Instruments for racing - What should I buy?

jnye

Member
299
16
Western LIS
Don't listen to the naysayers. Do what you're comfortable with (assuming you're not spending meal money!). I'm going through a similar process on my even smaller boat though my focus is almost entirely on navigator-style long day races. We've had success navigating with our phones and no wind, speed or depth transducers. Adding them now cause I think they'll be fun to have. And with mast displays showing bearing and distance to that mark 20 miles away along with all the other info, the crew can be involved more directly.

For your bay races, particularly if overnighters, perhaps AIS? Depending on the category of the races, you may need a masthead VHF antenna if you don't have one already.

 
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George Hackett

Super Anarchist
Sounds like you have locked yourself into B&G.  Make sure you get the Airmar DST801.  This Tri-Ducer also has the heel info you are looking for. Everything else you want can be found in all the brands out there.  

 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
11,059
2,691
didn't you once try to make a fluxgate compass competitor to tacktick back when they had non-user replaceable batteries? 
Yes sir. Man, that was a long time ago. Got the prototype to work, but all the associated costs to manufacture and get to market were more than I could handle. 

 
The trick is to keep your head out of the boat.  I’ve watched a fairly experienced driver get caught up in chasing polars and wind angles on the instruments while the whole damn fleet sailed past.  More info can be helpful, but the first issue is looking around, feeling the breeze, and sensing the feel of the boat.

 

LeCanard

Quack, quack, quack…
Bear in mind that most often, boatspeed shows 1/100s of knots while the GPS readout is 1/10s. It’s fun, of course, to se the boat go fast. But if you are going  in the 8-kt range, your competitors are prolly doing the same. The integers are uselss for trimning. And also The GPS is heavily filtered down to appear ”steady”.

 

HypnoToad

Anarchist
649
117
I surely do love a good analog wind angle instrument on a dark night with the spin up.

000-11714-001.jpg

 

bgytr

Super Anarchist
5,073
677
Depends on what level and boat you are sailing. If you intend on doing high level ocean racing or very competitive big boat racing, then getting good calibrated instruments with Expedition connected and a crew onboard who knows Expedition and can be the computer and instrument guy is very valuable.  With that comes a need for good boat polars. 

Sometimes what feels good on a boat is not always what is fastest.  Good instruments, polars, and derived data can tell you that, but it takes diligent calibration and a dedicated expert who can make the most of the electronics, and be able to discern when the numbers are reading right and when they are not.

 

Hitchhiker

Hoopy Frood
4,675
1,319
Saquo-Pilia Hensha
I'm ready to go to the electronics toy store! I'm looking to outfit a 35 ft race boat for around the buoys regattas and some distance bay races.

What capabilities am I missing? It would be nice to have:

  • SOG
  • Speed through water
  • COG
  • Mag compass
  • Apparent wind
  • True wind
  • Distance to start line
  • Chart plotter - Tracking, Bearing to mark
  • Heel
  • Post race analysis (is Sailmon the only good option for this?)
  • Apple watch integration

Can I get away with one vendor for all of the above?

Has anyone had luck with the combination of these B&G Units? Vulcan 9, Nemesis 9, Triton 9

Thanks for the advice!
I’ve been involved in the restoration and refit of a 35 ft racer in SoCal over the last year or so. We installed a B&G system centered around an H5000 Hercules processor, with a Triton display for the Nav station and two V7 displays for the cockpit.  It is relatively simple and easy to operate And will provide all of the data you listed above and more.  

Note, we do mostly point to point medium distance coastal races.  The longest being 1100 nm for this year.   

NKE has a competitive package as does A+T.  I’m helping another program to calibrate their package at the end of the week.  They have a H5000 cpu driving Garmin displays, so there other options.

Finally, right now I would not recommend the Nemesis display.  I had a terrible time with that product on a 51 ft race boat I use to sail on.  It was hard to operate and finally crapped out in the middle of a race to Hawaii. YMMV.

 

Sisu3360

Anarchist
623
210
I've been resisting anything more than a compass (I don't even have a masthead fly, I use shroud tapes), but I'm moving from a 150 to a 170 genoa next year which means going to a 3 headsail inventory. It would be really helpful to have TWS so we can dial in the changeover ranges.

 

KAB1242

New member
6
1
Annapolis
I’ve been involved in the restoration and refit of a 35 ft racer in SoCal over the last year or so. We installed a B&G system centered around an H5000 Hercules processor, with a Triton display for the Nav station and two V7 displays for the cockpit.  It is relatively simple and easy to operate And will provide all of the data you listed above and more.  

Note, we do mostly point to point medium distance coastal races.  The longest being 1100 nm for this year.   

