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Transpac Yellowbrick Tracker--Outside Assistance or No?


TJSoCal

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Transpac 2015 Facebook page has the following exchange regarding the Yellowbrick tracker 6 hour delay (emphasis added):

 

  • Susan Wattson Kenney Transpac I was wondering WHY the delay?
    Like · Reply · 1 · 5 hrs
    • 11234909_1019673568067628_21525574908775
      Transpac The racing rules do not allow outside assistance that is not available to all in the race.

      Someone who spared no expense to have great internet access and thus full function of the Yellowbrick system would have a tactical advantage in knowing where th
      eir competitors were in the race compared to those who do not have that access.

      It keeps the focus therefore on devising and following your own strategy for the race.

      Last time the system delay was dialled back once everyone was well west on the track and into final approach to the islands…in this case the ETA’s are useful public information.
      Like · 4 hrs

 

I think that according to ISAF Case 120 questions & answers here, they're incorrect in their justification.

 

The costs of equipment or software and fees for communication services are not costs for the information that can be obtained with that equipment, software or communications service. For example, a cost to a competitor for a computer or cell phone and for internet access is not considered a cost for the information that the competitor can obtain with that equipment. If there is no charge for access to that information, the information is “freely available”.

 

I can see where it makes sense to delay the feed at this stage and in the end it's TPYC's choice, but I don't think they HAVE to delay it under the racing rules. Plus it's not against the rules for anyone to provide information that might constitute outside assistance, it's only illegal for a competitor to access and use the information while racing.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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It's information freely available (in that one need not pay YB for their data). It's not free in that you've got to pay big money to have internet mid-ocean, but Case120 is quite clear that that's OK.

 

 

Tl;dr - YB data are fine.

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There's a difference between what's allowable under the rules as modified by SIs, and what Transpac thought was the right thing to do. Perhaps they didn't make that difference clear and could have worded their rationale and its basis much more clearly. But at least it was nice of them to try to explain what they were doing, and not just say, "Because we said so!".

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Whilst it is good they furnish their reasoning of "outside assistance" as the grounds behind de-sensitising tracker output times, it is a pretty stupid way of doing it.

 

Trackers are principally there for public viewing and safety. If they want to level the playing field all they have to do is treat YB tracker access just like some SI for other long distance races ban subscription based weather services. They did exactly that in VOR.

 

Also I haven't read SI's but if they make AIS transmissions mandatory then it is pretty hard to hide out there in real time if in range so why bother with stuffing around with YB tracker. Loonies.

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YB + a Crystal Ball and you have an un-fair avantage

 

Otherwise you can tell what "Would/Could" have been

 

Not what shall be !! B)

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YB always has low bandwidth tracking data available.., so you don't need FBB or anything like that to view the positions

 

an iridium will do for the low bandwidth data

 

some competitors and race organizers just prefer that the data be delayed because they feel live tracking changes the competition in a way that is not for the better

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This question is one organizers struggle with. On the M-B race last month, the question was asked at the skipper's meeting and eh delayed answer was "yes, you can use it" even through there was no delay. My guess is that the organizers didn't think about YB as outside assistance and because it was "freely available" and they had not addressed the access in the SIs, they were not in a position to deny it at the last minute.

 

I agree it changes things. Gives you a view of what faster competitors are seeing as far as conditions (where is the forecast shift, the gulf stream entry, etc). I like having a tracker my family and friends can access while I'm out there but personally would prefer that the data not be available to all competitors. Question is how to do that under the rules without a specific prohibition.

 

Then there is always the "phone home" and the wife asks "why are you the only ones still heading south?" issue.

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