Sail Buddy

Sail Buddy is a light-weight sailing app designed to do a few things well. When it comes to sailing I’m mostly a day sailer or a cruiser. I wanted a light-weight app that would show course, speed, and wind data from my SailTimer wind instrument without a lot of fuss, and without tripping around other features which 90% of the time I don’t use or want.

Download Sail Buddy from the App Store

iPhone 6S

Large, easy to read format

iPhone 6S

Display recorded data via maps

iPhone 6S

Shortcuts for fast operation

Apple Watch 1 Apple Watch 2

Full iWatch support

Sail Buddy is not a navigation app. There are many other apps that are better at navigation than Sail Buddy could ever be. No sense reinventing the wheel.

Here’s what Sail Buddy does:

Tell me what you think!

This is early software with lots of room for new ideas. I am very interested in making it more useful so long as I can keep it fast and light. If you have ideas or are experiencing issues, please contact me.

NMEA Operation

Sail Buddy can read and display instrument data transmitted in NMEA 0183 format over a TCP or UDP connection. Here are some typical setups:

WiFi

WiFi-based hardware such as the Brookhouse iMux multiplexer, the SailTimer AirLink or the SailTimer wind vane (discontinued in 2013) create their own WiFi networks.

  1. Go to iPhone settings and choose the wifi network created by your hardware
  2. Tap the Settings icon in Sail Buddy, then tap the NMEA Configuration button and enter the network settings for your hardware
  3. Also enable the appropriate options under Hardware Support for your hardware
  4. Tap the NMEA button in Sail Buddy’s Instruments tab
SailTimer Wind Instrument

The SailTimer wind instrument connects directly to your iPhone via Bluetooth using a custom app.

  1. Download the SailTimer API from the App Store
  2. Launch the SailTimer API, connect to the wind instrument, and confirm it is receiving data
  3. Launch Sail Buddy, tap the Settings icon, then tap the NMEA Configuration button and enter these settings:
    • Connection Type: UDP
    • Port: 55554
    • Displayed Data Types: Wind Speed & Direction
    • Hardware Support: SailTimer Wind Instrument
  4. Tap the NMEA button in Sail Buddy’s Instruments tab

Sail Buddy supports the following NMEA sentences:

Category Identifier Definition
Wind $WIMWV Speed and direction
Wind $WIMWD Speed and direction (relative to true and magnetic north)
Wind $PSTW Speed and direction (relative to current heading). See SailTimer wind instrument
Wind $WIBAT Battery level (for SailTimer wind vane)
Depth $SDDBT Depth below transducer
Depth $SDDBK Depth below keel
Depth $SDDBS Depth below surface
Depth $SDDPT Depth (below surface or keel)

GPS sentences such as $GPGGA are not directly supported since Sail Buddy gets GPS information directly from the Location Services built into your iOS device.

If your device is not supported, please contact me and we can try to work something out.

Note: NMEA mode works best if GPS mode is also enabled. Otherwise, data may not be monitored correctly if the app is running in the background. Also be sure to enable “Background Location Services” in your iOS settings.

Apple Watch

Sail Buddy for Apple Watch displays the same information as the iOS app. Swipe left or right to switch between information types.

You can also control Sail Buddy via the watch, for instance, start/stop route tracking. Force-press the display to access the menu.

Contact Information

Download Sail Buddy from the App Store