tommo, you're a lucky poster. There's years of experience in the posts above; its a good thread.
Sean, I did not realize OpenCPN
weather_routing_pi would continue using the last grib data. Will have to try that.
Planner is also a good program, I have tried it several years ago.
Another one is qtVlm which has a "real" component and and "virtual" component. I tried it for the Virtual Volvo Race
, to get more skilled... then started using Sean's weather_routing_pi after working on climatology_pi with him. These are "just" tools to help sharpen understanding, based upon collected and average data & predictions. How to use them effectively is described above by some more knowledgeable than me. All of the thoughts are good, but one that jumped out to me was s/v Totem encouraging use of good polar data. You could write a book about more instrument accuracy, connection, calibration, recording, how to record
in good & bad conditions for good results, filtering, and the effect of variables like sea state, bottom condition, vessel loading, sails
used, sail condition, etc. The available tools for developing polars are navmonpc (paul elliot), polauto (windows), opencpn
polar_pi and vdr_p (recording of nmea
only), and maxsea
and other programs have builtin polar recording too. You can start with less accurate polars for your boat
which have been developed from performance programs by the manufacturers (every boat
is different even one design). I am at the point of working my into getting good polars. I have some experience with routing in the real world, but it does not match the experience of those above.