What to buy

We take a look at some of the top watches for dinghy racing
As we hear so often in coaching books or uttered by others in advice columns in magazines, the start is by far the most important part of any race. Many factors go into making the perfect start, but perhaps first on the checklist of things that need to be sorted is your starting equipment. Central to this is a good watch that works for you. There are many good reasons to buy a watch, it could have an attractive price, a great set of features, it could look good etc. However, it is important that the watch in question works for you. Two essential features of a sailing watch are that it should (obviously) be waterproof and have a countdown feature. It should be noted that while it sounds like an absolute term, there are degrees of waterproof when it comes to watches ranging from watches claiming to be ‘water resistant’ to those specced to be suitable for the diving market. In these days of gadgets and miniaturisation most watches on the market will perform many more than just these simple functions. A useful feature in many of the sailing watches on the market today is a pre-programmed ‘5, 4, 1, go’ countdown feature which would probably appeal to most sailors out on the water. Also useful for many - but not for all - is a watch that has the option to bleep during the countdown to give an audible warning of how much time is left. This is not necessarily desirable for all sailors, as top team racer and current Endeavour Trophy champion, Steve Tylecote explains: “I find it best not to completely rely on the watch in the last 30 seconds or so of the countdown. For this reason I keep the thing set on quiet so that