For the upcoming trip to Scotland I’ve been reviewing my aging set of publications.
When Asile went north in 2010 we carried an Imray chart pack, Clyde Cruising Club sailing directions and the companion book ‘Cruising Scotland’. The Cruising Association almanac and a couple of books on Scottish Islands completed the library.
In 2010 Asile had a Yeoman plotter at the chart table and a hand-held Garmin GPS without charts for following routes. In 2023 we have a chart plotter at the wheel and PC Plotter on a Windows computer, both using Navionics vector charts.
For close-quarters navigation in interesting havens I’ve heard that Antares charts are the reference standard. They’re large scale raster charts covering very specific areas in Western Scotland (600 locations so far!).
Since PC Plotter can’t handle raster charts I had to choose and acquire another viewer. That was an easy choice – everything pointed towards the free Memory-Map plotter. I created an account and installed the plotter easily enough by following the clear instructions (there’s a technical bit about a prerequisite) and it presented a default overview chart that’s quite usable.
I have a GPS receiver that plugs into a USB port, and it usually takes a bit of fiddling to get PC Plotter to recognise it. Memory-map’s settings dialog made it refreshingly easy.
You buy chart licenses through the Memory-map website, then download them in the installed application.
I acquired “Antares Marine Charts 2023 – West Coast of Scotland” for £19.99 using Paypal. It took a couple of minutes to download, then I could drill down from the overview to see idyllic rocky anchorages in glorious detail.
For interest, I also bought an Admiralty raster charts subscription too: “UKHO HD charts of UK and Ireland” for £16.64.
I have vector charts at the helm on the PC and on the phone for our entire cruising area.
I also have admiralty raster charts on the PC for a general view, and Antares raster charts for reassuring detail of many havens, passages and other features we might encounter as we explore.
I have some rather dated paper charts as a fallback, including some second-hand ones I bought a while ago.
- Navionics website: https://webapp.navionics.com
- Antares website: http://www.antarescharts.co.uk
- Memory-Map website: https://memory-map.com
- CAI resources: https://cruising.ie/online-resources
- CAI Summer Cruise North: https://cruising.ie/summer-cruise-north-2023