Outline Passage Planner - Introduction

 The complete manual in a text Word version will be installed in the program group on your hard disk. 

Outline Passage Planner

Passage Planner program installs in demonstration mode and will run for 10 days, at the end of this period it will time out and require an unlock code before it will operate further.  An unlock code is issued on purchase.
To purchase, contact Neptune with payment details and the 8 digit serial number that appears at the end of the opening screen, an unlock code will then be issued.
The software can be installed on 2 PC’s that are owned by the purchaser, the software is strictly for the individual and personal use of the purchaser unless otherwise agreed.  The software can only be installed on a sailing club PC after agreement with Neptune.

The program is designed to be as intuitive as possible, most of the program options are available from the Menu Bar on the top of the screen. Above the Menu Bar is the Screen Banner, Neptune uses this to display status information, such as Chart and Waypoint File in use, date and time, route distance (when in route edit mode), whether a prediction is for now or in the future and the Zoom Status.  The left mouse button is used for most of the work and selections, the right mouse button is only used when zoom and route edit are active A Neptune chart file comprises of coastline, zero metre contour (on certain charts), spot information (i.e. prominent features such as towns etc) and the tidal stream data.  Every 30 seconds the screen will be seen to blink as the tidal vectors are calculated and the screen is refreshed.  The base of the tidal vector arrow is the charts tidal stream position.  Move the cursor around the screen you will note that the Cursor’s Latitude and Longitude changes with the mouse position.

1.  Setting up a Single Leg
Clicking with the Left mouse button at any point will leave a red marker on the screen with the letter S beside it denoting a Start position and the Latitude and Longitude of the position will appear under the Course settings.  Now move the cursor around on the screen and watch how the range and bearing from the Start. position changes.

Move the Cursor elsewhere on the screen and click the left mouse button again, a Blue circle appears with the letter F beside it, this denotes a destination.  The Latitude and Longitude will also be written to the Course Box together with the range and bearing between the two points.  Click the mouse a third time, anywhere in the charted area and the course will be cancelled, clicking the left mouse button once more will begin the process again by setting up a start position.

2.  Calculating Course To Steer for a Single Leg
Set up a single leg between two points and then click the Calculate Menu and select Course for Leg. A Course Set-upwindow will be shown, for the moment accept the default values, ignore Wind and click the Calculate button.


After a slight delay the Course to Steer results will be displayed.  Examine the contents of this screen, use the scroll bar to roll the data up, the course, time taken, distance over ground, tidal streams, reference ports tides and other information is displayed in order for the navigator to cross check their calculations.


Pressing OK closes this screen,  the Vector Plot (red construction) and predicted Course Over Ground (COG) is now displayed (green circles). The Copy button copies the results box contents to the PC’s Clipboard

3.  Effect of varying Departure Times on the Course Over Ground
On the Menu are the Tide Roll buttons.

Pressing Tides>> will advance the time to the next half hour and recalculate the Tidal Streams.  If a single leg has just been calculated the Course to Steer and Course Over Ground will be recalculated and updated.  On the Screen Caption (very top bar) the departure time and Course to Steer will be displayed.  If a calculation of COG for a fixed heading was last then the COG is updated.  To decrease the departure time press <<Tides item.   Note that the Tide Roll buttons have no effect on multi-leg route calculations.

4.  Creating a Multi-Leg Route
From the Menu select Route -> Create by Mouse

A window appears suggesting the number of legs, the default is 10, up to 15 are allowed. For the moment accept 10 and press OK.  Click a few points on the screen to create a route, when you wish to enter the last point hold the Shift Key on the keyboard and click the final point.  This will be the end point of the route.  If you reach the entered number of waypoints (in this case 10), the route creation will end.

5.  Calculations on a Multi–leg Route
After creating a route, Course for Route and Optimium Route Time are active on the Calculate menu.
Course for Route brings up a window that allows editing of details such as Leg Speed, Waypoints, Latitudes, Longitudes and Time.

