Design Innovations – SailTimer Wind Instrument™
Setting New Standards
Until now, anemometers have not provided tactical data; they only show a wind gauge and you need to guesstimate your optimal tacking angles and tacking route as best as you can on your own. (Then you wonder why you arrived an hour later than expected.) But with the SailTimer Wind Instrument™, you can use apps like SailTimer Charts Edition (CE) or iRegatta to learn your boat’s “polar plots” (a graph of boat speed on all points of sail). The SailTimer CE app can use that to display a tacking route with your optimal tacks. And it is now possible to crowd-source your live wind data from the Wind Instrument, which allows you to plan your tacking routes based on wind zones up ahead. Our software is opening up navigation capabilities that have never been possible before. The Technical Specifications are here, but there are also many innovations in the physical design of the Wind Instrument…
- The blades on the SailTimer Wind Instrument™ have a unique innovation for sailboats: they work like a cup anemometer when upright, and turn into a propeller when sailing along heeled over (patent pending). The pictures above are the same wind cup blades, when viewed from the side and below. Standard cup, ultrasonic and propeller anemometers are only designed to be used upright, and become less accurate the more the wind pushes them from underneath. See our 2-minute YouTube clip on the design of this important advancement for sailboats.
- Electronics are right in the tail of the wind direction arrow, and completely encapsulated in solid plastic. Waterproof cases have gaskets that inevitably leak. So we put the electronics right inside a block of clear, solid plastic. No gaskets. The solar cells are inside the encapsulation. The sunlight and the radio waves travel right through. No external case required, which also means there is no air inside that can cause condensation.
- Wind speed sensor is triggered by a magnet on the wind cups with no wires. There are no wires to fail or to cause leaks. The magnetism reaches invisibly through the encapsulation to trigger a sensor on the circuit board.
- No more hassle installing wires. No need to install wiring down the mast (and listen to them ping), no running wires through your cabin liner and underneath the cockpit, and one less knot of wires and connectors behind your control panel.
- Jewel Mechanism. Like a vintage pocket watch of the finest craftsmanship, jewel bearings are used in the new Wind Instrument design. Masthead anemometers typically use electronic sensors to measure wind speed and wind direction, but those have wires that can wear out and are not submersible. The new Wind Instrument is submersible (and has no wires). There is even a viewing window, where you can see the jewel bearing for the wind direction arrow.
- The first masthead anemometer that you can start using even if your boat is already in the water and the mast stepped, with two systems for raising it with no need to lower or climb up the mast (patent pending). Further details about this on the Mounting Accessories page.
- Generates its own power. Totally self-contained and self-sufficient. No base unit required. No batteries to replace. How many wireless devices have you heard of that never need to be plugged in? We have pioneered the use of mini solar panels as a sustainable power source for transmissions to iOS and Android devices.
- The first masthead anemometer that can even be used on small centerboard boats, trailer sailors, one-design racers, sailing kayaks and beachable multihulls. Small enough to be portable or used handheld. Plus, it is submersible. Many people want anemometers on their boats, but traditionally those have required a 12-volt battery (which many small boats don’t have), and may cost as much as the boat itself. But now even in a small boat you can take a smartphone for GPS, charts and emergency calls — along with the wireless, solar-powered SailTimer Wind Instrument.
- Vertical design, since many masthead anemometers are horizontal — just asking for large birds to land on them.
- The first masthead anemometer with a digital compass built right in to the wind direction arrow. Through extensive R&D, our inertial motion sensor and firmware maintain consistent wind direction even when sailing along heeled over. No calibration required; the wind direction arrow knows which way it is pointing regardless of the heading of the boat.
- Rotating Masts: Anemometers typically have to be calibrated based on a fixed mounting direction on the boat, so can’t work on rotating masts without special arrangements. But the wind direction arrow in the SailTimer Wind Instrument™ knows which way it is facing, regardless of which direction the boat or mast is turning. This seems to be the first anemometer designed to work with rotating masts.
- Lower cost. Of course, aside from the technical and design innovations, there is also the price of the Wind Instrument. It has been redesigned from the ground up to reduce the parts and manufacturing costs.