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I'll be participating in this years Newport Bermuda race and could use some recommendations on offshore weather routing software.

Expedition seems to be popular choice but its expensive and our crew is fairly new to this type of software so it may be overkill. We're considering Predict Wind but the more I research the more options I've found. What applications and features do you recommend.

Some of the wishlist features that I'm looking for are:

  • Reasonably priced (does not necessarily mean cheap)
  • Relatively easy to learn (at least the key pieces)
  • Simple downloads of grib files, gulf stream data, wind, temp, etc
  • Optimal course plotting based on weather (including Gulf Stream info) and polars
  • IOS (iPad) is ideal but Mac software is a possibility
  • Charting during the race that shows expected and actual positions
  • Are there other features that I should include on this list???

 

Are there other features that I should add to my functionality wish list?

What do you think of Predict Wind and what am I missing compared to Expedition?

Are there other apps to consider?

 

Thanks for your help :)

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, SabreSailor said:

What do you think of Predict Wind and what am I missing compared to Expedition?

If your are the sort of racer who spends a lot of time calibrating your instruments, working out crossovers and fine tuning your polars etc etc ... then you wouldn't have created this thread.

Go spend 5 minutes on Expedition and Adrena sites (the two premier offerings) and you will see what I mean. 

Like most things in life you get what you pay for.

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You are asking some very basic questions, so I am guessing you have limited experience with charting and / or performance software, or with weather down loads ( the other thread you started. 

Expedition and Predictwind are apples and oranges. They have some overlap of functions,  but Expedition is the far richer took kit. Expedition offers charting, route optimization using a wide range of weather gribs or current weather, and scads of performance tools. It offers all if what you list and then some. Except it is relatively expensive. I would call it a bargain for what you get, but the software and charts (sold separately) add up. 

Predictwind is weather gribs, routing and a very basic charting package. You get euro, NOAA and their own proprietary models and can show them on predictwind's own web client, and their app.  They have canned polar files available for a variety of boat types. 

Importantly for the Bermuda Race, you can not use predictwind's shoreside routing algo to feed you routing when offshore.  Those are the race rules. You can download the gribs and use boat based routing software like expedition,  but only the raw gribs. 

I use predictwind and squid both as sources of gribs, but the magic all happens inside of expedition (or adrena) .  One is like fuel, the other the vehicle. While both predictwind and squid have augmented their weather data with charting and routing functions, the toolset in expedition is light years beyond. 

 

Oh, and current data. Predict wind makes current data available for their app routing, but not as a download. So it's not much use in the Bermuda race. Squid does provide access to the raw current data.  And you can get raw current data from tide tech.  Once again, Expedition enables access to current data gribs from either tide tech or squid. Then it can be used in expedition's routing software. Much more powerful and flexible. 

 

Run it on a Toughbook or Getac tablet or laptop. If you want the power of being able to download offshore make sure you have that solution installed, tested and true well before the race. And if back up solutions are always nIce (trust me) if you really, really want / need to be sure that you have up to date info. 

 

Bottom line, you are awfully close to the start to be asking what are fairly basic questions. No harm in trying to figure it out. But please set your expectations low. This stuff (software and hardware and data) is like learning a somewhat difficult foreign language so you really can't expect much more than the basics in the 2 months you have left. 

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Yup, I do have limited experience with this software and Offshore racing in general. I was asked to figure this out recently and agree, there isn't much time to learn something too complex which is part of the reason I'm hesitant to recommend Expedition. Given the timeframe, we probably won't be able to take full advantage of the app we choose.

As for race rules, I know PW was banned for the Marion race but have heard conflicting opinions for the Newport race (waiting to hear from the race committee). Have you seen the explicit rule somewhere?

I don't know much about Adrena but will check it out. 

Thanks for the help.

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There is another thread that speaks to the PW routing ban. It's not that PW is banned. You can still get the weather gribs. You just can't get their routing once you head off the dock.

Adrena is similar to Expedition.  I have used both. I prefer Expedition.  Nick White offers amazing support. 

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In the limited time you have you don't have to be 100% software capable. In fact the vast majority of people only use a fraction of say Expeditions full capability. Connection to boat data will depend on what instrumentation you have and this might take a while to sort.

It only takes hours  to sort out how to use the basic software features then use balance of time calibrating instrumentation and sorting out polars and optimising sail plan expectations etc using strip charts etc.

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Adrena looks impressive but very expensive.

From a marketing point of view, Expedition looks pretty poor and clearly relies on word of mouth, which luckily for them is very good. Since they don't have demo version they perhaps should link to some good demo videos.

It would be nice if Expedition's site included minimum system requirements beyond "Windows 10, 8, or 7 SP1. Windows 10 is recommended"

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If you are starting out I have been using QtVLm, freeware but very good.  Multiple Gribs, Current Gribs, A list of polars or you can enter your own. You might be surprised used it for the last Hobart from the comfort of home and it was within 1 hour of the maxis arriving at the Tasman Island.

https://www.meltemus.fr/index.php/en/download/category/2-windows/

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1 hour ago, hoppy said:

Adrena looks impressive but very expensive.

From a marketing point of view, Expedition looks pretty poor and clearly relies on word of mouth, which luckily for them is very good. Since they don't have demo version they perhaps should link to some good demo videos.

It would be nice if Expedition's site included minimum system requirements beyond "Windows 10, 8, or 7 SP1. Windows 10 is recommended"

Hoppy your use of the word "looks" is very apt. Why comment upon something you know absolutely nothing about?

Why market something that everyone knows has been put together by someone at the forefront of this game for nearly 30 years where there is no competition bar one, which is Euro centric, later to the party and where a lot of people also use both?

That is like saying water is not marketed very well.

BTW a full (save for instrument input) Demo version of Expedition is available for a 30 day free trial. Just download and contact Nick for a key. It doesn't require any abnormal system requirements beyond noted Win specs, hence none noted.

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31 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Hoppy your use of the word "looks" is very apt. Why comment upon something you know absolutely nothing about?

