DataLinker – An Innovation to Change Sailing Forever

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Q&A with SailRacer App developers Adrian Sinton, IT Director – Nanny Cay and Ricardas Novosinskas

“The problem: you would like to send your boat’s sensor data to the internet, but your phone internet is jammed, because you have to use Wi-Fi to get the data in the first place.

DataLinker enables you to get your boat’s data (NMEA0183) via Bluetooth 4.0, enabling you to use your internet and saving your battery in the process. Did we mention it’s plug-and-play?

The uses are limitless: a regatta live on screen for the spectators, the ability to record and analyse your performance, or receiving data from the windward mark are just a few possibilities.”

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What is DataLinker?

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DataLinker is a new tool which acts as the interface between a vessel’s electronics and a mobile device. It collects and shares the vessel’s sensor data using Smart Technology- Bluetooth 4.0.

How was the idea for DataLinker born?

I was thinking of a way to try and supply instrument data to dinghies and I came up with this mobile weather station idea. It was a small minicomputer which hooks up to a cell phone where the information can be put on a cloud to share with people who need to see it. We extended the idea to the BVI Spring Regatta race committee last year in 2015, which led to the development of the SailRacer race committee app.

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What is the benefit of using Bluetooth 4.0 over similar connectivity methods?

We went with Bluetooth because it keeps the internet channels open and is far less complicated to set up than a similar Wi-Fi scenario. Using Bluetooth allows you to stay connected to your instruments, while keeping the internet channel open so you can search weather updates, or course changes, and extends the battery life by using less power. If you’re using the SailRacer app you can do live updates so your friends and family can watch your data feed and position in real time.

How does SailRacer work in conjunction with DataLinker?

DataLinker is the supplier of information to SailRacer, a full feature app acting as the interface between the instruments and the cell phone which displays numbers in a readable form. In addition, it graphs and averages these numbers so you can tell at a glance what the trends are.

Is DataLinker only for competitive sailing, or can it be used for leisurely sailing?

DataLinker is the interphase between the phone and data, so it can be used anywhere and it’s incredibly versatile, therefore useful to any sailors. For example, fishing boats can check the depth of water and bottom graph.

What sensors will the DataLinker device transmit?

  • Position data
  • Speed of water
  • Boat speed
  • Battery of service voltage
  • Water depth
  • Wind Speed and direction
  • GPS information

What are some of the competing technologies available on the market which use Wi-Fi to share sensor data?

There are companies which make several different devices using Wi-Fi solutions: NIMEA 2000, NMEA 0183 (old protocol), and Ciroc Raymarine.

How will DataLinker be a revolutionary technology in the world of sailing?

DataLinker is a plug-and-play device sharing wind, GPS, and compass information from your boat network to a mobile device. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 that requires less battery power than Wi-Fi and keeps 3g/4g internet channels open all the time.

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From now on, data you need is always in your pocket, on a smart watch, or even on sunglasses. The technology provides the best method to pass vessel instrument data to your mobile device and the internet, thereby giving you the ability to display and record your instrument data, provide live tracking in real time, and analyse your performance after sailing.

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DataLinker has already been tested so there is minimal risk of it having any technical issues. Once the product has been certified by Bluetooth, FCC, and NIMEA 2000, SailRacer will launch the technology into mass production.

***SailRacer will be collaborating with the race managers at Spring Regatta.

SailRacer.net

Photography by aLookingGlass

Lauren Charley

Lauren Charley

Writer at aLookingGlass
Lauren graduated with an Honours B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has worked as a feature magazine writer, where many of her stories pertained to events, people, activities, and places in popular tourist destinations.

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