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Live GPS Racing

Following on from the Oceanic FW Championships in January, Ian and Devon worked together to get the "illegal" use of GPS in FW racing "overlooked" during the FW Worlds in order to get a whole new level of visibility and interactivity to sailors and spectators alike over video and internet. Devon arranged the Top 20 racers to all participate in the program, whilst Ian organised the GPS units with support from Garmin and managed all the downloads and logistics of having the units on the right guys at the right time. Following the days racing, the data was downloaded and faced with a lot of extra even later night work required to edit and prepare the tracks for use in Yann Mathet's GPS Action Replay software, they called in Robert van Kreuningen in California to assist, Robert continued to put significant hours of post processing the GPS tracklogs literally whilst those on the ground in Australia got some well earnt sleep. Big thanks to Robert for his additional help and stepping up to the plate at short notice on this one !! And Yann for his ongoing support of GPS and windsurfing with his excellent freeware GPS Action Replay

The results from some of the World Championship races you can see for yourselves at

We'll be adding the remaining races ASAP.

Not all of the riders turned in data, and some of the rider data provided was unusable due to excessive track errors within the tracklogs.

To run this application your PC must be configured to run Java scripts. Depending on the settings and permissions already configured in your individual PC, you may need to download or install Java prior to being able to use GPSAR applications. See also for more info on the software requirements.

... A word of caution ; these files are rather big and complex multistage downloads; Mostly they will require hi speed broadband connection to be practical : Dial up 56K is possible but most likely frustratingly slow. During the download a Java logo will appear and the sun ray logo moves around the screen. There will be some moments where nothing seems to happen (this delay proportionate to you download/access speeds. Don't panic or hang up on the download too soon ; Likewise pushing REFRESH is not a cool idea as it will blow away the existing downloaded data and you'll be starting again or missing out. It can be a wait, but worth it !

Once you get the full download, you will see the photo map of the race area open and a load of tracks (trails) will cover it.

For best viewing do the following :

1> UNcheck (UNtick) the option marked 'Trajectories" in View Setting on right hand side of map image screen. This clears away all the trails and makes a multi racer view a lot clearer.
2> Click on "Dynamic View" (Top left header of screen) and select (check/tick) option for "Users Name". This adds the actual racer's number to each pointer remaining visible on the screen
3> To change the color/s of any particular racer/s, highlight their number listing in the scrolling list "Trajectories" (upper right side of map) and then click the button marker "Color" below the list and then select any color of the rainbow.
4> Click the PLAY control in the Run box top left of image.
5> Play is in real time, but for most purposes, sliding the "Speed" control to x4 is about right.

Use of these downloads is strictly for fun and taken "as is"; no warranty given or implied. But it's the future :)) Enjoy.

And an interesting footnote is that at the FW class AGM held during the 2005 Worlds, it was decided strongly to support and allow the use of GPS tracking and data collection throughout FW racing as an extra opportunity to help increase the level of awareness and interest in FW racing both on the water and online.

Cheers ~ Ian and Devon

24th December '05

26th December 2005 (13:13:49) - Markus Bouman NED 6 (markusbouman at home dot nl), wrote :
Hello Ian and Dovon,

Thank you verry much for doing this!
It's great to see that this is starting to work well!
I think it's important for the future of Formula(windsurfing). I watched the races with friends and familly on our TV.

Is there any way to download the GPX-files?
It would be a lot easyer to watch it on TV insted of using the trail-version of gps-ar.

greets Markus

27th December 2005 (09:50:52) - bryan Mcdonald (sailing314 at yahoo dot com), wrote :
this is WAY cool!

thanks, bry

p.s. markus, your gpx file is located here:

28th December 2005 (12:33:09) - Markus Bouman NED 6 (markusbouman at home dot nl), wrote :
Comment to the post from 27th December 2005 (09:50:52) wrote by bryan Mcdonald :

Thanks Brian!

28th December 2005 (12:51:47) - murat, wrote :

Many thanks to Ian & Devon and to all who helped for the realisation.

28th December 2005 (13:12:57) - Dave K, wrote :
There is now another interesting report on the Worlds at:

Thanks Steve, and better luck (and health) next time!

28th December 2005 (15:00:45) - ceri (fw at internationalwindsrfing dot com), wrote :
I fully understand Steve's disaapointment with his result - he would normally expect to be placed higher ; but every year there are disappointed sailors . And there are now younger sailors coming through the ranks to challenge seasoned pro's like Steve - signs of a healthy class ?
However , i am also disappointed - i do not consider Steves report either fair or accurate .
Conditions were 'difficult' presenting considerable challenges to both race committee and competitor.
Clearly Steve had personal problems that compounded the difficulty he had in this regatta - but continually blaming the race committee for competitor errors diminishes the value of his report .
The report is littered with inaccuracies - just 3 examples : Race 6 was not abandond because 'a couple of leading sailors fell into a brief hole ....' ;
Race 7 was not started ' suddenly and without warning' ; only sailors who clearly sailed right through th exclusion zone were DSQ , and many of those sailors launched from the wrong beach , not the designated beach .
The host club had a fantastic group of volunteers assisting the race ommittee ; and it is also not true that sailors ' paid dearly for equipment storage during the event .' The club provided facilities inc storage for 14 days -Free of Charge .
Only sailors arriving before the 8th were asked to pay (10 AUS$, or 5.5 euro per day , up to maximum of $40 or 22 eur )

28th December 2005 (17:51:38) - Anonym, wrote :
You can't please everyone. It does sound like that the starting line could have been longer and that offending over early sailor should have been dismissed earlier.

