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Handicap Race Timer Help

The handicap race timer and series calculator easily records elapsed times, calculates corrected times, and shows series standings - including discards, tiebreaks and sub-fleets.

Set up

Sign up, log in (or not)

Before you can share a scored series, you'll need to log in. Before you can do that you'll need to create an account . It's totally free and takes only a couple of minutes.

Alternatively, clicking 'record race without logging in' allows you to do just that. You can even record multiple races and score them as a mini series on the one device. You can not save them, or automatically echo them to your club website in this way. If you are not logged in, reloading the timer page will result in data loss.

Record now, save later

If, for some reason, it is not possible to log in, you can go ahead and time a race and then log in afterwards. Once you do sign in, you can change the name of a race's series so that the points are counted with the other races in that series.

Competitor password

The competitor password allows digital entry to a scheduled race. For very small clubs that struggle to get a race officer, we could even look at creating a downloadable app that uses the phone's GPS to record a boat's position in a race. Let me know if you want this.

Fleets

By default, results are shown as one aggregate, mixed handicap result. Within the timer, to view the individual class fleets, or the separate fast and slow handicap results, click the ≡   button, in the top right hand corner of the series results. If viewing the results on your own website, there are separate links below the mixed handicap results.

The administrator can add or remove fleets, and divide the handicap racing into fast and slow handicap fleets if they share a course and start time. If they do not share a course and start time, they can simply be entered as separate races (with distinct series names), on separate devices.

There are two types of fleets, the results for which can be calculated separately:

  1. Class fleets. These can be selected if the handicap is based on individual classes. Simply choose the classes (on the settings page), and each boat of that class will automatically be entered into that fleet.
  2. The main fleet / new fleet drop down can be used to differentiate fleets further (i.e. Juniors, or one design classes (such as J24) within a yacht fleet)

Why enter fleets?

Clubs have their own way of doing things, but strictly speaking, fleet series results can NOT be be simply lifted from the mixed handicap results. Consider the following example, with different winners:

The mixed handicap results are as follows.

Race 1
29 Jan, 8:38
Race 2
29 Jan, 8:40
Race 3
29 Jan, 8:41
1
3.5 pts
Optimist
  1
1655
4  2.51
2
4 pts
Laser
  3
849
31 7
DNC  
3
4.5 pts
Optimist
  2
1655
5  2.52
4
6 pts
Laser
  1
849
15 7
DNC  
≠ a10.1
4
6 pts
Laser
  2
849
2 6  4≠ a10.1
6
7 pts
Optimist
  3
1655
6  43

Laser 3 appears to have won the Laser fleet and is feeling a little smug, perhaps giving tuning tips to Laser 2. However, separated out into their own fleet, the order reverses entirely!

Race 1
29 Jan, 8:38
Race 2
29 Jan, 8:40
Race 3
29 Jan, 8:41
1
3 pts
Laser
  2
849
2 3  1≠ a10.2
1
3 pts
Laser
  1
849
12 7
DNC  
≠ a10.2
3
4 pts
Laser
  3
849
31 7
DNC  

Scheduling races

Races can be timed (or entered) ad-hoc, or through a schedule.

The administrator can add races to the calendar in the admin area. Each new series will appear on the calendar in a different colour.

Races that are scheduled allow competitors to directly sign up for races online, so the OOD will not need to enter them on the race (though they can). However, for a pursuit race, only sign-ups from before the OOD clicks time this race are counted; this is because a late entrant in a slow boat may alter the starting times already given to competitors. Non-pursuit races allow entrants to add themselves within one hour of the start.

Impromptu races do not allow competitors to sign themselves up, so boat details must be entered by the OOD

You can add the calendar to your site and from that calendar allow online sign in for races, or sign up through our site on the link provided in settings.

Results on your website

Under settings, in the administrator's area, (here) you can see the code which can be copied and pasted to your website to echo the results there automatically as soon as races are complete. By default the series containing the most recent race result is shown. Others are available by selecting the series name from a drop down. Your members can click any race to see the race timings for that race.

The code given is such that your own website's style rules (fonts, sizes, colours) ought to make it look like the results belong there.

The position in the series is marked with a <h2> tag, so should to pick out the style of subheadings on your website.

