The client version we now use was last updated by Aaron just 4 days before his death and he had also just started development of the tools that he planned for helping people sail their boats better.
It is really fortunate that he had asked me in May if I could host these tools on my SOL site so that we have them in our use. He also gave me access to their sources so perhaps the development of them will continue some day. However they are written in Flash which I unfortunately am not at all experienced with.
Most people are probably aware of them by now but I have written a short introduction anyway. And if you are not aware of who Aaron was and what he has done to help SOL I would suggest that you should read this thread about people remembering him and his accomplishments.
Aaron was also the person helped me in developing my sollog site and who then asked me to join the SOL admins. We had an enjoyable 5 months of collaborating which was abruptly cut short.
The WxInspector (wx is short for weather forecast) can be used to analyze the weather and it has actually many tools for this:
- Horizontal Profile - display the wind speed and direction along a line on the map. The display changes according to the weather slider in the bottom of the page.
- Ruler Path Profile - same as Horizontal Profile but the line is a ruler path so it doesn't have to be just a straight line.
- Meteogram - display the wind speed and direction on the marked map point over time. This is mainly useful for spotting when a wind shift is forecasted to happen.
- COG Isochrones - display how far your boat would sail if it sailed a direct line from it's current position to different directions according to the current forecast. You can change the display interval and limit from the advanced options.
- TWA Isochrones - display where your boat would sail if it sailed continously to different TWA's from it's current position.
- Clear Isochrones - clear the isochrone lines from map.
- Optimal Angles - this is the same as the optimum angles tool described below.
- Wind Log - the historical data of the wind your boat has experienced during the race (the history goes as far as this WxInspector window has been open).
- Boat Log - the historical performance data of your boat: speed, course and TWA.
The Optimum Angles is for easy calculation of VMG (both upwind and downwind), maximum boatspeed and especially VMC (Velocity Made Course) from the boat's polar. I will not go into detail what these terms actually mean but to be a good virtual sailor understanding them is a must. A good place to start learning is 76Trombone's blog.