The computer is not only revolutionizing navigation. Even when planning the next weekend trip or charter trip lasting several weeks, the World Wide Web, but also other electronic media such as DVDs, special SMS services and sophisticated special software for sailors are indispensable in the long run.
At least the electronic media are already an excellent addition to the tried and tested printed area guides and port manuals. There is, for example, Google Earth, a kind of interactive online globe. The free program already provides detailed recordings of many sailing areas. In advance, sailors can get a first-hand impression of the location of an anchorage or the arrangement of the jetties in a particular port, for example. The program also has cruise planning options.
Or ThemWetter. Until recently, only professional regatta sailors could afford special routing programs. Today some of them are already available free of charge, including current wind and electricity data via email or SMS.
Trip photos in Google Earth
Or them district guide. DVDs are replacing the mostly old-fashioned looking videos. Not only nice film sequences are offered, but also many useful additional facts that can be called up at the push of a button. All you need is a computer, television and DVD player.
Everything that is possible today in terms of trip planning, which of it is useful for which sailor, where to get it and how it works - all of this can be read in a large special in the new YACHT (issue 5/07, available now in newsagents).