Skipper's Technical Corner
Nav Track System 1
GPS System
On-board Computer
B&G 2000
Night Vision Scope
GPS Backup
Auto Pilot

GMS Cellular
Mini-M Satellite
Inmarsat C Satellite
SSB Radio
VHF Radio

Weather Trac System
Inmarsat C
SSB Radio
part 5

Distress Signals
Inmarsat C

Safety Equipment
Abandon Ship Bag
Safety Harnesses
Antarctic Survival Suits
Medical Kit

Safety Equipment

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.

Navigation  Jul09_01.jpg (42491 bytes)   Jul09_06.jpg (53139 bytes)   Jul09_08.jpg (48496 bytes)   Jul09_07.jpg (45217 bytes)

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 system uses the satellites deployed by the USA for military and private navigation.  Our primary unit is a Northstar 941X.  It uses 12 satellites to compute our position and the screen shows our latitude and longitude every five seconds!  It also computes our speed over the ground (SOG) and course over the ground (COG)  In addition, it also provides this information to our on-board computer for use by other systems (B&G, Nav Track, Tactician, Auto Pilot)  Ordinarily, these positions are accurate to within 30 meters (100 ft.) The government deliberately introduces an error in the signal so foreign military will not abuse the system; however in certain areas there is a differential beacon which allows you to correct for the error, giving a position accurate to within 12 feet!

Visual Navigation

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.

On Board Computer   Jul09_02.jpg (49451 bytes)

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.

B&G 2000

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:

Average Boatspeed
Velocity Made Good (VMG) Upwind/Downwind
Dead Reckoning Course and Distance
True Wind Speed
True Wind Angle
True Wind Direction
Heading on Opposite Tack
Pressure Trend

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)
Reaching Performance (% of Reaching Speed)
Target Boatspeed
Optimum Wind Angle
Next Leg Wind Predictions
Tidal Set and Drift


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.

Sextant   Jul09_05.jpg (54425 bytes)   Jul09_04.jpg (51722 bytes) 

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

GPS Backup

We use a $280 Garmin III handheld GPS.

To be Continued