Stus-List Off Topic- Automated Race Signals

David Knecht davidaknecht at gmail.com
Sun Aug 9 23:11:15 EDT 2015


My club has a portable battery powered device they carry out to the “committee boat” (actually a large raft) for each race which does the horn sequence for the race with the timing you indicated.  The flags are done manually when we use them (not for dinghies but they are used for keel boat series).  I know the box was replaced recently so I can find out where it was made if that would help.  Dave

On Aug 9, 2015, at 10:37 PM, David Donnelly via CnC-List <cnc-list at cnc-list.com> wrote:

> I know this is sailing related but it is not C&C related. We have a fair number of avid racers on the list and I was hoping for some useful leads.
>  
> A short background.
>  
> I started sailing essentially 3 years ago when we bought our C&C 26. Although I have only raced in the “fun races” I have been volunteering on the race committee since joining the club. One problem we have always had is lack of other volunteers to help run good races, often there would be only 2 of us. One person usually ran the start countdowns and recorded times and I assisted on line calls and did all the mark setting and adjusting for changes in wind direction. Being on a lake wind shifts are a regular part of the day and while not an excessive amount there is almost always adjusting of the marks. 2 people can manage the duties as long as they know what they are doing, committee boat and mark boat. The other individual is retiring from the committee boat duties.
>  
> I am only talking keelboat PHRF racing, not dingy racing. Series racing we have 6-8 boats usually and fun races we have 20ish.
>  
> I have been asked to be fleet captain next year. Having reservations regarding the ability to get volunteers as I have 3 seasons of experience in this regard I am trying to think of ways to “automate” the start sequence so that we can assign other club members to committee boat duty throughout the season. My thought process being if they are intimidated by racing rules, having a simple system pushing a button and watching the line is easier to train and get people acclimated. It also provides consistency to the boats racing that no one “forgets” the horn because they were talking to someone else aboard.
>  
> I realize this may not be official according to the rules but we are not running the Americas Cup. Having spent some time researching via google there are some commercial alternatives available, only a few I found in North America. I am looking for anyone’s experience with these devices and perhaps problems or ones to avoid. My short list of wants:
>  
> 1.      Ability to do a 5,4,1,0 start.
> 2.      Easy to use / reset. Push button with its own clock
> 3.      Connected to lights instead of using flags so all human intervention is avoided beyond the line observations and recording of time. I think racers on our lake would accept this as long as they are visible.
> 4.      Portable, able to be taken ashore and used on different boats.
> 5.      12V power
> 6.      Reasonable cost
>  
> The lights seem to be a non-standard option on what I found, at least on this continent, or only on homemade systems.
>  
> Any leads or links appreciated.
>  
> Regards
> David Donnelly
> C&C 26 Mistress
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Aries
1990 C&C 34+
New London, CT



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