I am commenting about how both products are presented to the world, which is why I have commented...

 

37 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Why market something that everyone knows has been put together by someone at the forefront of this game for nearly 30 years where there is no competition bar one, which is Euro centric, later to the party and where a lot of people also use both?

Not everyone spends their life on forums and will be aware of the product. Before loitering on SA, I used to post on CF and Expedition was hardly ever mentioned in threads about nav software. We are not talking about running a marketing campaign, just presenting the product better on their web site and being more informative for those people how go there cold. Pretty simple to do. 

37 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

BTW a full (save for instrument input) Demo version of Expedition is available for a 30 day free trial. Just download and contact Nick for a key. 

If it's mentioned on the site, it's buried....

37 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

It doesn't require any abnormal system requirements beyond noted Win specs, hence none noted.

It's not about "abnormal" system requirements, but the minimum specs needed. If it runs well on a PC with the minimum specifications for win 7, then it should at least state that.

I know that these are the minimum requirements for Win 7, but it's not clear if I will have wasted money buying a used Toughbook with those minimum win 7 specs. I should not need to ask, the info should be there.

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor*

  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)

  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Obviously any new machine will be no problem, but if you have an old laptop laying around or want to buy used, then a bit more info is desirable. 

 

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Expedition, or Adrena, would be overkill for a cruiser.   It's a relatively specialized piece of kit.  And the people who would most likely be their target market would hear about the product by word of mouth, forums or other wise. 

There are other speciality products in this particular niche that also don't advertise or market. Their market finds them. 

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An example of a win 7 minimum spec Toughbook for sale

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panasonic-Toughbook-CF-19-MK2-A-Grade/323199346578?hash=item4b402ea792:g:8FkAAOSw8GtZUgvv

I'd hate to buy it and find that Expedition runs slow and takes forever to move around the map, calculate routes etc...

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1 hour ago, hoppy said:

An example of a win 7 minimum spec Toughbook for sale

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panasonic-Toughbook-CF-19-MK2-A-Grade/323199346578?hash=item4b402ea792:g:8FkAAOSw8GtZUgvv

I'd hate to buy it and find that Expedition runs slow and takes forever to move around the map, calculate routes etc...

That's the sort of machine I run Expedition on.  runs just fine.  

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2 hours ago, hoppy said:

It's not about "abnormal" system requirements, but the minimum specs needed. If it runs well on a PC with the minimum specifications for win 7, then it should at least state that.

 

2 hours ago, hoppy said:

An example of a win 7 minimum spec Toughbook for sale

Hoppy spend time looking into the product and all your questions would be answered. 

You would also then understand this is very much a race niche product and one extremely well supported by its creator. This includes Nick liasing with instrument makers, continually tweaking it, listening to users and in some cases introducing solutions over night. You will see on his site references to 3rd party supporting documentation.

You will also find 3rd party App providers like Ventus produce some pretty sexy stuff, plus loads of Remote Desktop support for deck tablets etc that can control Expedition remotely.

I and I'm sure many others trust stuff more like that and user experiences than some slick marketing advert prepared by a PR stooge for anything on a boat quite frankly.

Your comment about routing speed is a bit of a laugh considering it takes infinitely longer to download gribs and your no doubt sitting on something that is lucky to hit double figure boat speeds. 

A CF19 is fine for Expedition though pretty dated processors is still better than Win 7 minimum as you note. This year old post on a thread (still going yesterday) about Refurbished Toughbooks for general (not Expedition specific) use might help you in the Toughbook assessment arena.

 

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Hi,

Nick White (Expedition developer)  is an excellent resource and really helpful, he previously gave out a months free trial of it - you could do that and see if it works for you?

There is about 7 weeks to the start of the race. If you went ahead then You would need to get the boat set up with  everything  to run Expedition, (sat phone/ instruments calibrated/laptop to run it etc) there may just be time to learn it, however as Jack said above most people only use a fraction of the capabilities. Will Oxley wrote a great book on Expedition also which is useful

It is a great tool and the more you use it, the more you will like it

Cheers

Dave

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Buy Expedition and invest the time to learn how to use the weather routing, once you have Bought  the Polars for your boat from ORR (USSailing) 

Run it on a solid state drive equipped win 10system  (I use a MacBook Air with boot camp) 

go sailing, get the instruments connected and calibrated, including sea temperature 

download weather and current gribs and route daily for a month  compare how the routes change  

find the ensemble gribs 

take the North U Isler seminars  

don’t worry about the starting features, save learning those for buoy racing  

Refine your calibrations, to include heel, leeway and sea state If you have time. 

Verify your offshore download and backup, unless you are on a fast enough boat you won’t need them. 

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I've heard enough about Expedition to know that it will be the PC software I will buy if and when the need arrives.

3 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Your comment about routing speed is a bit of a laugh considering it takes infinitely longer to download gribs and your no doubt sitting on something that is lucky to hit double figure boat speeds. 

Not sure when I will seriously look at getting it, but it won't be whilst I have my current single digit speeds cruiser/"racer". 

Whilst sat phone gribs are slow to download, so many races are done (and that I'm likely to do) within reach of the 3G or 4G networks, or the black spots can be spanned in the time it takes for new gribs to be issued.  

I just think that in this online world, you need a better "shopfront" otherwise some potential customers may be seduced by other products. For Expedition, glitz is not so important, but basic information, demo videos of the capabilities and demo downloads etc should be easier to find...

