Paper Charts: Admiralty Small Craft Folios


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John Franklin
John Franklin
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Do you use Admiralty Small Craft Folio charts? UKHO has just announced that it is planning to withdraw them.

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has made the following announcement:

Following market research, the UKHO intends to withdraw the supply and maintenance of ADMIRALTY Small Craft Folios. However users, your members and/or customers will continue to be supported via a digital solution.

The intention to retire the ADMIRALTY Small Craft Folios is in response to the changing requirements of users and to increase the frequency of updates.

As an alternative to the ADMIRALTY Small Craft Folios, established suppliers in the small craft market will continue to be able to license data from the UKHO to serve those who do not wish to operate digitally.

You are requested to provide feedback to products.feedback@ukho.gov.uk before Friday 11 October 2019.

More information on how this will be implemented will be shared later in the year.

Please note – Standard Nautical Charts are unaffected.
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE
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I am not entirely surprised that the small chart folio is to be withdrawn. We have not used paper charts on Destiny since launch 2013 and have no intention of doing so. Even in areas of poor electronic chart coverage, I would rather use a Google Earth derived KAP file. I fail to see what the attached of a paper chart is now, having spent years using them, they are always out of date, ridiculously expensive and incredibly slow to work, even if you are using a GPS to plot your position on paper. Why the likes of the RYA are still devoting the majority of their time to traditional navigation rather than a focus on electronic is beyond me. You would think by now they would be running compulsory upgrades to all Commercial Yacht Master (Myself) to ensure competence in modern navigation methods. 
Sandy.Garrity
Sandy.Garrity
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I am bitterly disappointed in the Hydrographic are even considering withdrawing the Leisure Portfolio.   While we will continue to have Imray charts available I prefer the Admiralty ones and use paper charts as my primary navigation tool.  The electronic wizardry that lives up in the cockpit is good as an aide memoire and displayer of data but is hopeless at conveying any meaningful charting information.

As an associate member of the Royal Institute of Navigation and individual member of the RYA I have fed back my feelings and hope that I am in the majority of people that do and that they decide to keep the portfolio. 

Being based in Plymouth, UK I wonder if Seachest can print off charts from the portfolio?  I shall need to ask next time I am visiting the shop.
Bill Attwood
Bill Attwood
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Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE - 10/24/2019
I am not entirely surprised that the small chart folio is to be withdrawn. We have not used paper charts on Destiny since launch 2013 and have no intention of doing so. Even in areas of poor electronic chart coverage, I would rather use a Google Earth derived KAP file. I fail to see what the attached of a paper chart is now, having spent years using them, they are always out of date, ridiculously expensive and incredibly slow to work, even if you are using a GPS to plot your position on paper. Why the likes of the RYA are still devoting the majority of their time to traditional navigation rather than a focus on electronic is beyond me. You would think by now they would be running compulsory upgrades to all Commercial Yacht Master (Myself) to ensure competence in modern navigation methods. 

Admiralty Charts are expensive, and it is a pity that they aren‘t free as for NA charts. However, the IMO still insist that all SOLAS ships carry paper charts unless they have an ECDIS installed, and there are even official concerns that an ECDIS is not 100% secure. Even the best and most expensive electronic navigation systems for the leisure market come nowhere near meeting the IMO requirements for an ECDIS. The criticisms of paper charts are fair,  expense, not being up to date, slow to work, but they are at least „unhackable“. I wouldn`t feel comfortable sailing without at least basic paper chart coverage.
David Smith
David Smith
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In fairness the  Admiralty have been trying to phase out these charts for about 15 years or so, who knows if they will succeed this time around.

