My friend was planning on his next summer’s holiday cruise and he had read our review on our last summer holiday trip’s marinas. We started to talk about the charts and the cruising guides we used on the trip.

In my mind, we had paper charts from the whole trip on top of the electronic charts. But then I remembered the moment after we had passed Hiiumaa. Pages were ending in the chart book and the next ones were not to be found anywhere! That was the moment I remembered that as we were supposed to take another route, I didn’t buy this set of charts!

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Unplanned visit to the Rohuküla marina.

Our original plan was to sail direct to Gotland from the north shores of Estonia. But as the winds were heavy headwinds, we decided to take the “inland route”. In the end missing out on the chart book didn’t bother too much. But for the next trip over, I will buy it as the big picture is so much easier to grasp from it.

For the larger perspective we had 1:500 000 maps which were excellent in order to plan the coming days and to perceive the distances. But obviously they were not of a help on the smaller routes.

In addition to the chart book (Charts of Estonia vol. 2) we had 1:500 000 charts of the Baltic sea (SE7 Östersjön South & SE6 Österjön North) and three Cruising Guides that we’ll take a look at next.

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The bible of  sailors visiting Estonia, The Estonian Cruising Guide

Estonian Cruising Guide, revised 3rd edition (2015)

The classic guide to the Estonian marinas. The writers Jaano Ots and Hillar Kukk have sailed through all the marinas and updated the essential information. New marinas have been built and the old ones restored, so it is definitely wise to choose the newer revised version.

The book is in A5 size. Its spiral bound and color printed on a good quality paper. From each harbour there’s a chart by Estonian Maritime Administration, a photo of the harbour, technical information of the marina and the services. The book is in English.

Pros:

  • The chart, map and the picture gives an excellent overview of the previously unknown marina you’re driving into
  • Clearly structured data
  • Thorough contact information (VHF, phone, e-mail and homepage)
  • Distance table of the Estonian marinas
  • Color coded pages by areas, makes it easier to find the marina you’re looking for
  • The size of the book is practical. At least I like to take brief look at the chart as I’m driving in the marina. And this is easiest to do with a paper map, without the need to zoom in while steering and following the traffic

Cons:

  • Nothing to complain about

A definite buy if you’re sailing to Estonia!

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The harbours of the Baltic States in one book

Harbours of the Baltic States – Cruising guide to Lithuania – Latvia – Estonia, 9th Edition (2016)

A bit more comprehensive cruising guide, including also some basic information about the countries and marinas. Even if the country information is written with a British view, there is a good over all information and even a short background, starting from the history.

From the harbours there’s maps on the routes driving in the marinas and also a photo/photos about the marina itself. There are four marinas from the coast of Lithuania, 12 marinas from Latvia and 32 marinas from Estonia. The book is in English.

Pros:

  • Good basic information about the marinas
  • At least on some of the marinas/cities there was a more thorough look on the different services and sights to see from a tourist’s perspective, which was a good addition to the book
  • Good info on how to drive within the big harbours, for example Liepaja
  • Country information was a nice extra

Cons:

  • Information not as good structured as with the Estonian Cruising Guide (for example symbols for various services)
  • The difficulty in fast scanning was evident when reaching the ports and the VHF channel, phone numbers etc. were needed fast
  • VHF and phone numbers missing in various marinas, starting from Pirita (Tallinn, Estonia)

 

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Cruising guide from the southeast corner of Sweden – Hamnguiden 7

Hamnguiden 7 – Söderköping – Skanör – Gotland – Öland – Bornholm (2010)

A very comprehensive book on marinas from a large area. Excellent pick if you are sailing in the southeast parts of Sweden. There are total of 428(!) natural or guest harbours introduced in the book. In addition to charts there are also photos of the marinas. This year a new addition of the guide has been published, which surely updates the outdated info on this one. The book is in Swedish.

Pros:

  • A very comprehensive guide, covering a large area
  • Aerial photos taken from a bit higher ground giving a better understanding about the surroundings (just a pier in the middle of nowhere/lovely solitary anchorage)

Cons:

  • Marina information outdated
  • The size and weight of the book when used while driving in the marina
  • The lack of number of berths for guests

 

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Cruising guides for a good summer holiday

Estonian Cruising Guide is hard to ignore

All the cruising guides were excellent and at least I love to have info on a paper format. And especially while driving in to the previously unknown marinas, it’s nice to have a fast access to the map of the marina.

I can recommend all the books mentioned. The most informative and the easiest to find info with a glimpse of an eye is most definitely The Estonian Cruising Guide. If you’re planning on sailing to Riga, the same West Estonian marinas are found in the Harbours of the Baltic States cruising guide. But on the Gulf of Riga the book is missing out on marinas like Pihelgalaid, Munalaid and Manilaid. If you’re going on the west side of Saaremaa, the book is lacking Mõntu, Lõmala and Veere. So, the Estonian Cruising Guide is hard to ignore.

 

Jussi

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