Optimizing your routes with the help of a TIMEZERO expert – Part 3

TIMEZERO software provides numerous possibilities allowing you to adapt the program to your personal navigation style. The models and advice by Diego de Miguel in the previous two articles were the techniques he applied for his voyage.

TIMEZERO adapts to your navigation style and your personal preferences. After having provided you with Diego’s route strategy we wanted to delve deeper into creating optimal routes so we have asked an in-house expert to give his technical viewpoint.

1) Enlarge the weather forecast zone to ensure that the algorithm provides as much to work with as possible

The TIMEZERO algorithm that makes the route based on meteorological weather data and polars requires a large scale of forecasted weather to provide an optimal route. That is why it is a good idea to enlarge this weather forecast zone past the limits that you plan to sail in.

Example of a limited zone:

Example of an optimal zone:

2) What is the difference between Great Circle and Rhumb line navigation:

When creating a route, TIMEZERO allows you to navigate in two different modes: Great Circle or Rhumb line.

Navigating using the great-circle will mean travelling the shortest route between two points in a sphere. The charts we use do not represent the true spherical distances, which is why creating a direct route from one point to another isn’t necessarily the shortest.

The Mercator Projection is a projection that allows sailors to take Rhumb lines while keeping the angle with the meridians. As the globe is spherical and the Mercator Projection is cylindrical, the continents closer to the poles appear bigger than they actually are.

Mercator Projection

Rhumb line is the route from one point to another around a globe using a spiral and one that crosses meridians at the same angle, which results in a straight route in a planisphere. In TIMEZERO, when “Great Circle Route” is not selected in the settings, then the navigation selected is the Rhumb line. In contrast to the “Great Circle Route”, when used in TIMEZERO, a straight line will be created with no intermediary points.


In this example the distances for the two routes are: Great Circle Route (3643 NM) and a Rhumb line (3755 NM) in TIMEZERO:

If you create a route that you are planning to use the Routing module for then we advise turning off Great Circle route in the settings in order to make the most from the powerful module. This option is selected by default in the menu section: TIMEZERO > Options > Route > Great Circle Route

Routing example using rhumb line:

In the example above, we have created a route between 3 points:

  • Sail from the Canary Islands
  • Waypoint at Cape Verde
  • Arrival in the Caribbean

With the Great Circle route, the algorithm would have generated 10 successive optimized routes in one route because at each waypoint (adjusting to real distances) a new optimized route must be created.

The Rhumb line optimized route only created the two successive optimized routes you were looking for using the routing module: One from the Canary Islands to Cape Verde (which we had manually set) and the second from Cape Verde to the Caribbean.

The two possible routes are very different as the Routing module using the Great Circle route is limited in its efficiency due to needing to restart at each waypoint.

Check out our tutorial page which will help you cover the basics of using TIMEZERO software as well as the basics of the Routing module: