Saturday, August 20, 2016

No more audio tape

I had an old smartphone lying around and my digital tape was a pain at the last regatta, as I could not easily locate the bit of audio I wanted. I thought "There must be an app for this" and indeed there was. I thought it was very clever that I could record the finish and then re-name the file to "Race 3" or whatever.

However it got me thinking - why not video the finish with my smartphone and as well as the audio I would have the video? Well I did - and it worked wonderfully - except that I could not easily re-name these files. What was remarkable was that I could play it back and it showed the time - so locating a specific section of was relatively easy and I could zoom in on the boat at the far end and generally get a sail number.

The problems - well no one else was interested in having the data - with a cable it could have been downloaded to a fast computer and the results team could have scoured through for missing boats. The quality was stunning, particularly on a good monitor - but the organisation was not set up to take it

It ate the phone battery - although, as I was only doing finishes it coped each day but I was getting low battery warnings as we came ashore. So a spare or booster battery is probably a good idea,

It also ate up data - I have a 32gb card in the phone and it would not have held all the video for the entire regatta. I tried uploading it to YouTube but a single 6 minute finish took 10hrs to upload! So forget that idea unless you are working directly on a fibre network.

So now it's going to be mobile phones from now on - and I'm ordering a 128gb card!

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Having just spent three hours  sewing Buoyancy Aid Straps I am confronted again by the paperwork dilemma - Paperwork says the BA's are checked every time they are used - so how come at the Quarterly check (also a paperwork requirement) do I have 21BA's needing straps sewing and another half dozen with pocket zips stuck!

We very interesting discussion at my last Regatta about the value of paperwork and how having things written down can make it much easier to persuade other organisations that you are acting responsibly and can be trusted. It can also promote discussion and help clarify what you are going to do.

My problem with it is that, all too often it could hang you. If something happens the lawyers will look at it and may be able to identify failings in the way you have conducted yourselves. You said you would do this and you have not. You failed to respond to this document - you were negligent!

Often the problem comes down to a failure to communicate what is written to the troops on the ground - the briefing is inadequate or does not explain to them the reasons for a decision.

The regatta had some excellent facilities to recover casualties both afloat and from the beach - but this had not been adequately explained to the Safety Crews who had to made their own assessment of what they would do. They would not have waited for the specialist on water recovery team - because all they had been told was that a First Aid team was afloat. They had not been told that they had a specialist in water spinal board with which to recover the casualty. They had not been told that the beach recovery team were trained and that it had been agreed that they would transport the casualty to hospital. At all other events the ambulance service has attended and they don't go in the water - so safety crew thinking is what is the best spot to transfer a casualty to the ambulance - and that is certainly not the beach. In the event of a real incident they would probably follow instructions on the radio but had the situation been explained to them they would have been much happier and much more likely to follow instructions.

Communication is the most difficult thing to achieve. At the end of the day people have to talk to one another.