The idea behind the Ockam Matryx is to offer accurate information in a centrally located display. Whether racing to the next mark or rounding a remote atoll, itís hard to fault the reasoning that the more accurate the information and the better its dispersal among crewmembers, the easier it will be to make critical decisions about controlling the performance of a boat. The more crew in the know, the more likely a concerted effort to keep the boat moving at optimal speeds and angles. The fact that Ockam systems are used on Americaís Cup boats and successful grand prix racers attests to the companyís high-performance and high-quality philosophy.
The proper use of instruments is to heighten and reinforce the senses, not to replace them. No sailing instruments respond to changing wind and sea conditions nearly as fast as the human brain does. That said, there are big-picture concepts, such as target speeds and angles and velocity made good on a specified course that may be beyond immediate computation while surfing along under a spinnaker. Subtle changes in heel and wind angle can spell the difference between "line honors" and "also ran." Most races are won by small, consistent gains over time, rather than by dramatic changes in race strategies. Enough such gains and you may just find your boat leading the pack. Ockam goes beyond wind, depth, and speed instrumentation to develop a performance information system capable of quantifying factors attendant in every boat. Ockam systems integrate important variables such as heel range, upwash, roll rate, mast angle and friction that are often side-stepped by other systems.
The Ockam Matryx display serves as a bridge between a straight display and a full computer display that was previously only available on a PC running software. Sophisticated mathematical models whiz through the circuitry of the system and are displayed on high contrast LCD displays with large viewing numbers and wide viewing angles, enabling all crewmembers to be involved in the action and in tune with the boat. And information is re-calculated a mind-boggling four times a second.
Customized pages can be programmed with relative ease (though I suspect a penchant for programming VCRs and a free afternoon probably helps) to include just about any measurement you might imagine, including boat speed, target speed and angle, time, depth, downwind courses, sea and air temperatures, and polar boat speed. Also included in the display can be test errors, depth below surface, distance lost, VMG, waypoint range and bearing, next leg wind, wind direction, heading, opposite tack course, and Ockamís proprietary "wally" a model for optimizing sailing in shifting winds.
Additionally, the unit is capable of displaying port and starboard layline readings, heel, VMG, back range/bearing, leeway, a permanent log, apparent wind angle, barometric pressure and trend, a stopwatch, true wind speed, and true wind angle. Finally, mast angle, trip log, trim angle, boat speed, depth below keel, current set and drift, VMC course, course over ground, and speed over ground can also be displayed. Whew. You get the idea. And the Matyrx displays inputs from other Ockam instruments. One to four items can be displayed per page for up to 18 pages, which amounts to a near-bewildering 6.3 million possible combinations.
Beyond the technological know-how, there are also some desirable design features. The unit has the option of being horizontally or vertically mounted. Switches sense viewer commands through the glass, eliminating sources of leakage found in mechanical buttons, while the flush mounted design keeps surfaces smooth and protects crewmembers and instruments alike.
Each unit is tested in an evacuation chamber for water-tightness and then baked for three days to insure its reliability. Internal fuses, opt-isolators, and other protection devices are used to protect the equipment from lightning strikes, voltage spikes, or other potentially damaging electrical situations.
Even the stingiest racer canít help but lust after what the big guys use, especially if youíre bringing up the back of the pack. Ockam Instruments probably arenít for everyoneís boat, or perhaps more accurately, theyíd be great for your boat, perfect in fact, except that you may find they unleash an economic maelstrom against your checkbook: itís a quality product and quality costs. Affordability, depending on your definition, may be secondary. "Can you afford second place?" is perhaps a better way to qualify this system. If you are looking for a competitive edge, youíre likely to glean insight into your boatís performance and find an advantage that could pay big dividends in the next series and beyond.
Ockam Maytryx: MSRP $1875.00
See more information on this product in the SailNet Store.
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