Catch the Wind, Inc., a high technology company in Virginia, recently released the Vindicator fiber optic laser wind sensing system. Built originally to improve the efficiency and performance of the wind power generation industry, the Vindicator is now being tested in sailing environments.
The Vindicator is capable of measuring real-time horizontal and vertical wind speed and direction data at varying ranges ahead of the device, currently out to 300 meters. Using concepts of Doppler radar, with light as the medium of detection, the Vindicator system quickly senses air particle movement. The system analyzes the air particle movement and produces speed and direction data for the wind. The sensor design is based on the fiber optic laser technology developed and patented by Optical Air Data Systems.
The idea for use in sailing is the Vindicator would be able to tell you the exact wind conditions ahead, information you normally would not have, and therefore help you decide where to steer the boat. The question is-would a technology such as this take away the art of sailing? Will sailing then turn into a sport without tactics and where the best technology wins?
For a video of the Vindicator being used in a marine environment, click here.