New route planning app - Savvy Navvy


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Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Check out this new app. You put in your starting point and your ending point and it plots the route for you, taking into account wind and currents. It's in beta testing and they are looking for input. There are some known bugs. Mobile apps for android and iOS are already in development.

https://app.savvy-navvy.com/chart/@40.2982006,-15.2897657,4.91z
edited by DariaBlackwell on 1/9/2018

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Dick
Dick
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Hi Daria and all,
There is a safety issue embedded in the product you mentioned which I would like to use your advisement to kick off from:
In the unending quest for new and easier ways to accomplish tasks, I believe that some of these new pathways should come with a “warning” label. I see adverts or notices for these pathways and shudder with a degree of apprehension as I can see a significant portion of the boating public being drawn into their seductive advertising without the requisite (my judgment) background. There are (at least) 3 sets of boaters whose safety might be compromised: those who truly have so little experience as to believe the advertised advantages and not realize the safety aspects; those with some experience who are drawn to the easy way the app promises; and those quite experienced who, because of fatigue or being rushed, employ the app and suspend their experienced concerns (every year we hear about at least a couple of experienced skipper relying on a chart plotter in just this way and getting into trouble). Wariness should be in direct proportion to one’s reliance on indirect input (read technological/electronic).
In the app you cited, I would not be surprised to actually see a warning: “Not to be used for Navigation” being on the first page to open just before you click the box labeled “Accept”. (One sees this warning so often that it is rather rendered impotent as a true warning.) My “warning” label would be quite long. It would include a thorough description of the kinds of experience and training necessary to use the app safely. In this instance, it would include a thorough grounding in traditional chart plotting, and then move this training from the classroom to the boat with on-the-water runs plotted and executed. In the UK, the label could read, “Not to be used until a such-and-such level of RYA training is achieved. In most countries, that sort of specificity is not available.
I mention this as a generic problem in our community, not just the product you mentioned. The same caveats could be applied to chart plotters, MOB equipment, anchor handling equipment and many other products whose advertising interests are to sell the product.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Dick, I couldn't agree more. Complacency is our worst enemy, and it is so easy for some to become completely reliant on such devices. I like this product for initial planning because it points out things you might not always be able to take into account easily, like currents for example. A known glitch that is being worked on now is that the near coastal routing can take the user inside some rather treacherous shoals. Logic tells us that other glitches are likely to exist within products of this nature, only to be found under the worst of circumstances. I like your warning about the level of competency required to even think about using such products.

In our book, use everything available knowing that no one tool is perfect. Then use your own skills, and powers of observation, to make sense of what the tools convey.

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Now here is a confession that I’m almost too nervous to share with Dick! I have used such a tool for planning purposes and found it really good for the reasons Daria states. Both the Navionics Boating App and the PredictWind App have similar automatic routing functionality built in. They offer very quick (and mostly accurate) routing through complex territory and can save a lot of laborious work. Absolutely not to be relied on for real world navigation but well worth investigating for those prepared to treat it as an aid rather than as gospel. The Navionics version can be configured to mitigate risk as, I suspect, most others can. They certainly have very obvious cautionary notices that leave the user in no doubt where the navigator’s responsibility resides.

So once again my technophilia has been outed and I nervously await the response!
Simon
Dick
Dick
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Hi Simon,
I am afraid your nervousness about my response, although I know done in jest, masks a mis-portayal of my concerns: the safety aspects of the use of routing software by those who do not have the knowledge and training background that are essential to their safe use. Daria wisely mentioned that there were product limitations (being addressed by the designers). I am flagging some of what I see as “skipper pre-requisites” for the safe use of this product. Used by skippers with the requisite background I have absolutely no trouble with.
I know you to have the requisite background knowledge and experience to use these products wisely. My focus is not with the product itself, but in the safety aspects of its use (and its advertising). Using these products without experience and training in the tasks that this product finesses is, to my mind, a safety issue for the skipper, his/her crew and any rescue personnel who might be sent out to help them. It is the safety aspect that concerns me.
Please do not get me wrong. I was not challenging that you used “such a tool for planning purposes and found it really good for the reasons Daria states”. I am sure that it produced what it advertised. I am in no way a Luddite and I like very much many of the technological advances that have accrued over the last few decades. I think they have made all wandering by boat much safer. I would be very unhappy to return to life before chart plotters, EPIRBS, AIS, GPS and the like.
In essence, I see wandering afar by sailboat as one area where one jumps the learning curve at their peril. And too many marine products, to my mind, are advertised, implicitly or explicitly, as ways to jump the learning curve. Statistically, they are likely to do fine. Most skippers, nowadays, feel that GPS is so dependable that one can go to sea without celestial knowledge/training or a sextant (and I hesitantly agree, although for 2 decades, I have carried a sextant: never used for anything beyond recreation). I do not believe we have yet to achieve that degree of reliability with chart plotting, routing software, MOB equipment and the like. They all need training in the background skills that they aid in executing.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Dick
Dick
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Hi Daria,
I like your description of the use of this routing software as a way to collect data on the proposed route and to mix it in with other data inputs. That seems wise. Add that to training in traditional skills and experience on the water and you have the makings for enabling this product to be a useful aid in everyday life on board.
And I particularly like your bringing to mind the word complacency. It captures perfectly a condition that every skipper should watch out for and guard against. Much of what we do is routine and un-dramatic and it is easy to get complacent and forget how easy it is for a routine outing to go pear shaped. And when things go pear shaped on a boat, the ante is higher: running out of fuel in a car, you pull to the side of the road: on a boat, not so safe nor so easy; for crew, for the boat, or for any sent out to help.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Dick,
We are agreed and you are correct I was being a little tongue in cheek. The more serious point is though that the ‘automatic’ routing function on the Navionics App is very good and worth exploring.

Simon
[quote=Dick]Hi Simon,
I am afraid your nervousness about my response, although I know done in jest, masks a mis-portayal of my concerns: the safety aspects of the use of routing software by those who do not have the knowledge and training background that are essential to their safe use. Daria wisely mentioned that there were product limitations (being addressed by the designers). I am flagging some of what I see as “skipper pre-requisites” for the safe use of this product. Used by skippers with the requisite background I have absolutely no trouble with.
I know you to have the requisite background knowledge and experience to use these products wisely. My focus is not with the product itself, but in the safety aspects of its use (and its advertising). Using these products without experience and training in the tasks that this product finesses is, to my mind, a safety issue for the skipper, his/her crew and any rescue personnel who might be sent out to help them. It is the safety aspect that concerns me.
Please do not get me wrong. I was not challenging that you used “such a tool for planning purposes and found it really good for the reasons Daria states”. I am sure that it produced what it advertised. I am in no way a Luddite and I like very much many of the technological advances that have accrued over the last few decades. I think they have made all wandering by boat much safer. I would be very unhappy to return to life before chart plotters, EPIRBS, AIS, GPS and the like.
In essence, I see wandering afar by sailboat as one area where one jumps the learning curve at their peril. And too many marine products, to my mind, are advertised, implicitly or explicitly, as ways to jump the learning curve. Statistically, they are likely to do fine. Most skippers, nowadays, feel that GPS is so dependable that one can go to sea without celestial knowledge/training or a sextant (and I hesitantly agree, although for 2 decades, I have carried a sextant: never used for anything beyond recreation). I do not believe we have yet to achieve that degree of reliability with chart plotting, routing software, MOB equipment and the like. They all need training in the background skills that they aid in executing.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy[/quote]
William Jones
William Jones
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I tried to look at it but was asked for my email address even before I saw a list of features and any benefits the program might have. I am curious how the program knows the polar specs for a boat and what the upload of grib info looks like but won't trade my email address to find out. Sorry.
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