You can get away with listening to the guns and trying to time it perfectly but if you want to start well consistently then you need a watch. You can use a standard watch like a Timex Ironman (which are great durable watches) but they don’t have a sailing oriented countdown timer. Enter the Ronstan Clear Start watch series.
The specific watch we’re talking about today is the Race Timer. This is a purpose built device, too bulky for most people to get away with at the yacht club bar but perfect for quickly and easily seeing where you are in the start sequence. Previously we even compared its predecessor’s size to something you might see hanging around Flava Flav’s neck.
So what’s changed? All of the buttons are now located on the top of the watch so they’re less likely to get bumped by your hand or clothing in general.
The new feature I most appreciate are the deliberately placed ‘start/stop’ and ‘sync’ buttons, separate from the standard ‘mode’ and ‘set’ buttons so they’re less likely to get hit accidentally when you’re in sequence.
It also includes a backlight to light up your night sailing and added a 10 minute Match Race specific countdown timer.
Like the old watch it retains its large easy to read numbers, an elastic band designed to be used over top of foul weather gear or around a dinghy mast, as well as a screw holes so you can mount it to a bulkhead. It also retains the ability to adjust whether you want a rolling sequence or to count down and immediately enter a count up timer.
Don’t just let me tell you what the features are, watch the video and you can see it in action!