Crossing the Atlantic with an iPad

I cannot resist the urge to show you some pics (*) with iNavX on iPad coming across the Atlantic, from Mediterranean to Martinique. The sailor has abandoned his MacBook Air, on which he uses MacENC for several years with S-57 ENC charts. He switched to a 3G iPad, featured iNavX, Navionics Gold charts and the Apple app Numbers to write his log book.



iNavX in action


After the Canary Islands, WP are the points at Noon.


Days before the Caribbean


Nightly approach ...


Latest nautical miles ...

For the skipper, this tablet is finally adopted. There remains the problem of recovering GRIB files, that, without ability of satellite connection in modem mode, is not yet possible. The GRIB are downloaded and displayed in the MacBook with MacENC.

Indeed, phone Iridium proposes a data kit for downloading data and internet, but only through a USB cable. Otherwise, the new IsatPhone Inmarsat offers a Bluetooth connection, but does not offer data service.

We must therefore wait for the next iPad operating system, and an expected Apple opening to external devices connection, like GPS mentioned in a recent article.

Wait and see…

(*) Photo and screenshots courtesy of C. Mahe.


15 Replies to "Crossing the Atlantic with an iPad”

  1. And yes I am stupid, but I did not iOS 4.2. Just one last thing, which has little to do, rather anecdotal : in Cuba, I noticed a real difference between my position on the iPad (and a cutter equipped with the same Raymarine Navionics) and reality, a good thirty feet in the South East. I had no maps ENC sufficiently precise to check on MacENC. Is this a mistake or rather a Navionics GPS signal degradation ? You should know that in Cuba are prohibited in principle GPS and satellite phones are not just in principle.

  2. So I'm back, then Ipad ? L’encombrement, and yes, it is a concern for me, I go by plane, sometimes with small planes and all the material I board at each crossing, I am often obliged to leave. I must be independent, with Ipad, I have a navigation system that works and really is not bulky. Price, Navionics card games are quite sufficient for my needs and issue price, virtually unbeatable. Only the U.S. that are better ENC … With a big hundred dollars may have from almost anywhere in the application and if by chance you have no right set of cards, quarter of an hour of connection and it's done. Consumption, a thimble, not bad compared to other systems. Reliability, well it seems stronger than ordinary, in any case it is more resistant to heat, one stop, while the Mac in the tropics have a little trouble. Front matter, no problem on the catamaran, on the monohull sometimes you go out when we start to catch the satellites. Once launched, it can remain in. Obviously, iNavX could be improved, some small bugs, waypoints lost mainly. I would have liked a real key to adjust brightness and night mode, the band with instruments is too bright. The filter added in the final version is not terrible. A suggestion (it is also true for MacENC), the ETA date, over long distances, 483 hours is not very meaningful … The trace, a bit short. The velocity vector heading is a bit short, I like 1 time and why not a possibility 24 hours, Finally, details. I am not longer separates. I got a log on Numbers. In IBooks I have PDFs of all "mandatory" documents and pilots charts. Besides the newspapers that I download from the airports. Catalog for books is not well supplied but it will come (j’espère). My iTunes library and a cord to the car. My Macbook is safe, it still serves for iridium and store photos. Good, that's about all, Now you may be waiting for the new iPad, it seems that finally it will not be smaller, which in our case would have been a handicap.

    1. For brightness, there now with iOS 4.2.1 adjustment available (without closing applications) by double-clicking on the "Home" button, drag icons to the right, and the brightness slider appears next to the Audio iPod.

  3. Good evening, Browser, it's me, I just add to that experience another voyage to Cuba, duplicated with a little wind. I confirm, l’Ipad, it is super. But I also have a Mac Book, Iridium and Mac Enc. If Francis to leave the matter open and leave me a little time, I come to you to tell you more, if you are interested and once I landed … see you soon

  4. I do not really think that using an iPad (aboard a ship) is a fad. It is for me to satisfy two basic needs :
    -Good information lisibilté
    -Mobility inside the ship under the circumstances.
    These are the two central flaws of my Raymarine, by cons who gives me complete satisfaction on the management of information. To replace the screen too small to be changed throughout the plant completely prohibitive prices!
    The iPad NMEA Multiplexer with WiFi and seems to be my solution. I must say that my boat is a Fisher 37 wheelhouse with good practice when conditions are not good. I do not of course put an iPad on the deck of a sailboat sportier !
    I just read the blog of an answer iNavX developer Francis :

    We will add an iMux configuration to the iNavX Guide in the next couple weeks. The iMux is going to allow iNavX to do something not possible before – send the NMEA-0183 data required to navigate to a waypoint to an autopilot. This will be in the next iNavX release.

    That seems good news !
    The more IMUX (-€ 200 delivered)avoiding the purchase of a multiplexer and a WiFi transmitter (300 + 300 € !). Someone did he already ordered a IMUX ?

    1. Regarding the IMUX, I expect the configuration of Richard Ray to make a presentation item. Otherwise, I loaded a test in preparation of the iPad with various devices for centralized data AIS, instruments, etc. This test will be conducted in collaboration with a boating magazine in the course of next January.

  5. Here is a confirmation of my intuition qualities iPad navigation with iNavX.
    My boat is equipped RayMarine whose screen is really hard to read in navigation. I intend for you to get very seriously iPad rather than go to new models with prices prohibitive. If the ability to connect to WiFi is a real confimée voila interactive chart. It's a shame he does not exist for the Mac as on PC software decoding BLU.

    1. Hello,

      There are of course cracking software on the Mac BLU.
      Personally, I use the software free : CocoaModem 2.

      In terms of the iPad, contrary to what is written concerning the simple "fad", there are several obvious advantages to the MAC.

      * First price, whether the tablet itself, but also and especially on the soft mapping and mapping itself !
      * Then, the absence of any mechanical part (even if SSDs today are democratizing on laptops)
      * Then consumption and autonomy
      * L’alimentation : from 12 Volts per single cigarette lighter, not need a converter 220 or small converter dedicated (especially with the MagSafe, the ticket remains high, see the solution MAXWAY)
      * The touch interface : anyone who tastes the handling of electronic charts on an iPad impression back to the Stone Age when it comes to a plotter or even a MacBook (despite the fabulous laptops from Apple trackpad).
      * Mobility (can easily get out on deck, it is more difficult with a macbook) even if we then put in a sealed bag. The iPad is a great coach.

      As stated by Francis said, possible via wifi to connect to flight instruments via the equipment had hoc (including AIS).

      Add to that the PLETOR always useful applications on the go and you have a tool versatility rare despite a priori legitimate early.

      I go two years around the Atlantic 2011 to 2013 and iPad will travel.

      Additional useful applications : GPS Motion X. Would also have to try with my HF SSB Weather Fax (decoding and displaying weather fax via SSB, how to COCOA Modem mentioned above).

      PS : iPad is not watertight. Most computers either and I never read this as a critical. Especially there are waterproof bags for iPad then it is more difficult with Computers.

      PS2 : the only weakness that I see today, is the lack of opportunity to interface with a remote sensing satellite.

      Hope to read you.


  6. Hello,
    I'm going to play devil's advocate…But what added value a Ipad on a mac book??
    The connectivity of IPAD can not possible grib file, no target AIS, no connection tool….Not to mention the screen size.
    So if you need a more IPad a MacBook…..
    I think it is somewhat a fad, more than a functional reality……
    A + for +

    1. Fad, undoubtedly ! But you're wrong on several points. The iPad can receive files in GRIB iNavX, in coastal navigation with a 3G connection, and stop in WiFi.
      Several devices now allow the transfer by WiFi to the iPad AIS data can be displayed with iNavX.
      L’écran 1024×768 from iPad, with iNavX and its new “full-screen” function is superior to the majority of reader-plotters.
      There remains the problem of sealing, already mentioned on this blog.
      For my own, I do not see a gadget like the iPad, but as a real alternative for smaller boats, and, why not, a replacement for offshore sailing.
      That said, we can perfectly live without it !

    2. Hello,

      The advantage of the IPAD lies in the price of cards (200€ less for the card on IPAD 46XG with a display and navigation similar to a plotter or computer).

      Bravo for the quality of the site.


  7. Crossing the Atlantic with a IPad: Thank you for this very interesting information. This would tend to prove the reliability of this instrument. Talk about a log book in not familiar with this software Number.Je ,could you explain how your correspondent proceeded to create his logbook ?

    1. Numbers is the spreadsheet in the office suite from Apple, equivalent of Excel, somehow, and fully compatible with the latter. IPad is the version is very similar, and can enter text and numbers, and make calculations. Imagine doing a log on Excel spreadsheets, It's the same.

  8. Hello Francis,

    In January 2010 I crossed Canary Martinique with my Iphone 3G (Inavx et Navionics).
    We turned off the plotter Raymarine, a PC with Max Sea and a friend was using the old calculator. In 2 clicks, I distance, Cape True, far rest, and traces.
    You can export a file touver of my tracks on my site Imagine Travel.


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