Please select your home edition
Edition
Hyde Sails 2017 Dinghy Show
Product Feature
Harken 16mm Anti-Capsize With Eyestrap - 442
Harken 16mm Anti-Capsize With Eyestrap - 442
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine


Full racing risks
New for old cover
www.noblemarine.co.uk

The evergreen Race Master & Micro Compass: We talk to Greg Wells

by Mark Jardine 18 May 2016 11:35 BST 18 May 2016
Greg Wells at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show © Mark Jardine

We talk to Greg Wells of Raymarine about the evergreen Race Master and Micro Compass and why they are still so popular on the racing scene today.

Mark Jardine: What is it about the Race Master in particular that has stood the test of time and means that it is still the compass of choice for wind tactics?

Greg Wells: I think the main reason why the Race Master still excels, and actually the Micro Compass as well, is to a very big extent the twin display. The fact that you've got two LCDs giving an angle, which means whether you're trapezing perpendicular to the devices or even sometimes slightly in front, you can still read the information. It's all very well having a nice device that's giving you good compass information, but if you can't see the numbers then they're worthless. I think the second point is that the LCD display is extremely good, particularly in daylight. It's crisp, it's clear and it's a self-powered device, it doesn't require any batteries.

MJ: It's always made life so simple; the pre-start, setting up the tacking angles and then just having those plus and minus figures, and of course resetting it for whenever there's a wind shift – just a single press of a button. How originally did you come up with that idea and make that the interface of choice?

GW: I've got to be honest, I think some credit has to go to Mark Rushall and Steve Cockerill who were involved with the Tacktick team in the early days in terms of what a racing sailor wanted, and he helped in terms of the ideas if you like. Then obviously Mark Johnson, the designer of the product, put those ideas into place. It was always a little bit tricky because you've only got four keys that you can use, so trying to get the user interface so to speak, simple with just four buttons - none of this touch screen, elaborate, user-interfaces we have on iPhones today - you have to do it with just a few buttons. I think we hit it on the head pretty easily, and I think once people got used to it they can use it very easily and see the benefits.

MJ: Many classes actually disallow GPS, so are there any other functions that you could think of that you would have added nowadays if you were building the compass, which come into those rule restrictions?

GW: The interesting thing about the Race Master is actually you can add a GPS to it, but not within the box itself, it's a separate device. However, the area of GPS in dinghy sailing I think is an interesting one. Is it good for the sport to have the start line features, how far you are away from the line? Is it good to have the VMG boat speed on a dinghy? I'm not sure, as I said it's a big debate. Actually, I think it will probably come along - technology generally does win over in these situations. It might actually be good because it might mean that people start cleaner and we have less black flags and fairer starts. I believe that a time is coming for Raymarine and the Race Master to probably incorporate a device with a GPS and add some other boat speed and start line type functionality.

MJ: So in that case, it's watch this space! With the Micro Compass, which is the direct replacement for an analog compass on a boat, what is the appeal of the device on dinghies?

GW: Again, like the Race Master, the Micro Compass has the two LCD screens and it has a race timer with count-down / count-up on it. Like the Race Master it is self powered - it never needs any batteries. It lasts much longer than usually the racing life of certainly many suits of sails. It floats and it's just very easy, it's very accurate and it's basically about simplicity and the fact that you can see it.

MJ: Well Greg, many thanks for your time.

GW: Thank you.

Read Raymarine's Free Handy Guide and Top Tips by Mark Rushall, one of the UK's best known and most successful sailing coaches, as to how to get the most out of your Raymarine Race Master and Raymarine Micro Compass.

Related Articles

Crew Talk with Olympic Gold Medallist Saskia Clark
How to work as a team with your helm and keep the fun in sailing Mark Jardine talks with Olympic Gold Medallist in the 470 class Saskia Clark about crewing a dinghy, how to work as a team, reaching the very top of the sport and how to keep the fun in sailing. Posted on 18 Mar
Left Languishing
Trophies, are somewhat different from boats. They don't tend to deteriorate quite so badly Trophies are somewhat different from boats. They don't tend to deteriorate quite so badly when they get left alone for ages. Case in point, the Sayonara Cup. It has had several periods in its life when it has been left to its own devices. Posted on 17 Mar
The sailor Made for Water
We speak to Alan Roberts Alan Roberts is a wide-ranging watersports enthusiast, offshore sailor, dinghy sailor, SUP-er and kayaker - someone who uses a diverse range of kit while out on the water. Posted on 13 Mar
Evolution of the RNLI's message
For preventing drowning at sea The RNLI has always been known for saving lives at sea, but the prevention message has taken a more and more prominent role in recent years. Posted on 11 Mar
And now for something completely different
The smallest boat but the biggest story! Over the last year or so, there have been a couple of key themes that have kept reoccurring in the articles that I have written for your reading. One is on the fascinating topic of innovation and how it has driven – and been driven by dinghy development. Posted on 7 Mar
The Atomik Lithium Moth
We speak to Phil Oligario & David Mossman Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com, speaks with Phil Oligario of Atomic UK and David Mossman of Marlow Ropes about the new design and the challenges of building and rigging the boat. Posted on 6 Mar
Topper class at the RYA Dinghy Show
We speak to the ITCA's Roger Proctor Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of YachtsandYachting.com and Sail-World.com, speaks with the ITCA's Roger Proctor, son of the legendary designer Ian Proctor. Posted on 5 Mar
Allen Endurance Series Blogger Award
£1500 of Allen kit up for grabs! The Allen Endurance Series was a new concept for 2018, combining three classic events - the Solent Forts Race, the East Coast Piers Race and the Round Sheppey Race - to crown the champion of the UK long-distance dinghy racing scene. Posted on 3 Mar
Hyde Sails at the RYA Dinghy Show 2019
We speak to Nigel Grogan and Richard Lovering We speak to Hyde Sails Managing Director Nigel Grogan and Sail Designer Richard Lovering about some of the classes they are concentrating on for the 2019 season and the refinements they are making to keep them at the top of the fleets. Posted on 3 Mar
Concours d'Elegance at the RYA Dinghy Show
A Class Cat combines cutting-edge design with humour to win The 2019 Concours d'Elegance at the RYA Dinghy Show has been awarded to Pete Jary's foiling A Class Catamaran. The boat combined stunning looks, super high-tech features, great graphics and no small measure of humour. Posted on 2 Mar