardous, shoal-infested waters.

Approach Charts: 1:15 001 -to- 1:50 000, are used for approaching coasts where a lot of detail is required.

Coastal Charts: 1:50 001 -to- 1:150 000, are used to show continuous extensive coverage with sufficient inshore detail to make landfall sightings easy.

General Charts: 1:150 001 -to- 1:500 000, give extensive offshore coverage with sufficient inshore detail to make landfall sightings easy.

Sailing Charts: 1:500 001 and smaller, are used for offshore navigation beyond sight of land.
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Old 19-02-2008, 04:52   #3
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Gord, I agree that scale is critical. And if you can afford it, so too is colour. There are black and white reproductions available at significant savings, but especially for harbours and near coastal sailing, they are much less easy to read while you are helming. In those circumstances (and especially if you are required to helm outside in wet conditions), the Iolaire waterproofs are hard to beat.

Brad
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Old 19-02-2008, 05:37   #4
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For the Eastern Caribbean it is hard to beat the CYC chart kits. They are based on a private survey and provide good detail of anchorages of interest to cruisers. I found them to be very accurate.

There are a total of 4 kits each selling for around US$70. They come in a plastic sleeve and the size makes them convenient for use in the cockpit. They are clear and easy to read.

The Admiralty came out with a series of similar kits called the Leisure series.

Bob Stewart
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Old 19-02-2008, 05:53   #5
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When I made my cruise from FL to Guatemala I used the B&W reproduction charts. As they ARE less easily read what I did was to spend several evenings with a set of colored hi-lite pens and outlined coast lines in green, reef lines in blue, hazards in red and other points of interest in orange. I found that doing this made the charts much easier to read PLUS doing this meant I got a good feel for the areas I would be passing through.

Also, since the paper of the B&W charts don't use paper even close to the quality of the more expensive charts my solution was to saturate them with Thompson's Waterseal (normally used to protect wooden house decks). This did an admirable job of protecting the charts from water splashes.

These charts worked out just fine but, in my opinion, they do have a limited life span. They were fine for the trip down and back, but probably wouldn't have been good enough for a second go around. My suggestion would be to buy the quality charts for areas you're going to be cruising in a lot and get the B&Ws for one or two passes at an area.
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Old 19-02-2008, 06:37   #6
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This may be considered heresy by some, but I've cruised up and down the Lesser Antilles from Vieques and Culebra to Grenada several times with nothing but my electonic chartplotter and the appropriate cruising guides. The sketch charts in the cruising guides show you everything you need to know for interisland passages and the popular (and some not-so-popular) anchorages. The sailing instructions in the text are generally overly conservative to keep sailors unfamiliar with the waters out of trouble. The chartplotter charts were not accurate, but gave me a general ideal of where you are and what to expect when approaching an anchorage. I did my planning on my laptop with CMap's PC Planner software, and could transfer routes and waypoints to my chartplotter.

The most important thing to have on board is common sense and the ability to read water depths by color. We were able to work our way into some very isolated and private anchorages with "eyeball navigation" alone.
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Old 19-02-2008, 09:20   #7
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Where do you guys buy your charts?

I've found that the chandlers I've checked ask 20 bucks for a NOAA chart. So far I've put off the inevitable hit to the budget with lightly used Maptech chart kits...
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Old 19-02-2008, 13:26   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach View Post
Where do you guys buy your charts?

I've found that the chandlers I've checked ask 20 bucks for a NOAA chart. So far I've put off the inevitable hit to the budget with lightly used Maptech chart kits...
I get mine at Bluewater Books and Charts but I mainly buy chartkits and cruising guides from them, so I'm not sure what their individual chart prices are like. What I like about them is when calling on the phone, everytime so far, the person is knowledgable and has good suggestions about which charts and which cruising guides for the type of trip I am taking. I've bought some electronic charts from them, as well.

-dan
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Old 19-02-2008, 14:10   #9
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paper charts

I thank you for your responses. I looked up the CYC charts and they look very similar to the Maptech charts. The one thing Maptech had was a package price for all 3 of the kits covering the Leeward/Windward islands that saved a little bit off buying them seperately.
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Old 19-02-2008, 16:43   #10
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Quote:
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I looked up the CYC charts and they look very similar to the Maptech charts.
Actually the Maptech bought the CYC chart kits.

Bob Stewart
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Old 19-02-2008, 18:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
This may be considered heresy by some, but I've cruised up and down the Lesser Antilles from Vieques and Culebra to Grenada several times with nothing but my electonic chartplotter and the appropriate cruising guides.
During recent navigation courses as part of working towards a Skippers Ticket, lecturer went to great lengths to ensure we understood that paper charts were the primary source of information to be relied on for navigation. We were advised that an insurance company would reject a claim if paper charts were not being used, and a court of law would rule against any skipper relying only on electronic means to navigate.

Chartplotters are good and convenient, and certainly some these days give lots of additional info - I have a Navman 8124, and there are pictures, phone numbers, opening hours info etc etc imbedded in charts.

Of course, common sense and experience are invaluable in getting from A - B safely.

Fair winds

Steve
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Old 19-02-2008, 20:23   #12
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My two favorite chartplotter stories:

- A guy in San Diego who couldn't get into San Diego Harbor at night, because his memory card for his chart plotter wouldn't work.
- A guy who got t-boned by another sailboat, as the offending skipper watched the dot move along his chart plotter.

I make my living writing software; I would never trust my life or my vessel to other software developers. As Steve noted above, they are useful, as is my Zune MP3 player. But again, I don't navigate a 28K pound vessel with my MP3 player.
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