29th December 2005 (17:38:30) - Anonym, wrote :
well it was reported that the rc had no black flag on the boat till several general recalls into the starting sequence!

29th December 2005 (17:38:43) - Anonym, wrote :
well it was reported that the rc had no black flag on the boat till several general recalls into the starting sequence!

29th December 2005 (20:04:00) - ceri (fw at internationalwindsrfing dot com), wrote :
you cannot beleive all you hear !

30th December 2005 (02:05:30) - Anonym, wrote :
the racing was good, but the organization of Elwood Sailing Club sucked.
The start boat was reporting wind strength of 13-17knots, lots of sailors except the likes of Antione were on 9.8 or smaller. Which would make it hhhmmmm 20+ knots
We had five days of racing and only got through 7 races!!!!!!!!!, if Elwood SC had firstly a calibrated wind gauge (anemometer) and secondly a clue, at least 10 races could have been completed.
Steve's comments were right on the mark about the poorly organized racing.
In the briefing the sailors !!suggested!! to the race manager very good advice, the advice fell on deaf ears.

30th December 2005 (09:13:58) - ceri (fw at internationalwindsrfing dot com), wrote :
at least Steve puts his name to his comments !
I guess another competitor who did not do as well as he hoped ; the race committee did a good job getting 7 races off .

31st December 2005 (12:35:29) - Anonym, wrote :
no response to the incorrect wind gauge, or the race manager deaf ears.

1st January 2006 (11:40:19) - Peter Gallagher (gallagherpm at eircom dot net), wrote :
In my view the executive should review this forum to prevent persons who do not give their Name from entering "comments". If that is not an option, comments from anonymous contributors should be ignored by othes.
If a person does not have the moral courage to put his/her name to comments, he/she should keep the comment to him/herself.

2nd January 2006 (00:52:20) - Nathan, wrote :
Getting Back to Main Topic, GPS (geez some people).
Anyone looked into GPS racing realtime. Like a big screen on the Beach showing the racing realtime.
There have been some inroads into using GPS realtime, like adventure race teams taking bulky GPS units. Or most commercial trucks and cars have GPS tracking units, such that a company can find a courier's position. Probably a starting point, as the tracking points are only taken every few minutes.

On the other hand there are some very high tech boat radar units that can track multiple (limit of 20) targets and display the targets progress on a screen.

3rd January 2006 (03:27:24) - Anon and loving it, wrote :
Peter Gallagher, "moral courage" are you freaking serious! This is a web page about windsurfing. Take your accountablity sermon to the closest politcal chatroom OR better yet get off the internet all together and go back to snail mail until you are ready to deal with the outside world. The truth exists in the chaos of the masses, not in the censoring of aggressive opinion, whether named, angry or joyous. You do realise democracies are founded in anonimity? Your censoring BS sounds like a remnant from the feudal system. Are you Sir Peter?

Real time is a little bit away via transponder. You know who could do it? ERA(poland). GPS enabled (emergency) cell phones. Speed dial at the start, game on.

3rd January 2006 (04:49:25) - Nathan, wrote :
"ERA(poland). GPS enabled (emergency) cell phones. Speed dial at the start, game on."

thanks anon and loving it

anyone know anything about boat radars, i imagine that the sailor will need to carry a electronic device for the radar to target ?????(a chuck of metal may be a little too much, especially since weight jackets are not allowed.).

3rd January 2006 (05:58:33) - Anon and loving it, wrote :
Radar huh, that's a neat concept and could probably work. but it's more of a mechanical solution. Cool miltary project for sure. Another way would be the company that does the first down markers for the NFL. They trangulate positional information based on known camera position. If you could get high enough and just shoot the course with sail stickers of chromakey the tech exists to give real time animation. For that matter I bet some tech college could send up a drone and just cover it (my friend built one of those). I did some digging to the GPS update from cell phones and it is around 30 seconds in practice but really there is no everyday implimentation of this. But as an R/D project for a cell phone provider it kicks ass. If you are in need of GPS location via cell phone the operator currently can swing GPS updates at 30's intervals. That's a call center admin console. Bring in a layer higher and you could get a at least 10x better. See, the GPS transponders have to go back up to the satelite them back down. It's not that it isn't available right now. It is in place in taxi's, trucks (UPS,Fedex) and ships but it's a more permantent install requires more power etc.. Plus dedicated bandwidth to satelights is still expensive, (rent a sat phone?) what's cool about the ERA (cell phone) solution is it's a software one, that pushes existing common place technology, packet data transfer a couple miles out from transmitter to reciever. Plus they can sell it, right away! I imagine Garda is covered. So once in place they can sell the service to anyone. Not to make money but to display the validity of the business model. But you look down the road (two three years?) where EVERY GPS is two way real time does it make sense? I think as R/D it does. Cause really we (FW) are just the consumer. Not everybody (Billions) is going to want to add a GPS shell to their cell phone. As a cell phone company it makes sense to have your moped LCD urban map GPS dispay driven by the packet data cell phone. Couple bucks a month on top of your weekends free package. It's close. FW is a great spot to use it. Big boats get out of cell range quick, we don't. Dakar Rally for example is obviously different. Dedicated telemetry, transponder installs, SAT internet, basically any toy you can write a check for.

