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Frequently asked questions

Quick guide


The objective in cWind is to win regattas against other boats: to cross the finish line in first position.

The regatta courses are displayed at the bottom right of the main menu screen (see picture 1 below, for an Olympic course).

  • The green lines are the start and finish lines.
  • The orange circles are the markers you should round.
  • The sets of 3 arrows indicate the direction of the wind (the first leg will be a beat against the wind in the example below).
  • The wavy lines indicate the direction of the tidal current (in the example below, the current is against you, and will make you drift to the bottom left side of the course).

The white arrow shows you on which side you should pass the markers (leaving them on Port or Starboard). The little grey boat will run the course as an illustration.

In the picture 1 below, the Olympic course is shown.

Main menu screen

Picture 1 - main menu screen

Initially, you'll need to complete the first 4 tutorial regattas in turn (and arrive first) before you can unlock the other regatta courses like the Olympic course.

Starting a regatta

Once you are ready to sail, press the "Start solo race!" button, and you'll see a screen like this:

Game screen

Picture 2 - game screen

  • Your boat is at the centre, and you're seeing her from behind.
    • You may occasionally see an arrow just behind your boat. It shows an optimal direction you could go to reach the next marker. You may decide to ignore this guidance, depending on your strategy (for example if you prefer to tack early / late, or if you favour the other side of the course).
  • On the left hand side, you'll see a vertical blue rope. That's your sheet. It allows you to trim your sails (both foresail and mainsail at the same time). See the explanation on how to trim you sails below.
  • Sail efficiency indicator At the top-left corner of the screen, you see the efficiency of your sails (how well they are trimmed). Keep sheeting in / out to always have 100% and you'll stand a good chance to win the regatta...
  • The grey rectangle at the top is a top-down view of the regatta. You can move it around if it blocks your view.
      Top-down view
    • The top-down view is North-aligned. You can switch to a radar view (aligned to your boat's heading) by changing the settings (using the icon with small gears at the bottom right of the main menu screen).
    • You sail the yellow boat at the centre of the top-down view.
    • The dotted line is the start line (it is red because we're in pre-start mode. It will turn green once the starting signal has been given).
    • The other boats are shown in green.
    • The white arrow is the direction you should be going to reach the next marker.
    • The solid red or green lines are the Port or Starboard laylines. They help you decide when to tack / gibe to help you sail the shortest distance.
  • Race clock At the top-right corner, you see the race clock. When the time is negative, we're in pre-start mode. The start signal will be given when it counts down to 0.
  • Instruments panel layout selectorOn the right-hand side, you'll see LCD indicators. They show your heading and speed, as well as the apparent wind angle and speed. You can display more indicators by clicking on the "++" or "+" signs above the LCD panel.
  • Changing sails At the bottom, you have icons to change sails (gennaker / spinnaker), or to pause the game.
  • You will see some white arrows passing-by here and there on the water surface. They indicate the direction of the wind.
How to steer your boat
Steering a boat by tilting the device

Use your device as if it was a steering wheel. To go to port (to the left), tilt your device to the left. To go to Starboard (to the right), tilt it to the right.



How to trim your sails

In the first 2 regattas, cWind will trim sails for you. You'll just have to steer your boat to the next marker, and cWind will take care of your sails to ensure that they are always properly trimmed.

Trimming sails

In the other regattas, you will have to trim your sails by yourself. To do so, use your left thumb to trim sails, by dragging your thumb over the sheet that is displayed on the left-hand side of the screen:

Drag the sheet upwards to sheet-out (open up the sails), drag it downwards to sheet in (align the sails closer to the boat centreline).

The sheet is visible on the game screen picture 2 above: It is the vertical blue rope on the left-hand side of the screen.

Locked courses

Why are the regatta courses locked (I see a padlock)?

At first, only the first course (Tutorial 1) is open, all other courses are locked.

The regatta courses on cWind are like the levels in a game. You need to complete the first level (win the regatta, within a maximum amount of time) to unlock the following one.

