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Southport Saling Club to use GPS tracking at the National Junior 12 Hour Race

by John Hivey 2 Jun 2018 15:28 BST 30 June 2018
Southport SC Junior 12 Hour Race tracking © John Hivey

Southport Sailing Club are to use active GPS Tracking at the National Junior 12 Hour Race on the last Saturday in June 2018. This will be the third year that the club has used active GPS Tracking to score the race electronically.

Competitors and supporters at their home clubhouse will be given access to live up-to-the-minute results and lap audit information for each of the competing teams by following the link on the Southport Sailing club website.

A computer display in the clubhouse will also provide an up-to-the-minute live results display with the three classes highlighted on a colour monitor showing the ongoing race situation report (laps completed and average lap times).

The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions state that each boat must carry a GPS Tracker provided by Southport Sailing Club. The Trackers will be issued at Registration from early Friday evening and are to be fitted to the boats by the competing teams.

The idea is not to provide a detailed visual indication of where the boats are on the Marine Lake, as they can be seen from the clubhouse for almost all of the course. A graphic display of the team positions would not carry the same tactical information as 'normal' dinghy racing because, for most of the race, teams are actually competing for overall race positions with other boats that will most likely be on the other side of the lake. The golden rule at the 12 Hour Race is for competitors stay out of trouble for 12 hours. The penalty for a close sailing tactical error is a lot more than two quick turns.

However, at the end of each lap, competing teams will be able to see an online graphic presentation of the track sailed for that lap. This will be available for every boat every lap, so teams will be able to compare the course they sailed with that of other competitors. These tracks do give a clear indication of who is an expert dighy sailor and who is not!

The basic GPS tracking interval for much of the course can be as high as 30 seconds, if boats are not tacking, gybing or rounding marks, with the interval decreasing in steps as the boats approach the lap line when accurate times will be derived for each lap completed. These time intervals are ample for the race computers to score the race and for the Race Management teams to have a clear indication of the whereabouts of each boat (yes, the Race Management and Scoring personnel do have access to a display with the location of each boat).

Boats will be also timed for the duration of each visit to the 'docking area' and for each occurrence of a boat being stationary in the water for a prolonged period of time. Of course, the traditional manual methods of scoring the race will also continue to be used and the on-going situation reports compared electronically.

Follow the link on the Southport Sailing Club website to see the results of all previous 12 Hour Races and the GPS Tracking information for 2017.

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