App for you Smartphone or Ipad:
We do not have an Ipad on board. The need for us is just not there to spend 1000 bucks. Yes, it's a grand, you will need the GPS Model, it needs a bullet and waterproof case and 12V connection, a holder in the cockpit would be nice too. And you need a PC or Mac anyway - do not let you fool here. You will connect stuff, you share data and so on, and the Ipad is still very isolated from that perspective. We have Mac and PC onboard and doing great with that. But if I would buy an Ipad I would use the Navionics Navigation App for sure. Damn cool!
Free: Works on a PC/Mac or as an app on Android/Apple. Great planning tool for, yes you're right: passage making. App can be installed from the Webpage.
DragQueen (App Store)
Free: Not what you may think!! It’s a cool Anchor Alarm for Android/Apple. Hook it up to power over night – it stays on as long the Alarm is running!
TideApp (App Store)
Free: Tidal Calendar
Windfinder (App Store)
Free in Basic or paid as Pro Version: Not much to say – it’s a wind finder ;-)
TripAdvisor (App Store)
Free: If you're travelling a must have to find restaurants and whatever… if you're mainly in the US there is as well the App Urbanspoon which we like.
Touchnote (App Store)
Paid Service: It gives you the capability to send postcards from everywhere in the world – just take a pic of your choice, add a text and the postcard goes out the same day. Nice for keeping in touch with beloved ones without Internet (it’s still possible to live without the web – at least my 95 year old grandmother does very well this way)
Free: Boat US maintains a Knowledge Database with famous Don Casey. Enter a key word and you get a lot of tips. For my taste Don is sometimes a bit too teachy, but still a great fundus of knowledge.
Paid: It’s actually a magazine and if you are a subscriber you have access to the whole archive. I love it, as it is commercial free, therefore the testing is as independent as possible. And they're testing everything, even onboard toilet paper ;-) Well spent money.
Free: A very active forum, you may get answers within hours. As in many forums you need to be able sort some of the answers. Nevertheless, I believe it's one of the better ones when it comes to good quality advice.
Free: Works on a PC/Mac or as an App on Android/Apple. Great planning tool for, yes you're right: passage making….
Free: Quick, nicely made overview of any major storms in the Pacific/Atlantic.
Paid: Chris Parker provides many cruisers with actual weather data (and you can ask questions!). So far he has been very accurate and it's easy to access: Email, live Webcast or SSB!
Free: On demand Weather mails in seconds for your region. Either as Grib, Text or Synopsis.
Free: User Guide on how to read weather faxes.
Navigation & Cruising
Free: Jimmy Cornells fabulous online cruising guide
Free: NOAA – The US is really doing a lot for free for the cruisers: Free Charts, chart booklets and even electronic charts. If you cruise the US – spend some time on this site
Free: An online guide for Anchorages, Harbors, Inlets and so on. An interactive map shows the information. I particularly like the User reviews which contain sometimes very useful last minute updates. You can participate too and make it even a better tool.
Boatowner’s Practical and Technical Cruising Manual
Simply the best guide for choosing, equipping and sail a cruising boat.
Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual
It's not an understatement to call it “the technical Bible” for every cruiser, lots of information and repair/maintenance advice – I would not leave port without it!
World Cruising Routes
Not a romantic book with a lot of pics. It “just” contains most of the possible routes all over the world with very useful information (general weather, best timing and so on). As well a great gift for every dreamer.
Get a good weather bock as well. We found the book from Chris Parker (see above) quite helpful.
A comment on medical books: We have some of them, even two free pdf books (http://hesperian.org/books-and-resources/ : Where there is no doctor & where there is no dentist). But in general you should have a comprehensive book in your mother language. There is nothing worse then trying to translate “medical language” while feeling sick or having an accident. But being able to translate some of the symptoms with a dictionary in English or Spanish may be a life saving advantage if you need medical assistance …