Wednesday, 13 October 2021

HalSail Import plus Class List Auto Add

Here’s a goodie for all you HalSail users – you can now import boats directly from a HalSail series into a SailEvent competition. That means you no longer need to download a file from one system and upload it into the other.

This is how it works

If you haven’t already done so, set up HalSail integration so it can communicate with SailEvent. (5 mins)

Link your SailEvent competition to its equivalent HalSail series. (30 secs)

In your SailEvent competition, on its More tab, press the Import button and that’s it – your HalSail boats are now SailEvent competitors. (10 secs)

If you make changes in HalSail just import again and everything is in synch.

What’s more, with the new class list Auto Add feature, you don’t need to list all your classes in SailEvent before importing. Just create an empty class list, set it to Auto add and, at import time, it is populated with your HalSail boat types. 

And naturally class list Auto Add also works with any set of competitors that you upload from an external source.

So that’s two more ways that SailEvent speeds and improves your sailing event management.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Expired SSL Certificates

Disclaimer: The SailEvent team knows precious little about Secure Socket Layers, encryption, Certificate Authorities and all that good stuff. To us SSL certificates are just gizmos that work to make the web a better place.

Except occasionally they don’t work as some SailEvent users have recently discovered. When they go to SailEvent, their browser tells them that the site is insecure because its SSL certificate has expired.

But it’s not actually SailEvent’s certificate that has expired. That’s valid until 31/12/2021 when it will automatically renew. The certificate that expired on 30th September is the one at the top of a chain and the one that says “all the certificates below me in the chain can be trusted”.

SailEvent’s certificate is issued by Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit certificate authority and the world’s largest, providing certificates to over 265 million websites so we are in good company. In fact there are reports that users of the likes of Slack, Shopify and Fortinet among others have hit the same problem.

Of course Let’s Encrypt knew this certificate was going to expire so provided a new one that will be good for many years. Trouble is, instructions as to which chain to follow to reach the top-level certificate are hardcoded into software on people’s phones, tablets and computers. Updated instructions have been distributed for quite a while but people running on older software will still be following the old chain leading to the certificate which expired on Thursday.

At least that’s our understanding. There are more erudite explanations here:

So what to do? Unfortunately there are no practical steps, no setup changes, no software updates, that we can make. But we can offer this advice to anyone who is affected by this issue:

Make sure you are running the most up to date version of the operating system and web browser that you can on your device. That’s always sound advice.

If that doesn’t fix it, try a different browser. There’s a suggestion that Firefox is a good one.

If all else fails you can still go to SailEvent by ignoring the warning but be aware that your connection will not be encrypted.

Please accept our apologies if you have been troubled by this unfortunate circumstance but do understand that it is not of our making. It may be that the situation will improve over time; if we hear anything we’ll let you know.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

A Busy Summer

Sorry not to have posted for a while but the SailEvent team have been busy with, well, sailing.  And working on some sailing event-related stuff too.

Every August we are involved with Chichester Harbour Race Week. That’s a major dinghy regatta – this year there were nearly 400 entries. It's organised by Chichester Harbour Federation and based at Hayling Island SC with competitors not only from harbour clubs but also right across the country. Racing, in tidal but sheltered waters, is enjoyed by everyone from world champions to kids of all ages.

With so many people from so many places in a confined area and just as we were emerging from lockdown, the organisers sensibly opted for a cautious, safety-first policy to limit human-to-human contact.

All entries were online using an app developed by us a while back. You can see its successor in SailEvent today.

Previously a prototype of eTally was available as a (popular) alternative to signing on paper. This year eTally was the default with congregating to sign at noticeboards actively discouraged. And, though I say so myself, it worked really well! Not surprisingly, on day 1, a few needed a little guidance. But by day 2 just about everyone had got the hang of it proving yet again how readily people can adapt to new ways.

And of course the big winner when using eTally is competitor safety. With over 300 boats on the water, knowing immediately who they were and, more importantly, when they were safely ashore is hugely powerful. eTally allowed us to instantly identify the few who were unaccounted for, track them down (thankfully always successfully), give them a talking to, draw a sigh of relief and stand down the safety boats pronto.

Sparkling weather, top class race management, a really quick and slick results service, and a Caribbean steel band made for a truly great regatta. As one happy competitor said “It was amazing! Is there any better dinghy event in the world?” 

