I haven't yet got round to buying one of those GPS devices for recording my track when sailing. I know some people like them. But I suspect that a track of a typical day's practice would probably look like this track from Owen's Li'll Slice of the Web.
Not sure what exactly I would learn from that.
But don't get me wrong. I know that GPS tracking can be a valuable analytical and teaching tool for sailors. The last few times I have been to Minorca Sailing there has been one afternoon each week when the instructors have given each boat in the fleet a GPS device for the afternoon racing. And then in the evening they have replayed the races on a video screen in a way where you can follow the track of each boat in real time (well, actually speeded up real time) including seeing a display of the instantaneous speed of each boat. This is an excellent way of seeing all sorts of things that affected the race - which side of the course was fastest, who lost the lead by missing a wind shift, how well different boats accelerated out of tacks etc. etc. As Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot by watching."
But what use would a GPS be during practice by myself?
I wasn't sure.
Then I came across WallyGPX.
The author of WallyGPX is a cyclist from Baltimore who uses his GPS to track his bicycle rides in order to create what he calls "massive virtual geogylphic imagery." In other words he uses the GPS track like a giant Etch-a-Sketch to draw large scale pictures on the earth.
Here are a few examples of what he does....
Isn't that cool? Check out many more of his drawings and read all about how he does it at WallyGPX.
So I was thinking, how hard would it be to make similar tracks while sailing a Laser on a summer afternoon on the bay?
Well, a bit harder for sure.
First of all, a cyclist can plan his route on a street map first and then follow exactly that route to make his GPS geogylph. A sailor would have to invent some other ways to define his route.
And secondly, of course, all lines directly upwind would have to be zig-zags. So a sailor would have to think of creative ways to include such zig-zag lines in his image. Some steps? A saw? A monster's teeth?
What do you think?
Am I crazy?
Has this winter been too long already?