UpWind Sailing Manual Part 2
We have made some good progress with this program. If you want to get good at sailing, this is the way to get there. It's going to give you a record of your up wind sailing performance. That's the part of sailing that makes you into a good sailor. It's going to tell you about different wind conditions and how you and your boat handled those conditions. One of the most important features of the program is identifying sail trim and what's good and what is not so good. Talking sail twist to a new sailor is like talking to someone in another language. You can see the results of different sail trim with this program. You can also see how good or how bad your tacks really are. We all have some bad tacks, but this program tells you how bad or how good they are. One of my customers asked if it was automatic program and said no at that time. I took his advice and made the tacks automatic. It's pretty easy to use and really accurate.
Don't worry about using the little tablet. Itís not going to bite. Turn it on and hit the software button and that's it. You will have to keep it charged. Battery life varies with the brand of tablet. It has to have a built-in GPS and that's what makes all of our measurements possible. You can't screw it up and it didn't cost that much in the first place. I install the software at The Sailboat Company and I sell the Tablet. Prices vary by tablet. The best so far is a Samsung Tab 8. Both programs, tablet and shipping should run about $250.00. The cost depends on the availability of the tablets. Check with me via email.
Click on the SailUpwind Icon and the program starts. The first screen is the database. It will come with one published entry. That entry shows a real good sailor that sailed upwind at 45 degrees. It gives you a date, a wind speed calculated from the appearance of the water's surface, your pointing angles for course 1 and course 2. There are three database buttons at the bottom of the screen. One is Add, the second is Update and third is Delete. I will explain how these buttons are used when we save an entry. The button on the right top of screen is a navigation button. The GPS button brings up our next screen.
The GPS screen is the heart of the program. It does most of the work and all of the calculations. When the knot meter on left side of the screen is visible, the software is ready to use. The following is the instructions for manual operation: Push the Control button once when you are ready to start your first leg. You are going to sail upwind on one leg, tack and then sail up wind on a second leg. A label will say Start before you Start and then Starting Leg 1 after you push the button once. The software will be recording your first course during this period of time. You can sail this leg for as long as you like. Sail as close to the wind as possible using sail shape, heel angle and any other tricks you may have. It goes without saying that you should point up in gusts. Push the Control button again just before you tack. The label will say tack and then say Starting Leg 2. Sail Leg 2 like you sailed Leg 1 and when it's time to stop, Push the Control button a third time and the label will say Finish and then push it once again and it will say Results. The results of your sail will be displayed on the face of the screen. They include the date. and the wind speed that you pre-calculated by looking at the surface of the water. That calculation is: 0 to 3 = Slick water, 3 to 8 = dark patches on the water, 8 to 12 = dark patches everywhere, 12+ = white caps, 18+ = white caps with the tops blown off. How close you came to the wind or your pointing Angle, the course for leg 1 and leg 2. The most important figure here is the Angle. Most sailboats sailed well should be around 90. That's 45 degrees to the wind. The wind direction is in the middle of the 90-degree angle or whatever angles you might have. On the coast, current is a consideration and looking at a stationary object to identify current is important. If you have current; one leg is going to be real good and the other real bad. The manual procedure is very accurate and if you have another person in the boat, he or she can operate the tablet. If you are by yourself, the automatic procedure below is recommended.
Make sure you are on your desired tack and moving. Touch the Manual Button one time and it will change to Auto. Start the program by touching the Control Button one time and the Start Label will change to Starting Leg 1. While you are sailing this first leg, two additional bits of information will be displayed. Both are numbers indicating your starting and present course. Sail the course as long as you like and tack the boat when ready. The program will tack itself and start the second leg. When you are ready to stop, follow the manual instructions with the control button until it says Results.
This is the cool part. Those two additional bits of information will cause the software to tack the software. No manual input is required. They will also measure your tack. I don't think this has ever been done before. How well you tack will determined how well you point your boat into the wind. A bad tack will cause lousy up wind performance. The software is currently set to tack at 70 degrees. For Olympics Cup boats, the trigger would need to be decreased. For cruising boats, 70 degrees appears to be about right. The procedures used for up wind performance and tacking performance are different. One is more accurate and less flexible and the other is less accurate and more flexible. You can get the best information from both procedures as written. Both the up wind and the tack angles can be recorded in the database and displayed in chart form.
The buttons at bottom of the GPS screen do lots of work. The Control button we have talked about. The other two buttons are navigation buttons. The Save button takes you back to the database screen and copies the GPS data into the top portion of the database screen. This data can be copied to the database. The software will not allow duplicate entries in the database. It will prevent it from happening with a message. If you look at the first database entry, you will see what a 90-degree angle looks like. That angle or better is what we want to achieve in different wind conditions. Can you do it?
OK, How is this program going to make me a better sailor? Currently, some of your tacks are good and some of them are bad. You will never do 45 degrees to the wind with a bad tack. Your trim is just right sometimes and not so good other times. When you keep track of good and bad, the good will get better with time and effort. A Com- Pac 23 will go 1/2 knot faster with a little twist at the top of the main. Can my sails be tensioned to get 50% camber in the main and 33% in jib and at what wind speed??? Does my boat point better with a perfect 3-degree slot or does it point better with more and at what wind speed??? Knowledge is power and that's a fact.
Years ago sailors got their experience in clubs or racing sailboats. That doesn't happen anymore, but we still need some way to compare our boat's performance with other boats. That's how we learn and that's how we get our experience. Years ago, some inexperience sailors said the Com-Pac 16 couldn't point because of its shoal keel. I think they were overpowering the keel and couldnít point their boat from inexperience. This new program should help us become excellent sailors quickly and with your help, we can publish the true facts about a boat's performance.
A cool thing about this program is you can simulate sailing by walking and holding the tablet in your front yard. I have almost worn a path in a few spots in my yard. The neighbors think I may be crazy. I keep walking around my yard holding a tablet. I hope you can sail faster than I can walk. Walking does work.
A sister program that comes with the Tablet is Speed and Distance II. We will use a separate Manual to explain its operation.
I said I would explain the database buttons in the first manual. The first button saves the entry at the top of the form. It's called the Add button. The second button saves an edited entry from the top of the form. Touch the entry in the list and it will move to the top of the form. Touch an entry and you can edit the entry. Touch the Update button and the edited entry will be saved. The last button is Delete button. You can delete anything except the first or only entry.
I have a Com-Pac 23D going in the water in about 2 weeks. I plan on giving you the results of our pointing angles soon.
> Lets talk some about GPS. It's only accurate to within 15 feet of a location on earth. That statement is true. GPS satellites transmit ID numbers and accurate time signals at specific time intervals. These signals pass through a magnetic layer surrounding the earth. It's the same layer that tells a compass north from south. This layer varies from time to time and may distort the GPS signal when it passes through it. In our case, we are not using GPS to measure angles with respect to earth. We are measuring angles with respect to other angles that have the same error. The reason they have the same error is because they are being used in the same location at the same time. If all the measurements have the same error, the accuracy with respect to each other is perfect.