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Navigating with OpenCPN on an Android Tablet

After well over a year of landlubbing where I could barely even find time to adjust my docklines I’m finally back on my boat! I’m writing this in Ft. Meyers Beach, FL, which we’ve reached in a couple long, busy passages. Unfortunately I couldn’t steal away for long so I’m doing what I hate to do which is sailing on a schedule. This means sailing in any wind that we can get, which in turns means unpredictable passage times. Well I say unpredictable but somehow we always seem to reach our destination at the same hour- 3am. I’m no stranger to night passages, or night entrances and I’m careful about where I will and will not arrive after dark but this trip, for the first time on my boat, I’ve been able to make night entrances with a sense of near-total ease. We even ran the channel into Ft. Meyers in the middle of the night under full sail and I didn’t have a single shaky-legged moment! I have one new gadget to thank for this newfound sense of ease- an Android tablet running OpenCPN and NOAA ENC charts.

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Gone Sailing

As far as I’m concerned, June is the best month of the season—with the usual caveats, familiar to all who sail in the Northeast. First, the boat must have been launched on time, which presupposes a mild winter; all it takes is the usual January/February freeze followed by a couple of late snowstorms to throw everything into disarray. Watching your launch date come and go when there is still a couple of feet of snow in the boatyard is a mortifying, but sadly not uncommon, scenario. Worse still is the knowledge that you’ve not even had a chance to paint the bottom or wax your topsides, let alone tackle any other of the myriad projects that require a warm weekend or two to complete.

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