Sail training- audio speedo

In general I feel that my tacks on inefficient and wanted to develop a training aid that would audibly give an indication of speed. Once I’ve gone past head to wind I slow down and take a while to get back up-to speed. I figured if I had a beeping to indicate speed it would be useful.

Mounted on Laser

With Covid restrictions now seamed a great time to develop the idea further. I had tried using a Arduino but with little success as I couldn’t find a block programmer and Java text is way about my ability. Next tried micro-bit – easy block programming. Firstly I used a rotary encoder which worked but there was a serious lag between me stopping the rotation and the indicators showing I had stopped. Next a simple motor acting as a dynamo, again worked but lots of lag again.

Next I went supper simple. All in series battery, reed switch, potentiometer for volume and piezo buzzer. Simple and it worked

All there is to it

Three visits to a local stream to test, needed work on the impeller and friction in general.

Testing early prototype in a stream
Final impeller

Next testing on the Laser. Probably averaging 8 knots simply tied to the rudder stock, that bit needs improvement but works off the bat.

Complete unit

Gives a good responsive beep becoming more frequent as the boat speeds up. Tacks, definitely an area for improvement the boat certainly slows down a lot.

Inside old pill box

But it gave a lot more interesting feedback of all aspects of my sailing. Effect of heeling, fore and aft balance, downwind angles and is going to get a lot of use in our current sailing but not racing.

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