As for the toughbook. I'm allergic to base spec computers, so whilst I would never consider buying one new, I'd go for something more speced up than the one listed. More like this mk7, but I'd rather 8mb ram and perhaps SSD rather than HDD

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panasonic-Toughbook-CF-19-MK7-Core-i5-3340-2-7GHz-4GB-500GB-TouchScreen/152817336271?hash=item23949f7fcf:g:5cMAAOSwtnpaJ89k

 

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2 minutes ago, hoppy said:

As for the toughbook. I'm allergic to base spec computers, so whilst I would never consider buying one new, I'd go for something more speced up than the one listed. More like this mk7, but I'd rather 8mb ram and perhaps SSD rather than HDD

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panasonic-Toughbook-CF-19-MK7-Core-i5-3340-2-7GHz-4GB-500GB-TouchScreen/152817336271?hash=item23949f7fcf:g:5cMAAOSwtnpaJ89k

 

Having said that, not sure if a toughbook will be necessary, depends on the next boat. No real need on my current boat and I'd only buy a laptop for my next boat because I use Mac and not sure if I will want to run expedition under bootcamp or VMW Fusion. 

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If you want to stick with the tablet based and rather cruiser-like and cheap solutions, you can have a look at Avalon Offshore or Weather4D.
I use Weather4D for races around France and I am quite happy with it. But we don't take the races too seriously...
It depends on whether you can download the necessary charts and grip files for your area.

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Sabre,

I run Adrena, and am looking at Expedition. For ease of use, Adrena is the more simplistic of the two for the basics, you get your head around it pretty quick. Don't get me wrong, its still a powerful tool and the latest release has some much welcomed features, like multi window support, selectable instrument display windows, coastal routing, etc.  

The really noticeable difference, there is a marked difference in post sale support.  Adrena are not as easy to communicate with regards any technical problems as Expedition, in fact I would argue this is Expedition's strongest selling point, his post sales support seems remarkable. I recently had  an Adrena upgrade problem where the upgrade msi file was corrupt, it took me 6 weeks and two tech support tickets to get it resolved. And the emails were in French, not a major issue but leaves nuance to be interpreted which can cause problems. 

Adrena documentation is ok, and if you want training outside of the Euro scene it is web based and pretty expensive. 

Unlike RM, I don't have both, so for me, is it worth tossing Adrena out to go and buy Expedition?  No. 

If I had to buy from scratch? I'd probably go with Expedition. 

 

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58 minutes ago, shaggybaxter said:

I run Adrena, and am looking at Expedition.

Shaggy,

for your recent B2G coastal sprint did Adrena give you many advantages compared with just using a MFD and using a computer/iPad for downloading gribs?

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43 minutes ago, hoppy said:

Shaggy,

for your recent B2G coastal sprint did Adrena give you many advantages compared with just using a MFD and using a computer/iPad for downloading gribs?

Shaggy will be too modest so I will speak for him. "I probably wouldn't be holding class and overall silverware, noting the race has large 4G blackspots"

Every single boat in front of Shaggy on LH (I think Shaggy came 7th) would have been carrying Expedition. Some would have got pro routing advice pre-race.

MFD's except for small ones for backup/safety functions etc dissapeared on serious race boats years ago.

You need to get out more Hoppy.

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16 hours ago, hoppy said:

Having said that, not sure if a toughbook will be necessary, depends on the next boat.

If I had to say if there was one advantage about a rugged laptops for routing purposes it is reliability in the marine environment. Ports on standard laptops are really prone to going down on moisture in the air alone. That makes a backup a necessity.

A rugged standalone PC and monitor, particularly if greater performance is required for other applications is cheaper, a far more elegant solution and easier to upgrade/tailor specs. It also leaves the Nav table free for paper stuff.

Here is a first class vendor to wet your whistle.

https://www.logicsupply.com/products/rugged-computers/

 

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30 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

If I had to say if there was one advantage about a rugged laptops for routing purposes it is reliability in the marine environment. Ports on standard laptops are really prone to going down on moisture in the air alone. That makes a backup a necessity.

A rugged standalone PC and monitor, particularly if greater performance is required for other applications is cheaper, a far more elegant solution and easier to upgrade/tailor specs. It also leaves the Nav table free for paper stuff.

Here is a first class vendor to wet your whistle.

https://www.logicsupply.com/products/rugged-computers/

 

This the way I do it. An Ebay search (if you are prepared to go cheap and Asian manufactured) will  reveal lots of 12v industrial PCs designed for hostile environments along with hardened monitors, sunlight viewable if you want it upstairs. Go for a wireless trackball (Logitech M570 being the standard [ the ball is captive but can be popped out for cleaning goop and fluff]) rather than a mouse or touch screen. Solid state hard drives are better in the boat environment too. 

If you want cheap software. OpenCPN (opensource and free) has a reasonably capable routing plug-in now; it is not very intuitive, but once you get it running works well it will do crossovers for sailsets and sea state polars etc. Get you GRIBs from Saildocs (limited models) then your only running costs are airtime. 

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3 hours ago, Panoramix said:

There is also Maxsea amongst the "serious" ones.

Hardly in the serious bracket Pano.

MaxSea is in essence an easy to use weather routing solution for cruisers and even then is not great. It is useless for racing or very serious cruisers.

For instance amoungst many things it doesn't do multiple routes. Different routes have to be done one by one and looked at separately. It also lacks proper calibration and a real-time weather observation interface.

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18 hours ago, hoppy said:

Having said that, not sure if a toughbook will be necessary, depends on the next boat. No real need on my current boat and I'd only buy a laptop for my next boat because I use Mac and not sure if I will want to run expedition under bootcamp or VMW Fusion. 

Seriously, a base spec CF-19 is more than adequate to run Expedition.

and having a PC lets you watch porn and sport on light days

 

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17 minutes ago, DickDastardly said:

Seriously, a base spec CF-19 is more than adequate to run Expedition.

Dick your dead right. Nav software is not very resource heavy.

Only thing I would say though for anyone contemplating a used Toughbook is the price difference between say CF19 and CF30 is bugger all. The CF30 however was a big spec leap with duo processors, followed then by i series processors.

Also the more recent CF30 for instance comes with a greater variety of possible options such as mote RAM, touchscreens, built in GPS, vacant bays you can add DVD player, second battery, card readers etc. Some come with external WiFi & GPS antenna coax ports which is pretty handy on a boat. 

