Fastseas = Gamechanger
Every now and then you come across a product or service that blows your socks off. Cue Fastseas. We're going to gush a bit right now. This service is So. Freakin. Good. It shows exactly what a sailor needs in the most elegantly simple way. And it's free. There have been routing solutions out there but they are pricey and fairly complicated. Fastseas brings advanced passage planning to all sailors. Let's first show you a screengrab of a typical animation:
How To Use Fastseas
Head to the site. Enter your boat performance details (you can go basic ie. 40' sailing boat or if you have them handy, enter your polars). At the same time, you enter "comfort" details where you can specify the maximum wind you are happy to sail through, at what speed you would prefer to motor, things like that. Drag the "S" (for start) to the start. Drag the "F" (you guessed it, for finish) to the finish. Press the route icon. Wait a few seconds. It will then give you the most efficient route. It really is that simple.
What About Underway?
Fastseas also allows the user to "pull" information while they are underway. By sending an email and including their coordinates, Fastseas sends the user a Google file showing the most efficient route for the conditions. This is extremely bandwidth-efficient and so is exactly what Iridium/other satphone users require.
How Much Does It Cost?
Nada. Although the creator has a Paypal link for donations. He has a $1 a month option to help keep the service going. Even for the stingiest of tight sailors, this is a bargain!
Who This Benefits
Anyone at all planning a long sailing trip. Even if you are out for a short coastal trip this will provide a very useful point of view.
Doesn't It Take The Fun Out Of Sailing?
Ahh, not according to this writer. Some sailors will complain that this is "sailing by wire". But to have an opinion about the route based on weather predictions is a wonderful thing. There will still be plenty of unforeseen events to deal with! Sailing is sailing after all.