Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 48

Thread: Fleet check-in idea

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    370

    Default Fleet check-in idea

    I read through the TransPac 2009 (full crew transpac out of Los Angeles), and rather like what they are doing with daily checkins within the fleet:

    http://www.transpacrace.com/docs/200...PYC2009_SI.pdf

    8AM SSB check-in across the fleet with dedicated communications yacht Alaska Eagle (ex-Flyer) to provide your 6AM position, and the interesting wrinkle is that Alaska Eagle will also accept positions received via email from the racers (e.g., email sent from the racer to the comm boat).

    This might help our racing comm boat out as well, as it provides an additional path to the comm boat (redundancy) that does not appear to increase unduly the work of the comm boat.

    A downside is that the positions are 2 hours old (not 30 minutes old), and the time required by the comm boat to establish an email connection via SSB & sailmail/winlink. I do not know if Iridium email is quicker to establish than SSB (I have not used Iridium email).

    The LA TransPac is requiring SSB radios and you need to be in on the roll call in case local weather conditions are requested by the comm boat. This also means that there is a feedback loop for emailed positions: if Alaska Eagle reads out your emailed position over the radio then you know the email was received; if Alaska Eagle asks for your position then you know the email did not get through in time.

    We've tried having racers telephone the comm boat via sat phone directly (that did not work too well), and route positions through the RC and back to the comm boat (that was a lot of extra hassle and headache). It strikes me that emailing data directly to the comm boat has good upside potential with minimal additional effort on the part of RC and the comm boat.

    We would require SSB for check-in, and in addition allow competitors to email the position data in advance. This does require that the comm boat have email capability and if the email fails to get through it's no big deal. It also allows a competitor that has an iridium/email gateway setup on board to continue checking in even if the SSB radio goes down (that's the redundancy part).

    What do people think? I think it's an interesting idea.

    - rob/beetle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    134

    Default

    I think this is OK if you have a dedicated comm boat, or even a crewed one. But I think that gathering all the emails could be pretty time consuming for a singlehander. That's why during the last SSS TransPac we permitted emails to the race committee, and left it up to the RC to consolidate all the emails and put them together for the comm boat.

    I could see how if you had a dedicated comm boat, getting the positions ahead of time before checkin could save time, since all you would have to do in that case is read out the positions.

    - Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Santa Cruz
    Posts
    19

    Default

    I am in the no SSB required camp, but if a check in is required and will incur a penalty there MUST be an alternate back up means of check in. In 04, my SSB worked great until it took a bath the first day out and never transmitted thereafter. I would have been mighty unhappy if I couldn't check in with the Sat Phone as back-up. I have had really bad luck with SSB, and I don't feel they are super reliable on little ultralight boats that are REALLY WET. As an aside, they really strain the electron budget for boats running solar only, and I would have had a hard time near the end of the race if it had been working. I realize this is part of the eternal battle and it feels much like the arguments over abortion, immigration and taxes that play out in our government. There is no middle ground: One side believes you must have an SSB or the world will come to an end and the other side believes that the SSB is the portent to the end of the world. Personally, I understand that it can make the race more fun for some people so they can chat at cocktail hour. I also see that it can be a boon to safety, although I believe we overregulate that aspect of our sport. IMHO, it should be a choice, not a requirement. If its required then provide redundency so it is not as burdensome. I would be happy to rent a tracking unit for $1000 rather than spend $2500 on the SSB, tuner, copper, installation etc only to have it fail on me again. (I really hate those damn things) George

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,982

    Default

    As written elsewhere, it appears check-ins via SSB will be required (Update: Strongly encouraged but not required) for the 2010 SHTP. However if a boat has a SSB installed and has been making check-ins with it, and then it craps out, I see no reason why another form of check-in couldn't be allowed solely as a backup.

    Without a dedicated (non-racing) communication boat to handle e-mails, sat-phone calls, carrier-pigeon drops and all manner of other communication from the fleet, there needs to be a standard (IMO). Any alternative to that standard should be allowed in very limited circumstances.

