Navigating the lochs in Scotland: Isle of Skye

Leon Schulz is a MaxSea partner and is a RYA Yachtmaster Ocean instructor. This week, he tells us about his unforgettable experience, navigating his yacht, the Regina Laska to one of the lochs in Scotland, Loch Scavaig in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. 

Arriving at Loch Scavaig brings a feeling of a total immersion in nature. Cautiously approaching the narrow harbour entrance, I like to compare the notes in the Imray Pilot Book “Skye and North West Scotland” with MaxSea navigation charts. Both the Navionics, Jeppesen and raster charts in MaxSea provide similar chart data and are very helpful.

Lochs in Scotland: Scavaig, Isle of Skype
Loch Scavaig, Isle of Skye, Scotland

My observation at the harbour entrance, however, is that the water depth is slightly less than is claimed in all the available books and charts, and so, boaters should expect water depths of about 1-1.5 m more shallow than charts indicate, not only during low tide.

Lochs in Scotland: Beautiful scenery

When you arrive at the lagoon, you will be greeted by innumerable seals resting on the soft ground rock or curiously peeping out of the water. So we stare at each other and are enchanted by the contact between humans and animals.

Lochs in Scotland: Seals at the Isle of Skye

The silence of the mountains lying around is only interrupted by one sound – the noise of a waterfall, where the water seems to spring out of the fog into which bore into the mountains. Angelic water?

Lochs in Scotland: Regina Yachting

Slowly, carefully, and with the support of the Furuno NavNet 3D plotter, integrated with MaxSea TimeZero Explorer, we continue into the lagoon. There is no other boat in the area, not a soul. Even our mobile phone doesn’t have reception – no contact with the outside world. Only a small cabin with closed window shutters in the colors of the Scottish flag testifies to the fact that sometimes people here have to seek shelter when the weather becomes too harsh, as is the reputation of Scotland.

The dramatic scenery is breathtaking and so we put our dingy into the water and row ashore. Trails meander along lakes and high up into the mountains with a beautiful view over half Scotland, if not over half of the world. Time and space seem to merge.

Lochs in Scotland: Beautiful scenery at the Isle of Skye

My charter guests who have travelled with me all the way from Canada on my HR 46 Regina Laska boat, are full of happiness.

In the evening another yacht arrives in the area and anchors next to us. An aluminum yacht that looks as if it has come from as far as Greenland, Svalbard or Antarctica.

We happily sleep in this paradise, until we are awakened the next morning by a motor noise: A tour boat from the nearby mainland. And then another one. And later another. There are lots of hikers who have stopped here for a couple of hours, to see the same beauty that we had enjoyed in our loneliness the night before. But would they experience the same as us?

Lochs in Scotland: Beautiful scenery in Scotland

Yes, we think, and enjoy the morning coffee while in the sunlit cockpit.
No heaven can be kept for you alone! “Paradise is a state of mind,” said my charter guest. How true! We recognise that my favorite anchorage is no longer a secret. But as long as we believe it, we could feel unique and special in this world.

With this in mind, we drop anchor and sail instead of continuing to the nearby Talisker distillery.


Leon Schulz’s yacht, the Regina Laska is available for charter. Learn more about his services on the Regina Sailing website.


 

The Ultimate Guide to Boat Rentals

Boat Racing for Dummies!

Henri Antoine is an International Race Officer at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). This week, he tells us about a recent boat racing training session that was organised for newcomers to sailing racing: Racing for Dummies!

The first ‘Racing for Dummies’ training session was held in Dunkerque, Northen France on Saturday, April 5, 2014, on the premises of the North Sea Yacht Club.

Boat racing for Dummies
A poster advertising “Racing for Dummies” training session

This event was designed to encourage boaters to take part in boat races. Boaters often want to race but are apprehensive about beginning. It is a fear of not understanding how it is done, or looking ridiculous in comparison to more seasoned competitors.

Thierry Maurick, Chairman of YCMN, (the North Sea Yacht Club) immediately found the idea interesting and fun. It was a way to bring a new audience to boat racing without any pressure in a relaxed setting. Hence the idea of the event title “For Dummies”.

