Isn’t it nice having a backup chartplotter?
As much as we love to get out on the water and disconnect, we still have a soft spot in our hearts for the apps that make life afloat a little easier. Below are our fav apps that we use regularly. Let us know the sailing apps that you can’t live without in the comment box below.
As our backup navigation system this app has been invaluable! We use it for passage planning, double-checking our position, and when our Raymarine chartplotter glitches out. For those of you with wanderlust, we found that Navionics had the most accurate charting for Mexico. Worldwide maps are available (you have to buy each region separately) and we would now take our iPad along on any charter boat excursion. My parents chartered a boat in Thailand only to discover that the charter boat’s chartplotter was down in the cabin in a totally impractical location which made it difficult for them to both be on deck navigating and keeping a lookout for treacherous reefs. They set up their iPad in the cockpit and were as happy as clams. Another feature we love is the apps’ compatability with Raymarine products. I often plot all of our waypoints belowdeck on the iPad and then wirelessly upload it to our Raymarine chartplotter – how sweet is that!
2. Drag Queen
This app has been a good, free, and relatively accurate anchor alarm. Our chartplotter is in the cockpit (making it hard to hear the anchor alarm with the companionway closed). Also, we don’t like to keep the chartplotter on when we’re at anchor as it is networked to the depth sounder and AIS (which all combine to drain our batteries). However, our iPad and Android phone are rarely ever turned off. Just remember to turn the app off when you leave the boat with your device, otherwise you’ll get an alarm about half-way to the beach.
For Android,Windows and Mac (FREE)
When it comes to navigation, who doesn’t love redundancy? Like many cruisers we are running OpenCPN on our laptop. We recently installed it on our and android phone as a backup. Having recently ditched paper charts on our boat, it’s nice to have a backup for your backup. OpenCPN does not contain charts so you have to download those separately. Free NOAA charts are available and work with OpenCPN as do CM93 world charts.
For Android (FREE)
We find Windfinder works well for forecasting wind speeds but has been inconsistent for tide data. Good for planning a day-sail and checking current wind conditions at various locations.
5) Weather Station
For Android (FREE).
Some smartphones have built in sensors to detect temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. We use this app as a backup system to tell us about our current environment and we’ve found it to be as accurate as our Maretron Weather Station (a $700 piece of equipment). Robin has also used it for his work in the past as a building science engineer for diagnosing issues in buildings…it’s that accurate.
For Android (FREE)
This is our go to grib weather app. It’s nice for storing gribs offline and checking later when we no longer have cell connection. Interface is a bit glitchy on the zoom, but the data is quick.
What do you think are the best apps for sailing? Let us know in the comment box below.