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Round the Island Race - B&G's guide to getting the most from your chartplotter

by Dulcie Allen 28 Jun 2019 14:00 BST
B&G Vulcan Series © B&G

Follow these steps and stay ahead of the race this year

The annual spectacle that is the Round the Island race has over 1,000 boats entered each year and there is a lot to think about for the skipper and navigator. With sluicing tide and a 1.2nm long line, getting a good start can be a real challenge, but getting off the line in a good position can give you clear air all the way to the Needles lighthouse and a huge advantage over your competitors, stuck to leeward and in dirty air.

B&G's RacePanel software, included as standard on Zeus and Vulcan chartplotters provides a highly accurate, high-resolution starting aid that can help you be on the line as the gun fires. As well as getting the perfect start there are also waiting areas and exclusion zones to comply with, luckily B&G have created a downloadable GPX file to display the pre-start waiting areas and the exclusion zone off Seaview in bright red, overlaid on the chart, so you'll have no excuse.

Get the perfect Start: B&G StartLine Software

The sailing instructions state: 'The starting line is formed by bringing the RYS FLAGSTAFF into line with the white line on the ORANGE DIAMOND ON THE CASTLE. Vertical light beams are installed at the RYS to identify the starting line transit. The outer distance starting mark (ODM) will be a Committee Vessel, displaying an ISC burgee, attached to the Williams Shipping Buoy, which may not lie on the starting line. In the unlikely event of the Committee Vessel not being attached, the ODM will be the Williams Shipping Buoy.

B&G's StartLine software allows you to place the ends of the line in a number of ways: by 'pinging' the line, or sailing up to the line at each end and 'pinging' the position of each end, or by adding waypoints, cursor positions, or relative positions.

1. For this race, we know that the RYS flagstaff will be the port end of the line - and it is in position 50 degrees 46.004N, 001 degrees 18.055W.

Go to RacePanel from the home page of your chartplotter. Then open the right hand menu and press 'start line > port end > set coordinate port and enter the above lat/long.

You've now placed the port end of the line.

2. Now do the same for the starboard end, but instead of setting coordinates, select 'place from port'.

The Sailing Instructions give a bearing of the line of 169 degrees true. We need to take the reciprocal of this, which is 349 degrees. Williams Shipping buoy is the outer distance mark, but may not be exactly on the line - but the range between the flagpole and the buoy is 1.2nm. Enter the range of 1.2nm in metres (2222m) and the bearing as 349 and the line is placed.

3. The Round the Island start is as much about tide as is it is about the wind. HW Portsmouth is at 0933 on the 29th June, so competitors with an early start can expect a slackening flood tide at start time - and those starting after around 0820 can expect a building ebb. Ensure you've got 'tidal effects' turned on for the layines and these will be automatically adjusted for tide. Find this menu in Settings > Chart > Laylines.
4. When the startline is set up, it can be seen overlaid on the chart as shown here.
5. Alternatively, the Start Line data page shows a simplified graphical representation of the line.
6. Setting up a split-screen view gives the best of both worlds...

It's not only the start that you need to consider... there are also waiting areas and exclusion zones to comply with. There's no point in getting the best start if you're going to get a time penalty or disqualification for fouling an exclusion zone later on. Luckily, your B&G chartplotter can help!

1. Download the file to a blank microSD card and place it in your chartplotter's card slot. From the home screen, go to Files and locate the gpx file on your memory card, then press Import. With this done, the file will be stored on your chartplotter.

ww2.bandg.com/downloads/round-the-island-race-exclusion-zones

2. Display the zones - Now go to Waypoints from the home screen, and press on the 'Tracks' tab. Make sure that 'Display' is ticked against 'North Waiting Area', 'South Waiting Area' and 'Seaview Exclusion'. You can also change the colour of the border here.
View the areas on the Chart:

Pre-start waiting areas

Seaview exclusion zone
You can change the colour of the border by tapping on the border, selecting 'Edit Track' and changing the colour selection via the dropdown option.

With the zones displayed on the screen, you'll be prepared for the race - and can see where your boat is in relation to them at a glance.

For more hints and tips please visit the B&G website.

About B&G: The B&G brand is all about passion for sailing - totally dedicated to the needs of sailors, whether cruisers, racers or professionals, it is wholly owned by Navico, AS. Navico is currently the world's largest marine electronics company and produces products under leading marine electronics brands: Lowrance, Simrad and B&G. Navico has approximately 1,500 employees globally and distribution in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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