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Author: Mark Lowry ( contact the author
Subject: TackTicks
Info: (14004 views) Posted: Friday 12-30-05 11:24:58 AM

Folks --

My impression in discussing this "integrated electronics" issue with Jason a couple of years ago is that the intent of this rule is to ban the integration of GPS systems with other sensors. As Brendan has correctly pointed out in this thread, integration of speed, and wind with GPS does provide a very accurate technique for optimizing performance in racing venues with significant current. My own personal belief is that the fleet should continue to ban such integration of electronics. The Express 27 has such great "feel" it is really a "seat of the pants" kind of boat. I'd hate to see that changed and reduced to a sail by numbers approach totally. I understand Tibor's point, but I think you climb up the learning curve faster by observing the boats around you, rather than have your head stuck in electronic readout land too much. Also, I don't think the wireless networking of sensors to readouts constitutes such "integration" (in agreement with Jason's early comments): it merely replaces the running of wires with a wireless link, leading to one less problem when the mast is de-stepped and stepped.

However, as someone else has pointed out in this thread, we do now have a means to "interpret" and clarify the rules. That mechanism is rules intrepretations through the National Advisory Board. There are a number of things like this that need attention, and I will be emailing members of the NAB with proposals within the next couple of days to address this and other issues. I will email the proposed interpretations and NAB ruling to the membership, reminding all that the membership can over-rule these interpretations with the appropriate number of members in agreement. So, standby...

Finally, my experience with the Tack-Tick wireless instruments has not been as positive as Brendan's. We have lost a readout overboard (which sounds just like Jason's experience on Moxie this year). We now duct-tape the damn things in place. I was suspicious about this mount from the get-go, but not suspicious enough. I have complained to the Tack-Tick distributor about this (but it is not clear that they are really listening). With all the banging around that we subject our boats (and ourselves) to on the bay, its pretty clear that this quick-release mounting mechanism is not adequate for the bay... maybe it is OK for other venues, but not here. Also, I have had the hull-transmitter unit fail. This is the unit that wirelessly communicates with the readouts mounted on the mast. Wires from the sensors terminate in this unit below decks, rather than going directly to the readouts. I kept getting a "low hull battery" indication and the system would shut-down completely, as a result we sailed much of last season without instruments...that was painful. It was under warranty and they replaced it. Now, the fluxgate compass is not working! I will (hopefull) be sending that back before the warranty runs out.

Bottom-line is the Tack-Ticks have not been that reliable, at least not on Xena. The concept is great, maybe I just got a lemon, sounds like Brendan has had better luck.

Anyway there is a new US distributor, they are located in socal. So far they have been pretty responsive to replacing failed components, but if you plan on buying one I would grill them about the reliability and complain about that cheap mounting mechanism. They need a mechanism that is more robust than that.

Later, Mark Lowry, Xena #68 Express 27 Fleet Poobah

:: I'm also in agreement that this rule could use updating
:: regarding integrated electronics should be revised to
:: reflect current trends and bring these archaic rules
:: into the 21st Century. This is not that big of a deal,
:: cost-wise anymore (and this is coming from someone who
:: doesn't have alot to throw around) and I think would be
:: great to incorporate into the fleet . . . personally, I
:: find it interesting and would add to my enjoyment and
:: learning of the sport.
:: I think the really good sailors in the fleet will
:: benefit some from this upgrade but probably not as much
:: as the less experienced because they already sail so
:: well and understand the Bay conditions so much better
:: that it won't give them a quantum leap away from the
:: beginners. So, I'm not so worried about the best getting
:: so much better that they are untouchable. The beginners
:: on the other hand, will be able to sail more
:: intelligently and similaneously better understand the
:: nuances of the Bay. Perhaps the net effect will be to
:: bring up the "rear" of the fleet, modestly, creating
:: better contention with the rest of the fleet. This
:: should make for more exciting racing overall and I think
:: that would be a good thing as a whole.

:: - Tibor
:: Kolibri

:: US 28859
:: :: Perhaps we should understand what "integrated" means.
:: :: Paraphrasing the dictionary, connecting two or more
:: :: elements is integrating. It would seem that connecting a
:: :: GPS does not define the system as integrated. If two
:: :: instruments can "talk" to one another they are, by
:: :: definition, integrated.
:: ::
:: :: I agree with Will. When our rules were first written the
:: :: instruments now available to us were only a dream. Their
:: :: relative cost to 25 years ago is not that much. If we
:: :: were to remove the prohibition of integrated instruments
:: :: it could be a move to modernization of our class rules.

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