High res tide charts for Cowes Week and the Fastnet

Tidetech launch essential service for navigators

Tuesday August 9th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

A new tidal model showing the Dorset coast from Lyme Bay to Christchurch Bay has been developed ahead of the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race.

The new exclusive data will provide competitors with the most advanced and accurate tidal stream and ocean current information that has ever been available for the Rolex Fastnet. With the first 36 hours being tactically critical, accurate tidal data could make or break the race heading out of the Solent and into the Channel.

Tidetech director Penny Haire said the model would give competitors distinct advantages at key points that have previously been "best guess".

"The Rolex Fastnet is heavily influenced by tides from the start," Ms Haire said. "Exiting the Solent is the first important stage but following that there are major currents to contend with passing Poole Bay and St Alban's Head and then at Portland Bill... if competitors get these sectors wrong it can be game over in a very short space of time.

"Our models allow competitors to create pre-set tidal atlases meaning navigators don't have to constantly fill-in Admiralty tidal maps or interpolate the data to their specific location.

"With GRIB and printed PDFs they have access to a very comprehensive set of data and hard-copy back-ups."

The new Dorset coast model provides 100m-resolution data for a stretch from Lyme Bay to Christchurch Bay and has been developed specifically for the Rolex Fastnet. The Rolex Fastnet package combines the popular Solent and Isle of Wight model with the new Dorset coast model.

Tidetech has also made improvements to its English Channel data with increased tidal constituents. The resolution of this model is now down to 0.75 nautical miles. Important sectors here include Plymouth, Land's End and out into the St Georges Channel.

All tidal models for the Rolex Fastnet are available both on the new online viewer and PDF generator as well as in GRIB format for use with navigation software.

Tidetech has developed models for many active racing locations worldwide including San Francisco Bay for the 34th America's Cup, the Solent and Isle of Wight, England's Dorset coast, Sydney Harbour and Bass Strait. The company is providing support to regattas and events including the RORC calendar, Rolex Sydney to Hobart, San Francisco Big Boat Series, and is in discussions with the Volvo Ocean Race to provide global ocean current data.

Rolex Fastnet competitors can receive a 10 per cent discount via Tidetech's Facebook page. More info here

Solent tides

Tidetech have also recently announced their development of a high-resolution tidal model for the Solent. The model details an area including Southampton Water, the entire Solent, the southern sectors of the Isle of Wight and the entrance to Chichester Harbour.

Tidetech director Penny Haire said races in the Solent were more often influenced tactically by tides than by wind.

Tidal data of this resolution has previously been the domain of government agencies, oil companies and specialist environmental modelling agencies with access to super computers. Now able to be managed on powerful laptops, the complex calculations required to create the models have been translated into easy-to-view visual tools available to competitive sailors and maritime users.


"This new information is so detailed that it will show tacticians how and why one particular side of a course is favoured over another and help them to position their bow in front at the next mark," Ms Haire said.

"The south coast model clarifies various aspects of Solent currents that many competitors have found tricky in the past... for example, the model clearly shows the area of reduced tide in the lee of the Brambles Bank along with the complexities of the Hill Head region.

"The model shows lots of areas that could well influence competitors' tactics... it's quite revealing, as there are areas of localised tidal acceleration that occur within very short distances.

"Over Sturbridge Shoal and at Lepe, for example, there's a visible half-knot variation within 100m distance and that could make a considerable difference to yachts within this range."

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