Voyage of Egret Forums

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 coast.

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.

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