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Old 14-03-2004, 14:47   #1
sjs
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Source for paper charts

I want to buy new paper charts for the Chesapeake and Deleware Bays. In the past, and for other areas, I've been buying MapTech or trading old charts for a while now so I'm wondering what the best (cheapest) source is for NOAA paper charts. Despite having learned how to post on forums, I am pretty much PC limited and do not have the ability to download charts. I figured I go to Bluewater Books but thought I would ask first for the opinions of others. Any favorite sources out there?
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Old 14-03-2004, 19:15   #2
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The best and cheapest set of charts for the bay are not paper. The NOAA ENC charts are free for the download if you get an ENC chart viewer. The free ones suck but there are very low cost viewrers. They are the best charts as they are exactly the same accuracy as those paper charts from Maptech (the one and only official NOAA source) that you get from the NOAA online Print On Demand service. These are the most up to date paper charts available for any price.

The ENC charts for the Chesapeake Bay is the one area of the entire country where ENC coverage is quite complete. Updates seem to come out for something each week. For the cost a good viewer you can have very fresh charts all the time for free. For the extra cost of a good chart program (I like Fugawi Marine) you still can have as full and as accurate as possible set of charts for less money than any paper alternative.

They are of course electronic but you can print peices as required. I often print them into an 8 1/2 x 11 for the helm on longer trips overlayed with the routes I also upload to the GPS.

Personally I find them exceptionally useful and very easy to update. ENC charts also meet the legal requirements for those that must maintain charts.

I also have the full maptech book of paper charts for the bay as a backup. No electronic system is totally failsafe and I find the book of charts while smaller to be as accurate as I feel I ever require.

I'm sure you may be able to find great deals on out of date and useless paper charts from some place. My question is why bother with any chart if it's not up to date? Think of the money you, could save.
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Old 15-03-2004, 01:43   #3
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You have several paper alternatives...

S:

Despite Paul's recommendation, I take it your PC limitations preclude a charting 'software' solution, and that's why you're asking about paper charts.

One option is a chart 'book' of charts for the regional sailing area of interest to you. This format is easily used in the cockpit (inside a zippered case that you can purchase) and fit most chart tables easily. There's a cost savings when buying a whole book of charts - see e.g. the Maptech series at Fawcetts, one of the WM stores or similar chandelry in your area.

Another option, useful if you'll be zeroing in on a specific part of a region, is to order reprints from a chart copying service. We've used 'chart kits' from Bellingham Chart Printers for numerous regions of the world; because Bellingham is a chart agent, only the most recent copy is used when copying and they offer the charts in 2/3 size which fits small chart tables better. These are cost effective given the alternative of buying original charts from BW Books or another chart agent, but they are black & white and you'll find annotating them a bit with various colors of felt tip marker may be helpful for you. To see a listing of their 'kits', visit www.tidesend.com. Jon just replaced his machine and the copy quality seems to be excellent.

Jack
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Old 16-03-2004, 08:41   #4
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Source for paper charts

thanks guys, I'm always surprised by sticker shock with charts but current, quality charts are worth it.
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Old 17-03-2004, 01:58   #5
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SJS:

Bellingham gives you a clear copy of the most current chart for a per-chart price of $5. You can be selective about how many large scale charts you order (vs. smaller, coastal charts) if you carry a regional cruising guide. At $5 per, these days, I'm afraid that falls below the 'sticker shock' category...

Jack
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Old 17-03-2004, 07:25   #6
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Glad you said that European Cruiser. As I mentioned before, I am a bumbler with computers and obviously I missed something. After reading your initial reply I went to Bellingham's site and the price I saw for the full Chesapeake Bay was a bit over $200 (compared to a regular price of over $700). I think the key concept of yours was individual charts and believe I had looked at portfolios. I'll go back and give it a more thorough look. thanks.
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Old 17-03-2004, 22:38   #7
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I'm also looking for a compliment of paper charts. I probably will get the bluechart cards for my garmin 182 but would like a minimum of paper back up without spending a fortune. Anyway, the point is I would like to order individual charts from Bellingham but what I really am looking for is a way to see the actual charts laid out on a large scale north american map. The text descriptions are not good enough to help me here in CA decide the minimum number of charts I need to purchase for a trip from Annapolis to New England. Has anyone found a website that gives a graphical representation of the actual area covered by charts that corresponds to their official chart number? Help is appreciated. Thanks, Chris
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Old 18-03-2004, 02:44   #8
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Chris, you need two things...

...and SJS might, too.

First, ask for a free information packet from Bellingham. It will spell out all the choices, talk about their '10 copy minimum' and so forth. They also offer a full line of cruising guides and govt. pubs, which takes us to item #2: the NIMA and/or NOAA catalogs for the area(s) you're interested in. NIMA catalogs are $5 each, I think; NOAA catalogs (charts, really) are free, as I recall. Jon's (the Bellingham owner) chart kit listings will itemize the charts by NIMA or NOAA number (these are available on-line).

Laying out the NIMA or NOAA catalog with the the chart listings, you can check off the charts you think you need...but a better approach is to start with whatever cruising guides you'll be carrying, since they typically offer harbor charts, chartlets of anchorages and such (most especially for areas outside the U.S.). So the sequence becomes: what can I feel comfy relying on from the cruising guide re: navigation, how do I need to supplement that with large scales, and then what small scales to I need when sailing along the coast or approaching from offshore. And of course, be a bit pessimistic about where the wx and your boat will allow you to go...as you may end up calling in at a port other than the one(s) you expect to.

Jack
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