Lightning In A Bottle: It’s Data, Not Magic

What do the Ocean Race teams, the top two IMOCAs in last month’s Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, America’s Cup challengers American Magic, the top two 52 Super Series teams, recently crowned Maxi European Champions North Star, and International Moth World Champion Dylan Fletcher all have in common? One thing that springs to mind is an obsession with being the best they can be… 

For the best, it’s not enough to excel once in a while. These exceptional sailors all understand the value of consistency and striving to elevate their performance time and time again – hitting their top gear as often as possible and nudging that gear up consistently over time. 

All of these sailors, while facing very different challenges, turn to wireless load sensors from Cyclops to adopt a data-driven approach to performance, capturing their own brand of lightning in a bottle.

smartlink from Cyclops onboard IMOCA Groupe Apicil

But load data is no longer reserved for the elite. These days, at any level of the sport, a natural feel can only take you so far. Regardless of your skill level, having a mechanism for recording and replicating success is crucial. From grand-prix racers to weekend dinghy sailors, Cyclops wireless load sensors are becoming omnipresent – offering the most accurate and practical method of achieving fast, repeatable settings – making them an essential tool, whether you aim to climb up the fleet, or just hold onto your position.

As North Sails expert Charlie Cumbley brilliantly explains, monitoring forestay load using smarttune provides an exact insight into the dynamic balance of the entire rig. This allows you to visualise all the variables that used to be monitored by feel or estimation, but with an exact number on screen – making peak performance as simple as controlling that number. 

Once, hitting your stride was a constant process of trial and error – getting a feeling for a fast setting that pushed you on. Now, sailors are equipped with solid data points which allow them to jump straight to their peak setting for the conditions, with the competitive advantage of reacting to the conditions quicker and knowing beyond any doubt that their set up is optimised. Cyclops data is also constantly logged in the Cyclops app, so that when you hit a gear that’s faster than ever, you can look back, analyse and adjust your targets for next time.

“We’re always after repeatability in this sport”

In some classes, such as J/70, the sensors are used predominantly for training and tuning purposes. Using the live load data in training allows sailors to match their peak numbers to a feeling. By repeatedly practising hitting those numbers, they can internalise that feeling, making it second nature for when they compete without the visual aid of the data. 

The key to progress lies in consistency and repeatability. Without empirical data, sailors often find themselves taking two steps forward and one step back, unable to sustain their gains or maintain consistent form. Cyclops sensors offer a solution by providing objective measurements that facilitate informed decision-making and targeted improvement. Adopting this data-driven approach allows for rapid skill development and lasting results. 

Capturing lightning in a bottle has never been so simple

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