Sailing nowadays seems to be impossible without smartphone applications. The latest ‘must have’ invention is called Windria. It is a smartphone application that helps you plan your route by catching up optimal winds. The data provided by Windria are compiled from the world’s most accurate weather stations into interactive wind maps with a kilometer level accuracy.
Moreover, Windria is forecasting winds three days in advance with high level of accuracy. Windria manufacturers claim that the forecasts are based on the same prediction models used by the military and professional ocean racers. The wind map can be zoomed down to provide the data on 2 – 8 km level.
Furthermore, there is a smart alert system that will warn you about heavy weather or stormy conditions ahead of you. This system should be working even if your mobile device is out of internet service, by calculating your speed and position. Windria is available on PC, tablet and a smartphone by signing in at Windria web site. All Apple and Android devices are supported via App Store and Google Play, while only newer Windows or BlackBerry devices would be able to run Windria.
Weather data are being sent compressed to your device so the application could be used with less than 1 MB of data per day. Windria provides data for safe navigation of Aegean Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Balearic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Norwegian Sea and Ionian Sea.
Although smartphone applications are being used more and more, I have to remind you that all such devices should have the user agreement stating that the use of such devices is for reference purposes only. I found Windria wind maps and forecast models no different from dynamic adaptation known as ALADIN (Aire Limitée Adaptation dynamique Développement InterNational).
That kind of forecast model is mostly provided by official national meteorology institutes which I believe the most when sailing. ALADIN forecast is also available for 72 hours in the future, divided into three hours sections. I agree that zooming down the map to the small level could be useful but I like to see the overall situation of a larger area in order to determine the development of the situation and make a decision on my route.
However, I am glad that smartphones are not used only for time consuming games and unnecessary communications but for ‘smarter’ purposes as well. It is good that helpful applications for navigation and forecasting are being developed. I would just like to have some kind of guarantee that they are accurate, reliable and trustworthy. Until then, I will stick to more conservative methods.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!