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race management software

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Race Management
Forum Discription: For race officers and competiors to discuss the topic
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12517
Printed Date: 16 Dec 17 at 8:51pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: race management software
Posted By: AeroGirl
Subject: race management software
Date Posted: 12 Sep 16 at 8:07pm
I am looking at software to run dinghy races.  We already use Sailwave to input and manage race results.  However, the actual race is run manually with hooters, flags, stop watches and paper to write down timings.   The results are then manually input into Sailwave.

Is there any software that allows all this manual writing of timings to be done automatically?  What do other clubs use for dinghy racing?



Replies:
Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 12 Sep 16 at 8:19pm
Yes we've just installed a system that automatically starts the race via a series of lights and the horn, you tap to finish and it fires a horn, when they're all finished it spits out the results in corrected time, didn't cost us a fortune either (He's a GP14 sailor), now all I have to do is remember his name and edit into this post.

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Posted By: AeroGirl
Date Posted: 12 Sep 16 at 9:32pm
Would definitely be interested to know more.  (So far I have found lots of software which requires entering data and then does the calculations.   Modern technology should be push button and automatic without the need to re-enter data that has been written down.!)


Posted By: GML
Date Posted: 13 Sep 16 at 9:46am
Originally posted by AeroGirl

Would definitely be interested to know more.  (So far I have found lots of software which requires entering data and then does the calculations.   Modern technology should be push button and automatic without the need to re-enter data that has been written down.!)

It is easy enough to record finish times automatically. The problem is recording which boat is which as they finish (i.e. sail numbers). I've tried doing this using a keypad, but in a busy finish I found it impossible to keep up. Using something like Apple Pencil might work better, but I don't have one to try.

Alternatively you can have a list of boats on the screen and tap each one as it finishes, but that only works if you don't have too many boats, and it is still difficult to keep up during a busy finish.

If you still want to go down this route then take a look at the following:
http://www.sprayeasytimer.com/" rel="nofollow - http://www.sprayeasytimer.com/
http://www.rc-pro.co.uk/" rel="nofollow - http://www.rc-pro.co.uk/


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 13 Sep 16 at 10:19am
Originally posted by GML

...Alternatively you can have a list of boats on the screen and tap each one as it finishes, but that only works if you don't have too many boats, and it is still difficult to keep up during a busy finish...


This has been my experience as well. We always seem to end up with at least one bunch of 4 or 5 boats finishing within two or three seconds. I've never ever managed to get the click on every finisher within a second of when they finished, and when I've had a reserve system in case the automation screws up then I've ended up with chaos on both. I also had a very salutary experience the first time we did Barts Bash, when I had the video to review for a large number of finishers. I think it took me about 90 minutes to review and correct about 15 minutes of video of finishes, and the number of errors I found was distinctly disturbing. No point in saving 5 minutes transcribing paper to PC if you then end up spending 10 minutes reviewing video for close finishes you didn't get.


Posted By: GML
Date Posted: 13 Sep 16 at 12:07pm
The ideal solution in the long term is of course likely to be sufficiently accurate (and cheap) boat tracking, but unless you have the money of an event like the America's Cup this isn't viable today. (Even the Olympics doesn't use trackers that are accurate enough to reliably separate boats at the finish).


Posted By: Presuming Ed
Date Posted: 13 Sep 16 at 12:35pm
Wonder if you could do it with a voice recognition system? 


Posted By: Brass
Date Posted: 13 Sep 16 at 2:29pm
Originally posted by Presuming Ed

Wonder if you could do it with a voice recognition system? 
Worth a try.

AIUI there voice to text apps for Samsung phones that are very good.

You'd need some clever editing to cleanse the raw product.

I think it's very dependent on the size of fleets and the experience and class knowledge of the finishing team.

If you've got club fleets of 20 or so, where the finishing recorder is familiar with the boats, then point and click with all sail numbers on one screen will probably work.

For bigger fleets where all the sail numbers won't fit on the screen,or get cramped up, this doesn't work so well.

And very few software packages deal well with transposed, mistaken, or unregistered sail numbers.


Posted By: James Bell
Date Posted: 13 Sep 16 at 5:42pm
I wrote some DOS results software a long time ago, that had a handy feature to assist with recording finishing times on paper (which can still be found http://www.iossc.org.uk/rrs/" rel="nofollow - here ). 

It had a 'time sheet' screen whereby pressing the space bar would record the last ten times on screen (and keep scrolling up every time you hit the space bar). 

That way if three boats came across the line within seconds of each other, you could press the space bar quickly 3 times, then have enough time to copy the finishing times correctly onto paper (you can usually remember the order of boats in your head, but not times).

At some time I will probably write a modern Windows version. 

I wouldn't discount the importance of writing thing down on paper though even if you can do things directly in software, that way you always have a backup copy if something goes wrong (like a sudden power cut, etc). There's nothing more irritating than having completed a race and someone loses or hasn't correctly recorded the times!




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Posted By: Oli
Date Posted: 14 Sep 16 at 9:04am
cheap broadcast tracking available via motionx app, just need willing competitors to strap their iphones to the mast.

choose a channel to boradcast on and set to broadcast every 10 seconds (does require data), anyone can watch that knows the channel via motionx website, if competitors are closer than a few seconds checking back on the individual devices can sort any disputes after the race..  

ive had an idea for while now of using google hangouts, a couple of computers and people on ribs to get an americas cup type broadcast for our trophy races, were lucky the whole river is 3g/4g.

not sure it would be a major success ratings wise but more for an internal broadcast to the projector so that spectators get an idea of whats occurring.  it would be a fun experiment that just needs volunteers.


