Archive for the ‘apps’ Category

Here’s my latest Tech Review in Yachting Times Magazine – America’s Bilingual Boating Magazine – Always available online!



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Choosing the right navigation app is no easy feat. Some cost a few precious boat bucks just to download, and “free” doesn’t necessarily mean activecapt-screenshot“less” when it comes to features. With the recent news that NOAA will stop printing paper charts this April, iPads are fast replacing chart plotters on the bridge or in the cockpit.

As a former cruiser, I often relied on print cruising guides to learn about a new port or cruising area. As we all know, this kind of information is always in flux. And there’s the rub: How do we get the latest information, preferably from other cruisers? The answer: AC.

For the past few years ActiveCaptain (AC) has grown and expanded to include over 100,000 boaters who write reviews and updates on anchorages, ports, hazards, facilities and more, all around the world.

Sail with confidence with any of the five navigation apps below. They all include ActiveCaptain data as an overlay for members. (AC membership is free).

SKIPPER (Ver 1.2)
Trailerbehind, Inc. – Free

skipper-app-iconThe newest offering in the Apps Store is Skipper and the free version isn’t just a trial; it includes a handy NOAA online chart viewer for onshore planning and satellite imagery on shore. For the Pro version you pay an annual fee of $12/year and you don’t have to pay extra for the charts you’ve already paid the Government for in taxes. NOAA Charts are auto-updated (or choose Google Earth or Topo maps, including historic topos. What fun!). All is cached and displayed offline very seamlessly, except weather and Google Earth requires an online connection. It also does routes/waypoints and real-time navigation (which Garmin’s app doesn’t do). Your subscription syncs your personal data and routes, waypoints, tracks, etc. between your multiple devices. Raster charts (the best!) load fast and look great since they are mosaic-ed together and are only 1.8GB each for the smallest possible download size. Skipper’s creator, Andrew Johnson says that Inland Rivers Charts including all NOAA vector charts will be added soon and he is working on ways to integrate Open Street Map technology. Perhaps my dream of having one app that shows both Charts and Maps may soon become real!

garmin-iconGarmin BlueChart Mobile (Ver 1.4)
Garmin International – Free (Charts are available via in-app purchase and range from $30 -$70).

BlueChart uses vector charts with features such as search, routes, waypoints, weather stations (choose conditions overlay showing dew points, temperatures, wind direction and speed, water temp, visibility) GRIB weather with wave heights and period, celestial data, measuring feature, real-time tracking. Each icon gives great details when tapped. Lots of overlay features can clutter up the chart but choosing which ones to view is easy using the cool “radial chart object menu”.


Charts & Tides (Ver 4.7)
Navimatics  – $19.99 *

The first full resolution, seamless charting iPad app. Charts&Tides uses NOAA and CHS vector cartography. Covers all of U.S. and Canada and cost $20-$40. New features include AIS support, Closest Point of Approach (CPA) computations and alerts, more connectivity options for GPS (WiFi, GPSD), new Dead Reckoning Mode and interface improvements.

*This just in… Now you don’t have to open a different app to chart a new area of the world. Navimatics has just added a newly developed chart engine to Charts & Tides for iOS and for Mac computers. Now the app is free and you can add  these two options:
– The entire US NOAA collection of charts: $19.99
– The entire US NOAA collection + CHS Canadian charts: $39.99


PolarView MX (Ver 1.2.4)
PolarNavy – $3.99

From the folks who brought you affordable PC and MacOS charting. Their PolarView MX app for iPhone or iPad offers both vector and raster chart viewing combined with extensive instrument support that many mariners are seeking. Chart coverage includes U.S. and U.K. and world-wide charts are available.

SEAiq (Ver 3.4.0)
Sakhalin, LLC – $9.99

SEAiq-Open_iconDeveloped by software engineer/live aboard world cruiser, Mark Hayden. SEAiq uses free NOAA vector charts. Try SEAiq Free first, then upgrade to SEAiq USA or Open for $9.99 with in app purchase to enable all features. SEAiq Open allows you to use your own vector charts. (S-57, S-63, CM93, iENC, BSB, and KAP) or you can purchase charts for anywhere in the world from ChartWorld. Also, with Inland ENC support, you can download hundreds for free charts for many rivers in Europe. Other features: Import/export waypoints and routes. NMEA data, AIS, Track recording, GRIB weather downloads, anchor alarm, instrument data, TCP/IP WiFi NEMA data.

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Easy-to-use & Affordable Navigation for America’s Boaters


ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 27, 2012Derek Trauger & Associates, LLC (DTA), announced the release of their updated boating app – Simple Charts, now the easiest marine navigation app available to the nation’s more than 12.5 million registered boaters.

