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Routing 4 of 7 : Boat characteristics & learning to Wally!

This is part 4 of the quest for the best optimal routing calculations within ECS/ECDIS systems today. In this posting I wanted to consider the use of polar diagrams and data that represents the performance of the boat in a variety of wind conditions.

Of course wind cannot be taken in isolation when comparing your actual boat performance against any given polar diagram. The manufacturers polar diagram will tend to be an idealised version of what your boat will do at its design weight and under good sea conditions. The most likely source of polar

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Routing 3 of 7: Data Inputs (wind, pressure, tide, streams, wave heights etc..)

There is a famous saying with computer software GIGO – garbage in garbage out.

So this review of software based routing calculations starts with the data that is being input.

There are 5 main sources of “data”:

The expert assessments and factors stored in the software by the authors, and their expert consultants such as Michel Desjoyeaux The instruments on the boat itself feeding data in real – time The behaviour of the boat – its specific sailing characteristics – especially as represented by a polar diagram(s) The adjustments made by the skipper/navigator based on experience, or experiment. Data from

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Routing 2b of 7 : Routing planning and optimisation an extra brain as well as a pair of hands...

In my previous posting I listed those systems which were clearly aimed at the racing sailor. This is not meant to be a drawback – it depends what your objectives are as a sailor as well as your capability and skill level. They very accomplished pieces of software and provide at the very least a source of information to the cruising sailor about the higher art of race tactics, tuning and performance.

The next group are NOT inferior to the the first (TableA) in any way – but I feel that they are less likely to be underutilised by the

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Routing 2a of 7 : Routing planning and optimisation an extra brain as well as a pair of hands...

For the experienced sailor – and the world’s best sailors and navigators all use sophisticated routing and route planning software – this software is a critical source of information , while for the less experienced (like me) it is an education as well.

In the course of this research I have corresponded and talked with a number of the developers of this type of software, and I have been impressed not only by their sailing credentials, and their skill at software development, but also at the care with which they have struggled to

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Routing 1 of 7 : Planes, cars, boats and autopilots...

I have been reflecting on the ever increasing complexity and sophistication of electronics in general, and computer software in particular, in use on the average cruising yacht. It appears that the more we have the more we want and expect. In line with more functionality we also expect better reliability!

There appears to be a small but growing trend to move away from dedicated electronics with embedded software on board – like the dedicated Raymarine or Furuno chart plotters, to consumer electronics – laptops and even smart phones. If you look at some of the conversations on the

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