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Old 23-08-2012, 19:33   #1
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Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

I am now closing in on the date to leave Houston to go to Florida and the Bahamas ... down to Trinidad for June 2013... I have all the Navionics Charts for my Raymarine C-120W, I have also my Rosepoint Navigation software... I would like to know if the NV Charts are OK for the Bahamas... Price is better, I get Paper, Crossing Charts + the CD with Electronic charts compatible with my C-120-W... Sounds pretty good... With 5 feet 6 inches, I am told by cruisers that have been in the Carribean that there should be no problem with NV Charts... Anyone with experience with NV and / or Explorer Chartbooks for the Bahamas???

Help would be appreciated.
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Old 23-08-2012, 19:45   #2
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

I have used the Explorer Chartbooks in the Bahamas and they are the gold standard as far as I am concerned. Have not used the NV charts there, but I have used a few of them some other places and they are generally OK, but there are some errors.
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Old 23-08-2012, 20:27   #3
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

what kettlewell says. if you're just passing through the bahamas in deep water on your way to the eastern caribbean then you probably don't need the explorer charts. but if you're staying for a while you need them. absolutely the best charts of the bahamas. with lots of cruising information included.

in the abacos you might substitute steve dodge's cruising guide to the abacos....
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Old 25-08-2012, 16:20   #4
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

I've used the explorer charts and GPS mapping based on the navionics charts. Neither is bad, but overall, I agree Kettlewell, the Explorer charts are the gold standard.

In my opinion, there is no question about the Explorer charts vs. Dodge's cruising guide. One is a detailed chart book, the other is a cruising guide. Personally, I think one should have both.
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Old 29-08-2012, 07:06   #5
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Last year we were down in Georgetown and listening to the VHF as young sailor was trying to come into a cut at night. (First mistake) He ended up going in a reef as he was telling people that were trying to guide him in through. In hearing conversation he stated he had a Navionic chip in his plotter. He stated that his chart said it was a good cut to come in on. The people that were helping guide him in told him to write down the way points that were to be given to him and not to use the nav way points.

I personally do not use the nav way points but use garmin as they have worked with the people that make up the explorer chart books and are the same as in the books for the Bahamas. In the years we have been in the Bahamas and we know the people that do the explore books. All the way points in the books are known way points and someone has been to that point or that route on the explorer chart books. After using the explorer charts I would not use nothing else as I value my life and boat to much.
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Old 29-08-2012, 07:55   #6
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

Navionics charts are the worst electronic charts for the Bahamas. I found this out in 2004 when I got a Raymarine plotter. Unfortunately with electronic charts the only way to find errors is to use them in situ, examining them in a store will tell you little. When I found the many geo- referencing errors I corresponded extensively with Navionics detailing the errors I had found.

They offered me my money back which I refused and they then said they had a new version (2005). I asked if the errors I had detailed had been corrected. They could not confirm this so I certainly did not buy the new version.

It turned out the "new" version was worse than the old one I had as they were required to remove some Explorer Chart data they had "borrowed". I found this out when comparing the old with the new with a friend who had the "new" version. The friend started a petition in the Bahamas to get Raymarine off Navionic charts. Now Raymarine also offers plotters that take C-Maps. C-Maps and Garmin now use Explorer Chart data and are very accurate.

Be very careful with Navionics Charts in the Bahamas. They will take you over high (for the Bahamas) hills and show that you are anchored in Exuma Sound when you are anchored on the Bank!

Navionics problem is that they will not buy Explorer Chart data (the gold standard for the Bahamas). They claim they use their own mapping services but, from my experience, they are sorely lacking. Be very wary!
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Old 29-08-2012, 09:41   #7
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

I forget to mention. If you are stuck with Navionics take your waypoints off an Explorer Chart and enter it into the plotter. It might look funny on the plotter approaching a cut but it will be accurate. Then you rely on your eyes! I usually create a route ( all waypoints from Explorer charts ) and rely on the waypoints and my eyes.
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Old 29-08-2012, 10:27   #8
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

I have a Raymarine plotter and the Navionics charts. I also use the Explorer chartbooks which I agree are the gold standard. I have heard about the issues with the Navionics being erroneous, but after 1 cruising season in the Bahamas, I cannot say that I have experienced it. I've not had a plotter reading that was flat wrong. What I did find on a couple occasions coming into cuts was that the depths were not being displayed insde the cut. This was a little disconcerting, but not what I would call an error.

