Many people doesn’t differentiate these two categories. Generally navigation software taken as just some computer program, showing boat’s position in the map, allowing to enter waypoints and helping to navigate.
Sailboat has much more requirements, compared to motor boats and -yahts. Getting from point A to B is not only about distance and boat speed and/or SOG. ETA is more complicated, it’s also about tacking, VMG (velocity made good), different winds in different part of track and also boats parameters (polar charts).
Most of so-called marine navigation software packages are for powered vessels. True sailing software combines wind computer, navigation software and weather communication. Some sailing softwares are programmed from scratch, some fave so-called plus-pack’s or option-pack’s, providing sailing functionality.
I try to list here software, meant specially for sailing, allowing to push maximum speed from Your yacht.
Expedition (about U$ 1300)
The end result is a system that wins more races and is far more advanced and usable in all aspects than any other tactical software available – whether you are racing around the world or your local harbour.
One of the best and most complete tactical navigation systems, developed racing in mind. Expedition supports more instrument systems, is easier to use and has the most powerful and useful functions for the racing navigator. Expedition has been developed by veteran Volvo Ocean Race navigator and Whitbread winner, physicist Nick White, initially for his use in the 2001-2 Volvo Ocean Race with Team News Corp and the Stars & Stripes Americas Cup team. Since then, Expedition has been continually refined by a core group of world-renowned navigators and two-time America’s Cup winning navigator Peter Isler has consulted closely in the development of the system. The end result is a system that wins more races and is far more advanced and usable in all aspects than any other tactical software available – whether you are racing around the world or your local harbour. Supports also handicap calculations.
B&G Deckman (previously Sailmath Deckman from Pro-Tech Marine, about U$ 1650)
Deckman is among world’s most advanced tactical navigation software and is used by winners in every field, from sports boats to the Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup. Deckman includes all the tools you need for short course round the buoys racing, offshore racing and boat tuning. Deckman has numerous functions to assist the racing navigator and tactician in making the right decisions on the race course, it is also closely integrated with instrument systems and in many cases is able to output functions back to the instrument system displays for use by crew on deck. Deckman provides the edge required to win races.
Nobeltec Admiral MAX Pro + Sailing Pack (together about U$ 1500)
Admiral MAX Pro gives you all the features found in Visual Navigation Suite MAX Pro (VNS MAX Pro) including Microsoft® Vista support, improved depth contour and night mode display options, and a handy Undo/Redo feature. Augment your system with add-ons: Sailing Plus Pack with new Windvantage™ Weather Router, Weather Plus Pack (now works with both Sirius® and XM® data receivers), Bathy Recorder Plus Pack, Tender Tracker Plus Pack, and Raster Plus Pack.** Additional Admiral MAX Pro features include four fully-customizable NavInfo panels for immediate display and histogram representation of key navigation data, a hand panning tool, GPS signal strength, trip odometer display, advanced multi-monitor support, GlassBridge™ Network, data sharing, track line coloring, dual radar support, vessel scaling, AIS filtering, and the easy-to-use NavView touch-screen, with a big-button user interface.
Sailing Plus Pack includes Weather Router feature. This feature relies on the Route Wizard to make calculations based on the boat’s performance characteristics (which are stored in the polar files) and a GRIB weather file. The software then creates a recommendation for the best possible route. Windvantage Weather Router complements the comprehensive feature pack, containing key cruising and performance tools that will undoubtedly improve your sailing skills. Sailing Plus Pack delivers the right information – when you need it.Incoming wind and sailing data, whether delivered via Ockam®; B&G®, or strictly from NMEA input, is used to create a total awareness in your Nobeltec display. Import or create a polar file and watch it instantly update with actual on-water data. Next, display on-screen indicators, such as laylines, reverse laylines, and over-the-chart wind indicators. Then display polar targets and actuals as a real number or percentages for instant performance verification. You can also measure data and performance using analysis tools that are built into Nobeltec’s exclusive Strip Chart technology.
Nobeltec VNS MAX Pro + Sailing Pack (together about U$ 800)
A bit scaled down version of Admiral product. Visual Navigation Suite MAX Pro* **(VNS MAX Pro™) is known for setting the standard for powerful yet simple navigation software. This software now renders the best electronic cartography on the market. Jeppesen Marine and C-Map by Jeppesen partner to produce the ultimate navigation software using the most popular electronic cartography available. The result is navigation software with breathtaking cartography and incomparable features.
VNS MAX Pro delivers all the most popular features, including real time vessel positioning, quilting for seamless chart integration, distance and bearing to active mark/route/target, unlimited route and waypoint placement, GPS upload/download, twilight and night display, integrated ETA calculator, auto-pilot support, and much more. This new version works with Windows® Vista and additionally adds an Undo/Redo feature. If you accidentally delete a Nav Object, such as a mark, you needn’t worry. Simply use the Undo/Redo feature to restore it. Finally, VNS MAX Pro serves as the launch platform for sounder and radar integration and feature-specific plus pack add-ons for fishing, sailing, and satellite weather support.
Maxsea Time Zero Explorer (additional Routing Module and Race Module, together about U$ xxxx)
Naval architect and ocean sailor,Brice Pryszo first developed the sail routing software in 1984, based on isochrones method.In 1985, Brice Pryszo co-founded MaxSea International. From that time MaxSea has pioneered a long list of innovations; the first seamless chart display, the first weather forecast file received onboard, invention of the personal bathymetric generator and 3D bathymetric display, and more.
SailCruiser (about U$ 400)
One affordable product.
SailCruiser accounts for sailboat tacking using wind, speed and direction to get you to your destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. Standard GPS chart plotters assume that sailboats travel in a straight line to their destinations, and are unable to calculate an accurate ETA during tacking legs. Finally, a solution! Tacking Time to Destination (TTD)™ is basic information that all sailors should have easy access to. SailCruiser provides a clear display of the optimal tacking route, and shows the Tacking Time to Destination. SailCruiser will display tacking on multiple waypoints (below left). Racers will find this an invaluable aid, showing tacking routes and TTD around an entire course. Polar Plots can also be entered for individual boat performance.