Clever GPS devices et al

25/07/2013 21:36:47
measurement man
With the increasing availability of all sorts of whizzy GPS gizmos in increasingly portable forms, and ahead of the forthcoming Championships, it may be a good time to remind our racing membership of the wording of our Rule 17b..

"Electronic aids are prohibited except that a Merlin-Rocket may use an electronic digital compass with chronograph (timer and/or clock). The compass must be entirely self-contained with either an internal battery and/or solar power. The compass shall have no external connections. This includes power supply and data inputs, such as wind information,
boat speed or navigational features. It shall not have the ability to compute correlations between time, compass and VMG."

Note that it says that the boat 'may not use' these devices and makes no mention of whether they are attached to the boat or not. It also says that the device shall not 'have the ability' to compute correlations between time compass and VMG.

This therefore precludes, during racing, the wearing of a watch with such ability, or the mounting on the boat of a device with such capability, whether or not it is switched off or otherwise disabled.

Hope this is clear - any queries please feel free to call me.


26/07/2013 15:10:01
So I assume this would apply to most modern mobile phones too, since most of them have similar abilites with the appropriate app.

26/07/2013 15:34:17
Geoff Wright
Where in the rules are digital watches permitted?  17B only seems to allow electronic clock/ timer if associated with a compass?

26/07/2013 15:43:33
Mr X
Geoff, I know it was debated at an AGM in I think the 70s and it was agreed that digital watches were permitted. Proposal came from Graham Pike. Robert (Harris), was this not when you were Class Chairman?
Maybe disappeared by accident when rules tidied up but certainly agreed by the Class at an AGM.

26/07/2013 17:47:49
[email protected]
I proposed the change of rule to allow electronic compasses when I was chairman.  The anomaly at that time (circa 2000) was that you could not use a tacktick compass but you could use a digital watch.  I can't remember where in the rules a digital watch was allowed but I am sure it was!

01/08/2013 10:00:24
Barry Dunning
Maybe we can learn from other classes!
Picked this up from Scuttlebutt Europe:

Maybe the Modern Age Isn’t What Everyone Wants

By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
When there are over 110 boats set to compete in the Thistle Class National Championship, which will be held in Sandusky, Ohio on August 3-9, you’d think the class must be doing something right to attract such enthusiasm.

But when this same class appears resistant to evolve into the modern age, I stop to consider that maybe the modern age isn’t what everyone wants.

A post on the class website clarifies its position on electronic devices…

Rule 65. Electronic or electrical devices, such as electronic compasses and other electronic navigational instrumentation, shall not be used. Electronic starting timers and stop watches are not prohibited by this CMR (class measurer’s rule) and may be used.

Rule 74. From the time a boat leaves the dock until she has finished the last race of the day, returned to shore, or has been instructed to return to shore by the Race Committee, no electronic or electrical devices shall be used to gather information about conditions, monitor performance, communicate between boats, communicate sailing related information, or in any other way benefit or influence a boat’s racing. Communication in any form is permitted to request or to provide assistance in an emergency.

The focus of the report is safety. The class is not saying boats can’t have a cell phone or VHF radio onboard; they are just limiting their use.

My guess is that the elite sailors want to actively use the electronic equipment, but the majority of the class is opposed to changing this rule. I witnessed this vote at the Thistle Midwinters West, and spoke to several top sailors about it. They were frustrated, as the other classes they race in allow this equipment. But not the Thistle class.

It brought to mind a report that Scuttlebutt published about growing the sport. In that report, long time one-design sailmaker and champion Dave Ullman made the point of where the focus of a one design class administration needs to aim.

“So often we listen to the top tier of competitors, the top 10%. But if the mission is to build or even sustain growth in a class of boats, that is the wrong segment to focus on. The focus must be more toward the middle.”

Maybe the Thistle class is listening to the middle.

01/08/2013 12:22:51
David Child
I would agree 100% with Barry. 
A simple way of looking at it may be clockwork and magnetic good, electric good as long as it isn't capable of doing more than clockwork! Of course finding simple basic electric kit may be difficult I have spent hours searching for a mobile 'phone that is only a phone!


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