RegattaMaster Watch by Gill

This multi-function racing watch lives up to its name. "Gear Up" from our November 27, 2007, /SW eNewsletter/

GUGillWatch368

Www.gillna.com

When you call a product the RegattaMaster, you're setting it up for some intense scrutiny. So I didn't take my test drive of Gill's RegattaMaster watch lightly. While its square shape was initially slightly off putting--maybe this is stylish somewhere, but I didn't quite get it--I've come to respect this watch. It does just about everything a racing sailor could want and does it well. The key for any sailor is the countdown. When I look at any sailing watch, this is where I start. The Gill offers an easy-to-access countdown that can be quickly keyed through a series of pre-set times (1 min., 3 min., 5 min., 10 min., etc.). If you'd like a different time, there is also the option to set the countdown to a specific time--minutes, hours, and seconds. A useful beep accompanies each minute from 10 to 1, every 10 seconds from 50 to 10, and every second from 10 to the start.One of my favorite features of sailing-specific watches is when the countdown automatically switches to the chronograph after countdown expires. For anyone competing under a time-on-time handicap rule, like IRC or time-on-time PHRF, this is an invaluable feature as no one ever remembers to start a stopwatch in the final few moments of a starting sequence. For sailors, the final feature of interest is the compass, which is quickly accessed via a specific button, click to activate the compass, click again to return to the previous function. While I've never found a wrist-top compass to be particularly useful on a boat--it's hard to get it lined up with the centerline of the boat to take any kind of readings--it's a nice feature and one that could certainly come in useful in a pinch on the water. I've also found a compass quite helpful when trying to determine which way to go when exiting a NYC subway station. In addition to all these sailing specific features, the RegattaMaster has an alarm, a dual-time function, and a chronograph. The numbers are large enough to read under most any circumstances and the light works well in low light situations. The strap is low-tech, and therefore less likely to break. The RegattaMaster retails for $140 and is waterproof to 30 meters.www.gillna.com

"Gear Up" from our November 27, 2007, /SW eNewsletter/