and Software Resources
Most cruising and
racing boats have computers aboard these days,
and for lots of good reasons,
some of which can be easily deduced from the
variety of programs listed below.
And, by the way, there's a whole lot of sharing
going on out there. . .
Some Recommended Sailing Software
MaxSea certainly seems to be the favorite electronic
navigation program aboard serious cruising boats.
With detailed charts of the entire world - instantly
accessible on your hard drive - grib file weather
overlays, a host of customizable tools including
weather routing, a good interface and much more,
MaxSea seems to be the winner.
Pilot charts, of course, give you vast amounts
of statistical weather, climate, and routing
related information for all the world's seas.
Now most of that information is instantly available
in Visual Passage Planner. It does not contain
major shipping routes, as do the paper charts,
but it seems to have just about everything else
- and then some. It can compute your best routes
based on your own routing criteria, and it supplies
just about any statistical climate or routing
information you might need. A nicely evolved
and excellent program. I found it quite useful
for planning our Pacific crossing.
We all know, or should know, the value of Weatherfax
aboard. Dedicated weatherfax receivers have
been largely replaced by harnessing the power
of your computer. Of the variety of programs
available, JVComm is a favorite. It has the
advantage of connecting your radio receiver
directly into your computer's microphone port,
without the need for the special dedicated add-on
box that some programs requite. It also has
the advantage of being shareware, free to try
and cheap to buy. If you use it, do send the
author his money. He's doing good work for us!
Here's a free program that gives you unhindered
access to accurate tidal information around the
world. This excellent little program has a very
complete repertory of ports: you'll find many
obscure little corners of the world covered, and
the price could not be better.
Short Guide to Celestial Navigation
Most of us no longer even practice it - even
if we once knew how to do sights and to orient
ourselves in time/space with a watch and a sextant.
But it is wise to have a celestial navigation
backup for the unlikely day when none of your
GPS's will work - for whatever reason.
above goes to an excellent site that explains
the mysteries and provides free computer software
to do your calculations.
Laptops are a favorite for compact size and versatility:
use it aboard and take it to the cybercafe!
Do NOT scrimp on this invaluable onboard tool!
In my experience, dating from 1988, and after numerous mistakes,
quality laptop computing aboard sailboats means Toshiba.
Do NOT be tempted by the pricing of cheaper brands, you'll be sorry!
Also: try to get one with a serial port if all other factors are equal
it makes connection to the GPS/Nav system easier.
Check these Toshiba deals:
Computer sailing software
laptops computers for sailboats sailors.