Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WCC - World Cruising Calendar

It has been over a week since I last posted a killer app for all of you to view.  I must admit I had to work at my day job this week and travelled to sunny Jacksonville Florida for meetings. I am in the electrical power marketing business by day and an app reviewer by night and on the weekends.

I attended the a conference with the North American Energy Markets Association or NAEMA. I have been on the board of directors of this organization for the past 9 years. It has been an honor to serve and help build the organization into what it is today. 

We met at the Ponte Vedra Resort and Spa just south of Jacksonville.  We normally have a couple half day meetings with some golf or other activity.  I was able to network with alot of new people joining our industry and got reacquainted with others I have known for years.

I extended my stay a couple days and drove down to my brothers place in Cape Coral on the gulf coast of Florida. I have talked about my dear brother(pictured right) many times. He is in the midst of a massive overhaul of a Pan Oceanic 46 Pilothouse.  I kid him that I want to sail on it before I die!  This boat is one of the prettiest on the water and was designed by renowned naval architect Ted Brewer. Check out the WildThing blog detailing the restoration.

It is a real treat each time I visit Florida. I am constantly scheming to devise a plan to retire to this tropical paradise.  The Florida weather is beautiful and the heat and humidity can be tolerated during the summer if  you hang near the beach.  Sounds good to me!

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iOS 4.0 or later
Function: World Cruising maps and weather
Rating: **
Cost: $9.99

Onto the latest app.  WCC -  World Cruising Calendar

If you are a world cruiser you should be familiar with Pilot Charts. These are produced by the National Geo-spatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the hydro-graphic offices from several other countries.  Many books have been written about these charts giving cruisers the optimum times to be sailing in the different oceans of the world. If you are a "would be" world cruiser you will want to become familiar with these charts. The charts are a necessity to develop a strategy and time frame for an ocean voyage or crossing.  The pilot charts provide a wealth of climate information in a graphical format displayed on a map of the worlds oceans.

The NGA Pilot Charts come is a set of five (North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific and Indian Oceans).  The charts sets include a chart for each month of the year. You can download the PDF files here. NGA has alot of other cool, nerdy and geeky information so check them out if you want to wade endlessly through a boring government site.

We are here today to talk about the World Cruising Calendar.  The author appears to be French and has attempted to simplify the Pilot Charts down to a set of nice colorful map that are easy to view and decipher. 

I tried to find out more about WCC from the support web site listed on iTunes but just got an obscure web page with a contact form.  If the author is listening out there it would be great if you could provide me a complimentary copy to review.  With few details, here is what I know about WCC.

  • Charts of navigation zones
  • Sailboat positions of main routes
  • Cyclonic Zone and frequent cyclone tracks
  • Isolines for wind force and their direction
  • Iceberg areas
  • Monthly Maps
  • Skip to Touch social networking with fellow cruisers
  • WCC or Satellite maps for offline viewing
  • Share you boats position
The app opens to a main navigation screen which has four soft keys on the left side of the screen. The paging arrows at the bottom allows you to navigate month to month to check the optimum time to make your passage. The charts appear to show the preferred paths for each month along with current and weather pattern information.

The Skip to Touch feature appears to allow you to enter or track your coordinates and allows other boaters to see your position.

On the setting page there is a toggle switch which  allows you to share your boats position with others.

The red lines show the best ocean routes for the particular month. The blue arrows I believe show the prevailing winds.

This  page contains a grid of warning and stop sign symbols along with some coordinates. I assume this tells you when you should or should not travel in these area during these months. 

There appears to be a lot of information in the app but without a users guide or some documentation I find is hard to decipher myself or give you much more detail.

I would like to see the author develop a website or some online help screens or blog to describe how to use this app.  He has evidently put a lot of work and thought into it so why not go the extra mile and help the rest of us out.  I may be reading too much into this, kida of like not seeing for forest through the trees, maybe it is not that complicated! 

The price point seems a little high at $9.99. Has anyone had any experience in using this app?

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