Chandlery May 1, 2005 Issue

New Marina Guidebook for Florida

After hurricane-delayed research, a new guidebook for marinas along Florida's East Coast is now available.

From time to time, we try—with middling success—to keep track of and report on chart books and cruising guides.

Regarding cruising guides, it used to be that most of the cruising guides were onetime efforts by experienced sailors to bolster their cruising kitties. These often-excellent (and frequently charming) books were about waters with which they had intimate knowledge. Because of limited sales, some books never, or rarely, got properly updated. More common now are professionally-done books that, because of computers and electronic databases, can be updated easily, as need be.

Practical Sailor once made a determined effort to round up and evaluate a lot of these books. That 10-page opus ran in the Sept., 1992 issue. Then, we offered a six-page update when we reviewed coastal cruising guides in Sept., '03. Much of the information from the latter still applies. However, both articles concluded that this topic is so vast that one article alone can't do more than scratch the surface.

What remains important are the basic differences in these books. For instance, one set of guides may attempt to do everything—from noting the locations of marina fuel docks, best waterfront restaurants, and nearby tourist attractions. Others seem to concentrate on quiet anchorages, the resident avian population, and snippets of historical lore. (And a few attempt, not very successfully in our view, to combine chart books with cruising guides.)

To get the guides that suit your style of cruising, it's best to visit a nautical bookstore, grab some guides, find a quiet corner and spend a half hour deciding which kind most closely match your needs.

Because PS gets calls from readers asking about chart books and guides all the time, we wanted to mention an addition to the Atlantic Cruising Club's set of marina guides, this one for Florida's East Coast. Delayed for a year by the hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne (which rearranged a lot of docks), the new book required the ACC staff to revisit 95% of the 226 marinas excellently detailed in the book. (The ACC guides, four on the East Coast, one for the Pacific Northwest, include facilities that have transient docks for boats of 30' or longer.)

The ACC guides accept no advertising and come with CDs that include color photos. The guides currently available from ACC are for New England, Long Island Sound, the Pacific Northwest, The Chesapeake Bay, and the new one for Florida's East Coast.

Published by Jerawyn Publishing of Rye, NY, the new guide is available on line ($29 for both book and CD-ROM).

Contact - Atlantic Cruising Club, 888/967-0994, www.AtlanticCruisingClub.com.

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