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Old 03-16-2014, 07:53 AM   #1
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Cruising Guides

I would like to get some good cruising guides of the east coast of FL to the Chesapeake Bay.
Claiborne Young's guides are very good.
I've heard Skipper Bob's guides are good also, but I haven't read one yet.
Any other recommendations?
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:00 AM   #2
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The Waterway Guides are comprehensive and excellent; they own the Skipper Bob series, whci is more bare bones. Clairborne's are mostly out of print now. He has shifted to running a web site, Cruisersnet, on the same topics, but without all his very verbose discussions, which we enjoyed, of the history of the areas. Worth getting if you can find them if you are interested in knowing more about what you are seeing. His web site is very good for current news and conditions, including ICW problem spots.

For the Chesapeake, the guide put out by Chesapeake Magazine is really wonderful. Lots of illustrations of anchorages and harbors, and dialogue on the surrounding area.

Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guides - The best guides for boating on the bay.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:10 AM   #3
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We cruise the east coast extensively and use Skipper Bob regularly. There are two versions for the AICW, one for anchorages and one for marinas. Active Captain is a great (online) source as well. Howard
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:27 AM   #4
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Kettlewells' ICW chart book is not a cruising guide, but is well organized. The size is handy, and easy to use. There is as world of info on bridge opening schedules, etc. in the back. I use active captain and Cruisers.net to place sticky notes on the pages with trouble spots.

The Waterway Guides we use also. For anchorages we use Skipper Bob's, Great Book of Anchorages, and Active Captain for latest info.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:50 AM   #5
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We endorse what Moonstruck does too in using multiple sources and placing notes on your primary. The ICW's change daily. We check before any trips and check all sources including Cruisers Net, Waterway Guide and Active Captain.

We also keep a collection of information for each area, actually a database. It includes our prior trips and also things we've gained from reading books and blogs. This is more our "what to see and do" section. We use local town travel and tourist sites and Trip Advisor. With this we can tell you even what restaurants we've been to, which ones others have recommended or advised against and why. What small store we loved or art gallery. The lighthouse we visited or museum or the one we missed.

We're primarily marinas so get guides aimed to them but we also get anchorages just in case and because of the other information they provide. Many times they talk about going places by dinghy or tender that the other books don't mention.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:56 AM   #6
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The guides are good for answering why you would want to go somewhere, and what's in the area. That information doesn't change very fast, so older guides are pretty much as good as new guides.

Active Captain is great for current, detailed info on spot places once you get there. But it's spot info only without any area context. It's like looking at a map through a straw - you see what you see, but nothing around you. But online info like AC is really the only way to get current info, current reviews, and other interactive feedback which is very useful.

Put the two together and you have a great set of information to help your trip.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:04 PM   #7
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I was an early adopter and contributor to Active Captain, but not any more. Found too much info that was wrong, and personally do not like the interface which for me is cluttered and complicated. The Kettleway chart book is a good addition, Ann really liked it. I have looked at, but not used, the Doyles' books and I think if we were to make the trips again I would add them to the library.

Our style is more to do the research in advance, which I really enjoy, then explore and make decisions ourselves when on the scene (Ann leaning much more to the latter). This has worked out so much better than just following the crowd, or even one very experienced writer's opinion. Applies particularly to anchorages.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:04 PM   #8
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I like skipperBob's and the Waterway Guides and have some of Youngs books too.
Active Captain is probably the one I use most for planning shore stops marinas or Anchorages. In the user reviews people will often mention, shopping, restaurants, and other points of interest. One thing I do while planning or just looking around is to open both Active Captain and a site like Mapquest or similar and look at spots using both. In Mapquest you can search for restaurants, shopping, museums, hospitals, and so on so we can find just what is available near our position. The Satellite view usually will show best routes to walk to areas of interest.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:22 PM   #9
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If you'd like to spend some time on the hook, Chuck and Susan on the trawler Beach House have put together a nice book of anchorages. Here is a link to their website: The Great Book of Anchorages
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