Wouldn’t it be nice to have all sorts of GPS capabilities on your wrist? Yes it would, and with the Garmin Quatix GPS watch, there’s a GPS and much, much more. Be careful though. It could be highly distracting.
First off, it does tell time, with large, sharp digits. The user can then easily page through functions by using the big blue button on the left side. Press it once and get a list of options: GPS, Tides, Tack Assist, Sail Race, Clock, Waypoints, Tracks, Routes, and Autopilot, too. Autopilot? Yep, you can use it as a remote control for your Garmin unit.
The gold mine is the Sail Race page. As part of your pre-race routine, you can plug in the wind angle and your boat’s tacking angles, and then sail upwind. It records your headings on port and starboard and commits them to memory. Then, page down to the Start Line function to do your time and distance, too. Enter your bow offset, ping both ends of the line as waypoints, and save. Now you’re ready to race. Scroll to and activate the Sail Race function. In the display will be the countdown timer, distance from the line, as well as desired speed and burn time. Once the countdown finishes, the display automatically shows numerical lifts and headers.
Dig deeper and there’s an altimeter and a barometer, and when paired with a Garmin GNT10N NMEA transceiver, it can receive NMEA2000 data, such as wind speed and direction, and depth.
One complaint is that it can’t be locked in the Sail Race mode. On numerous occasions during my regatta test, I accidentally pressed the primary button, which stopped the countdown timer in the middle of the pre-start. Also, with the GPS running all day the battery will drain pretty fast. To charge the unit, the watch is placed in a USB charging dock (don’t leave home without it).
All in all, the Quatix is a great tool to stay engaged in a race, especially if you’re the type to second-guess the tactician all day long. Retail is $449.