One of the most dramatic impacts that today’s information age has had on cruisers is the ability to take high-resolution weather GRIB files and import them into computer-based weather-routing software. There are multiple products available, so you should be able to find software that’s compatible with Linux, Windows or iOS platforms. These weather routers use a sailboat’s polars, or performance-characteristic metrics, to determine the safest and most efficient course to your next destination, using user-selected parameters such as maximum (or minimum) forecast wind speeds or wave heights, both of which can affect crew comfort. Weather-routing software can also be used to consider tide and current information, allowing users to play with their optimal departure times in order to make landfall at, say, first light or during a particular tide cycle, when draft might be critical. As with all forecast-based decision making — whether done by skipper or machine — the more up-to-date the data, the higher the chances that its forecast outcome will be accurate, so while cruisers can download a GRIB file before setting sail, they will likely be far better served if they can download fresh GRIB files en route (see “Communications,” above).