Jump to content

Race timing


Recommended Posts


The guy on the finish boat has some trick watch, which records a lap time / finish time each time he clicks the button. As each boat crosses the finish line, the assistant records the order of sail numbers. After the race, the list of times is matched to the list of sail numbers, and everyone has a race time.

Except it's all gone wrong and we're guessing he's either not clicked it when someone finished, or clicked an extra by mistake, and whatever, it's crap.

Situation is; club regatta, 40 boats in 4 divisions, all coming across the same finish line. Sometimes there's 10 boats in pack, finishing together.

What's a good method / appropriate tools to record accurate race times?

We're looking at the Sailwave program as a good way to calculate yardstick corrected times and series scores.

Hoping you can help,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Copied from the Top Yacht documentation:

A successful system for recording the finish times.

For a Regatta where there is the likelihood of many boats finishing in a very short space of time it is essential that the finish team know exactly what they are expected to do before it all starts to happen!!

Under most normally accepted systems, one person “calls” the sail numbers out loud. This is recorded on a hand held tape recorder (this is essential!!!)

The “called” sail number is written down, preferably by two separate “finish time” scribes. (Legible hand writing is essential!)

A third scribe is the “finishing position” scribe.

The “finishing position” scribe ignores the caller and concentrates on recording the sail numbers in the order in which they finish and noting times where possible, but the emphasis is on finish order.

The “finish time” scribes concentrates on recording finishing times but also records the sail numbers against these times where possible (should be vast majority of boats).

The time is commonly taken from a watch/clock attached to the clip board used by the “finish time” scribe. Record “Time of Day” rather than elapsed time. This has been repeated shown to provide valuable “extra” information for solving various disputes.

[some Clubs own a stop watch that records times on a printout. Some Clubs take a laptop onto the finish boat and use TopYacht’s inbuilt time of day recorder that stores times and allows them to be printed out later.]

It is valuable if the caller calls out the time after every few finishers so these times are also recorded on the tape so it can be better matched to the written record. (Make sure all clocks are set to exactly the same time! A GPS is a great reference.)

The finish order is provided by the voice of the ‘caller’ so the scribes never have to look up at the boats.

Many experienced teams use a system where by the caller says....

“... approaching sail number AUS 1332, approaching sail number AUS 223, finishing AUS 1332 NOW, approaching AUS 3378, finishing ASU223 NOW.... etc. This allows the time scribe to record the sail numbers as the boats approach then just add the finish time (as the boat finished) rather than having to write down sail number and times at the same instant.

This finish time system has one major, potential flaw, if everything is taken from the one caller. So some teams then use a forth person to do one of three things; either to...

also call quietly onto another tape or ....

write sail numbers down in finish order but constantly glancing up at the boats in stead of listening to the caller (i.e. the “finish positions” scribe) or ....

stand behind the caller and making sure that all sail numbers are called and that they are called correctly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course that all turns to poop when you have to do a shorten course at the next mark, 2 blokes in a RIB with nothing but a radio calling sail numbers. Who says duty crew is boring?

I've been toying with the idea of GPS pucks and a tracking program like Kattack or silmilar (this is what's used for HCW). Puck price has fallen dramatically, around $30 will get you one, be good for bar racing afterwards as well. We normally have 2 on the start boat and 2 on the rescue boat so having "back up" callers is a little tough. It won't do sod all for close finishes but in your case it might sort out who was where and then ask skippers for a bit of honesty to at least ascertain finishing order. Most blokes know when they get beaten.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also posted this query to Sailing Anarchy: http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=119983

Consensus is to similar to above:

- one person calls sail numbers as they cross the line

- one (or more) glances at the clock and writes the time next to sail number, occasionally saying aloud the time

- dictaphone records it all; as backup and for dispute resolution. This recording will include finishing order & times (may be derived from the occasional call)

In other sports:

- GPS tracking the ultimate; eg Rolex Yacht Tracker during Syd-Hobart. With on-line broadcast enables anyone to follow the racing

- infra-red beams to capture exact finish times, eg; 100m sprint

- video across finish line to split ties; eg; horse racing

With the shortened course scenario, as you say calling times over the radio should work out OK; 2nd person still writes them down, dictaphone still gets a record of it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that, found it: http://www.mysailing.com.au/news/by-the-book-and-then-some

The paragraph most relevant to this discussion:

"At the finish the race officer calls the sail number and the time-keeper calls the time for each vessel. The only person who actually sees the boats finishing is the race officer because everyone else has their heads down writing or watching the stopwatch. There are usually three recorders for the finish. If boats are close and numerous, the time-keeper does a "running" call eg "12.52 decimal 57, 58, 59; 12.53 decimal 1,2,3..." with the race officer calling sail numbers and "now" along with instructions to the sound operator for "one hoot for next boat/sail number ..." (which is first in its class to finish) as each vessel finishes. In the unlikely event that recorders cannot reconcile the finish order of boats at the end, they may refer to the taped record.

When the start boat returns to the clubhouse, the recorder hands over one set of documents for each race to the results calculators for input into the Sail 100 racing results program. The race officer notifies protest committee members, if they are needed..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...