My vote is for a good watch with racing timer. But I find it hard to believe a boat of that size does not have instrumentation and a timer built into one of those. I have yet to race on a boat from 20 feet up without a timer built into the boat. If there is any instruments on board ask to see the manual and read up on it. Chances are there are functions on them no one on the boat know about, or at least you will know the fastest combination of button pushing to get to the functions.
I had bought the Citizen Stars and stripes watch way back when I started racing. I got it for only $100. It served me well over the years but got very beat up(the crystal and paint), and almost lost over the years. If you position is ever outside the cockpit, I suggest you not risk wearing a watch, you will loose it.
I currently wear a Casio watch which I highly recommend. I do not have the sailing one but looked at it very closely, just chose a different model for my other activities.
- It has a solar rechargable battery
- Gets atomic clock setting signal wirelessly each night at midnight from the US atomic clock somewhere in Colorado.
- has compass, barometer, temperature and altimeter functions just to name a few.
One word of caution though is the race committee will likely be using GPS time and atomic time vary by 19 seconds currently. Check this site out for more info
GPS, UTC, and TAI Clocks
Any watch that has a racing or yachting timer would be worth it IMHO though. It will beep off each minute then every 10 seconds the last minute, 5 beeps for 50 seconds, 4 for 40 and on down then a beep each of the last 10 seconds. After the countdown finishes it will go into timer mode so you can time your course time then use the split timer function after finishing to see by how much you beat the boats behind you to see if they corrected over you or not. All these functions allows you to man your position and still act as the boats timer.
I like the casio a lot but it is a plastic looking watch and not as cool looking as a the citizen watch which is metal and has the cool looking chronograph functions. I can't wear the Citizen mtn. biking though as its too heavy the casio is great for this. You can get the watches with or without a lot of the functions, solar charging, atomic, time etc, which double the price usually.
Whichever watch you get, put a velcro band on it if you are using just for sailing, their too ugly for a daily wearer if you have a real job. The watch will get beat up and eventually it will get caught on something. With a velcro band liek "the Band", just one pin will break leaving the watch dangling on your wrist from the other one, saving you from an expensive splash.