This one is a bit of a challenge for me, but I was thinking it would be good to have a plugin for opencpn
which attempts to automatically calculate a good course to take to get where you are going.
The inputs being:
data -- either from internet
connection, or via ham fax
speed/direction -- manual entry as well as drivers for various electronic wind
-- avoid rocks, shipping
lanes, shallow areas, maybe even calculate currents based on depth
tide/current data -- give more optimal routes to take advantage of the conditions
Of course some or all of the above may be missing in which case, the computer would do a bad job of routing.
For sailing upwind, the computer calculates optimal pointing angle (which varies based on conditions) and can therefore compute optimal tacking locations. It gets interesting near land to make tacks fit.
Would anyone like to expand on these ideas so we don't forget anything important? I can think of a few but I'll save them.