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Catching up with the champions...

by Cyclops Marine 19 May 06:30 PDT
Landsail Tyres J-Cup © Paul Wyeth Photography

How Wireless Load Sensing is Bringing the Middle of the Fleet Forward

Every year sailors get more data driven, dialling into new data sets, training and racing practices to give them an edge on the competition. With the coming of each new season it quickly becomes clear which teams are progressing, looking forward and putting in the work to make gains on the water, and who should be looking over their shoulders...

Still a relatively new presence in many classes, the true effects of Cyclops Marine's wireless load sensors on the competitive landscape are only now beginning to become clear.

When the technology became accessible a couple of years ago, there was a widespread uptake from fleet leaders, allowing them to perfect and refine their winning formulae. We are now seeing the drip-down effect in the rest of the fleet, and 2022 could signal a new competitive order for those using the data effectively.

With sensors now onboard many Corinthian boats and those in the middle and towards the back of fleets, they now have the ability to challenge the leaders on equal footing, especially in classes that have whole-heartedly embraced the data. In these classes, knowledge has spread like wildfire - once a well kept secret, knowing optimal dynamic rig settings is much more commonplace, meaning that the middling boats can emulate the settings of the champions to an exact number, live on screen - hence we're seeing the gap between the leading boats and the rest of the pack beginning to close.

A good example is the J/70 fleet in the UK, in which leaders like 'Jelvis' have been using the technology for some time...

Jack Wetherell (Trimmer, Jelvis):

"We've been using the smarttune sensor on the forestay in training for a while now, and making some nice gains. For me it puts an exact number on all those tricky trim variables. It's not class legal for racing on the J/70, so it's all about analysing and improving every time you go out there to train, then transferring those findings onto the racecourse. The app is great for taking the data away and getting the most out of it."

Jelvis has made a fantastic start to the new season, winning the first three Grand Slam events with dominant performances.

But it's not just about the boats at the front of the fleet. Knowledge gathered from the data is spreading, and especially in the hands of expert coaches like Andrew "Dog" Palfrey who's had the opportunity to observe and use the technology, it can be used to great effect to emulate the exact settings of those at the front, making for an altogether more competitive landscape.

"It's not only seeing the loads. It is also building a factual understanding of what is actually going on with the rig dynamically. For example, what happens to the forestay load in an Etchells when we ease the mast ram forward - or when we pull the vang on upwind in a J/70? From using the sensors I've built up a bank of numbers for different conditions - I have learnt what loads are fast and how the controls interact. So, when using them in training, we use the live number to get up to speed and then practice hitting it time and time again, so it becomes second nature for race day"

One by one each class is catching up with how to fully harness this new technology. Don't get left behind. If you have some catching up to do, or you want to blow everyone out of the water this season, get in touch with Cyclops and find the sensor that can transform your season.

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