RYA Press Release
2 May 2008
New partnership bids to aid race officials in start line calls
RYA World Class Sailing Events have teamed up with EireTech, manufacturers of the Race-Trax GPS tracking system, in the continuing bid to assist race officials in making tough start line judgements.
EireTech will be granted unique access to key RYA events in order to allow experiments to continue in the quest to have a system that allows race officers to identify ALL competitors who start over the line and are on course side (OCS).
At present if a race officer cannot identify ALL boats then he is forced to signal a general recall and delay the start of the race.
But it is now hoped that through the use of the Race-Trax GPS system on each boat, combined with integrated software that can identify the position, direction and speed of the boat to an accuracy of less than 20cms, race officers will receive a signal on a computer screen displaying the identity of all offending boats.
At any of these experimental events the information will only be used in a retrospective way, comparing the real-time decision of the race officer with video recordings and the input from the computer screen via the Race-Trax devices. Race teams and competitors will not be able to be use the information to challenge decisions.
It is hoped that during the experimental trial, a database to evaluate the devices in live race systems will be generated prior to any introduction as an aid to race officers in high-profile events.
In addition the devices will be used at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, where the live tracking provides data for live positioning via animation, mark roundings and instant final results.
Rob Andrews, RYA Competition Manager, said: “These will be ground-breaking experiments to look at the accuracy and use of the devices in eliminating OCS and giving sailors a 100 per cent fair start on every occasion, eliminating the need for general recalls if a boat is hidden.
“Once successfully implemented, it will be a significant step forward for our sport when combined with the other advantages that the devices give us to spectators and safety. We know the exact position of every boat and what speed they are doing - just imagine how safe this makes our sport.”
Ian Watts, Race-Trax Project Manager said: “We’re delighted the Race-Trax system has been selected as the tracking system of choice by the RYA. EireTech has completely re-designed its military tracking system, Nav-Trax, which has been in daily use with the Royal Navy for the past seven years with the current contract running until 2010, for use specifically within the non-military sector. Our tracker modules are now smaller, lighter, more powerful and more feature-rich than ever before.
“The Race-Trax system will not only identify OCS infringements but will also enable a wide audience to follow races live on the internet. When coupled to an advanced 3D graphics/multimedia effects engine, the Race-Trax system will enhance the public perception of sailing by making it a more understandable and exciting sport to watch. We look forward to building upon this established relationship with the RYA and delivering fast and accurate real-time tracking data well into the future.”
Photograph: Start of Laser Standard race, 2007 RYA Youth National Championships, Hayling Island Sailing Club. Credit: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images. Hi-res image available on request.
M: 07769 505203
Notes for Editors
Ø The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national governing body for all forms of sailing, windsurfing, and powerboat racing.
Ø The RYA is recognised by all government offices as being the negotiating body for the activities it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 103,000 personal members, the majority of whom choose to go afloat for purely recreational non-competitive pleasure on coastal and inland waters.
Ø It represents a further estimated 500,000 boat owners nationally through its 1600 affiliated clubs and boat owner associations.
Ø Olympic and Youth sailing is a beneficiary of the Lottery funded World Class Programmes (WCP) and administered by the Sports Councils. The Programmes focus on performance sport with the aim of achieving sporting excellence on the world stage. Further information can be found on the UK Sport website at www.uksport.gov.uk and Sport England’s website at www.sportengland.org. The Volvo RYA Champion Club Programme and Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme are supported by Volvo.
Ø Further information can be found at www.rya.org.uk