Now in this day and age it seems apps are playing a more and more essential role in our daily lives. Indeed, we seem to use apps for almost everything; be it finding a parking space or the nearest gourmet restaurant, keeping track of flights or even an app to help you rebuild your kitchen! The possibilities are endless and have become so popular because of the ease at which you can access and scroll through apps on your iPad, iPhone or Android device. Naturally the subject of these apps also extend to the yachting industry that we all know and love. There are sailing apps for everyone whether you are the inexperienced amateur who is sailing with a skipper and wants to learn how to tie a few of those pesky knots, or the veteran adventurer who is looking for up to date info on the latest weather patterns and tide movements. Yet with such range and quantity of apps, the quality does not, I’m sad to say, remain of the highest standard and in this three part series I will attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff and provide you with a list of 6 of the best apps to try. In each of the first two parts of this series I will review 10 apps before selecting my top 6 in the third and final installment.
Now when it comes to knots – something that is essential for every sailor to know – it is very easy to feel as lost as Alice did in Wonderland. Especially when your Skipper screams at you to quickly tie an Alpine Butterfly on a Bight, Ashley’s Stopper or Palomar Knot to name just a few. With an app you can leave the heavy books at home and simply use your phone for a quality tutorial on how best to tie these pesky knots! The first app I have chosen to look at more closely is ‘Knot Time’. This app includes six different categories of knots: general, boating, mountaineering, fishing, lashings and scouting and each knot provides a brief description and most importantly an instructional video that walks you through exactly how to tie the knot. Although it only has 33 knots and costs £2.49 the video feature is invaluable and would be a great app for those that are serious and going to try and learn the basics well.
The next contender for the best knot app is ‘Animated Knot’ – named the best knot-tying app by Outside Magazine it boasts over 200 knots with the boating section containing 28 fully animated knots. The layout is fantastic and is very easy to use, offering step-by-step slide shows and an alphabetic list with a search function. It costs £2.99 but more than lives up to its reviews! The last of the knot apps is called ‘What knot to do’. This app has descriptions of 70 different knots with similar features to the previous two apps but crucially this time this app is free! If you are interested in being able to tie knots, this app is a must download – it will give you a taster of what you will be getting with the other apps but at no cost to yourself!
Now as every sailor will know after a satisfying days sailing, the only thing that could really top it off is a meal in a nice restaurant. Urban Spoon is not an app that many would think to use on a sailing holiday but if you are chartering a yacht around the United States Canada Australia or the UK it could be just the thing to find the food you are hankering after!
The next app I have selected as a possibility for my top 6 best sailing apps is the ‘Sailing and Boating Community App’. At the time of writing, this has over 90,000 members and provides a platform for the sailing community to share useful information through forums and threads. You can stay on top of currently available boats or crew positions, get the latest information on navigation and the coolest new innovations from boat builders. Oh, and did I mention it was free?
Now comes at first glance a seemingly boring app but in fact is potentially one of the most useful. You never know when you will need to know what a particular flag means and in some circumstances it might mean the difference between life and death. This app is called ‘Signal Flags Info’ and contains pictures of all 40 of the international code flags. It is free and will take up no space at all on your iPad or IPhone – better safe than sorry!
For those amongst us who constantly strive for perfection when trimming the sails – desperate to eek out that last bit of speed, Sailsim is a fun and useful app to work out how best to do this. Costing just £0.69 you can adjust the wind angle and see the sails on a typical mono hull shift to their optimum position. It is brilliantly simple and well worth the money!
Now this app is for the racing enthusiasts amongst you. It a simple but useful app costing £3.99 that provides a number of useful features to make your hectic race that much easier. Firstly it tells you how much time it will take you to reach a certain point based on your current speed and secondly it provides a countdown able to sync with the race committee officials coming with audio and vibration alerts. To compliment this app you could download You Tack Pro – a concise but very detailed app showing you all the latest sailing rules from right-of-way, room, penalties, signals and protest procedures based on the International Sailing Federation Racing Rules of Sailing. It comes as a lite or pro version so you can get a taster for the app before spending a considerable £13.99. It is a great app for the keen racer that wants to have the rules on hand!
And finally the last app that I will look at is Navionics. This well known app is a complete chart plotting system, you can mark wave points, obstructions and search marinas. Importantly you can download the maps on your hard drive meaning you can venture outside of your service area and still have access to a chart plotting system. You can also share maps and information over email and social media. As a recipient of many awards and labelled ‘incredible’ by Sailing World this app comes highly recommended and would be a valued companion to every sailor.
If you liked this blog watch this space for Part 2 & 3! Which ones will make it into the top 6? If you liked the content on this page and our previous posts, please become a fan and like our Facebook page to receive up to date information on our publications. Follow us on Twitter and Google Plus too.