The goal: to demystify and “play down” boat racing, which many people believe to be more complicated than it is.

Participants in this Dunkirk training session really enjoyed it and the event was very successful. To make it as accessible as possible, many concrete examples, diagrams and pictures were used.

MaxSea TimeZero Navigator weather forecast  service explained during the boat racing training session
GRIB weather files overlaid on the chart in MaxSea TimeZero

MaxSea TimeZero was used to demonstrate how coastal routes can be easily viewed. In coastal routes in areas where marine navigation is tricky, this helped participants to quickly understand how to approach this type of race. They learned how to read and understand nautical charts in a practical way.

The participants really liked how easy it was to integrate wind information (using GRIB files in TimeZero) and tidal current data. These types of information are of course, very important for boat racing.

There was positive feedback from participants, and another session in mid-May is planned.

This was a great initiative – thanks Henri!

For more information about ISAF, please click here.

To find out more about the North Sea Yachting Club in Dunkerque, France, see their website.

h.

Download your free guide

Under the Pole – Underwater Polar Expeditions

We are very happy to announce that MaxSea has recently developed a new partnership with French expedition ‘Under the Pole‘. By providing our navigation software to this great organization, we are able to contribute in some way to the fantastic research that they carry out.

What is Under the Pole?

Under the Pole carries out a series of underwater polar expeditions to explore the polar environment. Their aim is to increase scientific knowledge of the poles.

Each time they carry out a new expedition, they build up more knowledge that is added to the existing data base. Each expedition is also considered a preparation for the next one.

Lucas Santucci - Under The Pole - 2014
Lucas Santucci of Under The Pole, using MaxSea TimeZero software in 2014

What have they done so far?

From March to May, 2010, Under the Pole carried out an expedition to the North Pole, which lasted for 45 days.

Cold Weather Sailing Guide

During this trip, they studied the icecap in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and led a unique submarine exploration under extreme conditions.

Exploring the North Pole in 2010
Exploring the North Pole in 2010

In January 2014, Under the Pole have began an expedition to West and North Greenland, which will last for 22 months altogether, and is being dubbed “Part II”.

This is a continuation of the study carried out at the North Pole. This time they will focus on the submarine environment between the pole and the polar circle.

Greenland Expedition
Greenland Expedition

What’s next?

In 2016, they will move to the other hemisphere and will lead an expedition to Antarctica.

We wish Under the Pole all the best in these exciting and enlightening expeditions!

.


The Arctic is a victim of climate warming.

A fascinating world is disappearing.

Some species living there are threatened of extinction.

Many of them have not yet been observed.


 

Download the free MaxSea guide: Cold Weather Sailing

My Favourite books about the Arctic, by Janusz Kurbiel

Since 1975, Joëlle and Janusz Kurbiel from IMERPOL, have dedicated their lives to the exploration of the North Pole. For the last few years, they have navigated through this region with the help of TZ Navigator, their marine navigation software.

In this post, Janusz shares his favourite books written about the Arctic. So if you planning to navigate in this region, make sure to read as many of these books as you can!

Arctic Ice.

.

Books about the Arctic Ocean

.

  • Tilman, H.W. – The Eight Sailing – Mountains-Exploration Books, Diadem Ed., 1987.

If you need further information on how to purchase any of these books, just leave a comment below. Safe journey!

Cold Weather Sailing Guide

.

US NOAA Raster and Vector Chart Updates

Updates from March 20, 2017

We just wanted to let you know we have fresh new NOAA charts for both Raster and Vector format. There is also Block charts update only available for TZ Professional v3. Please consult the list to see which charts are involved.

Check out our Facebook page to find examples of the improvements to the charts and find out about big changes in an area near you that you may not have been aware of:
Vector | Raster

Example Screenshot of West Palm Beach NOAA Vector Chart

Chart references:

  • MWRUSAMAP10.1 NOAA Raster Charts
  • MWVSUSAMAP11.1 NOAA Vector Charts & USACE Inland Charts
  • WARUSBCMAP4.1 USA – Gulf of Mexico Block charts NOAA

 Find these charts now available in our chart catalog.


