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Old 04-06-2012, 06:21 PM   #1
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Default For all sailors.

Maybe you'd be interested in this upcoming tech?

The Sailing GPS understands tacking ... and lots more (required reading if you sail)
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:00 PM   #2
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What is your own opinion of this?
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:33 PM   #3
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Well, considering the fact that I've never set a foot on a sailboat, my opinion is pretty vague. I guess that if you're into precision and like GPS, then this might be a small gem.

Looking forward to hearing opinions of more experienced users, though.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:28 PM   #4
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Well, considering the fact that I've never set a foot on a sailboat, my opinion is pretty vague. I guess that if you're into precision and like GPS, then this might be a small gem.

Looking forward to hearing opinions of more experienced users, though.
Goodness. Sorry I didn't know that you've not set foot aboard a sailboat before. I don't really go for tech solutions for something I can do myself. I laugh when I see things like this. So.........

Suggest you get out on a sailboat soon so you can check things out! Even in a tiny sailboat on a river, lake or pond, you'll have fun. What are your sailing options right now?
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:40 PM   #5
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You're forgiven. ;D

My chances are nil at the moment, as I have only funds enough to go to Slovakia @ july, and then almost nothing. Maybe's there's a nice book regarding the subject, or better yet - a video guide?
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:38 AM   #6
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I'm totally NOT into people reading up on things they can actually get out and DO. So let's start at the beginning--Where exactly are you? Near water? Lake? River? Ocean?
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:47 PM   #7
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Huh.. I'm in Riga, Latvia. There's the main river Daugava, that's going through Riga, and the sea is not far from here. There are lakes scattered approx. 30km around as well.

Where does that get me?
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:40 PM   #8
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Close to people who already own boats, right? Is there a small sailing club near you? Where I'm going with this is...often you can easily get local people to share their sailing experience with you. Often people are so very happy to have extra crew. Even if someone is just sailing a small dingy that they launch on a lake from their car--help is sometimes appreciated.

It seems there are yacht clubs near you around Riga. Do you know of these? Often such clubs welcome new members and volunteers to help with sailing boats during informal racing. Why not try contacting these people?

Here is info for visiting yachts which includes Riga ARCHIPELAGOES* -* Latvia* -* Marinas

Do you know this sailing team and boat Anita?
Jahta ANITA. Latvian Sailing Team Riga - YouTube
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:02 PM   #9
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I think its great but the windvane with bluetooth intrigues me more. Looks promising but wonder how accurate and reliable it will be. I've read a bit about the sailers gps and I think it would be good , especially for racers, but also cruisers if forced to go to windward. Apparently it calculates different tacks to see which is the fastest which for most people is a guess. App for ipad also but I have a pc onboard. I don't have any wind instruments onboard as yet so I'm waiting to see reports on this vane.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:33 PM   #10
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I think its great but the windvane with bluetooth intrigues me more. Looks promising but wonder how accurate and reliable it will be. I've read a bit about the sailers gps and I think it would be good , especially for racers, but also cruisers if forced to go to windward. Apparently it calculates different tacks to see which is the fastest which for most people is a guess. App for ipad also but I have a pc onboard. I don't have any wind instruments onboard as yet so I'm waiting to see reports on this vane.
Bluetooth is pretty flaky so I wonder about that tool in terms of reliability. Class 1= 100m and Class II is 10 m (too short a distance).

I've always wondered about all apps that calculate course for you since each boat has such different performance--even leeway changing with point of sail for example. Our boat, because of parallel forestays 14" apart on the stemhead (the staysail is on the port forestay, the jib out on the bowsprit) the boat actually has different performance on starboard vs port tack. The issue is actually the way the staysail sits between the jib and the foresail for being most efficient. Depending on how high we point and on wind speeds we really note the difference. So, we correct depending on starboard vs port tack. Sure, our situation is a little "different" but many boats have slight idiosyncrasies that impact performance. That's all part of sailing. Making decisions of how high to point (impact of leeway) might have something to do with how heavily you're loaded on a particular trip or even if you're sitting bow low on a particular passage.

I have a racer friend who has a particular boat with about 500 sister-ships out racing. He uses an onboard computer which contains thousands data collection streams (including about 800 on his boat) in a variety of wind, current, sea conditions. For him, he uses the computer to learn if he's sailing the boat up to the actual capabilities of the boat. It is a wonderful learning tool for his crew. He's a racer.

A harbor racer may be very aware of how long it takes to complete a tack (count the seconds on a sled-bottomed, bulb keeled wonder boat) whereas a short handed cruiser may wander about his traditional full keeled boat with a cup of tea in hand-- setting each sail and watching the boat slowly come through the wind and set on the new tack.

Cruisers often make decisions of which tack to take based on comfort level (if you're going to be on a tack for 24 hours or perhaps many days it had better be something that doesn't sap the strength out of the crew), risk of broaching (angle to following seas), wear on sails (do you really want to pull every knot of speed out of your boat at the expense of the leech of your sail?) and so on.

