With two major ports, Southampton and Portsmouth, a variety of harbour towns and numerous creeks and anchorages, it is no wonder that the Solent is a major destination for commercial, passenger and naval vessels as well as leisure sailors. In order to navigate the busy waters and truly make the most your stay, there are several useful books and charts covering the whole of this varied and interesting cruising area.
The Solent Cruising Companion by Derek Aslett is the most comprehensive cruising guide to this popular area. It is centred on Cowes and covers the area from Keyhaven and Yarmouth in the west to Chichester and Bembridge in the east.
It provides comprehensive pilotage and nautical information as well as suggestions of where to eat and what to do ashore to help you make the most of your visit. Colour charts and detailed photography including spectacular aerial shots of ports, harbours and anchorages bring this popular sailing spot alive.
Imray’s 2200 Solent Chart Pack offers significant savings on the purchase of individual charts. It comprises 10 sheets on high quality cartridge paper covering the Isle of Wight, Christchurch to the Solent, Eastern Approaches to the Solent, Chichester and Langstone Harbours, Portsmouth Harbour and Approaches, the Central Solent, Southampton Water, West Solent, Isle of Wight and Solent Plans and Rivers and Marinas in Southampton Water.
The individual sheets are also available separately in waterproof lamination for those who need it.
The Admiralty also produces SC5600 The Solent and Approaches – a very comprehensive small craft folio which includes 11 double sided charts covering the area from Christchurch to Chichester with details of various rivers, creeks and harbours.
Fans of quick reference tools will like the Roberts Solent Tide Slide, which allows you to dial in the time relative to Portsmouth High Water and the resultant tidal flow directions and strength are shown on the map.
The Solent Eyeball Chart Plotter, which consists of 5 double sided laminated cards attached to a lanyard providing pilotage information for the main Solent and Isle of Wight harbours, is another handy reference tool to keep in the cockpit when cruising the Solent.