I decided on the eve of my retirement a couple of years ago that it would be good to develop an interest and an occupation. Yachting seemed to me to be the perfect choice and, though I am not wealthy, I have ‘the salt sea in my blood’, my father having been a wartime decorated master mariner. After the ill fated PQ17 North Atlantic convoy was ordered to scatter he navigated an oared lifeboat full of survivors from his bombed ship, Bolton Castle from close to the Arctic Circle to Archangel, (Bolton Castle was carrying hold cargoes of cordite with a deck cargo of petrol in cans. She received a direct hit from a heinkel bomber and sunk in six minutes). He and his men endured an eight day journey in Arctic conditions. Being Merchant Navy, a civillian and therefore not entitled to military honours, he was awarded the MBE. It is to my father I have dedicated this book.
Due to her rapidly failing sight, my wife, had decided that an iPad might be an answer to her problem, in that she could read books etc. in any point size, backlit and, if necessary, with voiceover, hear the text as well. It was not long therefore before I discovered that her iPad, (she rightly objects to me calling it just, the iPad), could also be used for nautical navigation, having it’s own internal GPS system for using plotting software. I then became compulsive, (or so it seemed to her), and thereafter ‘sharing’ it has meant my poor wife has seen much less of ‘our’ iPad than she should have. I have since bought my wife a new iPad Mini, (her choice).
As with anything technically unfamiliar, it took some time to get used to the iPad and then with the navigation Apps, available for it. However during a period of convalescence from a heart problem I got to grips with iNavX and Imray Chart Navigator, (as it was then titled), mostly by trial and error; though my IT technical background helped.I discovered that ‘Route Planning‘ can be an absorbing and enjoyable exercise just in itself, without the certain prospect of even ever, one day, making the anticipated journey. This aspect of sailing had never yet occurred to me. ‘Gaining the knowledge’, therefore, before spending hard cash on an elderly used yacht to ‘try out my ideas for real’, seemed to me to be the sensible way to go about realising my dream while educationally preparing myself for the future possible responsibilities of skippering.
Thus through succeeding months I grew more knowledgable about the business of passage planning, in the comfort of my living room, with the iPad and some informative nautical publications. I discovered that one particular App lent itself admirably to the task of route planning with respect specifically to working out headings, bearings and courses, compensating for the tidal streams that ebb and flow constantly around ‘this sceptered isle’.
'iPad Route Planning using Marine Imray Charts and Marine Tides Planner' uses the system I devised for recording visually the relevant information derived from the iPad screen. The method was intended to help eventually fulfil a dream, of bringing a 27 ft. sailing yacht round from Milford Haven to Portsmouth. Marine Imray Charts, (previously 'Chart Navigator' on iPad/iPhone/iPod), is without doubt an exceptionally good App for passage planning taking tidal streams into account, with it's versatile and accurate on screen bearing and distance measuring ruler and high quality raster scanned, true nautical charts. Over the past 4 years I have tried out a further 5 iPad Navigation Apps to assess each's capapability for passage planning. You can compare screenshots from them all on this website or download free sample chapters of my iBooks.
This then is the method I devised. To demonstrate it I have chosen to use the journey from Portland to Christchurch.
My thanks go to William and Elinor at Imray Laurie Norie and Wilson Ltd. with their vast experience in the production of nautical charts and books, for painstakingly editing my publication. In memory of Carlos, programmer of Imray Charts, and my original inspiration to write the books.