Saturday, February 28, 2015

WaveTrax Version 1.0.6 Awesome New Features

Application: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, iOS 6.0 or later
Function: Automated GPS based logging app
Rating: *****
Cost: $12.99

I reviewed WaveTrax back in July of 2014 and was impressed at how easy it was to make logs of my adventures. The latest version has added some unique and useful features.

WaveTrax is one of the many logbook apps in the iTunes Store.  I have reviewed most of them over the years including
Salid , Boating Suite and NavPlay.  The unique thing about this logbook app is that it synchronizes your travels with the WaveTrax online website where you can edit, save, print and share your travel logs. You can also manually create a trip log if desired.

Although the app is mainly geared for marine use anyone can use to it make records of their trips no matter where you are.  So if you bike, hike, boat or kayak it has never been easier to start recording your travels. Your device will need to have a GPS on board to provide the position location information.

The recent update to version 1.0.6 has some added features worth talking about.

  • Live Dashboard overview
  • Selections to record sailing, motor sailing and motoring time
  • Offline use
  • Combined log miles and time
  • Sync logs to WaveTrax website
  • Automated Logbook
  • Live GPS tracking
  • Poor GPS signal alert
  • Crew list
  • Certificates list 
  • Multiple ship details
  • Nautical charts
  • Trip details
  • Record all your adventures
  • Print logs in pdf format and share them online
  • Facebook, Twitter and email options
  • Compatible with iPhone or iPad’s GPS models
  • Records track logs in the background
  • Enhance your logs with maps, photos, notes & annotations
  • Access and edit your journeys on the Web
  • WaveTrax logs can’t get lost, damaged or filled up like a paper logbook.
  • Lifetime use of the App
  • Upgrades and customer support plus 1 year’s access to
  • Web access is renewable with an optional in-app purchase

The newest feature is the Dashboard.  This is a real time GPS display of all your navigation and trip data of your adventures.

The Dashboard also has easily available options to switch from sailing mode to motor sailing or motoring modes.  The different modes are displayed on the track in different colors to visually give you indication of how much you sailed and motored during you trip.

The time spent in the different modes is also recorded for each trip log.

You no longer have to leave the real time tracking display to make log entries or add crew and trip information.

At the end of your trip WaveTrax provides a personal log of all you logged data. Data includes Trip Type, Start and Stop times, to and from locations and times in the different sailing or motoring modes.

All of the logs are kept in the History tab and are automatically synced to the WaveTrax website and your account. A selection can be made in Settings to only sync when connected to WiFi if desired.

The History tab also shows a combined Distance, time and night hours traveled. This is handy to be able to keep track of the total logged hours on the water for all your recorded logged trips.

Cumulative history can be kept for several different yacht so if you crew or captain on other vessels you can keep track of them all separately.

GPS alert is another new feature implemented with this release.  The major cause of poor tracking or missing track data is a poor GPS signal. WaveTrax now will alert you if is senses a poor signal. You can then take actions to make sure your device and the app are properly recording your track data. GPS signal strength is shown in the upper middle of the Dashboard.
WaveTrax has made some much needed improvement to an already great app. The functionality and features have been improved to give the user a richer and more immersive trip logging experience.

Logging your travels has never been easier. Whether your boating, driving or hiking be sure to capture them all on this easy to use app. 

