Charts, pilots, weather – Scotland, West of Ireland to Scillies

The cost of a portfolio of paper charts for the British Isles is enormous, so we ignored advice in magazine articles and pilot books to stock up on large scale charts and relied mainly on electronics. (See this link to earlier posts: electronic navigation ).

We have:

C-Map NW Europe – chartplotter.
Memory Map UK and Ireland – laptop.
Navionics UK and Holland, including Ireland – iPhone.
Antares, Bob Bradshaw’s ultra large scale inshore charts for West of Scotland – laptop. (We tried them out in some very tight little anchorages, and they seemed very accurate).

We used Imray paper charts covering the whole area, though pilot books can be a bit sniffy about them:

C66 Mallaig to Rubha Reidh and Outer Hebrides
C65 Crinan to Mallaig and Barra
C64 Belfast Lough to Loch Foyle and Crinan
C53 Donegal Bay to Rathlin Island
C54 Galway Bay to Donegal Bay
C56 Dingle Bay to Galway Bay
C56 Cork Harbour to Dingle Bay
C7 Falmouth to Scillies

Next is a list of the larger scale UKHO charts we had on board, a very small proportion of those available. They cover a handful of particularly tricky areas in the West of Ireland. 22 of the 60 or so charts for Ireland have been reissued lately because of a major survey effort by the Irish government (see this link to post on survey accuracy ). But many others rely on Victorian era surveys. To check this, study the source information on any UKHO charts you buy  – its absence on Memory Map raster charts is their main drawback. It is also puzzling why there is so little source information on Imray charts.

UKHO 1820 Aran Island to Roonah Head
2792 Plans on the NW Coast of Ireland (the only one we would have missed).
2707 Kingstown Bay to Cleggan Bay and Inishbofin to Inishturk
3339 Approaches to Galway Bay including the Aran Islands (not the same Aran as in 1820).

We also had an old UKHO folio for the Mull and Oban area on board, bought in 2007 for a previous cruise, and not corrected since. In practice, when we wanted large scale UKHO charts we used Memory Map on the laptop.
Finally, we took 2692, Western Approaches to St George’s Channel and Bristol Channel.

Almanacs
Reeds
Cruising Association almanac

We economised on pilot books in Scotland by using editions bought for a 2007 cruise there. Apparently the Lawrence pilots will no longer be updated and the Clyde Cruising Club will be the only source. In Ireland, the 2013 edition of the Irish Cruising Club’s Sailing Directions is essential because substantially revised and because it is one of the best pilot books we have seen, even commenting area by area on chart accuracy.

South and West Coasts of Ireland Sailing Directions, 2013, Norman Kean, Irish Cruising Club Publications.
East and North Coasts of Ireland, Sailing Directions, 2002, Irish Cruising Club.
The Isle of Mull and adjacent coasts, Martin Lawrence, Imray, 2008.
Clyde to Colonsay, Martin Lawrence, Imray, 2007.
Skye and NW Scotland, Martin Lawrence, Imray, 2002.

For the Scillies, we have to admit to using a pilot bought for a cruise in 1994 plus the Cruising Association almanac and Reeds, and the large scale UKHO charts on the laptop.

Other
Cruising Ireland, Balmforth and Kean, Irish Cruising Club Publications – an excellent read for planning.
Cruising Cork and Kerry, Graham Swanson, Imray

Weather on line
Apart from standard sources such as Navtex and coastguard broadcasts we used:
http://passageweather.com/ – they have an iPhone app for Grib files, includes swell
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/marine/  (no sailing app yet).
Met Eireann for Irish Sea area forecasts.
http://www.sail.ie/  has useful weather links

Wind Guru – download the iPhone app
WeatherPro – land forecasts for seaside towns – download the iPhone app.
http://www.myweather2.com/   – for Ireland forecasts.
For rainfall radar and very short-term forecasts – meteox.com

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