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Thread: Tracking the race ? Discussion ?

  1. #21
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    Sep 2007
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    John, the situation is critical here. As we speak the Coasties have closed the Gate to racers while US Sailing investigates the Low Speed Chase casualty. I didn't ask the details from Rob yesterday but pulling the permit is probably a bitch, especially for a single-handed race to Hawaii.

    Unless you just don't want to, please do the race. It just won't be the same without you. I'd do it if I could, tracker or not - I'd just ignore the damn thing back there like I did for LongPac. Nothing else changes, roll-calls as always . . . "HARRIER . . . "

  2. #22
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    Sep 2007
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    Hi Bob,

    Thanks, you have always been a friend and I respect your thoughts. In this case, we must agree to disagree. I feel we are already *way* to far down the path of the coasties (government) telling us what we can and can't do. They are supposed to be there to help us if we need help, not to tell us what we can and can't do, or so I thought. What next, if we want to day sail past Bonita on our own, will we need permission?

    When I did this race in 2008, I knew nothing about the "background stuff". I did not know we needed permits. I still do not know why a private club "needs" permits to run a race, rally or social event to HI?????? I was niave enough to think all the requirements were there just to keep us safe, not to just satisfy an insurance company or the coasties.

    Part of the appeal of the race to me was the fact that I was "on my own". If I screwed up or was not properly prepared I was going to have to deal with it "on my own." This no longer appears to be the attitude. We must let big brother *know* where *everyone* is all the time even though Barbara Euser has been blacked out for 2 races and made it to HI just fine. If we rely on the YellowBricks and they crap out, what then??? If a YellowBrick stops giving position reports do the coasties start a search and rescue automatically, NO!!!!!! Why is it so damned essential then????? There has been no talk of eliminating the twice daily checkins via HF or SatPhone..... What does this realistically gain anyone racing or onshore in terms of peace of mind. To me it's just another thing that can go wrong, that I can't control, that costs money and that Jan will have to worry about if it goes dark.

    I retrospect, I am really glad that I got to do two races. Had the current thinking been in place in 2008 I probably would have had to just sail to HI on my own.

    My biggest regret at this point is the fact that I already spent over 5 grand on things "just for this race" including $600 this morning for a sat phone SIM card that I now have no use for. Actually that's not true. My biggest regret is something big that I enjoyed enough to want to do 3 times has been changed in a way that makes it undesireable for me to do again.

    Things evolve. Guess this is the way of the future? I would have sailed to HI the first time alone but thought I would learn something by participating in a race. I did, and the camradarie was great!!! This is why I did it the second time and why I was planning on doing it again this year. I didn't go the first time because someone would be "watching out for me" or "holding my hand" and the more of that I encounter, the less interested I am in participating. Seems to me to violate the whole concept of "Singlehanded Sailing"...... Guess I am in the minority, but I'm comfortable with that.

    Thanks for the worry.

    John

  3. #23
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    John, here's a thread where this was discussed. There's some chaff but if you can get through that, I think you'll find we're mostly in agreement:

    http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/s...ean-racing-ban...

    Post 32 from "Thing-Fish" answered my question about the Coast Guard's legal authority to require and if they choose, withhold permits. The Coast Guard has always had this authority (since 1908 I think). Reading this probably won't sway your decision but at least you'll know I'm not willingly caving on the trackers. I just want the race and it's great traditions to continue.

    I will speculate that for some participants, there is a "look at me" aspect now that makes trackers desireable. I prefer the "dark side of the moon" aspect of the race and I think many former participants did as well.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default Surprised in SoCal

    Wow. This thread is full of surprises. I guess I need to check this more often.

    Hi Rob, by now I'm sure you're regretting volunteering for your role. Please know I'm sensitive to your position, and thanks for all your work.

    First, regarding the Yellowbrick trackers. It sounds as though the trackers are in response to a potential threat to not provide a permit for the race. I'm with John Hayward on this - I really don't understand how they help actual safety. If they are for safety, would someone please explain the logic? It escapes me. If they aren't helping safety and it's a political panacea then why would the USCG really care? If it's so the RC and the USCG can say: "see we're doing something to improve safety," then I call bullshit on this whole effort. Someone should sit down with the USCG & figure out what would really help improve saftey. This is a poor way to learn from and honor those lost on the Farallones. If they are for publicity, friends & family, OK fine then make the trackers optional this year since this is a costly last minute change.