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Posted By: chrisg
Date Posted: 22 Sep 16 at 1:37pm
"Marke" your thread has arrived....

Have a look at the "RaceManager" system Starcross use. Fully automated. From electronic sign on, through starting the race with automated lights to posting results on their website within seconds of the race finishing. Brilliant.

Their program does ask you to click on a list of competitors but cleverly it works out approx who should be coming over the line next on a handicap basis so the list is ordered as you should roughly see the boats (within reason), rather than just being alphabetical.

They have a practice version on the internet for their OD's to swat up on before their duty here:

http://www.starcrossyc.org.uk/racing/apps/racemanager-demonstration-system" rel="nofollow - http://www.starcrossyc.org.uk/racing/apps/racemanager-demonstration-system


Posted By: piglet
Date Posted: 07 Mar 17 at 12:15pm
Anyone here from Starcross?
Where can we get one?


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 16 Mar 17 at 8:26pm
We used the Starcross system for a couple of years, but have now reverted back to clocks, paper and Sailwave.  

Race Manager will probably work best if you are prepared to run races the same way as Starcross, i.e. Have electronic signing on as you walk out of the changing room, race multiple laps and have race teams that are not scared of computers and who have invested the time in learning the system.

Anyone looked at Hoot?


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: piglet
Date Posted: 17 Mar 17 at 10:11am
David,
I'm interested to know why you ditched the Starcross system, was it just  too complicated for duty RO's?
I can't find Hoot, There is Autohoot which is a simple start timer.
 


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 17 Mar 17 at 10:38am
We got a new timer recently, I thibk it is an autohoot, I will find out. We have technophobes so anything past a timer and pen and paper is a little too much for most RO volunteers.

We do have someone who transcribes it all in to Sailwave though.


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Paul
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D-Zero GBR188
Ex Rooster 8.1 '11'
Ex Laser 167534
Ex Blaze 655


Posted By: G.R.F.
Date Posted: 17 Mar 17 at 8:31pm
We installed an auto system linked to lights last year, some GP14 sailor wrote it, it's been upgraded through the winter, and there are courses next week to explain the differences. It was supposed to make the whole race officer process easier, but when you're club is called the Hythe and Stupid Sailing Club, there's not much chance of that. Dinghy sailors don't always 'get' technology and it'll be back to paper pen and calculator or my name's not sailing genius.

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Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 18 Mar 17 at 7:47am
Sorry, meant Autohoot, we have a bespoke system that does much the same, which saves on a pair of hands.

Ref. Race Manager; we ditched it but in fairness to RM I think that both our sailors and race teams were too set in their ways to adapt.  It works best if boats sign on to populate the database, we launch from two points in the harbour which meant signing on from home.  

We often sail single lap races (a lap can take over an hour) which means you might not have the chance to get the fleet into a running order.

The real driver was the ability to take handicap times, but our RO's struggled with the start up procedure, and recording the results.  We also had an issue with multiple entries of the same boat, different helms different crews ... unique to us because boats count for series not people!





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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: piglet
Date Posted: 18 Mar 17 at 7:59am
I'm wondering how many clubs have bespoke systems/gadgets because of inflexibility?
We obviously need the Eu to step in and create a standard format that won't work for anyone.


Posted By: PeterG
Date Posted: 18 Mar 17 at 9:52am
but when you're club is called the Hythe and Stupid Sailing Club, there's not much chance of that.

Great to see a Commodore embrace the role of promoting the club so whole heartedlyClap



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Peter
Ex Cont 707
Laser 189635
DY 59


Posted By: transient
Date Posted: 18 Mar 17 at 11:20am
The adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" does have a some validity.

We currently have an automated system that times, calculates results, sounds hooters, operates lights and gives a printout. It copes with recalls, multiple starts, abandonment's. Times are also kept manually in case of PC failure (not unknown) or operator error. (more frequent)

The cons are: It doesn't communicate directly with sailwave. Relays sometimes burn out as do halogen bulbs. It's not terribly difficult to operate so long as you keep your hand in. Only doing it once a year is not a good idea. The biggest future problem  is that it will no longer work with the latest operating systems.

There is a push at the club to change systems, RC-Pro has been mentioned (? website not available, this gives me doubts) but I reckon we can squeeze another 10 years out of the old system before we have to change by which time a better option may be available......

......change for change sake is not a good idea.

Anyone using RC-Pro ?




Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 18 Mar 17 at 12:04pm
At our club working in the Racebox can be quite an enjoyable sociable experience, so much so that quite a few non-sailors are happy to act as time keepers or flags, adding a computer screen in a darkened space that requires additional concentration changes the dynamics ... and the desire for volunteers to get involved.

Entering results in Sailwave is not too difficult, what is a pain is propergating the entry list before entering the results.


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: G.R.F.
Date Posted: 18 Mar 17 at 3:55pm
Originally posted by PeterG

but when you're club is called the Hythe and Stupid Sailing Club, there's not much chance of that.

Great to see a Commodore embrace the role of promoting the club so whole heartedlyClap

I resigned, a couple of months ahead of my 'term' after much aggravation which culminated in them voting down the option of a brand new facility with everything a club could wish for and extra boat spaces we badly need, all because of the actions of a few nimbys against the local development that would have facilitated it and a group of more socially oriented 'cheap beach hut on the seafront near to town' social members.  I've yet to rejoin this season and am still considering wether I'll bother at all, it's more tactical fun racing on the lake anyway.


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Posted By: PeterG
Date Posted: 18 Mar 17 at 6:10pm
I resigned, a couple of months ahead of my 'term' after much aggravation ....

OK, I can see where you're coming from! They might want to expunge you from their websiteWink


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Peter
Ex Cont 707
Laser 189635
DY 59



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