It’s pretty safe to say that those ancient mariners, Columbus and Vasco da Gamma, would love the 21st century; apart from the ready availability of yacht insurance, questions like “is it round, is it flat?” or “which is the quickest route to the Indies?” would have been quickly answered had they had access to the wonderful world of the app. Today, the now ubiquitous app means that no such problems arise and the range of excellent apps for sailing seems to grow each day. Here are five of the most popular.
- ‘Boating Suite’, available for iPod touch, iPad and iPhone isn’t so much an app but, as the name suggests, a suite of applications. It eliminates the need to record details in logs and spread sheets and has a functionality that makes it fantastic for serious boating enthusiasts for whom the call of the ocean wave is simply irresistible. The six functions included in the app are a log book, a maintenance log, an expenses log, a fuel log along with a shopping list and to do list app sections. The suite aims – and admirably achieves – to help you to manage and plan all aspects of life on board, for short or extended trips; for the latter particularly, it really does make the financial side of sailing smoother.
- The disarmingly simple concept behind the ‘Mylite Flashlight’ app is possibly what makes it so good. Obviously an essential item at sea, experienced sailors will normally have a flashlight to hand; they may also need a phone, a chart and a couple of ropes. This app allows you to download a flashlight programme turning your phone into a powerful LED flashlight. There’s an inbuiltSOS single in the programme and although the light/phone concept is not new, this particular version is a far more effective and usable version, cutting down on the necessity to carry numerous gadgets around on those dark stormy nights.
- You can never know enough about knots, let’s face it. ‘Pro Knot’ is an excellent app to have to hand to brush up on your skills or teach yourself the, well, ropes. With a step by step illustrated guide to thirty essential knots and an animated version of seventeen, this guide is one that no self-respecting sailor will be without. ‘Pro Knot’ has rapidly become a leading site for information on nautical knotting and the app is a welcome extension to their offering.
- ‘NauticEd’ is already a leading provider of internationally recognised certification and, naturally, they have now extended their tuition to include app functionality. You’ll need to sign up to a free account on their site to access the app but this then gives you the freedom to add details of your sailing experience in real time. The app also helps to assess your sailing strengths and weaknesses and recommends further training. Naturally this training is available at a cost from ‘NauticEd’ but the information is genuinely useful!
- Charting apps have been flooding the market since the invention of the app, and they have proved incredibly popular with sailors of all levels of experience. Leading the field in this area is the app available from ‘Navionics’, already a well-established nautical mapping provider. With a comprehensive range of nautical charts around the globe, the app allows sailors to chart maps and input a range of specific criteria. These include the boat’s depth, fuel consumption and anticipated wind directions. Additional features include locations for marine repair sites, and general information including shops and restaurants on route.
Whether it’s a weekend at Cowes or a quick once around the globe to see if anyone missed a continent, a range of excellent apps will smooth the voyage. Basic requirements for safe sailing have long included boat insurance and the list is now being joined by the range of highly useful and effective apps.