If Wind is pressed, a screen appears allowing you to set the wind speed and direction. The Tack button will calculate if the wind is coming from port or starboard  and once this is set leeway can be applied.  Click an entry for further editing and then click Accept for any changes made.  Select  Departure Time and finally click Calculate.

6.  Results of Multi-leg Calculations

A window appears at the end of the calculation showing the expected waypoint to waypoint departure and arrival times, Course to Steer and distances.  Note that the Copy button copies the results of this window to the clipboard for pasting into other applications.  When the results box is cleared the COG points are displayed as a series of hourly waypoints, look at these waypoints for any bunching that may occur, this indicates where the vessel is losing ground against the tidal stream.  

To Clear a route from the screen use the Route menu and Clear Route item.

7.  Wind Menu
The Wind menu has 3 options.

Wind Conditions & Calculations
Allows the wind speed and direction to be set up, it can be changed at any time and the last settings are retained for the next session.
Display Wind
Shows the wind direction and no sail area on the screen whenever a leg or route waypoint is entered.
True and Apparent
Given true wind calculates apparent and vice versa

8.  Wind Entry
Select the appropriate Sail Plan and then either click on a wind direction and speed or manually type in a direction and speed in the appropriate boxes.  If this screen has been reached from the single leg calculation the boat heading field will contain an entry, pressing the Estimate Boat Speed button causes the software to read the Polar Plot, estimate the boat speed and enter this into the leg calculation set-up screen.  (Polar plots are described in the manual).

9.  Display Wind
Checking this menu item shows the wind direction with the no sail area drawn in as a red triangle either side of the wind arrow.  It becomes obvious using this visual guide if your proposed passage cannot be sailed for the wind conditions anticipated.  In the illustration below sailing between waypoint 2 and 3 is not possible.

10.  Editing Multi Leg Route Waypoints
If it is apparent from the wind conditions that a waypoint is inappropriate it can be moved by selecting Mouse Edit from the Route Menu. (This will ‘Check’ the menu item).  With the program in this mode position, the mouse near the waypoint to be moved by a Right Click.  The nearest waypoint will jump to the mouse position.  When the wind is displayed planning tacks or deciding when to motor is very much simplified.

To add an extra waypoint to the end of a route hold down the SHIFT key and RIGHT click the mouse.  During editing the route distance is displayed on the screen banner.  When route editing is complete remember to uncheck the Mouse Edit option.

11.  Vessel speed from polar plots (Multi leg routes only)
Once a route has been created select the Calculate menu and press the Wind button to display the Wind Calculation Screen, you will note that the route details panel is now filled in.  To make the software read the Polar Plot and estimate the boat speed, you must select the appropriate leg speed entry in the list and double click.  The vessel speed will be updated.  If a change in wind conditions is expected enter the new wind speed and direction prior to double clicking the leg.  Closing this screen will return to the Route set-up box.  On exiting this screen the Route will be redrawn on the screen with the appropriate wind directions on each waypoint.

12.  Where is the Manual
After installation under the Start button, Programs, the group Neptune Passage Planner has been created a copy of the complete manual but without graphics. If an illustrated manual is required then this is found on the Neptune CD.  

13.  SOLAS Passage Plans and Neptune
Production of a passage plan prior to departure is a legal requirement.  Neptune Passage Planner and Neptune Tides assists in the preparation of passage plans by allowing you to copy results and route setups to the clipboard.  These results can subsequently be pasted into a plan that may be under preparation within Word, WordPad or Excel.  Neptune also provide a blank passage plan document, this is easily found from the Windows desktop using Start then Programs - Outline Passage Plan. This Word document can be edited and modified as desired.


Neptune Navigation Software PO Box 5106  Riseley Reading RG7 1FD UK
tel: +44 (0)118 988 5309 fax: 087 0056 7329

e-mail: sales @ neptunenavigation.co.uk