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Old 08-10-2013, 05:24   #1
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Best ICW Guide?

The time is fast approaching when we sail out of Portsmouth Harbor, turn right and head towards the Bahamas. We obviously need some charts and guides but I am hoping to keep the paper and cost to a minimum. Current inventory is:

Navionics charts on MFD/iPad
Charts & Tides with Active Captain on the iPad
Garmin blue charts on backup GPS
NOAA pilot books on iPad

It feels a bit too digital at the moment but paper charts from NH to Miami will be bulky and cost a fortune...

Any recommendations for chart books and guides would be appreciated,

We plan to tackle the Bahamas guides enroute.

Thanks!

Graham
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:47   #2
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

We use the Maptech chartbooks for the actual paper charts. I've heard the Kettlewell chartbook is also good but have no personal experience with it.

There are a lot of cruising guides available. We have numerous, some inherited from the PO of our boat. We like the Waterway guides and they are our primary for the ICW. We have some of the Skipper Bob guides. We also have Claiborne Young's books. He has navigation info, but is heavy on history / landside attractions. So it is a good complement.

BTW for the Bahamas, the Explorer chartbooks are a must. Steve Dodge, Steve Pavlidis, and Waterway Guides all have cruising guides. These are probably the most used from my experience.

This is a start. I'm sure you'll get many other suggestions.

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Old 08-10-2013, 06:00   #3
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

Latest and greatest IMHO is www.onthewaterchartguides.com written by cruisers' and updated often
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:25   #4
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

Dozier's Waterway Guide and Skipper Bob Anchorages for hard copy, and ActiveCaptain for digital, along with Maptech chartbooks

Got me from the Potomac to Mississippi
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:16   #5
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

The Kettlewell strip chart book will get you down the ICW. But you will need the Maptech chart books for NH to Norfolk.

Skipper Bob's anchorages is another low cost paper resource for when you can't get an internet connection to check Active Captain.

But some tablet nav programs download the complete Active Captain database for use when there is no connectivity.

David
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:53   #6
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

Graham, I would suggest that if you have the time, stop at a marine supply that carries guides and charts and look through a few to decide which you prefer. The Maptech chart books have been the standard for a long time, but we have been impressed with the new NV Chart books, http://www.nvcharts.com/index.php/us/ . There are also lots of personal blogs out there with info from boaters that have been to all of the places you want to go. There will be lots of information on those blogs that aren't in any of the guides. We have recently transited from Marco Island, FL to the Keys, the Bahamas and up the east coast to the Chesapeake. We try and cover the information along each stop that might be useful to cruisers. Don't overlook these valuable and free resources. We often use them ourselves. Chuck
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:46   #7
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

There is a strong case to be made for multiple resources. For example:

The Kettlewell strip charts are handy up until you want to make a short trip off the ICW, at which point the chart stops.

We typically travel the ICW with:

Guidebooks

The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami, Jan and Bill Moeller
Best description of navigational issues, and useful for boats with less available room due to compact size. The spiral binding helps the book to lay flat.

Waterway Guide The Cruising Authority Published by Waterway
Updated more frequently than the Moeller guides, this has info on marinas and local attractions and history. Known also as Doziers

Claiborne Young's guidebooks, and though I have found that they seem to be slanted toward certain advertisers, they are useful (though perhaps more to power boaters than sailors).

Charts

Maptech Chartkit These are my favorite format, though you will have to manually update the info as they don't revise annually. You get a bigger picture than the strip charts which helps with trip planning.

Kettlewell strip charts The smaller size of these charts is both their advantage and liability (see above).

State issued boater's charts This is a great resource that is free!

Chart No. 1 Though I have been sailing for nearly fifty years, this is still very useful when I need a quick chart reference.

Flags of the World More useful after heading offshore, but used here in the US as well.

Additionally, we have the Skipper Bob publications, though I am not sure about their current status since the death of the Skipper.

For the Bahamas:

Yachtsman Guide Published annually, this is a "must have".

Any of the various Pavlidis or Dodge guides, depending on your destination - Abacos, Exhumas, etc. We have also had the Waterway Guides, though they are rather limited.

As for paper charts, we have used the Maptech as well as the Explorer. This is one area where caution must be exercised, regardless of publisher. None of them are perfect. Both are adequate. Neither are a substitute for a good lookout and constant vigilance whenever you are in shallow water
or approaching a cay, cut, etc.

We usually travel with courtesy flags and charts for adjacent areas as well, just in case we decide to travel a bit further afield.

Also consider used charts and guides. We annotate ours with navigational notes so they are more useful to us, as well as any other users.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:27   #8
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

I should also add:
Reeds Nautical Almanac, Coastal Pilot, a large scale chart of the east coast if you choose to go outside south of Frying Pan Shoals, and a Defender Catalog for repairs, replacements and additions to the boat as you go south.
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Old 08-10-2013, 17:05   #9
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
---

For the Bahamas:

Yachtsman Guide Published annually, this is a "must have".
----
I have to disagree. It may be published annually, but it's updated about once every other century. I gave up buying it years ago when it became apparent to me that the only updates were in the paid advertising. They warned people away from Mayaguana for years without giving any justification. Perhaps they still are.
Fortunately Steve Pavilidis started writing guides.
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Old 08-10-2013, 17:09   #10
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamO View Post
---
Current inventory is: ---

Navionics charts on MFD/iPad

----
Graham -
While I'm being negative, I believe there have been two reports of vessels being lost in the Bahamas in the last couple of years, which were blamed on faulty info in Navionics chart materials.
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Old 08-10-2013, 17:32   #11
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

It's not a guide & I'm sure you already know this but you may want to consider downloading the Open CPN program. Once it's on your laptop you can download charts from NOAA. Best part they're free & it doesn't hurt to have another means of checking your current inventory of navigational goodies.
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Old 08-10-2013, 17:40   #12
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

Waterwayguy didn't mention it, but he has published two well researched books on anchorages on the ICW and the Bahamas. I have them for sale in my store and they should be on my website tomorrow.
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Old 08-10-2013, 17:51   #13
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

Mike,
Can you please provide me with some up-to-date references for this? I did find some problems with Navionics in the Bahamas discussed online but the most recent reference was 2007.

Graham

Quote:
Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
Graham -
While I'm being negative, I believe there have been two reports of vessels being lost in the Bahamas in the last couple of years, which were blamed on faulty info in Navionics chart materials.
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Old 08-10-2013, 18:09   #14
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

activecaptain.com

Used by many and updated up to minute by cruisers. A good supplemental to your charts. Will show you anchorages, bridges, marinas, shoaling, and anything else of note you may (or may not) need to know.

It's a wonderful ICW resource. I will typically cover my range for the coming day, noting any areas of recent shoaling (particularly helpful after named storms), scout out anchorages or marinas, and any other areas of intrigue.
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Old 08-10-2013, 18:36   #15
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Re: Best ICW Guide?

+1 for ActiveCaptain. We use it much more than any of our paper guides.
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