FWIW I also use the waypoints from the Explorer chartbooks as well when constructing routes. Also there is no substitute for using your eyes when navigating.

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Old 29-08-2012, 10:50   #9
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

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Originally Posted by s/vPainkiller View Post
. I have heard about the issues with the Navionics being erroneous, but after 1 cruising season in the Bahamas, I cannot say that I have experienced it. I've not had a plotter reading that was flat wrong. What I did find on a couple occasions coming into cuts was that the depths were not being displayed insde the cut. This was a little disconcerting, but not what I would call an error.



Scott
Where did you sail? Just one example, try going through Dotham Cut relying on your Navionics chart. As you enter the cut (relying on your eyes) the plotter shows you going over Bitter Guana Cay. Only one experience like this will make you very wary. That's the problem. If you relied on the plotter, it would run you ashore. I always tell the helmsperson not to look at the plotter going through cuts. Until you have been everywhere in the Bahamas and tested the chip everywhere you can have no confidence in the Navionics chart. Every time I go to a new spot (and there are still many I have not been to) I am doubly alert.
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Old 29-08-2012, 10:51   #10
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

Has anybody used the C-Map version of the Explorer Charts?
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Old 29-08-2012, 10:55   #11
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Has anybody used the C-Map version of the Explorer Charts?

I have been on boats using C-Maps and the ones after 2006 or so are Explorer Charts. Before then they were not and show many blank spots .. just white with no data. If buying used C-Map charts I would check the version first.
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Old 29-08-2012, 10:59   #12
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

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Where did you sail? Just one example, try going through Dotham Cut relying on your Navionics chart. As you enter the cut (relying on your eyes) the plotter shows you going over Bitter Guana Cay. Only one experience like this will make you very wary. That's the problem. If you relied on the plotter, it would run you ashore. I always tell the helmsperson not to look at the plotter going through cuts. Until you have been everywhere in the Bahamas and tested the chip everywhere you can have no confidence in the Navionics chart. Every time I go to a new spot (and there are still many I have not been to) I am doubly alert.
We sailed pretty extensively from the Abacos, Exumas, Eleuthera and to Long Island. I did not sail through Dotham cut, but I'll definitely keep that in mind next trip. The cuts I remember having the depth not showing issues were Galliott Cut and Current Cut on Eleuthera. The cuts always make me a little nervous with the potential for current... so we're always on full alert going through.

Scott
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Old 29-08-2012, 11:06   #13
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

The Explorer's are great.
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Old 29-08-2012, 11:56   #14
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

Hello everyone!

Some shameless info first: I'm part of Northport Systems, a computer software company that also resells digital charts which includes nv-charts.

nv-charts contains many similar features to those of Explorer Chartbooks however, there are some differences. Chart data are based on all confirmed available data from different H.O.'s and are further updated with their own survey vessels. Hasko Scheidt, the owner, goes surveying with his family on a regular basis. Also, not all charts are waterproof which can be a pro or con depending on how you look at it.

nv-charts are relative youngsters when it comes to the Bahamas, Carribean, and US coastal waters but they've been producing nautical charts for Europe for decades.

Hope that helps,
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Old 29-08-2012, 12:40   #15
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Re: Explorer Chartbook vs NV Charts - Bahamas

Welcome. A_C,

Can you tell us when Navionics last surveyed the Bahamas? When I corresponded with them in 2005/2006 they would not give out any information pertaining to their activity there but did say they relied on various H.O.'s and their own services. They did emphasize that they did a lot of their own hydrographic work.
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