I’m Julia, and today I am going to talk about how we can use technology to teach ourselves to have a better sense of three boat length zone, as well as discuss the usefulness of modern sailing technology in protests hearings.
As technology becomes more and more a part of sailboat racing, things are changing rapidly both on the water, and off. Questions about the legality, and even the sportsmanship of the tech are being asked around the world. One big question had been – can we use 3D replays, GoPro Videos, and GPS tracks as evidence in protest hearings?
Let’s take a look at a unique case where we were running raceQs’ GeoVids in a protest situation. In case this is new to you, GeoVids is a raceQs concept that syncs action camera footage with GPS tracks, using the time stamps. This is incredibly useful, as you will see. This is one part of raceQs that will probably not be free forever, but if you start using it now you can have grandfathered rights to the software. I’ll give you the link again later on.
Here we have 2 boats approaching the mark, they were overlapped, one boat douses and loses speed rapidly. Overlap is established, but the other boat fails to give room. Using the audio in the video, I can hear people yelling” we don’t have rights”. Clearly, they actually do have rights, as some other people on the boat can be heard. In short, there is a lot of yelling.
What happened is the leeward boat thought they were INSIDE the 3 boat length zone when they established overlap, which means they would not have been entitled to room at the mark. However, they were WELL outside the 3 boat length zone.
We looked at a lot of footage and noticed a trend that most people think the 3 boat length zone is much bigger than it actually is. So get your go pro, and try this out. Next time you reach the leeward mark, give a signal to the camera where you think the 3 boat length zone begins. Then, plug your video into the geovids software to sync it with your raceQs track, and take a look at how close you were. We found out that we were really off.
So, Back to the protests question. These two boats are battling it out, and the leeward boat hangs on, pushing the issue for too long, and has to gybe away. They lose a ton of time doing this, even though they were in the right. Even if they had won the protests, they still lost tons of other boats not visible in the replay during this maneuver.
Don’t insist on your rights even if you are right. Might be tactically smarter to just take his stern then to have to do a quick maneuver to avoid a collision. Insisted on rights too long. Cost dearly.Remember, a redress hearing usually won’t win you the race in a big mistake like this, even if it wasn’t your fault.
OK, so back to the original question. Is this applicable in a protest hearing?
As this tech spreads, this kind of thing is being capture more and more frequently. Gosh, last week we recorded 420 boats in an 950 boat regatta. You can bet we caught some stuff there!
Using raceQs as evidence is a little complicated. It is certainly better than the “he said, she said”, but there is also some degree of error to this tech, especially in the timing. For example, if your clock is off by a few seconds on your cell phone, your track will be behind. How many satellites were being used? Where did each boat have the GPS positioned? So it’s evidence, but not hard proof.
Video by itself is not good proof because lacking depth of field. Now, when you have a geovid like this one, the GPS track and video can back each other up. That definitely makes a stronger case. Like here. Obviously, overlap, and obviously no wear near the 3 boat length zone. We can see it on both screens. The Burden of proof is always on you to prove tech.So, go download the geovid software, it’s free. Then, record your race on both your camera and your phone, and check out how far you think it is to the 3 boat lengthzone. And if you capture any crazy moments, be sure to send me an email so I can interview you for a future podcast. See you next time!
Carl Hage said on August 12, 2014
Nice video. Earlier this summer we had a similar argument (not protested) with another boat rounding the first mark regarding when the 3 boat length was established. We would like to have GPS tracks from both boats, but were unable to get the other boat track (they did not participate in raceqs that weekend). However, we used our gopro video with GPS to see exact distance to the mark of our boat, at least for our own analysis. One problem is that the marks move with current. We used the video to find the exact second when the mark was abeam and estimated the perpendicular distance from the boat. So we used that to find a high precision location for the mark and could use that with our video subtitles to see distance to mark. I don’t know how raceQs sets mark positions, but it would seem to be a nice feature to set a high precision location using a geovid and sighting in the video.