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  #1  
Old 04-16-2001
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instruments

I was just wondering what you folks might think the basic package of instruments is for racing is.
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Old 04-17-2001
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Getting out the checkbook, eh? I find the most useful instrument is actually the binnacle compass. We use it to track lifts and headers, find the marks, plot rhumblines, gauge the angles on the competition to see if we''re gaining or losing and to determine if we''re making someone or will have to duck them. (We also have a digital compass which is only useful for some of those functions.) Secondly, the speedometer, finely calibrated, tells us if a trim adjustment makes a difference. The GPS would proably come next, helping to set courses to marks that are out of sight and letting us know how the current is setting us. The depth gauge lets us know if we are brave or stupid to be cutting so close inshore, and so is perhaps more valuable than it might at first appear. Lastly, the Apparent Wind Indicator can be really nice. This is especially so at night, when the telltales aren''t easy to see and you don''t want to announce yourself to the competition by shining a flashlight on your sails. The AWI is also good for telling you when jybing might be advantageous, particularly in light air when it''s blowing a little harder and from a little diffent direction at the top of the mast. We also have a SailComp, but in four years haven''t really figured out how to best use it yet - the previous owners lost the manual. Hope this is helpful, and (perhaps) lets you save some money for that sail...
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Old 04-18-2001
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Yes, I guess I am, to some extent. I have a limited budget and wanted to get a feel for what others deem the most important gadgets. So you say the binnicle compass, a speedometer (capable of fine tuning), gps (I have) depth gauge and an AWI. In that order or would you say the speedometer and depth are a little more important--if you had to choose?
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Old 04-18-2001
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A compass and depth gauge are items you need to have anyway, not just for racing. The other items are more or less in the order I find them useful for PHRF racing. If you don''t race or sail at night, the AWI is pointless; you can get a masthead fly for $30. If you''re racing one-design, or against other boats of your same type, the knotmeter is less useful because you can judge your speed against the other boats, or use the GPS. Lots of variables in sailboat racing. Makes it more interesting.
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Old 04-18-2001
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A compass and depth gauge are items you need to have anyway, not just for racing. The other items are more or less in the order I find them useful for PHRF racing. If you don''t race or sail at night, the AWI is pointless; you can get a masthead fly for $30. If you''re racing one-design, or against other boats of your same type, the knotmeter is less useful because you can judge your speed against the other boats, or use the GPS. Lots of variables in sailboat racing. Makes it more interesting.
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Old 04-19-2001
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I agree with Paul, although the knot meter is helpful in learning how fast you should going on each point of sail and to fine tune for speed between races or when the fleet is not close along side. I make out big time down wind by using the knotmeter to gauge how low to I can go. There is a spot (at least on my boat) where speed drops off precipitously but you can''t feel it as fast as you can see it on the knotmeter.

Jeff
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Old 04-19-2001
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One more thing, your compass should not be on the binacle for racing. It should be further forward (perhaps on the bulkhead or bridgedeck) where your crew can track shifts and where you can keep an eye on it without having to look aft. The same is true of your instruments. The key is to lay out the boat so that the helmsman can see both his sails and instruments with a minimum amount of head swiveling.

Jeff
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Old 04-19-2001
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Thanks guys, I appreciate the info. There is a compass and knotmeter on the boat. They have been sitting in drydock so long and the boat was built in 77 so I would be afraid they are not working right up to snuff. How would I go about checking the knot meter before I put her in the water. The compass, it seems, I could simply compare to another compass and then calibrate if neccessary. I have a garmin hand held gps. So it would seem the only things I am missing are the depth and AWI. Any recommends on a relatively inexpensive depth gauge? I fear the AWI will have to wait. Oh what I could do with an unlimited bank account!!!
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Old 04-29-2001
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Personally I splurged this winter and replaced my 10-year-old Speed/Depth and AWI after my crew cracked the speed/depth readout last season. I went with Speed/Depth/AWI & Compass with GPS interface from Nexus.

If I wanted to go with the minimum instrumentation, I would install a wind vane, telltales, a Garmin GPS, a Depth meter for less than $350 (depth meter optional $200). The GPS gives me boatspeed and also provides compass headings while under way. But it provides much more than a compass can; direction to the next race mark and it tracks/plots the boats course. With the shareware software I have found on the web, I am able to download the GPS after the races and get much better analysis as to how the boat actually sailed, upwind vs downwind, port vs starboard. Fantastic technology!
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Old 05-15-2001
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1. speedometer
2. wind instrument that is connected to the speedometer, You need aparant wind angle while tacking and true wind angle downwind.
It will also show vmg. Learn the best wind angles for tacking and running from the polar diagram for your boat.
4. Compass for picking wind shifts.
5. Gps for where the hell is the next bouy.
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