Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where is the Sun?

I've had this in mind for quite a while..., I wanted to mix Google Map and some celestial navigation algorithms to know where the Sun is, and specially to avoid the time when the Sun is right in the direction where I'm driving on the 101, as that makes every car to stop.
Based on Jean Meeus' Astronomical Algorithms, and the great work done by Henning Umland, here is a first drop, available here.
You enter your date (top right panel), and you click on the map.
From the point you've clicked, you should see on the map the direction of the Sun.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New 3D rendering for the GRIBs

We can now have a better 3D rendering for the GRIB data.
The thing is to be able to stack whatever data is available in the GRIB on top of another one, along with the chart.
The check boxes at the bottom of the panel do the job, they're activated when the data they describe are available. Stacking waves and Pressure at Mean Sea Level for example, unsurprisingly shows that the waves are bigger where the pressure is low.
To manipulate this kind of image, just imagine it is in a glass ball. And then rotate it just like if you where using a track ball... The mouse moves the image just like your hand or thumb at the surface of the ball.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I'm currently in the process of reworking the weather software using the framework provided by
The first components to benefit of such a re-writing will be the GRIB 3D representations. The first tests are very encouraging, and the rest should follow.

Keep posted!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Path for GRIB & Faxes

Minor but useful enhancement to the software. We now have the possibility to give a path - instead of a single directory - for the software to find the GRIB and Faxes. 
It occured to me when I was configuring the new laptop on the ketch, for both Internet and the SSB. The faxes and GRIBs coming from SailMail are not stored on the file system in the same location. 
So now, you can tell the soft to took into morte than one directory when you configure the preferences for GRIBs and Faxes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Routing, Racing, Cruising

I've never seen it anywhere else, so I wrote it.
It's about raising the bar a bit higher, in term of cruising. Everyone - racers and cruisers - have the same goal: get the best conditions.
The only difference is what "best" means (remember, when cruising, you have to keep the crew happy). 
There is now in the software a feature being tested as I write, to limit the True Wind Speed, and the True Wind Angle.
When starting a routing calculation, you can say "Avoid TWS above XXX", or "Avoid TWA below YYY". 
That would for sure make your trip smoother.
It might lead to unresolvable routing, but there is a warning... Ye be warned!
Software available from the regular location.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Colored scale for the wind

We now have another option for the wind display, with a colored scale, in addition to the ones we had before. You can now flip between those two:

Notice that the wind direction is not displayed on the colored rendering. Smoothing is available with this too.
Some people find it useful.
Hope you will too!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Archive feature

A new feature will be available soon in the weather software. It's a kmz-like (Google Earth) feature, generating a single archive file containing all the needed references to the potential GRIB and fax(es).
It's now available from the usual download page.
It will be also useful when cleaning the downloaded data. When archiving a composite (or a composite directory) you will have the possibility to erase or keep the archived files.
Documentation is available as well, and new viewlets will show up soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Anchored at China Camp

We've broken our record again, four hours even from Oyster Point to China Camp anchorage.

Only four boats.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Becoming stable

It looks like the software has reached some stability, less and less updates are now showing up.
The last ones mostly concern some cosmetic details in the UI.
The routing features have also been improved, Bruce took benefit of them during the last leg of his trip, between Tonga and Auckland in New Zealand.
More parameters have been externalized. It's becoming more and more flexible.
The viewlet (animated how-to's) page keeps growing, it is available from the same page as the software, click on the How-to link, on top of the History section.

Next steps will be to have installers running for Linux and Mac.
Keep posted!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

From the ketch

Having a nice little sail for the week-end, anchored in China Camp for now.
That's also a test to see how we can use this kind of emails during the future trip.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dustlets in a JFrame

I've reworked the Dustlet classes by Nick Thompson to integrate the Dustlets in the program. Now, it is running in a modal dialog box. That should fix the refresh problem that was showing up from time to time in the applet version.
Dustlet animation (across all the predictions of the GRIB) is available too. A must!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More patterns

There is now a page where you can get new or updated patterns.
I will keep updating it.
The last one is a 4 layer one, superimposing 500mb charts, current analysis, and 24, 48 and 96 hour predictions.
Also, I'm reworking the setup; it is now creating a group of programs (on Windows...), that makes it easier to use. The Console remains though.

Friday, March 28, 2008

GRIB enhancements

I've re-written a major part of the GRIB renderer, as well as an important chunk of the routing algorithm. Now, planning a passage is way easier.
Now Saildocs have made the GRIB files available through http, there is also a GRIB Request Editor, making your life quite smooth!
Check it out, the soft is still available at the same location.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Available as an Applet

There is a stripped-down version of the soft available as an Applet.
It requires a bit of configuration at the plug-in level, but it renders the charts on top of each others.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Software availability

At least for now, the soft is available from
And the user manual - included in the distribution - can be downloaded separately from

I am now working on an Applet version of this thing, so it can run with just a browser.
Keep posted!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Windy Friday

It has been blowing quite a bit on Friday Jan the 4th 2008 in San Francisco... See the weather map, it was not exactly unpredictable.