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Lengthening a charts service life


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What is the issue?
Navigation stations are typically situated by the main companionway and the odd spray splash or stray rain drop falls down onto the chart table. They also tend to be a rest point where things inappropriately get laid from time to time as is human nature on an active boat. This causes charts to quickly degrade and especially so with ‘home waters’ cruisers where a specific sailing region is continuously in use.

Why address this?
Charts are expensive and increasing their serviceable life is desirable, particularly so if one does not have to take on an additional vigilance chore to mind them.

How to address this?
Protect the charts by placing the active charts under a cover.

There are two approaches available. The first is to cut a large sheet of transparent non-glare acrylic to fit the chart table top and fasten it down by implementing two thumb screws. Lay the chart beneath the transparent acrylic glass and secure both with the thumb screws. Plotting may be carried out upon the acrylic surface with dry wipe markers.

The second more portable approach is to place the chart in a waterproof vinyl chart case. These can be found in most chandlers and come in varying sizes. For chart work the 18" x 24" handles nautical charts folded twice or a 24" x 36" handles charts folded into half. Although the latter is larger it enables an entire chart to be viewed by flipping the case.

The heavy gauge transparent vinyl chart cases have sealed edges that make them largely waterproof. This has the added benefit of allowing the charts to be taken out into the cockpit.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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