    Second, this thread apparently revealed (to me anyway) that boats without an SSB receiver will not be receiving position reports. This is clearly penalizing boats with satphones only, which is quite a surprise. It seems to me that if you want to run a fair race, you should either provide position reports to satphone only boats, have mandated SSB receivers earlier on, or not allowed satphones at all. You can do what you want, but I would think you would want to run a fair race. Fairness before camaraderie? If you are an SSB boat and just barely beat at satphone only boat, would you feel like you beat him fair and square? After all the time, money & effort spent getting to Hanalei, tragic doubts could remain.

    Third, now that I've completely pissed you off, I look forward to having you pass my last minute inspection!

    Cheers,

    Whitall Stokes
    Slacker

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robtryon View Post
    Short answer: no. SSB only.
    you are not serious: for boats equipped with sat phone only, there will not be any broadcast of everyone's position? How is this fair racing? This is seriously wrong. When I signed up and talked to Rob, he said that racers could choose sat phone or SSB, without any preferences. Now that I have chosen sat phone and have no plans to get an SSB, I am penalized. Excuse my french, but this sucks, especially for a race that pretends to fly high and clear the "corinthian spirit". Why can't a simple text message with racers position being sent to all with sat phones? It creates 5 minutes to get the list and no time at all to send GPS positions...weird, and unacceptable.

    as for the trackers, I agree with cafemontaigne, "idefix". I find it completely useless safety wise but definitely good entertainment....It seems that most of us agree on that. I have no money left to spend in this race and another $300 30 days before the start is definitely bad news. If we all agree that the trackers is definitely entertaining, why doesn't the viewers pay for it?

    Rob, one last thing, I was lucky enough to check the forum today. I have very little time to be on the computer and never received any of those emails you mentioned...

    I have never raced the transpac alone or in a crewed boat. I am looking forward to it. My only objective is to reach Hawaii and hug my wife and my boy as soon as I will arrive. I will be racing "myself". This being said, if a race there should be, we should all have the same access to outside resources and make sure that it is fair to everyone.

    To be continued...

    Jerome Sammarcelli
    Team Open Sailing
    Pogo 2 USA 806

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pogo2USA806 View Post
    you are not serious: for boats equipped with sat phone only, there will not be any broadcast of everyone's position?
    Speaking as a former SHTP racer and not in any official capacity:

    SHTP has never had a dedicated comm boat. Hopefully three or four racing participants will offer to compromise their own race somewhat to help with the SSB net, accept radio relays, read incoming e-mails, write down boat positions and attempt to e-mail those to shore. This is a race-what-you've-got, let's work together to make it happen thing. For those of you who think you are entitled to receive every boat's position twice a day, ask yourself if YOU are willing to dedicate yourself to collect and disseminate that data while racing your own boat, because that's how it happens.

    In the two SHTP's I did, getting the satphone-only boat positions (and there were only 3-4 such boats each year) was always a hit-or-miss proposition. While it sounds simple, it takes someone on shore to collect those e-mails twice a day and send them back out to the volunteer comm boats, who might be mid-broach at roll-call time. As I wrote earlier, I did the on-shore part last race, and I was tied to my computer twice a day because for the sat-phone boat positions to be read they had to be collected and sent back out to the fleet in time for the SSB net. It was about a half-hour window twice a day.

    The sat-phone check-in option was reluctantly added as an alternative to requiring that every boat have an SSB, but it makes the job harder. Therefore the intentional bias towards all boats having SSB. We've had this argument every SHTP and when you get into the details (which new participants usually haven't dealt with), you come to understand the problem. Just last race Pacific Cup finally allowed non-SSB check-in's, and only for the double-handed boats, and THEY have a dedicated, non-racing comm boat shadowing the fleet. It ain't as easy as it looks.

    Jerome, I'm thrilled to see you in the race with your Mini. Isn't it true that Mini's have to carry SSB receivers? Can't you listen to all the positions that way?

  7. #27
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    Nov 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    Just last race Pacific Cup finally allowed non-SSB check-in's, and only for the double-handed boats, and THEY have a dedicated, non-racing comm boat shadowing the fleet. It ain't as easy as it looks.
    Actually, in the past several races, the Pac Cup comms boat has also been a racer. In 2008 and 2010, (and 2012) VALIS was volunteer comms boat. In some previous races the comms boat was a non-racer, but not since at least 2006. True, VALIS isn't a hard-core competitive boat, but we do try to do our best. In my first race (2006) Cayenne was volunteer comms boat, and she was competitively raced.

