Think data analysis and it’s hard not to conjure up images of earnest technical studies with spreadsheets full of numbers and detailed conclusions. Yet for some, like the instrument manufacturer Sailmon, data analysis is a new route to bring more fun into sailing and it is this that is at the heart of their recently launched free app.
At its most fundamental level the Sailmon app allows any user to see basic sailing data based around the GPS functions available on their smartphone. Whether you are racing or cruising on anything from a superyacht to a dinghy, trips can be logged, replayed and shared.
‘We want people to challenge themselves or the rest of the community every time they go sailing,’ says Kalle Coster, design and development director at Sailmon. ‘Whether it’s about being faster, making more miles or simply replaying your trips and reliving your best moments to improve your sailing skills, being able to log your performance adds to the fun of sailing.’
The intuitive software opens up possibilities for a very wide range of users, from offshore racers to kite surfers. Even in its most basic form, the app can assist with either multiple boat training or individual coaching where speeds, angles and other performance details can be logged for later analysis. The system can also mark points at which sail changes or manoeuvres were made.
Using the phone’s GPS tracker on the network, a boat’s performance is also readily available in real time to show key variables such as speed, wind angle and course over ground. Combined with polar data and wind data, the app’s performance screen also shows target speed and angle, which is especially important upwind.
The ability to build and store data over a period of time also allows a more accurate performance profile to be created, which in turn allows finer calibration of the data and improved target speeds.
Main picture: The new Sailmon mobile phone app is a powerful strategic and tactical tool for all competitive sailors, from kitesurfers to ocean racers. It can assist with multiboat training or indivdual coaching and offers coaches, race officials and even spectators the ability to monitor a racing team’s performance data in real time. It also integrates seamlessly with Sailmon’s existing suite of onboard instruments
The Sailmon app can also provide a more sophisticated link with the boat’s instruments, in particular the Sailmon E4 processor, either the standard White model, the high-performance Silver model or the ultimate performance E4 Black processor. Here, another key feature of this app’s versatility is its ability to operate independently as its own performance processor. And when more channels and features are needed it has full power and functionality within an existing installed Sailmon system.
With this link and the next level of data available, it becomes an even more powerful tool.
Yet there’s still more to come.
Sailmon’s innovative Windstation system, which is currently being rolled out, allows land-based locations such as sailing clubs to set up a live weather station that feeds accurate real time weather information out to the Sailmon app via the net.
In addition to having this data displayed live, it can also be tailored to show trends over a period of time. So, from basic sail selection for kite boarders, to offshore teams looking to see if the weather is playing to the forecast, this will be a strategic and tactical tool. And like the boat data itself, the Windstation data can be shared with club members, team mates and others.
In a racing environment, the ability to monitor individual performances in a fleet also opens up the possibility of alternative ways of rewarding performance. While a particular sailor may not have won the race they might have posted the fastest downwind speed, or the fastest path to the top mark.
‘We definitely want to encourage our users to explore all the capabilities and share what they do, what they learn and what they know among others,’ says Coster. ‘We want this app to become a tool to help sailors across a wide range of the sport, not simply to gather and analyse performance for one boat and one team, but be shared in its use across a community of like-minded performance sailors, who share the same hunger and passion to learn more and race better and faster.’
And as the community builds, Coster sees friends, family and competitors connecting and communicating by adding boats and friends to their timeline to share in what’s happening on the water, anywhere in the world.