    From the skipper's perspective, each of us makes a huge commitment of time, money, and in some cases family harmony, etc. to do the SHTP. It is also a race and most of us are pretty competitive. To put our entire effort at risk (via time penalties) because one piece of gear breaks down is asking a lot - perhaps too much.
    Last edited by BobJ; 09-23-2009 at 05:35 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    134

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    To put our entire effort at risk (via time penalties) because one piece of gear breaks down is asking a lot - perhaps too much.
    I agree, though perhaps during the boat inspection the skipper should be required to demonstrate the use of the SSB - too many skippers obviously have not adequately tested or used the SSB prior to the race and then we find out that it doesn't work or that they don't know how to switch channels!

    As for the backup method of checkin, I'm still in favor of the method used in the last SHTP, whereby a skipper could check in by having an email sent (by any means possible) to the RC.

    - Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,982

    Default

    Yes, that's why they need to have been making check-ins with their SSB before it craps out.

    Since it is hopefully only one boat having to use a backup means, it would be better for the comm boat to have their positions (vs. the RC) so they can be passed on to the fleet at every check-in. Nobody should be allowed to drop into stealth mode because "oops, my SSB won't work . . ."

    As I recall we often didn't get the sat-phone boats' positions during the '08 race.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    134

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    Yes, that's why they need to have been making check-ins with their SSB before it craps out.

    Since it is hopefully only one boat having to use a backup means, it would be better for the comm boat to have their positions (vs. the RC) so they can be passed on to the fleet at every check-in. Nobody should be allowed to drop into stealth mode because "oops, my SSB won't work . . ."

    As I recall we often didn't get the sat-phone boats' positions during the '08 race.

    As I remember it, the main problem we had with getting the satphone boat positions back to the fleet was that we didn't have a shoreside person assigned responsibility to consolidate email positions until the very last moment, and that didn't seem to work all that well at times. I don't think it was a problem with the boats so much. We could probably improve on the process with a little focus and prior planning and commitment on the shore side.

    - Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    166

    Default

    I'm really glad this is getting discussed now rather than a month before the next race. For what it's worth, the missing link in this discussion is the race chair who should have a major say in any decision regarding the race. It's fine to point out what may be possible with more shoreside support but, at this point, I have no idea where that shoreside support is going to come from.

    I have asked a few SHTP vets (I believe it should be someone who has done the race) if they were interested in chairing the next race - no takers. I'd like to get the 2012 race documents posted as soon as the LongPac is completed. Ragtime has done a great job in putting together a first draft but, again, It would be best to have the race chair involved in trashing out the details.

    In past years, the chairs and committees have done amazing jobs and we've had really great races. It seems, however, that technology, CG race permit requirements, a committment to make each succeeding race better than the last one, etc. make this a much more difficult exercise than the '78 race in which skippers took their own times, anchored and swam ashore to a bar to tell folks they'd finished. Part of what is needed for another great SHTP in 2012 is for someone to step up and help make it happen.

    "Where are you: the world wonders" Message sent by Admiral Chester Nimitz to Bull Halsey, circa 1942.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    166

    Default

    While I would like to get the 2012 race docs in hand, I suppose we should really get the 2010 docs done first. I'm looking for a new boat for 2012 and I guess that's become the "next" race in my head.

    Bill Merrick

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    380

    Default Backwards

    Here we go again. We have done this many times.... why are we going to make the SSB the sole means of checking in?


    See update - SSB's are strongly encouraged but not required.
    Last edited by BobJ; 09-23-2009 at 05:37 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. Fleet breakdown
    By Travieso in forum Older races
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-14-2010, 05:05 PM
  2. SSB Radio Check - May 28,30
    By Paul Elliott in forum Older races
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-25-2010, 10:36 AM
  3. SSB Radio Check - Sunday, April 25th (Opening Day)
    By Paul Elliott in forum Older races
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-02-2010, 08:50 PM
  4. SSS Rating Adjustment--good idea?
    By Thom in forum Singlehanded Sailing Society
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 11-17-2008, 07:23 AM
  5. Fleet Positions
    By Eyrie in forum Older races
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-13-2008, 04:11 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •