M32 North Americans
As part of our ongoing testing program, we have been working with several Marstrom 32 teams to challenge the Atlas on a high performance platform and learn from sailors at the top of the sport. We recently traveled to the M32 North American Championship in Harbor Springs, Michigan to work with Team REV and Team Extreme2. We got great feedback from both teams and made software adjustments to the Atlas after each day on the water in response to their suggestions. The best part of the trip for us was watching REV and Extreme2 use the Atlas to take first and third place overall at the North Americans. We designed the Atlas to help sailors win races, and it was rewarding to see it deliver!
The M32 is a lightweight, high performance boat typically sailed by an owner/driver and a crew of experienced pros. The boat is currently raced on the World Match Racing Tour as well as in a highly competitive European and American circuit, resulting in teams that compete at a very high level. The race course features an America’s Cup style reaching start, with the boats approaching the line at speeds of around 20 knots and hitting speeds of almost 30 knots downwind.
These boats exceed the capabilities of existing instrumentation options. In particular, teams have been struggling to get useful distance-to-line measurements out of their old systems. As we discussed in an earlier blog post, existing instruments have slow update rates and heavy averaging, so the measurements they display are delayed. When approaching the line at 20 knots, every second of delay translates to an error of 10 meters(!) in distance-to-line. In other words, existing instruments are essentially unusable at the start line for an M32.
The sailors on REV and Extreme2 quickly noted how responsive the Atlas is compared to other instruments they’ve used in the past. In fact, they suggested adding the ability for the user to select the display update rate, as the numbers were updating on the display a little too quickly for them to read. In response, we tweaked the software, reducing the update rate to fit their preference (without changing the high frequency measurement rate of the Atlas), and the sailors loved it. This gave them the best of both worlds: a display that is easy to read at a glance but is always up to date. Even though the distance-to-line capability of the Atlas isn’t fully implemented, the teams found it to be a substantial improvement. Team REV called it “a genuine help” at the start line.
The other aspect of the Atlas that everyone--sailors, coaches, photographers, and spectators--loved is seeing the display in the sun. The contrast with existing instruments is pretty dramatic:
We’re looking forward to working with Team REV and Team Extreme2 again at the M32 World Championship in Chicago next month. They gave us great ideas for new features and improvements, which we are working to implement before the event. With strong sailors and the Atlas on board, both teams have a great shot at winning this year’s championship.