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Old 03-31-2014
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Suggestion on Charts

Here with another question as we get into the detailed planning stage of our voyage. We have been looking at our charting options and I'm wondering if anyone has any input in terms of keeping it inexpensive. It seems the most bang for your buck would come with the purchase of a chartplotter as they seem to come loaded for the most part with all U.S. coastal and Caribbean charts. Personally though I am pretty insistent on us having paper as a backup or primary because I just don't trust electronics for the most part and should our vessel lose power or should the plotter stop working I think it is prudent to have paper charts. I've really only ever used paper charts with hourly plots. They are not cheap as I am sure everyone knows, and then there are the revisions and updates so its an ongoing expense. Does anyone have a good way to source them, print them, etc...? Our trip starts in the Albany NY area and proceeds down the Hudson, ICW/coast, and into the Caribbean and eventually the BVI's. So far I am seeing about 25$ on average and it looks like we are going to need at least 10-15 of them to cover the range, maybe more. Just trying to be budget minded, any input is appreciated.

Last edited by 71Seafer34; 03-31-2014 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

You can print NOAA charts yourself.

I carry paper and electronic charts, but primarily use the electronic ones. For $200 you can carry a backup set of electronic charts by using a 7" tablet with built in GPS (like the Nexus 7). Of course that doesn't do anything to keep you moving should your entire electrical system fail, but it is otherwise a completely independent backup from the chartplotter.
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

As Alex notes, NOAA charts are now available to download for free, but few folks are likely to have the ability to print them in a full size format... But if you have a source that can do that for you at reasonable cost, that could be one way to go.

For the East coast, the Maptech chartbooks represent the best bang for the buck... Pretty easy to find outdated editions on eBay, or places like Bacon's or Newport Nautical. As you're using them largely for backup, your personal comfort level with using outdated charts will be the ultimate determinant, but I sail with a fair number of outdated paper charts, and I'm comfortable with that. With the possibility nowadays to download current NOAA charts to devices like an iPad, it greatly increases the ability to compare older paper charts with the latest, and make updates/corrections... The SSCA Chart Exchange can be another good source for used charts:

SSCA Forum ? View forum - Chart Exchange

For the Bahamas, you definitely want the Explorer Chartbooks, don't try to scrimp there, those are the only way to go...
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

You can get chart books for the ICW, the Bahamas and parts of the Caribbean, so the cost savings with them is huge. For the trip you are considering you would need far more than 10 to 15 charts. Without checking, I would guess you are looking at 50+.

Also look at these guys as they offer tray-scale chart reproductions much cheaper than the original. They are on good quality paper and up to date. You can often buy used charts as well, but they would likely not be up to date
https://tidesend.com
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
You can get chart books for the ICW, the Bahamas and parts of the Caribbean, so the cost savings with them is huge. For the trip you are considering you would need far more than 10 to 15 charts. Without checking, I would guess you are looking at 50+.

Also look at these guys as they offer tray-scale chart reproductions much cheaper than the original. They are on good quality paper and up to date. You can often buy used charts as well, but they would likely not be up to date
https://tidesend.com
Bellingham portfolios can be a good option for many parts of the world, but I don't think they offer particularly good value for the US East coast, especially for anyone planning to run the ICW... For example, look at Bellingams' portfolio #188 for Norfolk to Charleston, which for $150 includes NO charts for the ICW, but includes a number of charts - Core Sound, for example - which no southbound cruiser is ever likely to use... for $25 less at many retailers, the Maptech Region 6 covers the ICW beyond Charleston to the FL line, and includes places like Pamlico Sound and all the coastal waters and entrances one is likely to use, in a far superior format to the grey-scale monochromatic Bellingham portfolio... Plus, lots of additional information, pages of aerial photos of harbors and inlets, bridge schedules, and so on...

If the OP is just gonna run the inside all the way, I like the Waterway Chartbook that John Kettlewell does... Nice small notebook format, easy to use in the cockpit, takes you all the way from Mile 0 to Miami, including most inlets, for under $50... Doesn't include coastal/offshore charts, however...

If he's planning to do any hops outside, Steve Dodge's SE Inlet Chartbook can also be very nice to have...

Inlet Chartbook to Southeastern United States: Steve Dodge, Steve Dodge: 9780932265678: Amazon.com: Books Inlet Chartbook to Southeastern United States: Steve Dodge, Steve Dodge: 9780932265678: Amazon.com: Books



Last edited by JonEisberg; 03-31-2014 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

There are also Booklet Charts that are free to download. Think of them like cutting your full sized charts into 8 1/2 x 11 sheets for inclusion into a notebook. They are designed for smaller boats, pocket cruisers and those dreaded stink potters that have limited room aboard. A color laser is best ti print them but an inkjet will do. I put all mine in page protectors and seal with clear tape. The are not good for planning, however, those times when you want the big picture. I downloaded them for BVI (we leave in the AM) and have everything but the most northern points of Virgin Gorda and Anegada. I also have most of the Maine coast, all except down east. This would have been a significant investment in paper charts, one that I probably would have avoided.


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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

Safe travels Don! Be sure to post pics and tell us about your trip!
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

If you have a tablet/phone , phone might be to small, you can get MX Mariner app for 6.99 which has all NOAA charts by region included with app. This is a cheap option.
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
For the East coast, the Maptech chartbooks represent the best bang for the buck... Pretty easy to find outdated editions on eBay..
I have bought used MapTech Chartkits on Craigslist and eBay for $10-$25 a pop (vs. $130-150 new) and use them in conjunction with a handheld GPS with chart chip, cruising guides, and some up to date Heinz Va. and Md. chartkits. I haven't seem a whole lot of relevant changes, between the old charts and the new charts, for the way I navigate.

Works well if you pay attention and cruise conservatively.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 03-31-2014 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 03-31-2014
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Re: Suggestion on Charts

Jon, I mentioned chart books for the ICW, the Bellingham packages would be for places east and south of the Bahamas. Perhaps I was not clear enough.
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