Any races with the series name of '_trash' will not show up on your website, but will be available in the administrators log in, under Add / Edit Results.

Race Timing

Adding boats to a race

You can add boats to a race either before or after the start.

I'm hoping it's obvious, but for PYN (and eventually other class based handicap systems) what you need to do is click the first letter / number of a class. Once the class has been selected, you will then be shown previous entrants from that class and prompted for the rest of the boat's details. The sail number is the only compulsary field. It doesn't actually have to contain a number but it can't be blank. (i.e. a name might be more appropriate for members using club boats where sail numbers vary from week to week.

For IRC, simply begin typing either the sail number or the boat name and relevant matches will appear underneath (once the first two characters have been typed).

After the first race, recent previous entrants will have a shortcut 'add to race' button next to them.

Alternatively, competitors can add themselves to a scheduled race with the competitor password. This has the added advantages that:

Naming the race series

You can make the race score count alongside other race scores by giving the series a name. Provided you have data at the time of logging in, series names used previously are shown in the drop down. If the series name is not listed, selecting 'New Series' will enable you to give it a name. If not included, the current year will be appended to the name.

Renaming a race (changing series)

An OOD can change the name of a race by clicking the pencil icon (✎) next to it. An OOD can only change the names of races (s)he has entered. The administrator can change the series names of other races.

Deleting (and undeleting) a race

Races can be changed to the _trash series to delete them. The trash can be viewed (and retrieved) by the administrator. To do so, go to add/edit results, select _trash as the series name, and then click Enter / edit race(s).

Entering times manually

You can enter times manually as follows:
  1. Log in as administrator
  2. Choose the series the race is to be part of and press 'Go'.
  3. Add competitors, just as you'd do for a race timed on the device.
  4. Choose how you'd like to enter the race timings. You can enter them in elapsed minutes and seconds, elapsed hours minutes and seconds, or as the time of day. Be warned that entered times will change to match the format when it is changed (i.e. do this before entering times, not after.

Time offset

If the OOD sat on the stop watch, or a mixture of timing devices that weren't cross-calibrated were used, you can enter a time offset to add or remove time from all entered results. Adding time in this way affects all boats in the list, not just newly entered ones.

Timing a race

Adjusting the timer.

Once you have named a race, use the + and - buttons next to the number at the top of the screen (by default 3:00) to increase or decrease the countdown as required. If you've started the race without starting the timer, you can set it to a negative number to catch up with the stop-watch.

Press start to start timing. Initially, the option next to each boat is to apply a start-line penalty. After a minute or so, this will change to record lap. Simply clicking this every time a boat crosses the start line will record both the number of laps, and the finish time.

Recording a lap

Simply click the green 'record lap' button each time a boat crosses the start/ finish line. If it is pressed in error, you can click the pencil icon (✎) next to each boat to edit a time or remove a lap. To stop laps being recorded by finger bounce, laps will not be recorded within 3 seconds of a previously recorded lap of the same boat, even if the laps were recorded across multiple devices.

Arguably, on a multi-lap race, the timing of the non-final laps are not critical. Only the number of laps and the total elapsed time are used to calculate finish times. However, you will be needing to record how many laps each boat completes, so press the button.

The lap time will be shown next to the boat. The corrected time for each lap is displayed in smaller text beneath the recorded time, until the race exceeds 3 laps, when lap times will rotate - this si so the boat, the existing laptimes, and the record lap button are all visible.

You can remove eroneously recorded laps (or edit the recorded time) at any time by clicking the pencil icon (✎) next to each boat.

Recorded times within five minutes of the last recorded time (or the start) are shown in red, to highlight to the OOD that an error may have been made. If you sail fast boats on a small lake, this may be a common sight

Recording finishing times

The finising times will simply be taken as the last recorded lap time of each boat. On a passage race, there are no laps, but you'll still need to click record lap to record each boat's finish time.

Precision

Times are recorded to the nearest whole second. As a matter of interest, a difference of one point between PYN handicaps represents about 3 seconds on a fifty minute race.

Restarting the race

If everybody is over the line, or the OOD has fat thumbs, you can restart the race by clicking the restart button. It will ask you if you are sure. Confirming 'yes - restart' will entail losing the start time from the existing race, across all devices that are recording the race.

