For the sail we're planning this summer we're planning on using a range of navigation tools, including paper and chart plotter, but also iNavX for the iPad.
The reason for not using a laptop was two fold: firstly we didn't have one available and secondly the iPad is actually easier to make waterproof (touching wood at this point). Combined with the iNavX software it seemed to give a pretty flexible tool.
So far, checking it out on land, I've been impressed. Its not like Navionics just a chart display program as allows you to define waypoints and routes plus download GRIBs of weather information including wind strength and direction and wave heights.
To get the GRIBs while offshore a satellite phone is needed and in this case we used an Iridium phone. The standard USB cable doesn't work so instead we used the Iridium Axcess point which turns the phone into a very slow wifi hotspot.
Again a bit of practice was required but it seems to do the job.
To download charts for Europe you need an X-traverse account, but then its pretty straight forward. You have to buy online and then download within the application and then they get backed up to you computer which is a bit backwards but I'm blaming Apple's 30% AppStore cut for that.
My only grievance is that you have to buy them twice if you want it to be both on your iPhone and iPad which is a bit cheeky if you ask me.
Anyhow looks like being a good option for offshore sailing and will report back after return.
Updated: see comparison with paper charts and chartplotter here.
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