A guide to the best sailing Apps

26 Mar A guide to the best sailing Apps

Most of us now use smart phones and tablets on a daily basis. We take for granted using these items ashore for making calls, accessing the internet, playing games and generally helping to aid our busy lifestyles. It is not surprising therefore that the smart phone and tablet are becoming one of the most frequently used tools by yacht skippers and yacht crew alike. Whether racing around the cans or on a trans Atlantic yacht delivery there are a whole range of sailing apps that can help to make life just that little bit easier!

With hundreds of different sailing apps available, we at Halcyon Yachts have put together a guide to some of the best sailing apps out there. The list isn’t definitive, so if you know of any others you recommend, please do let us know!

Navigation and Charting: Apps

Navionics HD:Navionics Logo

Navigation Market leader and highly recommended. Navigation charts, plan routes, predict eta’s, quick results. Free to download, from £28.99 per chart area.

This app turns any phone (and 3G enabled iPads) into a chart plotter. Great for pre-sailing passage planning and using at sea instead of an expensive hand held plotter. Great to use as a quick nav check on-deck without having to go below to see the main chart plotter. Great also for adding waypoints easily.

I-Sailor (Transas): iSailor

Marine Navigation, chart plotter and AIS viewer. Charts continually updated free, once bought. Intended for amateur sailors. Free to download, from £17.49 per chart area



INavX: INavx

Marine navigation, NOAA Sailing charts. Versatile app for reading raster and vector charts. Can overlay GRIB files. Download for £39.99




Ovital Map: Ovital Map

Cross platform map browser supporting offline views of Google maps, Satellite Maps and Terrain Maps. Free to download.




Navigation and Charting: PC Software

If you are planning a long passage like an Atlantic crossing or a Mediterranean delivery, then using a laptop/tablet to plan your optimum route and then overlay weather grib files, tides and AIS, then the following software will help. Please note that if you are racing then other platforms such as Expedition, Seatrack or SeaPro may be better suited.

Adrena First:

Cruising navigation software. From £350

Time Zero:

Part of the Maxsea range. Offers 3D perspective, good for unfamiliar ports. £34.99 per chart area.

Open CPN:

A full featured chart plotter and navigation application. £7.74

AIS APPs

Marine Traffic: Marine Traffic

An AIS viewing app – great for checking where other vessels are around you, especially useful in areas of heavy shipping, such as shipping lanes, harbour entrances and busy ports such as Southampton and Gibraltar! The data needs 3G to download so useful around the English coast but it’s not going to take over from the boat’s AIS for a Channel crossing.

Register an account on the website to set your favourite yachts and even get email notifications when they leave/enter a port.. Free version or £2.99 for full app.

Ship Finder: Ship Finder

Locates vessels using AIS tracking. Free version or Download for full app at £2.99




Boat Beacon: Boat Beacon

Locates vessels using AIS tracking. Download for £7.99





Weather Apps

There are a lot of weather apps, and everyone has a different opinion about which is the best! We have selected some of the most popular and easiest to use apps. GRIB file viewers such as iGrib and PocketGrib are great. iGrib is really simple to use but PocketGrib does good animations of the little arrows so good to check both if you can.

XC Weather: XC Weather

For free weather forecasts try XC Weather. Excellent for coastal and inland weather forecasts. Cover France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Uses GFS (Global Forecast System) weather model.

(NB: XC weather is available to download free from their website not the app store) XC weather has a funky twist – rotate the screen for more information.

Weather Pro: Weather Pro Logo

Up to date information including 7 day forecasts at 3 hourly intervals, 2 million worldwide locations. Free to download.




Windfinder: Wind Finder Logo

Up to date weather information. 25,000 locations worldwide. Very popular. Uses the GFS weather model (same as XC Weather). Free to download.



Predict Wind: Predict Wind

Combines sophisticated wind and weather predication technology with local topography maps for high-res forecasts. Highly accurate. Free to download.



iGrib: iGrib

Grib file viewer of iOS. Up to 10 days forecast of temperature, wind, cloud cover, precipitation, pressure and humidity. Can use own files within the app. Download for £4.49



PocketGrib: PocketGrib

Download, view and analyse global weather data on the go. Download for £4.49




Marine Weather: Marine Weather

Accuweather UK edition. Sources raw data from various models and adds human interpretation, rather than just mathematically derived data. Free or £2.29 for full version.



NOAA Buoy Data: NOAA Logo

Weather, wind and wave data from US controlled buoys around world. Download for £2.29




Meteo Consult: Meteo Consult

Largest independent supplier of weather forecasts – shipping forecast specialist. Has spot map with geolocation feature to get accurate forecast to your location. Free to download



Tide Apps

Of course we are all spot on with our Tidal and secondary port calculations but sometimes an app is just quicker. Here are a few that you can rely on.

