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B&G and the Australian Sailing Team

Not so much secret weapon, as weapon of choice

When you have a name such as Brookes and Gatehouse, it is a little hard to fly under the radar. Funnily enough, as part of their amazing armoury of gear, B&G even make those very marvels of electronic wizardry, so as to ensure you cannot do just that.

All of that aside, one of the best elements of the gear is the wide set of applications it can be used for, and the many and varied types of sailing where B&G is synonymous with being the best.

Iain Murray may well illustrate this particular point best. He is the Director of High Performance at Australian Sailing, as well as the Race Director for the very successful SailGP, and a long-standing member of the afterguard aboard the all-conquering Wild Oats XI. That is a pretty diverse range from Olympic dinghy sailing to high-speed foiling, and then heading off into the big blue. Interestingly, if not all together unsurprisingly, this is exactly the same scope as the areas that B&G can be found operating in.

“The good thing for me is the commonality of equipment, which means that we really do use it for the Australian Sailing Team (AST). All of our coaches boats have an identical set up, so you do not have to remember different menus or screens”, said Murray.

“B&G has been the backbone of Australian offshore racing, ever since I have been around. What we use today for our Olympians is similar to what we use on Wild Oats XI, so knowing how to use it and all of the functions means it is super useful whether close right inshore or far, far off, such as in Bass Strait.”

“It is great to see how they have modernised the equipment and they have really smart and useful features. All of the roles I use B&G equipment for are different, and their gear perfectly matches all of these, whether it is the hustle of SailGP, bashing away offshore, or the multiple requirements we have at Australian Sailing.”

Murray concluded by saying, “B&G is certainly our weapon of choice, and they have responded to us swiftly, whether it’s for SailGP, Wild Oats XI, or the AST. They are a user friendly partner who are performance driven, so it is a great fit all round.”

All in all you would have to think that pretty much sums up B&G’s mission, which is to “…inspire and enable all sailors to become the best version of themselves, to push their limits in racing or cruising by creating the most reliable and accurate electronics for sailing.”

Laura Tolmay, B&G’s PR and Sponsorship Manager for Asia Pacific added, “It’s important to recognise the hard work and tireless efforts that all of the athletes and coaching staff put into representing our country at the most elite level. What’s equally as important, is the support of local sailing clubs by Australian Sailing, and the encouragement of young Australian sailors.  B&G is proud to be partnered with the team at Australian Sailing, and strongly supports the future growth of this amazing sport.”

“Our products are essential for the coaching teams to be able to get real time data and monitor environmental factors to improve the athletes’ performance when on the water. The AST support vessels are fitted out with a B&G Zeus3 7-inch Multi Function Display (MFD), and a WS310 wind system.”

Sitting atop a wand mounted to the tip of the mast means your wind gear is going to be exposed. So over and above B&G’s normal rigorous testing, the WS310 and 320 were give an additional 200,000 hours combined of field-testing to ensure they are the best available solution.

Accuracy is essential whether crossing an ocean or practicing for a trapezoid course, and these wind sensors are accurate to within half a degree and just 0.2 of a knot. Furthermore, they were benchmarked against many different sensors in over 500 wind tunnel tests. Say no more.

As you can see form the image, the B&G Zeus³-7 is not only widescreen, it is both an all weather touchscreen and analogue controlled affair, and you can use both simultaneously. Interestingly, if it is really feral, then you can easily turn the touchscreen off, and if you know what that means and often wear ocean gloves, then that is really important.

What you cannot see from an image so much is how user friendly it is, nor the wide range of sailing specific functionality incorporated therein. You may be able to asses the SolarMAX™ HD technology for brilliant daytime visibility, but until you use it, especially in the Australian sun, you won’t fully comprehend just how vital that is.

Of course in the modern era, interlinking of devices is essential, so with WiFi you can download charts, get updates, and probably even more importantly, mirror the information to your phone or tablet to use it anywhere on your vessel. That’s better than handy, and more than important.

One person well and truly in the driver’s seat with this tech is AST Men’s Laser Coach, Michael Blackburn. “B&G do a lot for us, without any fuss. They really are a quiet achiever. B&G have been with us for a while now, and we have gone through a few iterations of equipment. All of them have survived well, especially when you consider the amount of time we use them, and the conditions they are subjected to.”

“They are so reliable, that it is actually a non-issue, except for us users who sometimes forget to plug it all in. We have identical kits in all the coaches’ boats, which is wonderful. There’s the wind gear, the Zeus MFD, and importantly for us, charts for all the locations all over the world, including underwater terrain. I also really appreciate the high frequency refresh for True Wind Speed, and linked with the GPS it really is helpful”, said Blackburn.

“True Wind Direction and True Wind Speed are our go to numbers in our daily work, as well as some secret squirrel stuff too. Our B&G gear is always reliable, and always works. Other countries use another system that definitely lacks the same reliability we have observed.”

“Our equipment is full of features, and this makes us coaches a bit smarter and a bit ahead of the sailors, so we get the same feel as if we sailing our own boats. It has returned that affinity for the wind and the surrounding terrain. I used to be stick, ribbon and compass kind of coach, but this educates and informs us so much better. Combined with tracking and being added into the database it is utterly essential equipment.”

Blackburn concluded by saying, “Apart from the mast, and the display, people might not know just how much this all adds to the equation that we work on in the moment. Both the coaches and the athletes all get tangible benefits from the B&G equipment we use every day we are on the water.”