Keelboat racing with wot-tac

The wot-tac is the revolutionary course and wind calculator that is simple and easy to use.

With one turn of the dial it will give you line bias and wind direction over the side of the boat.

Wot-tac is boat shaped, with a compass on the bow and a centrally mounted dial etched with 3600 anticlockwise markings. On the top of the etched dial is an arrow that can be used when the wind shifts – see the section below.

How it works

The wot-tac is a simple hand-held device that can be kept in a pocket or hung round your neck with the lanyard. Its design makes it straightforward and hassle-free to use in the hectic atmosphere of a race. The simple steps are as follows:-

Step One .Establish the true wind direction – point the boat or wot-tac head to wind. The compass will establish the true wind direction, (Race Committee vessel may provide this information.)

Step Two. Turn the dial until the bearing of the true wind direction is set to the line running fore and aft along the wot-tac .Also turn the arrow indicator to the same reading.

The wot-tac is now ready to be used. Keep Checking the wind before the start. If the wind shifts before the start re-dial the heading. DO NOT MOVE the dial unless there is a significant wind shift.

Committee boat start

Getting off to the best possible start is key to the success of the first windward leg. So getting the start line bias is important. The wot-tac makes predicting the start line bias easy.  Simple.  Making  every second count.

Using wot-tac makes life easy when you’re planning the race. Once you have dialled in the wind heading, then sail to one end of the start line or the other, line up the two committee boats and read off the bearing on the wot-tac. If the line is perfectly square the line should read 90/180 degrees to the wind direction. If the compass reading is NOT perfectly square the wot-tac will show which end is favoured by the green or red arrow indicator.

Planning ahead

After the true wind direction is established and dialled into the wot-tac it is a simple task to establish what the wind direction will be for any compass course, just find the desired course using your WT, and that is exactly where the wind will be coming from.

Example.    Dial in wind direction 1650. Course to be sailed is 3100, the wind will be well aft of the port beam and if a spinnaker is to be used then a port pole will be set. Next leg to be sailed 1000, the wind will be just off the starboard, hard on the wind segment. Next leg to be sailed 3350 – the wind will be 150 off dead down wind, with a port pole.

With this system you can plan out the whole race.

Wot-tac is especially useful when the leg is close to a dead run and will determine exactly if the leg is to be PORT pole or STARBOARD pole. If the foredeck hand has a wot-tac, all he has to do is ask the compass course for the next leg, and he can then set up the sail for the next leg with complete confidence.

The wot-tac is so easy to use, it really is unbelievably simple but gets it right.

When the wind changes

The wind can change many times during a race and the sailor has to be vigilant to ensure that any change in the wind is measured and noted correctly.

If there is a significant wind shift during the race you can move the dial [taking care not to change the arrow pointer] to the new tack angle on either port or starboard when hard on the wind it will then determine whether a gybe set or a bear away set is used on the run leg. Move the dial but not the pointer, the pointer will now indicate if a gybe set or bear away set is to be used for the run leg. The wot-tac enables the keelboat racer to read off all the legs of a race in advance and be prepared.

wot-tac explained

Using the wot-tac is simple.

  • First, find the bearing of the true wind direction.
  • Second, set the bearing into the dial, which clicks every five degrees and then
  • Move the pointer arm to the same bearing.

wot-tac is ready!

Use it once you’ll never sail without it

Dinghy Racing