Thierry Martinez /

Tracking for Round the Island

Yes, tracking for up to 1,700 boats being offered for 19 June annual Isle of Wight lap

Wednesday April 21st 2010, Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt, Location: United Kingdom

The Island Sailing Club and title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management are introducing live GPS tracking for all boats taking part in the 2010 Round the Island Race on Saturday 19 June. First announced at the London Boat Show in January, the Race organisers have been working hard over the past few months to refine and thoroughly test the technology.

Competitors with compatible equipment will be able to download a small piece of software that will allow their mobile phone or laptop to become a real-time GPS tracking device. The device’s position will be periodically transmitted to the official Race website, where a simple, easy-to-use race viewer will allow visitors to monitor the progress of individual boats throughout the race.

The tracking solution has been developed by the Race Technology Partner, Next Generation Results and funded by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. It will be one of the largest GPS event tracking initiatives ever undertaken with mobile phone technology, and possibly the largest in terms of yacht races.

The system is being billed as a trial in its first year, although the Island Sailing Club believes that a large percentage of the 1700+ fleet will almost certainly want to sign up to being tracked and will have the mobile phone technology to take part.

Watch LIVE as the Race unfolds

Competitors with GPS-equipped mobile phones or laptops will be able to have their position broadcast onto a live tracking platform that will be available on the official Race website throughout the day. This will allow friends and family and sailing fans from around the globe to watch the race unfold LIVE. Visitors will be able to select the boats they want to follow when they open the Race Viewer and the live tracking will commence from the very first start time of 0500hrs right through to 22.30hrs, which is 30 minutes after the time limit set by the Island Sailing Club for yachts to cross the finish line in order to have officially completed the Race.

Website spectators will be able to search and select up to 10 boats that they want to follow at any one time through the Race Viewer. Boats will be searchable via their name and class. Each boat tracked will show its elapsed time from the race start and current GPS co-ordinates.

The competitors also benefit from this tracking technology as they will be able to replay their race and compare their performance with their rivals to see where they got it right – or wrong!

There will be areas of weak or no coverage as the fleet progresses around the Island, especially under the cliffs at the back of the Island and also if the boats move offshore. The ISC say that viewers musn’t worry if a boat disappears from view; it is more than likely that they have run out of battery or simply have no signal!

The list of compatible mobile phones for tracking will be made available on the Race website shortly. The deadline for registration of devices via the website is 1st June when the Tracker application will be available for download. The latest date competitors can register a device is 18 June.

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