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MaxSea TZ Trials on Biscay 2012

TimeZero_Explorer_PDI thought I would just post a final word on my experiences using the MaxSea TZ software this year.

My wife and I sailed over 1300nm as a couple from the UK to Portugal and then on the return trip I was accompanied by 2 family members and one professional crew. All in all 2600nm and 13 ports of entry and departure to plan for during a summer that was at best “changeable”.

I used MaxSea TZ software in “Home Planning” mode rather than “Navigation” mode since I relied on my brand new Raymarine e125 hybrid touch for real time navigation. My experience with the Raymarine e125 hybrid touch will be subject of future posts. Just so readers get my comments in context, please note that my critique contained in the previous posts – is simply that – it is not a condemnation of MaxSea TZ – far from it. I first reviewed the weather routing module of MaxSea TZ over 2 years ago, and I was interested to see if they have come on in their design and functionality.

On board I had a number of chart plotting devices – probably far more than most cruising sailors.

Navigation/routing aids:

1 – Dedicated Plotter : A brand new Raymarine e125 Hybrid Touch plotter with Navionics Platinum charts

2 – Dedicated Plotter : The old Raymarine RL80C Plus with CMap NT charts

3 – Laptop (Windows7) software: MaxSea TZ v1.9.7 with MM3D charts

4 – Laptop (Windows7) software: Neptune v5.0.5 with CMap NT charts

So I have quite a number of opportunities to compare what these systems have to offer.

Weather services being used:

1 – MaxSea TZ – built in weather download (by internet download or by email)

2 – UGrib

3 – zyGrib

4 – Magic Seaweed (using WifI or 3G on my Apple iPhone)

It has been very interesting to see how software helps or frustrates the task of routing. But because the weather was so frustrating and caused us to really plan carefully for both Biscay crossings I had to re-route and re-plan over and over again.

I can honestly say that there is very little software I have used in the past few years – for any purpose – that is as slick and well designed as MaxSea TZ.

Now that I have a good laptop running this type of software is a breeze. But I would advise that lesser laptops may well struggle to keep up with what the software is trying to do.

  • Acer Aspire 5750
  • CPU Intel i5 3.1Ghz
  • RAM 4Gb
  • HDD 500Gb

 

Once you have a good laptop, and the MaxSea TZ software you enter a whole new world of navigation software that makes dedicated plotters like Raymarine or old PC software like Neptune look very sad indeed.

Being able to zoom in and out through the various vector layers of chart being able to turn windows of information on and off at will having the weather download and isochrone based routing module built in – not to mention satellite photography and Active Captain integration. This is still the best PC/laptop based chart plotting software on the market.

Having to enter and leave 13 ports in 8 weeks meant that many nights I was downloading Grib files and trying to plan routes and re-plan routes to see if I could avoid bad weather. We had two 4 plus days voyages and two 3 day voyages so weather routing was important. It is at these times when clumsy user interfaces and unreliable software would really kill the spirit as well as increase the danger to a cruising sailor. But if you don't feel the effort of re-planning a route is that great – then you tend to do it again , and again until you are happy and it feels right. This makes life easier and safer.

Getting the routes generated by MaxSea TZ into the Raymarine plotter is not one click, but is easily achieved. I don't know how many times I had to do this over the two months of sailing but I guarantee that it does work.

My advice is buy a good laptop and buy MaxSea TZ. I will continue to do all my planning using this software.

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2 comments to MaxSea TZ Trials on Biscay 2012

  • Russ,
    Two questions:
    What would you recommend ilo MaxSea for a Mac based laptop as I believe MaxSea has no software for Mac.
    Did you ever address the Raymarine e125 as indidcated you would in your 8/5/2012 blog?
    Phil

  • Hi Phil

    You are correct that MaxSea does not support MAC OS. Shame really since it was originally “MacSea” which was later changed to MaxSea when ported over to PCs, about the time that Furuno got involved.

    There is some good info here http://www.bellaluna.biz/tag/maxsea/ however from a sailor that says he has it running on his iPad.

    I have been impressed by the software from Polar Navy however, http://www.polarnavy.com/ – although I havent used it in a live situation, but it does have a MAC OS version. PolarNavy also supports Active Captain which is very useful in US waters.

    With regard to the e125. I have been putting off writing my notes up because I am so disapointed in the product and I dont want to say something that is not very carefully worded. The bottom line is that I wish I had not wasted my money on this unit. It will be good one day – but not right now. If you are looking to upgrade and stay within the raymarine product line invest in the older E series range which is now tried and tested.

    If you want to upgrade you chartplotter and use MaxSea the have a look at the Furuno range which has MaxSea built in.
    http://www.furuno.com/special/en/navnet2/maxsea.html

    Hope these comments help.

    All the best
    Russ

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2 comments to MaxSea TZ Trials on Biscay 2012

  • Russ,
    Two questions:
    What would you recommend ilo MaxSea for a Mac based laptop as I believe MaxSea has no software for Mac.
    Did you ever address the Raymarine e125 as indidcated you would in your 8/5/2012 blog?
    Phil

  • Hi Phil

    You are correct that MaxSea does not support MAC OS. Shame really since it was originally “MacSea” which was later changed to MaxSea when ported over to PCs, about the time that Furuno got involved.

    There is some good info here http://www.bellaluna.biz/tag/maxsea/ however from a sailor that says he has it running on his iPad.

    I have been impressed by the software from Polar Navy however, http://www.polarnavy.com/ – although I havent used it in a live situation, but it does have a MAC OS version. PolarNavy also supports Active Captain which is very useful in US waters.

    With regard to the e125. I have been putting off writing my notes up because I am so disapointed in the product and I dont want to say something that is not very carefully worded. The bottom line is that I wish I had not wasted my money on this unit. It will be good one day – but not right now. If you are looking to upgrade and stay within the raymarine product line invest in the older E series range which is now tried and tested.

    If you want to upgrade you chartplotter and use MaxSea the have a look at the Furuno range which has MaxSea built in.
    http://www.furuno.com/special/en/navnet2/maxsea.html

    Hope these comments help.

    All the best
    Russ

Leave a Reply to Phil von Hemert Cancel reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>