Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We've had a comment from Rick K, who notes that our default boat doesn't feel like his Catalina 30. He says it stops too quickly and doesn't drift far enough after power is stopped.  This is because our default drag is different from that of his boat.

Boatmaster simulates the actual physics of a boat, and these settings can be changed to approximate a different boat from ours.  Just go to Boat/Adv Settings and see the menu of changes you can use to approximate your boat.

In Rick's case, reduce the drag by reducing "translational drag" till it "feels" like your boat.  My guess is that a setting of 0.02-.05 will create a more lifelike feeling for his simulated sailboat.

Be sure to read about these settings in the manual, as these are unique to Boatmaster and will be instructive to play around with.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The commanding officer of the frigate USS John L. Hall was fired Tuesday, two months after the frigate collided with a pier during a visit to Georgia, a Navy official said.

OK, so he saved forty bucks. He still should have used Boatmaster.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I’m intrigued by Chris’ observations that many professionals don’t get the opportunity to dock a boat until they’re Captains.  That’s the best explanation for a situation I encountered a few years ago in Georgetown, Exuma. 

It was a blustery day, with the wind blowing across the fuel dock, when a large motoryacht approached for fueling.  His large vessel….perhaps 100-120’….was being blown off the dock, and the Captain just couldn’t get it close enough to reach the fuel station.  I watched for nearly half an hour as crew and dockhands tried “everything” from pulling by brute strength (doomed from the outset) to winching the boat to the dock, without success.  I remember wondering “why doesn’t he just drive forward on a mid-position spring line?” and somehow had the presence of mind not to tell this professional captain what to do. 

Boatmaster has an exercise in a smaller boat that teaches this simple maneuver.  I put it there because I remember that event.  If that Pro had used Boatmaster, he’d have had a much nicer day.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Chris...mate on a large boat expands on his earlier comments:

"I am on a 27 meter (86 foot) sailboat as mate. The problem in this industry is that it is not possible to practice docking a 120 - 300 foot yacht just for the sake of training (the fuel costs being what they are, and putting a dent in a 15 million euro yacht is also a career ender). There are a lot of people that have sea miles that add up to 3 or 4 times around the world, but have never docked a large yacht themselves, until they are captains. The idea of a simulator that really works and that you can play around with on your own is good. In general people working their way up the ranks in the industry understand the theory in fine detail, but the actual opportunities to practice are non-existant. People that have merchant marine qualifications do train on professional simulators, but they are few and far between."

The Pro's problem is, in reality, the same as yours.  They can't afford to crash a boat and can't afford to practice.  You can afford to practice on your own smaller boat, but can you afford to crash it?  Boatmaster costs less than the price of a docking fender.  The answer seems obvious to me.

We'll soon have a model for Chris and his larger boat, and I bet it'll be a fascinating thing to try.  I'd predict that wind won't be as much a problem for him as for you, but that current will be the same, and inertia will be more important, as there's greater mass in Chris' boat.  Perhaps the next upgrade will include the Chris-fix, and we can see for ourselves.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Chris sent a note from Spain telling of a unique use for Boatmaster.

"I'm the mate on a large commercial sailboat. We bought and installed Boatmaster on the ships computer for the deckhands to work things out on their own, before we come in to dock. It's become a game for the deckhands to work through a docking manoever before we actually do it. Your programme is actually quite good, and I think it has a good market in the superyacht industry. I would suggest changing some of the settings to allow simulating larger vessels especially large sailboats and catamarans.
Keep up the good work,
Greetings from Spain,

Anyone else out there using Boatmaster in unique ways?  I really hadn't considered that The Pros would find a need for a program that teaches the basics, but obviously some folks are less adept than others and can use the practice.

Chris' note reminds me of something I alluded to in the manual....EVERYONE has trouble docking a boat, sometime.  Don't be put off by the problem.  Boatmaster will help and you'll enjoy boating all that much more.

Thanks, Chris.


As several of you know we’ve had some unanticipated glitches running Boatmaster on certain high end video cards.  Although Boatmaster runs perfectly on all our computers, it doesn’t run as well on others, and performance hasn’t been as consistent as we wished.  Ted devised a fix for it which is now available on the website, www.boatmaster.org.

We believe this new version fixes all the problems we know of, and in addition, we’ve added a nifty new feature in the Help section.

Open the Help menus and you’ll find there are handy “cheat sheets” that contain the key stroke information for operating the boat and the fenders and lines.  This increases the user friendliness of the program a great deal, and we’re happy to provide it now to all our users who’ve waited so patiently for a fix.
The new version will install over the old one, and thus your boat files will be preserved also..  Your original code and registration will work with the new download.

If you still have problems, please contact us.  We’ll work with you to find a solution to any problems we’re told about.

Happy Boating,

Captain Boatmaster

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


We've found a problem with some users ability to run Boatmaster.  On some computers the program runs slowly and without the seamless ease that we built into it.  This may be due to an incompatibility with some Nvidia graphic cards....or the drivers for their cards...as one of our beta testers now has a problem when he didn't have it before.  We hope to have a fix for this in the near future.  Please keep an eye on the blog for further developments.

In the mean time...let's talk about boating.

I'll make an unreasonable suggestion.  It's my blog, and I can do that.  But just think it through.  It's Summer.  It's hot in Florida....muggy...not the time for tourists, right?  Right.  That's why boaters ought to be making down there for some great boating.  If you've got a small boat, drag that puppy behind you on a trailer and hie thee to Pennekamp park, Key Largo FL. 

This is a great facility with camping and boating and eating and snorkeling, and it's free or nearly so.  Florida's offshore Special Protected Areas offer America's best snorkeling just minutes away.  Spend a day snorkeling on a free mooring just a few minutes from the park, and run home for dinner when you've had enough.  You don't need a big boat....a small outboard will do in good weather.  If you see a storm coming, just run home. 

Respond for specific details....