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Amendment Proposal: To Allow Position Sensing Devices and Technology - YOUR COMMENTS NEEDED

posted Feb 16, 2017, 3:44 PM by Thistle Class   [ updated Feb 19, 2017, 4:51 AM ]
Amendment proposal from Fleet #61 to permit technology to enable post race analysis

The proposal revises CMR #65 as follows to permit position sensing devices during racing as follows:

Revise Chief Measurer’s Ruling #65 to read as follows:

Electronic or electrical devices shall not be used except as follows: digital electronic compasses are permitted, provided that they do not have the capacity to display any information other than the digital compass heading; electronic starting timers and stop watches are permitted; position sensing devices are permitted provided that the information that is recorded or output is not used onboard.


CMR #65 Existing wording:

Electronic or electrical devices, such as electronic navigational instrumentation, shall not be used. Digital electronic magnetic compasses are permitted, provided that the devices do not have the capacity to provide any information other than the digital compass heading. Electronic starting timers and stop watches are not prohibited by this CMR and may be used.


 Reasoning for the change:

A growing number of devices exist today that have the capability to record speed, position, heading, and other parameters about the device’s position and movement. Most people already own a smart phone capable of recording this information, and many other standalone devices exist, the sole purpose of which is to record this information. There are several websites, including free services,that can display a recorded track. Carrying such a device on board while racing to record information for use in post-race analysis can be beneficial for self-improvement, education, fleet building, live race broadcast, and class promotion to name just a few. As the amendment states, such a device would not be allowed to be visible, audible, or otherwise usable while racing.



1. Self improvement- Analyzing one's own race data can have significant value in improvement of one's sailing ability.

2. Education- Viewing a replay of a race in a group or classroom setting (think Coach-TCA afternoon debriefs, fleet racing recaps, accompaniment for slide shows at regatta dinners, etc.)

3. Class/Fleet Building- In order to attract millennials, juniors, and other up and coming sailors to our class, we must embrace the technology that other classes are adopting.

4. Live Broadcasting- This amendment provides for the ability of devices to broadcast live race data to allow spectators to watch races in real time. No more waiting for FaceBook updates or Tweets about who is rounding the marks first.

5. Advertising- Race replays can easily be used for advertising purposes.





Additional Information

During the 2009 season, the Seattle Thistle fleet used the Kattack Race Analysis system, for which they were granted a temporary exemption by the TCA. Low-cost GPS units were stored out of sight during racing (in a dry bag or rear tank) and data was uploaded to a website after all boats had returned to the dock. The fleet’s goals in using GPS recording were education and fleet building and the technology was very successful at helping fleet members improve their sailing. Below are quotes from 2009 from fleet members.

“Our fleet has always been welcoming to new members. We share go-fast ideas, hold ‘crew change & improve’ nights, and congregate in the parking lot to discuss the evening’s racing. Our use of Kattack fits right into that pattern and is particularly useful for sailors who are new to the sport (not just new to a Thistle) – precisely the sailors we are all working so hard to attract and retain in the class. Being able to see the decisions that more experienced sailors made in a race has helped new members learn about tactics and strategy…In essence, we view Kattack as a coaching tool, and so far it has been a great success!” --  Doug Stumberger 

“The Kattack allows one to see after the fact how one tacks affects the time it takes to regain speed. You can see how shifts were played correctly or incorrectly. We don’t have an issue with people looking at the devices during the race. I and some others put it in the rear tank, so it is not visible. It is a good teaching tool for both experienced and new Thistlers. It adds a new dimension to races by being able to see what others did and how they achieved their results. I think it adds to the racing experience. It is not an advantage on the race course so there is no mandatory must have to spend the money issues. If you don’t want to use it, you are not at a disadvantage in the race.

 -Wayne Balsiger -2010 PNW District Governor


I'm happy to provide feedback from the "middle" crew position. Kattack provides invaluable feedback for any team looking to improve their racing skills. In #3995 my job is mainly sail trim, boat speed, and reading the shifts. Kattack is a fantastic visual tool that allows me to compare (after racing) my boat speed against other boats. It also reports when my "navi-guessing" skills are successful or not-so-successful. (i.e.: how did I miss that big righty!). Kattack is the next best thing to a real life coach.

 -Laura Bolin – Fleet Secretary/Treasurer


I thought it was very helpful to be able to assess my boat speed against other boats and to be able to review and try to learn from my decisions/errors relative to the wiser members of the fleet.

 -Tom Staiger


Being a mid fleet boat, it’s been great to watch our sailing angle and speed against some of the upper fleet boats. It has cleared up some perception problems and helped us focus on specific issues which are far obvious in review on the tracks then it is in the heat of the race.

 -Fleet 61 member


 Submitted by Graham Vaughan, Fleet #61


Position Sensing Devices and Technology