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Author: Brendan Busch (brend...@sfsail.com) contact the author
Subject: Integrated Electronics
Info: (14748 views) Posted: Wednesday 11-9-05 04:42:57 PM
Integrating information from different transducers can give increasingly useful information for racing. VMG from a GPS isn't really a useful piece of information while racing, as it won't really help compete on a race course.

However, integrating a GPS with an onboard boatspeed and compass can calculate current speed and direction. Knowing current speed and direction accurately is a HUGE advantage while racing, particularly in San Francisco. You can tell exactly when you've crossed a current line as well as how big a difference has occured. And you can often determine relief is happening even if not super-close to the shore.

Integrating wind speed & apparent angle with boatspeed and compass can give two very useful bits of information: true wind direction and true wind speed. Wind speed can help make correct headsail choices (which can win races if you make the right call while sailing on a downwind leg). True wind direction is hugely valuable to determine wind shifts while sailing and especially in the prestart.

Thus a very well configured integrated electronics setup can give you: True Wind Speed True Wind Direction Current Speed & Direction Polar information (ie, target boatspeeds) If you add in waypoints (particularly in the ocean) you can get: Distance to laylines Time to laylines

There are lots of other good bits of racing information that you can get from integrated systems that standalone GPS / speed / compass can never get you. However, these systems are expensive, and before the new TackTick wireless system, somewhat counterproductive on an Express 27 (masthead wiring and transducers for B&G or Ockam systems adds a lot of weight aloft, but the Tacktick wireless wind transducer is very light and no wires).

Now that TackTick (and probably, soon to follow other providers) have lightweight wireless systems, it would be feasible to add truly integrated electronics to an E27. And it would be an advantage on a race course.

For now, I'd assume the current restriction on integrated electronics prohibits the display of any information that is computed from the inputs of seperate trandsducers, compass, or gps...

--brendan

:: Just playing devils advocate here, but if that is the
:: intention of the rule isn't it just a bit out dated? I
:: mean every hand-held GPS on the market will give you VMG
:: to the mark. You can mount the unit anywhere on the
:: boat. So what's the point. When the rules were written
:: it was probably pretty exotic to have a set up that
:: "integrated" navigation and speed but today it is pretty
:: common. Ask yourself this, if the rule were to change
:: tomorrow would everyone have to run out and buy some
:: fancy equipment to stay competitive? No! I mean compared
:: to a cross sheeting winch assist it seems pretty minor.
:: If someone wants to go spend a fortune on fancy
:: electronics, let them.
::
:: :: We have the tacktick wireless set-up on Moxie. BTW,
:: :: doesn't violate the rules as long as you are just using
:: :: speed and depth. I believe it becomes integrated if you
:: :: hook it up to a GPS so it would give you VMG to a mark.
:: :: But that is just my take on the way the rules are
:: :: written.
:: ::
:: :: The display on the wireless isn't quite as bit as the
:: :: racemaster. We don't have a problem seeing the numbers
:: :: though.
:: ::
:: :: The up-side to this set-up:
::
:: :: 1)no wires going through the deck to the unit. You do
:: :: still have wires below deck that go from the transducers
:: :: to the brain. Just none from the brain to the display.
::
:: :: 2)It needs minimal juice to run the transducers (i.e.- a
:: :: 9v battery can do it, although I don't know for how
:: :: long.)
::
:: :: 3)The display can be taken off easily and stored safely.
:: ::
:: :: The down-side to this set-up:
::
:: :: 1)the display pops off and can be lost overboard (which
:: :: we have done once and now have a small piece of line to
:: :: secure it to the cradle just in case).
::
:: :: 2)lost programming or synchronization and had to send it
:: :: back to the manufacturer to get re-programmed (twice in
:: :: the 3 years we have owned it). Great customer service
:: :: though and they did it for free except the shipping
:: :: costs to them.
::
:: :: 3) expensive - but what isn't these days.
:: ::
:: :: All in all, I would recommend this system as not having
:: :: wires going through the deck to the mast is a pretty
:: :: nice thing. Works as good (reliability wise)as any other
:: :: speedo I have used over the years.
:: ::

:: :: -Jason 
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