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.

Friday, 19 March 2021

DSRC Integration

Good news for aficionados of the Dinghy Sailing Race Control (DSRC) phone app – you can now transfer information from SailEvent to DSRC on the go.

A new download button in the SailEvent Race Team app extracts a list of entries complete with their ‘signed to go sailing’ status ready for DSRC to import.

Enable the integration on the >Settings >Integrations page of the SailEvent Club app.

Sailing Club Software policy is to work with all software providers who are open to cooperation. We believe that this is the way to deliver the best possible IT service to the sailing community.  The new DSRC integration is a good example of this policy in action as it joins the existing SailEvent integrations with HalSail and Sailwave.

DSRC website: DSRC(google.com)


Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Implementing the New SailEvent Plans

In our previous post we introduced the new pricing policy for SailEvent and I’m pleased to report that reaction has been 100% favourable. You can see a comparison of the three plans and subscription fees hereThis post outlines how and when the new policy comes into effect.

At the moment everyone is on the Plus plan. Shortly we will convert everyone to the Basic plan but we will not reduce your numbers of competitions, competitors or future sessions even though they may currently be greater than the Basic plan quotas. This does however mean that you will not be able to add further competitions or sessions until you either upgrade your plan or reduce your usage. Note that, in order to comply with the Basic plan, any sessions more than 30 days old will be deleted. If you need to keep data from past sessions you should download it now.

The conversion to Basic is scheduled for next Monday 22nd March at approximately 1200GMT and we’ll let you know the moment it has been completed. From that date on the ability to upgrade to Club or Plus will be available. You need take no action right now and there will be no pressure on you to upgrade. You may decide to do so at a time of your own choosing.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

New SailEvent pricing policy for 2021

We launched SailEvent back in May last year in a bit of a hurry because we saw that it helped clubs restart sailing safely. The service was free to use to get it up and running quickly and to hear your feedback. But a service like SailEvent needs to be commercially viable so we said from the outset that it was our intention to implement a freemium model when the time was right.

That time has come even though this may seem inauspicious given that the pandemic is still with us. But better times are ahead and clubs are making plans so it is right that we lay our cards on the table here and now.

First, and importantly, a free version continues as the Basic plan. It provides all SailEvent’s key features but with limits on its capacity. We see this free option as essential not only for evaluation but also as appropriate for those clubs with financial constraints. Ingenuity and a little extra effort may be required but the Basic plan nevertheless offers a workable service.

Beyond Basic we are introducing two annual subscription plans – Club and Plus.

Club is appropriate for many clubs. It offers everything in Basic with more capacity, a fully functional Race Team app and automated integrations. Plus is for busier clubs with everything in Club and unlimited capacity so you can go ahead and run those World Championships!

You can see a comparison of the three plans and subscription fees here. We have always promised that SailEvent will be affordable and I hope you agree that we have the price points about right.

Look out for another post here soon outlining how the plans will be introduced. Meanwhile let’s have your feedback!

PS The Sailor App continues to be free and always will be.


Monday, 8 March 2021

An Update about Updates

Here at SailEvent we like feedback – it either confirms that we’ve got it right or gives us something to work on. We’re always up for a challenge!

One message that came over loud and clear from the initial release of SailEvent was that more opportunities for fine tuning entry lists were needed. For instance if someone entered online and spotted a typo there was no way to correct it short of contacting the person in charge. Or if an unknown boat turned up on the start line the race officer couldn’t add it to his list.

We set about addressing these issues and a while back made it possible for sailors to make changes at eTally time for that one sailing session. That covered things like a temporary change of sail number or crew. Now we have gone several steps further.

Top of the list is that sailors can now update, and even delete, their own entry forms. This is the place to correct typos and the like. You do it in the sailor’s SailEvent account on the new entries tab which lists all that sailor’s entry forms. Take a look here; you need just your email address to log in.

Next up is the Race Team app. You told us that race officers need to be able to add competitors on the day and now they can.

Finally race officers can make those same temporary updates of, say, sail number for a session on behalf of a competitor. Again this is in the Race Team app.

So now we have a lot of flexibility but there are times when more control is necessary. For instance you may not want to allow entry updates for a championship where the entry list is managed by the class association. Permissions, one for each of the four updating opportunities, provide that control on a per competition basis.  For example if you don’t want race officers to add competitors you can take away that permission. 

The key thing to remember is that all changes, whoever makes them, update the single definitive entry list in the cloud. Different aspects of SailEvent look at this information in different ways but it is all the same data meaning everyone has a consistent and unambiguous view. What’s more, updates take effect immediately so if a sailor corrects his sail number then that number appears right away in the entry list on the club website and in the race officer's list too.

So now it’s over to you – let’s have your next round of feedback! Either comment on this post or use the Contact Us form.


Monday, 1 March 2021

New Menu

This post is just to brief you on changes to the SailEvent Club App menu. The Admin menu has been growing so we are hiving off some of its items into a new Settings menu in order to pave the way for future developments.

The new structure is

Items used frequently – Competitions and Sessions – remain at the top level.

Admin now contains items used less frequently such as Class lists and Logs.

Settings is for items needed primarily when setting up the system and subsequently used rarely.

The old >Admin >Settings item is renamed >Settings >General  but, while we update all the places in the documentation that refer to the old name(!), that item still exists as a signpost to its new home.

Sorry if this news is somewhat underwhelming; it’s simply part of the evolution and development of SailEvent that you need to be aware of.


Friday, 19 February 2021

Tales of Two Sailing Clubs

Despite everything, UK clubs did manage to get some sailing in during 2020. We’ve compiled stories of how two very different clubs dealt with the challenges.

The first is Hayling Island Sailing Club. Big and bold on its own headland looking out over Chichester Harbour, HISC is used to hosting major championships as well as providing a busy programme for its several thousand members. Clearly the former couldn’t happen but you can read here about how SailEvent helped HISC run club racing.

Separated geographically from HISC by only a few miles of sea, Sea View Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight is a world apart in style. Its cosy club house in the heart of the community looks out over the Solent shipping lanes. But the sheltered water right in front of the club is busy in the summer months with club racing, most notably for the clinker-built Sea View One Designs. Read about how SVYC put on racing for this popular fleet here.

Two clubs, each with their own character and ambiance and their own ways of providing safe and enjoyable time on the water for their members. But both required planning and organisation and that’s where SailEvent came in.

Have a good read.

PS We are at the RYA virtual Dinghy Show, 27th-28th February, on the Restart Sailing stand. Do drop by to say hello. Free tickets are available from the RYA. Looking forward to seeing you there