Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volvo Ocean Race App - Life at the Extreme

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iOS 7.0 or later
Function: Multimedia, tracking and race details
Rating: *****
Cost: Free

All images courtesy of Volvo Ocean Race App
Hot off the presses is the Volvo Ocean Race App for the 2014-2015 race. I can't believe it is about to start all over again in just a few days.

This will be the 12 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race which is held every three years. The race started back in 1973 and was originally known as the Whitbread Round the World Race. Whitbread is a famous British brewing company that was one of the original sponsors of the race. Back then 17 boats ranging from 32 to 80 feet competed. The Mexican entry, Sayula II skippered by Ramon Carlin won the first race.

This years official race starts in Alicante Spain on October 4th 2014. The 39,000 mile course takes
the sailors around the world in 11 months in a west to east route.  Stops include Cape Town South Africa, Abu Dhabi UAE, Sanya China, Auckland, New Zealand, Itajai Argentina, Newport Rhode Island, Lisbon Portugal, Lorient France, The Hague Netherlands and finally Gothenburg Sweden.

In port races will take place at each location and give the spectators a close up view of the sailing action. Seven teams made up of 66 sailors, men and women are competing in this years event. One unique thing about this years race is that all boats are of one design, built to be exactly the same so all boats will be evenly matched.

The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the greatest sporting events in the world today. The high tech 65 foot yachts will be used in the next two Volvo Ocean race series.

  • Feeds, enjoy video and multimedia feeds
  • Teams, SCA, Abu Dhabi, Dongfeng, Brunel, Alvimedica, MAPFRE, Vestas Wind
  • Routes, check out the race route around the world.
  • Tracker, follow the teams in real time around the world
  • Life at the Extreme TV
  • Notifications of Breaking news, Live Events and Position Reports

Download the free app and start enjoying the sailing coverage that this app will provide. It will take you inside the races and give you access to videos, pictures and podcast of all the race action.

Who you betting on? Go Team SCA!

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Navionics Boating for Windows

Application: Windows PC or Tablets with Operating System of 8.1 or higher
Function: Marine Charting and Navigation
Rating: *****
Cost: App is Free, in app purchases for charts and features

Hey, who said apps are just for tablets and phones, how about Windows PCs.  Navionics has just introduced their popular Boating app for the Windows operating system.  The Boating app came out in the spring of 2014 and is now Navionics main marine app.  It had been available only on mobile devices running iOS or Android until now. Navionics now offers a version of the popular navigation and charting app for free on Window 8.1 compatible laptops and Window tablets. It can be download from the Windows Store. I did not even know Windows had a store.  Score this app for free and get started!

The trick is that it will not operate on all PC or Window machines.  The app is free so download it and give it a try. If your device does not have an onboard GPS like a tablet, you will not be able to follow your position on a chart or navigate to waypoints. It states that they do not support 3rd party GPS units. That is a real drawback. It would be great if they could support Bluetooth or USB GPS units that are cheap and readily available. It would be a good planning tool for your PC if nothing else. Several tablet models are supported including some Dell and Nokia models.

  • Processor requirements: x86, x64, ARM
  • System requirements
  • GPS features require that the device has a built in GPS sensor. Navionics does not certify use with third party GPS accessories.
  • Supported devices, Nokia Lumia 2520, Surface Pro2 4G LTE, Dell Venue 8 Pro, Dell Venue 11i Pro
  • Large selection of Marine Charts worldwide
  • Record your travels with Tracks
  • Create routes for your trip.
  • Measure distance between points.
  • Share you travels through email 
  • Share you local knowledge with Community Edits. 
  • Search a wide variety of Points of Interest 
  • Tides and Currents forecasts and graphs 

The main display has three soft keys at the bottom center of the screen. Select Tracks, Menu or Route to get started.  Navionics charts are available with an in app purchase.  Select Menu then Charts to purchase the region and charts needed for your travels.

Navionics has worldwide chart coverage so your sure to find charts for your cruising grounds.

The app provides many of the same great features found in the iOS and Android versions.

Routes can easily be added to the chart with a tap of the screen. Continue tapping to add additional waypoints to your route. Routes can be modified by adding or deleting waypoints or moving waypoints to new locations.

The Navionics Windows app also has Tidal and Current information available. This feature is not free but can be acquired through an in app purchase.

Select Menu and locate the Current and Tides selection. Locate the tide station nearest you to check on tidal information. Save your favorite tidal locations for later viewing.  Forecast for currents direction and speed  is also available within the app.

Points of Interest are also a popular feature. The app allows searching for marinas, restaurants, hotels, marine stores and other services that you may need on the water.

This feature also requires an in app purchase to access the Points of Interest feature.  So if you don't mind paying a few buck you can access these premium features. What do you expect from a free app, they have to make money somehow!

Navionics is really making a push to cover all platforms when it come to marine charting. I have to give them credit for making it available to all kinds of different devices.  Unlike many other apps that only concentrate on iOS or Android devices, Navionics Boating is almost universal.

I don't have a Windows 8 tablet yet, so I could not check out all the features of this new Windows app. Has anyone downloaded this yet and tried it out?  Let me know what you think!

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)