Indestructible case for otherwise destructible iPhone

02/07/2010

iPhone gets more and more credit as best sailing gadget ever. There are few big issues

  • iPhone is slippery
  • iPhone is fragile
  • iPhone has mediocre battery life
  • iPhone GPS is not very accurate

All these issues are solved by ToughCase for iPhone by Magellan. This is not another protective case for iPhone. It contains:

  1. IPX7 waterproof casing
  2. SiRF Star III GPS receiver
  3. 1840mAh battery

So, it converts fragile iPhone to sailing-proof platform with much better GPS. Oh, and it’s also compatible with iTouch music playes.

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iPhone – one of the best sailing gadgets ever

10/08/2009

iPhone and Apple divide world into two separate groups, ones who love and others who don’t. I’m personally in the second group. But still, have to admit, that iPhone is one of the best sailing gadgets ever. That’s Why:

iNavX

iNavX

1. iNavX navigation program, created by the same people who wrote GPSNavX. Compatible with NOAA RNC raster charts, CHS Canada Charts, Navionics Gold Charts, Discovery Charts, HotMaps, NV. Verlag Charts, TRAK Canada lakes fishing maps and Solteknik Sweden waters charts, purchased separately.

AyeTides

AyeTides

2. AyeTides displays tides and currents for locations around the world. Based upon Mr. Tides, AyeTides is tuned for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It is a stand-alone application and does not require internet access to function. Have tides and currents at your fingertips at all times! AyeTides is available from the iTunes App Store !

3. SailSim sailing simulation program

One video is better than 10 000 words…

4. iPhone WindMeter

5. YourSail Logbook. With JourSail you can document your cruises easily and fast. Whether you’re sailing with a little yacht or are enjoying yourself abord the Queen Mary II: with JourSail you’ll have all your notes and memories in a perfect format quickly at hand. With JourSail you can make entries every hour, every day or every 15 minutes – however you like it. Follow the rhythm you prefer and change it whenever you want – just the way you like it.

SailMaster

SailMaster

6. SailMaster digital display. At a fraction of the cost of stand-alone tactical systems, the SailMaster application for the Apple iPhone provides all the information needed to optimize sailing and racing performance.  SailMaster displays key data in a clear and easy to read format and can help sailors of all abilities understand how to maximize speed and efficiency. Originally designed as an economical tool for experienced sailors to optimise racing performance, SailMaster is a simple low solution that will benefit sailors of all abilities.


Please find out more in iPhone and Mac on Sailing Discussion board and iPhone AppStore

With JourSail you can document your cruises easily and fast.
Whether you’re sailing with a little yacht or are enjoying yourself abord the Queen Mary II: with JourSail you’ll have all your notes and memories in a perfect format quickly at hand.
Easy, mobile and a lot of fun
With JourSail you can make entries every hour, every day or every 15 minutes – however you like it. Follow the rhythm you prefer and change it whenever you want – just the way you like it.



Solar GPS

04/08/2009
F-tech solar-powered bluetooth GPS

F-tech solar-powered bluetooth GPS

Many people use Laptops and cheap GPS mouse (connected to USB), equipped with PC navigation software and electronic charts instead of dedicated chartplotter. It’s a quite good solution for route planning at home. Laptop display is also bigger and it’s considerable faster and more usable than cheap chartplotter.

But there is a problem with GPS. Using U$ 50 – 100 USB GPS mouse is easiest and cheapest way, but the USB wire is always on the way and GPS is not on ideal position. Luckily GPS makers like F-Tech heard that issue and developed solar-power wireless GPS. It doesn’t need batteries, wires, switching on/off. Its just sitting somewhere on the deck and sending positions via bluetooth. Sun is almost limitless power source on the sea, why not to use it? And it can still function in total darkness 20 hours, off the battery, fully charged.

F-Tech Solar GPS tech data:

Protocol:

NMEA 0183 v3.01 (Default:GGA,GSA,GSV,RMC,VTG,CHN)
MTK NMEA Command

Baud Rate:

9600,N,8,1(Default)

Max. Update Rate:

1 Hz

Datum:

WGS84

Channel:

32 channel all-in-view tracking

Frequency:

L1, 1575.42MHz

Hot Start:

1 sec. Average

Warm Start:

36 sec. Average

Cold Start:

37 sec. Average

Reacquisition Time:

Less than 1 sec (Typical)

Position Accuracy:

< 3m CEP (50%) without SA (horizontal)

Sensitivity

Tracking:-158 dBm

Power Supply:

DC 5V

Power Consumption

45mA(avg.)

