Awash in a Sea of Charts

Last summer we bought over 300 used charts from a circumnavigation. We knew that we would only use a portion of them and also that they would be old (circa 1970s primarily).

I was unprepared, first, for how heavy those suckers would be and, second, how long it would take us to sort them into oceans and drop some basic info into an excel sheet. The process spanned one half day of me struggling alone and then most of a day of Carol and I working together.

With the charts organized into oceans and double bagged into huge ziplocs, we were able to slide them between the hull and the hull liner on the port side of the boat and so, it is miraculously like this huge pile of charts simply disappeared.

The charts still in their packing material and the huge ziplocs:

We will primarily be using electronic charts but want paper charts as backups. We will use our electronic charts and guide books to annotate the paper charts where there are differences. Electronic charts are simply electronic versions of the current paper chart and so there is no guarantee that the snazzy colorful electronic chart is based on any newer survey data than our 1970s charts. In fact, in less developed areas, they are probably the same. Still, we'll cross-reference all of the sources before each new region.

I can see why people's boats get so low in the water. We are trying to be careful of weight but the "necessary" gear still weighs a lot.


  1. I did the same, but put them under the starboard quarterberth. On the front I wrote the section of the world the charts were for and made double sure that I had them in order (doh!)

    I could have gone with electronic charts, saved a ton of space and portside weight, but a pencil and paper always seem to work and I wanted some kind of paper trail of my route.

    The good thing was the bed was much firmer. ;)

    The bad thing was that there was about 8" less clearance between me and the overhead. 8(

  2. Hi Doug, We do electronic as well but there is something so cool about paper!



Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner