Just to toot my own horn a little, I have an article on Free Software for Boaters (with lots of links and resources) over on Mad Mariner as the "lead article" today.
Covers software for everyday life (word processing, graphics, etc.) that you might not be aware of that is available for free or very little cost that compares well with many of the commercial offerings.
Limited time trial subscriptions are available for no cost, so you can try them out!
For full disclosure, I write some paid articles (obviously) for Mad Marinerâ„¢.
Interesting article on new software methods coming that enables finding rogue waves and potentially warning shipping. Interesting (hope I’m never in a place that this comes up, but you never know).
ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2007) â€” Giant waves, also known as monster waves, have been talked about by sailors for centuries, often related to unexplained disappearances at sea, but no one quite believed them. They have been considered merely a myth until recently, when new studies using technological developments like buoys, radars and satellites have scientifically proven the existence of rouge waves, and that they exist in much higher numbers than it was ever expected. read more
The very useful and powerful free ship/boat design software, Free!Ship, has been growing up… renamed to DELFTShip, and now closed source, there is still a free version. Adding to that is a professional version that adds fairing capabilities, various input/output options (DXF and IGES) and other features. Still more extensions can be purchased to add capabilities high end users might need.
Not-withstanding arguments about open source vs. closed, this is still a powerful tool available for free for the amature boatbuilder.
There are forums available from the main web site, and a Yahoo group available for information and file sharing.
There has been a recent discussion on the Great Loop list concerning Seamanship software… otherwise described as a flight simulator for your boat. This is an idea I have thought about, especially for training and "dusting off" some skills after a time away from your boat. Or maybe when moving from one craft to another.
Despite some posters feeling that there are too many variables to make it realistic, I don’t know that I agree. It might be cost prohibitive, but I can’t really believe that its that much more complex than flight simulators. Now the dynamics of individual craft, yeah, that gets pretty "fine toothed", but for general theory and practice, I’m sure its doable.
Anyway, a couple of links were posted… haven’t gotten to try them yet, but plan to:
Ship Simulator – by VStep ($25-30) – Not perfect but the closest I’ve found. You can even drive the Titanic (pre-iceberg!). Half a dozen different ship sizes from tugboats to the big ones. Needs 1.6 Gigs CPUspeed (preferable 2.0). – Jim