The view from s/v Luckness, taken by the author, while at anchor in Beveridge Reef.     20° 01' S, 167° 45' W


Craig left Seattle, sailing down the West coast of America for the first time in August of 2011. That trip ended up lasting one year, returning to Seattle via Mexico and Hawaii. A second trip lasted three years, sailing from Seattle to Mexico, French Polynesia, Niue, Tonga, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand and then back to Seattle, again via Hawaii.

A long time Mac fan, Craig had become dissatisfied with the various Grib viewers he had been using. With a background in Computer Graphics and Computer Science, and with 20 years of professional software development in those areas, he felt that there was a possibility of creating a new, modern GRIB viewer that would be able to show much more informative images while being highly responsive.

The computers being sold by Apple, including even the low end laptops, are faster than anything imaginable 20 years ago. When Craig first started in the Computer Graphics field (in the early 1980’s), the graphics hardware was limited to drawing several thousand lines per second. Modern hardware is capable of drawing more than a hundred million lines per second, and with this realization, Craig was even less satisfied with the GRIB viewers that were available.

Craig started work on LuckGrib while sailing on his yacht, s/v Luckness, in New Zealand during December, 2014. Version 1.0 of LuckGrib was released on the Apple Mac App store in early August, 2015.

LuckGrib is modern application and takes advantage of the multiple CPUs offered by modern hardware, as well as taking advantage of the high performance graphics hardware they contain - their GPUs. By utilizing the GPU and the multiple CPUs, along with a lot of very careful software development, LuckGrib is able to achieve high quality images, in real time. When stepping between different time intervals in a GRIB file, the changes are animated at a high frame rate, yielding smooth transitions. Smooth transitions help in understanding the GRIB file content and how it changes over time.

A subsequent improvement to the application, v1.2, focused on sailing tools such as weather routing and departure planning, which Craig used on his sail back from New Zealand to Seattle via Hawaii. After returning to Seattle, v1.2.1 was created and released. This release improves the workflow in many ways, incorporating ideas discovered while using the application extensively on the long sailing passages between New Zealand and Seattle.

The next release of LuckGrib, v2.0, was a major improvement in many areas of the application. Data is now obtained from a specialized server cluster which provides high performance access to a wide range of GRIB models.

Less than two years after its initial conception, LuckGrib had gone from a wild idea, to the best GRIB viewer available, anywhere, on any platform.

Within a year and a half of its initial release, LuckGrib has become the premier GRIB viewer on the Mac platform. Stay tuned! More improvements are planned for this fine application.


Email: craig@luckgrib.com

If you do not receive a speedy reply, please be patient. The support department may be out sailing.

The LuckGrib viewer is elegant, fast, and functional…. a must have app for all sailors using Macs for weather work.

David Burch

Director of Starpath School of Navigation and author of Modern Marine Weather.

[Read full article]