Transponders to ensure sailor safety

Published on June 14th, 2018

With a record number of 1900 registered boats from about 60 nations, Germany’s Kiel Week has the attention of the sport. Boosted in part by the Olympic fleets looking for competition in advance of their World Championships to the north in Denmark, Kiel Bay will be full on from June 16 to 24.

To ensure the safety of the competitors, event organizers are utilizing RFID system (radio-frequency identification) to determine whether the athlete is on the water or back ashore. The system consists of a transponder, which the sailors are carrying, and a reading station ashore.

The technology for sender-receiver systems for automatic and contactless identification and localization via radio waves is not new, but not yet spread in the sailing sport. For Kiel Week, each sailor will have an RFID bracelet which they’ll hold in front of the reading station when heading out to the race course and again when they have returned back to land.

“The goal is to have every German sailor equipped with such a RFID bracelet to be able to log on and off at all German regattas,” explained Jobst Richter (Kiel Yacht Club). The European or world-wide distribution of this idea and these systems seems to be the logical next step.

Eight of the ten Olympic fleets (no boards) will be racing from June 20 to 24. Here are the teams entered from Canada, Mexico, and USA:

470 M (1): Stu McNay/ Dave Hughes (USA)
470 W (1): Kathleen Tocke/ Charlie Bess (USA)
49er (7): William Jones/ Evan DePaul (CAN), Ryan Wood/ Andrew Wood (CAN), Nevin Snow/ Max Agnese (USA), Judge Ryan/ Hans Henken (USA), Andrew Mollerus/ ? (USA), Ian Barrows/ Mitchell Kiss (USA), Chris Rast/ Trevor Burd (USA)
49erFX (3): Alexandra Ten Hove/ Nariah Millen (CAN), Stephanie Roble/ Margaret Shea (USA), Lucy Wilmot/ Nathan Houseberg (USA)
Finn (4): Tom Ramshaw (CAN), Kyle Martin (CAN), Caleb Paine (USA), Luke Muller (USA)
Laser (14): Norman Struthers (CAN), Luke Ruitenberg (CAN), Robert Juhasz (CAN), Hugh Macrae (CAN), Liam Bruce (CAN), Noah Collinson (CAN), Matti Muru (CAN), Forrest Wachholz (CAN), Robert Davis (CAN), Justin Norton (CAN), Fillah Karim (CAN), Yanic Gentry (MEX), Charlie Buckingham (USA), Darius Mienville (USA)
Laser Radial (3): Clara Gravely (CAN), Coralie Vittecoq (CAN), Paige Railey (USA)
Nacra 17 (3): Riley Gibbs/ Louisa Chafee (USA), Ravi Parent/ Christina Persson (USA), Sarah Newberry/ David Liebenberg (USA)

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