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Our club uses a custom start timer to run the start sequences. It assists the Race Committee to time the sequences and honk the horns accurately. Like many clubs, we are short on volunteers, and automating simple procedures benefits everyone in the club. The start timer has undergone a few iterations of improvements since its introduction, but the greatest change is proposed for the summer of 2020 – to add lights instead of using traditional flags.
The first version was created around 2013-14. It featured a handheld box based upon an Arduino Uno. Self powered, but relied upon horns mounted to the boat and running from the boat battery. It was completely waterproof, held many different sequences, and the original is still in use today.
It featured a 2″ tall display, count down timer, automatic horn relay, and supported many sequences. An onboard switch allowed any two sequences to be run at a time, with additional sequences available by flashing the memory. A series of led’s and a speaker alerted the Race Committee to upcoming flag changes. Run time on a 9-volt battery was around 1 month (20-30 sequences).
The interface is easy to use with a buttons for power, sequence, and a manual horn. Four LED’s indicate seconds to a flag change (30, 20, 10, 5-1). A speaker announces each of these time increments so the R/C personnel don’t need to maintain visual eye contact on the timer.
Version 2 was developed in the fall of 2018. It moved away from the Uno and was built around the ATMega128p microprocessor and a custom printed circuit board. A larger battery was fitted so that an on-board horn system could be added.
Our local sailing school uses it near downtown Hudson – the horns are so loud that it can be heard inside buildings while shopping!
This version included all the features of Version 1, as well as a 9Ah battery, air compressor, and 8 ft of tubing to remotely place the air horns. The printed circuit board minimized wiring and made the device more reliable. Switches were added to select from many pre-programmed sequences.
It is no longer completely waterproof (because air holes are required for the compressor), but can take heavy water spray from just about any direction.
This version was born to solve an issue the R/C was concerned about – accurate raising and lowering of the flags. Our Race Officer had the idea to use bright LED lights to replace the flags, and the new version was born. It is currently in development, but is expected to be released in the Spring of 2020. We are grateful to be working with an international group of engineers with a passion for sailing to make this endeavor possible!
There has been some discussion online about this project. We hope to make a proposal to US Sailing and World Sailing to include provisions for a Lighted Start Sequence addendum to the Rule 26 sequence.
More information will be added below as the project moves along.
- Yacht of the Year
- Beercan Series
- Dave O’Donnell Memorial Regatta
- Pursuit Races
- Sail & Share Regatta
- Commodore’s Cup
The river will drop below no-wake on Tuesday morning (6/11), so the 2019 sailing season is officially on! Our first race will be the Spring #4 race tomorrow (6/11) at 6:30 pm. The weather might be an issue, but we’ll make that call at the last-minute over VHF 72.
Bring your foulies and warm clothes and we’ll see you on the water!
The river is dropping fast and we will be sailing soon! Current predictions show it to drop below no-wake level sometime late next week (June 12th?). For those of you with boats on E or F docks at St. Croix Marina, you should be able to drive out to your boats this weekend! The road to those docks opens up at around 684.3.
Time to prep your boats!
Up, Up, Up, goes the river… Looks like it’s rising to 686 and will stay there for a while. So, no racing any time soon. For those who just want to go for a leisurely sail, St. Croix Marina is under water – so most of our club can’t even get to their boats. (insult to injury, huh?)
I have some good news, though: The Spring Picnic on Saturday is ON! The races are canceled, but let’s all get together anyway and talk about the good times. Stop by any time after 3pm. Dinner will begin around 4pm. More details can be found on the Dave O’Donnell Memorial Regatta page.
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
The river is still rising, so Beercan Race #1 (5/24) has been abandoned. We had hoped to hold a party on the Point, but the marina is under water, so that’s a no-go as well.
The river is expected to remain high for a while, so sit tight – we’ll be racing again soon.
One great thing I can confirm is that the Spring Picnic on Saturday, June 1st WILL HAPPEN! If the Dave O’Donnell Memorial Regatta is abandoned, we’ll have a cruise to the O’Donnell house and the picnic on shore! Stay tuned for details, but I think a star raft may be involved!
Find out more about that regatta and the Spring Picnic by clicking here.
The latest river forecast shows the river to be above 683′ for at least the next 7 days. Therefore, the Tuesday Spring #1 race has been postponed to June 27th. The Beercan #1 Race on Friday, May 24th also looks unlikely. Note that the forecasts are just that – estimates. They are known to change dramatically, so cross your fingers and keep an eye on the river level website: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mpx&gage=stlm5
The Race Committee will update this page from time to time as river level predictions come in. Note that racing is automatically suspended whenever the river is above 683ft.
Why do we postpone or cancel racing when the river is above 683 feet? Because the DNR imposes a “no-wake zone” on the river. The definition of no-wake zone requires boats to be at closed throttle, and at no time above 5 mph. So, while sailboats rarely leave much of a wake, racing with a max speed of 5 mph wouldn’t make much sense…
Due to the high water levels, the Breaking Waves race scheduled for Saturday has been postponed to June 15th. The Spring #1 race on May 21st is still too close to call – the river *may* be low enough, depending on the amount of rain we get this weekend. Stay tuned for more information – it may be a last minute decision.
Notice of Race
- 2019 Yacht of the Year NOR
- 2019 Beercan Series NOR
- 2019 Dave O’Donnell Memorial Regatta NOR
- 2019 St Croix Regatta NOR
- 2019 Pursuit Race NOR
- 2019 Commodore’s Cup NOR
- 2019 Frostbite NOR
- 2019 Sailing Instructions
- 2019 Dave O’Donnell Memorial Regatta Sailing Instructions
- 2019 Pursuit Race Sailing Instructions
- 2019 Handicapping Policy