Velocitek Speedcompass/S5

A GPS compass and an instrument for measuring your VMG.

Velocitek Speedcompass/S5

Courtesy Velocitek

Velocitek has developed two GPS-based instruments for sailors, the Speedcompass and the S5. The Speedcompass has a large display that will show your heading in degrees true, as well as your speed in knots. If you're only concerned with one at a time, you need only flip it over on its mount; the Speedcompass detects the tilt and will switch its display accordingly, right-side-up for speed and upside-down for heading. Or, if you'd rather see both, the Speedcompass will switch between the two displays every second. The damping time (time it takes for the compass to update) is also adjustable for sailors who'd rather not see every small change of heading or speed.Want to know your VMG in real time? The Velocitek S5 uses GPS satellites to track actual boatspeed every second and then computes your VMG based on a user-defined line between two reference points (such as windward and leeward marks). The result is a display of your VMG every second, a useful reading to have if you're trying to decide if heading up or footing off will be faster overall. The S5 will also recall your top speed and your best 10-second average when you're done racing.You may not want to toss your TackTick quite yet. It's unlikely that the Velocitek products will be legal for most one-design classes anytime soon, due to the instruments' use of GPS satellites; so far, testing and use has been mostly restricted to high-performance classes (49ers, International Moths, cats, and sailboards) without rules disallowing electronic aids. But for training and adjusting boat settings in any class, these tools would be useful for any sailor who can afford them. The Speedcompass will cost you $399, and the S5 $250. www.velocitekspeed.com