The Secret To A Great Start by Vicki Sheen
Optemum Racing Watch
The GBR Blind Match Racing Team was emailed letting us know that Optemum had sponsored us with a watch each. As the totally blind member of the team, I assumed they couldn’t mean me — however large or clear the dial or numbers, I could not read it.
Imagine my excitement when they handed me my first ever racing watch which I could not only hear increasing countdown bleeps, feel a vibration at each bleep, but due to the easy button layout and acknowledging bleeps when pressed, I could easily set up the watch and be confident I had correctly started it.
At the IFDS Blind Match Racing World Championships in Sheboygan, I can say that despite sometimes not being able to properly feel my fingers due to the cold, I never missed getting the start sequence. For the first time ever, I had a reliable countdown, which didn’t let me down through any of my ten races.
Milestone 3 MP3 Player and Digital Recorder:
The Milestone has an easy-to-use digital recorder and player facility. A file can easily be created and used as a timer during racing. A file started at the initial gun and starting sequence can then verbally count down at ten second intervals increasing to seconds at key points. A second file can also be recorded with a countdown one minute on, in case the first gun is missed.
The ten second or less intervals of information is an advantage on any other audio system. However, it is difficult to get the recording loud enough to easily heard over the noise of flapping sails. I found myself having to keep bringing the timer up to my ear to hear the next announcement.
The iPhone has an excellent timer facility which unlike other timers, can be interrogated to give on request immediate up dates, thus informing the sailor the time in-between bleeps at minute intervals or more rapid bleeps during the last minute count down.
The iPhone has not been tested under race conditions. This is due to the difficulty of operating the phone during sailing, the concern with a safe waterproof housing and the risk of damaging the phone through water or physical accidents. However, this may be a further method for the future.
— Vicki Sheen
Kitchen Timers On The Starting Line by Kylie Forth
It is possible to use a simple countdown talking timer or watch which announces the elapsed time at each minute, every ten seconds in the last minute, and the final ten second countdown.
This can be customized so that you can hear the elapsed time regularly during a start sequence, but you must use two devices in unison. Set one to count down from one minute, and the other from five or seven minutes, depending on the length of your start sequence. Running both timers or watches simultaneously will give the elapsed time every ten seconds, and remind you how many minutes are left.
Dangers of this method are that you might not activate both timers simultaneously, so one is slightly wrong. In addition, it may be difficult to hear the elapsed time unless you fix the timer to your shoulder or hat.
— Kylie Forth