First released in August of 2011, Simple Charts provides seamless high resolution marine charting on either the iPhone or iPad without advertisements. The new version includes popular user-requested upgrades such as access to current NOAA Weather data; Aids to Navigation including obstructions based on both NOAA and USCG data; Current track export to Google Earth and Google Maps; plus additional charts for Mexico (Sea of Cortez) provided by Blue Latitude Press) and Social Media Integration.

Simple Charts combines an always-available mobile chart plotting solution, regardless of whether you have an Internet connection (charts must first be pre-cached), with a truly clutter-free interface. This handy navigation app offers full resolution seamless marine charting and is compatible with both the iPhone and iPad. With just a few simple screen taps, boaters can view all NOAA Raster Navigational Charts (RNCs) that automatically load no matter where you are in the U.S. Using the handy in-app purchase users can now add charts of Brazil, with more areas to be added.

Simple Charts is available as an iPhone/iPad app download for just $9.99, still the most affordable, full-featured charting app currently offered. Now available for Android phones! Simple Charts can be downloaded through iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simple-charts/id451093694?mt=8#



About Derek Trauger & Associates, LLC


Derek Trauger & Associates is an Orlando-based design and development company specializing in the development, customization and implementation of custom software applications. Derek Trauger & Associates believe that their products should be easy to use, natural and create an intuitive experience that help people accomplish those everyday tasks easily. They have produced many well-known boating apps including Dive Spots, the BoatUS “find me” app, and Boat Ramps, which received the Boating Industry’s prestigious Innovation Award.

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Review of Crash Test Boat App

The Crash Test Boat app, published by Yachting Monthly, takes a rather ingenious series right from the pages of their print publication and with the addition of great graphics & video and put together a terrific (and a little scary) app for the iPad.

Reminiscent of TV’s ‘Top Gear’ but with a yachting slant, the purpose of the app is to show you how to avoid and troubleshoot disaster at sea. The Magazine first ran an 8-part series over a period of about a year, detailing their tortuous destruction of a perfectly good Jeanneau Sun Fizz ketch. Then YM Editor Paul Gelder, together with a plethora of experts like Mike Golding, one of the world’s top sailors (consultant on Capsize), Paul Lees, Founder of Crusader Sails (consultant on Dismasting and Jury rig), and YachtingTV’s own Steve Adams–put together a truly fantastic experience that could only be enjoyed on an iPad.



An app that truly does
justice to the medium

What’s in it for you?

Ask yourself this: “What’s your worst sailing nightmare?” Perhaps a dismasting or a fire below deck or maybe a complete rollover before your poor vessel strikes a rock and runs aground! Oh my!

The app highlights these and other potential disasters you may encounter at sea and looks at a range of different techniques and tools that can be used to survive them, with some surprising results. Eight potential disasters are covered, including dismasting, fire, leaks and running aground. I won’t give away the ending, but suffice to say, there’s not much of the boat left by the end!

The app isn’t all about destruction. In fact, there’s plenty of useful information with stories and advice from those who have experienced disaster for real. There are contributions from top yachtsmen.

“The lessons learned from these serial disasters have been well received globally by thankful yachtsmen who are now much better armed against potential peril.”  – Yachting Monthly

What I love about this app is its interactive design. Besides the 360 panoramas, the great video and galleries, you can also capsize a boat through a full 360 degrees just by sliding your finger across the screen. Stop midway and go backwards! You’re in control of every grisly detail.

If you’re not used to the newest navigation available on other media like magazines on the iPad, it might be useful to check out the instructions and help pages at the beginning. Overall, the app is user friendly, making use of those handy swipes and clicks to navigate.

At $4.99 the app represents good value for money. It may just give you the tip you need to get out of a tight spot one day, thereby avoiding the need to call for SOS.

Watch the Video:

Get it here:




They holed it, rolled it, burnt it and drowned it! But at least they didn’t SINK it!
Yachting Monthly’s crash test boat on show at the London Boat Show.

(Images/Screenshots courtesy of Yachting Monthly Magazine)

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ActiveCaptain, the world’s first interactive, user-supported, cruising guide, has announced a new partnership with Garmin International.

In a press release dated February 15, 2012, Jeffrey Siegel, Owner/Co-Founder of ActiveCaptain, announced that Garmin has become the first officially -licensed company to integrate ActiveCaptain into their BlueChart Mobile app for iPad and iPhone.

Siegel wrote, “As the first major marine electronics manufacturer to publicly license ActiveCaptain, the stage is set for another doubling of AC users to over 200,000 members.”

