First there was the masthead Windex which replaced the burgee, then we all became familiar with masthead sensors connected to visual displays either below or in the cockpit giving clear and accurate readout of wind speed, direction apparent and true. Later refinements are internet connected versions so that you can check wind conditions remotely from your computer or mobile phone before you left home.
The problem with all these devices are they only measure wind conditions where the boat is not where it's heading. As every racer knows anticipating wind shifts and changes, especially in light airs can mean the difference between being at the head of the fleet bringing up the rear.
Some innovative local sailors have harnessed drone technology to solve the problem. Simply the Tactical Integrated Wind Transducer is a lightweight miniature drone, which is programmed to fly on a semi circular arc up to 200 meters ahead and above the boat. Sensors send wind data back to an app which displays to the helmsman or navigator (both android and iOS are supported) giving early warning of changes wind conditions.
There is some debate over the legitimacy as using the technology clearly gives users an advantage over those of who constantly scan the water surface for signs of wind shifts.
The diminutive size means the device can be used by dinghy sailors. Equally it's also a slight disadvantage since the makers state that it's only suitable for up to wind speeds of Force 4 , although they claim to have developments in place which should allow the device to fly in winds to F6.
Investment requests to put this into production will be up on Crowdfunder soon, No pictures yet but see sailing anarchy for details
ICW Tugs May 2017* A
5 hours ago