Newsletter #122

Newsletter #122 - July 18, 2012


>>> SailTimer >>>

An exciting new app for iPhone and iPad was released this week and is available right now. It's called SailTimer and it has the ability to keep all of ActiveCaptain offline and available using the same synchronization support that is available across a wide number of applications for Windows, Macintosh, iOS, and Android.

SailTimer has a lot behind it. As an app, it stands alone as a wonderful raster chart navigation product. Sailors will be especially interested in SailTimer's patented Tacking Time to Destination (TTD) capabilities that uses wind speed and direction to properly predict estimated time of arrival as well as providing optimal course and tacking navigation assistance.

SailTimer has the ability to view charts for the US and Canada with more chart support planned for the future. You can add new region support to the app as you need it. It runs on both the iPad and iPhone with the same purchase - all very nice and well done.

But there's more.

They also announced a wireless, solar windvane. Now you trawler owners, don't skip on by - there's a good use for you too. The windvane is solar and generates its own backup power. There is no power necessary for it to work. Just attach it and you're done. The data is sent wirelessly to the SailTimer app for display and to automate the TDD calculations live as the wind changes.

For motorboats, this setup represents a very nice and inexpensive way to access wind data while underway or especially while docking. Our own boat has had wind sensors from the very first time we stepped onboard and I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable without it. No running wires - just attach the windvane, pull out your iPhone, and you've got live wind data.

There's too much to talk about in one newsletter segment. We have the windvane and app ourselves and can now show it to others. It's quite slick and reasonably priced.

Pricing for the app is broken up into a few in-app purchases. The SailTimer app itself costs $13.99. ActiveCaptain support costs $4.99 and chart regions require additional purchases too.

There's a lot of extra information with screenshots and background information. Check out these links and welcome another app into the ActiveCaptain family:

>>> aCappella's Helm - The iPad, Part 3 >>>

This is the continuation of a series we'll write this summer about the iPad and why you should have one for your cruising. Part 1 & 2 are archived along with all previous newsletters at:

First in new news, Garmin announced a new add-on GPS for the iPad this week called GLO. It's a combination GPS and GLONASS receiver with iOS support for $99. That's an incredible hardware jump for the same price as the other iPad GPS's available. For more information:

Note that you only need to consider an external GPS for the iPad if you have a WiFi-only iPad or you need an external GPS for placement reasons. Cellular iPad's have real built-in GPS.

In other new news, we did receive our new Google Nexus 7 device. This is a brand new Android tablet and it'll be the topic of a future newsletter once we get some real time on it.

Let's continue on with other non-boat navigation apps that make the iPad an incredible device to have onboard.

iPad app 7: HanDBase

There are so many wonderful uses for having a real database onboard. Over the years we've created 7 databases that we use daily and one drink recipe database that we should use daily. The 7 boating databases are:

Projects - a list of projects and items needed to be purchased. There are 47 items on the list now which is typical.

Captain's Log - a full log of every outing, destination, maintenance performed, problems encountered, and more. It fully documents every hour we've put on our engines over the last 9 years and allows a quick search (where did we stay in Beaufort, NC in 2004?).

Engine Room Log - logs of items to check on engine room checks providing a wonderful way to spot problem trends before they are emergencies.

Fuel Log - every drop of fuel we've purchased since 2003 with a running total of engine/generator hours to determine gallons per hour.

Maintenance - a reminder for the 50 maintenance items on the boat by time or engine hour.

Parts - every part with serial number, phone contact, notes, things to remember, and more.

Spares - every major spare item. Spares are so often tucked away that it's hard to remember how many of something is left or where it is.

These databases were started with spreadsheets in 2003 and have been in continuous use since them. It's easy to port something simple to HanDBase. Having some basic database experience is helpful and there can be some programming done with it. There is an iPad and iPhone version and they are not free although they are reasonably priced. We could write a dozen newsletter segments about how we use HanDBase and all the ways it saves us time onboard.

iPad app 8: Flipboard

Flipboard wins countless awards for the best iPad app available. It's free and yet incredibly many people have never heard of it. It is used for about 1 hour every day on our iPads. It turns web sites, blogs, news sources, and other content into a magazine that you flip through. It will interface to Facebook and Twitter too and provides a much more usable way to access that content.

We use it for Facebook and to keep track of anything new that comes out in the technology, programming, mobile, and geeky worlds. It is a wonderful app that you should explore. Pick something you're interested in following and let Flipboard put it together.

iPad app 9: TomTom or Navigon

Although we're staying away from boating navigation apps in this series, we have used both of these car navigation apps a lot while cruising. They're not just for car use - they both work well for walking when you're on shore and need to find an address. Rent a car and these apps are incredible.

We use them on both the iPad and iPhone. On the iPad they create a large chartplotter surface which is wonderful for planning and exploring. While walking, the iPhone is a better device. We'd feel funny holding up an iPad while walking.

We use both TomTom and Navigon (one on Karen's devices, one on Jeff's). There are others too but either of these are very good.

