Thursday 9 November 2023

Another Autumn Update

I have been busy responding to some of your requests. Here are another two features you asked for.

Scoring by helm, rather than by boat, is popular in clubs whose members swap boats during a series. It has been in HalSail for some time and appears as a button on public results pages. However the button can be confusing and it makes no sense unless there are guest helms specified for some of the results. So the button now only appears for those series with guest helms.

Race committees sometimes award redress to a boat that have been prevented from getting a result for some reason outside its control. Typical situations are if a boat is damaged in an incident that was not its fault, or if the crew had been asked to help organise a race rather than take part in it. To cover these situations there has always been a facility in HalSail to award redress in one of several ways which are specified in this FAQ. But in each case the boat is treated as a non-finisher. What if the boat does finish, but the race committee want to award it a number of points different from those applicable to the place it achieved? Up to now the only way was to score the boat DPI, but that implies a "Discretionary Penalty". The word penalty is not always appropriate, so there is now a new scoring abbreviation in HalSail called RDF - Redress given to a Finisher. You can award any number of points you like to a boat scored RDF and it will still take its place in the race as a finisher.

Country Flags

HalSail is used in many countries for international regattas and championships, so I have added a feature to show country flags alongside the sail number. The picture below shows what it looks like on a public results page.

It is controlled by a new series switch called "Show country flags in results". Set that switch and the flags will appear alongside any boat whose sail number begins with one of the national sail identifiers defined in racing Rules of Sailing Appendix G.

Monday 16 October 2023

Autumn Update

I have made three small improvements recently that you may find useful.

  • Races that have not been sailed yet shown in public results pages. When you display the results of series in which no races have been sailed, you used to get a simple message saying there are no results yet. Now you get a list of the races in the series with their start dates and times.
  • Download series results by helm. When you edit the results of a series and click the icon to download them to an Excel file, you get the option to score by helm. Previously you could only download results scored the usual way by boat.
  • Download series winners and runners up. Open the winners page from the Result Menu showing the winners and runners up of all the series in your account. Alternatively open it from within an individual event to get the winners and runners up in that event. An icon now appears top right to download them into a spreadsheet. Note that in order to avoid asking the server to calculate all the results again, the file is made by your browser directly from the information on the web page. Thus it is very quick, but it produces a csv file rather than an Excel file. You can, of course, open the csv file in Excel to format it as you wish.

Thursday 17 August 2023


When I updated the website a couple of days ago I made a number of improvements to the way data is imported from Excel files. Unfortunately in the process I inadvertently removed the ability to import from csv files. Sorry about that.

It is fixed now so that you can import racing classes, boats, races and results from either Excel files or csv files.

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Mid-Season Update

 I have updated the HalSail website with a number of improvements.

  1. Scoring penalties are no longer limited to 20% when the result status is SCP, XPA or ZFP. You now specify the percentage penalty when you input the result, although the default continues to be 20%.
  2. There are improvements to the way data is loaded from Excel spreadsheets or csv files to make the process more robust. This applies to importing racing classes, uploading boats to the register, importing races to the schedule, or importing results.
  3. The default type of redress is now RDG2 - average of all races except DNC, which is the recommended option for boats that cannot take participate in a race because their crews are part of the race-management team. You can, of course, still specify any of the other options if you wish. This FAQ gives details.
  4. There are new options on the public links page to go straight to the latest results for each racing class. You might use these on your own website to provide bespoke links for each of your classes.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Result Caching

The HalSail server gets very busy on weekends when there are lots of regattas. There were a couple of occasions last year when it slowed to a crawl, due to hundreds of boats finishing at about the same time and entire crews using their mobiles to see how they had done.

The immediate availability of new results is one of the big advantages of HalSail, so I have been working hard to build more resilience into the system. I have done that by storing results on other computers on the web, as well as the HalSail server. So when people ask for the results of a particular series, the request goes to one of the other computers in the first instance. That computer gets its results from HalSail once every five minutes. This is known as caching.

The net result is that HalSail should be much more resistant to high work loads, but that results may be up to five minutes late. In other words, if a race officer updates the results of a race, those results may not filter through to sailors on their mobiles for up to five minutes. That seems to me to be a reasonable compromise between speed and reliability.

A race officer who is logged in can use the result editing screens to see results. They will not be cached, so what the RO sees is the latest version.

Monday 27 February 2023

Updated PY Numbers

The RYA released the 2023 Portsmouth Yardstick numbers over the weekend. They are now in HalSail.

If you add a boat to a PY class and it is on the RYA's list, its handicap will default to the new value. But the handicaps of existing boats are not updated automatically. To do that go to the Boats menu, Standard handicaps, click to see your PY classes and then Update all.

Alternatively you can update boats individually, either on the Boat-class crosstab page, or by editing each boat's details.

Another Autumn Update

I have been busy responding to some of your requests. Here are another two features you asked for. Scoring by helm, rather than by boat, is ...