If you're looking for an app that has realistic sailing physics and lets you sail race with full control and tons of options, along with tutorials and modes for learning to sail, skip the competing apps like SailSim, Sailboat Championship PRO, and 3D Sailing Simulator Regatta and go straight to Little Sailor. It's fun, it has great graphics, and it works well with very few flaws.
Version reviewed: 5.1 for Apple devices - $2.99
Reviewed on iPod Touch
Also available for Samsung bada (UK), Windows Mobile, Palm OS
Apparently not available at this time for Android
Little Sailor is so rich in features and options that it's more like a full-fledged videogame (like your teens might play) than an app for the small screen. This review can only touch on the highlights of all the options for how you might play or use it.
When you first play, be sure to take advantage of the game tutorials to learn basic functions and how to control your boat.
Following is an overview of game functions and features:
- Sailing controls include steering by tilting the device, trimming the sail in and out, reducing sail in high winds, and running the engine
- Graphics demonstrate realistic effects of sail trim with boat speed, heeling, capsizing, running aground, etc.
- Vivid and imaginative graphics (like watching the sailor swim back to the boat after a capsize, right it and climb aboard to resume sailing), realistic scenes with shoals, rocks, moored boats, islands, flying seagulls, etc.
- Dozens of options in race courses and competitors, including customizing your own race course
- Complete control over game speed, hints, automatic or manual functions, camera angles, sounds
- Replay races after they end to watch your boat in different views of the course to learn from your mistakes
The more powerful any piece of software, and the more options it offers, generally the more difficult to learn and get started. While Little Sailor's tutorials do get you up and sailing right away, it still takes a while to figure out what all the other options do (in display, control, race functions). It's worthwhile to browse the developer's website to explore some of the controls and options before diving in too deep.
A few of the little things some users complain about:
- No choice of boat types
- Sometimes difficult to see where to go next when rounding a mark
- Would be nice to have a knotmeter to more easily see effects of sail trim on speed
- Difficult to switch among different views during races - easy to accidentally touch the screen in a way that unexpectedly alters the view
Only the name of this app is regrettable, since "little sailor" sounds more like a kid's toy than an app adults, and even experienced sailors, can enjoy. As of this writing, this is the best simulator app I've seen, with stunning graphics and realism. I love watching the sailor hike far out to counterbalance greater heel, then scramble to the other side during a tack. You can really feel you're there.
Too bad Little Sailor has not yet reached the Android platform.