Voile Magazine (09/2022)

Equipment: A tablet to navigate at sea, a great idea?

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A good waterproof tablet, efficient navigation software, a satellite connection and you’re ready for 21st century offshore sailing. We tested this state-of-the-art equipment on a 700-mile delivery trip.

Voile Magazine 09 2022 Test SailProof tablet

Equipment tested in the open sea

REMOVABLE, AFFORDABLE, robust and very functional, the tablet has become a proven navigation aid. More and more sailors are using it instead of traditional electronic charts such as multifunction plotters. Another advantage is that it can be used to receive wind or current Grib files via a navigation/routing software compatible with a tablet. Offshore, on the other hand, you will need a satellite communication system if you go far from 4/5G coverage to continue receiving daily weather updates.

During a delivery trip between Portugal and the Balearic Islands, we tried out a tablet model developed by the company SailProof, coupled with the navigation/routing application SailGrib. During the ocean crossings, the use of an Iridium Go allowed us to receive Gribs while remaining connected to the land via the satellite communication system offered by this little magic box! A combo that proved to be very practical each day.

SailProofSP08 tablet: strong on board!

If it takes the characteristics of the competition (Samsung, Crosscall and Apple) in terms of features – owners of Galaxy smartphones will not be lost since this tablet is developed under Android with a graphic reading and navigation identical -, it displays on the other hand a screen in reinforced “gorilla glass” anti-reflection glass which is really readable in full sunlight (1 000 cd/m2).

The screen of our SailProof remained perfectly readable in sunlight. A good point!

We tested it in the middle of the day under the hot sun of the Grande Bleue, with convincing results in terms of outdoor reading from the cockpit. Even with sunglasses on, the screen remains perfectly visible. A (very) good point validated! As far as waterproofing is concerned, it meets the IP67 standard, and does not flinch when water is poured on it, although it remains to be seen how long this will last… We should point out that all the outputs (USB, HDMI, power supply, etc.) are systematically protected by quality plastic flaps.

It’s a good size, quite thick and inevitably heavier than a non-hardened tablet, and we appreciate the X-shaped strap that holds the user’s hand on the back for mobile use. You can also opt for the fixed support to be installed in your cockpit (from €93) with optional direct access to the batteries on board. On this subject, the autonomy displayed by the manufacturer, an internal Li-ion 9800 mAh battery, for normal use in navigation (cartography with track recording) is rather flattering: screen permanently on at 100% brightness, 7.5 hours; screen on at 60%, 20 hours; screen put on standby when not consulted: over 125 hours.

Tested with the Iridium Go via Wifi, the SailProof tablet was very useful on board.

The consumption noted on board is rather close to these figures, provided to pass in airplane mode. Finally, we find all the options of a connected tablet: camera, Sim card (for telephone calls), SD card, 4 GB RAM + 64 GB internal storage ROM, Integrated GPS, Wifi and Bluetooth. Remember that it is offered with a three-month trial of the premium version of SailGrib and that its warranty has been extended to two years.

Paul Gury