My brother and I became proficient at tubing back when we used a real tractor tire inner tube. We mastered slalom skiing and we even surfed behind our boat way before the rest of the world discovered it. It wasn't until I was about 14 that a family friend took us sailing on his Johnson C scow. That day sail lead to both my brother and I owning many sailboats over the years and chartering extensively throughout the Caribbean the last 25 years. Sailing has been a big part of our lives.
The great thing about boating is that it brings the family together. This was evident last week when my two kids sailed with me in our local race.
Like my father I knew the best way to keep kids out of trouble was to occupy their time with good clean fun. I also bought a sailboat and a speed boat and taught my kids all the different activities on the water.
Since we live on a lake our home is very popular with all my kid's friends. We always had a boat full of kids and we taught them all to knee board, ski, wake surf, wake board and tube.
My kids only recently took to sailing and now seem to enjoy it as much as I do. It helps that we have a fast boat and have won the race the last three years.
The boat is an S2 6.9 and it is the perfect size for the small lake we live on. S2(Tiara Yachts) built sailboats back in the mid 1980s when sailing was very popular. My S2 is a 1985 which makes it a 30 years old classic.
Race time is a great opportunity to try out some of the many apps that I talk about in this blog.
As the race weekend approached I was constantly checking the weather daily on the Predict Wind app. This app provides two models which very accurately provide wind forecasts. You can view the wind forecast in tabular or chart format.
The app was predicting light winds on race day and that is what we had. There was not enough wind to race so we decided to move the race to Sunday as the forecast looked much improved. Predict wind also has a remarkable weather routing feature which looks at forecasts and provides the best route taking into account forecasts over the next few days.
iRegatta is probably one of the most useful for sailboat racing. The main display lets you set waypoints to mark the committee boat and the start line marks. It then automatically calculates your time to the start line.
The lower section provides a 5 minute count down timer that is very handy for timing the start of the race.
Other displays provide speed SOG, course COG, velocity made good VMG and wind information if you have wind instruments.
Another app that I like to use anytime to display speed, course wind and instrument data is the Marine Information Display, MID WiFi.
The app has multiple displays that allow you to choose the right text size and color for easily viewing all the navigation data at the helm.
The display can be toggled between the white, black or red backgrounds. The original MID app uses your devices GPS to provide the data. The newer MID WiFi can optionally use the devices GPS or NMEA supplied GPS and instrument data over WiFi.
The race chairman sets up the races on the Tracker website. Each boat must purchase the app and enter the specific race listed under Yacht Clubs. Select Start Tracking within the app prior to the start of the race to record the track of your yacht.
Spectators can login to the website and view all the boats being tracked in the race. This is great to get folks on shore involved and it easily allows them to follow the race.
I have personally used this during some races but have not got all the boats in our yacht club convinced to spend the $3 bucks to record their tracks.
This is great technology and it allows each boat the ability to record a track of the race. It is also useful to later replay the race back and analyze the racers performance after the fact.
If you are racing offshore and are away from cell service you can still track your position and share it with friends. I recently purchased a Delorme InReach satellite communicator. The InReach unit communicates with the satellites and reports back your position at a user selectable interval.
The unit can be paired with your smartphone through Bluetooth. SMS text messages can then be sent through the satellite system to your friends and family. An SOS button can be selected if you have an emergency and need assistance.
You can set up a personal tracking website with Delorme to show your track and current position. The website records and saves all your adventures for you. An annual registration fee and monthly charges apply for satellite service.
Well, it was a great race and JollyMon and her crew took home top honors in the monohull fleet and were overall winners in also. By using some of these apps you too can improve your sailing performance and become a better sailor. "Bringing More Geek to Yachting" is or motto here at i-Marine Apps.
Good luck and I hope your have a great summer boating season. Drag the kids away from the TV and Facebook and make some memories out on the water.
~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)