How to get the best video for your Aero?
Without a doubt, the best video can only come from your own dedicated coach boat. You can see the whole boat, your face and see the boat in context. Or perhaps from a hovering drone focussed solely on your boat. If only we were all so lucky.
Without a coach boat, you can attach your GoPro or other camera in many places, but what gives the best view? I've tried the bow, boom and rudder. But the best, IMHO, is elevated a little off the stern.
You have several mount choices for a GoPro on your Aero: You can mount the camera:
- On the bow facing backwards
- On the boom facing forwards
- On the mast looking down
- On the rudder looking forwards
- On the centerboard tip looking up — no just kidding. Don't try this one.
The bow mounted GoPro gives a good view downwind of the approaching gusts. But you can't see the sail and it is hard to judge the trim. Upwind, you don't see other boats, unless you are so far in front, that everyone is smoke in the distance. In which case, put the camera away, you've arrived!
You can mount a GoPro on a Lasers by drilling a bolt through the bow fairlead. See this How to Mount a GoPro by Kyle Martin for details. Unfortunately, the Aero bow is recessed, so this is not an easy option.
This mount attaches the GoPro to the rudder. On a Laser, you can mount the GoPro directly onto the rudder metal stock using the flat GoPro adhesive mount. With the rudder view, you can see the entire sail, sail trim and the horizon to see how flat the boat is being sailed. You also get a great view of the start.
The downside for this attachment on a Laser, is the mainsheet can catch on the GoPro which can at best just ruin your race or at worst ditch the GoPro into the sea. (Full disclosure: I've lost 3 GoPro's over the years. Fortunately, I tend to lose them just as GoPro announce a new model :-).
The rudder mount works surprisingly well until you have a very choppy upwind leg in medium to strong winds. Then your sawing back and forth on the tiller can make viewers sea sick.
In the Aero however, there is no easy way to attach to the rudder. However, there is a better way.
Aero Stern Mount
On the Aero, I've repurposed a small stalk to elevate the camera. This clamps neatly onto the drain barrier to the left of the rudder. The stalk is about 30cm in length and uses some of the standard GoPro mount adapters to angle the camera. I've used two small lines and hooks onto the take-up shock cord at the corners of the stern.
The camera extends past the stern about as far as the rudder. So it should not pose any more of a collision risk with boats ducking your stern. Most importantly, the camera is tethered to the stalk, which is in turn, tethered to the boat. The camera also has the small orange float so that it will float if the worst happens.
I'm keeping this mount permanently on the boat. I detach the camera when towing. Except for this one time, see: Towing the Aero.
Here are a couple of other views
Sorry this is a little dark. The clamp grips the drain barrier and has a thumb screw clamp. I can easily remove it. I used the clamp from an old SailPro camera, but you could fashion something else that works.
Here is a short sample video, filmed using the stern mount. Notice that the Aero's high boom makes for very nice views of the course and boats to leeward. You can see the entire boat. If I'd angled the camera up a little more you would see most of the sail too.
The short answer is to improve. In the short video above, you can probably see half a dozen micro-mistakes that I made. If I correct these, I may get a 1-2 feet advantage out of a tack. Add that up over a race, and that is several places.