Boat Timer – June minor update

When you press the “Lap” button in Boat Timer the Lap button disappears for that boat so you know you have recorded a lap. The button reappears when you press Update on the grid to sort the race into the order of the last lap for the sailors.

To make it more obvious which boats have lapped and which have not, the latest version of Boat Timer (version 21160) also turns the boat’s box grey. So only the white boxes have yet to have a lap recorded. Just like the lap button, the normal colour is restored when you press the Update button to re-sort the grid.

As always, the update to the Boat Timer app is automatic – if you close and open the app a couple of times you should see the new version.

JettyMap Tags

When you create a Course or Directions in JettyMap it is nice to be able to format it – make some text bold, add a title, start a new line. There are special JettyMap tags you can use for this. They look like:

Bold [bold-start] and [bold-end]
Paragraph [p-start] and [p-end]
Title [title-start] and [title-end]
Subtitle [subtitle-start] and [subtitle-end]
List [list-start]and [list-end]
List Item [listitem-start] and [listitem-end]
Link [link-start], [link-text] and [link-end]
New line [new-line]

So to get a course notice that looks like this:

Start: Green North – 1p – GMp
Course: 4s 8s 2s 5s 7s 3p 9p
Laps: until shortened
Finish: Committee Boat Finish from 3

Club website is here

Your notice area looks like this:

[bold-start]Start: [bold-end]Green North – 1p – GMp
[new-line][bold-start]Course: [bold-end]4s 8s 2s 5s 7s 3p 9p
[new-line][bold-start]Laps: [bold-end]until shortened[bold-end]
[new-line][bold-start]Finish: [bold-end]Committee Boat Finish from 3
[new-line][new-line]Club website is [link-start]https://sailfrensham.org.uk[link-text]here[link-end]


Why use Average Lap Times for club races?

The latest version of Boat Timer can now produce results for Average Lap Time racing. But why would your club want to use this method of race timing?

Many clubs run handicap races or a mix of class racing and handicap racing. Handicap racing allows almost any boat to join in a race. You often see fast boats like RS100s, Merlin Rockets and Aero9s on the same start as slower boats like Mirrors, Laser 4.7s, Cadets and RS Teras. These races are fairly informal – it is difficult to get a handicap system that is perfectly fair to every boat in every type of weather – but they are great fun and because everyone is on the water at the same time they are great for getting to know your fellow club members.

But one complaint you might hear from the sailors – especially if you are on the race team – is about the length of the race.

If you sail a fast boat, you may have a very short race. If the race team are trying to run a race for about an hour, then they have to finish the fast boats by 45 minutes in order to finish all the slower boats by 1 hour 15 minutes at the latest. A bit frustrating if it is a nice day.

So that is why Average Lap Time races are becoming popular at some clubs. The race team lets everyone race for about an hour and then sounds a finish warning signal, after which each boat finishes as soon as it reaches the finish line on the current lap.

Fast boats might complete 4 or 5 laps in the hour-long race and slower ones maybe 2 or 3, but every boat gets about an hour of racing. And every sailor is happy. Worth trying at your club?

Boat Timer Update – Average Lap Timing

Boat Timer users will be automatically upgraded to the new version 21122 this week. This version has some minor fixes for forms and race switching and introduces Average Lap Timing.

Average Lap Timing

Previously Boat Timer used elapsed time (the time taken to go from the start to finish line) for results. However a number of clubs use average lap times instead. In this type of race, the race team sound a warning signal (similar to a “shorten course” signal) to tell sailors that the race is about to finish. The next time each boat crosses the finish line they have completed the race.

The advantage of this method is that faster boats can sail for longer in a handicap race without slower boats having to sail more laps. So it is becoming a popular way to run club races as each sailor can have roughly the same amount of time racing whatever boat they sail.

Boat Timer now supports this. In each start you can change the Timing Method from Finish Time to Average Lap Time and results will then use the average lap times and for handicap races, corrected times will be based on average laps too.

The way times are calculated is to take each boat’s average lap time and multiply it by the most laps any boat completed. This gives an elapsed time for each boat as if they had done the same number of laps. Corrected times are then calculated from the elapsed time using the rating system selected.

