Wireless Electronics on Sailing Dinghies
Until the era of smartphones and tablets, it was not possible to have wind and GPS electronics on sailing dinghies. Most electronics are not submersible in a knockdown, and small centerboard sailboats may not have 12-volt batteries on board. Fortunately, the wireless SailTimer Wind Instrument™ is submersible and suitable for boats of any size. It can even be installed on small centerboard sailboats...
First, drill 2 or 3 holes and mount the Wind Instrument using the L-Bracket and the 3.8-inch (9.7 cm) Mounting Rod accessories:
Click any of these pictures to open a zoomable view in a new tab.
Now we can raise the mast and launch the boat...
The Wind Instrument is just the right size up there, even on a small centerboard sailboat
. It is wireless, and also provides a visual indicator for wind direction. That is handy for sailboats with no motor like this one, where you are sailing off the dock...
But a light centerboard boat like this bobs around, even at the dock. Don't worry, as you can see in this YouTube clip, the SailTimer Wind Instrument™ stays dead-steady into the wind, even with the mast swinging around.
Of course, while you are under sail, you can use a waterproof case so your tablet/smartphone doesn't get wet. But sailing dinghies can flip, so you may want to add a tie-down loop...
This little butane torch works great in the wind for melting the end of the line after it is cut...
What can you see on your tablet/smartphone? Boat speed, wind direction, wind speed, chart depths and GPS location are all very useful. Plus we are seeing an amazing evolution in the capabilities now easily accessible for ordinary sailors. Features that until recently were only available on sponsored race boats and with tacticians and complex computer software on board. Now right on your phone, in a sailing dinghy! Lots of apps work with the SailTimer Wind Instrument™, for both Android and iOS, such as this wind gauge in the MID WiFi app. It is interesting because width of the blue sector indicates the variation in wind direction:
The free SailTimer™ chartplotter app has some unique features for sailboat navigation. It is the only product that calculates tacking distances to determine your optimal tacks and your Tacking Time to Destination (TTD ®). Even the most expensive GPS chartplotters don't do that. If you are using the Wind Instrument, just enter a waypoint, and presto, your optimal tacks and TTD are displayed:
Of course, the app shows water depths and your GPS location (and we will be adding worldwide vector charts in an update very soon -- more on that in an upcoming newsletter). You can also save and share your GPS track:
The SailTimer™ app also has a big, easy-to-see display of wind angle:
Also polar plot learning and graphs of wind and boat speed:
You can also share your wind and GPS data online, even from a small centerboard sailboat. That means that you can let someone ashore monitor where you have sailed to, in any web browser at SailTimerMaps.com (below). That's a great safety feature. Or with a web browser from home or office, you can check and see if there are live wind conditions available from any boats nearby that are sharing wind data. Or sailing club members can watch races from shore and replay them later for performance analysis. As you can see in the screenshot below, worldwide marine charts are also available (free) at SailTimerMaps.com. Some apps are also starting to display this live overlay, such as the very popular AFTrack SailTimer Edition chartplotter app on Android (free), and the SailTimer chartplotter app on iOS.
All of this in a small sailing dinghy, with your phone or tablet!