So why not try Race Week yourself next year? And if SailEvent can help you organise your own meetings, do sign up here or just get in touch. The contact form is to your right.

Monday, 26 July 2021

BT and Spam

We’ve noticed that BT has recently started erroneously identifying eTally prompts as spam. Here’s an example of what we see 

554 Message rejected on 2021/07/25 11:30:55 BST, policy ( ID (60BE9DFF0837699E) - Your message looks like SPAM or has been reported as SPAM 

We are not alone! A search of the web reveals complaints like

Previously we’ve seen this affecting our DutyMan service. Weirdly it can be geographically localised with one or two clubs being hit and the rest fine. 

What to do? 

It is difficult for Sailing Club Software, as originators of the emails, to get BT to pay attention. We have tried but they are unhelpful and at best have taken several months to respond. 

BT customers may have more success. Try a complaint like “why are you not delivering perfectly valid emails to me?”. 

The conventional advice is for BT customers to add to their BT safe senders list. 

Or perhaps best of all, BT customers switch to a free email service such as Gmail as recommended by the BT community forum. 

From a club’s point of view there is unfortunately little you can do apart from alerting your membership to the issue. You might also consider offering SMS texts as an alternative to email. 

Sorry about this but I’m sure you understand that the problem is not of our making. 

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Who else is sailing today?

Wouldn’t it be good to know before you leave home?

Well, thanks to a new feature in the eTally app you can find out.

Tap entry list to see a list of all those who are entered to sail. Those who have eTallied Yes are highlighted in green, Nos are red.

edit entry is the existing update button renamed to be more meaningful. Competitors can use it to make changes, such as a different crew or sail number, that apply to just this sailing session.

We’ve also added more declaration options for after racing.

The Race Officer’s decision is of course final but there are times when it is useful to have the competitor’s version of how things went.

I’m not going to get into the subtleties of DNC vs DNS and DNF vs RET but there is a comments box below!

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

The Importance of Entry Lists

Entry lists are more than important, they are essential. They are essential for safety, communication, results and, when there’s an entry fee, making sure everyone has paid!

Even club racing has an entry list. Club policy may be that all members can participate but there is still an entry list – it’s a list of all club members (or maybe all registered boats).

But where do you keep your entry list? Is it in a spreadsheet, on paper, in a program on the results officer’s computer? How many versions of it are there? Who can access and change it?

With SailEvent the answer is simple – there is just one entry list for each event or series and it is held securely in the cloud with strictly controlled access. Many can view but only those with permission can make changes. And it is accessible any time, anywhere; all you need is an internet-connected device.

SailEvent provides multiple ways to compile and maintain entry lists. You can type them in, upload from a file, even the RO can (if permitted) add late arrivals, but online entry forms are what people expect. Out of the box, SailEvent has online forms for club racing and open meetings plus support for custom forms. And it collects entry fees for you too!

But for entry forms to work people need to see them and that means publishing them on your club website, in blogs, via messaging and on social media. These three new buttons on the SailEvent club app’s Competitions page help you do just that.

view this opens the entry form for just the competition you are working on.

view all opens your page listing all available online forms.

publish pops up various ways to embed forms in websites and messages. Options are there for both a single form and for the whole list. There’s even a shortened format to use when space is at a premium such as in texts and Twitter.

In this post we’ve talked about the importance of entry lists, how SailEvent is a great place to keep them and how SailEvent helps you publish them. Now over to you to get those entries in!

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Entry fees – online and offline

You can now collect entry fees when a competitor enters a SailEvent competition!

The minimum you need do is set an entry fee for an event. The online entry form shows the amount and asks the entrant to pay up. (It’s a good idea to provide payment instructions in >Settings >General.) That’s offline payments. As you receive entry fees you can mark them as paid in the club app.

Online payments go to the next level by automating the entire process. When competitors submit their entry forms they are asked to pay by credit or debit card. Only when payment is received is the competitor’s entry accepted. SailEvent uses the Stripe payment platform to provide a secure, modern payment experience and manage all the tricky financial stuff.

To implement online payments each club has its own Stripe account so that entrants pay their fees directly to the organising authority; SailEvent isn’t in the loop.

Setting up a Stripe account is reasonably painless and, once you’ve activated it, just connect it to your SailEvent account and you’re done. Sit back and watch the money roll in!

For more about collecting entry fees see club app >Help, Entry Fees topic. This infosheet explains how to set up Stripe.

Entry fees are available for Club and Plus plans only.