Pornic to Baiona Race 2016

Our TIMEZERO ambassador, Grégory Boyer-Gibaud who works for Ligue de Voile des Pays de la Loire in organizing and managing regattas. In this article, he recounts the use of TIMEZERO software by the event organizers for the 11th edition of Pornic – Baiona. It looks at the functions Position Report and Weather Routing using TZ Professional v3.

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Every off-shore race requires an enormous amount of work to go into it, to make sure that everyone is adequately prepared for every eventual scenario. The excitement of such races is arguably for just that reason, that anything can happen. Grégory tells us about the planning of the race, how TIMEZERO software helped in following the fleet in almost real time and also how to plan for providing assistance if, meaning when, things go awry.

The Pornic Baiona race took place on the 11th of July, open to the following categories: single manned, doubles and team. The race consisted of 460 nautical miles from Pornic to Baiona and back, and also had a time limit of 3-4 days depending on how the weather would play out. The Gulf of Gascogne, the two capes of Villano and Finisterre are all part of this race in which 40 sailboats competed. In this year’s edition, the technical ability of the captains was plain to see.  On top of this, having yachts ever more advanced and quicker, made this race more intriguing than ever before.

TIMEZERO before and during the race:


In preparation:

  • Alignment marking and course preparation (race markers, distance calculations
  • Integrating the race course image overview into the race documents (declaring the relevant marine authorities, race instructions, security briefing)

In-race:

  • Competitor position reports (using integrated POS files) and race fleet tracking
  • Projecting ETA and weather routing simulations using the polars and the weather forecasts

1. First leg Pornic to Baïona:

A virtual gate was added near the Coruña region, between the Cabo lighthouse and a virtual buoy.

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This gate served the following purposes:

  • End the race if weather conditions no longer ensured minimum safety conditions
  • Creating a leaderboard for the race after the crossing the gulf which would also provide insight into the tactical options of the competitors
  • Communicating during the race at this important race mark

Thanks to the positions of the boats from our provider Dolink, we could show these reports within the TIMEZERO charts (POS), and watch each competitor arrive practically in real time (updated every 10 minutes).

We were able to establish a leaderboard using this information and then distribute this information to our fans.

The weather conditions were very manageable at that moment in time, allowing us to follow the race in person until Baiona.

2. Baïona to Pornic:

The conditions were not however so favorable for the departure on the second leg of Baiona Pornic on the 18th and 19th of July: not the most extreme conditions (no wind and cloudy), and an added time constraint of needing to return to Pornic before the 22nd July in the evening at the latest due to an anticyclone with little winds after this date.

However, between these two dates with little wind, a time window presented itself which would allow the competitors to get back to Pornic in a direct line. The window was small, so we really couldn’t miss it.

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We had to adapt and started the event to the north of Baiona, after being convoyed by motor 42 miles.

Using TIMEZERO, we were able to locate the best possible areas to the north of Baiona from which to start the second leg. This was done using the weather service, looking at the wind, depths and the precise contours of the Spanish coast.

During the second leg, 2 single manned boats ran into problems after their spinnakers got caught in the furl.

These incidents took place just along the north coast of Spain. There were a few solutions that were possible to come and help these boats in difficulty and put them in a calmer zone of winds where they would be able sort out their problems without intervention being needed.

Thanks to the weather forecast service within TIMEZERO, we could locate the best possible departure location using the following factors: depth, coast, weather and the state of the sea. This allowed us find a solution that was pragmatic and ensured the safety of the various competitors in difficulty.

Position Report:


The Position Report is a feature uniquely available for TZ Professional v3. It allows for both race organizers and those racing to have information of where those competing are located. This adds another dimension to any race as it allows you to follow the competitors from wherever you are. The information could be relayed and added to a website to let fans, family and friends follow their progress too!

Other features of the position report are the automatic generation of report and the customizable display. TIMEZERO can be set to automatically update the positions by checking for the latest report. The customizable color and name provides a way to visually recognize a particular boat quickly.

Find out more about TZ Professional v3 and the Position Report tool and why it could be a good fit for your race.
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