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Thread: Tracking the race ? Discussion ?

  1. #11
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    Sep 2007
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    Hi Dave,

    11.02 (f) makes an exception for info listed in RRC 6.02, which is position data. Hence position data is an exception to this restriction, therefore one could receive data from outside the scheduled position updates. Am I missing something ?

    Brian

  2. #12
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    Sep 2007
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    WOW!!! I havn't been on the forum for a while it seems..... As to the tracking info, I think from the posts this is *way* out of hand. I was comm boat for much of the last two races and I relayed all positions to the entire fleet twice a day, even positions received via sat phone or other. I have done the race twice and so don't think I am missing anything here. In a 2500 mile race, knowing positions every minute vs. twice a day is NOT going to give you the winning edge. I too think the Yellow Bricks are a needless expense and hope this doesn't set a precedent for future races since it seems that only a couple boats in the fleet were big on them. I personally don't give a damn one way or another if it's on my boat, but I would/will not pay for it and my biggest concern now it that the Coast Guard will now expect it in future races and it will become a requirement. If it's a requirement not a request, this is my last transpac. It would be safer still if we all had a chase boat following us in case of accident, but to me that totally opposed to the spirit and intent of the race. I view this race as all about preparation. Knowing your boat and having it properly prepared for all contigencies not hand holding.

    Guess I wish I hadn't been off the forum for so long, I might have done more to oppose this idea. Seems like it's cast in granite now.......

    John
    Dream Chaser
    Valiant 40

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Sausalito
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    Hi guys,

    To clarify, I've spoken with most of the skippers, and only two (I leave you to guess which two) were firmly opposed to trackers. Everyone else was either amenable to having them or were nearly insistent on them. So to say only a couple wanted them is erroneous. What the CG wants is to make sure that we have a clear and consistent line of communications with the boats so we/they know where they are at least twice a day. Having trackers in our comm plan will go a long way to ensuring our permit to race is approved. In '08, two boats 'went dark' when their comms failed. I suspect that not only were their families freaking out, but that Synthia had some very unpleasant conversations with the CG. That kind of thing absolutely cannot happen again, most especially this year. You think things are touchy now? As much as it goes against the grain of this very self-reliant group - and anyone who knows me knows that I'm well-entrenched in that camp - I believe trackers will give (almost) everyone a sense of security, as specious as it may be.

    As for the rules, I definitely will be amending them, and not just to add the trackers. But thanks, Brian, for pointing out the confusing language of the two rules. I'll make sure that's clarified with the final set. The comm plan has not been published and won't be for a bit yet, but I can tell you now that we plan to do what Ronnie mentioned: delay the position reports on the website's tracking page by six hours. That said, as the comm plan will note, the ONLY way to legally get your competitors' positions is via SSB check-in. If you don't have an SSB and your wife gives them to you over the phone, you are cheating. If you download the position reports from the race's website, you are cheating. If you get them any other way than by listening to the roll call on SSB, you are cheating. And believe me, I will make that abundantly clear at the skippers meeting. I don't think anyone in this race wants to cheat, but if they did, they'll find a way to do it. We can't police anyone when they're in the middle of the ocean, so we all just have to believe that everyone else is as honorable as we want them to be.

    Back in 1978, a group of nutjobs decided it would be fun to singlehand to Hawaii. The furor this whipped up was epic, to say the least. Nearly everyone not actively involved with the race thought it was nothing short of a suicide mission. It was taken for granted that most of them would die before it was over. Thirty-four years later and the SHTP has not suffered a single death. Trackers won't keep that from happening, but consider this: During that first running, the comms were limited to VHF radio, so there essentially were no comms. When I did the race in '08, the big controversy was SSB vs. sat phone. I'm going to bet that when someone suggested requiring SSB back in '00 or so, there was a lot of opposition to that as well (I actually know one personally who was vehemently opposed to it). Technology changes and advances and eventually we have to embrace it. Anyone out there still using a rotary phone or typewriter?

    When I took over the RC duties, I slashed the proposed entry fees by half, hoping to not only attract a big fleet but to also help keep the costs down, as I know how they can sky rocket. So believe me when I tell you that I agonized over this decision. It made me sick to call folks and tell them that I needed $300 more for this seemingly unimportant piece of equipment. And also believe this: If SPOT trackers were guaranteed to reach Hawaii, I'd just buy them all for you and cut down on the mai tais at tree time. But they're not, so our options were severely limited.

    Again, I would ask that anyone who has questions or concerns to please call me directly at 503-490-3305.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Honolulu
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    just to clarify for others, but when you said that the ONLY way to legally receive competitor's positions was through SSB check-ins.

    some boats might be sat phone only, can't they receive a twice daily email with all competitor's positions from the RC or comm boat, whoever sends it out?

  5. #15
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    Sep 2007
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    Well put, Rob. BTW, I still use a rotary phone occasionally. And a slide rule.

  6. #16
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    Dec 2007
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    Sausalito
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronnie simpson View Post
    just to clarify for others, but when you said that the ONLY way to legally receive competitor's positions was through SSB check-ins.

    some boats might be sat phone only, can't they receive a twice daily email with all competitor's positions from the RC or comm boat, whoever sends it out?
    Short answer: no. SSB only.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Seattle
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    I'm not excited about shelling out $300 at the moment for an item of no value to me on the boat, and which I don't even get to keep, but I have a bunch of family and friends who will be excited to hear we have trackers. I think it will make the race more interesting to follow, and maybe that will be good for the race in the long run (more entries? more sponsors?).

    As for the cheating aspect... Seriously? I hardly even know what to do with everybody's 12-hour positions... But a 6-hour delay seems to put an end to that concern.

    When we used the yellowbrick trackers on Swiftsure, I had three concerns with them:
    1) They were in a little bag that clipped on to the stanchion with a plastic buckle. This seems a little flimsy for SHTP.
    2) They had an annoying flashing green light. It's a pain while night sailing, and even if you tape it over, the bag is translucent enough that you can still see it.
    3) Supposedly it goes into sleep mode every 24 hours so you have to reset it. To see the reset button, you can't tape over the blinking light.

    Hopefully the units used here are different and don't have these shortcomings.

  8. #18
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    Sep 2007
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    Rob's Really a Racer:

    I picked up your R/C yesterday at the Gabriels. Ruben and Robbie's place is very much a combo of Moore's Reef and the Wizard's Chicken Coop, but with real chickens. There are Moore parts all over the place - R & R have one each plus the Buffalo - and there are indeed chickens. I suggested a picata would be nice but was informed these are pet chickens. There's one I'm sure Ruben would take with him to Hawaii, but your R/C reminded him that no pets are allowed. (Can you imagine hearing that in the background during the SSB net?)

    I figured Rob needed a daysail on Ragtime! - I was right. One thing I discovered is that Rob really is a racer. I gave him an upwind target and soon realized he was fixated on the knot meter - a few minutes later he beat the target by 2/10 of a knot. Well bless my dodger'n solar panels! We flew the 2A, sailed on AP for awhile including several gybes and a douse in 20+, and generally had a fine day out.

    We talked about many of you and I have to say I'm really going to miss being part of this one. Rob allowed as how I could do a couple of boat inspections.

    After hearing about the tracker deal yesterday I've been mulling it over. I agree with Rob that an amendment to the RR&C's is probably necessary - that document was not written with trackers in mind. My personal opinion is that trackers are for the Dept. of Homeland Security and your fans at home, and should be irrelevant to the racers. Ronnie and Brian are probably right - technically it isn't illegal to get the position information listed in 6.02. My recollection is we didn't want to cause a rules violation when relaying information during the SSB net. However, there was an intentional preference given to the SSB (transceiver) boats. If you insisted on only taking a satphone, you gave up the ability to get all the boat positions unless you also took an SSB receiver (like the Minis do). It's a significant additional burden to the comm boat(s) and shore station to deal with the satphone data (I was the shore station for most of the 2010 race), and the comm boats are also racing.

    In response to Adrian, I had a YellowBrick during the LongPac, attached to one of the stern pulpits. It got a bit damp. Once I remembered to remove the little magnet from the bottom (don't store it by your compass or fluxgate) it worked fine and I never noticed a flashing green light or need to reset it. Hopefully you will get the same model.

  9. #19
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    Sep 2007
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    I just talked to Rob and found out the tracker is no longer an optional piece of equipment for this race it is now required. I am not willing to have it on board under these circumstances (on philisophical not economic grounds) so I am dropping out. Guess 2010 was my last Transpac. No chance of catching up with The General now.

  10. #20
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    Sep 2007
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    We don't have a thread about the comm plan but since you are all now *required* to carry the transponder is a twice daily checkin still necessary? The *only* purpose of the comm plan and checkins was to let the coasties know where we were. If that is being done for us automatically, is a twice daily roll call necessary with penalties for non-compliance???

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