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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find out more about using worldwide vector charts from Navionics in the SailTimer app?

The Navionics vector charts have no seams, quick download, small file sizes and fast display. Just zoom in to download the area you want to view, with no pixellation. The features were announced here, including how to activate, and the symbols for tides and currents.

How do I display waypoints with the Navionics charts?

You should set the waypoints using aerial photos, land maps or raster charts. Then you can view them with the Navionics charts.

Is there an extra cost in the SailTimer app for displaying my Navionics charts?

Yes, there is a small in-app purchase to cover the development costs. It is not easy to display Navionics charts in an app (especially a free app). For Wind Instrument users, you can't bring wireless wind data into the Navionics app -- but you can bring Navionics charts into the SailTimer app, and use wind data and optimal tacking there. It took about a year of programming and testing, and several years of arrangements before that, to display the Navionics charts with the tacking and other functions in the SailTimer app.

Are raster (paper) charts available in the app?

The excellent-quality Navionics vector charts have worldwide coverage and are available in the Android and iOS versions of the app. But raster charts for certain countries are available in the iOS app. Please go to this page for the FAQs on how to use raster charts in the app.

What is the difference between the SailTimer app and the Charts Edition on iOS?

The SailTimer app is available worldwide, and came out shortly after the iPhone and App Store. The Charts Edition is newer, and is a free version that was initially only available in iTunes in countries where we have hydrographic charts available. It has a lower price to offset the cost of the charts. Now, both versions of the app are available worldwide in iTunes. The exact same features are available in both. However, there are a couple features included in the SailTimer app (all-inclusive) that are in-app purchases in the Charts Edition (a-la-carte).

Which iPhone/iPad/iPod has a real GPS receiver?

iPhones and the 3G/LTE iPads all have actual GPS receivers in them (not just cell-tower triangulation). The iPod does not have a GPS antenna, and the wifi iPad (i.e., without cellular data capabilities) does not. But for those, it may be possible to add a GPS accessory (either plug-in or Bluetooth) from companies such as Bad Elf, Dual and GNS. (However, in April 2015 several companies noted that iOS updates to 8.3 and 8.4 may disable GPS accessories: see explanations from Bad Elf and the FAQ on this page from Dual.) Other customers have also reported success using the Garmin 72 handheld GPS connected to a wifi iPad via a serial cable, serial to USB cable, then USB to Lightning cable. The GPS data must be brought in for Location Services on the iOS device (in Settings), not as NMEA data.

When should I save my GPS track in the iOS app?

Although your GPS track can be displayed, if you email it or shut it off, only what has been saved will be used. Make sure to save the track if you want to keep it or email it. *Note also that displaying a current or previous GPS track could slow down your screen panning (especially on older devices with less ram). Unselect it if you are not using it, by turning the tracking on/off.

What maps can display my GPS track?

You can turn on the GPS tracking when using any of the charts, maps and aerial photos. However, they cannot be displayed with the Navionics charts. When using Navionics charts, you can turn on the tracking, and later see the track of where you went using land maps, raster charts or aerial photos.

Can I get the app in iTunes on my computer with one Apple ID, and then do in-app purchases on my device with a different account?

No, Apple prevents this. You must do the in-app purchases with the same account you used to get the app.

Can I save, rename and delete waypoints?

Yes, use the Tacking Routes button (upper left corner of screen) to make waypoints -- either a single waypoint, or a route with multiple waypoints. On both Android and iOS you can set a Tacking Route and see your optimal tacks as you move through a series waypoints, as in this screenshot. You can also paste in a list of lat/long coordinates to create a Tacking Route.

Can I switch tacks to go around an obstruction?

Yes, the results are the same whether you do the port or starboard tack first (or whether you do 10 small tacks on those headings or two large ones). On iOS you can switch to the other tack using the "< >" button in the bottom-left of the screen when optimal tacks are displayed. As you will see, this button lets you display the port or starboard tack first. It also has an automatic mode, where if both tacks are the same length, it displays the tack first that is closest to your current heading. Setting a closer waypoint will also let you control your course to go around obstructions.

Why doesn't the iOS app show the other tack sometimes, when I press the <> switch tacks button?

If you try to switch tacks and the green lines do not move to the other side, it means that with the given wind andbearing to the waypoint, the other tack will not get you there as quickly. The tack switches from one side to the other when either side is equally good.

Can I check the tacking results to different possible destinations before leaving?

Yes. The most useful thing with all of the different platforms that SailTimer has run on has always been planning out the tacking route before you cast off. You have to be moving to use VMG (Velocity Made Good) or telltales on your sails. But with the SailTimer app, just enter the wind direction, wind speed and a waypoint, to see how long it would take to sail to different possible destinations, and the optimal tacks to get there.

How can I save battery power in my phone/tablet?

If you want to continue to update your optimal tacks and perhaps document your GPS track, you can shut the screen off to reduce power consumption. Audio Navigation works great to give you feedback on wind conditions and boat speed while the screen is off. If you are marking a GPS track, it will continue when you shut off the device, or while the app is running in the background. Unselect it in the Options if you want to stop it. *For the best overall power savings on your device, shut off Location Services (the GPS) when using the app for other purposes.

Can I send wind data from my wired anemometer to the app?

Yes, on iOS (but not Android) this may be an inexpensive way to get wind data into the app to calculate tacking results, if you already have a legacy anemometer in an onboard network. (Although updating to the wireless SailTimer Wind Instrument RB™ may be more cost-effective if you still need to buy a multiplexer to transmit on wifi.) In the iOS app there is an in-app purchase in Input\Setup\Onboard Network that allows you to receive wind data using wifi (UDP) with the MWV sentence in NMEA 0183 format. You may be able to transmit this from a GPS chartplotter with wifi, a computer running a chartplotter program, or the NMEA multiplexer from Digital Yacht. The SailTimer app (and CE) can also now receive wind data in UDP wifi transmissions from the iKommunicate device, which can receive and convert between NMEA 2000, 0183 and Signal K formats.

The app is currently not compatable with multiplexers from DMK, Shipmodul or Brookhouse. With the DMK Box, the reason appears to be that with our wireless anemometers, the app is the server and the wireless sensor is the client, but that the DMK Box may also be set up as the server. With Shipmodul, the Miniplex uses an IP address that is different than the one expected by the SailTimer app (or Charts Edition). But there may be a workaround... If you are having trouble connecting through a wifi multiplexer and have a wifi router on board, you may be able to send wind data to the app through the router instead. 

What about lifts and headers, for racers?

In his 1948 book Yacht Racing and the Aerodynamics of Sails and Racing Tactics (originally published in 1928), Dr. Manfred Curry describes the strategy to "tack in a header" when racing to an upwind mark. In a header, the wind shifts, causing your heading to move away from the destination. If you tack then, you can take advantage of a more direct line to your destination on the other tack. Although he documented that racing tactic in the previous century, with GPS and digital calculations SailTimer continuously evaluates and displays your optimal tacks (especially if you have real-time wind data coming in from the wireless SailTimer Wind Instrument™). You can toggle the port and starboard tacks in the SailTimer app to see how the other tack looks. You can also stay on those headings in lots of small tacks close to the rhumb line. The SailTimer app doesn't assume that there was an average wind direction over some previous period, and then try to warn you about a header; it just continuously updates the display of your optimal tacks. This is clear and effective, and you can still use his original strategy to go onto the other tack in a header if you see the green tacking lines move in a header.

Can you toggle between True and Apparent wind if you use the SailTimer Wind Instrument with the app?

Yes on iOS; for Android you'll have more choices for wind parameters in the SailTimer Wind Gauge™ app than the charting app. On iOS, click on our unique wind speedometer to make it larger, and you'll see a button in the top right to switch the wind speed and directin between True and Apparent. Whichever one you leave on the big wind speedometer is what is also displayed on the chart, for the wind speed and the grey wind arrow for wind direction around the yellow boat icon.

The table for polar learning only shows certain categories for the wind angle and speed. Are in-between values accounted for?

Yes - the table can't show every value, but the software does use in-between values, the same as they are shown on a polar graph or plot. The table such as in this screenshot is used for simplicity and for exporting. But the software actually uses a continuous function. You can actually see this yourself during polar learning. If the wind angle is at e.g. 40 degrees, in-between the 22.5 and 45 degree wind angles, you may see the polar learning influence the boat speeds on either side.

I know my boat's polars -- how can I edit them in the app?

To edit a polar on Android or iOS, email it out of the app to yourself. Then edit it in a text editor, to add values for your boat for the wind angles and speeds in the table. The software will look after the in-between values automatically. Then email it back to yourself, to receive on your phone/tablet. Then copy and paste your own polars in the app.