COMPARSION OF ADVANTAGE TO OTHER SOFTWARE

COMPARISON OF ADVANTAGE TO OLDER LOCAL KNOWLEDGE PROGRAMS ...

GENERAL COMPARISON

Our prior programs (Force 2, Force 4 and Offchart Racer) were designed for the memory capacity, processor speeds and operating systems that were common in 1998. Advantage is designed for Windows 2000 and Windows XP - generation OS and modern PC's. Advantage is more stable, runs faster and is easier to install than the older programs.

The new source language platform has greatly improved the interface, and user comments over the years have led to a complete reorganization of the menu structure. Advantage retains the FAQ list of important topics ('Tips and How-to' under the Help Menu), but the major tool for learning the program is the html-format 'Tutorial,' which includes many illustrations and examples. There is an index page for the Tutorial, which you bring up on your web browser (all files reside on your PC, there is no need to connect to the Internet). From that page, the Tutorial works just like the web, with links that cross-connect related topics.

Our prior programs came with a minimal set of charts, with soundings and other data removed to minimize background clutter. Advantage comes with many more, and much more detailed charts, and much more sophisticated chart-handling functions. In particular, Advantage can seamlessly blend adjacent charts to optimize the display, keeping your boat more centered. Since there are more charts containing a given point, Advantage also has a number of functions that enable you to quickly find the chart of your choice. Simply right-click at any point on the open chart to bring up the range of options (also available on the Charts Menu).

ADVANTAGE vs. FORCE 2

Force 2 was our first program, in which the current model for a given area was tied directly to the chart for that area. This limited the use of the program with other charts, and required that a course than spanned more than one chart be built up in segments, one for each chart, and then combined. This was awkward and time-consuming, and due to the limited number of charts, the entire course could not be visualized in a single display. Advantage builds on our later programs in completely eliminating this restriction. It includes large-scale charts that can encompass the entire course, and any course across a current region can draw on the corresponding current model for display and current-dependent computations.

Advantage operation can be authorized in two levels. Level One corresponds to Force 2, in that it does not include the Router, Super-If, Polar File facility and other tactical functions. Level One does, however, include Course Solution and some functions not previously offered in Force 2. While Level One does not utilize full boat polars, it allows the user to define a reasonably accurate, approximate polar file for all computations, and has an improved layline display.

At Level One, Advantage includes the Track function, allowing the user to display a "track" of past locations as the boat moves, and to save a record of boat motion during a race for later recall and review. It also includes an improved boat "simulation" function and the ability to construct Great Circle routes, as well as Rhumblines, between two marks, or the boat and a mark. Neither capability was previously offered in Force 2.

Each purchased copy of Advantage at Level One comes with the ability to operate at Level Two for a Demo period. If a Level One user wants to step up to Level Two, he or she can obtain full credit of the purchase price of Level One to apply to the Level Two license.

ADVANTAGE vs. OFFCHART RACER

A few years ago we introduced "Offchart Racer" as a mid-level program, between Force 2 and our top-level tactical program, Force 4. Offchart Racer includes the primary tactical functions of Force 4, including the Router and Super-If, but not the suite of specialized functions for buoy racing (and some display options). The idea was to offer a lower-cost tactical program that was especially suitable for ocean racing.

At Level Two, Advantage includes all of the Offchart Racer features, the general and Force 2 improvements noted above and some new capabilities not previously offered. For example, Offchart Racer allows only the vector current display, whereas Advantage (at both levels) offers the magnitude + direction option and the ability to define and save custom sets of display points. Advantage has additional functions for working with polar files, the "Current Table" function to monitor local current reference stations and control display times, and the capability to display interactive buoys and hazards overlaying any chart. Like Offchart Racer, Advantage Level Two includes the ChartMaker facility, Wind Model facility, Stripcharts and interface to monitor all instrument data.

ADVANTAGE vs. FORCE 4

At this time we do not offer Advantage at Level Three, which will correspond to Force 4. At Level 2, Advantage does not offer the unique displays and special buoy-racing features of Force 4. With respect to what it does offer, however, it is a considerable improvement over Force 4 for the reasons noted above.

ADVANTAGE vs. COMPETITOR SOFTWARE

As noted in the Advantage Overview, Advantage has functions (such as Super-If) not available in any competitive program, and improved versions of functions (such as the Router) that are found in other programs. Advantage also has the unique ability to display and incorporate point-by-point current variations in all U.S. venues where currents are important. In such venues competitor software cannot yield accurate results and will completely miss the opportunities for short-range tactical advantage. There are some venues (such as UK waters), where competitor software utilizes independently-developed current models, but these are often not as accurate. Advantage now provides current models in almost all regions of the globe in which they are a significant factor in racing. For ocean racing, Advantage utilizes the ocean current models developed by Local Knowledge for many clients and races over the years, including especially Sydney-Hobart and the Bermuda races.

Besides offering unique capabilities, Advantage also is priced below most competitors, and does not require the purchase of charts. The include charts are quite extensive, and Chartmaker allows you create new charts in a matter of minutes.

ADVANTAGE PRICING


         Advantage Level One: $400 (credit of $200 for present Force 2 clients)

        Advantage Level Two: $900 (credit of $700 for present Offchart Racer clients)

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