Finally the more recent you will find more availablity for replacement/upgrade parts, new and used docking stations, DC DC power supplies and mounting hardware etc.

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1 minute ago, jack_sparrow said:

Dick your dead right. Nav software is not very resource heavy.

Only thing I would say though for anyone contemplating a used Toughbook is the price difference between say CF19 and CF30 is bugger all. The CF30 however was a big spec leap with duo processors, followed then by i series processors.

Also the more recent CF30 for instance comes with a greater variety of possible options such as touchscreens, built in GPS, vacant bays you can add DVD player, second battery, card readers etc. Some come with external WiFi & GPS antenna coax ports which is pretty handy on a boat. 

Finally the more recent you will find more availablity for replacement/upgrade parts, new and used docking stations, DC DC power supplies and mounting hardware etc.

true.  I'm using a CF31 on the boat at present and a CF-19 off line at home for analysis.  Both Touch Screens.

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On ‎28‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 11:58 AM, hoppy said:

Adrena looks impressive but very expensive.

From a marketing point of view, Expedition looks pretty poor and clearly relies on word of mouth, which luckily for them is very good. Since they don't have demo version they perhaps should link to some good demo videos.

It would be nice if Expedition's site included minimum system requirements beyond "Windows 10, 8, or 7 SP1. Windows 10 is recommended"

 

Well, I prefer the simpler web site style. After all, it worked for Google and word of mouth seems to be working ok while I work to create a better product. In a way, I am not interested in selling Exp to every Tom, Dick or Harry. It just started as a product for myself and a close friends. Sailing has been very good to me and I look at Exp as something I can contribute back to sailing.

Expedition will run on pretty much any Windows 7, 8 or 10 computers but better on Windows 10 and obviously the faster the computer the better. Your price/hardware point is up to your tastes and budget.

Yes, we do provide demos, but stopped publicising it as some people kept asking for 30 day demos every year for the same races. For similar reasons, demos generally aren't provided during races such as the Hobart, Transpac & Bermuda.

I thoroughly recommend Will Oxley's ebooks to anyone interested in the subject, whether and Expedition user or not. These are hard-learnt arts for a very few people and there is a lot else on the subject available. Remember people like Will, Stan and some of the Volvo navigators have spent lifetimes studying this while everyone else got on with normal careers. Similarly for Peter Isler's NorthU webinars, although they are more Exp specific.

Anyway, back to the OP. SabreSailor - remember these are just tools. If you wish, just download a copy of Exp and we can give you a demo key. You will probably find it a worthwhile learning experience just for the weather, routing etc aspects but it really is a huge subject.

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1 hour ago, DickDastardly said:

and having a PC lets you watch porn and sport on light days

Sold!!!!!

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49 minutes ago, Expedition said:

If you wish, just download a copy of Exp and we can give you a demo key.

Nick hats off to you for everything you do...I don't know of one software provider who puts near the amount of energy and dedication into supporting and improving their offering than you do.

I just hope you have a good succession plan as you have spoiled us so much we are going to feel buggered when you put your feet up  :-)

Cheers.

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23 hours ago, Panoramix said:

There is also Maxsea amongst the "serious" ones.

Once upon a time, MaxSea was the best package available.  French, if I recall, and aimed at racers. Nobeltec was the other alternative but it was stupidly expensive and catered to fishermen and cruisers. 

Then Furuno bought Maxsea to incorporate into their MFDs and the feature got dumbed down for the masses. This all happened just as GRIB data started to get real traction, and Expedition swept in to become the new best choice. 

 

Or at least that is how I remember it. 

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2 hours ago, Rail Meat said:

Then Furuno bought Maxsea to incorporate into their MFDs and the feature got dumbed down for the masses.

The response by electronic manufacturers to PC based routing tools is quite interesting. For the most part they have ignored it from the beginning, leaving that space to 3rd party providers but in some cases having a close association. Deckman and B&G is a good example.

One exception was a crowd in the 90's called Kiwi that actually sold out to Raytheon (then became Raymarine) who rebranded it as Raytech. They continued to support this PC product it up untill around 2010 when they replaced their C Series MFD's with the E Series which wasn't Raytech compatible. That was a strange move after I'm sure doing well by having it to help underwrite sales on a cost effective sailboat electronics offering.

Raytech was very good for its time but obviously matched to a inferior electronics package, unlike B&G's CP based gear and Deckman. Interestingly I think Nick White worked with Kiwi and I suspect Raytheon's involvement being a company less nimble and not at the forefront of performance electronics may have been the genisus to him seeing an opening and kicking Expedition off in its own right around that time.

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

The response by electronic manufacturers to PC based routing tools is quite interesting. For the most part they have ignored it from the beginning, leaving that space to 3rd party providers but in some cases having a close association. Deckman and B&G is a good example.

One exception was a crowd in the 90's called Kiwi that actually sold out to Raytheon (then became Raymarine) who rebranded it as Raytech. They continued to support this PC product it up untill around 2010 when they replaced their C Series MFD's with the E Series which wasn't Raytech compatible. That was a strange move after I'm sure doing well by having it to help underwrite sales on a cost effective sailboat electronics offering.

Raytech was very good for its time but obviously matched to a inferior electronics package, unlike B&G's CP based gear and Deckman. Interestingly I think Nick White worked with Kiwi and I suspect Raytheon's involvement being a company less nimble and not at the forefront of performance electronics may have been the genisus to him seeing an opening and kicking Expedition off in its own right around that time.

Yeah but recently B&G has been building more and more PC style functionality into its instrument systems.  I'm guessing they want to own that space eventually and capture the value-add over and above sensors and display too.  It's an old strategy for information-based businesses - Reuters tried it in Financial Markets information back in the late 80s and 90s.  It nearly killed them as they were really good at pumping basic and up to date information around the planet real fast but no good at value-adding.  When they acquired companies who could do that they inevitably killed them quickly (and accidentally).  Pus, their clients competitive advantage was typically in how well they value-added to the basic data so they were uninterested in having someone else do that for them.  Same for top end sailboat racers, but not so for the broader community, I guess.

