I purchased a Garmin Vivoactive watch to be able to run the raceQs sailing tactics racing watch app. I’ve actually purchased two of these watches. I purchased the first in early 2020 when I saw it on sale for around $120 on a discount site. I used a little bit with the RaceQs app https://raceqs.com/smart-watch/ before the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down all sailboat racing, and then used the watch more for its built in GPS bike tracking and walk tracking features during the summer. Towards the end of the summer when I was getting back into sailboat racing, I was wearing the watch on my right hand and managed to knock the strap loose while tying fenders to the lifeline. The watch bounced once on the deck before going overboard. It took me a few months before I saw another deal online that convinced me to buy a second watch.
I have a long data history with Fitbit, and currently wear a Charge 3. It’s similar to the newer Charge 4, but without the GPS tracking features. I like the smaller profile on my wrist of the fitbit, and have been wearing it or something similar 24 hours a day for the last five years. The larger size of the Garmin makes it harder to convince myself to switch to away from the Fitbit for my general data tracking, when though I’ve learned that when I don’t use the GPS features of the Garmin it has similar battery life to the Fitbit. I like the always on watch face of the Garmin, especially after I picked an analog style watch face.
I like using the RaceQs app on the watch while sailing, especially with the more recent editions features of automatically uploading race data to the website. I have some issues, that I mainly believe are because of the touchscreen abilities with the garmin watch. I believe that the app would be much better served on a watch with an array of buttons surrounding the watch face. The pictures of the app on its website appear to show a button centric watch.
The way I use the watch for sailing is that I wait till I’m on the boat, preparing for a start. Then I start the raceQ app on the watch, wait for it to get a GPS fix and go to the timer setting. Then I configure the timer for the appropriate countdown to my start and start the countdown. Then I explicitly press and hold the crown button until I can press the lock icon, locking the touchscreen. I’ve found that if I don’t lock the touchscreen, inadvertent touches will change what’s displayed on the screen, and cause the app to change modes. I do my best not to touch the app until after my race has completed.
Sometimes I notice the app is on a page that asks if I want to exit, with a check (✔) or cross (❌) option. I’ve found that the best option is to not enter anything until after the race has completed.
I wish that the raceq screen displayed GPS time on all screens, including the screen asking if I wanted to exit the app. There are plenty of times that I’ve been hiking on the rail and the skipper wants the exact time recorded for when we’ve crossed the finish line. with the watch locked, there’s no way to get the time on the watch quickly.
The app automatically calculates tacking angles to the mark after one set of windward/leeward marks have been rounded, which seems nice, but in my position on the boat, isn’t as important to me as the start timer, or the real time of finish.
I don’t know if there’s a way of creating screen shots of the watch display similar to what’s on a phone. It would be nice for describing after the fact what was going on, but with the limited storage and buttons on the phone, don’t expect there’s a way of doing so.