Once unlocked, that course will remain open for ever and you will be able to race in it again at will.

From cWind's version V1.2, once the four first courses are complete (the tutorials), all other regatta courses will unlock themselves.

The wind

What does the wind vane show?
Settings icon

When shown, the wind vane is displayed at the top and in the middle of the screen. If you can't see it, you can have it shown by changing the "Show wind as" option to "Wind Vane" or "Wind Vane and Arrows on the sea": go to the settings screen by clicking the Settings icon (the one with small gears) from the main screen.

Wind vane

The wind vane in cWind. The wind is coming from the left

The wind vane is shown at the top and in the middle of the screen. It is a mechanical device usually located, on sailboats, at the top of the mast. It rotates freely around a vertical axis to show the direction of the wind. In cWind, as it is generally done on sailboats, the wind vane is in the shape of an arrow pointing towards the wind, i.e., showing where the wind is coming from.


A windsock. The wind is also coming from the left.

It is not a windsock as those you see in the weather reports on TV, or around airports (see picture on the right). Windsocks point to the direction the wind is blowing to, whereas wind vanes as in cWind point to where the wind is coming from. A common mistake in reading the wind vane in cWind is to believe it shows where the wind is going to.

And because the wind vane is mounted on board your boat, it shows the direction of the apparent wind.

AWA and AWS indicators

The direction of the apparent wind is also visible on the instruments panel as AWA (Apparent Wind Angle). The instruments panel also shows the apparent wind speed (AWS).

What are the tails on the wind vane?
Wind vane tails

On cWind, the wind vane features two static tails. They are 30° on either side of the centre line of the boat. So when the arrow is aligned with one of the sectors, the apparent wind angle is 30°. When beating up-wind, this is around that angle that the boat will have a decent speed and make a good progress against the wind (best VMG Wind). But the exact angle of best VMG Wind varies based on the boat type and wind speed. So that's only a rough estimate.

What is the difference between true and apparent winds?

If an instrument for measuring the speed and direction of the wind is mounted on shore then the readings obtained are those of the speed and direction of the true wind. If we take this same instrument, and mount it on a boat that is moving through the water, then the readings will be quite different from those taken on shore. These readings show the speed and direction of the apparent wind relative to the boat. I have used the term "relative to" because the apparent wind is applicable only to the particular boat we are looking at and is not the same for other boats sailing in the same area.

Let's look at it in greater detail. If the true wind is blowing at 20 knots from the south and the boat is travelling at 15 knots in a southerly direction, then the wind speed measured on the instrument will be the sum of the two speeds, i.e. 35 knots and the direction of the wind will be from the south. Similarly, if the boat is travelling at 15 knots in a northerly direction, then the wind speed measured will be the difference of the two speeds, i.e. 5 knots coming from the south. Most people will have no difficulty understanding this. The situation gets a bit more complicated if the boat travels at 15 knots in an easterly direction. What wind speed and direction will the instrument show? To arrive at this answer, we will have to resort to using something called a vector. A vector is a line with an arrowhead. It can be used to represent the speed and direction of anything you like, whether it is the wind, a boat or a windsurfing board. The length of the line represents the speed and the direction of the arrowhead shows the direction in which the wind or boat is moving.

Wind diagram

In the diagram here, the vector TW represents the speed and direction of the true wind, BV represents the speed and direction of the boat and AW represents the speed and direction of the apparent wind. TW has a length representing 20 knots coming from the south. BV has a length representing 15 knots going to the east. AW is the result of something called vector addition and represents the apparent wind relative to the boat. Its length represents 25 knots. The angle between AW and BV, shown as ^aw, is 53 degrees. The apparent wind therefore has a speed of 25 knots coming from a direction 53 degrees south of east.