I'd let B&G do it all for me if they could also let me watch porn during the boring bits.

I used Kiwi back in the day and I noticed a strong resemblence between it and earlier versions of Expedition when I subsequently went with Exp.  Kiwitech was owned by Jon Bilger who then went on to create PredictWind after selling out to Raytheon then (IIRC) doing weather for the Alinghi AC syndicate for a while.  I'm pretty sure Nick would have been involved in Kiwi in some capacity - they're all thick as thieves in that clever little island country!

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View your boat as a network of various speed networks. 

Someplaces you will want broadcast Ethernet  packets to view radar, vidEo, FLIR and sonar.

Some places you want hardwired analog cables for speedos and wind. 

NMEA 0183 and 2000 both have a role, and properly segmenting and multiplexing them is an art. 

Toss in WiFi to put all of that on phones, tablets and PCs and you’ve got a fair bit of bandwidth where distributed processing makes sense.  

 

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1 hour ago, DickDastardly said:

Yeah but recently B&G has been building more and more PC style functionality into its instrument systems.  I'm guessing they want to own that space eventually and capture the value-add over and above sensors and display too.

Yes Dick they have and most hardware providers also. However they are still very much reliant on onboard data,  so starts, laylines etc but not for long distance routing requiring regular and remote compiled weather data, though some are providing an interface for things like Sirius (US) and what B&G did this time last year with PredictWind. I don't think we will ever see the hardware manufactures contest the PC Routing/Performance based space like Raymarine did that time with Kiwi/Raytech, so there will always be room for specialist and nimble software firms like Expedition to ply their wares to an appreciative and demanding audience, both racers and long distance cruisers alike. 

Avoiding obsolesence and preserving/adding value is something software providers can quickly respond to and at minimal or no cost to the user. Hardware manufacturers, other than upgrading firmware don't have that luxury.

Also the time between thinking and bringing hardware to the market many think happens over night. In fact it can take a long time and not just to preserve the value of current offerings sitting on the factory floor. I'm reminded of that by a legal stoush a few years ago where Apple sued Samsung for copying its IPad format. Samsung's defence included reference to the 1968 movie "2001 Space Odyssey" made 50 years ago where an IPad type device featured that was accurate in depiction, right down to screen size ratio!!     

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

 there will always be room for specialist and nimble software firms like Expedition to ply their wares to an appreciative and demanding audience, both racers and long distance cruisers alike. 

Avoiding obsolesence and preserving/adding value is something software providers can quickly respond to and at minimal or no cost to the user. Hardware manufacturers, other than upgrading firmware don't have that luxury. 

I'd hope so but I do wonder whether previous failues for hardware manufacturers to successfully move up the value chain are typical of a bygone age.  We see smartphone / Tablet capability ever expanding into value adding successfully as much of that functionality gets commoditised an dconsumers are lured by "all-in-one" convenience.   IMHO much on-board software capability is getting commoditised.  And it's only the top end programs who need the really advanced stuff.

Did anyone really understand that Kevin Hall article on today's FP????  Be honest now...

"We now run a live in-memory database looper with late materialization of data and cache-aware structures that allow inertial models to self-tune based on the conditions and on inputs that we can either pull from the experience of the community, or play with ourselves. "

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1 hour ago, DickDastardly said:

I'd hope so but I do wonder whether previous failues for hardware manufacturers to successfully move up the value chain are typical of a bygone age.  We see smartphone / Tablet capability ever expanding into value adding successfully as much of that functionality gets commoditised an dconsumers are lured by "all-in-one" convenience.   IMHO much on-board software capability is getting commoditised.  And it's only the top end programs who need the really advanced stuff.

Did anyone really understand that Kevin Hall article on today's FP????  Be honest now...

"We now run a live in-memory database looper with late materialization of data and cache-aware structures that allow inertial models to self-tune based on the conditions and on inputs that we can either pull from the experience of the community, or play with ourselves. "

Sounds a tad like a circular buffer where the window size they are sampling determines the size of the buffer. I'm guessing the structures stored in the buffer represent peak and mean values for their respective data point ( TWS, BSP etc. etc.) .

 

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9 hours ago, Rail Meat said:

Once upon a time, MaxSea was the best package available.  French, if I recall, and aimed at racers. Nobeltec was the other alternative but it was stupidly expensive and catered to fishermen and cruisers. 

Then Furuno bought Maxsea to incorporate into their MFDs and the feature got dumbed down for the masses. This all happened just as GRIB data started to get real traction, and Expedition swept in to become the new best choice. 

 

Or at least that is how I remember it. 

Yes MaxSea was French, I hadn't realised that it was now part of Furuno. It "won" the vendée Globe many times, and it definitely was the "dog's bollocks" in the early noughties. I haven't done any serious racing for a decade, I guess it shows.

IMHO at an amateur level having the right polars for the boat and taking the options given by the software with a grain of salt is much more important than using the right software. The algorithms are well known so I doubt that 2  software fed with the same data will give wildly different options.

OpenCPN in the hands of a good navigator will probably be better than a paid for option in the hands of numpties.

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59 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

Yes MaxSea was French, I hadn't realised that it was now part of Furuno. It "won" the vendée Globe many times, and it definitely was the "dog's bollocks" in the early noughties. I haven't done any serious racing for a decade, I guess it shows.

Early 90's.....Everyone forgets how we got onshore data onto a sailboat before this weird thing called the Internet that started to get traction in the mid 90's, didn't really get going until the late 90's and wireless access to those close to land many moons later. Remembering then the only country in the free world sending up weather sats at gay abandon for decades was America and willing to share the data.

so to transfer of that data. The poor old humble radio has been the forefront of data transfer (beyond voice) onto a sailboat since the 1970's with a thing called the HF Radio and via weather fax. It was isobar only and not the grib friendly format we know today. Exactly that same grib data being downloaded by RTW raceboats today using satellite at a cost, both capital and operating equivalent to a small nation's GDP, can still be performed by the same humble HF Radio equipment but with a digital Modem now, but costing nothing to operate, albeit not as quick.  

