Smartphone app helps plan the perfect trip
An application available to download on smartphones is helping Tradewind Voyages plan unique itineraries around the world.
Savvy-Navvy is being used by Head of Marine John Grenville-Goble, the man charged with plotting the voyages next year and beyond on Golden Horizon, the world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship.
Tradewind Voyages use the winds to follow the sun to create sustainable trips around the world, with the aim of sailing (without using engines), for on average 70% of each season. After an inaugural UK season in May 2021, Golden Horizon will head east in August 2021.
The starting point for Grenville-Goble was to use routing charts, a navigational technique used for hundreds of years, before steam power made the wind less relevant (see ‘Routing Charts Helping Plan Unique Voyages’).
After initial routes are plotted, Grenville-Goble consults Savvy-Navvy.
“The app helps take the philosophy and turn it into a voyage plan,” he said.
“It’s not used for navigation, it is purely for reference. But it is a helpful next step in the planning process.”
For example, when Grenville-Goble is plotting an itinerary in the Sulu Sea, he can use the app to plan the route from Sandakan, north of Borneo, to Puerto Princesa, on the Philippine island of Palawan.
“The app can draw the distance between destinations and tell me the current winds and where they are coming from. It’s a help in planning how much the ship can sail.”
After using the app to scope the intended route, the next stage of the process is to properly plot the route, for this Grenville-Goble uses an ECDIS system called NaviPlanner, from Wartsila, the same system that will be deployed on Golden Horizon.
“This is a specialist bit of kit dedicated to navigation that professional navigators use to create the waypoints that make up the voyage plan.”
For our UK itinerary, NaviPlanner gives Grenville-Goble access to the full worldwide chart portfolio, some thousands of charts.
“It is the same system used on the ship, so that there is no confusion about the route.”
Grenville-Goble has been seeking out iconic cities and hidden beaches to visit and is not totally reliant on technology.
“We have a great shore excursion team who help us with the planning. Our philosophy is that we are less likely to have large groups going jet-skiing and much more likely to have small groups going snorkelling or on a cultural trip, so they help us find the right destination or those hidden beaches.”
“As an example, on the east coast of Australia there are some beautiful coves that offer natural protection against swells but in most cases it’s not possible for us to get in, so we will find the best place to anchor and tender in and we are having local help to find the most suitable places.”
Golden Horizon’s air draft i.e. her height from water line to mast head, is 64 metres and it has a draft of 6.4 metres.
One of Grenville-Goble’s key tasks is to ensure that wherever she sails, bridges are high enough for the ship to get under and the water is deep enough to accommodate the ship.
“Around countries like Denmark and Japan there are quite a few bridges on our routes, however Golden Horizon has the ability to fold down the top four metres of her masts to get under bridges. We always double check our navigational routes with local authorities.
“Also, the ship’s draft has an impact on some of the routes that we can take.”
“But customers should not be concerned. We never take risks and we always make sure there are very significant safety margins in all measurements.”
“We focus on zero impact to the environment, and health and safety is an area where we do not sail close to the wind.”