The SailTimer™ brand: for sailors, a quick and easy navigation method using real-time wind data and tacking distances to display the optimal tacking route. Determining the best tacking angles and an accurate Tacking Time to Destination have been problems for generations of seafarers.
GPS chartplotters do not account for tacking distances when calculating ETA, and have not explained the problems with ETA and VMG for sailboat navigation in decades of owner’s manuals. So in the era of wireless tablets and smartphones, SailTimer is disrupting the status quo. Now, ordinary sailors can use advanced navigation functions like custom polar plots, without needing a professional tactician on board, or sponsors to cover the costs. With SailTimer™ products, you get the most advanced navigation products, at the best price. In the past, the wind angle would just be shown on a gauge, with a little numerical display of wind speed, unconnected with tacking routes. But with the SailTimer™ brand experience, ordinary sailors can use the mobile device they already have, with our wireless anemometer, so that as the wind shifts your tacking results update automatically. America’s Cup technology for your racing, cruising, daysailing or gunkholing — no matter what size, kind or age of sailboat you have.
For decades, hardly any sailboat owners bought masthead anemometers. They were overpriced, had little innovation, and the wiring was hard to install. But our Wind Instrument is changing all that. It does not cost $1000 or more, can be used on its own without other pricey hardware, it gets new features all the time with low-cost apps, and its crowdsourced wind maps are going to become an important part of the marine weather forecast. We are in the midst of a huge leap forward in sailboat navigation technology.
From 2003-2005 the company produced The Cruising DVDs, an interactive cruising guide series covering the entire route from the coast of Florida across the Gulf Stream, through The Bahamas, The Turks & Caicos, The Virgin Islands, and into the Caribbean. After those sea-miles, with new technology on the horizon such as social media, crowd-sourcing and smarphones/tablets, the company’s R&D put it at the leading-edge of electronics and software for sailboat navigation with the SailTimer™ app, the original SailTimer for Windows, SailTimer for Google Maps, The Sailing GPS™, the wireless, solar-powered SailTimer Wind Vane™, the completely redesigned SailTimer Wind Instrument™, and most recently the SailTimer Air Link™.
SailTimer manufactured the first GPS that accounted for sailboat tacking distances, and the first GPS device that could learn the actual polar plots for an individual boat. Out of the thousands of mobile apps available, we have the first app that calculates and displays tacking routes as chart overlays. We manufactured the first masthead anemometer that transmits to mobile devices. Subsequent models of the Wind Instrument contain many further innovations. For example, it is small and submersible, making it the first masthead anemometer suitable for all of the centerboard sailboats out there. It is the first masthead anemometer with a digital compass right in the wind direction arrow (which is actually so unexpected that there is no NMEA 0183 sentence for apparent wind direction, only for apparent wind angle relative to the bow of the boat). It is the first connected masthead anemometer for crowdsourced wind maps. The Wind Instrument is also the first anemometer designed to measure wind speed equally accurately when sailing along heeled over, as sailboats usually do. The new Wind Instrument RB™ may be the first masthead anemometer with a replaceable battery (and is certainly the first to use the battery as the counterbalance). As another example of innovative R&D, SailTimer developed the first-ever mounting system for masthead anemometers that doesn’t require lowering or climbing the mast. If your boat is in a marina with wifi, the Air Link also lets you check wind conditions and temperature at your boat online in any web browser from home or office. That has never been possible before.
At a more technical level, we have also changed how polar plots are used in sailboat navigation. This may be our most important original research contribution. Before the SailTimer technology for tacking distances and times, polar plots were only theoretical “targets”. They were expensive to buy, were only about a generic model of boat, were difficult to get from manufacturers, and were usually only estimates from a velocity prediction computer simulation. Few ordinary sailors used them. Now, the patented SailTimer tacking calculations make it quick and easy to use polar plots. Starting with The Sailing GPS and now the SailTimer app, we collect empirical data on your boat’s speed on all points of sail (not theoretical targets). This provides a custom polar plot for your individual sailboat. Until our technology was proven, this was not even thought to be possible. Finally, we don’t just show you the polar plot; it is then used in the patented SailTimer method to give you more accurate tacking results.
SailTimer Inc. has a valuable IP library which includes multiple patent filings for the low-cost product solutions that we have been bringing to sailing enthusiasts. These have been licensed out since 2006 to other companies including Johnson Outdoors/Fugawi, TackPad app, NavSim, and NavX Studios, the developer of iNavX and MacENC (see SailTimer in their features and screenshots). There is a detailed explanation here, but it would be fair to say that for sailboat racing and navigation worldwide, we’re the ones who made ETA and VMG obsolete.
For an overview of the hardware and software we have produced, there have been short YouTube demos as some of the new features and innovations have appeared.
SailTimer Inc. is a registered member of the Bluetooth SIG. Using Bluetooth Low Energy, SailTimer Inc. is one of the very few companies with the technology for a wireless device that can transmit to smartphones powered only by solar.