So not much really has changed in the weather data transfer department in the last 30 - 40 years other than cost of delivery, however the use of that data and then configuring, fine tuning and optimising a sailboat around it certainly has, the last 15 or so years in particular.

So for you to say "the algorithms are well known so I doubt that 2  software fed with the same data will give wildly different options" is simply not right. The foundation to "good data out" is "good data in".

That is how routing software should be measured and in conjunction with a operator's diligence/ability and means available to getting the "data in" right, both that coming from the outside and that generated from onboard. 

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14 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

So for you to say "the algorithms are well known so I doubt that 2  software fed with the same data will give wildly different options" is simply not right. The foundation to "good data out" is "good data in".

That is how routing software should be measured and in conjunction with a operator's diligence/ability and means available to getting the "data in" right, both that coming from the outside and that generated from onboard. 

I am not sure where I disagree with you. My point was precisely that the data and the operator are probably more important than the software itself. In short one primarily needs good GRIBs, good polars and somebody who understands weather, the sea and boats behind the keyboard. That will make much more difference than software Y or Z which anyway will come up with similar routing options (right or wrong) assuming that the same (good or bad) data is fed into it.

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15 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

My point was precisely that the data and the operator are probably more important than the software itself..

What you missed was the software giving the operator the ability to fuck around and calibrate the shit out of it for "data in" and so "data out". That is Expeditions strength. That said sticking ones head out the window and being able to interprerate what is actually happening in that Postcode, is probably just as, if not more important. A skill actually not many have.

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That is a very good point. We were just talking about it yesterday. The last race I did was the 2015 Transpac and the GFS analyses didn't match any sort of reality, so we mostly uses the satellite pictures to imagine what the wind pattern across the race track was.

It was a very complicated race, but worked out ok in the end. Funny all my Transpacs have been like that.

The point is a lot of it is knowing what is important when and when to use what. Possibly not easily teachable skills.

... and the single optimal route is probably the least useful part of any route optimisation.

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It's really two different markets - everybody needs instrumenta and displays for showing the basic data variables but then the user communities diverge.

Integrated mfds for the "larger" cruiser and casual racing community who want ease of use and integration but also are fine with the 80% solution. 

Tablet / laptop based solutions for those that understand that hardware and software both get dated relatively quickly, and want a constant stream of software updates, the ability to run multiple add-on programs to get the last 20% of performance, the flexibility to take the analytical power with you off the boat to plan at leisure, and who recognize that the universe of data source providers evolve faster than the mfd hardware life cycle. 

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22 minutes ago, Expedition said:

That is a very good point. We were just talking about it yesterday. The last race I did was the 2015 Transpac and the GFS analyses didn't match any sort of reality, so we mostly uses the satellite pictures to imagine what the wind pattern across the race track was.

It was a very complicated race, but worked out ok in the end. Funny all my Transpacs have been like that.

The point is a lot of it is knowing what is important when and when to use what. Possibly not easily teachable skills.

... and the single optimal route is probably the least useful part of any route optimisation.

Teachable only with a lot of experience.   At least in my own case.

It's interesting how my performance gains in the past few years have come in no small part in understanding the data at a much more refined level. More accurate polars and tweaked / rotated gribs leading to more accurate routing and refined sail crossovers leading to better and faster decisions leading to faster boat speeds.  

That combined with a better understanding of weather forecasting and the ability to understand which models are showing the mlm or accurate forecasts, leading to an improved ability to pick out the higher probability routing outcomes. 

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37 minutes ago, Rail Meat said:

It's really two different markets - everybody needs instrumenta and displays for showing the basic data variables but then the user communities diverge

I agree Rail. Seen a lot of cruisers literally racing each other anchorage to anchorage in shit boxes who have never seen 10K in a gale.

There is a lot in common between the OP doing his first long distance race, Hoppy who chimed in confused about what Expedition can do and hardware demands (he is dreaming about doing a 4K Melbourne Osaka race and good on him) and a serious cruiser, particularly one transiting some distance in an area where the weather can go to shit big time or even someone super experienced in a quick cruiser but either SH or if there are bodies on board, they pretty useless.

Most cruisers I talk to rely upon offsite routing resources then do a dash for cash, some for weeks at sea not having any routing update in between, which is less than desirable and in some cases lunacy. I have given many of those cruisers mid route routing advise using my resources either afloat in the same patch of ocean or even sitting in my lounge chair.

Maybe there is a market for a Lite Version of Expedition for the non-racer/part time racer, but with not the same level of top racer support Nick?    

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41 minutes ago, Expedition said:

That is a very good point. We were just talking about it yesterday. The last race I did was the 2015 Transpac and the GFS analyses didn't match any sort of reality, so we mostly uses the satellite pictures to imagine what the wind pattern across the race track was.

It was a very complicated race, but worked out ok in the end. Funny all my Transpacs have been like that.

The point is a lot of it is knowing what is important when and when to use what. Possibly not easily teachable skills.

... and the single optimal route is probably the least useful part of any route optimisation.

Agree with your comments about routing using GFS based weather grib files after spending several weeks racing to Osaka (5,500 nm) across the equator. Expedition was fantastic for routing but we experienced the H5000 Ethernet connection causing Expedition to freeze several times a day which we think was caused by the H5000 Ethernet connection being faulty (Expedition may be able comment on this issue and/or if Expedition tends to freeze when this Ethernet connection is lost). The wind instruments also lost it's data input form the MHU and was rectified by turning the H5000 processor off and back on again so between these two issues we concluded our H5000 was faulty and will require replacement under warranty.

