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post #7 of Old 01-07-2011
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Anyone planning a coastal trip to new waters is well advised to have a coastal pilot for the area on board. It is affordable, easily carried , easy to get a copy, and it is easily as important as a good chart. A chart tells you where you are and what the ocean floor looks like.

A coastal pilot tells you what to what to expect when entering an anchorage. It talks about currents, magnetic anomalies, weather idiosyncrasies and a whole lot more. Unless you're sailing in areas where every anchorage is properly marked and lit, a pilot can save a whole lot of anxiety.

A good example of this is the east coast of Africa where there are no working lighthouses, no channel markers of any value and a very hostile sailing environment. A pilot of this area can literally mean the difference between life and death in a weather crisis.

Even in the totally benign waters off the east coast of New Zealand, I carry a pilot because it gives me a world of info about my surroundings.

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