A unique real-time tracking system for yacht racing will have its debut during the 2007 Heaven Can Wait 24-hour yacht race, to be held on Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle, NSW, on September 29-30.
The system, based on the EziTrak system boat, car and mobile equipment tracking system developed by the Australian-based Rojone, will allow real-time tracking of all yachts participating in the race.
It is anticipated that results, including handicap results, will be available with an hour or so of the race finishing.
Rojone's EziTrak system uses a combination of GPS and GPRS (mobile phone) technology to accurately track a yacht's (or vehicle's) course, reporting back to a central computer with positioning data every few minutes, with accuracies to within a few metres.
In the case of the HCW 24-hour race, an EziTrack GPS unit and transmitter - along with GPRS SIM cards supplied by Mach Communications - will be provided to each boat, and provide an accurate log of each yacht's course - and the distance travelled over the 24 hours.
The boat which travels the furthest over the 31 Nm course during the 24 hours will be declared the scratch winner. Handicaps will also be applied in real-time, so that handicap placings will be available at the same time as the scratch placings.
HCW founder and organiser Shaun Lewicki said that the solution provided by Rojone was ideal for the 24-hour race - but it would also have applications for other sailing events.
'Because this race is won by whoever achieves the greatest distance over the 24 hours - as opposed to a traditional yacht race, where boats aim to do a set course in the shortest possible time - we can't use conventional race-keeping methods.
'Rojone's EziTrak tracking system will cumulatively log the distance each boat travels over the 24 hours, and produce a total distance travelled on the dot of noon on the Sunday,' he said.
'In addition, we'll be able to view each boat's course around the Lake in Google Maps or Google Earth - and skippers will be able to relive the race, and view their opponents' courses and tactics, once the race is finished.'
All participants in the HCW race will be given the opportunity to purchase the EziTrak system from Rojone at a significant discount - giving them the tracking system for future HCW races, but more importantly, giving them a complete anti-theft and security system for their yachts.
A fully installed EziTrak system is hooked up to bilge pumps, the engine and the battery meter, and can automatically notify owners of any unauthorised or unusual events on their yachts, including theft, a dragging mooring, low battery, or the bilge pumps working.
Shaun said the EziTrak yacht race tracking system would also have applications for other races, as well as cruising yachties.
'Everyone one in the yacht racing world knows how difficult it can be for the race committee to accurately check boats crossing the line early - especially in large fleets - as well as logging the correct finishing times and order, and ensuring all boats have followed the correct course. 'A system such as EziTrak will allow RCs to see who is over the line early, as well as accurately determine correct placings and the course sailed - and this is something Rojone is keen to explore further.
'We also know there is strong potential demand in the sailing community globally for a simple, reliable system such as EziTrak,' he said.
'We have already had a number of strong enquiries from around the world, from yacht race organisers interested in this system - so the eyes of the global sailing community will be on Lake Macquarie in late September.'
Livia Grabowski, managing director of Rojone, said EziTrak's involvement in the HCW 24 hour race was a great opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the system - and also support the race's key purpose: raising funds for cancer research.
'Rojone is delighted to have this opportunity, as it opens up a potential completely new market for us,' she said.
'We are also very pleased to be supporting this high-profile event to raise funds in the fight against cancer.
'Following the race, we will be happy to talk with other sailing organisations, both in Australia and around the world, about how EziTrak might work for them in managing yacht racing events.' EziTrak systems will be handed out to each competitor in the 24-hour race on the Friday evening or Saturday morning immediately before the race.
For further information on Rojone, please contact Livia Grabowski, managing director, ph (02) 9829 1555, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.ezitrak.com.au.
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