Scott Jacobson, New York, NY USA asks:
Scott, awhile back you commented on how fuel cost wasn't a
large percentage of your budget. I was wondering how much you think
you have spent on and will spend on electronic charts and backup paper
charts from the start of the NAR until you reach NZ? Every summer when
I head out to a new area of British Columbia it seems to cost me $300
in electronic and $500 in paper charts. With the coastline and islands
you have and will cover on your trip, it must be astronomical.
Scott Flanders of Egret responds:
Scott, electronic charting is becoming more and more realistic price-wise
as time goes on. AND yes, it is expensive but a cheap price to pay for
safety the sextant navigators never enjoyed. We are using electronic
charting from C-Map with Max Sea software. For the price of a round trip
air ticket to this part of the world you can buy a LOT of C-Map charting.
Paper charts/no paper charts are a controversial subject. I will tell you
what we do/have done but that doesn't mean it's right for everyone. For
Egret's initial cruising, US east coast, Bahamas, etc., we used Chart Kits
from Map Tech in addition to electronic charts. For the first Atlantic
crossing we had crossing charts and detail charts of Bermuda and the Azores.
For the Med we bought $1800 in British Admiralty charts. For the crossing
from Gibraltar to Brazil we bought detailed charts of the Canary Islands
plus North Atlantic & South Atlantic charts. This in addition to multiple
cruising guides for each locations in the Med and two for the South American
In actuality we NEVER unrolled/unfolded a single chart. We gave our Med
charts to a Stateside friend while we were still wintering in Turkey, BEFORE
leaving the Med. Except for the US East Coast/Bahamas Chart Kits we have
NEVER used a chart for navigation. I'm not saying this is correct. It's
just that this is what we have done. For cruising the Chilean Canals we
have bought DMA paper charts of the Canals and additionally have the Chilean
paper charts because electronic charting is very poor at best. We have
bought multiple cruising guides and a few overall charts of the Pacific but
that's it for the trip to New Zealand.
We carry 5 laptops for redundancy, 4 of which have electronic charting to
make up for deficiencies in not having paper charts. Again, let me say we
are certainly no experts in navigation. What we have done has worked for
us. At no time did we feel we were deficient in charting. Here in the deep
south e-charts routinely have you 1/2-1 nm ashore but with a few sea miles,
common sense and radar/depth sounder, safe navigation isn't an issue.
Bottom line: except where electronic charting is deficient, we carry overall
charts but no longer carry detailed charts.