Monday, 17 January 2022

Introducing SailEvent Virtual Notice Boards

Happy New Year, everyone. We usher in a better, brighter 2022 with SailEvent Virtual Notice Boards

Notice boards are the go-to place on the web where competitors gather to find out what’s going on. Their immediacy presents a familiar and expected route to on-the-water participation for today’s phone-savvy sailors.

And now with SailEvent, anyone can build a feature-rich online notice board in minutes. Then enhance and adapt it as your event evolves.
 
There’s a lot happening on the boards -
  • Documents like the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions.
  • Forms to collect the competitor information you need.
  • Links to elsewhere on the web. Perhaps you have a Welcome Video or you want to invite people to a WhatsApp group.
  • Notices to Competitors (and the competitors get notified automatically!)
  • Action Buttons to open entry forms, entry lists, results.
  • All customisable, adaptable and easily updatable.

There’s also nifty technical stuff like install-as-an-app and push notifications.

In the next blog posts we’ll talk in depth about different aspects of notice boards but meanwhile why not dive in and take a look around. Every board is linked to a competition – series, championship, meeting, regatta, whatever – so make sure you have one ready. Then choose Notice Boards from the menu, add a new one, point it at its competition and start building.

Our spoof Christmas Cracker event at https://SailEvent.net/noticeboard/r1 shows what can be done. Please don’t take it seriously!

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

And here’s your invitation to participate in a jolly Christmas event organised by the North Pole Yacht Club. The Official Notice Board and entry form are at https://sailevent.net/noticeboard/r1

Not only is this a bit of festive fun and silliness it’s also an opportunity to showcase the new SailEvent Virtual Notice Board.

The advantages of notice boards on-line are pretty clear – available, adaptable, interactive, all the good things you expect from the web - and clubs and classes are beginning to construct them on their own sites. Now SailEvent provides a no-code solution that lets you quickly and easily design and create your own virtual notice board that’s just right for sailors. And there's no need to trouble your webmaster!

What’s on the board:

Documents such as Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions and your own forms.

Links to useful information on the web – directions to the venue, Racing Rules of Sailing, invitations to join WhatsApp groups – the opportunities are boundless.

Notices to Competitors that are automatically published to entrants by text, email or push notification.

Hot links to the entry form and results page.

Customisable look and feel – create your own colour schemes and add images.

And that’s only version 1; there’s more to come. The boards will be available in the New Year but please do take look at this seasonal preview now and send us your comments and feedback. And enter the event – Santa needs you!








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:

https://letsencrypt.org/docs/dst-root-ca-x3-expiration-september-2021/

https://scotthelme.co.uk/lets-encrypt-old-root-expiration/

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 (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!