Race timing

Hi,

The guy on the finish boat has some trick watch, which records a lap time / finish time each time he clicks the button. As each boat crosses the finish line, the assistant records the order of sail numbers. After the race, the list of times is matched to the list of sail numbers, and everyone has a race time.

Except it's all gone wrong and we're guessing he's either not clicked it when someone finished, or clicked an extra by mistake, and whatever, it's crap.

Situation is; club regatta, 40 boats in 4 divisions, all coming across the same finish line. Sometimes there's 10 boats in pack, finishing together.

What's a good method / appropriate tools to record accurate race times?

We're looking at the Sailwave program as a good way to calculate yardstick corrected times and series scores.

Hoping you can help,

Tony

 

Dog Watch

Super Anarchist
1,465
20
Hi,

The guy on the finish boat has some trick watch, which records a lap time / finish time each time he clicks the button. As each boat crosses the finish line, the assistant records the order of sail numbers. After the race, the list of times is matched to the list of sail numbers, and everyone has a race time.

Except it's all gone wrong and we're guessing he's either not clicked it when someone finished, or clicked an extra by mistake, and whatever, it's crap.

Situation is; club regatta, 40 boats in 4 divisions, all coming across the same finish line. Sometimes there's 10 boats in pack, finishing together.

What's a good method / appropriate tools to record accurate race times?

We're looking at the Sailwave program as a good way to calculate yardstick corrected times and series scores.

Hoping you can help,

Tony
Are you talking about a race that has happened? If so, it doesn't look good unless you have a means of recovering the correct finish order. Redress 62.1a - Improper action or ommision by the race committee - it could get abandonned for all 4 divisions. Some detective work might solve the case. If there were 40 boats out there, and only 39 clicks, its clear that one boat is missing. Asking around might be enough to place that boat 'between' two others. Redress could be to apply a fair agreed made up finish time to a boat.

(Don't forget, if you are going to seek redress, it must be done within the time limit. Basicially, as soon after you learn of the mistake as possible.)

For the future, I guess the old tried and tested method of a stopwatches (2), pencil and carbon paper is the best. A video camera with an accurately set clock can help too. Maybe one of those head mounted cameras. A pin end ARO if you have the resources.

Lastly setting races which minimise clumping at the finish or set multiple finish lines and longer finish lines.

The main thing is to assess the risk (function of severity of consequence and likelihood) of your automation failing. If its unacceptable, find another means or have a back up.

As for results software, no reason why a good excel spreadsheet couldn't do the job. Depends how advanced you are at Excel.

DW

 
Last edited by a moderator:

PaulK

Super Anarchist
We have someone call the boat's number as they finish, and someone else (or several of them, if it's a big fleet) writing down the numbers and their finish times. That gives us a written record, in order. Discrepancies (if any) can be decided by comparing the lists. A voice recording of all this would provide further backup. Asking the boats to remember who finished before or after them is going to be a sticky wicket. In our neck of the woods, your timing guy would be in contention for a special prize that is awarded for the biggest Race Committee snafu of the year. The Moosehead Award is indeed a stuffed moose head with antlers about 8' across that must be hung at the winning club until they're out-done the following year. Good luck.

 

ChiGuy

Super Anarchist
2,156
11
Have the time keeper buy a beer for each skipper and crew.

Pencil/paper to record the finish times when they occur. A tape recorder as a backup... digital audio recorders are rather nice.

 
Video camera fixed on the line and someone calling out the times and/or anything else that comes to mind as boats finish etc. Sit back and have a beer and a fatty - figger it out when on shore. one note... when dis'in a boat, push mute when replaying it for the people bitching about their finish time.

At our club, we use volunteer RC and taking the times or screwing them up is one of the things that intimidates them the most, me thinks it just messes up happy hour out on a power boat/RC boat, but when it comes to getting people to help out, making things easy is the way to go.

 

chris.woodsail

New member
7
0
scotland
+1 for the paper and pencil

and a few of you if the fleet is big.

Sailwave is great for working out most things (although i have been a bit stumped with helm handicaps).

It has a bit of a learning curve, but its worth it if you are regularly OD, or for keeping track of series.

 
Thanks for those.

The situation was discovered just before presentation at a regatta. Committee immediately notified, but "we cant do anything to fix it now". Friendly negotiation between skippers agreed to accept the incorrect results.