Battery Life

20HRs with Li-Ion Battery,30HRs with solar power

Antenna Type:

Built in low noise patch antenna

External Antenna Interface:

MMCX

Bluetooth

Class 2, distance up to 10 meters

Dimension:

55(W)x103(L)x22(H) mm

LED Indicator:

Red LED:GPS is fixed or not fixed / Power On
Blue LED:BT is connected or not connected

Operating Temperature:

-10°C to + 70°C

Storage Temperature:

-40°C to + 85°C

Operation Humidity:

5%~95%, Non-Condensing

Products mentioned

F-Tech


There is marine navigation software and sailing software

29/07/2009

Optimal

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)

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.

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.

Link to Expedition homepage

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 Admiral home page

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.

Nobeltec VNS PRO homepage

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.

Visit Maxsea Time Zero homepage

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.

SailCruiser homepage



Complete list of PC navigation software — almost complete

24/07/2009

This is quite complete list of navigation software for PC. Please comment, is You find something missing or mistakes in price info etc.

Free

SeaClear II

OpenCPN

U$ 1 – U$ 500

Garmin Mobile PC (about U$ 60)

OziExplorer (about U$ 90)

Transas Navigator (about U@ 120)

MacENC for Mac (about U$ 160)

PassagePlus for Mac (about U$ 70)

GPSNavX for Mac (about U$ 60)

NavimaQ for Mac (about U$ 100)

Euronav SeaPro Lite (about U$ 160)

Fugawi Marine ENC (about U$ 280)

SailCruiser Pro by NavSim (about U$ 400)

Nobeltec VNS MAX Pro (Visual Navigation Suite) by Jeppesen (about U$ 490, Sailing Pack add  U$ 300)

Rose Point Coastal Explorer (about U$ 400)

DigiBoat SOB (about U$ 290)

DigiBoat SOB Pro (about U$ 450)

CAPN Navigation Software (about U$ 450)

NaviGator Std by Navigation Dynamics (about U$ 225)

NaviGator PRO by Navigation Dynamics (about U$ 500)

U$ 501 – U$ 1000

MaxSea Navigator (about U$ 600)

Raytech RNS by Raymarine (about U$ 600)

SeaPro Standard by Euronav (about U$ 580)

SeaPro Performance Sailing by Euronav (about U$ 915)

> U$ 1 001

NavCruiser Pro by NavSim (about U$ 1200)

MaxSea Exolorer (about U$ 3000)

Nobeltec Admiral MAX Pro by Jeppesen (about U$ 1000 – 1200)

Rose Point ECS (about U$ xxxx)

Discontinued

Maptech Chart Navigator (was about U$ 250, company was sold)

Maptech Chart Navigator Pro (about U$ 500 company was sold)


RS-232 to USB adapter, how to connect PC to B&G H2000 or H3000via USB

21/07/2009
Serial-to-USB adapter

Serial-to-USB adapter

Many of us use general purpose laptop PC and PC navigation software like Maptech Chart Navigator Pro, Tiki Navigator Pro, BoatCruiser Pro, Nobeltec Admiral,  MaxSea, Fugawi ENC or other for navigation. For better navigation its vital to link navigation computer not only to GPS, but also to anemometer, gyro compass, depth sonar and AIS system. NMEA 0183 unified protocol makes it possible. Most of marine equipment talk NMEA 0183 and navigation software can understand it. But there the problem arises. Most of sea equipment rely on old-school serial interface, called RS-232. New computers have one or non of these, but plenty of USB connectors.  How to connect RS-232 interfaced sailing processor like B&G Hydra 3000 or Hercules 2000 to PC? I used two Prolific RS-232 to USB adapters to convert all inputs to USB. Windows software and Prolific driver map all USB’s to COM ports, so it’s easy to configure devices in navigation software.

Connecting B&G H2000 or H3000 via USB to PC Laptop

Connecting B&G H2000 or H3000 via USB to PC Laptop

There are many different adapters on market. I believe, they all work fine, cause technologically USB is also serial communication port. I used Prolific chipset adapter and it works flawlessly. In some applications it’s good idea to use one-to-many adapter. For example B&G H2000 sytem has 2 NMEA 0183 outputs and it’s impossible to get all data from one port onlt. So, I had to use 2 adapters and 2 USB ports.

You need also to configure port speeds to 4800 or 9600 bauds on both ends and configure correct COM port numbers in navigation software. But this will be another topic.

Products mentioned

General (Prolific chip) RS-232-to-USB adapter