We on the Sportsboat World ship have generally used a Velocitek Pro-start (GPS) backed up by a Tacktick Micro flux compass. This year we have decided to try the new Velocitek Shift which – unlike the Pro-start – is NOT a GPS compass, AND has some useful features.
Some features are duplicated between the two devices (such as the countdown) and it would be fantastic if this was all available in one unit (and with a depth reading as well!?) but until that happens this looks like the best combo of instruments we have found! So, why is it useful?
We LOVE the Pro-start: it is great for setting the start line AND using as a timer, and the ‘Speed’ function is handy just to keep an eye on acceleration out of tacks/gybes etc (we accept in a one-design fleet that it is generally useful for confirming what you already know…) but as a compass working on GPS is has limited use – particularly in current!
Enter the Shift… even the visually impaired nearly 50s can read the Shift (even with their sunglasses on and reading glasses off) so that is a good start! Set the instrument upwind by a simple press of the buttons on each tack and there you have your angles set. It then tells you whether you are up or down on that tack (if you did not know/could not remember/did not previously care)… Once you turn downwind it realises that and stops using that function.
Now, here is the really useful bit… As soon as you turn back upwind it immediately tells you what phase you were in – idiot proof! We thought it was extremely useful and really aided decision making at points on the racecourse where there is lots going on. What was amusing in Hyères was that some of the shifts we had completely confused the instrument as they were beyond the normally expected range! Hopefully we would have spotted those ones anyway? Our conclusion: a really good upgrade on the Micro we used to use!
We have some in stock if you cannot live without one, at £466.67 (ex-VAT) for the Shift, £58.33 (ex-VAT) for the bracket (plus shipping depending on where in the world you live). For those still without a Pro Start we still have some of those at £400 (ex-VAT) and £50 (ex-VAT) for the bracket.