Stupid racing question - Navigation
This question is going to reveal just how little I know about racing big boats, so apologies in advance.
I have been reading about interesting instruments systems that provide target boat speed data to the crew. As a software guy I find this intriguing, and I understand how the computer combines all the data to produce target boat speed data and the best course to sail to a downwind mark.
What I don't see is how it knows where you are going. Of course if the crew knows this then they can tell the machines. And I suppose if the race uses well known navigation aids as marks that's easy to do.
But, in the case of a race where the marks have been dropped in place for that race, how does the crew get the mark location information into their computers?
More to the point, someone mentioned that I won't be able to see the marks, so I should "just follow all the other boats." Well we all know the flaws in that strategy! So then, how does the crew know where the marks are, just to get to them?