As for ECDIS not being reliable, It's well used commercially and so long as you keep it updated (like you all do with your paper charts!), it works well. Don't forget ECDIS is not just charts, it covers all ADPs, pilots, ADLL & ADRS so you have an integrated system, that is great for producing passage plans, etc. There is plenty of info on what standard the charts need to meet to be classed as an Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) in MIN455 (link below), it's well worth doing to the MCA generic ECDIS course if it's in your budget.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/282385/min445.pdf

Open CPN is a pretty good system if you get hold of the latest version of the charts that seem to be continually floating around the cruising world, but it depends on how good your free charts are...

I have a subscription with Wärtsilä iSailor (used to be TRANSAS) as a back up in work (I do work at sea full time as well as sail), and it's the system the UK & Dutch Pilots use. The cartography is very good, it's easy to use and even the leisure version App's update every 3 months. If you buy into the PC version they update weekly the same as the Admiralty do. I'm more than happy to use it as my primary system, along with electronic pilots, as I've them in work for the last 7 years without any issues, but I do carry Imary charts just in case my laptops, tablet, phone and GPS all decide to pack up at the same time...
Bill Attwood
Bill Attwood
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dsmith - 2/13/2020
In fairness the  Admiralty have been trying to phase out these charts for about 15 years or so, who knows if they will succeed this time around.

As for ECDIS not being reliable, It's well used commercially and so long as you keep it updated (like you all do with your paper charts!), it works well. Don't forget ECDIS is not just charts, it covers all ADPs, pilots, ADLL & ADRS so you have an integrated system, that is great for producing passage plans, etc. There is plenty of info on what standard the charts need to meet to be classed as an Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) in MIN455 (link below), it's well worth doing to the MCA generic ECDIS course if it's in your budget.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/282385/min445.pdf

Open CPN is a pretty good system if you get hold of the latest version of the charts that seem to be continually floating around the cruising world, but it depends on how good your free charts are...

I have a subscription with Wärtsilä iSailor (used to be TRANSAS) as a back up in work (I do work at sea full time as well as sail), and it's the system the UK & Dutch Pilots use. The cartography is very good, it's easy to use and even the leisure version App's update every 3 months. If you buy into the PC version they update weekly the same as the Admiralty do. I'm more than happy to use it as my primary system, along with electronic pilots, as I've them in work for the last 7 years without any issues, but I do carry Imary charts just in case my laptops, tablet, phone and GPS all decide to pack up at the same time...

I wasn’t suggesting that ECDIS isn’t reliable, rather that any system which relies entirely on electronics and satellites can’t be 100% reliable. The potential risks of GPS  being put out of action are small, but do exist. I didn’t understand that you were suggesting that ECDIS would be suitable for most yachtsmen? The costs are likely to be well outside the budget for everyone except superyacht owners. I also understand that leisure folios must be less and less economic for the UKHO, as evidenced by the increasing number of yachts sailing with no paper charts on board. However, although I now use TZ iBoat on board running on an iPad, I remain a keen user and lover of paper charts. One of the reasons that I much prefer the raster version of electronic charts. ;-)
David Smith
David Smith
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Bill Attwood - 2/13/2020
dsmith - 2/13/2020
In fairness the  Admiralty have been trying to phase out these charts for about 15 years or so, who knows if they will succeed this time around.

As for ECDIS not being reliable, It's well used commercially and so long as you keep it updated (like you all do with your paper charts!), it works well. Don't forget ECDIS is not just charts, it covers all ADPs, pilots, ADLL & ADRS so you have an integrated system, that is great for producing passage plans, etc. There is plenty of info on what standard the charts need to meet to be classed as an Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) in MIN455 (link below), it's well worth doing to the MCA generic ECDIS course if it's in your budget.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/282385/min445.pdf

Open CPN is a pretty good system if you get hold of the latest version of the charts that seem to be continually floating around the cruising world, but it depends on how good your free charts are...

