Round the Island Race 2017
The annual Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, is a one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, an island situated off the south coast of England. The race regularly attracts over 1,600 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the biggest yacht races in the world. The timed race starts in Cowes and runs southwestwards to The Needles Light, southeastwards to St. Catherine’s Point; northeastwards to the Bembridge Ledge Buoy and then northwestwards back to Cowes.
LIVE AIS FEED
For the first time, Comar Systems – in association with Marine Traffic – provided a live AIS feed of the race on their website. The AIS feed was monitored by the RNLI and the race safety boats during the race. Land-based Comar SLR350Ni type receivers were placed at strategic locations around the Isle of Wight. These AIS receivers – equipped with WiFi and ethernet connections – relayed the received AIS data in real-time over the internet to the AIS server based at Marine Traffic. In turn, these data were combined and returned as an internet feed which could be viewed live.
AIS is a VHF radio technology which, when combined with GPS technology, allows vessels to “see and be seen”. It is probably the most significant development in navigation safety since the RADAR. AIS has the tremendous advantage in that it is low-cost and does not need direct line-of-sight in order to work, unlike RADAR.