Features June 2011 Issue

Route-planning Software Review

Visual Passage Planner software based on historic weather patterns.

Practical Sailor editors evaluated Digital Wave’s Visual Passage Planner software, which is based on the U.S. Pilot Charts and lets users plan a voyage based on historical weather patterns. Testers used the software to recreate the 1888 historical passage by Joseph Conrad. Conrad’s passage from Bangkok to Singapore, aboard the iron barque Otago, took an excruciating 21 days. By plugging in waypoints, location and time of year, testers were able to see wind, current, sea state, water temperature, and air temperature along Conrad’s route. Visual Passage Planner showed the average wind speed and direction, as well as the number of days of calm, for the area and time of year. The software is an interesting tool for passage planning, but because it uses historical rather than real-time data, it shouldn’t be compared to true weather-routing software like the weather-routing module from MaxSea, which uses a boat’s polar data to evaluate real-time routing.

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