TackTracker was designed and built by sailors who wanted to gain insights and learn from tracking their racing. So built into TackTracker from the ground up are a comprehensive set of race analysis tools used and refined by sailors and coaches around the world. At the heart of TackTracker's race analysis is its ability to separately analyse each leg and each tack of the race (hence the name "Tack-Tracker"). You can see at a glance the comparitive speeds, heights and distances travelled across each part of the course. And TackTracker computes the placings of each boat all around the course even correcting for handicaps. (See also Race Reports.)
All TackTracker players include some analysis tools, but the full suite is available from the desktop players for PC and Mac, which you may freely download from here. Let's take a quick tour through the full suite:
TackTracker's navigation controls help you track the progress of a boat of interest around the course.
The Timeline shows the position of your boat on a linear timeline, with the position of each mark labelled. You can drag the boat along the timeline with your mouse to move all boats to a chosen point in time.
The Play button lets you play the action at real-time speed or a chosen multiple of real-time. The other navigation buttons move back or forward one track point, one tack or one leg.
Many people prefer to watch a windword work with boats travelling up the screen. No problem: TackTracker lets you rotate the map to any desired orientation.
TackTracker's race replay features online maps to put your course in it's physical context. Maps tiles are sourced online courtesy of Mapquest and rendered by TackTracker's own tiling engine so they play well with TackTracker's controls. For example, you can zoom pan and even rotate the display and the maps remain perfectly aligned.
One of the most useful features in TackTracker is the graphical picture you get of an entire leg's racing. You can see at a glance how the wind was shifting, where the lefts and knocks were and who was taking advantage of them.
TackTracker offers several options for displaying the tracks of each craft (called "tails"). The most commonly useful is the "long" tail which shows the entire track for the current leg of the course.
As the boats approach a mark, circular rings 100m apart indicate the distance to the mark. Right at the mark, a 3 boat-length ring indicates the zone.
A line perpendicular to the wind direction across the bow of the currently selected boat tells you who is in front and who is behind. We also show the "rhumb line", which is the line directly between the two marks.
The ruler (just click between two points) shows you the distance and bearing between any two points on the map.
When analysing the race, TackTracker automatically estimates the wind direction. This information is used to position the sails on the boats, determine the type of leg being sailed and to calculate the VMG relative to the wind.
The current estimated wind direction at any point of time is shown by a wind indicator at the top right of the display.
You can override TackTracker's wind estimate if you believe it is wrong or have actual wind measurements. You can set the direction multiple times at different points around the course. You can also import CSV wind data into TackTracker.
TackTracker provides a table of all competitors and their relative placings throughout the course.
If the "Sort Place" checkbox is checked, the table is kept sorted by current place to operate as a leader board.
TackTracker also shows the distance each boat has to go to finish and the distance between each boat and the leader.
The table under the display (PC and Mac players only) shows the current speeds, heights and distances for the selected boat.
For example, in the image you can see that Warwick has travelled 57m on the current tack and 1087m for the leg so far. He has been sailing this leg for 6 minutes 36 seconds and switched over to starboard tack 20 seconds ago. He us currently travelling at 10.6 Knots.
You can also display some of this information on the map by each boat (as pictured). Either hover your mouse over the boat or switch on the display permanently.
Often it is instructive to compare your performance with the best performer for the same leg. TackTracker lets you do this automatically. Simply select your boat and check "Compare".
In this example, we want to compare Janes Paterson with the best performer for the leg. We highlight Janes, then click Compare.
The current stats table now shows two rows, allowing both boats to be compared at each point along the course for speed and height. The better stat is highlighted so you can see at a glance which boat is travelling faster or higher.
The Legs Table provides a leg by leg performance summary for each boat and is the perfect starting point for any race analysis. It shows at a glance which boats travelled the least distance, sailed the farthest or pointed the highest on port or starboard tack.
You can sort the table by any of the columns by clicking on the column heading. For example, you might want to sort by distance travelled or by speed.
The deviation columns show the average deviation from the rhumb line when sailing on port tack and on starboard tack.
If you want to drill down further - the tacks table is exactly what you need. The tacks table gives you detailed tack by tack stats for a selected boat.
Consider this drill down scenario: Looking at the Legs Table you notice that your boat travelled a lot further than the leading boats. You then look at the deviation columns and see that your boat's deviation was comparitively high on starboard tack. Switching now to the Tacks Table, you look at your starboard tacks in detail. You notice one tack has a very high deviation compared with the others and click on it. The map shows the boat's track for the selected tack and you can see immediately that you were knocked badly on this tack, explaining the longer distance travelled.
If you want a graphical view of speeds and heights - you will like TackTracker's charts.
View one or two charts simultaneously, showing Speed, VMG and Deviation (Height). Compare the relative performance of different boats as you watch the replay. Notice the dips in speed that occur as boats tack. A wider dip indicates a slower tack and a deeper dip indicates a boat slowing more before building speed. You can see at a glance how long it takes each boat to recover full speed on the new tack and compare your tacking with the best sailors in your class.
TackTracker lets you define and import your own custom stats for displaying and charting alongside TackTracker data. You can import any timestamped values, such as wind speed, heart rate or boat heel. TackTracker will display your stats in the legs and tacks table and charts.