Electronic Instruments and Computers for Sailing Yachts

by R. N. B. Gatehouse

I’ve found that reading really old research is often more interesting than the cutting edge stuff. To see how ideas develop and in just a few minutes cover decades of development is really the essence of the information age. Here is just such a paper. Gatehouse suggest measuring true position by sighting known markers to triangulate your position which was considered unfeasible . Well a GPS is a whole lot easier, but wasn’t around 1970.

Gleaned Points of Importance to ArduSkipper:

  • where to put the speedometer – “the boundary layer beneath the hull of a typical racing yacht was nowhere more than 1 in. thick and was only about 1/2 in. thick at a position 5 ft. aft of the forefoot, the position finally chosen for the sensor [on a 24ft boat].”

  • “The leeway angle, which is the angle between the yacht’s fore-and-aft axis and the direction of motion through the water, reaches a maximum value when the yacht is close-hauled, this value varying between about 2° and about io°”

  • Wind Vane Error – the error of measurement of wind direction due to sail deviation seldom exceeds 3 degrees and is independent of wind velocity.,, [other researchers], indicated that the error was about + 7 degrees.… [Moreover] The error is such as to make the apparent wind angle greater than it really is.
  • Anemometer – The diameter of each cup is 1 in. and the length of its supporting arm is 1 1/2 in. Departures from linearity did not exceed 0.5 per cent within the speed range 2-60 knots.


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