They are more expensive than most other apps - $40 to $60. Map updates have been free through the 3+ years we've been using them.

iPad app 10: AroundMe, Dex

There are a series of apps that will show you businesses in a particular area, especially around where you are at the moment. Need a pharmacy, hospital, or ATM machine? These free apps are the ones we use when we have those questions. There are many apps that provide this type of functionality. Some are pretty bad. These 2 are worth having.

>>> Defender 1st >>>

What better way to protect your boat than by investing in good quality fenders? This week's Defender 1st has everything you need to replace those old fenders starting with Polyform Commercial Grade Buoy/Fenders. We have three large round fenders that we regularly use on floating docks and when the conditions turn rough.

Defender is offering the Polyform Commercial Grade Buoy/Fender in two popular sizes, A-3, 17" diameter for boats 40-50 feet, and A-4, 20.5" diameter for boats 50-60 feet.

You can further protect your investment with some terrific fender covers. Polyform uses a premium grade polyester yarn that is resistant to abrasion and UV exposure. These fender covers are built to last for many years, not just a season. And finally, a Polyform High Pressure Hand Pump, so you can always keep your fenders properly inflated.

Check out the link for full details.

Polyform A-3 Commercial Grade Buoy/Fender: $49.29 (Regularly: $57.99)

Polyform A-4 Commercial Grade Buoy/Fender: $65.44 (Regularly: $76.99)

Polyform Elite Fender Cover, A-3: $55.24 (Regularly: $64.99)

Polyform Elite Fender Cover, A-4: $66.29 (Regularly: $77.99)

Polyform High Pressure Hand Pump: $23.79 (Reguarly: 27.99)

Special ends: July 24, 2012

Get the special pricing code and learn more at:

Now's the time to check your old fenders to make sure they are up to the task. Protect your boat from bumps and scraps with these high quality fenders at a great price.

Remember - Defender 1st: one product, one week, one incredible price.

When you're thinking about purchasing boating supplies, think of Defender first.

The heat is back here in Maine. We were lucky to get out on the water over the weekend to cool off. Dyna and Dylan have been hanging low, lying in the cool spots, and wishing they were back on the boat with the air conditioning. They apologize for not keeping up with their blog but you can still drop them a line:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
The Interactive Cruising Guidebook
Real reviews from Active Captains

Newsletter Archive
We are currently merging the different ActiveCaptain websites into a single website.

Because of this, all later newsletters are being only put onto the ActiveCaptain Help Center found here:
ActiveCaptain Help Center : Newsletters

Older newsletters will be duplicated here until these pages are removed.

2016-03-02 #308 - Unexpected Benefits
2016-02-24 #307 - UK's MCA
2016-02-17 #306 - Chartplotter Support Questions
2016-02-10 #305 - One Giant Leap
2016-02-03 #304 - Bahamas Internet
2016-01-27 #303 - Community Anchoring
2016-01-20 #302 - Sharing Your Identity
2016-01-13 #301 - ActiveCaptain is...
2016-01-06 #300 - MMXVI
2015-12-30 #299 - The Power of Sharing
2015-12-23 #298 - Joyful times
2015-12-16 #297 - Thoughts of Cuba
2015-12-09 #296 - The Power of Love
2015-12-02 #295 - Windyty
2015-11-25 #294 - Mary Had a Little Lamb
2015-11-18 #293 - DeLorme inReach
2015-11-11 #292 - Celebrating Furuno
2015-11-04 #291 - Your ActiveCaptain Identity
2015-10-28 #290 - iPad/Android Tablet Owners
2015-10-21 #289 - The Top 5 Things...
2015-10-14 #288 - Skype
2015-10-07 #287 - Locations 1.2
2015-09-30 #286 - Cell Phone Frequency Issues
2015-09-23 #285 - Cell Phone Unlocking
2015-09-16 #284 - Mr SIM Card
2015-09-09 #283 - Route Storage & Sharing Continued
2015-09-02 #282 - Route Storage & Sharing
2015-08-26 #281 - Here's What You Told Us
2015-08-19 #280 - Bahamas 2016
2015-08-12 #279 - What is Services Missing?
2015-08-05 #278 - Aqua Map for Android
2015-07-29 #277 - Obtaining Critical Mass
2015-07-22 #276 - Our Backup Anchor
2015-07-15 #275 - Which Anchor is Best
2015-07-08 #274 - Pocket Mariner's SeaNav
2015-07-01 #273 - Services Galore
2015-06-24 #272 - Canvas and Upholstery Services
2015-06-17 #271 - Locations, Locations, Locations
2015-06-10 #270 - Keeping Track of Everything - 4

Archive Complete list of all newsletters
ActiveCaptain articles Read the award winning nineteen part series on mobile phones on boats.

Learn how to train your canine crew to use the "poop deck" and a unique way to get them into the dinghy.

Find out what's in our ditch bag and see what unusual products we have found invaluable on our cruises.