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Charts, Charts and More Charts

Now that Spring has sprung, it’s time for our annual Chat about Charts.


In the past, a number of blogs have been written about charts: what we carry, what we can order, and laws regarding charts. We’re proud to be a chart agent, providing Canadian Hydrographic Services charts, as well as charts from NOAA, Imray, Maptech, Richardson’s, NV Charts, and a number other organizations and companies. There continues to be some confusion over charts, specifically the legality of chartbooks and what is required.

The Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, Article 5(1) (c) (i) states that boats are required to carry “…the largest scale chart according to the reference catalogue… ”

Since this is something that confuses many people:
Small Scale = Large Area
Large Scale = Small Area

To put it another way, if you’re boating around Toronto Harbour, you’ll be required to carry chart 2085- Toronto Harbour. Chart 2077 (Lake Ontario West End) or 2000 (Lake Ontario general) would not be considered to have sufficient information.

The Canada Shipping Act requires most vessels to carry paper charts specifically, even if navigation will be done by GPS or on a computer. If you’re are going to be navigating, you should be carrying charts.

There have also recently been more questions about the legality of chartbooks, such as Richardson’s, Mapquest, and NV-Charts. These are not technically charts, but instead are very high quality photographs of charts. From discussions with representatives of various law enforcement agencies it is clear that there is no universal policy towards chart books. Anecdotal evidence suggests that also, reaction will vary from officer to officer. While the odds suggest that any individual person or boat may not be stopped by the Police or Coast Guard, and even if they were a chartbook such as Maptech or Richardson’s would usually be considered sufficient, they do not technically satisfy the legal requirement to carry charts in Canada.

The reality is that chartbooks such as Richardson’s are much easier to use on a chart table than a full paper chart, and that chartbooks are much more cost efficient than purchasing a full set of paper charts. We also understand that cost is a major factor for choosing to purchase chartbooks only, and not paper charts. What we would suggest is that our clients purchase a chartbook such as Richardson’s for their day-to-day navigation requirements, but also purchase the CHS charts they need to cover their usual cruising areas. To do so is more expensive, but it will cost far less than the fines for not carrying paper charts.

Charts are just part of what is required to be carried on board. It is always necessary to update charts or chartbooks with the Notices to Mariners. In addition, boats are required to have Chart One, Sailing Directions,Tide & Current Tables, the List of Lights, and Buoys and Fog Signals.

If you’ve talked to us about charts- you know that we place a strong emphasis on paper charts, whether they be CHS, NOAA, Imray, Explorer or anything else. Digital Charts cannot be denied, however. In Canada, it is still required to carry paper charts, even if you have digital charts. If you would like to purchase digital Canadian Hydrographic Service charts, we can absolutely provide them to you.

Canadian Hydrographic Service Digital Charts

As always, we at the Nautical Mind are happy to help you all of your chart needs and requirements.

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Some books about the Great Lakes for the Summer

Recently we’ve received some fantastic books about the Great Lakes. It’s an incredibly important environment for maritime commerce as well as for recreational boaters. These books provide some insight into the commercial aspects of Great Lakes Traffic.

Know Your Ships 2017
Marine Publishing Co.

This is a classic book, and a must-have for anybody who is curious about freighter. This book provides an incredible amount of up-to-date information about the fleets that service the Great Lakes and the ships that ply the waters. It addresses both the local Lakers, as well as the Saltwater freighters that also frequently come into the system.

if you’re a veteran watcher of the Great Lakes fleets, this is definitely a book for you.


A Beginner’s Guide to Ship Watching
Brett Ortler

This book is great for those who are new to the Great Lakes, or new to ship watching. It begins with an educational FAQ about freighters in general, then proceeds to describe good places for ship-watching. NB: This is an American-published book, and so there is very little discussion of good places for ship watching in Canada, limited to the Welland Canal. If you’re touring the American side of the Great Lakes, this book should absolutely go with you.


Sailing Into History: Great Lakes Bulk Carriers
Frank Boles

Frank Boles has spent many years working research libraries and archives around the Great Lakes, and this book brings forth his expertise on commercial shipping in the Great Lakes. The author examines every aspect, from the way that the Lakes themselves have been reshaped for shipping, to seamanship, Union relationships, the relationship between the ships and ports and other topics. This is an essential book for any student of Great Lakes history.

Lake Boats: The Enduring Vessels of the Great Lakes

Lake Boats: The Enduring Vessels of the Great Lakes
Greg McDonnell

A big, beautiful tribute to the historic ships still working the Great Lakes, from cement boats such as the 100-year old “St. Marys Challenger” to straight-deckers, self-unloaders and 1,000-footers sailing under the flags of prominent Great Lakes fleets: Algoma Central, Upper Lakes, Lower Lakes, American Stamship, Canada Steamship Lines, and others. Includes exact identification and specifics plus a history of each vessel.

The Inland Steel Fleet. 1911-1998
Raymond Bawal, JR.

For nearly ninety years, lake freighters belonging to the Inland Steel fleet transported the raw materials required for the manufacture of steel at their owner’s industrial complex at Indiana Harbor, Indiana. This volume traces the history of this company’s involvement in the Great Lakes shipping industry throughout most of the twentieth century, achievements in which included the commissioning of groundbreaking vessels such as the steamers Wilfred Sykes and Edward L. Ryerson.

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Book Review: Fifty Ships and 100 Objects

This week we have two similar books that use a number of case studies to provide a broad understanding of maritime history. This kind of book is very popular at the moment with publishers, and these are two very good examples.

Fifty-Ships-Change-HistoryFifty Ships that Changed the Course of History
Ian Graham
Firefly Books, Hardcover, 223 pp.

This book is beautifully printed. Physically, it is lovely to hold, and to read. Each of the fifty has four pages, with lots of illustrations, images, and maps. Examples of the ships are Khufu’s barge, a Roman wine trade vessel, HMS Victory and the USS Enterprise. The majority of the ships covered are from the 19th century on, and it does focus on mainly European, and North American ships. There are exceptions, such as Zheng He’s treasure ships and the Yamato. There’s also good balance between warships and non-warships. This is a great gift for somebody who likes ships and how they influence their times.


A History of Sailing in 100 Objects
Barry Pickthall
Adlard Coles Nautical, Hardcover 223 pp

The sheer diversity of objects examined is probably the most distinctive feature of this book. It includes objects from all aspects of sailing, including ships, equipment, paintings, drawings, sculpture and even locations. This deserves pride of place on your coffee table, and it’ll give you hours of enjoyment. It has a satisfying weight to it, and the paper feels really nice under your fingers as you flip through it. This book will serve as a really effective vector for inspiring somebody to learn more about the material history of sailing.


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Racing Rules 2017-2020 Comparisons

The Rules in Practice 2017-2020

With the introduction of the new rules for the next three years, it’s a good idea to revisit the different versions of the rules and explanations thereof that are available. The CYA does publish a plain text volume of the rules, and it is the least expensive. However,  there are no flourishes and it provides little explanation. It is however, the official rules to be used in Canadian regattas and races, so that is important. There are a number of other versions.

Understanding the Racing Rules Dave Perry 2017- 2020

Dave Perry’s Understanding the Rules of Sailing is the best text for the American version of the rules, and is indeed published by US Sailing. It is a thick volume, and presents a very in-depth explanation. It very precisely follows the structure and organization of the rules themselves. It is excellent for those who have a more advanced understanding of the rules and experience racing.

This volume is supplemented by Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rule Quizzes. Together they are one approach to the Racing Rules.


The Rules in Practice 2017-2020

Bryan Willis’ The Rules in Practice 2017-2020 present a completely different approach to teaching the racing rules. Where Perry proceeds through the structure of the rules document, Willis structures his book to explore the rules in the same order that a race occurs, that is to say from preparing to the Start, then through the turns and then ending with the Finish and Protests. This is an excellent book for those who are new to racing, or for younger racers.

One other note: the Elvstrom explanation of the Racing Rules for 2017-2020, famous for having little plastic boats to work out problems, will not be available until September 2017.

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Visit Booth G545 at the Toronto Boat Show for Bargains Galore and More!

Come see us at the Boat Show, Friday Jan 20th – Sunday Jan 29th!

Nautical Mind Boat Show Booth G545

New Racing Rules Books

The Rules in Practice 2017-2020

Racing Rules Companion 2017-2020 (300dpi)

Understanding the Racing Rules Dave Perry 2017- 2020



Chapman Piloting & Seamanship (67th ed.) — only $35!
Franklin’s Lost Ship only $9.99!
Making Paper Boats – only $6.99!
Your First Atlantic Crossing: A Planning Guide for Passagemakers – only$8.99!
Reeds Diesel Engine Troubleshooting Handbook – only $5.99!
Adlard Coles Nautical Quiz Book: With 1000 Questions – only $3.99!

Up-to-date Cruising Guides:



Marine Charts

-Explorer Chartbooks for the Bahamas, charts for Intracoastal Waterway,  Richardson’s for the Great Lakes, Trent-Severn
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Nigel Calder to Appear at Toronto Boat Show!

Nigel Calder’s Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual and Marine Diesel Engines are cornerstones of any boater’s library. This year at the Toronto Boat Show he will be appearing to deliver seminars! The Nautical Mind will have his books available at the seminars, as well as at our booth, G-545.  On Saturday, he’ll be joined by John & Amanda Neal, authors of the Offshore Cruising Companion.



Reservations are now being accepted for Mahina Expeditions/ Nigel Calder Cruising Seminar Series at Toronto Boat Show

Friday, Jan. 20: Understanding and Troubleshooting Boat Electrical Systems – Nigel Calder
Saturday, Jan. 21: Offshore Cruising Seminar – John & Amanda and Nigel Calder
Sunday, Jan. 22: Marine Diesel Engines: Maintenance & Troubleshooting – Nigel Calder

Click on the above links to register for any of these seminars. Seating is limited and all three seminars are expected to sell out. Seminars run 9-5 and cost is $100 each.

Nigel Calder is author of Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, and Marine Diesel Engines, plus a host of other books. He is the Technical Editor or an Associate Editor of PassageMaker, Professional Boatbuilder, Sail, Ocean Navigator and Yachting Monthly magazines and a freelance consultant on marine energy issues. He and his wife, Terrie annually cruise Europe aboard their Malo 46, Nada and have spent the last 35 years cruising and writing about the East Coast of North America, Caribbean, Atlantic, U.K, and Scandinavia.

John and Amanda Neal are authors of Offshore Cruising Companion and have been helping sailors prepare for extended sailing adventures through 160 Offshore Cruising Seminars conducted since 1976. They 658,000 miles and 81 years combined experience and for the past 27 years have been conducting offshore sail-training expeditions worldwide aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiare III.


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Behind-the-Scenes Bookstore Trivia for 2016

A of peek inside our nautical minds —
a few behind-the-scenes notes and numbers from the year so far

Farthest we shipped a book in 2016:
11,415 km. It was Bulk Carrier Practice, sent to Shanghai, China.

#1 Seamanship title, 2016:
Stress-Free Sailing: Single and Short-Handed Techniques

Longest book in the shop:
21st Century Seamanship, a whopping 1,300 pages.


#1 bestselling chartbook since its first edition:
The Explorer Chartbooks to the Bahamas (1st ed, 2000), thanks to word-of-mouth praise.

2016’s most surprising cruising guide tally:
Three copies of the South African Nautical Almanac, tripling last year’s count.

Most exciting customer request:
“Please send a set of Canadian Arctic and Greenland charts for our east-west Northwest Passage expedition.”


Most intriguing 2016 book/event:
Dragon Harald Fairhair: The World’s Largest Viking Ship. The book’s half in Norwegian and the ship itself docked just outside our doors in July.

Longest (and most beloved) series:
Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin novels, at 7,000-plus pages. Would it were 10,000….

Unsold book we can’t bear to de-list:
Haunted Lakes: Great Lakes Ghost Stories, Superstitions and Sea Serpents. A 1997 first edition (!), but we just can’t mark down those Great Lakes sea serpents.


Most extreme customer-service delivery:
Two books carried this fall to Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands by a travelling staff member.

Most books bought by a single customer:
317—possibly more (records only go back to 2005)—purchased by our best all-time/long-time top customer. The runner-up is at 200 titles. Our sincere thanks to them both— and to all our supporters.

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Books Reviews: Wind Strategy, Tuning to Win, Winning Isn’t Luck

This week, we look at some newly arrived off-season reading for racers.


Tuning-To-WinWind Strategy
David Houghton & Fiona Campbell

Tuning to Win
Ian Pinnell

These two are part of the Fernhurst series ‘Sailing to Win’, which also includes Helming to Win, Crewing to Win and Coach Yourself to Win. These books are new editions, released this year. These books are aimed at experienced sailors, but are very much suitable for all experience levels. They are well structured, and cover a wide variety of topics within their subjects. For example, Wind Strategy includes sections about the North and South hemispheres, and of prevailing wind conditions at twenty-one popular regatta locations. Tuning to win covers both how principles of tuning a rig, and the skills needed to do so. These books are great winter reading for racers, to help you set an agenda and plans for the next racing season. These are as applicable for new racers who are learning these concepts as they are for experienced racers who want to hone their skills. These books are especially good for those who already own the others books in the series.

Winning Isn't LuckWinning Isn’t Luck: How to Succeed in Racing Dinghies and Yachts
Fred Imhoff

This is the first edition of the English translation of Winnen is Geen Geluk, which was publish in Dutch in 2014. The translation is provided by Chris Schram. Like the above books, this is an ideal winter read. It’s main argument is that all aspects of racing need to be broken down into an umbrella of related concepts, and that they need to be considered in terms of priority. This book really is a mix, and the chapters focus on aspects of sailing that the author believes are most critical to winning, and are a little more advanced. For example, there is a chapter discussing ‘Trimming on Waves’ in addition to a more chapter discussion ‘Trimming’ more generally. In some ways, this book is a master class comprised of very specific lessons, rather than a comprehensive discussion of racing as a whole. It is well printed, and is filled with excellent illustrations and graphics although they are fairly directly taken from the Dutch version, so geography may be unfamiliar to Canadian racers. As a result, this book is really suitable more for experienced racers than for beginners.

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Book Review: James Cook and Tristan Gooley


The Voyages of Captain James Cook: The Illustrated Accounts of these Epic Voyages
Nicholas Thomas, Ed.

First off, this book is visually and physically stunning. From an aesthetic and reading experience perspective, it certainly deserves pride of place on your coffee table. It is delightfully weighty, and is filled with beautiful images, illustrations and photos. From the perspective of the written content, it is also very good. The book is centered around Cook’s written reports, excerpts of which have been selected and edited by Nicholas Thomas. Each chapter includes analysis and explanations which provide perspective for the selected reports. Although this book by no means contains all of Cook’s logs, the created collection is enlightening.

How-To-Read-WaterHow to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
Tristan Gooley

This is the third book by Gooley, who is also the author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs and the Natural Navigator. This book is in the same narrative style as the others, teaching lessons about how to navigate and read the environment, interspersed with anecdotes and stories from his experiences. This book teaches you how to gauge depth, navigate, read the weather, as well as other skills. It further deals with bodies of water of every size and shape from the ocean, to bays and inlets, rivers, streams and ponds. Highly recommended for those who love being in nature.

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Book Review: Rigger’s Apprentice 2nd Edition


The Complete Rigger’s Apprentice, 2nd Edition: The Tools and Techniques for Modern and Traditional Rigging
Brian Toss
Hardcover, McGraw-Hill, 412 pp.

Talking about rigging may be less exciting than talkign about hull shapes or the latest high-tech sails, but it is still incredibly to both racers and cruisers. Brian Toss is a rigger from the Pacific Northwest, and has an absolutely stellar reputation. In this book, Brian discusses all different aspects of rigging.

This book is very different from the first edition of The Rigger’s Apprentice. Part of this is because Toss folded into it the content from his second book, The Rigger’s Locker. Also, it benefits from an addition thirteen or so years of experiences and practices. For example, he’s added a section on splicing modern braided ropes.

If you’re planning on buying a boat, or if you have a boat and are not entirely happy with the rig, then this is a must-read book. The sheer depth of ideas and context will provide you with many ideas, and a good level of understanding on what you’ll need to do to achieve those ideas. This is an excellent winter read.