Sunday, February 3, 2013

iTacTic Tactical Racing App

Application: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch iOS 6.0
Function: Tactical Sailboat Racing App
Rating: ***
Cost: Free

I am very competitive and if there is any kind of race, I am in it to win. Sailing is no different for me.  If there are two boats on the lake I consider that a race.  I am always looking for a way to gain an edge on my competition.  We have a small yacht club so we only have a few races a year.  The winners get bragging rights until next season, so it is fun to win.  My kids have raced with me for many years and are just as competitive.  Old Vince Lombardi had it right, "winning isn't everything, it is the only thing"!

iTacTic is an app designed to help you win sailing regattas.  It will get you to the start line on time and provide performance data during the race.  After the race you can share the details of your racing tracks with friends.  The app was released in November of 2012, so it is fairly new.  The app is similar in some respects to the iRegatta app that I recently gave an update on.

Features:
  • Multiple Boat parameter profiles
  • Bow Offset
  • Jibe angle
  • Tack angle
  • Background mode of operation
  • Units in meters and feet, knots, m/s, mph,  km/h
  • Default tack and jibe angles
  • GPS precision
  • GPS accuracy
  • Distance to Start line
  • Time to Start line
  • Set Committee boat coordinates
  • Set Pin coordinates
  • Speed over ground SOG
  • Course over ground COG
  • Velocity made good VMG
  • Wind direction setting
  • Adjustable countdown start timer
  • Track recorder
  • Add markers to tracks and map
  • Annotate your tracks
  • Sailing performance
The app is broken down into three sections. The RACE section is used at the start and during the race. The SAILBOAT section is used pre-race to set up the app with your yacht specific parameters. The TRACK section is used post race to review and share your tracks with friends.

 The SAILBOAT section allows you to add specific data to the app about your yacht prior to the race.  This data aids the app in providing optimal performance data to the sailor.  The app needs to know what the bow offset is from the location of your iPhone or iPad. Set the distance in feet or meters from the bow of your boat to the location of your device.

The app also needs to know what your yacht's tack angle is.  This is the totals degrees between starboard and port tack. The value is usually 65 to 90 degrees. 

The jibe angle is the total degrees between one jib and another as shown in the image at to the left.  While making settings, swipe the display to see help screens for explanation of these settings.

Default settings can be made in the iPhone or iPads settings menu. Select the iTacTic icon and make the necessary default settings.

The RACE section is the most extensive and useful during the race. It has three pages of settings and readings to aid you in getting the most out of your yacht during the race. 

The first page provides basic SOG and COG data readings in the center of the screen.  The big digital displays can be easily read. 

On the top of the page are the Velocity Made Good, VMG and performance readings.

VMG is the component of the boats velocity that is made in the direction you are trying to sail.  When you are tacking into the wind this number will be positive and when you are jibing downwind this number will be negative.

The Performance reading measures the current tacking or jibing angle compared to the expected angles that were entered in the SAILBOAT settings.

The next page is used to help with the start of the race.  A handy countdown timer can be set to the desired time until the start of the race. 

The reading at the top shows the Distance to the starting line.  The distance is calculated from the start line coordinates entered on the next page.

The middle reading is the Timer in minutes and seconds.  Time can be added or subtracted from the timer with the buttons at the bottom of the screen.  The start and stop button, located on the bottom center of the screen controls the timer.  Once the timer is started the track recording is also started.

The timer display counts down to zero and then automatically switches to the Course and Speed page for the remainder of the race.

The timer needs to be stopped once your race is over. This will stop the track recording also.

The bottom reading is the Time to start line reading.  The app calculates this with your present SOG and the Distance to the line.

The third RACE display is used to set the wind direction and start line points of reference.

There are four buttons on the bottom of the display. The first button on the left is the pin icon. This is used to set the coordinates of the flag end of the start line. The next button is used to set the coordinates of the committee boat end of the start line.

Wind direction can be set by facing the iPad or iPhone into the wind and tapping the compass rose button at the bottom of the screen.  The wind direction can also be set by tapping the Wind direction and manually entering the data.

Tap the sailboat icon to select your boats preset parameters.

Starboard and port tack headings are shown at the top of the screen.  These are based on the preset tack and jibe angles.  The Compass indication is shown at top right.

The last section is the TRACKS page.  All of your tracks during the races are separately recorded and can be viewed here.  One neat feature is that you can add the start line, marker buoys and other points to the track.

Annotations can be made to the buoys and makers by tapping them. Add a title or subtitle note for a description. The buoys can be deleted here also.

Buoys and markers can me moved after selecting the Modify markers icon in the upper right of the screen.  The bottom icon in this group enables the Drawing feature which allows you to draw freehand on the map.

Use the Export arrow icon in the lower left of the display to share your tracks with friends an family. Export your winning tracks to Facebook, Twitter, email in KML and GPX formats.

Not a bad start for iTacTic 1.0.  I like what I see so far.  Some obvious additions that would make the app more useful would be different display colors for day and night vision, waypoints, wind speed, NMEA data import, NOAA charts and polar diagram integration.

iTacTic has some work ahead of it, but it could become a real contender with die hard sailboat racers like me. 

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)
Mark

7 comments:

  1. Hi Mark,
    Great article! I would like to start using this kind of tools, but I am not sure what would be the best choice, iRegatta (Pro I guess) ot iTacTic. I read that iTacTic also sell a box to interface Seatalk and NMEA devices. I read both of your articles on these two, but when you compare them, which one would you prefer or advise? On board I am usin Raymarine devices (ST60 with Seatalk and thei Tactic wireless wind system with NMEA).

    Thanks!

    Klaas

    ReplyDelete
  2. Harry,

    Welcome to the site! Hope you become a follower to keep up on the latest posts.

    I prefer iRegatta Pro over iTacTic. iRegatta has more feature and better mapping functions. The boat setup data is more extensive and allows you to add the polar diagrams of your exact boat. The Race Start features allow you to set waypoints for the start line position an timing.

    iTacTic is still free so you can download it and try it out. If you find you need more features, then upgrade to iRegatta.

    Sail On
    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark but are the developer of Iregatta?

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  3. Replies
    1. No I am not the developer of any of the apps I review. I research them, use them and write about them. The opinions on this blog are mine alone. Take it for what its worth.

      Stop back soon
      Mark i-Marine Apps

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. I agree iRegatta is more comprehensive but iTacTic is much less complicated to use when you're out on the water and easier to read using an iPhone wth a Lifeproof cover. I find he menus and screens in iRegatta are so inconsistent and it's easy to touch it and find you can't get back to the screen you want due to wet fingers. I think iRegatta is best for keelboats and tablets - iTacTic is better for small boats and phones.

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