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Sail imaging software

The Centre has developed a range of yacht sail image processing technologies. One software package in the range is titled “Sail Imaging” and has been developed to perform semi-automatic image processing of yacht sail images.

The software semi-automatically tracks the position and shape of the sail draught stripes and provides useful parameterised information about the shape of the stripes. This information is used by the sail maker or sail trimmer to ensure the sail is of the right shape and is extracting the most power from the wind. “Sail Imaging” runs on the Sun Solaris UNIX operating system and is written in ‘C’.

An image of an America’s Cup yacht sail. The red stripes illustrate the draught stripes that have been tracked by the software.

How it works

The image at right shows a yacht sail image taken with a digital still camera. This image is displayed on the computer screen. The operator then manually selects a point of the stripe to be tracked. The program will then automatically track the sail draught stripe from the luff to the leech of the sail. Sometimes some further user intervention is required if the stripe is not tracked properly. This process is repeated for all of the four draught stripes. The program then displays the results of the stripe tracking as a graphic illustration of the draught stripes and a series of parameters (see below). This information can then be used by the sail maker.

imaging program
Output window of the sail imaging program

How does it compare?

“Sail Imaging” is a considerable improvement over existing sail tracking systems. “Sail Imaging” was used by the oneAustralia America’s Cup Syndicate during the 1995 America’s Cup in San Diego California. The software the oneAustralia Syndicate used previously required an operator to manually select several points on each sail stripe – the more points the better. The accuracy of the program was easily degraded by a tiring operator selecting points inaccurately. In comparison “Sail Imaging” does all the tracking itself (after being told by the operator which stripe to track) and therefore provides more accurate information. “Sail Imaging” also requires less of the human operator. The one Australia Syndicate was very impressed with the performance of “Sail Imaging” – but unfortunately they didn’t win the race.

Where from here?

“Sail Imaging” can be purchased for use in your application. Please contact the Centre for more information on purchasing “Sail Imaging”.

If your need is for software to run on PC Windows systems, you may be interested in “SailTool” – also developed by CMST. “SailTool” performs yacht sail imaging processing and a number of additional functions (but does not include the semi-automatic tracking mode).

The Centre is also seeking parties interested in the further development of Yacht Sail Image Processing software. Several development opportunities exist for the further advancement of the software to match your application – possible improvements include: further automation of the software to further reduce operator input, customising the software for real-time operation on a yacht, and conversion of the software to work on more operating systems. The Centre for Marine Science & Technology is a University Research Centre and prides itself on its close cooperation with industry.