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 (3.2.1.1) 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 https://community.bt.com

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 sailevent.net 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.


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Entry Forms for Open Meetings

It’s time for open meetings – a chance to see new faces, and old, and bring much-needed income to the club.

SailEvent is ready with a new online open meeting entry form. It collects the same information as the familiar club racing form plus more contact details, club name and emergency contact.

A quick look round entry forms on the web reveals, unsurprisingly, much variety in the questions they pose nevertheless we believe we have covered the essentials that most clubs need. But we are open to suggestions so please let us have your feedback. We can fine tune the existing form or even add variants.

However at this stage we are not going to cater for selling merchandise, providing menu choices or any of the other many and varied potential options! Instead SailEvent now also supports custom entry forms. Create them using your choice of online form builder and embed in your SailEvent online entry forms page.

Of course open meetings imply entry fees and SailEvent is ready to collect them via the slick and modern Stripe payment gateway. But when it comes to dealing with real money we need to tread carefully so we are not making this feature generally available just yet. First we want to work closely with a small number of clubs so that we can monitor the flow and make sure everything runs smoothly. If you’d like to be one of those clubs please contact us at support@sailevent.net.

Open Meeting entry forms are available now if you have a SailEvent Club plan. For Custom entry forms you need to subscribe to the Plus plan. More information is available via club app >Help.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Sailing with Smartphones

 

We all know that smartphones are remarkable devices that bring enormous benefits to their owners. And we know that the stuff they can do is increasing all the time. SailEvent is part of that trend bringing paperless, contactless technology to the sport of sailing.

But what we know less about is exactly how sailors interact with their phones during a sailing day. So we asked a representative sample via an online survey and this chart summarises what they told us.



If you happen to be a statistician you may question the validity and reliability of online surveys but these results look reasonable and tally with anecdotal evidence. 

The chart shows that a healthy majority have their phones with them during the important signing to go afloat phase. Half take them with them at least some of the times they are on the water.  Most reach for them soon after they hit dry land so they can complete that equally important sign ashore.

It would be good to see more phones afloat as the following true and cautionary tale illustrates.

One afternoon a few weeks ago in mid February, father, son and dog were kayaking up a muddy, tidal creek. They capsized. Dad and dog ended up on the mud. Son managed to get ashore, had his phone with him and dialled 999. The inshore lifeboat, Coastguard helicopter and mud rescue team all went to their aid.  The RNLI brought dad and dog safely ashore - happy ending.

There are lessons to be learnt from this incident and one of them is the importance of keeping your lines of communication open. If son had not had his phone it could have been a very different story. So there are valid reasons for having your phone with you at all times just in case the unexpected happens. The RNLI sells a handy waterproof bag.

And if you do take your phone with you while sailing it is easy to turn it into a GPS tracker* and register it with SailEvent. Then people can see where you are, on the race course or on the mud.

Sail safe.

 

*Just install the Traccar Client app. It’s free, light weight and available for both Android and iOS. More information.

 

 

Monday, 22 March 2021

SailEvent Plans are now available

 As previously announced you are now subscribed to the SailEvent Basic plan.

SailEvent continues to work for you as usual except that you cannot add competitions, competitors or sessions beyond the quotas of the Basic plan. You can view those quotas and compare plans here

What you should do now is review your SailEvent usage and decide which plan is appropriate for you. To upgrade log in to your SailEvent club account and choose >Account >Plan from the menu top right. You can upgrade (or downgrade) at any time. When upgrading you can pay your subscription by credit or debit card.

When on an annual subscription plan you can view and print your invoices at >Account >Subscription. We’ll let you know when your subscription is due for renewal.

I do hope that is all clear and straightforward but if you have any questions we are only an email away.