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Transat Ready: Solo Skippers Optimised For Success

With the Vendée Globe on the horizon, excitement is building as the IMOCA skippers hurtle towards the world’s premiere offshore challenge. With three IMOCA Globe Series races remaining before the “Everest of the seas”, all eyes turn to Lorient for the start of the Transat CIC.

Following the story of this legendary race through history shows the trajectory of sailing itself – once finished in 40 days, the world’s oldest single handed ocean race now features some of the highest performing technologies, and can be completed in just 8.

With the margins shrinking as the boats get faster, squeezing every ounce of performance power out of equipment is vital for the teams and their skippers, who turn to a range of cutting edge innovations to get a competitive edge.

With bigger foils and radical new designs, the IMOCAs are lifting high out of the water and flying through at incredible speeds. Over a 3500 mile race like this, it is vital to fully exploit performance and speed when the going is good, and with the ability to hit optimal settings as quickly and consistently as possible, teams can eat up the distance, chasing down their rivals or opening up big gaps ahead of their competition.

The majority have turned to wireless load sensors from Cyclops to lend a helping hand. Amongst a myriad of data sets available, highly accurate live load data is one of the most essential.

A valued companion

While solo sailing is a lonely battle, you’ve always got a friend onboard if you’re accompanied by load data you can rely on. With data displayed via their instruments (also available on smart phone) sailors can hit known settings, which is a huge comfort. Darkness, fatigue and harsh conditions can also compound the challenge of maintaining an optimal setup, and staying proactive to make adjustments as conditions change. Having highly accurate load data removes guesswork, allowing you to take well-needed rests (as you know your settings are ideal), even if you can’t see your rigging and sails.

The best sailors have a great feel for the conditions and their boat, but they’re also meticulous with preparation. By using the sensors in testing and training and learning from past races, they create a bank of optimal load numbers they need to hit to excel in different conditions. Having studied the course and expected conditions, they’ll have a good idea of the numbers they’ll need to hit, and getting to that number quickest when things change can mean winning or losing. Of course, races can be lost in an instant if breakage occurs, and having Cyclops onboard also lets you push hard, with one eye on upper limits.

Wireless load sensors are available for a range of applications, but among the IMOCA fleet, smartlink sensors to monitor soft lines and Load Pins to monitor standing rigging are the preferred solutions.

smartlink from Cyclops onboard IMOCA 60 “Groupe Apicil”


All Cyclops sensors are pre calibrated and accurate to within 1% of maximum working load. With a battery life of 2,000 hours and incredible durability, they can be left for months onboard and are designed for the rigours of transoceanic racing. But what makes smartlink so valuable to IMOCA teams is its versatility.

Many of the leading teams have several smartlink sensors onboard – all transmitting data wirelessly to a central display. With smartlink, for the first time, load sensing can be installed quickly and easily into existing rigging – immediately verifying settings with assured accuracy. This has proven extremely useful, particularly for backstay and mainsheet installations.

smartlink from Cyclops

Load Pins

With smartlink sensors monitoring soft rigging, the addition of Load Pins from Cyclops in their standing rigging allows teams to get a total picture of the dynamic balance of their rig and sail set up. Load Pins have been available in grand prix racing for some time, but leaps forward in accuracy, durability and a range of options, including analogue, digital, wired or (the world’s first) wireless pin, have significantly enhanced the technology. Cyclops also creates custom solutions for grand prix teams – aiming to provide a comprehensive load monitoring system around their specific requirements – allowing seamless integration of a wide range of applications across the boat.

Wireless Load Pin from Cyclops

It’s not just the IMOCAs

Many of the Class 40 fleet lining up for the Transat CIC will also be equipped with Cyclops sensors, but it doesn’t stop there. Cyclops wireless load sensing has brought easy-to-use data to sailors everywhere and has become an essential tool for everyone from Vendee Globe skippers to weekend dinghy sailors, even bringing data to cruisers through a simple warning dial.

smartlink from Cyclops onboard Class 40 “Bleu Blanc”

smartlink from Cyclops onboard Class 40 “Bleu Blanc”

If you would like to find out how wireless load sensing can help you achieve your goals, whether they’re confident cruising or optimised performance, contact us and find the sensor for your boat.

Or learn more on the website.

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