Do we need to understand our boats--yes, oh yes! Do we need a computer to figure it all out for us? Probably not. Often a cruiser has not much else to do on his turn at the watch save a little navigation and a lot of reading books.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:18 AM   #11
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Need it definitely not but I feel it would be useful. I recently had a look at the NASA current model for the planet which was interesting because it shows that mostly they travel in a cyclonic fashion. Pretty linear across the pacific from the US but mostly quite tight circular paths and on seeing that I immediately thought of how my racing ferro travels faster on one tack than the other. I'm guessing the circular movement of the water may have a lot to do with this. Thats something this gps will not allow for. I read that one inputs the yacht length and the programme works with the hull speed to compute the time and speed to destination so you are right it won't know the rig nor the various loadings involved. I just like the vane.

If a current is say half a knot against on one tack then most likely will make a one knot difference on the other.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:14 AM   #12
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Redbopeep, Here are a couple clarifications from some of the information online at The Sailing GPS (tm) and SailTimer Inc. -- you raise some good questions. The Owner's Manual for The Sailing GPS is available from the order page, and contains a lot of additional details too.

The SailTimer Wind Vane actually uses a radio signal with 300-foot transmission range from the masthead. The data is received in a small Base Unit, where it is converted to NMEA format and then transmitted on to The Sailing GPS (via Bluetooth) or an iPad/iPhone (via wifi).

Each boat has different performance. Yes, and The Sailing GPS accounts for this. It can learn the "polar plots" for a unique vessel (i.e., the boat speed in all different wind directions and wind speeds). Then it can calculate your optimal tacking angles and Tacking Time to Destination (TTD). Even if you have polar plots from a manufacturer for your model of boat, this is more accurate, because it accounts for whether you have 6 anchors, a lot of cruising gear on board, and tack with a cup of tea in your hand -- whereas someone else with the same boat has new sails and keeps it empty for racing.

As Danblu notes, The Sailing GPS does not account for the current. But if you enter your boat length at the waterline, it will calculate your hullspeed for you, which it also uses in determining your optimal tacks and Tacking Time to Destination (TTD).

The Sailing GPS (and the SailTimer app for iPad from the same company) doesn't replace your decisions or take the fun out of sailing. But sometimes you want to know if you should head upwind more to shorten the distance (at a lower speed), or head off the wind more to get more speed (but a longer distance). Or, you may want to know if you are going to get home by dinnertime. The Tacking Time to Destination shows you this.

Similarly, ETA doesn't take the fun out of sailing; it is a useful thing to know. Unfortunately, ETA is not accurate when you are on a tack. ETA was designed for powerboats. Standard GPS units do not account for tacking distances. But using The Sailing GPS, Tacking Time to Destination _is_ an accurate way to know if you will get back to the harbour by nightfall, for example. Because it comes in a waterproof DryPak, it is even handy on a Sunfish, Albacore, Laser or other small boats, for knowing how long it is going to take to tack your way back to the dock.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:05 PM   #13
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will it be able to be used for a pc also. I have a eeepc onboard running Polar Navy and I wonder if it would overlay my charts with tack lines. If not then would you be writing pc software to do the same as the gps? I don't have any wind instruments onboard as yet so am definitely interested in this system. If my mates are out on the water and I can get a poofteenth of an advantage I'll take it, thanks.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:03 PM   #14
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Hello Danblu,
NavSim licenses the SailTimer software for their Windows-based chartplotter program called called SailCruiser

SailTimer tacking overlays are also licensed by MacENC for people preferring Apple computers: MacENC

Maybe Polar Navy should license the software for the optimal tack overlays from SailTimer too.

The web site for the SailTimer Wind Vane notes that it sends out the wind speed and direction using standard NMEA sentences. So Polar Navy would be able to use the wireless wind data if it came in via wifi or Bluetooth from the SailTimer Wind Vane. Then the optimal tacking angles could continuously update as the wind changes.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:43 PM   #15
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Hi, SV Adventure. Thank you for the detailed product information. Could you please introduce yourself-- explain who you are (SV Adventure) and your relationship to the company? That would be helpful to our understanding of your use of the product or your loyalty to the vendor.

Knowing how long it takes to get into harbor and back to one's slip or into a particular anchorage is a very good thing, yes.

Products such as this are extremely appealing to newbie weekend sailors who may be very frustrated when they misjudge the time they need to return to the slip. Often even very experienced sailors don't have sufficient experience with local wind and current conditions and miss deadlines/commitments because, well, the elements don't always cooperate, do they?

Fair winds,
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:28 AM   #16
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Thanks S/v Adventure. So my laptop with bluetooth and wifi will be able to use the nmea sentences as is or is there some sort of coding that procludes this? I guess you can tell I'm not a really savy computer geek. Polar Navy ( which is great) has instruments which use nmea sentences. The Sailcruiser software looks good also and I see radar will work with it as well.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:07 AM   #17
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I recently had a look at the NASA current model for the planet which was interesting because it shows that mostly they travel in a cyclonic fashion..... seeing that I immediately thought of how my racing ferro travels faster on one tack than the other. I'm guessing the circular movement of the water may have a lot to do with this.