News from March 6, 2014

These US charts have been updated and are available as of March 3rd, 2014 in our Chart Catalogue:

MX NOAA Chart update


The following NOAA chart versions are now available:

NOAA Raster chart coverage (left) and NOAA Vector chart coverage (right)
NOAA Raster chart coverage (left) and NOAA Vector chart coverage (right)

Updated Information

  • Updated NOAA Vector Charts (S57): This Edition adds 71 new Vector Charts to the library as well as many other chart updates.
  • Updated NOAA Raster Charts: This new edition includes the latest chart updates that can be found on the NOAA paper charts.

Read full information about these chart updates in this PDF file.

Example of improvement to the NOAA vector charts: now buoys are numbered (right)
Example of improvement to the NOAA vector charts: now buoys are numbered (right)

NOAA charts are totally free of charge so you can download them right now, to make sure that you’re using the most up-to-date chart data available for US waters.

.

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Nautical Chart

Dismasting – What to do if it Happens

Dismasting is one of the worst emergencies that can happen to a sailboat, and if the mast is not managed very quickly the boat may sink as a result.

MaxSea is a technical partner of the MACIF Racing Team skippered by François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux. During this year’s Transat Jacques Vabre race, the MACIF boat dismasted, proving that it can happen to anyone at any time.

This week, we provide tips and advice on how to prepare for dismasting, and what to do if it happens.

MACIF team at the Transat Jacques Vabre

MACIF skippers François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux

There’s always the risk of dismasting, especially when you encounter a bad storm while out at sea. This can be due to a rigging failure or extreme conditions. However, dismasting can also occur without a storm as a result of a structural weakness in the masthead or inside a turnbuckle.

It’s essential for owners of cruising sailboats of any size to be prepared for a possible dismasting and to have the right equipment and knowledge to act immediately.

All experienced sailors know they should have equipment on board to cut the mast free as quickly as possible. You just need to determine what the right equipment is for your sailboat and your budget?

Equipment

Usually only a sharp sailor’s knife is needed. In order to cut the halyards and other lines joining the boat to the mast, you will only need a sharp sailor’s knife. It is more difficult to cut through the stays and shrouds, which are made of steel wire or rod. To do this, you will need special equipment.

The typical equipment used are hacksaws, bolt cutters, and pin removal gear.

Hacksaw: Very well suited to small to medium sailboats. However, coastal sailors should have another type of equipment on board too, to be prepared for all situations.

The hacksaw is undoubtedly the cheapest emergency de-rigging device. However, sawing is much slower than other methods, with greater risk for hull damage when time is of the essence. It is also impossible to saw through rod rigging, and very difficult to saw steel wire unless it is held still and tensioned, which is almost impossible for one person to do on a pitching deck.

Tip: If you do depend on a hacksaw, use a tungsten carbide blade and have a couple of spares.

Bolt cutters: Manual cutters are the traditional first choice for cutting wire (not rod) rigging. They cost more than a hacksaw, often more than $200) but will work on rigging that is either slack or under tension from the mast.

Tips

  • Get cutters larger than what you think you can get by with. The manufacturer may promise one size cuts up to 3/8 wire, for example, but 3/8 stainless steel marine rigging wire may be much stronger than what the manufacturer tested.
  • Try them out on wire as large as your rigging to be sure you can trust them in an emergency.
  • Add a lanyard you can slip around your wrist – it’s easy to drop them overboard when you’re working on a pitching deck.

Hydraulic bolt cutters do a great job fast but cost upwards of $1200; unlike regular bold cutters, they work on rod rigging.

Dismasted boat

Pin removal: On most boats the turnbuckles at the bottom of shrouds and stays are connected to chainplate fittings with a clevis pin kept in place with a cotter pin or ring. Some sailors choose to release the rigging by removing the pin rather than sawing or cutting the rigging. The biggest issue is that clevis pins are very difficult to remove when under significant tension, and the process can be almost unmanageable on a pitching deck.

Tips

  • Your de-rigging kit should include strong pliers for quick removal of the cotter pin or ring. (Many riggers recommend not opening the ends of cotter pins more than 20 degrees so that they can be removed more easily.)Use a mallet or hammer along with a center punch or similar tool to pound the pin back out through its hole. Don’t trust a screwdriver for this, and make sure your chosen tool is small enough in diameter to follow the pin through the hole, because otherwise it may jam halfway.
  • Since clevis pins are easily and quickly removed when not under tension, first release the shrouds and stays that are loose, saving the one(s) under tension for last. (Unless, of course, the end of the mast in its current position is already threatening to hole the hull.)
  • Be aware that if the turnbuckle is bent or heavily torqued to one side, the pin may have so much pressure on it that it won’t come out. Have at least a good hacksaw handy just in case.

Hopefully these tips will be useful to you. Remember that it’s very important to be prepared for dismasting. Having a plan could save you life!

.

.

Download you free guide

Furuno Norway AS joins MaxSea’s distribution network

Furuno technicianFuruno Norway AS becomes the Norwegian distributor of MaxSea navigation and fishery systems developed by the French company MaxSea International.

As of May 22, the distribution rights for all products have been transferred from the until now distributor MaxSea Norway AS to Furuno Norway AS. At the same time, two of MaxSea Norway’s three employees are transferred to Furuno Norway, while the third will continue to develop MaxSea Norway for other products and markets under a new name.

MaxSea has recently launched a new version of its navigation system called MaxSea TimeZero, which offers full integration with Furuno’s existing products (radar, fish finders). The rapprochement is therefore quite natural, and will provide clear synergies that will benefit both customers and MaxSea/Furuno partners.

MaxSea TimeZero Plot PBG Seabed
MaxSea TimeZero built-in 3D mapping database of the seabed

Customers will have access to complete high-tech systems from one supplier integrating all together fishing plotter, weather data, sounder, radar, AIS, engine information, etc. In addition to new features and a very user-friendly interface, the new MaxSea TimeZero also has a built-in 3D mapping database of the seabed in all relevant areas of fishing activity, based on an extensive database that users have collected and shared over several years. All products will be distributed through the established network of dealers all along the Norwegian coast.

Furuno Norway AS is a sales and service organization that provides navigation, communication and fish finding equipment to the Norwegian, Russian and Brazilian shipyards and shipowners. Furuno Norway AS has office in Ålesund, and branch offices in Bergen and Oslo. Furuno Norway currently has 31 employees. 

Furuno dealers in Norway
Click on the map to locate a dealer

MaxSea International is the world’s largest supplier of PC-based marine charting systems with more than 50.000 systems delivered worldwide. In Norway, MaxSea mapping systems are installed on board more than 2.200 vessels. MaxSea International is headquartered in France with offices in Spain and the United States and national distributors worldwide. MaxSea International presently has 60 employees.

MaxSea International warmly welcomes its new distributor!

The History of MaxSea Infographics 1984-2012

Many of you might have some questions regarding our company’s past and present. Well, this infographics is intended to help you understand our history through some key dates and facts.

The History of MaxSea1984-2012 - marine navigation software leader

Key Dates 

1984 – Brice Pryszo, naval architect and passionate about informatics, invents a revolutionary algorithm for automated sea routing

1985 – Creation of Informatique et Mer company and its first software for Mac, called MacSea

End of 80’s – After a huge success in the french market, MaxSea starts developping its distribution network. Iceland becomes its first distributor, followed by other scandinavian countries

1994 – Foundation of the electronic cartography company MapMedia

1999

  • Switch from Mac to PC
  • Company and software change their name to MaxSea
  • Launch of 3D PBG  module

1990-2000 – MaxSea’s distribution network covers Northern Europe

2000 – Setting-up of a US subsidiary company: MaxSea Inc.