Tides Planner 10: Tides Planner 10

Tides Planner 10 has all the usual tide table functions but also has tidal stream data atlases to download – it’s the just same information as in the Tidal Stream book but obviously available wherever you are, not just at the chart table.

8000 worldwide destinations, 600 UK destinations. Tidal data for UK, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, parts of Germany and Denmark. No connection required as has own database. Free to download

Daily tide tables and curves are free, and in-app purchases to access future tide tables (£2.99 per year) and £4.49 for a UK tidal atlas (other countries also available).

AyeTides: AyeTides

Worldwide tides for 10,000 locations. Download for £5.99. NB: Use AyeTides XL if using on iPad




Boatie: Boatie

Boatie is an invaluable source of information for all those who go boating in UK coastal waters. Waypoints, weather and general information. Download for £4.20.



Sailing Reference

Imray:
Marine Chart Symbols

Marine Chart Symbols

Marine Rules & Signals

Marine Rules & Signals



Two useful little apps for checking the more obscure chart symbols or settling the ‘what’s the fog signal for a powered vessel over taking to starboard?’ argument in the pub! These apps also have a ‘learn’ function so it like always having your flip cards ready for a bit of Day Skipper revision.

Marine Chart Symbols can be downloaded for £3.99, Marine Rules and Signals for £4.49

Compass Eye: Compass Eye

Real time bearings – camera view – hold up to horizon to see bearing. Download for £3.99





Drag Queen: Drag Queen

Drag Queen is a simple Anchor alarm. It provides distance and GPS accuracy alarms along with an alarm delay. The alarm is quite annoying and is the perfect thing to wake you up if an issue is detected. Recommended by ARC participants. Download for free.



Miscellaneous

Google Earth: Google Earth

Invaluable for researching entry to ports and local topography. Download for free.





Marina Guide: Marina Guide

UK Marina guide. Download for free.





iTranslate: iTranslate

Translation app for over 90 languages. Very useful in foreign ports. Download for free.




Boaters Pocket: Boaters Pocket

Lots of general boating information. Download for £3.99





My Flashlight: My Flashlight

Mobile phone torch. Download for free or already pre-installed as standard on I-Phones.





Skype: Skype

Wi-Fi enabled video conferencing and calls. Download for free.





Star Map 3D: Star Map 3D

Find planets, constellations, satellites and much more. High definition graphics. Download for £1.49




MerlinBird ID: Merlin Bird

App for bird identification. Download for free.





Fish Planet: Fish Planet

Encyclopaedia of 550 major species of fish. Download for free.





Knot Guide: Knot Guide

97 knots for you to learn. Download for free.



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8 Comments
  • Stanislas de Pontbriand
    Posted at 18:43h, 26 March Reply

    Concerning the Weather section I quite like using Windyty app.

  • Tom Henry
    Posted at 12:36h, 27 March Reply

    Re: OpenCPN… that program has been and still is a FREE program. Charts for this program are FREE from NOAA. There are free GRIB and AIS features as well.

    • Pete Green
      Posted at 12:53h, 27 March Reply

      Hi Tom, It’s £7.74 now according to Google Play. OpenCPN

      • pierre mitham
        Posted at 14:12h, 27 March Reply

        OpenCPN is a free open source app. go look on their website, even in the google play store its free.! check your sources. Also Navionics is know to be very innacurate for certain areas. Not recommended for actual navigation. better used for planning than anything else.

  • Olivier Criou
    Posted at 22:15h, 27 March Reply

    For sailing performance monitoring and racing, I recommend SailRacer.

  • David Gault
    Posted at 13:22h, 30 March Reply

    I use Weather Track for my weather and also in conjunction with i Sailor to do what ifs and passage planning.

  • Lisa Guy
    Posted at 08:12h, 01 April Reply

    Used Sea pilot in northern europe. When boats IPAD kept crashing, was quickly and accurately used in fog and from Amsterdam, Channel Island and IOW. They don’t do med yet so will have to get something else as backup. As new boat using IPADs and slightly nervous without a backup

  • garry crothers
    Posted at 09:42h, 09 April Reply

    A whole can of worms lies within this subject. See Cruisersforum posts for example (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f134/free-android-opencpn-new-download-location-opencpnce-help-needed-153613-2.html) . Dave register/bdcat (lead developer for opencpn) is looking for payment for his work in porting over to Android but some people reckon this is against gpl licence.

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