Well, late last year I came across a new website called www.tacktracker.com. It is run by an Australian company that has constructed a software application that allows you to analysis your own races via a GPS logger in the luxury of your own home and easily sharing your tracks with others who raced that day. After looking at how the software worked with the publicly available races. I decided to invest in the racing software + the GPS logger + a water proof pouch.
So far I have been pleased with my purchase, as it has been a great tool to review my own race, put notes in regarding conditions, note what was happening to you at the time, etc. Even if it is your own track you have loaded I have found that you can compare your approach to similar legs to see which one was quicker and why.
The real power of the software comes into play when you start to load multiple tracks, as seen in the screen shot below. Luke on several occasions has been kind enough to send me his track data so I can see what is happening between our boats. One thing that I have picked up is that Luke picks lifts better and more consistently as 9 times out of 10 his upwind legs are quicker. On the other legs the time is much closer with me having a better chance in closing the gap.
Now you might wonder to yourself that all this data looks good, but how long does it take to load? Well the answer is no long at all. For example the screen shot included is of Summer Series Race 4. If anyone remembers the course was 3 large and 3 small triangles. This equates to 20 legs in total. All I needed to do was transfer the data captured from the GPS logger into TackTracker (30 seconds). Create an Event and type in the course marks i.e.( C B A C B A C B A C D A C D A C D A G) ( 2 minutes). Then place marks on the graphic screen, so one placement are required for the A, B, C, D & G marks (2 minutes). Then finally place your start and finish lines (2 minutes). Once this is done the software automatically calculates all legs and the data associated, so you can start analysing straight away. So in less than 10 minutes you have your race broken down into legs and ready to share with others.
The TackTracker software has a nice feature, instead of sending emails with data to your fellow competitors. All you need to do is click on the Share button and your track is stored in the TackTracker site and is downloadable to others who share their tracks and are in the same race location as you are.
Finally, I would recommend this software as I believe that it is helping me with my sailing and it is also good to see your own race warts and all. If this article entices you to invest, then please let me know so we can share our experience/knowledge.