Cowes Week does something interesting; they’re sending out the chosen race course over SMS to the contestants.
The cool part about this, for the racers, is that it allows for automatic adding of waypoints on the yachts. Through the years, sailing on different yachts, more than once have we been late or unprepared to the start because the skipper was busy plotting the waypoints manually on the chart plotter. We have computers, they’re good at such. This shouldn’t be an issue.
When the race committee decides on the course, they text this to all contestants automatically. The best specification I’ve found on the format is in the Expedition manual, repeated here for reference:
The format is
IRC 3; Saturday; 8Y(RS); 8S(RS); 44(RP); 31(RP); 3H(RP); FINISH at 80
Class;Day of week; markref(rounding);markref(rounding);…markref(rounding);Finish at markref
First field: name of class
Second field: Day of week
Third to n-1th field: mark of the course
Nth field: finish mark in the format shown
The rounding definitions are: RP or RS meaning round to port/starboard, PP or PS for pass to port/starboard, LP or LS for leave to port/starboard, and GT for gate mark.
If you beforehand have plotted all the marks/buys under the correct names (or imported a waypoint file), this gives you everything you need to know except for where the start line is. With this information available, the obvious step of computing reaching angles and which sail to use becomes a whole lot easier.