We also noticed the GFS model wind direction was 20 degrees out but the wind strength was reasonably accurate, so with routing software the accuracy of the wind models is critical to the accuracy of the optimum routing provided. I do like the routing boat to compare your current location with as we considered we were always racing the little red routing boat. The other little issue with Expedition was the 'Tidetech' grib files after being downloaded sometimes not being displayed on Expedition as one of the nice features of Expedition is the ocean current interface using 'Tidetech'.

One of the unusual experiences with Expedition routing was when racing up along the East Coast of Australia was the routing Expedition showed with a optimum route straight into the eye of cyclone Iris and then back out again. The route also showed us sailing along the edge of the great barrier reef in 50kts, maybe some automatic cyclone danger messages from Expedition would be nice!

From my experience, the Expedition routing settings are important as there are many features that are able to be provided in the routing results including the optimum sail selection which will depend on the accuracy of the sail chart provided in expedition.

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8 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

(he is dreaming about doing a 4K Melbourne Osaka race and good on him) 

Hell no... Melbourne to Devonport, yes.  (what is this 4K thing? seen it and 2K or what ever mentioned in threads)

11 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Maybe there is a market for a Lite Version of Expedition for the non-racer but with not the same level of racer support Nick?    

Could be a good idea...

 

12 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

hardware demands

On that topic... I assume it can run on a Surface Pro if you have wifi NMEA

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34 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Hoppy who chimed in confused about what Expedition can do and hardware demands (he is dreaming about doing a 4K Melbourne Osaka race and good on him)

 

18 minutes ago, hoppy said:

Hell no... Melbourne to Devonport, yes.  (what is this 4K thing? seen it and 2K or what ever mentioned in threads)

It would seem you need to speak to your wife Hoppy...she just sent me a retainer for routing you guys for the next M2O on account you have race distance confusion issues. Don't worry though I'm not cutting your lunch.

 

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5 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

 

It would seem you need to speak to your wife Hoppy...she just sent me a retainer for routing you guys for the next M2O on account you have race distance confusion issues. Don't worry though I'm not cutting your lunch.

 

Ha ha ha... I forgot about that. I'm better off sticking with my Jeanneau and take the slow route there

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46 minutes ago, Chucky said:

One of the unusual experiences with Expedition routing was when racing up along the East Coast of Australia was the routing Expedition showed with a optimum route straight into the eye of cyclone Iris and then back out again. The route also showed us sailing along the edge of the great barrier reef in 50kts, maybe some automatic cyclone danger messages from Expedition would be nice!

That is called being at sea and Expedition would have shown you the best way out of Dodge.

I would hate to grab a stick and bash that horse to death, but the fact the M2O RO suspended racing on a long distance race track track going from 40S to 36N in April on account of a severe Low HP, was complete bullshit, but understandable in terms of their responsibilities/insurances etc.

If you need a routing program to inform you via danger message of a pending severe weather event, I suggest you take up golf.

My intemperate view of your post aside in context of the thread, congrats for competing, you are amounst few.

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3 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

What you missed was the software giving the operator the ability to fuck around and calibrate the shit out of it for "data in" and so "data out". That is Expeditions strength. That said sticking ones head out the window and being able to interprerate what is actually happening in that Postcode, is probably just as, if not more important. A skill actually not many have.

Sure, if the software doesn't let you tweak the polars or choose your GRIBs you might as well embark a paper weight.

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I keep forgetting to post this link to a PDF of Expeditions Manual to give those not knowing what it can do and with what. It is a great read for anyone instrument/navigation inclined, though I would warn you take your time, it should be digested slowly like a nice piece of rare meat.

Nick is quite upfront about this Manual being not always being up to date and maybe not new-user friendly in some peoples minds. He therefore encourages new users to get out and use it and avail themselves of some 3rd party support like Will Oxley's EBooks, North U Webinar's etc. I would also add talking to fellow users in your Club etc as their start up experiences both hardware and software can save you a lot of head scratching.

http://www.expeditionmarine.com/Downloads/Expedition.pdf

PS. I hope I'm not sounding like a Exp fan boy. I do use Adrena from time to time, however being Euro centric and lacking some outside upload features I like, it is not my preferred cup of tea. 

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On 4/27/2018 at 7:57 PM, SabreSailor said:

 

I'll be participating in this years Newport Bermuda race and could use some recommendations on offshore weather routing software.

Expedition seems to be popular choice but its expensive and our crew is fairly new to this type of software so it may be overkill. We're considering Predict Wind but the more I research the more options I've found. What applications and features do you recommend.

Some of the wishlist features that I'm looking for are:

  • Reasonably priced (does not necessarily mean cheap)
  • Relatively easy to learn (at least the key pieces)
  • Simple downloads of grib files, gulf stream data, wind, temp, etc
  • Optimal course plotting based on weather (including Gulf Stream info) and polars
  • IOS (iPad) is ideal but Mac software is a possibility
  • Charting during the race that shows expected and actual positions
  • Are there other features that I should include on this list???

 

Are there other features that I should add to my functionality wish list?

What do you think of Predict Wind and what am I missing compared to Expedition?

Are there other apps to consider?

 

Thanks for your help :)

 

 

 

Dont know what you are after.   If you need the simplest , cheapest solution use ISAILOR .

it works with ipad.   Interprets and stores GRIB and it has a very simple routing feature.

For routing ....no polars or anything complex...the user inputs the course and speed. And the program overlays it on  the GRIBS.

ive been using the system for many years...it works well 

 

IMG_8629.PNG

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41 minutes ago, slug zitski said:

ive been using the system for many years...it works well

Slug this a pretty serious thread...take your inane pollution elsewhere.

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3 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

I keep forgetting to post this link to a PDF of Expeditions Manual to give those not knowing what it can do and with what. It is a great read for anyone instrument/navigation inclined, though I would warn you take your time, it should be digested slowly like a nice piece of rare meat.