I have a subscription with Wärtsilä iSailor (used to be TRANSAS) as a back up in work (I do work at sea full time as well as sail), and it's the system the UK & Dutch Pilots use. The cartography is very good, it's easy to use and even the leisure version App's update every 3 months. If you buy into the PC version they update weekly the same as the Admiralty do. I'm more than happy to use it as my primary system, along with electronic pilots, as I've them in work for the last 7 years without any issues, but I do carry Imary charts just in case my laptops, tablet, phone and GPS all decide to pack up at the same time...

I wasn’t suggesting that ECDIS isn’t reliable, rather that any system which relies entirely on electronics and satellites can’t be 100% reliable. The potential risks of GPS  being put out of action are small, but do exist. I didn’t understand that you were suggesting that ECDIS would be suitable for most yachtsmen? The costs are likely to be well outside the budget for everyone except superyacht owners. I also understand that leisure folios must be less and less economic for the UKHO, as evidenced by the increasing number of yachts sailing with no paper charts on board. However, although I now use TZ iBoat on board running on an iPad, I remain a keen user and lover of paper charts. One of the reasons that I much prefer the raster version of electronic charts. ;-)

I posted the system I use, it's much cheaper than paper charts, but like paper, it's only as good as the user and corrections.

Using paper charts and Pilots is a good skill to maintain, but ENCs are much more efficient for a small boat. I'd rather load a USB of corrections, than wade through a months worth corrections on a 50+ chart folio. 🤔

Neither system is wrong, its what works for the user. Being safe is what counts. 😎
Dick
Dick
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dsmith - 2/13/2020
Bill Attwood - 2/13/2020
dsmith - 2/13/2020
In fairness the  Admiralty have been trying to phase out these charts for about 15 years or so, who knows if they will succeed this time around.

As for ECDIS not being reliable, It's well used commercially and so long as you keep it updated (like you all do with your paper charts!), it works well. Don't forget ECDIS is not just charts, it covers all ADPs, pilots, ADLL & ADRS so you have an integrated system, that is great for producing passage plans, etc. There is plenty of info on what standard the charts need to meet to be classed as an Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) in MIN455 (link below), it's well worth doing to the MCA generic ECDIS course if it's in your budget.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/282385/min445.pdf

Open CPN is a pretty good system if you get hold of the latest version of the charts that seem to be continually floating around the cruising world, but it depends on how good your free charts are...

I have a subscription with Wärtsilä iSailor (used to be TRANSAS) as a back up in work (I do work at sea full time as well as sail), and it's the system the UK & Dutch Pilots use. The cartography is very good, it's easy to use and even the leisure version App's update every 3 months. If you buy into the PC version they update weekly the same as the Admiralty do. I'm more than happy to use it as my primary system, along with electronic pilots, as I've them in work for the last 7 years without any issues, but I do carry Imary charts just in case my laptops, tablet, phone and GPS all decide to pack up at the same time...

I wasn’t suggesting that ECDIS isn’t reliable, rather that any system which relies entirely on electronics and satellites can’t be 100% reliable. The potential risks of GPS  being put out of action are small, but do exist. I didn’t understand that you were suggesting that ECDIS would be suitable for most yachtsmen? The costs are likely to be well outside the budget for everyone except superyacht owners. I also understand that leisure folios must be less and less economic for the UKHO, as evidenced by the increasing number of yachts sailing with no paper charts on board. However, although I now use TZ iBoat on board running on an iPad, I remain a keen user and lover of paper charts. One of the reasons that I much prefer the raster version of electronic charts. ;-)

I posted the system I use, it's much cheaper than paper charts, but like paper, it's only as good as the user and corrections.