Finding a boat

Before the countdown is commenced, boats appear in the order they have been entered into the race. By default, once the race has started, boats are ordered in order of handicap (fastest first, or slowest first in a pursuit race) and then by (ascending) sail number.

Reordering boats

Next to each boat is a ; clicking it will move that boat to the top of the list of boats. Clicking on a 2nd boat, will move that boat to 2nd position in the shortlist and so on. This is so you can make an ever revolving shortlist of boats approaching the finish line. Recording a lap or clicking will remove a boat from the shortlist.

Alternatively you can search by sail number or sailnumber fragment (i.e. if you can only see the last three digits of the sail number, you can enter those) by clicking the search icon that will be in the top-right hand corner of the screen during a race. Again, you can click the to shortlist a boat, or if you keep typing so there is only one boat that matches, that boat will be moved to the bottom of the shortlist. Searching for a sailnumber that is already included in the shortlist of approaching boats will move that number to the top of the shortlist

Reordering boats is specific to the device in question, and not shared across devices. This is to prevent the order changing suddenly just as a time is about to be logged

Pursuit races

A pursuit race can be timed by clicking the appropiate menu link. For a scheduled pursuit race, only sign-ups from before the OOD clicks time this race are included; this is because a late entrant in a slow boat may otherwise alter the starting times already given to competitors. If this is to be done - it must be done knowingly.

Each boat has a timer element next to it. In a scheduled race, there will be a countdown to the scheduled start time. For an unscheduled race these times are relative to the time the start button is pressed. With the default 0:00 countdown for a pursuit race, the times are also relative to the first starter (i.e. the slowest boat.) Unless you add a countdown, start should therefore be pressed exactly when the first boat(s) should start.

Once the start button has been pressed, each boat will have it's own countdown timer. The border of the timer of the next boat(s) to start will turn from yellow to red

Once a pursuit race has commenced (i.e., one boat has started) the duration can no longer be edited. Boats can still be added and individual handicaps can be edited, which may in some circumstances be useful, but exercise caution: editing the handicap of the slowest boat, or entering a new slower boat will mess up all other timings.

Laps can be recorded using the appropriate button. These are for the OODs own benefit and are not used in recording finish times. Finish will not be recorded as they are meaningless for a pursuit race. In other words, the boat order as entered by the OOD will be used regardless of the number of recorded laps for each boat

Before the finish, boats can be reordered using the link next to each boat, so the OOD can keep the list of boats in the app in the same order as boats on the water.

Finishing

Once the stated duration has elapsed, a link will appear next to each boat saying 1st. Once this has been clicked for one boat, the other links will all say 2nd and so on. Positions clicked with these links override the lap counts (i.e. once you click 1st, that boat has won, even if she has less recorded laps than other competitors.) The positions can be deleted or corrected afterwards, either by the OOD on the same device the race was recorded on (before reloading the page), or by the administrator on any device, at any time.

Corrected Times

For each recorded lap, corrected times will be shown under recorded times, in smaller type, every time the recort lap button is pressed.

Additionally, once the race is over and the Finish Race button is pressed, an overall corrected time will be shown, including a correction for a shortened course.

Shortened Course

It will be assumed that boats completing fewer laps sailed a shortened course, and their times will be increased accordingly. However, a 'Retired?' option will be shown to the OOD next to such boats. Simply clicking this marks a boat as retired. You can remove it or add other penalties by clicking the pencil icon next to the boat

Scoring

If a penalty has been applied, and it is not ZFP, SCP, RDG or DPI, the score is either the number of finishers +1, if it's a series longer than a regatta (defined here as having dates spanning more than 10 days), or the number of entrants +1 for a regatta. Consequently, for the first two races of a weekly series, the points for penalties, DNS, etc will be too high, but they will be correct once the third race has been completed and the series spans more than 10 days.

Penalties and redress

After starting a race, there will be a red 'add penalty' link next to each boat. After a minute, these will change to green and offer the 'record lap' function. If you want to record laps before then (really?) then press switch to timer under the list of competitors.

To apply penalties after this, click the pencil icon (✎) next to the boat. Redress can be applied manually at this stage too.

Penalty points incurred are added automatically; you do not need to do anything other than record the penalty.

As a courtesy to disqualified sailors (or if you may later want to remove a penalty) you can continue to record times, so they know where they would have come if they hadn't holed the committee boat and pretended they hadn't.

