Courses are set each day and are announced at the morning briefings. On any given day, we may choose to set one or more courses depending upon the prevailing and anticipated wind conditions.
The start line is defined by anchored buoys that will display the course open/close flags.
When using a beach course, the inner buoy may be on the beach, depending upon tides, and the outer buoy will be several 100m out.
At the end of day when all of the GPS data is collect our software will analyse the track and find the point when the competitor crosses this line. From that point a 500m arc is defined and the run is completed when the competitor is 500m from the start point.
Thus each competitor can sail their own preferred course angle until they have sailed a straight line distance of 500m. In this way a catamaran could sail a square course whilst a kite may wish to sail a much broader course. For both competitors they have to sail exactly the same distance, irrespective of their course angle or where they crossed the start line.
At the end of the course a line of buoys is positioned to indicate a distance just in excess of 500m as a visual guide to competitors on the course.
On the harbour course a narrow start gate is used; as in the diagram below. The end of the course is defined as an arc 500m from the centre of the start gate. An arc of buoys is positioned just in excess of 500m as a visual guide to competitors to see when they have completed the course.
It’s in your interest to start your run 100m or more from the start of the course and keep sailing fast well beyond the course end marker buoys to ensure the best possible run speed is obtained. Competitors must continue beyond these course markers, so they can safely turn and return to the start line without impeding other competitors. It is NOT acceptable to go up the active course the wrong way; competitors will be warned and if necessary removed from the competition if they do this.
On a beach course kite boarders have the option of walking back along the shore.
These courses have a number of advantages: The main being:
- wind shifts of 20 degrees or so can be accommodated without the need to reposition the course buoys
- different types of craft can sail on their individual fastest wind angle
- relatively quick and easy to set up
Plotting of course and GPS run data
The image below is an example of the run data for a "Harbour Course" being processed in the GPS Results software ; it shows the course as a blue area, and a multitude of runs through the course and around the harbour.
The image below shows, in greater detail, the 'hot' area of the course in which competitor's runs are deemed to be qualifying. The course begins at the narrow end with a 20m wide gate and extends in a "pie segment" shape for a distance of 500m. The red marker determines the centre line of the course. Each competitor's tracks are shown as the individual lines, heading both up and down the course. Software processing ensures that only those runs heading up the course the right way are selected.
One of the questions that we are frequently asked is. Why does my GPS show a faster 500 m speed than you have published? The reason for this is that the results we generate are for the course set on that day. The faster run is most likely to have occurred because the run in or run out of the course was faster when compared to the other end of the run and the 'best' 500 m was therefore not on the designated course, but slightly before or after the course.