It is the apparent wind that acts on the sails, not the true wind, and that is why it is so important to understand how it behaves.

cWind's instruments panel shows both true and apparent wind data: Wind data on instruments panel
  • TWA: True Wind Angle: the angle of the true wind to the centre line of the boat.
  • TWD: True Wind Direction: the direction of the true wind (0° means the wind is coming from the North).
  • TWS: True Wind Speed: the speed of the true wind in knots.
  • AWA: Apparent Wind Angle: the angle of the apparent wind to the centre line of the boat. Negative values indicate that the wind is coming from Port (from the left of the boat), positive values indicate it is coming from Starboard (from the right of the boat).
  • AWS: Apparent Wind Speed: the speed of the apparent wind in knots.

The radar

Why does the radar seem to turn by almost 180° when I tack? I would have expected only 90°!
Hunter 31 sailboat, by www.yacht-base.com

Let's picture a minute a nice chap named Mike. He owns a boat. Not quite a race boat, but a comfortable cruiser (he needs to keep the wife happy). The boat is a Hunter 31, aptly named "ezRide". When Mike sails her upwind in 20 knots blows, they travel at about 5 knots, at some 35 ~ 40° to the apparent wind (that's what the wind vane at the top of the mast roughly shows). Mike knows that this translates to about 45° to the true wind. So, when tacking to Port, that would take ezRide from around 45° true wind angle on Port tack to about 45° on Starboard tack. That's about 90° overall, give or take.

Now Mike turns into cWind and does the same with, say, the ACC boat. Mike sails her upwind boat at about 40° to the apparent wind by watching the wind vane or the AWA indicator, as he is used to do on ezRide. He then tacks and set a course at 40° to the apparent wind on the other side.

On ezRide, that translated into a 90° turn, so Mike expects it to be about the same on the cWind's ACC. But, hey, the radar has turned by much more in the process: almost 180°! Why is that?

It's all about different boat speeds and their effect on the apparent wind. When the ACC is sailed in 20 knots winds at an apparent wind angle of 40° (same conditions than on ezRide), her speed would be almost 18 knots, and she would be sailing at around 80° to the true wind. Compare that to the 4 knots and 45° true wind angle! So when tacking from 40° Apparent Wind Angle on Port tack to the same 40° on Starboard tack, the boat turns in fact by 80° + 80° = 160°. That's indeed close to the 180° Mike was surprised to see.

Specs of the ACC boat in 20 knots winds

So no bug in cWind there, it is all logical. The difference is due to the much higher speed of the ACC boat compared to ezRide, so a much bigger difference between apparent and true wind angles.

In here, the ACC could be sailed much higher than 40° to the apparent wind. In fact, her best speed when going up-wind in 20 knots wind is at 46° to the true wind, and that translates into about 28° apparent wind angle as she would boast a speed of 9.54 knots. See these data on the screen shot to the right (click to expand it to full size).

The instruments panel

What do all these instruments mean?
The digital indicators on the right side of the screen provide information about the boat and the wind: Instruments panel
  • Speed: the current speed of the boat (in knots) against the surface of the water.
  • Heading: the direction the boat is going to (0° means North).
  • SOG: Speed Over Ground. The speed of the boat relative to the ground (taking the current into account).
  • COG: Course Over Ground. The heading of the boat, taking the current into account.
  • VMG or VMG mark: Velocity Made Good: the speed at which you are going to the next marker.
  • VMG wind: VMG Up- or Down-wind. This shows the speed relative to the bed of the wind: against the wind (positive value), or with the wind if you are sailing downwind (negative value). When going to a mark upwind or downwind, try to get the highest reading on the VMG Wind indicator. The benefit of this indicator versus the standard VMG indicator is that this instrument always shows how effective you are against the wind, and will not be affected by your relative position to the next mark. By contrast, the standard VMG indicator will tend to null when you are close to the laylines , and therefore becomes rather "useless".
  • TWA: True Wind Angle: The angle of the true wind to the centre line of the boat.
  • TWD: True Wind Direction: the direction of the True wind (0° means North).
  • TWS: True Wind Speed: the speed of the True wind in knots.
  • AWA: Apparent Wind Angle. The angle of the apparent wind (felt on board, and integrating the fact that the boat moves) to the centre line of the boat.
  • AWS: Apparent Wind Speed: the speed of the apparent wind in knots.
How do I change the instruments panels layout?
Instruments panel layout selector

You can increase or decrease the number of parameters shown by clicking on the '++', '+' or '--' icons located above the displays.