Boat Timer – Switching the list of classes or countries

In Boat Timer you can edit the default classes, countries and handicap values easily. However, it can take some time to change a whole list of them. But here is a quick way to change things to suit your club’s location and the boats you sail.

Using the backup and restore options, you can import a file of countries or classes. Usually the restore option overwrites everything in the app (it is a restore option, after all) but the class or country files on the Rotor-Rig.com website only change part of the information in the app, so your races are not changed. And using these files is a quick way to completely change the classes or countries.

If you want to learn how to use these files in the app, this page on customising Boat Timer will explain how. the page also has the download links for each file.

Classes

Your club may sail different classes to the app defaults and may use a different handicap/rating system for race results. The first two files are for IRC (a rating system for yachts) and Weymouth (a handicap system used in Australia for dinghy racing).

IRC

In a rating system, each boat has a rating number calculated according to a formula based on the boat’s length, sail area etc. So the Boat Timer file included different classes for each rating number. For example, if your yacht has an IRC rating of 978 the Boat Timer class is IRC2 0978 (the 2 refers to a group of yachts of a certain speed, 1 being the fastest and 6 the slowest). You may have to select a different class for each yacht, but once done the app will calculate corrected finish times for the race.

Weymouth

The Weymouth file gives you a list of classes (dinghies and cats) more appropriate for Australian clubs and applies the Weymouth handicap numbers to each class. There are other handicap systems in use in Australia so watch out for new files to support them in the future. And do get in touch if your club uses a system that should be supported by the app.

Countries

Country files are available for many parts of the world and more files will be available in the future. Countries in the Middle East and Asia are only available in the “world” file at the moment, but that will be remedied soon. These country files let you change the list in the app to better reflect the location of your club.

Using “Move Up” in Boat Timer

On the Boat menu (the one that appears when you click on a square on the race grid) there are several options. Most are obvious: Retired, Disqualified etc but there is also Move Up. So what is it and why would you use it?

If your club’s fastest sailor gets to the first mark and capsizes, they might get to the end of the first lap in the bottom half of the fleet. As a race officer you know that he/she is going to move up through the fleet as the race progresses. At the finish, your fast sailor might be near the front of the fleet on the water but halfway down the race grid in Boat Timer. That is when Move Up is useful.

Each time you press Move Up it improves that boat’s lap time by 30 seconds. So if you use it enough times the boat will move higher up the Boat Timer race grid, making it easier to find them at the finish or at the end of the next lap. The boat has to complete at least one lap for Move Up to work – on the first lap there is no lap time to improve and the boats are just ordered by sail number and class.

Just to be clear, the Move Up action doesn’t actually change the lap time or finish time of any boat. It is only used when Boat Timer is updating the order of the boats on the race grid. But it does allow you to push boats further up the race grid to match what is happening on the water.

Boat Timer April Update

You will automatically be upgraded to the new version of Boat Timer this week (version 21100). This update fixes a couple of issues and adds a search facility to the race grid that comes in very handy when managing a lot of boats in a race.

Fixes:

  • The country code for China has been corrected and two missing countries Bolivia and Chile have been added.
  • The “Move Up” function now works correctly. There will be a new blog post soon to introduce you to Move Up if you have not used it before.
  • Zero is now accepted as a sail number. Previously it could not be used and an incorrect error message was shown.

New Search Facility:

At the top of the race grid there is now a search box. If you are tracking a large fleet, search helps you identify boats quickly by class or sail number. When you enter part of a class name or sail number, the matching boats are highlighted in the grid. To unhighlight, simply delete the text in the search box and press search again.

Plymouth, Falmouth & Langstone marks added to JettyMap

JettyMap can use shared marks as well as club-specific race marks where clubs share their sailing area.

Chichester and Portsmouth Harbours, plus the Solent sea marks are already mapped. Now three new areas in the UK – Plymouth Sound, Falmouth and Langstone Harbour have also been added.

You can see the shared marks when you select any sailing club in that area.

If you would like your club to be next, let us know – it can be anywhere in the world.