Inspired by Flava Flav but designed for the racing sailor, the Clear Startﾙ Racing Timer by Ronstan has a number of applications that can be useful out on the race course. Thanks to the elastic band the timer can fit a liberal range of sizing options. Wear it on your wrist, over a drysuit or secure it to a Lazer mast with the band or permanently attach it using the two mounting holes found on the back. The huge 65mm face has oversized 16mm numbers that can be easily viewed by the crew when mounted to the boom or mast base. The timer has a rotating face with easy to hit, oversized silicon controls with start and SYNC functions on opposite sides to reduce the potential for accidental hitting.
- Large 5/8 in (16mm) digits which can be quickly viewed at a glance without taking your hand off the helm
- Preprogrammed with 10 minute Match Race and ISAF 5-4-1-0 start sequences but can also be programed for other countdown sequences if needed
- SYNChronization function ﾖ If you miss the gun, one push of a button allows you to resynchronize to the official race time at the next signal.
- Rotating face
- Spar/Hull mounting options
- Multi-Line display ﾖ no need to switch between countdown and time modes.
- Easy to hit controls with Start and SYNC on opposite sides so they are less likely to be hit accidentally
- End of Sequence, Countdown or Count up ﾖwatch can be set to repeat the countdown for rolling starts or can be set to count up to track elapsed time
- Loud intuitive lead up and start sound signals ﾖ can be turned off if desired
- Water resistant up to 150' (50m)
- Ultra clear, durable sapphire coated mineral crystal lens
- Bright, full-face backlight makes it easy to read at night
- 12 or 24 hour time format
- Month/Day, or Day/Month format
- Daily Alarm
- Chronograph; including hours and time of day
- Shock resistant construction
- Battery saving mode
- more than 2 year(s)
That said, I found that the user interface is oddly weird. The timer comes with the display turned off to save the battery, unfortunately the instructions for how to turn on the display don't seem to work. You have to press four buttons at the same time and they are hard to push. This is quite awkward but once successful you'll not have to do it again.
I called APS and they got me going by avoiding the specified 5 second hold on the Clear button prior to pushing the other three buttons. I'm not really sure what I did right but it now works.
I'd like to be able to turn off the display since the timer will sit unused for weeks at a time. There are no instructions for this and I don't know if it is possible.
Changing from mode to mode on the timer is less intuitive than the Timex Ironman watch. I'd continue to rely on the Timex Ironman if it had a giant display and a better beep sequence for the last minute.
This brings us to the Clear Start manual. Why would Ronstan put out a timer with a huge, easy to read display (best in the industry) and combine it with a manual with micro sized fonts that are only 4 or 5 points tall?
The specific sailing watch we’re talking about today is the Ronstan Clear Start 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 the 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 above so you can see it in action!
Original Clear Start