If a current is say half a knot against on one tack then most likely will make a one knot difference on the other.
We have a friend who used to track all our passages as we meandered across the globe. When we sailed from French Polynesia to Beveridge Reef we passed the Cook Islands. Our friend wrote to us asking how scary was it passing between two of the islands.

I was puzzled by his question since we never saw any of the Cooks as we passed by. Looking on one of our charts, it dawned on me that 70 miles (the distance between two of the islands) looked to be about a hair's-breadth on the chart he would have used, and sitting in one's home looking at sea maps could be confusing.

I think it's the same regarding the currents in the oceans. A picture on one's monitor isn't easily understood in terms of hundreds of miles of breadth.

SV Watermelon sailed a good half knot faster on a starboard tack than on a port tack. As diligent as I tried to be trying to distribute weight evenly on the boat, just the placement and configuration of our water tanks could make a 200 to 400 pound weight difference, translated into a few degrees difference in heel, on tack to the other. And no boat is perfectly symmetrical anyway, so there are lots of variables to how a boat can sail.

Gadgets. I like gadgets, but I am still skeptical about things like a tacking GPS for a cruising sailor. And for the day sailor as well.

For long distance cruising comfort and large-scale variations in wind and current have so much greater effect on one's time of arrival that the minor variations in speed wrt tacking are, IMO, immaterial. We used to joke that we could go for days on one tack, negotiating with each other about when we should flop over to the other tack.

For the day sailor, by the time he decided to head back to harbor his fate was sealed. Until he flopped over and settled onto a return tack to harbor, no device could tell him how long it would take. He had either given himself enough time to get back, or he hadn't, and a gizmo telling him he was right or wrong can't be that much help.

Experience is invaluable, and until a sailor gains that, all the electronics around can't bring him home safely.

End of today's stint as the curmudgeon.
J
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:59 PM   #18
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I read the manual and I'm excited by this tech. However If I had a $1500 windvane onboard maybe not. I've been saving for a vane and this little beauty is priced right and has the latest tech. This gps learns your polars and the skipper is its teacher so what it learns is under control.
For me its not so much about getting home for tea as choosing the fastest or most efficient route.
I agree JeanneP simitry is important and may indeed be the reason some yachts are faster on one tack. I've tried to centalise the weight on mine by putting the house batteries under the table and against the mast suport. still think the current will have a large effect on this but if its the same side that is faster constantly my argument falls flat on its face. I think most properly built yachts would be so close to symmetrical that it wouldn't matter at all but we have the situation where growth seems to like one side of the yacht more than the other. My experience of the great craftsmen who build these is of an accuracy and itegrity to the drawings that is astounding. These folks take a lot of pride in their work. Really interesting to see this NASA world currents research in action. Here's a link.......http://www.gizmag.com/perpetual-ocea...ization/22024/
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:43 PM   #19
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Danblu, As it notes on the website, the NMEA sentences are open and standard that are sent from the solar-powered, wireless SailTimer Wind Vane. So if other products like Polar Navy can read NMEA wind sentences, then they should be able to receive and display the wind data sent through the air via Bluetooth or wifi. (I don't want to document my own name for posterity here, but am just trying to offer any helpful clarifications about product details from the information available.)

Your comments were interesting JeanneP. I agree with your point that we don't want to take the fun or seamanship out of sailing. But when making our judgments about whether we can make it back to the dock by lunch or to the coastline before dark, it is important to have safe, reliable information. Not ETA. ETA does not account for tacking distances. And if it does not know how far you are going to travel, obviously it can't correctly calculate how long it is going to take. Tacking Time to Destination is a better measure for sailors. You don't want it to replace your judgment and seamanship, but you want to use your judgment based on correct information. :-)
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:29 PM   #20
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...and I think it would be good , especially for racers, but also cruisers if forced to go to windward. Apparently it calculates different tacks to see which is the fastest which for most people is a guess. App for ipad also but I have a pc onboard. I don't have any wind instruments onboard as yet so I'm waiting to see reports on this vane.
... there is absolutely no need to combine the GPS with a wind vane as long as the GPS has the VMG-Funktion (velocity made good) already built in. Even my small backup Garmin out of the late 90ies has this function. A good explanation is found here: Velocity made good - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes, this sailing GPS might have the advantage that I don't have to tack to find out myself if the VMG on the other leg might better. But I could live with that...

And as wind direction and windspeed is just one factor that decides about the ETA, what about possible tidal currents that will change for sure later on? There is no sensor for that?

And what happens if the wind is veering or backing later on? Is the sailing GPS linked to any weather GRIP-data sources to be able to "look into the future"?

So, a fine toy on the hour out on the racing triangle, but not so necessary for longer passages...

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