We thought it would be good to share our experiences with a new and easy to use training method - GPS tracking. We’ve all seen the cool animated images when sailing is covered on T.V, with streams of data coming in like boat speed, direction and what not.
Similarly, some might have seen some of the GPS tracking that happens at major events. When Sean was coaching RS Fevas last winter and the weather got a little too severe, these could be used as a great source of learning. With it, it’s very easy to see why some boats consistently come out on top and why some get shot out the back. For example, check out a recent a recent race at the 49er Europeans: http:// secondary.traclive.dk/events/event_20130703_erEuropean/index.php?raceid=3fc57910-e41c-11e2-ad44-60a44ce903c3
This technology is quite expensive and complicated, however as we (and many others I’m sure) have discovered, this technology is much more accessible than once thought!
Smart phones these days have a GPS sensor that is perfect for this need and there is a ton of apps that do the job such as “Runtastic” or “Yachtbot”! We use “Runtastic” mostly. It is available on Android and iPhones and is both free and easy to use. From it you can get a GPS trace of your race and your velocity at any point during the race. To add to all this, you can upload your data on the spot and view it all online. Check out some of our races online:
https://www.runtastic.co /en/users/sean-cleary-6/ sport-sessions/82837535
The only other part required is an aqua-pack for your phone. This reduces this risk of water damage which is essential! Also make sure the phone is tied to you of course. Our general rule is to not use tracking when there’s a lot of spray or a chance we’ll be going swimming!
We have learnt an enormous amount from this. Some examples are:
- We have realised how bad a bad tack can be! For example, check out the speed/time graph below. You can see here the time taken to tack and accelerate backup to full speed(in about a force 2 wind) is about 30 seconds! From this we’ve spent time in training on our light wind manoeuvres and improved greatly since.
- We can spot where we have made some starting or tactical errors. Check out our start in the photo below. The blue dot is us at about 5 seconds before the gun. Because of our approach to the line here, we had to make a sharp right to start the race. You can see a dip in the speed graph below which cost us! This was very handy for analysing after. Other examples are spotting how headers or lifts or even the tide affected your race!
- Working on boat speed. This one is very difficult to do because there is such a huge amount of variables when sailing. It can be hard to know if your extra speed is due to a pump or harder hike or simply a gust on that day. Our best recommendation for this area is to get another boat and match race one another so you can compare boat speeds in roughly the same spot at the same time!
- Going for a burn! For those days when it’s blowing stink and you’re looking for more than just the facebook “profiler” as Tyner calls it. Our personal record for the RS400 is 17.3 knots!
Not too much to report this weekend. It was planned to sail the new 18 foot skiff on Saturday but it turns out it’s much harder to rig than we thought. After working for 6 hours at rigging, the boat was more or less rigged. However, at that stage we ran out of day light so we have to postpone its first outing ‘till next week. Frostbite sailing on Sunday was business as usual. The wind was quite light but a solid days racing was had!
Sean and Tyner