Central navigation at your fingertips? It’s no longer utopia, with a smartwatch that can easily provide real-time boat data to evaluate sail adjustments in relation to targets and set polars.
THE SMARTWATCH FOR SAILORS
It is called esaWATCH and is the latest technology developed by AstraYacht for the sailing market. Waterproof and with a 1.54-inch display, it can connect wirelessly to onboard instrumentation, either through the Astra Gamp Wi-Fi multiplexer (pictured at side) or through an existing wifi router. It runs on a Li-ion-600 battery and is equipped with a 1.3 GHhz, Cortex A7 dual core processor.
The esaWATCH allows multiple page views; in addition, thanks to the internal GPS, you can independently perform the procedure to display speed and course with indications of variations for the best tacking and a good start. esaWATCH connects via Wi-Fi to your onboard instrumentation and via the preinstalled esa software (or an Android app of your choice) will continuously show you performance trends and any other useful information during a regatta.
NOT JUST SAILING
Its functions, of course, are not “reduced” to sailing use: it is a smartwatch complete with all the functions we use daily on our smartphones (phone calls, emails, messages, the Internet, and even a 5-megapixel camera). It costs 399 euros including VAT and you can buy it directly HERE (taking advantage, moreover, of a 50-euro discount on the purchase of a Wi-Fi controller).
THE WORLD OF ONBOARD WI-FI GATEWAYS
As we saw earlier, for the smartwatch to be effective, a device is needed to connect wirelessly to the on-board instrumentation. You will need to take advantage of a Wi-Fi gateway (useful for connecting tablets and smartphones as well). Marine instruments have had a standardized communication protocol that allows them to interface, NMEA, for 20 years. Connecting the device to the instrumentation requires a transducer capable of receiving NMEA data and transmitting it over Wi-Fi. These devices have recently appeared on the market, all equipped with a standardized Wi-Fi transmission system. Creating a true on-board network, it is thanks to these Wi-Fi adapters that full integration between devices and on-board electronics takes place. There are several types of Wi-Fi adapters on the market. Multipliers are devices that can combine info from multiple NMEA 0183 devices, which convert traditional NMEA data by making it intelligible via TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) connection. Based on the multiplier model, the data stream can be transmitted in parallel to a computer via a USB connection, to other instruments via NMEA output ports, and to one or more portable devices via Wi-Fi. With the latest NMEA 2000 interface protocol, multipliers are no longer necessary: all data from connected instruments circulate in a network and are therefore automatically shared. It will be sufficient to connect a device to the network that can “read” this information and transmit it over Wi-Fi.
(cover photo taken from www.marabierto.eu)