2001 – SigNet Group was created to group together all companies: MaxSea International, MaxSea Naval and MapMedia

2000-2005 – Further expansion of MaxSea’s distribution to Southern Europe and Latin America

2004 – Technical and financial alliance with FURUNO, marine electronics leader

2007 – Foundation of MaxSea Naval, the Spanish subsidiary

2008 – Launch of TimeZero technology and first sailing software powered by it: MaxSea TimeZero Navigator and Explorer

2009 –

  • Purchase of Nobeltec, main rival and US leader
  • Launch of MaxSea Webstore

2010 – Launch of MaxSea TimeZero professional range: ECS and Plot

2011 – Launch of Nobeltec software powered by TimeZero technology

This is the first of a series, we will hopefully enhance the aesthetics of the next one!

Get the latest news about our company and products on Facebook.

Meet MaxSea’s distributors: Brimrún from Iceland

We’re happy to share with you this great testimonial from Brimrun, our national distributor in Iceland. They explain how they designed a MaxSea TimeZero training course in order to face the complexity of MaxSea user profiles in this country.

Icelandic skippers have been using MaxSea navigation systems since the early days of the MaxSea company. The latest product, MaxSea TimeZero, comes with great many new features and opens up a whole range of new possibilities, aiming at more efficiency and productivity. The captains are as well able to adjust the system to their own preferences and needs, to a much greater extent than is generally expected of navigation systems of this kind on the market.

Demand for the TimeZero system in Iceland is high and such is the enthusiasm by the captains for learning to utilise and take advantage of this new ground breaking system, that Brimrun, Furuno and MaxSea’s national distributor in Iceland, has created for them a special MaxSea TimeZero training course.

MaxSea TimeZero Trainees in Brimrun Classroom

It runs for 8 hours, takes place at Brimrun´s premises in Reykjavik. Most skippers enlist for the course when purchasing the TimeZero system. The outcome has been very positive and it can be said without any exaggeration that everyone who has attended the course so far appreciates it and has found it well worth the while. Brimrun is scheduling courses for several months ahead to meet the wishes of the many individuals, who come from various places all around the country.

The training course is a “basic” TimeZero course and therefor a mixture of captains from the very different ships can attend it together. Next to each other may be sitting the captain of a purse seiner and the owner of the smallest small boat or the captain on a long liner etc., without any conflicting wishes and expectations.

Brimrun believes that the overall investment taken in the training course is worth the efforts, including the establishing of the class room, purchase of computers and preparing extensive training material. This can be concluded by the high number of participants attending the course and their appreciation of it.

MaxSea training - Brimrun Classroom

The company: Brimrún

Brimrun was established in the year 1992. Since the beginning the main purpose of the company has been to be The National Distributor for Furuno in Iceland. As such, the company operates mainly in the maritime market, more precisely the sector for navigational, fish finding and communicational equipment. Brimrun´s customers have all kinds of vessels, from the conventional small fishing and pleasure boats to the biggest of modern multipurpose fishing vessels and cargo ships. The company’s location is in Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland. At the beginning, there were 5 people working for Brimrun, today they are 12. Several years ago, Brimrun established an outlet in the town of Akureyri, in the north of the country.

The number of ships and boats in Iceland has decreased considerably over these 20 years as a consequence of fishing quotas being cut by the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries. This has been considered necessary to prevent overfishing. However, for the last two years, the situation has changed and the most important fish stock, cod, is gaining strength and the quotas are growing back. This trend will eventually result in an increase in investments and a growing number of ships and boats in Iceland.

A couple of years ago, Brimrun became the National Distributor for MaxSea in Iceland. The MaxSea name is very well known and established in the country. For navigational and chart systems, MaxSea holds the biggest market share by far. A skipper will not be found in the country who does not know what MaxSea is and what it stands for. Brimrun is very proud to be an agent for MaxSea and a part of its global network.

Several Icelandic fishing companies have expanded their business and established outlets and daughter companies overseas. For them it is important to have, not only reliable equipment but also service for it. Such service is now available to Brimrun´s customers through the MaxSea network.

Thank you very much for this enthousiastic testimonial, all our distributors are more than welcome to send theirs to info@maxsea.fr, we look forward to hearing from you!