Charts and Pilots

It's not cheap getting all the information one needs to navigate properly around Britain! A comprehensive set of charts and pilots would cost around £2,000.

But as can be seen below, I've already got some and will generally use electronic charts for on-passage use. However, paper charts are still necessary!

What has been really useful is Sam Steele's Circumnavigators Guide. It's packed with information and advice focussing on her experiences of a circumnavigation. It also collects together the experiences of several dozen others. It's perfect for my needs and highly recommend it to anyone considering a circumnavigation.

Admiralty Charts:Smallish scale, coastal. I had to purchase all but three of these at a cost of £24.40 each from Imray. I have not purchased the larger scale charts as I think my pilot books and electronic charts (Raymarine and Navionics) are sufficient.

Leisure Chart Folios: I've not purchased any more than I had already. I've got the whole of the South coast and East coast as follows:

The East coast is rather too amply covered, but that's not surprising as it is my home cruising ground. I had the South Coast leisure folios because I made an expedition to Dartmouth some years ago where my brother had a pub. Long way to go for a drink.

Pilots books: I already had pilots for south and south east, but the others had to be bought at between £25 and £27.50 each. I opted for Martin Lawrence's pilots (now published by Imray) for Scotland instead of the those published by the Clyde Cruising Club. For no other reason than I got the impression I'm better off with Mr Lawrence judging from comments picked out of the web. I can't really give any specific reason, to be honest. I doubt there's much in it. Having scanned my new Martin Lawrence pilots they seem fine to me, although they're due for their next revision (last revision being some 6 or 7 years ago). Doubling up seems unnecessary especially as the almanac pilotage guidances are pretty good.

I love pilot books as the authors generally have a superbly rich turn of phrase and dry humour; and they add so much colour to the otherwise black and white descriptions one gets in the almanac. Marvel, for example, at this piece of prose from Henry Irvin in his Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Humber pilot on introducing Wells-next-the-Sea:

The cruising yachtsman who has not sailed into Wells is to be pitied and envied at the same time - pitied for having been hitherto deprived of a real aesthetic experience, envied because such an experience lies ahead. In calm weather, the sheer beauty of rounding the pine wood corner by the coastguard hut, and seeing the little town with its pantiles glinting in the sun, will fill the heart of the hardiest, hairiest and most philistine of mariners.

Martin Lawrence is slightly less flamboyant, but this one concerning John o'Groats is as masterful as it is minimalist: 

John o'Groats has little attraction, except for connoisseurs of souvenir shops

Of course, the ultimate master is his worshipfulness Tom Cunliffe who's gems are too numerous to pick out. 

Anyway, back to business, we have:

Finally, of course, we have the tried and trusted Reeds almanac. The yachtsman's bible - well, my bible at least!

While I do have other relevant books on board, I would highlight the following as being specifically useful: