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Charts: Some Clarification.

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.

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Some Great New Bargains

Whenever people visit the store, one of the first things they do is peruse the table at the front, where we keep the books that are on sale. There is always a great selection of books there, and recently we’ve received some new additions for the table.

Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail

Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail
Sam Jefferson

This is a classic; it has 8 chapters, beginning with the origins of then looks at specific clipper ships and their voyages, from Tea Races to China, mutinies in the Atlantic, and the last voyage of the Cutty Sark. A must for any lover of the final glorious days of the age of commercial sail.

Be Your Own Boat Surveyor: A Hands-On Guide for All Owners and BuyersBe Your Own Boat Surveyor
Dag Pike

When you’re purchasing a boat, it’s imperative that you know the material condition of the vessel. A survey is absolutely necessary- and this volume from experienced sailor, cruiser and powerboater Dag Pike teaches you all the places that you need to look, and the problems and conditions that you’ll be looking for. This book is especially recommended for anybody who is purchasing a used boat. This is not a replacement for hiring a professional surveyor, but will teach you the basics.
Rescue of the BountyRescue of the Bounty
Michael Tougias & Douglas Campbell

The Bounty was a tall ship, a replica of a small British warship built for the 1962 movie about the mutiny. In October 2012, the Bounty was caught in Hurricane Sandy. Two of sixteen crew aboard died, including the Captain. This book is an investigation of what happened in that disaster, and the efforts that were launched by the US Coast Guard to rescue the crew of the Bounty in such dangerous conditions. This is highly recommended for anybody who is a fan of disaster stories and is a gripping story of incredible circumstances.


Sailing Alone Around the World

Sailing Alone Around the World
Joshua Slocum

Another classic, this is Joshua Slocum’s tale of his three year solo circumnavigation, which he began in 1895. Slocum was the first person to sail around the world alone. A thoroughly entertaining read, Sailed to South Africa, Australia and South America before returning home. This is highly recommended.

Safe-SkipperSafe Skipper
Simon Jollands & Rupert Holmes

Being out on the water, even on the calmest day, always has some element of risk. For skippers, it is especially important to minimize the risks and make the experience as safe as possible. This book breaks down this process into five areas: 1) Preparation 2) Boathandling 3) Communication 4) Equipment and Maintenance 5) Emergencies. This is not not an on-board reference book, and it is highly recommended for anybody who would like to or is beginning to skipper.
The Boat DaBoat Data Book: The Owner’s and Professional’s Bibleta Book
Ian & Richard Nicolson

This is an indispensable book for boat owners, charters, chandlers, maintainers and sailors. This book contains charts, figures, facts, ratios and formulas for anything that has to do with boats, and particularly with the materials and fabrics that are used aboard boats. This book is especially important for anybody who is planning to build or refurbish a boat themselves, as it will allow them to do much of the planning, sourcing and designing before they actually purchase materials and begin the work.


Yacht Owner’s Manual: Everything You Need to Know to Get the Most Out of Your YaThe Yacht Owner’s Manual
Andy du Port

This is another book that will be indispensable for a yacht owner or skipper. It provides a how-to deal with a broad range of topics that cover every aspect of owning a yacht. Again, this isn’t an on-board reference book, but a book that anybody who is considering buying a boat (especially when they’ll have a crew) should read ahead of time. Author Andy du Port is formerly editor of Reeds Nautical Almanac, and has been sailing around the English Channel and Europe for decades.


Wreck of the Whaleship EssexWreck-Whaleship-Essex-Illustrated-9780760348123
Owen Chase

This is the annotated and illustrated edition of Owen Chase’s epic story of the Essex, the ship whose story provided Herman Melville the inspiration for Moby Dick. After the wreck of their ship, thirty sailors survived for more than 90 days. This edition is chock full of images, photos and illustrations to provide context for their story, their survival and the conditions.

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New & Soon Arriving

New Arrivals

Contessa-26-50-yearsContessa 26: The First 50 Years

To quote customer (and Contessa 26 owner) David Aultfather “This book is a wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in the Contessa 26 sailboat. It has a foreword by Jeremy Rodgers, who built the first Contessa 26 sailboats in England, lots of great photos of the boats under sail, and interesting interviews with owners. This book is highly recommended.”

Seamanship-Age-of-SailSeamanship in the Age of Sail by John Harland- A beautiful new edition








Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands by Chris Doyle (14th Edition)

for the new 14th Edition, the Leeward Islands guide was split into two volumes.






New Bargains

Pirates-PassagePirate’s Passage by William Gilkerson

was $16.95, now $6.99
Winner of a Governor General’s Literary Award





Wreck-Whaleship-Essex-Illustrated-9780760348123Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, by Owen Chase
was $39, now $14.99. Beautifully annotated version of the story with images and explainations






Coming Soon

IAMSAR, 2016 Edition: Due Summer 2016

2016 Great Lakes Waterway Guide: Due April 2016



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Guest Blog: Amy McCullough on the Risks and Rewards of Cruising Life

We’d like to thank Amy for her fantastic guest blog. She can be found at her website.

The Box Wine Sailors
The Box Wine Sailors

In The Box Wine Sailors, I liken life aboard a small sailboat to a game of “Bad News, Good News,” meaning that times were often trying, but the rewards more than legitimized the struggles. My partner Jimmie and I lived aboard Cotton, a 1972 Newport 27, for a year, sailing from Portland, Oregon, to La Paz, Baja California Sur, and we shared a fair amount of good and bad news along the way.

For instance, less than a month into our trip—a journey we embarked upon with no sailing experience (really!) and very little money ($6,700 in the bank), our tiller snapped off. This happened during a very stressful bar crossing into the Siuslaw River along the Oregon Coast (see below). That’s some pretty bad news.


Pic1(The remains of our tiller)


The good news was, as a crazy-in-love young couple, we were gleefully unemployed and thrilled to be spending all of our time together. Oh, and this was the view the next morning:

(Our anchorage in the Siuslaw River near Florence, Oregon)

We met another case of bad news when rounding Cape Mendocino: The waves got bigger than we ever expected—crashing over the sides of the boat and right into us—and there was that added bad news that we didn’t really know what we were doing.

(The author beginning to round Cape Mendocino…well before the worst of it)

The good news (as was often the case) was the stunning natural beauty of the anchorage that awaited us in Shelter Cove:

(At anchor in Shelter Cove, California, note how the mountains dwarf little Cotton)

When trying to explain this in the book, I write: “So much of what we did was a strange mix of magic and torture, as if performing the most inconvenient, trying tasks could somehow be infused with an indescribable wonder, even joy. Everyday events ranged from doing the hardest thing you’ve ever done ever to witnessing the most breathtaking sights imaginable. We were constantly filled with awe—both at what we had to do and how fully we were rewarded.”

It was exactly because of these challenges and benefits that our trip aboard Cotton—the voyage of The Box Wine Sailors—was so incredible, and why Jimmie and I (pictured below) were so grateful to have the other to share it with. I suppose it’s not quite like being there, but The Box Wine Sailors is my attempt to share those risks and rewards with the world.

(Amy McCullough and Jimmie Buchanan in Shelter Cove, Northern California)


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Guest Blog: Wally Moran on Cuba

Cuba-Bound-WaterwayThanks to Wally Moran for this guest blog on Cuba. Wally is the author of the new Cuba cruising guide Cuba Bound: The North Coast which was released just a few weeks ago. He was also one of the authors at our booth during the Toronto Boat Show this month.

Cuba – it’s a fascinating place to sail. Sure, you can go there as a tourist, stay at a resort and have a good time in the sun, but you truly miss the essence of what Cuba actually is – because you aren’t meeting the people.

Picture sitting on a fisherman’s 18 foot wooden boat, eating fish he’s caught while you try to understand one another. Or watching a group of fisherman bring in an eight foot hammerhead shark caught in their nets – just 100 yards from where you are anchored. That’s not resort tourism.
Ashore, you find yourself invited to join a group of Cubans and Russian tourists singing and enjoying themselves at a local pub as you walk by – at 1 am on your way home. Even though you don’t speak Spanish and can’t understand but one of them who speaks English, you finally get home as the sun rises over your vessel after an evening of singing, dancing and drinking rum.
This is the essence of cruising – discovering the culture of the places you visit, not just looking at them from the windows of a tour bus.
As a place to sail, Cuba ranks one of the best. Hundreds of great anchorages, clean and uncrowded since there are so few other cruisers. The coast is well charted, making for an easy downwind run almost any time of the year. The views are stellar, natural beauty to be found everywhere.
Sure, outside of the new Gaviota marina in Varadero, the marinas are not up to North American standards – but they’re certainly more than adequate. Besides, why do we cruise, if not to see and experience new things and enjoy different cultures and values?
And yes, Cuba can be very challenging, in many many ways, but that challenge is more than rewarded by the experiences you’ll have, and the people you’ll meet.


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BOAT SHOW 2016: Great Authors, Informative Seminars, Bargains Galore. Also: Boats.

Nautical Mind Boat Show Booth G545

January 9 to 17, 2016
Saturdays (9 & 16) — 10am to 7pm
Sundays (10 & 17) — 10am to 6pm
Weekdays (11 – 15) — 11am to 8pm

 ~ Booth G-545 ~



The 2016 Toronto Boat Show is shaping up to be one of the best ever!  A crew of extraordinarily talented and experienced authors will join us all week to lead informative seminars, autograph their works, and chat with fellow sailors. This year, we’ll be graced with the likes of:

The full schedule of seminars and authors is posted here. Authors are usually at our booth (G-545) just after their seminar.


Of course we’ll also have amazing bargains and clearance deals on books, calendars, DVDs, and more.


If you can’t make it to the booth or get overwhelmed by the unrelenting carnival of delight that is The Boat Show, please drop by our much more serene store on Queen’s Quay.

Looking forward to seeing you all!




Boot G545

Sharon Green - Ultimate Sailing Photog

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Boat Show 2016: Jan 9th to 17th — Soon!

2016 Boat Show Dates & Hours

January 9 to 17, 2016
Saturdays (9 & 16) — 10am to 7pm
Sundays (10 & 17) — 10am to 6pm
Weekdays (11 – 15) — 11am to 8pm

Booth G545


This post was originally published as Treasures of the Vault… Now on Sale in January 2012. Thanks to the eternal nature of the Boat Show, it remains as true today as it was the day it was written. More contemporary Boat Show info to follow.


Deep in the cavernous bowels of Nautical Mind Head Quarters lies a dusty, half-remembered vault.  Once a year we throw open its creaking doors, shine high-lumen flashlights in to the dank, and haul out a trove of wondrous artifacts.  Left-handed marlinspikes, deadlight bulbs, buckets of prop-wash, deeply discounted calendars, all manner of reasonably-priced boat books, and much more are schlepped from the dark into a waiting truck.

NMHQ Catacombs
Cavernous Bowels

The assembled crew consists of tall ship captains, yachties, software developers, islanders, and sailors of all stripes.  Our zeal for the impending Event makes the load light and the work swift, as we sing Broadway show tunes and pack the truck.

Ramping up the Excitement
Ramping up the Excitement
Treasures of the Vault
Treasures of the Vault
Double Zeal
Double Zeal

The truck gets sprinkled with drywall dust, which presumably allows it to pass unharmed through the magical Prince’s Gates and arrive at the fabled CNE grounds.  Then, drawing on years of experience helming a tug in treacherous arctic waters, the driver deftly slips 30 tons of truck and bargain down the congested aisles of the Direct Energy Centre.  Truly a sight to behold, he manages not to crush a single SeaDoo or shipping pallet of radars.  Once at our destination, we resume our joyous box flinging, this time unloading the truck and assembling our pop-up bookstore booth.    Within moments, we deploy carpets, bookcases, tables, merchandise, POS-terminals, and the treasures of the vault.

30 Tons of Truck and Bargain
Watch out buddy! That’s 30 tons of truck and bargain comin’ at you!
Pop-up Bookstore Booth
Pop-up Bookstore Booth

At last, the booth is ready for another year of the carnival atmosphere of the Toronto International Boat Show.  Come visit us at booth G545 before sundown on Sunday, January 17th!  We look forward to seeing you!

Booth G545
Booth G545. You should come!