3rd January 2006 (23:17:51) - Nathan, wrote :
how does the camera and chroma key work, or is it top secret commercial industry stuff......
or perhaps
just like GPS triangulate a position perhaps you can setup three or more tall posts on a beach each with receivers on top. With a known distance between each receiver a computer can triangulate the location of transmitters(sailors). A very crude form of triangulation but a starting point. Probably very easy to setup hardware, softw3are would be a big problem .

there is another way form of triangulation and involves a GPS as a base station and a receiver and transmitter between base station and mobile unit. The GPS base station is used as a reference point, and the transmition does not go through a satelite but directly to a receiver , more to follow ...........

4th January 2006 (03:20:13) - Anon and loving it, wrote :
for first down yard markers. NFL football (not soccer) They calibrate the median turf color, if you notice the players walking over it they are not covered the line runs behind them. The real magic is in the fact that it isn't only a triangulation to get lines on a grid but to get the perspective vanishing point correct based on an everchanging camera position, plus adjust for the fact that the depth of field that the lens focal length imparts as it zooms in and out. That is collected and processd as well in real time.Just mentioned it because of how the digital processing and camera data colection can make something out of just camera angles and a couple pictures. Wether the images can be processed to derive a sailor image pair ????

The base station sound like a variation on cell phone. Cause cell phone coverage is just a bunch of bases stations overlapping each other. But if the GPS data is streamed "to the beach" via FRS or other; the cool point is it isn't going back up to the satelitte like big boat transponders which today are still a bit of a hardware/cost burden.

4th January 2006 (05:15:49) - Anon and loving it, wrote :
Benefon GPS Watch
Salo, Finland–based Benefon Oyj has acquired the product designs of a GPS/GSM/GPRS watch from Satelinx International Inc. Benefon will link the watch to its GPS/GSM/GPRS handheld system, to provide real-time tracking of children and the elderly.

7th January 2006 (12:40:19) - Yann Mathet, wrote :
Hi Ian and devon,
Great effort from you building all these GPX. Great result. Very interesting to get so many tracks at the same time to compare.
BTW, now people like you are using GPSAR with so many tracks, I'm going to add a function in this software so that you can restrain (cut) all tracks at the same time for a given time window (you'll just have to set the beginning and the end time).
I'll keep you informed.

7th January 2006 (12:44:23) - Yann Mathet, wrote :
Another point to mention: I'll try to write soon a tutorial to create scenario replays of the races, e.g. auto focusing on a given track, auto-zoom, etc. the function is yet available (see for example replays from DEFI WIND in in the replays section). This could be fine for you in the future.

9th January 2006 (01:55:06) - Nathan, wrote :
Australian GPS racing

go to bottom of page click

"2004 NSW Windsurfing Series News Archive more"

click on

"GPS Action Replay more"


31st January 2006 (18:59:56) - Yann Mathet, wrote :
Have a look to :
You'll see an example of what can be done with RACE 4.

2nd February 2006 (09:47:33) - Duane (heketad at iqconnect dot net dot au), wrote :
Excellent, now we can be more involved with the racing that is going on and how the top racers use their different tactics to go around the course. Congrats to Yann for having the vision of inventing & applying this application to windurfing, it can only improve our sport further. GPS Tech and the associated program is allowing us to develop our own competetive program albeit on a social scale but none the less giving a new dimension to each session that we sail.

10th April 2006 (17:32:22) - Nach (Ignacio dot Torrecillas at gmail dot com), wrote :
Hi all,
just a newcomer to the gps world. I'm trying to make something similar for spanish formula championship. I have visited gpsactionreplay site by there is no contact information.
I want contact with the developer, person in charge or any person that can help me.
Please contact me.
Thanks in advance.

28th September 2010 (23:49:30) - walcottses (walcottsessi at transy dot edu), wrote :
shut computer stories

28th September 2010 (23:51:11) - sumertonsa (sumertonsalye at ucla dot edu), wrote :
water compliance emit prepared

30th August 2012 (16:55:40) - Anonym, wrote :
Think that it's not just the wind got slow ... internet cover also do so ... Why not just few words like : The morning wind didn't show up today ... and some pictures of boards and sails ... we just had the organization staff photographed ...