Sailing Race Starts

Sailing Race Start System by Dan Zwerg


SRS-LogoSailing Race Starts is a powerful and complete sailing race start system for sailors and race committees. This Android app is available for download now. If you need to run a regatta today, here is your solution!

Sailing Race Starts has many features! Here are some of them: 5-minute RRS Rule 26 horn starts, 5-minute RRS Rule 26 gun starts, 5-minute match racing starts, 3-minute ISSA starts (high school), 3-minute ICSA starts (collegiate), 5-minute voice starts, 3-minute voice starts, ISSA 2-minute and 1-minute starts (for practice), ICSA 2-minute and 1 minute starts (for practice), selectable heads-up sound, selectable heads-up time, rolling starts, individual recall, general recall, postpone up, general recall/postpone down, abandon, exact time race began, countdown timer continues in the negative after start to measure time after start and race duration, sound pad for finish sounds (beep and whistle) and all the other sounds used in race management.

Sailing Race Starts is the latest development of Dan Zwerg’s proven start system. Dan Zwerg created the sounds and created the program to play the sounds. He is the Director of Technology and coaches sailing at St. Stanislaus College. His experience and passion for sailing in combination with his technology skills led him to put this project together.

If you don’t have an Android device, this is still the best sailing race start system anywhere. Simply get an Android device! You can get an inexpensive phone for $49 (no need to activate phone service), a basic tablet for $79, a really good tablet (7″ Samsung, my preferred solution) for about $169, and a great tablet for $399. Better yet, ask around to see if a family member or friend has an old Android phone sitting in a drawer not being used.

You can use this app to start races, of course. Just connect it by wire or Bluetooth to a loudspeaker system and you are all set. High school and college students can use an Android device and headphones to practice starts over and over. During an actual race, you can play a voice start on your boat synchronized to your race committee’s sound signals. It will count down the time verbally, freeing up a crew member to do more important things. A race committee that is determined to produce sounds manually can use it as an accurate visual and audio timer with beeps at all the right points to remind you to get ready with the flags.

This is a valuable premium app built by an avid sailor, race coach, and race official. You will love it.

Key points about the start system:

  • You can play the start sequences on any loud speaker system on your boat to run races.

  • You can play the sequences over a loud speaker system on your boat for practice.

  • You can listen to the sequences on your device or using headphones while practicing starts on your own.

  • You can listen to the voice countdowns, synchronized to the actual start horn in a race, to help you time your starts perfectly.

  • You can customize the starts with your choice of heads-up type and time.

  • There are start sequences ideally suited for ISSA (high school) racing, ICSA (collegiate) racing, and RRS Rule 26 (yacht club) racing.

The Sailing Race Starts project was spawned by the need to create a low-cost automatic start system for sailing racing.

If your boat has a system that has an audio-in jack  or Bluetooth, you can use Sailing Race Starts right away to run races or conduct practices.  If not, you’ll need to build or buy a basic sound system on your boat.  I bought a 12 volt 400 watt audio amplifier in the automotive section of Walmart for $55.  This coupled with 2 or 4 speakers and a cable to connect your tablet or phone to the amp will get you up and running relatively inexpensively.  Alternatively, you could install a standard marine stereo receiver with speakers, making sure it has an audio-in jack. I am currently building a new system that will be the ultimate race start sound system with built in PA with microphone, all built to marine quality.

There are some all-in-one type speaker amps with Bluetooth that would work well with Sailing Race Starts. Here is an example from Walmart for $119. For something small and portable for your boat, Walmart and Best Buy have quite a selection of small powered Bluetooth speakers for about $20-50. I found a nice system at Big Lots over Christmas for $89. These are not made for the marine environment, but they’ll get you by until I build you a new custom system that is designed for the marine environment!

Sailing Race Starts is superior to every start system I have ever heard or used for the following reasons:

  • It is inexpensive.

  • The volume is adjustable.

  • With the system described above, the volume is very loud.

  • The sound clarity is excellent.

  • You can play the start sequences on your boat sound system, through headphones, or any other system that has an external audio-in jack or Bluetooth.

  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY–there are no moving parts to break or maintain.