We have to find a way to make it affordable. The drone itself is inexpensive. The drone we used for the Blue Chip Regatta, with batteries, is about $2,000. It shoots a 4K flat image, so no more guppy lens, like a GoPro.
If you look at the video from the Blue Chip, you’ll see that, and compare it to last year’s video, so the sail shape you’re seeing are
true. Our Achilles’ heel is just what the 4G signal is at whatever particular part of the lake we’re on and other interference issues. We flew the drone here last year and there were gusts up to 30 knots one day—no problem. The stability system in the drone, its GPS hold, was enough to be absolutely stable.
There’s also a sonic altimeter, which will tell how high the drone is off the water. It knows if there’s an object to the side, and it will automatically stay away from it. It’s not perfect. If you fly it 30 miles an hour into the side of a mainsail, it’s going to hit, but if something slowly comes at it, it will recognize it and stay away.
Interesting discussion on the techniques involved and the coaching benefits. Note the comment about interference issues… The photo caption is particularly fascinating to me. It suggests that the boat deployed the drone while underway to help with sail trim – pretty darn cool!