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Yachtsman's Navigator Guide To Chilean Patagonia

By doina — last modified Nov 30, 2006 02:10 PM

Published: 2006-11-30 14:10:05
Topics: Books,Charts and DVDs
Countries: Chile


Alberto Mantellero

3rd edition 2006

ISBN 956-310-213-4

Alberto Mantellero, a former rear admiral in the Chilean Navy, was the first to recognize the need for a comprehensive guide to the rich cruising grounds of Chile. The first edition of this book was published in 1995, when Chile’s attractions were only known to a handful of foreign sailors. Just over a decade later, Chile now attracts considerably more cruising yachts but its vast potential is still largely untapped. Alberto Mantellero’s guide has certainly contributed to this success, and has also inspired other authors to produce their own guides. The Italian sailors Mariolina Rolfo and Giorgio Ardrizzi have spent eight years in the area and in 2004 published “Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide”. Their comprehensive guide, published in English, is reviewed on noonsite and can be read in:

The Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation has published its own cruising guide: “Chile: Arica Desert to Tierra del Fuego” by Andrew O’Grady. It is now in its second edition and is also reviewed on noonsite.

With three cruising guides to choose from, potential visitors are somewhat spoilt for choice, especially as, unavoidably, the individual guides overlap in certain areas. Mantellero’s guide has the main merit of having been written by a local who has spent all his adult life in these waters, either as an officer in the Chilean Navy or as a sailor on his own yacht in his retirement. The guide is bi-lingual, with Spanish and English texts side by side. This is less confusing than it may sound and has the added advantage of allowing the reader to learn some basic Spanish without too much effort.

The first part of the book deals with general information such as weather, prevailing winds, tides and currents, special regulations and practical tips on navigating these waters. The rest of the guide deals with ports and anchorages, every entry listing details such as GPS position, the kind of sheltered provided, type of bottom, ease of access. There are tips on local attractions and a list of the various repair and shore facilities available. The individual plans are very clear and show both the depth and the best place to anchor. In difficult anchorages, the author even suggests the best way to anchor safely.

This reviewer used Alberto Mantellero’s first guide extensively while cruising from Cape Horn to Valdivia in 1999. The new edition has been comprehensively updated and the graphics are greatly improved. The question anyone will ask is which of the existing three guides to get, and the reasonable thing to do is probably to get all three as each might contain some rare gem of information that could make an immense difference when sailing in those remote and tricky waters. The guide can be ordered from one of the nautical bookshops or chart agents, some of which are mentioned on the author’s website