Nick is quite upfront about this Manual being not always being up to date and maybe not new-user friendly in some peoples minds. He therefore encourages new users to get out and use it and avail themselves of some 3rd party support like Will Oxley's EBooks, North U Webinar's etc. I would also add talking to fellow users in your Club etc as their start up experiences both hardware and software can save you a lot of head scratching.

http://www.expeditionmarine.com/Downloads/Expedition.pdf

PS. I hope I'm not sounding like a Exp fan boy. I do use Adrena from time to time, however being Euro centric and lacking some outside upload features I like, it is not my preferred cup of tea. 

Wow, that looks complicated! The OP seems to be a true Corinthian, I am not sure he really wants to use a software with a steep learning curve like this.

I had a look on French forums and amateurs nowadays seem to be using Adrena, Maxsea, weather 4D and sailgrib. A guy won the Fastnet in IRC4 despite using sailgrib which is simplistic compared to Adrena and/or Expedition. Simplicity has its merits.

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22 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

Wow, that looks complicated! The OP seems to be a true Corinthian, I am not sure he really wants to use a software with a steep learning curve like this.

Why I made mention of maybe the merits of a Lite Version.

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not sure it has been pointed out in this unusually useful thread - but if you pay for the north u webinar (admittedly its pricey at 199)....that cost is deducted from the cost of the program - so that helps the learning i guess....One can also get a sense for how complicated the program is (my feeling is only as complicated as you care to make it) by watching the North U homework videos free on youtube.  I have now watched them all and will ask the developer if he feels comfortable with me paying for the course with NorthU ....using the 30 day trial version during the course (even 7 days would be enough if you are reading this) and then decide if I want to buy the full version.  Perhaps I'm in the minority because I have almost decided to buy so the incremental risk of the webinar is not real to me. Already have PW and don't find the routing particulalry convincing.  It may be that after I get comfortable with another product that PW was perfectly convincing who knows. 

2 things will likely make these kinds of things only marginally useful for me - calibration and the length of races I typically participate in.....say 500 miles and less. 

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It's amazing how people will spend unlimited amounts on sails just to throw them away in 3 years for 1 degree or a tenth kt of speed.  But they won't invest a fraction of that to go in the right direction.  

I'm a fan of expedition.  I just wish you could download Will's book in PDF format.  

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11 hours ago, vikram said:

not sure it has been pointed out in this unusually useful thread - but if you pay for the north u webinar (admittedly its pricey at 199)....that cost is deducted from the cost of the program - so that helps the learning i guess....One can also get a sense for how complicated the program is (my feeling is only as complicated as you care to make it) by watching the North U homework videos free on youtube.  I have now watched them all and will ask the developer if he feels comfortable with me paying for the course with NorthU ....using the 30 day trial version during the course (even 7 days would be enough if you are reading this) and then decide if I want to buy the full version.  Perhaps I'm in the minority because I have almost decided to buy so the incremental risk of the webinar is not real to me. Already have PW and don't find the routing particulalry convincing.  It may be that after I get comfortable with another product that PW was perfectly convincing who knows. 

2 things will likely make these kinds of things only marginally useful for me - calibration and the length of races I typically participate in.....say 500 miles and less. 

I understand the PW routing is built on an Expedition back end.

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20 minutes ago, DickDastardly said:

I understand the PW routing is built on an Expedition back end.

It isn't, but it appeared to have aspects copied from the Exp grid algorithm output which is why the output and polar file names look so similar.

I've never investigated how good or bad it is though.

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Sorry for not posting sooner, I've been following via email. This is awesome, thank you all for the feedback, the tech geek in me gets very into this stuff :)

Ultimately its not by boat or budget but the consensus here is what I've heard elsewhere, Expedition is the most powerful solution. A decision has not been made but Expedition may be more than we need so we might choose a lower end package for this race depending on the captains long term plans.

Nick, thank you for the demo offer. I don't know which option we will choose but I'm hoping to take part in this race with my own boat soon so even if we go with something else this time I may take you up on your offer.

 

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3 hours ago, Expedition said:

It isn't, but it appeared to have aspects copied from the Exp grid algorithm output which is why the output and polar file names look so similar.

I've never investigated how good or bad it is though.

I stand corrected!  IIRC it does require polars in Expedition format so I guess that's why I assumed so.

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Gentlemen and ladies,

We seem to be missing something important here.  The debate appears to be about the relative cost of a cheap solution (whatever that means) versus the best available nav solution, at least in the Southern Hemisphere, I shall not talk about the coasts of Brittany -and the incremental difference is maybe $200 or E$300 depending on where you are.  B&G have abandoned Deckman for a reason.

So, at 0300 hrs, when the shit always happens - and that's when it does, and you are tired, wet and cold, because you always are at that time, I have seen more phantoms than I care to remember - what''s the nav solutions that best mitigates the risk of you, as navigator, putting people at risk or drowning them, in fact giving them the best experience they can have relative to the conditions and their skills and expectations?

Here is Austruckinfalia, we have the concept of the "PCBU".  Other countries have something similar.  Type it into your favourite search engine and ruminate on the legal and moral (at least as important) consequences of being that person.  A new headsail is $8 or $10k, and lasts 3-4 years.  Expedition is $1k, and enduring ... forever ... a one-off ... and when Nick wants to retire he should change that pricing structure.  But in the meantime he hasn't.  Get in on the ground floor.

Just sayin'. It's your arse.

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42 minutes ago, DuncanR said:

Just sayin'. It's your arse.

Maybe the strangest endorsement for good routing software I have ever seen and heard. That aside Duncan is on the money.

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Expedition is the gold standard, but can be overwhelming.

Sailgrib on an android tablet.  Cost for tablet and software is a way less, like a decimal place over or so.  Samsung galaxy tab active(2), waterproof shockproof is what I carry with me.  If you have a boat pc, you can compare routing solutions.  Includes gulf stream grib download as well if you get the pro version.  Well worth it.

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On 5/2/2018 at 3:48 AM, Merit 25 said:

I'm a fan of expedition.  I just wish you could download Will's book in PDF format.  

*cough* - there are fairly straightforward ways to convert ebooks to PDF.  google is your partner in crime here.

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