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Big handicap event management

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NickM99 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Jan 20 at 10:58am
Any ROs on here who have managed big handicap events with 50+ boats on the water in two or more fleets, e.g. Great Lakes series?  How many assistants do you need on the Committee Boat and how do you allocate up their tasks?  Any special tricks to help record times and numbers for mass finishes apart from the obvious ones of film and voice recorder? 
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Sam.Spoons View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 20 at 3:21pm
Not a regular RO but we manage 60-80 boats with three on the committee boat

Edited by Sam.Spoons - 27 Jan 20 at 4:07pm
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Brass View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 20 at 1:07am
Key trick, as size and pressure builds up is to ensure that each person has only one job/function.
I suggest the following functions:
Caller/Line Sighter, usually the RO

Timekeeper

Recorder 1

Recorder 2

Hoots/Division Tracker (increasingly important with 4 or more Divisions)

Sound Signals

So, recording is redundantly duplicated.  If recording on-line, one of the Recorders, is electronic.

Voice recorder ON, and a Go Pro, head mounted on RO or steady-cam mount on finishing line is a bonus, but don't forget that you will need a 15in laptop to get anything worthwhile out of viewing footage.  Video is a last resort:  it takes time.

Caller and Recorders build lists of sail numbers approaching the finishing line, then Caller calls sail numbers as they cross, Timer calls seconds, and Recorders write times against correct sail numbers.

If possible watch 'gates' or preceding marks and build rounding sequences or times so that you have some idea of how the Divisions are going relative to one another, and in the event of disaster, you can reconstruct an 'order at last mark'.

Note that Sailwave, and the DSRC mobile phone app can produce finishing line lists sorted by handicap order, or (for DSRC, at least, recorded time at previous mark/lap)

If you are having a handicap/pursuit start, you don't want every single boat perfectly handicapped, finishing at the same instant.

Hopefully, you are racing in Divisions, grouped more or less by potential boat speed.  Arrange your handicap starting times so that, the Target Race Time for each Division will deliver that Division to the finishing line in a 'window' separate (by say 5 minutes) from the 'windows' for each other division.

Hope this helps.


Edited by Brass - 28 Jan 20 at 1:10am
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NickM99 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote NickM99 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 20 at 4:27pm
Really helpful, many thanks Brass.
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craiggo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote craiggo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 20 at 9:15pm
I've run handicap events with 3 fleets and over 50 boats.

My advice is:

Get someone to enter all the competitors details into Sailwave while you and your race team set courses, prepare flags and generally prepare for the day.
Do not attempt to try and enter times directly into the computer. Leave it and an operator in your clubhouse.
As boats approach the finish you'll need a couple of spotters to recognise boats and sail numbers (Before you start it often pays to check sail numbers for classes like lasers to see if you can just use last three numbers) call them out and call "now" as they cross the line.
Have someone jot finishes down in chronological order on paper recording the sail no and time. Don't attempt to record anything else.

One completed send your paper sheets to the person in the club house to insert into Sailwave while you get on with the next few races.

Repeat

At the end, your person in the clubhouse on Sailwave should be able to rapidly input the final race results and give you very quick results while you tidy up.

My key advice, make sure your Sailwave operator is well trained and make sure your fleet files are well prepared, your discard profiles etc. Are all sorted. Record boats and times in chronological order on paper as it's easier to shoot errors and fix mistakes.
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