Using paper charts and Pilots is a good skill to maintain, but ENCs are much more efficient for a small boat. I'd rather load a USB of corrections, than wade through a months worth corrections on a 50+ chart folio. 🤔

Neither system is wrong, its what works for the user. Being safe is what counts. 😎

Hi all
I wrote this a while back:
Charts in the modern era
On Alchemy, we do all our navigation electronically and have for years. It is my take (with some caveats: there is a learning curve) that electronic navigation is far more accurate, faster and safer than traditional navigation working paper charts. (The transition is very like celestial navigation: now mostly a hobby for offshore sailors if learned at all.) That said, I believe all those who go to sea should have both the knowledge and have practiced with traditional coastal navigation equipment: dividers, parallel rules etc. as well as work with the compass and its readings. (Similarly, offshore sailors often carry a sextant, but it does not get dusted off too often.) We are lucky to have started out our sailing careers doing navigation in this manner: those starting out will have to push themselves (I would suggest) to learn these traditional navigation skills, either self-taught (it is not rocket science) or one of the excellent courses that exist. Then ensure skills are sharp by doing a cruise or two a year by traditional non-electronic means.
Paper charts find their way on Alchemy two ways.
First, and most important, we plan for something catastrophic: most likely a lightening strike, but also a GPS shutdown our electrical problem on the boat. So we want paper charts to cover the catastrophic. We call these charts our “bail-out” charts. They are small scale paper charts that would allow us to get into major harbors safely in the areas we are cruising. We are fortunate and we have never needed to use our “bail-out” charts.
The aforementioned charts on Alchemy are for safety. The following are for pleasure.
The other way paper charts find their way on board is that paper charts still, to my mind, provide the most satisfying way to plan poking around an area. This is the case for all areas, but is especially the case in complicated areas such as the archipelagos of Finland or Sweden or the coast of Maine. It is with paper charts that certain potential harbors emerge or a meandering beautiful passage appears possible that would not been so apparent in an electronic display. It may be me, but I can spend long periods with a paper chart on the table or in my lap soaking up an area and its particularities and pleasures while that seems not to happen with electronic displays.
Lastly, it is incredibly gratifying to mark off your daily position on long passages on a small scale paper chart.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

David Smith
David Smith
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I find initial passage planning has moved to a combination of  ENCs, a paper passage chart covering the area we going to (I guess these would be our emergency charts), and google earth theses days. When we have a lose plan we tend to look at it on Google Earth, to get a feel for the terrain and then mark it up on an ENC.

At sea I primarily use a plotter and radar for passage making, and the passage chart marked hourly at the same time the logbook is written up. Worst case scenario; if I lost all power, I'm only ever going to be an hour away from my last known position, and at 6kts; thats more than acceptable.
Alan Leslie
Alan Leslie
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It's an interesting and on going discussion
An old sailor friend of mine, when I was first preparing to go offshore 20 years ago, when "gadgets" were just coming on line, used to say, that's all very good, but what will you do when it doesn't work?
I took that philosophy to heart regarding everything to do with passage making, not just charts and navigation, everything.
That's why I still plot our position on a paper chart with time, course and speed, still get out and dust off the sextant occasionally, and still have paper charts for places i intend to cruise. There is nothing like the luxury of an Admiralty chart that one can unfold and spread out in it's enormity to get a good look at how things lie. You can't do that on a chart plotter unless you have a ridiculously large screen (like land bound folk that watch the football and movies) which is totally impractical on any vessel smaller than about 100ft.
Yes we use electronic charts, C-Map, Navionics, free raster on Open CPN, Google Earth geolocated KAP files, why not? it's all available, some of it free, but what happens if the batteries fail, or the engine won't start to charge the batteries, or you're hit by lightning? These things happen. Paper charts and traditional navigation methods are insurance and I for one do not support the elimination of paper charts - folios, maybe, I've never bought them, I have Admiralty, SHOM etc official large paper charts and I don't want to give them up.
As regards corrections, I have some quite old charts that are well out of date but now unpublished. They are also a valuable aid in navigating unknown areas.
And lets not forget that the ENCs are based on the official paper charts, some of which are, especially in the Pacific, based on very old surveys, where the longitude, particularly can be miles out.
We need all the assistance we can get when navigating in distant waters and I for one would never give up on paper charts.
Best regards
Alan
Elyse


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