Cruising Info

General Cruising Info
Pacific Ocean Cruising
Indian Ocean Cruising
Provisioning Food & Fuel
Cruising Recipes

General Info

Track Files
2-Handed Cruising
Why Sail a Catamaran
Cruising with Teens
F A Qs
Cruising Expenses

Track Files

Cruisers: We are now publishing Downloadable Track Files in both MaxSea (.ptf) format and in OpenCPN (.gpx) format (not all tracks are available in all formats yet - we're still working on it and they take time).  You can download the track files either by clicking on the links in the tables below, or by clicking on the track in the Google Map below the table.  The MaxSea files are in native format but the OpenCPN files are zipped so they download faster, and they need unzipping after they've been downloaded (which most operating systems do natively).  If 2 files are shown, the smaller one has been edited to remove redundant points from straight tracks.  This improves the speed of the download as well as performance once the file is loaded.  Sometimes MaxSea Track files are separated from the Mark (chart notations) files.  Download instructions are provided if you need them.

These files are provided free and we are actively soliciting cruisers to send us your track files so we can post them for others to download.  If you would like to to participate, please email us your track files (as attachments to our HackingFamily account, not our Winlink acct) along with your boat name and draft.  If you include your website and boat details, we'll link back to you from our Cruising Links page.

Disclaimer: While we always try to provide useful information, we can take no responsibility for its accuracy or usefulness.  Prudent mariners will always navigate using all means at their disposal, and will not rely solely on electronic navigation.

Track and Layer Files:
Track (or "layer") files can be imported into many navigation programs.  They display as transparent overlays on top of your existing charts and they can be turned on or off with just a few mouse clicks.  They do not affect your underlying charts at all.  Many cruisers like to lay a track of where they've gone -- It provides them with a record and it can be very useful if they happen to go back there.  It's often much easier to leave a well protected anchorage than it is to enter one, and using a pre-existing track can help.  We once had to guide friends through a gap in the reef in Fiji (at night) and having our track made it much easier.

Perhaps more importantly, track files are very useful to other cruisers, especially those new to an area.  Our charts are usually pretty accurate, especially near population centers, but out in the back of beyond our charts often have inaccuracies.  All of Tonga was out by about 1/4 mile, and places like the Philippines can be out by more than 2 miles!  This can be very disconcerting when you first arrive in a new area.  We have been publishing track files for a few years now, and cruisers we talk to really appreciate them.  When we were in Madagascar the wind switched 180 one night, putting us on a dangerous lee shore, but we had a friend's track file (and apparently the same thing had happened to them) so we were able to follow their track to a safe anchorage.

We were recently asked to become a repository for cruiser's track files, for both OpenCPN and MaxSea (and possibly others if there's enough demand).  This page is a first cut at that.  Cruisers who wish to participate, please email your tracks to us as attachments to our HackingFamily acct.  OpenCPN track files are basically XML (text) files and can get pretty big, so we've zipped them here with the excellent free 7‑Zip utility to make them easier to download.  Windows can unzip the files by itself.  Areas are listed from East to West.  The Maps links take you to our Cruising Information page for that area (which are in varying states of completeness).

Click the Size link to download the track files

Caribbean Sea Track Files
Click links to Download
Area Boat Draft Year Cruise Info Comments MaxSea OpenCPN
SE Caribbean Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Some Info Tobago, Grenadines 12 KB 6 KB
Bonaire Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Some Info Great Diving 2 KB 2 KB
Curacao Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Some Info Spanish Waters 3 KB 4 KB
Panama/San Blas Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Canal Info Canal and San Blas 15 KB 7 KB

Pacific Ocean Track Files
Click links to Download
Area Boat Draft Year Cruise Info Comments MaxSea OpenCPN
Galapagos Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Some info All islands except Isabela 5 KB 3 KB
Marquesas Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Some info Includes 5 islands 5 KB 3 KB
Tuamotus Taniwani 6.6' (2m) 2005 Map Only Covers 5 atolls 455 KB / 57 KB 23 KB
Tonga Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2004 Map Only Ha'apai & a bit of Vava'u 57 KB / 6 KB 4 KB
Fiji Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2005 Some info Western & southern Fiji 108 KB / 28 KB 24 KB
New Caledonia Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2005 Map Only Covers southern part 118 KB / 17 KB 8 KB
Australia Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2006 Full info Brisbane to Darwin 420 KB / 24 KB
Marks: 8 KB
34 KB

Indian Ocean Track Files
Click links to Download
Area Boat Draft Year Maps Comments MaxSea OpenCPN
Indonesia N&E Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2014 Full info North & East Indo   158 KB
Indonesia S&W Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2015
Full info South & West Indo
32 KB
57 KB
37 KB
Malaysia Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2011 Full info West coast and Borneo Combined:
428 KB
795 KB
Thailand Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2011 Full info West coast 274 KB
Indian Ocean Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2009 N/A SE Asia to South Africa 1.1 MB N/A
Andaman Islands Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2011 Full info Clockwise circumnav 8 KB 5 KB
Seychelles Mahi-Mahi 4.6' (1.4m) 2003 Some info Shakedown Cruise 350 KB N/A
Madagascar Ocelot 4.6' (1.4m) 2009 Full info 2 trips through the NW 23 KB 31 KB
Mahi-Mahi 4.6' (1.4m) 2003 Shakedown Cruise 149 KB N/A

Tuamotus Tracks

Boat Draft Year Comments MaxSea OpenCPN
Taniwani 6.6' (2m) June 2005 Covers 5 atolls 455 KB or 57 KB 23 KB

See Taniwani's Tuamotus Tracks in a larger map

Instructions for downloading and using Track, Mark, and Route Files:

These instructions are for Windows, but can be adapted for other operating systems.

OpenCPN is constantly being improved, and they release a new version every year or so.  It has supported the concept of layers since version 2.5, released in 2011.  If you aren't using at least version 2.5, we recommend you download the latest version and install it.  Layers are important because you don't want anyone else's files polluting your own marks or tracks, and you also don't want to accidentally modify downloaded files.

For OpenCPN v2.5 or later:

If you open your Route Manager (looks like a line graph on the toolbar) and go to the Layers tab (far right), you can click the eye icon to the left of any track files to make that information appear or disappear (if you want to unclutter your display).  OpenCPN doesn't modify files in the Layers folder.

For MaxSea (.ptf) files:

General Info: Track Files | 2-Handed Cruising | Why Sail a Catamaran | Cruising with Teens | F A Qs | Cruising Expenses

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