|Skipper's Technical Corner|
Nav Track System 1
Night Vision Scope
Risqué is fitted out for world cruising - tricked out with the latest and greatest technology and creature comforts The boat is the result of our current philosophy of offshore sailing which consists of having a comfortable boat and then sailing it as fast as possible. We aren't fussed with cutting our toothbrushes in half to save weight, but rather with whether the icemaker is full! On the sailing side we'll take the performance cruising boat and push it as hard as possible around the clock when racing.
I'll try to take you through our systems by giving both an overview and some technical detail for those interested. We have had the experience of working with excellent suppliers as well, and will provide links where available.
As I read of Captain Bligh sailing an open boat 3600 miles with only a sextant in 1790, it seems like cheating to have such electronic miracles as we have on board. On the other hand, we will be able to race faster, over better planned courses with much greater safety. If all this new fangled stuff craps out, we'll have to actually THINK for a while and we still have our trusty sextant available and we'll train the rookies to use it as well!
GPS System (Global Positioning System)
This baby will knock your sea boots off! The computer displays the chart with the boat in the middle of the screen. You just click on the chart to create waypoints to your destination and the computer does the rest - course, distance and time to the next point. You also see the boat moving on the chart and any changes in your actual course and the plotted course - this is great for racing, when you want to sail the closest or fastest course to the next mark or waypoint.
We are using an Industrial quality (for vibration) 233MH Pentium Pro with 128MB of RAM and two 6 Gigabyte hard drives. An 8 port digiboard gives a total of 9 serial ports for input and output to other integrated systems. Two video cards receive imagery from the Weather Trac and SatNav broadcasts. A Sceptre 14.5" flat monitor and a 12" High Intensity deck repeater (this is really trick, as you can read it in broad daylight! It's touch screen as well, so you can move a waypoint right from the wheel!) complete the picture.
Our primary instrument system has sensors for apparent wind direction, apparent wind speed, boat speed, depth, electronic compass heading, ship's voltage, barometric pressure, and sea water temperature. It uses two processor units: the Main Processor and Performance Processor which integrate raw data from the sensors and other systems into a set of race winning functions displayed on a choice of displays throughout the yacht, including the skipper's bunk!
From this information the Main Processor then computes the following:
The Performance Processor adds a set of performance data for the boat called Polar Tables. These indicate what speeds the boat should be achieving under various wind and weather directions and conditions. With these it computes:
Tacking Performance (% of Optimum Speed)
We use a Furuno with a deck repeater. This shows objects up to 48 miles away (hopefully icebergs too) and indicates bearing and distance to target. Useful for tracking Ships and fishing markers in heavy traffic and low visibility (fog) areas.
When all else fails, we should theoretically be able to use the Sun and stars to find our way. These photos show our new rookies shooting a Sun line. We should have our position in minutes! (Downtown Rangoon?)
Night Vision Scope
We use a $280 Garmin III handheld GPS.
To be Continued