Posted by: Dan Sprague | July 23, 2012

What sailing instruments do I Need?

Wind is free!  What sailing instruments do I need for my boat to take advantige of the free wind?

With 8 to 10 inches of sunshine and with the wind free I am ready for a great sail.  I can get out on the water and enjoy the day partly because the wind is free and my fuel costs are negligible.

Unless I have a specific destination, I need little in the way of navigation instruments.  Most of the time when we go out, it is just to have fun, and enjoy sailing the boat. I let the wind’s direction be the deciding factor on what direction I start to sail. For that we need minimal navigation instrumentation.  Most sailboats do not have a cockpit set up with a lot of Navigation Instruments like a power boat has, unless it is a motor sailor. With a sailboat you cannot just sail to a specific spot in just a straight line. The wind controls how you get there.

The type of sailing you do will determine the instruments you use and need. When we go out for just a pleasant sail, a compass and a depth-finder is all we need. If we are destination bound, a GPS / plotter or tracker is nice to have. It will keep us informed on the basic direction we need to sail.  If we are going cruising, a wind system and a speed system should be added to the package.  If you want to race a multi analog display can be added.

I like a nice clean looking cockpit in my boat, and the instrumentation too be easy to read, functional and stylish. Sailing requires more than just steering the boat on a specific course.

Tacktick makes a line of electronic instruments specifically for sailboats. Their systems can give you what you need and they are designed for the sailing boaters needs.

Starting with the compass, you can have a digital compass or a magnetic compass. Both do the job. A digital compass needs a power source to work and can be integrated to other electronic instruments easily. A magnetic compass needs no power source, and just displays the directional information to you. I personalty like the looks of a magnetic compass, but a digital compass can give you more that just a direction.

Tacktick  has an Electronic Solar-Powered Digital Micro Compass that is self-contained. The T060 Micro Compass is solar powered so no wiring is needed. The compass can be mounted on the mast or a bulkhead. This waterproof compass shows heading, a tactical scale, and has a countdown race timer. It is ideal for dinghy racing or bigger boats.

A good magnetic compass that I like is the Ritchie 202 Navigator with Clinometer. It is easy to read and has a clinometer built in as an extra feature.

Tacktick has entry level instrument systems, cruising systems, and racing systems as well as individual components. These let you build a first time system or lets you replace existing instruments easily and add instruments as needed.

Sailboats are notorious for being nasty to put instruments in. The Tacktick  Micronet wireless instruments simplifies the installation. The network the instruments form are wireless, so no linkage wires have to be strung, and many are solar powered. You just mount them where you need them.

The Tacktick Speed/Depth System – 2 Displays, with Hull Transmitterand Triducer is a great starter package for a basic system. A more complete starter package is the TackTick Entry Level Speed Depth Wind System – 3 Displays gives the basic instrumentation a sail boater needs. Complete boat packages like Tacktick Performance Package 30 wireless instrument System for yachts 30 feet and over are also available.

Having a system that is designed specifically for sail boats  makes it easy to fulfill your sailing needs. The wireless part is just a major plus.

Going sailing and enjoying myself is the main goal, and the right instruments make it safe and easy.


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