It’s not everyday we see a good sailing simulator come on stream. The ESail simulator is getting very good reviews and deservedly so. Dowloading is slightly messy in that you need to install a utility called STREAM first but it’s worth it. The cost of the simulator is about €20 and it works in both Apple and Microsoft. There are no hidden costs and updates will be free.
The sim has a good tutorial system and can teach you about all the parts of a sailing boat, how to steer, plot a course, set the sails, use the engine, moor, anchor, use charts. It really is very complete. There are even races and other challenges but I haven’t got that far yet! This program has appeal for the person new to sailing but also to the seasoned mariner. There is a review in Practical Boat Owner, December 2018, P.57.
A fictitious island is used as the sailing location but apparently the programmers are working on including some real sailing areas. Crew are represented by strange floating hands. They are good workers and never get in the way of the instruments!
Naturally, the computer does get in the way a little. To unjam the furling line, manually handle a winch, use a winch handle and similar operations all need a click on special icons. There’s no short way around this for the moment. That being said, the colour coding of the warps, the easy access to the chart and the ability to take different views of the boat are well designed features. You can even view the boat from underneath. A special icon enables you to keep an eye on the telltales.
There is other traffic in the area and, as I found out, some do not steer too carefully. Watch out too for the odd whale popping out of the deep.
There’s really only one thing the programmers have forgotten … and I am not going to remind them. There are no lobster pots!