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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    West Coast
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    4,093

    Default Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    After a long absence from racing I joined the local dinghy club. On duty with the OOD , I was surprised to discover that the smartphone era has bypassed sailing clubs and race timing still involves hurried scrawls on soggy paper and trying to read illegible writing from the sign up sheet.

    If anyone's interested, I've developed an app to make things easier:

    https://sailracetimer.com/

    It runs from a browser so there's no need for clubs to ask the OOD to install anything.

    If anybody has time to look at it and give me any feedback I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Ardfern and Malvern
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    That looks like a very useful app. I shall pass the link on to some who may like to try it. Thanks for your efforts and for sharing freely.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    4,093

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    Thanks Cardinal.

    I couldn't work out how to edit a post, but I've changed the URL. It is now:

    https://ood2.net

    No worries if you've sent the old one to anyone - it will forward to the new one.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    38,210

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    That is quite neat.

    When mistakes happen, which I think will be clicking on the wrong boat as it goes through the line, it would be nice to have a simpler way of correcting. E.g. you click on Laser 123456 and then notice it should have been 123546, how can you correct that mid race, before the next boat comes through?
    I would think in a big fleet, finding the right boat to click on in the heat of the moment won't be trivial?
    Will it actually be quicker than writing down a sail number and time?
    I have done a fair few OD events where only the order matters, but also fair sized PY races where boats finish within seconds of one another.
    Sometimes you need to resort to incomplete info.
    E.g. you take a time for GP14, blue hull, and fill in the gaps before putting it into Sailwave.

    You will of course be up against sailwave, your choice is either to make the timing app a separate function and export to sailwave, or to take over that functionality. At the moment we share sailwave files with entry details so would not want to change if it meant manually re-entering all that.

    Typically for a club race there are two people in the race hut.
    For something important, we're looking at multiple 'scribes', a caller spotting the line with a dictaphone and maybe a video.
    For sure, the manual entry of times into Sailwave is a chore, but it does not take long in reality, and it is part of our process of checking between the various people recording.
    You need several people for a respectable size fleet anyway, to manage flags, timing and watch for OCS.

    I have seen a few automated race timers, mostly hardware, some including sounding the horn.
    Not sure what the optimum is.
    There is a fine line between automating the dull bits and allowing flexibility to get things into shape when it all gets a bit hectic.
    It's easy to mock scribbled bits of paper, but they are very flexible!

    The smartphone era hasn't so much passed us by as the novelty has worn off. Couple of years ago, loads of us were tracking ourselves around the course and comparing in the bar after, it was pointless and I've not seen anyone do that this season.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    Or Halsail just as good, but manual entry with instant results.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    38,210

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    Quote Originally Posted by Muddy32 View Post
    Or Halsail just as good, but manual entry with instant results.
    What's that like to use when you have a bunch of boats finishing very close together?

    It's easy to record the times, but allocating the times to boats in real time is the problem,
    You see a group of six dinghies approaching the line together, you identify them, it's not clear exactly what their order will be.
    Let's say they are a mixture of classes, so as well as getting the order right, the times must be within a second or so.
    But if two boats of the same class are within a foot of each other, the order must be right.

    We can do that pretty well with our soggy bits of paper.
    I can see it getting into a right pickle with all this pointy-clicky and typing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    4,093

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    Quote Originally Posted by lw395 View Post
    That is quite neat.

    When mistakes happen, which I think will be clicking on the wrong boat as it goes through the line, it would be nice to have a simpler way of correcting. E.g. you click on Laser 123456 and then notice it should have been 123546, how can you correct that mid race, before the next boat comes through?
    I would think in a big fleet, finding the right boat to click on in the heat of the moment won't be trivial?
    Thanks lw395.
    So firstly- mistakes: you can amend results by clicking the pen icon (most phones) next to an entrant. You can then either manually change a recorded time or delete a lap entirely. Do you think it needs something more accessible - a delete button (followed by are you sure?) next to a lap time, for instance?

    And finishing large fleets:
    The way to do it would be to put them in finish order as they approach the line. You can do this either by clicking the up arrow next to each boat, or by entering a sail number (or sail number fragment) into the search box (top right when a race is in progress.)

    The multiple scribes option is there - multiple devices can record start times together.

    It does the series calculating in the same way as sailwave / Halsail and makes series results available both on the ood2.net site and on club websites.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    4,093

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    Quote Originally Posted by lw395 View Post
    I can see it getting into a right pickle with all this pointy-clicky and typing.
    Yes, a mouse makes it awkward - more so a trackpad on a laptop - but from a touch screen tablet / phone it's a cinch.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    38,210

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    I'm fairly familiar with e.g. Sailwave's sailnumber wizard for entering finishers in order.
    It's a pretty quick way of searching for the right boat. Provided you've got a proper keyboard. On a tablet it's going to be slow.

    I think for most of the bigger events I've been involved with, there will always be the need to fall back on just recording whatever you can, then going back to fill in the gaps. You can do that with paper on a clip board. If I need to fall back on my clip board, I don't want to have my phone in my hands. It's got to do the whole job or it's more trouble than it's worth.
    I'm interested in ways to get the results collated more quickly, but we wouldn't want to throw away the checks and balances of multiple people recording results in their slightly different ways and checking them on entry to a PC.
    Don't forget that much of the time, the raw data gathering must be done from the deck of a modest launch at anchor in whatever an English Summer throws at us.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    4,093

    Default Re: Yacht & dinghy race timing app

    Thanks for all your feedback. You've been very generous with your time.

    The search is something I've spent some thought on. When a race is underway, there's a search box in the top right corner of the screen:
    ood2a.png
    Starting to type a number there produces a shortlist of matching boats.
    ood2b.png
    Keep typing and the short list gets shorter.

    You can either click a matching boat from the shortlist or, if you keep going so the typed number matches only one boat, that puts it above the pack, in the list of approaching boats, under the (previously entered) Fireball.

    You can reorder the approaching boats too. The leading boats will disappear from the top once a lap is timed.
    Last edited by sighmoon; 01-10-19 at 18:19.

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