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There are not many devices on a sailboat that have become as indespensible as an ipad. Three important notes up front:

  • make sure you buy the 3G / 4G versions (those have a GPS chip)
  • a waterproof case is an excellent (although pricey) investment
  • if you can afford it… a backup would be desirable

What can you do with an iPad? EVERYTHING!

  • navigation
  • weather
  • communication
  • reading
  • entertainment

and if there isn’t an app for what you need now… There will be soon.Apps we have found incredibly useful:

  • Garmin Blue Chart – uses all the same cartography as our Garmin chart plotter (just costs a fraction of the hardware and software) I also have this same software on my iPhone… And I never leave the boat without it. Has saved me on more than one occasion when we needed to navigate somewhere tricky in the dinghy at night.
  • Weather 4D… Great program for reading and interpreting grib files. One note… Spend the extra $10 and buy the manual. MORE than worth it.
  • SWBC Sced – helps you find Shortwave broadcasts
  • Tiny Scanner – does a great job of scanning and converting to PDF. Very useful for sending all those multipage customs and immigration forms required these days.
  • SeaIQ – displays many electronic navigation charts. It also does a great job of displaying .kap charts (there are charts usually made from Google Earth… Very helpful for finding your way through tricky passages. There is other software that do this on a laptop (SAS or Open CPN but I do not like to bring my laptop into the cockpit while sailing). You can find .kap charts available for free on many sites (like soggypaws) but you can also make your own if you like. GE2KAP is a software that does a great job of that.
  • CineX player – this software can play just about any video that you throw at it. Very useful. – Podcasts – many apps will collect and save your favourite podcasts. This is the one we use. We LOVE listening to podcasts while underway. If we are lucky enough to have Internet bandwidth… We also download news programs to keep us up to date (not sure why really)
  • SKYPE – when you have bandwidth… it is such a treat to connect with friends and family. We also have a $2.99/month all you can eat subscription to North America. That works from anywhere in the world.
  • iBooks – great for reading and searching through all those wonderful cruising guides. So many people have been so generous and diligent in sharing their cruising experiences and knowledge. iBooks has a great search feature that helps you find exactly what you are looking for.
  • Clock – comes with the ipad and is extremely useful in figuring out what time it is where. This is even more helpful of late… Since we have recently crossed the dateline. Extremely confusing.

There are many other apps that we use… For booking travel to researching location information… But we have to stop the list somewhere.

We understand that Android tablets do very similar things… But we are an Apple family. Speaking of which… we love to use the cameras in our iPads and iPhones… Especially the panorama feature. AirDrop is a brilliant solution to sharing files between all our i-devices… Including our MacBook Pro.


Posted by jameschantal

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