Patagonia Charts & Pilots

July/Aug 2003

The Chilean navy publishes the Atlas Hydrografico de Chile, a bulky book containing all the Chilean charts covering the whole coast of Chile and their territories, including Easter Island and even the Antarctic Peninsula, which is considered Territorio Antarctico Chileno.

A big drawback, however, is that the full-scale navigational charts have been reduced to A3 size (43 x 30 cm). Even though a good magnifying glass helps a bit, you still need the full-scale charts for a safe navigation.

Onboard, we used a mix of U.S., Chilean and British Admiralty charts. We did not notice too much difference, since most of the non-British charts are based on Admiralty charts anyway.

Except for the commercial route of the Magellan Strait, the charts are dated from way before the GPS age, and therefore, GPS should be used with great care. Many of the charts of the Beagle Channel area are based on surveys by HMS Beagle and date back to the beginning of the 19th century.

The �South American Pilot,� vol. II and III, published by the Hydrographer of the British Navy also is mainly based on reconnaissance done in the years before steam power was introduced and hence good use for yachts.

The cruising guide we used during this trip was �Chile, Arica Desert to Tierra del Fuego,� edited by the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation and published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson. Based on information gathered over the years by many cruisers, it is the best guide for this area. For the adventurous cruisers, there are many more nice and safe anchorages to be explored, many of them unnamed. A good opportunity to give your boat name to a nice caleta.


By Ocean Navigator