Many people join the Cruising Association to access our wealth of member-generated information on cruising locations. Click on the buttons below to get more information on what the CA has to offer
Our world class information centre has copies of commercially published pilots and guides; these are supplemented – and often surpassed - with information supplied and regularly updated by our members cruising around the world. This information is now online for you to access directly – and you are encouraged to contribute too.
We exist to share information between members. For this to happen, the process has to be two-way. Members are encouraged to put forward useful information on places they visit or problems they encounter, for the benefit of those who will follow them.
The primary method is for members to file a 'Cruising Report'. If you find that pilot books are out of date, you are encouraged to file a report and your input is stored against that location and is instantly available to other members. Our editors also use it as source material when they compile the next edition, be it the Almanac or the Country Guides. Filing a report is easy. You can do this by filling in a simple form on this website or by using our CAptain's Mate App. If there is an existing report that you feel is out of date, you can add your own comments to it.
All CA material is filed by people using their own names: no one can hide behind pseudonyms. These names are only visible to other CA Members.
Introduction to Our Information Database
All of our Cruising Information is arranged around our geographical 'Sections', our name for a local or special interest group. Each cruising section, run by a volunteer section secretary and assisted by volunteer editors, co-ordinates all our resources for a popular sailing area and each one has its own area on our website where the information can be accessed. We currently have six cruising sections covering the popular sailing areas (for more detail on the coverage of each area click here).
Each section has an introduction to cruising in its area, giving an overview of what to expect and the particular challenges and delights of sailing in the region. Below this our information is organised largely by country, and if the area warrants it, by areas within that country. As far as possible we try to echo the areas found in popular pilots, where they are available.
Each sailing area has very different challenges, and the diversity of our coverage reflects this. Each country and cruising area has an introduction, and many have additional information on taxes, regulations and other items vital to comfortable cruising. You will also find logs, reports and other information supplied by members.
Unlike some other areas the Mediterranean is quite well covered by commercial pilot books. Comprehensive as these are, they cannot hope to add the small details that make cruising in these areas a more rewarding experience. The interval between print runs for these pilots means that some information may be out-of-date by the time they are produced, while new facilities, etc, may not be included for some time.
Pilot Updates are our Mediterranean Section’s response to Member’s needs for more detail than the commercial Pilots can provide. They take information direct from CA members, condense it and organise it by harbour or anchorage, referenced to the pilot book pages.
The volumes are organised to match the available commercial Pilots. Volumes available are:
- Mediterranean Spain and the Balearics. 56 pages. 80 harbours and anchorages.
- Mediterranean France & Corsica. 73 pages. 152 harbours and anchorages.
- Sardinia, Sicily and Malta. 52 pages. 143 harbours and anchorages.
- Western & Southern Italy. 48 pages. 95 harbours and anchorages.
- Adriatic, including East Italy and East Albania. 71 pages. 261 harbours and anchorages.
- Greece. 71 pages. 264 harbours and anchorages.
- Turkey, the Levant and North Africa. 73 pages. 158 harbours and anchorages.
Each volume has sections on sources of weather information, local customs and rules, as well as other vital cruising information. This is followed with harbour-by-harbour reports. Each report has the name of the author and is dated.
Pilot updates are compiled by volunteer editors and updated at least once a year. They are currently available as downloadable pdf files.
An extract from the Sardinia, Sicily and Malta update is shown below:
For many years the CA has published short introductory guides to popular cruising destinations. Compiled by volunteer editors from the information supplied by members and other sources and updated at least once a year, these guides have been continuously extended and enhanced to include the latest information. The Guides include numerous photos and maps. They are now only available to CA Members as free pdf downloads.
Guides are available for (among other countries)
- Southern Sweden (107 Pages)
- Poland (77 Pages)
- Norway (64 Pages)
- Baltic Germany (52 Pages)
- Finland (53 Pages)
- Denmark (33 Pages)
- Baltic Russia (31 Pages)
- European Inland Waterways of France & Belgium (141 Pages)
Finding a trustworthy place to leave your boat is one of the most difficult things when cruising abroad. What you really need is access to unbiased advice, based on others experiences. Areas such as the Baltic have short summers and harsh winters, and finding somewhere that your boat will be safe during the off-season is an essential task for anyone cruising there. The most popular places are often full by mid-season, so forward planning is essential. Other factors like what local accommodation is available, what restrictions there are on working on your boat, and how easy it is to get there by land, sea or air are also good to know.
We encourage members to report their experiences, good and bad, of yards and marinas that they have used to berth and store their boat. This information is compiled into directories. In the Mediterranean layup information is included in pilot updates. For the Baltic we publish a Layup Directory covering more than 200 locations. As each entry has the name of the member supplying the information, you can often contact these people and get first-hand advice.
All the publications are updated at least once a year. They are free of advertising and other commercial inducements. An extract from the Baltic Layup Guide is shown below.
Our ethic is about sharing information for the good of other sailors. For many years we have run a 'Cruising Reports' scheme, where members send in information when they find that commercial pilots are out of date, inaccurate, or when they think additional information would be useful. This used to be based on written reports or emails sent to the Information Centre, but for the last seven years the service has been entirely online.
Members report information using a simple online form, or through the free CAptain's Mate App, which can be used on iPhone/iPad and Android devices. These reports are instantly entered into a database alongside thousands of others. The database is available online and can be searched by location. Members can also 'comment' on existing reports, if they feel they wish to add to the information in the report
The database is used by our editors to compile Pilot Updates and Country Guides. Members can 'take the database with them' using the App as it lives on the mobile device and can be viewed even when out of mobile range.
We have been awarding prizes for the best logs of voyages since 1911. Many well known yachtsmen have won these prizes over the years..
There are hundreds of logs available to download and enjoy offline. Logs are searchable by the area they cover and many of them are illustrated with charts and photographs (and in some cases, drawings). They are invaluable for cruise planning.
Our website also contains many pages and papers on information of general interest contributed by experienced members. These include:
- Boat Electrics - Battery Selection, monitoring and maintenance
- Documents and Vat - Information on neccessary paperwork
- Leaving Home - Precautions to take when leaving for long periods
- Communictions - Selecting equipment and the options for keeping in touch
- Charts & Pilot Books - Reccomendations and reviews of popular publications
- Holding Tanks - Rules and regulations relating to these in different countries
- Languages - Help with sailing terms in various languages
- Seminar Presentations - Downloadable version of presentations given at seminars
- Saving Money - How to budget when cruising
- Cruising Plans - Find out which members are in your area
...among many, many more.
Each Cruising Section runs a 'Cruising Net'. This is essentially an Online Forum dedicated to the area. The unique feature is that you don’t need to go online to participate, as you can do so solely by email.
The nets have become increasingly successful over the years as a place to ask for advice and recommendations about topics ranging from travel to how to unblock the loo! Hundreds of members subscribe to these nets, and you can often get tens of replies within half an hour.
All the nets have a unique ‘Cruising Mode’ that reduces the amount of traffic you receive if you are on a tight communications budget. The system sends you other peoples’ questions and the answers to your own questions, but not answers to theirs. If you want to see their answers you can go online and view them, or change your ‘mode’ so that you receive all information. You can change what you see at will via this website
You can also set up ‘notifications’ so you receive information about topics or particular areas whenever information is added. If you are interested in, say, member reports for Sardinia you can add a ‘subscription’ and the CA system will notify you when there is something new. You can choose from ‘send everything every time’ to just twice daily summary.