How fast?

We take a look at some of the GPS brands on offer
In recent years the use of GPS technology has become more commonplace among dinghy sailors. A significant reduction in size is primarily responsible for this, but people are becoming more and more interested in the speeds they achieve out on the water during both training sessions and regattas. There are a number of things GPS units can be used for on dinghies, from simply logging speeds to improving performance on the race course. So when looking at a GPS unit consider what you are actually likely to be using your unit for. Perhaps the most important question is will you be able to use your GPS while racing? In most dinghy classes the answer will be a resounding ‘no’, with many classes having a rule specifically to inhibit electronic data devices and others having a catch-all whereby if something is not specifically mentioned in the rules then it is simply not allowed. Exactly what you will use your unit for will of course affect the features you require. If, for example, you sail in a class that has voted to allow such devices when racing, you may well want a GPS that can work out VMG in addition to just speed and with a large screen, allowing you to see the numbers from a distance away. However, if you are looking for something that is simply there for your own interest you may want nothing more than a waterproof device with a log feature, able to show you your top speed at the end of the day. Of course if you are planning on doing some serious boat speed training, again the large screen and VMG functions will be important, as will an ability to download tracks (ie where you have sailed) and analyse this data on a PC. It