NKE has a competitive package as does A+T.  I’m helping another program to calibrate their package at the end of the week.  They have a H5000 cpu driving Garmin displays, so there other options.

Finally, right now I would not recommend the Nemesis display.  I had a terrible time with that product on a 51 ft race boat I use to sail on.  It was hard to operate and finally crapped out in the middle of a race to Hawaii. YMMV.
Super helpful feedback. Thank you! Interesting to hear the nemesis display having issues... That's not a cheap product, so you would think it would perform.

 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
I suppose it IS sanctimonious.  But it's true.  The % of sailors whom those instruments will actually help improve their race results is vanishingly small.  I've seen many, many people think that a huge instrument package like that will suddenly improve their performance - and it doesn't.  And for those people whom it actually would help, I can't think of one that would come on a forum like this to ask about them.

If being a sanctimonious ass saves someone $15k, then yay me.
I'm with Grrr... on this.

If I were newer to racing than I am but had my rear view vision of today, I would pay a skilled, professional triangle drawer to sail with me and my crew for a season and help us bang out all of our go slows.  Then at the end of the season I'd give him/her a nice, etched, bottle of sin they prefer and thank them for their time and experience and ask them which sails to replace and for tips on what electronics to buy for the coming spring.

 

Go Left

Super Anarchist
5,271
605
Seattle
I'm with Grrr... on this.

If I were newer to racing than I am but had my rear view vision of today, I would pay a skilled, professional triangle drawer to sail with me and my crew for a season and help us bang out all of our go slows.  Then at the end of the season I'd give him/her a nice, etched, bottle of sin they prefer and thank them for their time and experience and ask them which sails to replace and for tips on what electronics to buy for the coming spring.
I had no idea sin came in bottles.  Well, on second thought, there's that nice Moet Chandon sitting in my refrigerator.  Hmmm.

And for the record, WTF is a "triangle drawer"?  Is that some sort of corner hutch?  Or a version of a Lazy Susan?

 

inneedofadvice

Super Anarchist
1,516
227
Sarnia
I redid my system a year ago, spent just under 5k on raymarine from defender. Axiom 9 plotter, 2 mfd's, plus one with the ev100 tiller pilot, wind/speed/depth with masthead and thru hull sensors, including all stng (raymarines nmea2000 equivalent) components. Installed myself, pretty easy to do. Some calibration required but wasn't to complicated. 

Considered b&g but the comparable components were over 6k. Also considered pelagic for the AP but I liked the integration offered by using all one manufacturer. 

Pretty happy so far, the Axiom has a lot of nice features, ev100 works well and everything communicates well with each other. 

 

Go Left

Super Anarchist
5,271
605
Seattle
I've been resisting anything more than a compass (I don't even have a masthead fly, I use shroud tapes), but I'm moving from a 150 to a 170 genoa next year which means going to a 3 headsail inventory. It would be really helpful to have TWS so we can dial in the changeover ranges.
That's what whitecaps are for.  And your little inclinometer gadget.  And your helm feel. 

Or do you want to generate something like this?

Screen Shot 2022-02-01 at 10.29.21 AM.png

 
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Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
Because it's always fun to make fun of sailmakers?   (What is it with the down-under contingent anyway.)

In any case, I'd be tempted to find one who knew about trapezoids, ellipses and arcs if I was inviting one on board.  
It is fun.  I sail with them a lot and do things like carry new sails to their customers or take damaged sails from docks to their lofts in my truck so that the customer is treated nice.  Occasionally they bring me onto boats they get invited on and need extra crew.  Fun, exciting boats, sometimes with lots of carbon.  They have impolite terms of endearment for me as well.

Even if they know about those shapes, when it comes design and measuring time they get broken into smaller and smaller triangles because that's how the math works.

 

danstanford

Anarchist
680
180
Lake Ontario
Bear in mind that most often, boatspeed shows 1/100s of knots while the GPS readout is 1/10s. It’s fun, of course, to se the boat go fast. But if you are going  in the 8-kt range, your competitors are prolly doing the same. The integers are uselss for trimning. And also The GPS is heavily filtered down to appear ”steady”.
It sure is easier to decide if a change in some element of trim is making you faster or slower if you have objective numbers to analyze. This is particularly true if there is some difference of opinion among the gang as to what is faster. 

The OP asked about instruments for racing so I am going to assume they are doing some practicing and deciding then what they want to do with the boat. 

 

Sisu3360

Anarchist
623
210
That's what whitecaps are for.  And your little inclinometer gadget.  And your helm feel. 

Or do you want to generate something like this?

View attachment 489085
Yeah, but then we have to put one sail up and test it before the race, then maybe crumple it away down below for the rest of the day. It would be kinder to the foredeckers and my sails to know what we're dealing with up front.

 




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