Sailboat instruments help you win races
If you race, you probably want to win. Racing demands more attention and resources than cruising, including better gear and crew training. Sailboat Instruments provide this advantage.
Sailboat instruments do not replace your senses, they enhance and validate them. They provide information about things you can’t sense directly, like true wind and current. They are vital for comparing performance with target speed, calculating time to laylines and many other items crucial to increasing your probability of winning.
Using instruments compensates for not having focused your entire life on sailing.
Brain power and instruments give you an advantage over butt sailors.
That is not to say that instruments don’t also help butt sailors.
They provide confirmation of their gut feelings.
1. Your boat should always perform at its best
In order to be sure you are always performing well, you need to be able to monitor how you’re doing compared to a reliable standard. This is accomplished by using Polars as the standard, and having true wind to access them. This is the primary benefit of having instruments. You also need to keep tabs on the environment because of its effect on your performance.
- The true wind is your engine. If you don’t know what its doing, you are at a disadvantage. Learn more…
- Current helps or hinders depending on where it’s flowing relative to your heading. You need both GPS and a paddle in order to know what the current is. If you don’t know about it, you could be losing at least 50 seconds/mile and not know it. Learn more…
GPS-only systems can’t calculate current
2. Your crew should know how to tack well
Blowing a tack or wandering around afterword looking for best boatspeed or incorrectly trimming sails is a bad way to win. Instruments provide metrics to help with this. Target speed (see Polars) provides the correct boatspeed and fast and accurate coordination between trimmers and helmsman. And Ockam also provides tack analysis in real time to improve training.
3. You should know when to tack and jibe
- Accurately calling laylines prevents overstanding, or even worse, under-standing. Learn more…
- Tacking on shifts is a big gainer (sometimes). If you have a good readout of wind direction, you will be able to take advantage of shifts that others may not notice. Learn more…
- On the other hand, if you tack poorly or the shift is too wimpy, you will actually lose. Learn more…
4. Learn where you can improve your performance
Taking a look at the details how you performed during a race will provide valuable information about how to improve your racing technique. We call this post-race analysis, and it is performed by LogScanner. The source for LogScanner is the race log file (either OS5 or Expedition logs) plus optional video files to allow you to see things that the instruments don’t. Videos are fairly easy to create – see LogScanner RaceCam.
LogScanner can be used even if you don’t have Ockams
If you can produce an Expedition log file, then you can use LogScanner