Why use a marine navigation software to prepare a route, a journey, or a marine expedition?

Marine navigation software has become an indispensable tool in the world of offshore racing. It is critical for race directors to ensure the most accurate preparation and conduct of a competitive race.

Route in the Baltic Sea MOD70 European Tour 2012 by Gilles Chiorri
Above screen shot shows a route section of the Baltic Sea MOD70 Step # 1 MOD70 European Tour 2012.

The question of whether to install electronic chart software can arise for coastal navigation (cruises or racing) and for offshore trips, so it is very important to identify the merits of using this type of tool….

If a reminder was necessary, the sea is of course, a formidable environment. It requires accurate planning, both on land and at sea. This anticipation is needed in order to fully understand, prepare and carry out navigation with good seamanship.

The following factors affect each and every route navigated: the distance and time needed to cover it depending on the boat specs, the type of coastline and its dangers, weather and sea conditions, tidal currents, the ports or shelters along the route etc.

Nowadays, a navigation software installed on a laptop such as TimeZero developed by MaxSea, allows integration with, and quick and easy access to all of the above elements in just a few clicks of the mouse.

Whether you are at home in the preparation phase, or in live navigation mode, course preparation is made extremely comprehensive, and also allows a high level of interface customization.

The TimeZero software features a wide zoom level on charts, (which is identical to SHOM charts, and should therefore remain “familiar-looking”) which is the equivalent of having a wide portfolio of paper charts immediately accessible. Thus the tools zoom-in and zoom-out then allow you to have a good visual picture of the desired navigation area.

TimeZero allows you to overlay satellite photos on your chart, so that you can visualize specific places in advance, and plan a correct approach to the area!

Route in Denmark by Gilles ChiorriIn addition, the “divider” tool (bearing/distance) can be used to quickly segment the route, or measure distances and position themselves in relation to geographic points of interest. It is possible to simultaneously create a course outline using the “route” tool and to start live navigation. With just a few clicks along the way, you have your route, distance and direction (true or magnetic option) between each waypoint, as well as the cumulative distance. You can name each waypoint, and insert or move a waypoint at any time during navigation of the route.

Preparing a route becomes fun and you can always refer back to your navigation logbook. By making all the possible adjustments, a basic route gradually transforms into a detailed course, corresponding with your expectations such as your safety criteria in relation to distance from shore or a shoal, a place that you want to see up close etc.

All data created in the software can then be saved with the route name, and even assigned to a specific layer, which as its name suggests can be displayed or hidden according to your wishes. Once activated, this route can be exported to your GPS for rapid access to route information.

Once the software is integrated with onboard navigation hardware (GPS and other suitable instruments) TimeZero is transformed into an even more powerful navigation aid. Your boat is symbolized by an icon to scale that moves in real time on your screen, as simple as a video game.

Route in Marseille MOD70 European Tour 2012 by Gilles Chiorri
Above screen shot: Marseille and landing zone changes MOD70 in Marseille (source MOD70 European Tour 2012).

After importing the marine weather forecast file (commonly known as a “GRIB” file), you can launch the routing function to optimize your route by integrating the effects of weather conditions on your route. You can also calculate the ETA on the next waypoint or decide the fastest route to reach your end point. The routing function and comprehensive weather of TimeZero opens the door to anticipation, and accurate planning.

In conclusion, after many years at the chart table equipped with a Cras Ruler, a handheld compass and dividers, with an eye on the GPS, it now seems essential to have TimeZero onboard, whatever the intended sailing, inshore or offshore, whether racing or cruising!

Happy navigating to all of you this summer.

Gilles Chiorri

Race Director – Navigator

Gilles Chiorri - french sailorGilles Chiorri is a French sailor and Merchant Navy officer with an impressive background as a skipper.

He is the new race director and race manager of the MOD70 European Tour and other major ocean races.  He works also as OC Events Director and Yachts Consulting Executive Director.

Chiorri won the Mini Transat in 1987, the Jules Verne Trophy in 2002 (with Bruno Peyron) and finished second in La Solitaire du Figaro in 2002.

Gilles Chiorri is currently using MaxSea TimeZero marine software, nautical charts and modules as a sailor and race director.

yachtsconsulting@gmail.com

Remembering the Titanic: major improvements in marine safety

Titanic Ad PosterOn the night of April 14th 1912, after a successful sea trial, the RMS Titanic sank during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. The ship hit an iceberg right before midnight and was engulfed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean by 2.20 on April 15, becoming the deadliest maritime disaster of all time.

Nowadays, onboard electronic equipments make this kind of accident almost impossible. New radars, such as Furuno FAR 2xx7 series, offer an ultra-high definition of surroundings. MaxSea TimeZero paired to a Furuno FAR Radar offers a great overlay feature which allows easily displaying and understanding of radar information.

If Titanic was equipped with MaxSea TimeZero and a Furuno FAR radar, the iceberg would have appeared on screen for sure.

Radar Overlay - Furuno FAR 2xx7 series Radar and MaxSea TimeZero

Here is the display of the exact sinking position, according to coordinates found on the internet:

Titanic sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean on MaxSea TimeZero

After the death of more than 1500 people, some safety practices were modified or adopted such as:

  • Free Guide: 10-point safety checklist before sailingEnough lifeboats for everyone: Many of the recommendations pronounced by both the British and American Boards of Inquiry were included into the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) passed in 1914. They stated that ships had to carry enough lifeboats for those aboard, mandated lifeboat drills would be implemented and lifeboat inspections would be conducted.
  • Radio watch 24/7: the US Radio Act of 1912, along with the SOLAS, required ships to maintain contact with close vessels and coastal onshore radio stations, and that radio communications on passenger ships would be operated 24 hours along with a secondary power supply.
  • Unequivocal Distress Rockets: the SOLAS stated that the firing of red rockets at sea must be interpreted as distress signal only.
  • International Ice Patrol’s threat monitoring: the SOLAS led to the creation of an US Coast Guard agency in charge of monitoring and reporting on the location of North Atlantic Ocean icebergs that could be threatening to transatlantic sea traffic.
  • Safer Ship design: double hulls and higher bulkheads were among the changes implemented in ship design for increased safety.

If you want to know more about MaxSea TimeZero’s radar overlay and radar compatibility please refer to our MaxSea TimeZero range page.