    That said, I understand Bob's position on this. This year the Pac Cup is accepting position reports via SSB, satphone voice, and any sort of email. To handle these non-SSB position reports requires shoreside people to transcribe the satphone voice messages, process the email, to format all this so it can be emailed to the comms boat. The comms boat announces all the non-SSB positions during the morning roll-call (we have just one roll call), then sends the combined reports back to the shoreside support person, who will (for this race) email the positions to those who have requested them. There will be a several-hour delay on these email reports. If a boat wants the freshest positions, they must at least listen to the SSB net. All this takes preparation, programming, time, and energy -- shoreside and definitely on the comms boat. I spent well over two hours every day running the position-reporting stuff, and I had five other crewmembers to cover for me. For a singlehander, I would want to see the comms duties be as simple as possible.

    We are carrying Yellowbrick trackers, with a varying delay on the tracking website (details TBD). Most of our racers like the trackers, as they are appreciated by family and friends. They also provide a backup position report. I don't know if the USCG figured into the decision to carry the trackers, but it wouldn't surprise me.

  8. #28
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    Thanks Paul - and a fine racer VALIS is, too.

    Slack, I'd attach the actual CG Permit from 2010 but I don't want to overstep by bounds. I can tell you that in bold letters it put the burden squarely on the Race Organizer to maintain constant postion information on every racer. If a racer was one hour late for one roll-call the CG was to get involved, doing call-outs for the missing boat and if unsuccessful, actually launching a S&R. I read the permit to everyone at the final skippers' meeting before the 2010 race. We had one boat that couldn't start and another turn around a few hours into the race because they wouldn't be able to make roll-calls reliably.

    Many folks here know I'm not a fan of trackers, but if they make it possible for the SSS to keep the race going, I'm okay with carrying them (reluctantly).

    And no, I'm not at all pissed off. We've been through these arguments more times than you can imagine.

  9. #29
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Going Hayward

    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    If a racer was one hour late for one roll-call the CG was to get involved, doing call-outs for the missing boat and if unsuccessful, actually launching a S&R.
    More surprises. Sorry, I'm new to all this permit stuff and I'm really struggling to find the logic of the embedded rules.

    So if my boat's tracker and satphone/SSB or battery craps out, or if I oversleep, or if I leave my satphone off, or if I'm busy on deck getting an hourglass out of my spinnaker, or if I shouldn't leave the helm due to rough conditions, the CG launches a S&R? This is absurd on its face. What's the point of carrying an EPIRB? I can just imagine it, sailing along at 7 knots under spinnaker having a wonderful day and then here comes a CG helicopter. I'm sure they would hit me with a huge bill also.

    Fat lotta good a tracker did for the crew of the Aegean, and would have been similarly useless to the crew of LSC. As singlehanders we already know about the importance of jacklines and tethers. We're back to the safety uselessness of trackers and this just being political to pacify the CG so they will let us go sailing. If this ridiculous nanny-state monitoring is a condition of the race, I'll have to seriously reconsider my participation. This flies in the face of the whole point of why I singlehand.

    Finally, the PSSA also has roll-calls, but they are specifically not about safety. They are for position reporting and camaraderie only. If someone misses a roll-call we cannot assume they are in trouble and launch a S&R. Typically the boat is having radio issues. That is why we require PLBs and strongly suggest our racers wear them while on deck.

    Rob, please confirm the above race requirement, or if the start location changes to Half-Moon Bay or what's going on here as I'd like to be able to make a decision fairly soon.

    I'm really sad. I have a feeling I really would have enjoying sailing with you guys.

    Thanks,

    Whitall Stokes
    Slacker

  10. #30
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    Whitall, most of us agree with you - the current situation with the local Coast Guard sucks. They really, really don't get what we do or why we do it, or how hard we try to look out for ourselves and our fellow solo skippers, or why it can't be made as absolutely safe as they would like it to be so they can look good to their superiors. It's a difficult time right now, but it will die down as it has before.

    Historically the SHTP roll-calls have been for the same reasons as PSSA's. That's why I see the trackers as irrelevant to the skippers - things have gotten muddled because of skippers wanting to access the information about the other boats. I think that's been solved with the six-hour delay.

    Anyway, don't take it out on the race or ultimately on yourself. You will enjoy the race and the comaraderie during roll call and in Hanalei - it's unmatched. It's killing me that I can't race this year.

    In the races I did nearly every boat made every roll-call, and only one per day is required to avoid the time penalty. There are a lot of "ifs" in your last post.
    Last edited by BobJ; 05-23-2012 at 12:11 PM.

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