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Support is king

Yacht Racing Podcast

A+T InstrumentsA+T Instruments offer support on a 24/7 basis with expert technical advice from engineers who sail and understand superyachts and raceboats.

Most yachts travel far from their home port and from the original equipment installer, who only rarely continue with long term support or understand the finer points of sailing. Thus it is critical to have direct access to a dedicated team who really understand and care passionately.

Analysis of years of support calls received by A+T show that actual equipment failure represents only a very small proportion of these such as a failed pcb in a wind sensor or lightning damage. Much more common are questions on configuration, calibration, settings or trouble with wiring such as poor initial installation or water in wiring.

Main image: Ghost has been hit three times by lightning. With A+T’s telephone support she was able to get back from the Pacific to Guadeloupe where a full A+T upgrade instrument system was fitted in just a few days.

A+T also offer support to non-A+T boats as they have a very deep understanding of instrument systems, their evolution and where things go wrong plus hold many spare parts for same day shipping. Many captains and engineers who have had initial help this way go on to become A+T customers.

With Starlink now widely used, A+T’s support often involves logging onto the yacht’s navigation computer to look directly into the system settings and diagnostics.

For independent validation of this see A+T TrustPilot or Google Reviews and compare these with similar blogs and Facebook pages for the other main instrument suppliers.

Velsheda – J Class
Velsheda has a rack of 4 of the giant colour BFD displays from A+T which are hung on a bracket from the boom when racing. These were originally fitted in Palma and used for the Mediterranean season in 2023 with great success and good feedback from the owner and captain. However after crossing to Antigua, with the bracket removed, the displays did not work when refitted. After an exchange of calls and photos with Will Gibbon, the captain, it was discovered that the connecting cable had been accidentally damaged close to the custom junction box that drives these displays. Having got to the bottom of the issue A+T built a new cable assembly and hand carried it

Marie – Vitters 55m Ketch
They had been having trouble with erratic wind solution over the 2024 Caribbean season. The Captain made some good notes and A+T had a look at the system on Teamviewer while mid-Atlantic to discover that wind calibration settings were wrong and more importantly the heel and trim set-up was set up back-to-front after equipment had been recommissioned. Changing these settings quickly resolved the issues.

Ronald Bunders, A+T head of technical support, assisting with configuration and software updates for a client yacht in Palma. It is generally rare for support calls to involve failed equipment.

SY Ghost – Vitters 37m
Lighting strike. The boat had a B&G H3000 system and some A+T displays when it got struck by lightning in Costa Rica taking out all instruments. Luckily they also had a spare processor, so step by step under A+T’s instructions the engineer got a single A+T display running, then using A+T spare parts tested the others, weeding out the good from the fried, and finally the sensors. Basic functions of speed, depth and wind were thus reinstated to get the yacht back through Panama to Guadeloupe where the rig was checked and the instruments upgraded to a full A+T system by Osprey Technical Consulting. Osprey later commented, ‘We always know we are in sake hands with the team at A+T. Their genuine commitment to looking after clients shines through in their consistently excellent service and support’

Winsome, Huisman 18m Sloop
Recommissioning the boat two days before the 2024 Easter Regatta in Cowes the crew found that wind sensor was not working. Closer inspection showed severe water ingress into the sensor while the rig had been on the ground over winter storage. Fitting an old pcb of unknown status did not resolve so the crew brought both the working and spare vertical wands to A+T in Lymington. They were both serviced with new bearings and pcb, tested and returned while the crew waited to take them back 1½ hours later. Boj Mirck the navigator later posted on Google ‘High quality marine navigation equipment that comes with unparalleled after-sales service and commitment to their loyal customers’.

Many hundreds of large yachts have special shut-off valve sensors for speed and depth (left). The Huisman-built Twizzle has some custom units over 1m long and when the originals failed A+T built a new custom set in just a few weeks (right).

Expedition and Furuno interfacing
Many yachts are using Expedition software for racing and routing. While the basic linking of Expedition to A+T processors is well covered in the manuals, a good number of curly questions arise regarding interfacing, using custom and alternating channels and getting these onto mast displays. Here A+T are ably supported by the ever helpful and Lymington based Campbell Field who is a real expert on Expedition. A+T run a full set of Expedition in house so situations can be reproduced and diagnosed. Similarly many yachts are now using Furuno Time Zero for navigation. A+T has worked closely with Furuno to ensure that A+T systems and Time Zero work seamlessly over Ethernet connection and again keep a full working TZ system in house to assist with configuration and testing.

Custom projects
No job that can be done phases the development team at A+T who take looking after custom projects as a personal challenge. Recent examples include specialist autopilot output drive to replace Segatron pilot electronics, new loadcell electronics to allow wireless load measurement of halyard turning blocks, replacement 4-20mA tachometer to match historic instrument panel.

Many hundreds of large yachts, motor and sail, have 32mm paddle wheel and depth sensors that fit through brass shut-off valves that allow safe servicing and changing with no water ingress. The sensor can be withdrawn into the housing, then the certified gate valve shut before removing the sensor. A+T are the only company making these. However, many Huisman and other yachts have had these built with custom lengths so an A+T specialty is rebuilding these often on short turnaround times.

Regattas and core yachting centres
The tireless team of engineers and sailors at A+T visit and sail at many of the main regattas and sailing areas over the course of the season and cover typically the Caribbean, Antigua, St Marten & St Barth’s including Caribbean 600 during January to March, then the major Mediterranean centres and regattas Porto Cervo, St Tropez, Monaco, Cannes finish later in the year in Malta and Sydney for the Hobart. Meanwhile Palma is covered by A+T’s permanent and stocked office there, and the UK South coast from Falmouth to Cowes is serviced directly from our design and manufacturing base in Lymington.

Lymington is where electronic instruments were born and A+T welcomes owners, captains, project managers and sailors to visit and in summer take a drink on our demonstration boat, Rum Jungle.

Click here for more information on Visit A+T Instruments

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