Once you have captured them make sure to share your travels with friends on Facebook, Twitter or by email.

~~~ Sail On ~~~~ /)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

British Virgin Islands Sailing January 2015

I have to apologize for the lack of posts lately.  January was a busy month with travel for work and vacations.  I was able to get a week of sailing in the British Virgin Islands.  The BVI are one of the best cruising grounds for charter sailing in the world.  The more than 30 islands offer an array of on the water and on shore attractions and entertainment.

I did take some of my technology along with me to use while sailing. During the trip I utilized my Delorme InReach to record our track and the Delorme Earthmate app to send emails back home via satellite. I used the Boatwatch app to locate and identify yachts in the area. I used the Garmin and Navionics apps for navigation.

The Lagoon 38 we were on had a 12 inch Raymarine Chartplotter on board too so it was easy to navigate.

I utilized my GoPro4 camera and app extensively during the trip and was able to get some great under water shots while snorkeling and hiking around the BVI. See the YouTube Videos below.

I was invited by chance to go on the trip by some of friends who just happen to have an extra spot on their boat.  My wife was not able to go because of work commitments so my daughter volunteered to do.

Lauren is a accomplished sailor herself and has crewed on many a sailboat race with me in our local regattas.

The Woody Lake Poinsett 1973
The friends who invited us sailing are actually old family friends that I met some 40 years ago.

My father, Lloyd, worked with a guy name Earl Holm.  Earl and his wife just happen to have a cabin on Lake Poinsett. We ended up spending quite a few summer days up at Poinsett water skiing behind our lovingly restored 1952 Century inboard. We all became very proficient at water skiing and tubing, back when it was an actual tractor inner tube.

Jody Nancy Earl 1974
My dad even built a surf board and we boarded behind our “Woody” before anyone knew it was cool.
Earl Holm was a tall good looking guy who was always sporting his Ray-Bans while at the lake.  His wife Jody was a bubbly little gal who was always the life of the party.
Earl mentioned that he had a sailboat and insisted that we all learn to sail.  This was in about 1973. I was about 14 at the time and was game for anything.  We all piled on the Johnson C scow sailboat and set out across Lake Poinsett. I am not sure we even had life jackets on board. 
Rick Brad Todd Mark and Dee 1973
Earl began to regale us with how the rigging and sails all worked together. He explained the names of the many cables and lines attached to the boat. I was intrigued and instantly wanted to learn how to make it go faster.  Earl sheeted in the big main sail and we took off.  I was hooked and have been sailing ever since. 
Later that day Earl’s son, Rick showed up with some friends from USD. I remember he was a big “college guy”. 

Rick brought a few other friends including a couple cute girls. They all hopped on board and my older brother Brad went out with them.  They sailed off into the setting sun, playing guitars and singing.  All I could think of was, how cool is that! I have to get a sailboat now, they are “chick magnets”!

We spent the next few summers sailing with the Holms on Lake Poinsett. If it was not for Earl, Jody and Rick I never would have learned to sail and developed such a passion for boating and the water.
Well, it was not long after that that my brother and I bought our first sailboat. He was in college at Concordia and found an old D scow. He called me up and said he found a real deal for “us”. The problem was that it had a hole in the side of it.  It was an old wooden boat (notice the pattern here) but he thought he could get it for about $500 hundred bucks. The other problem was he did not have any money.  So I became a sailboat boat owner at age 16.  We later sold the D Scow, Sundance to Earl Holm and moved onto a bigger boats which we kept in Yankton. My older brother Brad and I have since owned boats, chartered and sailed together throughout the Caribbean all the way from the Florida to Grenada.
Parker and Lauren
I went to college and graduated from SDSU ”GO Jacks” in 1983 and took an engineering job with the Department of Energy in Watertown, SD. I bought a little cabin on a local lake and we have been fortunate enough to live there for the last 32 years.  My kids were raised on the lake and are now only realizing how good they had it.  I can’t tell you the number of kids we taught to knee board, ski, wake board and sail.  The endless summers of entertaining and pulling the kids and their friends around the lake has been priceless.

Lloyd and  Earl racing 1974
So back to the BVI trip. Some 40 years later, Rick Holm, who's father taught me to sail asks me to go sailing with a group of his friends to the Caribbean. How cool it that.

One of the Cosmic Laws of the Universe is that, the people you meet every day are there for a reason.  The fun part is finding out how each of them will enrich your life.  All I can say is, thank God for the Holm family and Lake Poinsett because they both changed my life forever.
Mark and Rick 2015
It is only fitting that 40 years later Rick and I should get back together and do some sailing.  I think our Dads would be proud!
~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)