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Pilot books are absolutely essential, as they provide detailed information about coastal waters and anchorages that very often are not available from any other source.

The BWR gave us a list of recommended books, which I have integrated with few more that we found to be better value or covering areas not in any of the other books (in blue).   We did not particularly like "South Pacific Anchorages" and found "Charlie's Charts" to be much more detailed, and it must be noted that "Cruising Guide to SE Asia" is very short of information concerning the Spice Islands of Indonesia, which are better covered by "101 Anchorages", an Australian book.


Author              Title

Anne Hammick        Atlantic Islands 
Jacques Patuelli    Grenada to the Virgin Islands - A Cruising Guide to the lesser Antilles
Chris Doyle         Sailor's Guide to the Windward Islands
  "     "           Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands
  "     "           Cruising Guide to Venezuela and Bonaire 
Frank Virgintino    Free Cruising Guides (http://www.FreeCruisingGuides.com)
Tom & Nancy Zydler  The Panama Guide
Warwick Clay        South Pacific Anchorages
Charles E. Wood     Charlie's Charts of Polynesia: The South Pacific East of 165 W. Long.  
Moorings (Charter)  Guide to the Kingdom of Tonga
Alan Lucas          Cruising the Coral Coast
Davies & Morgan     Cruising Guide to SE Asia - Volume 2
Wilson              101 Anchorages Within the Indonesian Archipelago 
Thai Marine Leisure Sail Thailand
Davies & Morgan     Red Sea Pilot - Cyprus to Aden
Rod Heikell         Greek Waters Pilot 
Rod Keikell         Turkish Waters & Cyprus Pilot
RCC Pilotage Found. Islas Baleares
RCC Pilotage Found. Atlantic Spain and Portugal 

Most books are easily available (also on-line from Amazon) but Pilot Books need frequent updates, so they may be momentarily out of print: for example we had trouble getting the new edition of the "Cruising Guide to SE Asia" which was out of print by mid-2007 and were able to get the new edition only one year later in Australia.

Two exceptions: the "101 Anchorages Within the Indonesian Archipelago" which we found very useful as there is very little information concerning Indonesia in the  "Cruising Guide to SE Asia", is printed in Australia and you may have to order it from there.
The other problem is the "Guide to the Kingdom of Tonga", a very useful booklet which is printed by the charter company "The Moorings" for use by their customers: I was able to buy it from Amazon, but it's not always available.   The text is available for download from the Company's website, but without the maps which are included in the booklet a lot of information is meaningless.

Also noteworthy are the free pilot books published by "Free Cruising Guides" and covering all Caribbean islands from Cuba down to the ABC islands.


There is a huge number of books which are of interest for the perspective long-distance sailor, but the following are mandatory reading, and it would be advisable to have them on board for reference during the voyage:

Author              Title

Jimmy Cornell       World Cruising Routes
  "      "          World Cruising Handbook
Peter Bruce         Heavy Weather Sailing
Nigel Calder        Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual
  "      "          Marine Diesel Engines
MCA                 The Ship Captain's Medical Guide
WHO                 International Medical Guide for Ships


The "Maritime Safety Information" section of the U.S. NGA's website is a treasure-trove of downloadable nautical documents, such as Pilot Charts, Chart no.1 (symbols used in nautical charts), the "Bowditch" navigation manual, sight reduction tables, lists of lights, sailing directions, international Code of Signals, and more.


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Last Update: 11/11/2014

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