BoatLogger.com enables free live race tracking for any race
Race tracking today
For high-profile races, like the Olympics and Volvo Ocean Race, we have got used to sitting in front of our screens and being able to follow live as the yachts battle it out. It does wonders for the interest in the competition and sailing in general. However, a lot of race organisers have limited budgets plus serious time constraints. Live tracking is therefore out of reach and a lot of the fun and interest for the public is lost – until now.
The BoatLogger tracking concept
A key requirement behind BoatLogger is low cost for both the organiser and the boat. Therefore, the live positions have to be collected and sent ashore with already available technology. The easiest is to use smartphone BoatLogger apps which can be downloaded for free from Play Store or iTunes.
While GPS position logging on phones works accurately even when far from ashore and beyond cell coverage, positions will not be sent ashore until close to the coast again. For offshore races that means that the ‘live’ is tainted. Therefore BoatLogger also supports feeds from SPOT and deLorme inReach satellite loggers. For yachts that have these installed we get live tracking also during all offshore passages.
Organising a yacht race is much more than just tracking the boats. It starts with handling registration, payments, posting rules, informing about the race course, handling position updates, managing handicaps etc. BoatLogger handles all of this data management in a fully interactive way, right down to the sharing of photos and race blogs from competitors.
Traditional BoatLogger yacht pages
To better understand how this is done, let’s first look at where BoatLogger comes from. It started as a flexible logbook for any boat – mainly for cruising sailors. Each yacht gets a customisable home page where they can choose to show photos, guest books, weather forecasts, maintenance records, Facebook feeds and much more. All this information comes in small windows called datapanes where the data gets populated automatically. One important datapane is the logbook, where live data is sent from the yacht to the logbook to create a complete record of any journey.
BoatLogger race pages
Following the concept of the traditional BoatLogger yacht pages, the new Race pages are now introduced. Each race gets its complete site. This site can be customised to show any information about the race. Several new datapanes are made to cater particularly for yacht races. Examples of new datapanes are sign up, race course definition, live tracking, result table etc.
When you read this the Race pages are just being launched. The basic functionality is there and we are just ironing out the last bugs. It is not yet ready to use for a large-scale commercial race, but for smaller regional events there should be nothing holding you back from using it this sailing season! While the automatic tracking and race playback can always be used, we are not yet supporting all competition types when it comes to automating the result tables. Domestic fleet races with handicap factors are supported, but for example match racing is still under development.
From the ground up, BoatLogger is an open concept. It supports any kind of loggers and an API (Application Programming Interface) is provided for any developer to integrate smartphone apps, yacht electronics or anything else directly to the site. You can also embed parts of the BoatLogger site in your existing website if you wish or you can redirect your own domain address such as www.MySailRace.com to show the BoatLogger Race page.
How to use it
To create a Race page just head over to Boat Logger.com and create a site for your event. Most functionality is free, but some special functions are available at a small cost. To sign up as a participant in a race the boat must have a traditional yacht page, but that is done for free in a matter of minutes. Hopefully BoatLogger Race pages will kick off a large interest in sail racing among the general public!
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