Engelhard (Al) Sundoro, Garmin’s Senior Director, Marine Sales and Marketing said, “We’re proud to partner with ActiveCaptain to make the boating experience even more pleasurable. The content provided by the ActiveCaptain community is a great complement to Garmin’s BlueChart Mobile application – now, not only will mariners have the latest charts and service data from Garmin, but they’ll also have access to a wealth of information directly from other captains.”

Garmin’s new app isn’t available yet, but will be after the formal announcement at the Miami International Boat Show, this weekend – Feb. 16-20. It will debut at the Garmin booth (#1689) and ActiveCaptain support will be demonstrated with live data.

BlueChart will be free of charge through the iTunes App Store, but users will pay to download various charts regions as needed. It provides integration for route planning and totally integrates with the real-time, synchronized data from the ActiveCaptain servers. It does not require Garmin chartplotters but has extra capabilities if you also have other Garmin hardware.

Up-To-Date Cruising Information… In the palm of your hand

Most cruisers would agree that having a member-updated cruising guide is the best way to get the most accurate, useful information about anchorages, ports and even hazards.

“Bringing more boaters to the ActiveCaptain community is a huge win for the entire boating community, especially outside the U.S., where Garmin’s support for international chart data will merge perfectly with our international content.”

Currently the scope of the data is focused primarily on the U.S., but that will surely change quickly as more international users come onboard. As more boaters share their local knowledge and cruising experiences with others in the boating community, everyone benefits. One of my favorite aspects of ActiveCaptain is the ratings system where cruisers can share their knowledge of any particular anchorage by assessing aspects like holding, wind protection, wake protection, shopping and access to shore – all important to those visiting for the first time. Printed cruising guides tend to become inaccurate as soon as they hit the stores, so interactive guides like ActiveCaptain are more useful whether one is out for a daysail or cruising the world.

Anyone can become a member of the ActiveCaptain community. It’s free to join and begin posting information. There’s also incentives to contribute. Members earn points for entering information on marinas and fuel pricing and then exchange those points for logo-wear, products and occasional special promotions by marinas.

ActiveCaptain is also available as an overlay on another charting app for the iPhone/iPad, namely Charts&Tides by Navimatics.

ActiveCaptain’s press release:

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Today and tomorrow only…


Retweet todays’ tweet “Download @iBoatShows for free and get the best, most comprehensive list of #boatshows anywhere! (+ a bonus!)” and you’ll get a free code to redeem at the AppStore!

Or, if you’re not yet a Twitter user you can “Friend” me on my YourCruising Editor Facebook page!

You’ll be supporting Youth Sailing!


Many thanks!

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We had a great time last night at the Lighthouse Point YC for the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club’s monthly general meeting where I gave a slide show presentation on my sailing voyages with the Star Clippers and threw a huge raffle!

Royal Clipper under sail

Thanks to the hearty folks who stayed for the slide show and were rewarded with some great IPhone app codes and gear!

We made sure that everyone who purchased a raffle ticket to help the Youth Sailing Program got to take something home.

The first winners called were able to pick from a terrific assortment of donations like Navigation software from Navionics, Polar Navy, and Nav Apps from a long list (see below) of app developers, TreeFrog Pads, LokSak waterproof bags, Otterbox iPhone case, and more.

I hope that everyone enjoys their apps, gear or software and be sure to tell other smartphone users!

app-icon-bannerHere’s a list of all the Donors:

  1. 1st prize Captain bundle of courses (value $300)
  2. 2nd prize Bareboat Charter Master (value $160)
  3. 3rd prize skipper (value $95)
  • Navimatics: Charts&Tides for East, Gulf & Great Lakes ($24.99)
  • Navionics: – Chartplotter Apps, Charts and Laptop Software ($9.99-$130.00)
  • Pinkfroot: ShipFinder ($4.99) & ShipFinder HD ($7.99)
  • Roger Boesch: SailMaps ($5.99), SailBook ($5.99)
  • TreeFrogPads: 5 Incredibly Sticky Pads! ($12.95 ea)
  • LokSak: aLOKSAK waterproof bags and cases ($7.99 – 29.99)
  • Otterbox: Universal iPhone 4 Defender Series case ($49.95)
  • Polar Navy: PolarView NS – Navigation software licenses. ($39.99)
  • Xantrex: 5 – USB DC Chargers ($9.99)

If your missed the raffle, there’s still time to get your free app codes. Anyone who donates to the Youth Sailing Program can get free app codes or other prizes.
Email: info@itaptouch.com for details, but hurry because Apple Redeem Codes are only good for a short time!

Thanks again to all the donors who continue to create great apps for all us sailors!

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