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Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in Racing Sailboat, Sailboat Racing, US |

Stan Honey: High Tech Sailor Sense

A top blue-water navigator explains in a Sailing World interview how to mesh raw data with hard experience to win races.

Stan Honey aboard the trimaran Groupama 3 off Cape Horn. Photo courtesy Team Groupama.

Stan Honey aboard the trimaran Groupama 3 off Cape Horn. Photo courtesy Team Groupama.

Stan Honey, the man who brought you virtual first-down lines and strike zones, highlighted hockey pucks, and customizable motorsports viewing, also happens to be one of sailing’s greatest navigators. To get a grip on what it takes to break round-the-world records using a combination of the latest tweaked tech, major brains, and plenty of seat-of-the-pants experience, read Herb McCormick’s interview of Honey, The Navigator, in Sailing World online.

One of the many great points Honey makes is that even when instruments are sensitive and well-tuned, they can suggest a course that doesn’t make sense in a larger context – like the folly of an all-out effort to chase the advantage in a one-degree windshift when there are regular 15-degree oscillations forming the bigger picture and dictating a steadier, up-the-middle approach.

On the human side of things, Honey describes the differences between sailing aboard the giant French-crewed Groupama 3 in pursuit of the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation, and slamming around the world with a Kiwi crew in the Volvo Ocean Race.

This is a great overview of what life is like at the pinnacle of offshore sailboat racing.

—Doug Logan