Penalties can be removed by clicking the pencil icon (✎) to the left of the boat class. Because of potential timing issues, penalties can be added but can not be removed while a race is being shared across devices (as per below). The OOD can remove a penalty from races (s)he has recorded once the race is finished, or the race officer can remove any penalty using the administrators log in.

Boats with no entered times after pressing finish race will be given DNC. This can be edited if necessary.

Using multiple devices

Multiple phones (or other devices with a browser) can record the same race simultaneously. This is useful to spread the work in large fleets, or as an insurance policy, allowing one phone to take over the recording of a race from another.

First click the Collaborate link at the bottom of the timer screen.

Choose a secret 'collaboration word' - this is a temporary password. If another user logs on with the OOD password, and enters the same (case sensitive) share word, both devices can add and view results.

Where two phones record different times for the same boat, both results are entered into the race as separate laps. The OOD, or administrator, can then delete the erroneous lap by clicking the pencil icon (✎) next to each boat.

Ensure that both phones are using the (default) network provided time. This is found on your phone (i.e. not in OOD2) in settings > time and date. If the displayed times on all the sharing devices are the same, then they are safe to share a race together.

You may notice that the times displayed on the timer on two phones recording the same race are a fraction of a second apart. This is because the timer updates the display only every half a second, and so the displayed time can differ from the actual time by up to half a second. However the recorded times will be precisely synchronised across phones. i.e. there is no advantage in its finish time being recorded by a phone that appears to be fractionally ahead. However see the note on using tablets

You can choose to collaborate before a race begins, or once it's started, but while a race is in progress, you can not change the collaboration password once set. This is to prevent having accidental duplicate races.

The phones will 'sync', via the internet, approximately every 1 second. In the event our server is struggling, this time will increase

Once the race is finished, other phones will finish the race also.

If the page is reloaded, the phone will stop polling the server for updated data from other devices, however the data will still be collated from every device as the race progresses. In this way, you could show the race progress on a remote screen in the clubhouse without burdening the OOD's phone with the extra data usage. If you wish to have up to date shared data on your phone, you must re-enter the same collaboration word. Entering a different secret word may cause a race name / time conflict and prevent saving.

Not quite a glitch, but a feature of sluggish data coverage. Consider the following:

Data use is relatively small, typically about 4-5k per minute. For most phones no data is transferred while the phone is asleep - which it ought to be when there are no boats approaching the line, otherwise the battery may not last the course.

An additional point to be aware of is that either device may start the race but not multiple devices because unless your fingers are perfectly synchronised that would result in multiple start times. Consequently the start button is only shown on the device that started the share. Once it is pressed, all devices will start with the same start time. If it is necessary to show the start button on another device, the page should be refreshed, and then a *new* secret shareword entered, which other devices can sync to if necessary.

Using a tablet

Using the phone mast network, (by default) phones synchronise themselves with an atomic clock. The time recorded across different devices is therefore the same. However, tablets generally do not syncronise the time reliably. Therefore the time on a tablet is not accurate. If the race is being recorded on one tablet only, this will not be a problem. However, if a race is being shared across devices, this is something that will need checking.

Aborting race starts

Clicking x above the race will cancel an individual race. It may then be restarted as necessary. If it is not restarted, the Race Officer can mark the race as cancelled under add / edit results

Reliability

Device failure

The time the race starts will be displayed at the top of the screen. If you worry your phone won't survive the duration of the race, you can make a note of this time for entry later.

Phones get their time from the cell phone tower, which in turn gets the time from an atomic clock. The time displayed on phones is very accurate, and what's more important for our purposes, consistent across devices. However, if a tablet is being used, rather than a phone, the dispayed time should be compared. Any difference can be entered into the [+Time offset]. If any laps were timed using the timer, the race will be available to the administrator (under add/ edit results), and finish times can then be entered manually if necessary.

Poor / no data reception

The app has been designed to work with a bad or non existant internet connection. So long as the app is open (and prefereably*, but not essentially) logged in to your club before going to the internet void, you can time any number of races. The results will be stored on your phone until such time as a data connection becomes available to send them to our server.

* If logged in, you can select from existing series names. If not, each race will have to have a series assigned to it manually when internet reception becomes available.

If lack of a reliable internet connection results in you failing to save the race results to our server, results of finished races will be saved on your phone for up to 2 weeks, until a connection becomes available. If, within that time, you switch your phone off, or accidentally close the tab, no matter; just go back to the timer page and log on again.

Closing the browser tab

Refreshing the timer page, rebooting the phone or closing the browser window will not result in a loss of an ongoing race's data, though may cause issues recovering the timing app itself if you are in an area with no data coverage.

Additionally, certain internal data will be refreshed with the page. This is, in part, to allow an intuitive way to restore default settings. Consequently, on refreshing, the ordering of the fleet will be lost, as will the ability of the OOD to edit races (s)he has saved in this session - though the administrator will still be able to edit them.

Recovering a lost race

The session should be intact on the device it is being recorded on, even if that device is restarted. Depending on the device, closing the browser may result in the browser requiring internet access to reload the timing program files when the device recovers. Some devices may use a local copy in such circumstances

If you have internet access, a race can be picked up by a different device, provided the collaboration password (bottom of the timer screen) has been set. You simply need to log back in and enter the collaboration password again.

Using other phone features

While a race is in progress, you can pretty much use your phone as normal. You can switch to another tab and back again. You can allow your phone to go to sleep between laps, you can use other apps* and answer calls. You can even restart your phone. If you need to hand over to another phone you can do that by using the collaboration word.

* - though maybe avoid apps that claim to clean up your phone's storage

Comfort for technophobes

The timer runs within a browser, even if added to your homescreen as an app. As such, it has no access to your microphone, contacts, photos, pacemaker etc etc. Any data not entered into the app is not accessible to us. i.e your privacy is completely safe.

What if the phone dies mid-race?

If you need to restart your phone, the raced data should be intact when the phone resurfaces.

Alternatively, if you want to pass recording to a different device, you can easily do that, if you have set a collaboration word.

If you make a note on paper of the start time (it appears in a narrow black bar at the top of the screen), you can record the finish times as times of day and enter them later under the administrator's log in.

What about my data allowance?

Data use is pretty moderate. If you have not entered a collaboration word, a typical race can be timed and scored using less than 50k (0.00005 Gb) - about 1/40 the average web page. If phones are synced, data use is likely to be around 300k (0.0003Gb) for the race - still a tiny fraction of the average web page.

Multiple concurrent races

On a device

A device can only record one race (i.e. one start time) at a time. If you open an additional tab, it will mimick the first tab you have open. Consequently, trying to record multiple concurrent races on one device will result in them overwriting one another.

Within that race, there can be multiple fleets, whose series standings can be calculated separately.

At a club

Two or more overlapping races (i.e. multiple start times) can be recorded on different devices, at the same club, provided the start times are unique. Two races starting at exactly 11:00:00 may interfere with one another; one starting at 11:00:00 and one starting at 11:00:01 will not.

Competitor Notes

You can make and save notes on a competitor by clicking the pencil icon (✎) next to a boat. If you are colaborating with another device, these notes will be shared across all collaborating devices. Notes are demarked by a 📜 to the right of the entrant. Clicking that sign reveals the note.

A note may be added automatically if a boat's handicap is not on the current list, or does not match the handicap displayed on that list.

Such notes will also appear on the club's results page.

Max fleet size

The maximum fleet size is dependant on the spec of the device doing the recording. If collaboration is enabled, this puts additional strain on a device.

The theoretical maximum fleet size is dependent on device storage and is in the millions. However for fleets over 1000 boats the ordering will not be reliably by sail number.

An average phone ought to be able to run a race with up to 200 competitors.

Non-matching results

Suppose two devices are sharing a race. Suppose then either or both both lose their network data connections, or by refeshing the page and not re-entering the collaboration word. When the race is finshed, each will have a different data set, and hence show different results.

Simply refreshing the timer page will restore the correct results.

Changing handicap system

The handicap system can be changed in settings.

The real-life circumstances where a club would change handicap system mid-way through a race or series are hard to envisage. However, it is not inconcievable that it happens in playing around with the system before using it in earnest. if you do this, you should expect some wierd results.

The times saved in the database are the raw, uncorrected times, so if you do manage to create wierd results in an actual race, please contact me - it is likely your real results can be retrieved.

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