The SNAFU award is a cracker! I'd be in the running for that, for the time I got the anchors all wrong and had both the buoys and starting boat drifting to create an interesting mobile course! However our race timer cracked the sads that we dare to challenge his work. Hoping to find a simple procedure we can introduce to eliminate errors, standard procedure, nothing personal.

Video sounds great, with simply written backup; perfect.

 

Dawg

Moderator
7,862
1
Any big Club event should have a video of the starts and finishes along with a tape recorder going at the finish.

 

Brass

Super Anarchist
2,741
154
Thanks for those.

The situation was discovered just before presentation at a regatta. Committee immediately notified, but "we cant do anything to fix it now". Friendly negotiation between skippers agreed to accept the incorrect results.

The SNAFU award is a cracker! I'd be in the running for that, for the time I got the anchors all wrong and had both the buoys and starting boat drifting to create an interesting mobile course! However our race timer cracked the sads that we dare to challenge his work. Hoping to find a simple procedure we can introduce to eliminate errors, standard procedure, nothing personal.

Video sounds great, with simply written backup; perfect.
Wrong way round: stick with the printing stopwatch and pencilling the finish order as the primary means. Your problem was that, once in a while it failed: it's still a good, simple system, and far quicker than videoing, then watching the video (and doing the same thing: writing down times and sail numbers).

Use the video/audio tape as a backup when the standard system goes wrong.

 
Yes, good call. In summary;

- one person calls sail numbers as they cross the line

- one (or more) glances at the clock and writes the time next to sail number, occasionally saying aloud the time

- dictaphone records it all; as backup and for dispute resolution. This recording will include finishing order & times (may be derived from the occasional call)

- video may be a bonus, not be relied on

Should be OK to make this procedure standard from now on. Getting a big new clock & a voice recorder/pod/dictaphone to go with it.

Our problem was they did not write results down immediately, but tried to match times to sail numbers after the event.

 

left hook

Super Anarchist
7,473
5
Last regatta I was on RC for we had 60 dinghies all sailing the same course and finishing fairly closely. Our system for calling finishers was thus:

  • Race officer sights line and has digital tape recorder going near his mouth.
  • Calls out sail numbers as boats cross the finish line
  • 2 score keepers sitting nearby with paper and pencil all write down what they heard him say
  • While the fleet is doing the next race the 2 scorers compare their two lists of the sail #'s that the RO called out.
  • Usually they get everything right but if not then they refer back to the recording.

This is how our club does it for One Design racing. I've also done RC for handicap racing which is more complicated but not much. Each scorer gets a synchronized clock and when the RO starts his tape recorder he verbally "marks" a time on the recording based off of the synchronized clocks. as the recording progresses he announces "mark" as a boat crosses the line and then runs off sail numbers. Again the scorers compare their results after the last finisher crosses the line and if there's a discrepancy they go to the recording and count the seconds after the scorers initial time "mark".

These systems usually work out well.

 

Somebody Else

a person of little consequence
7,591
769
PNW
  • Race officer sights line and has digital tape recorder going near his mouth.
  • Calls out sail numbers as boats cross the finish line
  • 2 score keepers sitting nearby with paper and pencil all write down what they heard him say
  • While the fleet is doing the next race the 2 scorers compare their two lists of the sail #'s that the RO called out.
  • Usually they get everything right but if not then they refer back to the recording.
This. Works great for large fleets and crush finishes.

Also works for Over Earlies.

 

left hook

Super Anarchist
7,473
5
  • Race officer sights line and has digital tape recorder going near his mouth.
  • Calls out sail numbers as boats cross the finish line
  • 2 score keepers sitting nearby with paper and pencil all write down what they heard him say
  • While the fleet is doing the next race the 2 scorers compare their two lists of the sail #'s that the RO called out.
  • Usually they get everything right but if not then they refer back to the recording.
This. Works great for large fleets and crush finishes.

Also works for Over Earlies.

Good point, we did that too. System works even better when the boats all have bow numbers.

 

warbird

Super Anarchist
16,516
1,282
lake michigan
The portable GPS's I have have a hour minute second display we call up. Always sync some other watch to the gps . Bring extra batteries along, and an extra GPS. Did I say SYNC a regular watch to the gps time. Paper, pencils, helpers and beer.

 

johnnysaint

Super Anarchist
8,514
0
Video has it's drawbacks - especially for fast finishers, or close finishes with one boat at boat end & the other at pin end.

Also it can be embarassing to find out later that a boat that wasn't called OCS, actually was over but not called over the radio at the time.

 
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