by Donald McLennan
As sailors, we’re constantly calling upon our personal repertoire of knots. We master a few common ones and, sometimes, learn knots that are more advanced or serve a more specific purpose. For instance, suppose you need to secure your dinghy to the foredeck.

Top 5 Apps for 2013

by Donald McLennan, Posted January 20, 2014
Since October of 2012, I’ve been using this space to review smartphone apps for SAIL readers. I’ve looked at the best apps for AIS, anchoring and navigation. I’ve tested new apps for boat logs, knot-tying and chartplotting. And when I wanted to send a postcard of my boat from a far-off sea, I found that, yes, there’s an app for that, too.
I started using iRegatta in December, and I’m not sure I’ll sail without it again. Although I’m primarily a cruiser and the app is nominally for racers, it provides an impressive amount of real-time and historical data that all will find useful.
Sailors know it is essential to track their sailing and maintenance, and over the years they’ve developed various logbooks to help them do so. Now, there’s an app for that. iLog Sailing Companion ($9.99) combines a ships log, specifications, to-do lists, inventory, and a maintenance scheduler all into one app.
Don’t let the fact that the Sea Tow app is produced by Sea Tow Services or that you are not a Sea Tow member dissuade you from installing it. This is a great free app...
The free app is available from iTunes and includes high-quality world charts, route management, wind GRIB downloads and ActiveCaptain integration. Routes, tracks and waypoints can be wirelessly transferred between your iPhone, iPad and Wi-Fi-enabled chartplotter.
A day on the water revolves around wind, and there’s nothing more appealing than knowing where the next breeze will come from. Many weather apps provide current conditions, but PredictWind offers accurate and reliable wind forecasts.
“Wish you were here…” Postagram, an app from Sincerely, is an easy way to send postcards right from your smartphone. This free app uploads photos from your phone, Instagram or Facebook, prints them as high-quality glossy photo postcards.
For sailors who rely on smartphones, a good weather forecasting app is essential. Intellicast Boating for iPhone and iPad by Weather Services International (WSI) claims to be “the most technically advanced site-specific weather forecasting system in the world today,” and I tend to agree.

Smartphone Anchor Watch

by Donald McLennan, Posted November 8, 2012
Many onboard electronics systems include anchor-watch alarms that sound if a boat drifts too far from where you anchored it. But what if you’re ashore at that time?
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