Information icons

Information icon
How do I activate the small information icons on the game screen?

To activate (open up) the small information icons, click and hold (long press) the icon. cWind will open up a dialog box to show you more information.

I can't see the small information icons anymore. Why?

The small information icons will not be displayed anymore if you ticked on the "Don't show this message anymore" check box last time you saw the help for this item.

Settings icon

You can reset the visibility of all messages by selecting the option "Reset messages visibility" in the Settings screen.

To open the Settings screen, click on the Settings icon in the main menu.

How do I turn off the pop-up windows that are displayed in the centre of the screen when I play?
Priority rule pop-up window

By default, cWind will display a pop-up window in the centre of the screen when a risk of collision with another boat is detected. These pop-up windows indicate which boat has priority, and which sailing rule applies.

Great for learning the ISAF rules of sailing, but these pop-ups can become annoying as they take up a large portion of the screen and prevent you from seeing the action.

Settings icon

To turn the pop-ups off, go to the Settings menu and click the option "Show sailing rules applied: Yes" until it shows "No".

Multi-player regattas

No multi-players mode on Android

cWind on Android does not yet feature a multi-players mode that allows several persons to compete in a regatta against each other. This feature will probably be available in the future, but we cannot commit on when this will be the case.

I can't see the "Multi Player!" button. Why?
Multi player button

To enable multi-player regattas, your iPad / iPhone / iPod Touch must be connected to the Internet, and you must be logged-in your "Game Center" account (Game Center is an app provided by Apple and is pre-loaded on your device). Your device should also have iOS4.2 or later installed. If these conditions are met, cWind will connect to the Game Center servers and will display the "Multi Player!" button underneath the "Start Solo Race!" button.

Game Center Icon

To set-up a "Game Center" account, just tap the Game Center icon on your Home screen and sign in with your Apple ID. Create an alias and add a profile pic that will be visible to friends and the gaming community. You can also assign several email addresses to Game Center, making it easy for more friends to find you. And you're good to go. Once you sign in to Game Center, you're always connected. Until you decide to sign out.

Can I choose the boat and course in a multi-player regatta?

The boat type in multi-player games will be the one that is selected by the highest number of players joining the multi-player regatta. If there is no majority, the choice is random among the most popular boat types.

So for instance, for a 4 players regatta, if players 1 and 2 have selected the Imoca, player 3 has the ACC, player 4 has the beach cat, the Imoca will be used because it had been selected by the highest number of players (2 in this case, versus 1 for the other boat types). If there is a draw (e.g., if players 1 & 2 have the Imoca, and players 3 & 4 have the beach cat, or if all players have selected different boat types), the selection is random among these boat types.

The same principle applies to race courses, with a little variation aiming at increasing the chance to see some action and ensuring that the more interesting courses are being played.

The Green Bonus Things

Why do I sometimes capsize or find myslef in a whirlpool?
Bonus things cWind features two play modes:
  • Regatta with a twist: arcade mode, with green bonus things scatterred across the sea.
  • Pure regatta: no bonus things, just pure, realistic sailing

When playing in "Regatta with a twist" mode, green things are spread on the water. If a boat hits a green bonus thing, she gets a chance to speed up incredibly, capsize all other boats, make them spin on themselves as in a whirlpool, or several other goodies like this.

While this can be fun and adds some spice, these green things can be annoying, especially when the other boats take advantage of them... to your expense.

Settings icon

You can change the play mode to "Pure Regatta" to get rid of the bonus things. Change this in the Settings screen (click on the small gears on the main screen).

How can a competitor boat sail at some 60 kts?!?!

Same story as above, here. The boat has hit a green bonus thing that has given her a turbo boost or even rockets! With this, 60 knots is achievable... we're in a game!

You can prevent this from happening by selecting the "Pure Regatta" play mode in the Settings screen.