Kevin White is the principle of SailFast LLC. He has been sailing and racing since the 1970's. He founded SailFast in 2005 with the goal to provide affordable software solutions for offshore cruisers and racers. He holds a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from UNH and a masters in Ocean Engineering from MIT.

SailFast & The Marblehead - Halifax Race

Kevin White, President SailFast LLC
The development of SailFast grew out of participation in the Marblehead to Halifax race beginning in 1997. In the '97 and '99 races I crewed on a Catalina 36. The '97 race was a sled ride flying the spinnaker from the start to the final turn into Halifax harbor. The only time the chute was down was when the halyard chafed through during the first night. There didn't seem to be much navigating to do, just follow the rhumb line. This was great Down East sailing. Too bad the race often isn't like this.
The 1999 race was a different story. Navigating around Brazil Rock proved to be a challenge. Looking at tide charts and trying to decide the best course and best time to tack was a tedious and inexact process. Then an unanticipated squall came down out of the Bay of Fundy and wrecked some havoc on the fleet. A number of boats dropped out with damage. We lost our engine due to water in the fuel, and with dead batteries and no way to run the nav equipment, we sailed into Clarke's Harbor and called in our DNF. I decided then that there had to be a better way to handle the complexities of navigating to Halifax.
2001 was the first race with Kalani, my recently acquired Sabre 38. Some intense boat prep to meet the race's ORC regs delayed my ambition to address the navigation problem. But by the 2003 race I had cobbled together an early version of SailFast using an Excel spreadsheet and a lot of macros. From that experience SailFast 2005 evolved which was used by 13 boats in the 2005 race. While that program proved to be a useful tool, the use of Excel placed too many limitations on the graphical interface and it wasn't particularly fast. Consequently the next year was spent making a much improved version with .NET and Visual Studio, resulting in SailFast 2007.
Improvements to SailFast have been steadily made since then and proven out in subsequent racing.