Full HalSail FAQ List

What are the levels of access for different HalSail users?

HalSail allows five types of access to your data, each with its own security level.

  • Anonymous. This is available to anybody without logging in. At this level you cannot alter anything but you can view existing results. You need to know the address of the results you wish to see so it is best accessed via a link from the club's web site.
  • Race Officer. At this level you can input new results and edit old ones, provided their status is provisional. You cannot alter any results that have been validated, nor can you edit the class or boat registers or the schedule of races. You can download a HAL file as an archive or for manipulation off-line.
  • Boat Administrator. At this level you can do all the above and work with the boat register to input new boats, edit the details of an existing boat, allocate boats to racing classes (fleets) and alter handicaps.
  • Sailing Secretary. At this level you can do all the above and set up new racing classes and schedule races. You can also change the status of existing results from provisional to validated.
  • Club Administrator.. At this level you can do all the above and appoint new people to maintain your data, either as race officers, boat administrators, sailing secretaries, or alternative club administrators. You can also upload data from a HAL file.
next item

How do I add a new user to my HalSail account?

The only person who can use a HalSail account is the person who first set it up, unless they invite others to join. The first user is automatically the account administrator.

To add a new user to an existing account, the account administrator clicks Club and user details in the Admin menu. At the bottom of the resulting page there is a list of users of that account. At first it will only have one entry, the account administrator's.

Click to Add a new user. Give the person's name and email address. In addition set the type of user that person will be from the following list:

  • Race officer - able to enter and edit results, but not alter the boat register, set up classes or schedule races.
  • Boat admin - in addition to the above, able to add new boats and edit the details of existing boats.
  • Sailing secretary - in addition to the above, able to set up classes (fleets) and schedule series and races.
  • Club admin - in addition to the above, able to alter any aspect of your HalSail account.

Once you have added a person's details, they will receive an email inviting them to confirm things and to set their own password.

next item

How does HalSail analyse performance against handicap?

HAL looks at each race run under normal handicapping (that is races that are not level and are not progressive under NHC or ECHO) and performs the following procedure, which is adapted from the RYA's recommendations for the Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme:

  • Calculate the average corrected time across all the boats that finish the race, using the same handicaps as used in the race results.
  • Temporarily eliminate those boats that are poor performers. These are boats whose corrected time is more than a certain percentage (default 5% but adjustable in Setup) slower than the average. All the remaining boats are considered to be good performers.
  • Recalculate the average corrected time using only boats that are good performers. This is the Standard Corrected Time (SCT) for the race.
  • Bring back the poor performers and calculate the handicap actually achieved by each boat, using the SCT as the benchmark.

HAL then aggregates the analyses of each race by doing the following:

  • Throw out all those races with less than a certain number of good performers. The default is 5, but it is adjustable in Setup.
  • Allow the user to step through the races throwing out additional races if necessary. This allows the user to eliminate races from the statistics where something unusual happened, such as a large wind shift.
  • Produce overall statistics, both by individual boat and by type of boat, showing the number of good performances, the average handicap achieved and whether that was faster or slower than the handicap used to work out the results.

HAL does not make any changes to the handicaps in the Boat Register as a result of the analysis. That is left to the user.

If you consider that a race has good statistics that would contribute to the performance database run by the RYA, you can upload it.

next item

How does HalSail analyse the turnout statistics of my boats?

HalSail can produce statistics about the turnout for each boat. From the Result menu click Analyse turnouts to bring up a list of all the series that have any results. Select one or more series. Click Analyse to get HalSail to calculate what proportion of races each boat has taken part in.

Different boats will be in different classes, so not all boats are eligible to take part in all races. HalSail will produce a list of all the boats listing the number of races available to it, the number of races it took part in and its percentage turnout.

Note that a boat does not have to finish a race in order to have "taken part". Any result apart from DNC counts.

next item

How do I upload my data to the Hal archive server?

The Hal archive server is a place on the web where you can send your results from HalSail when they are of historical interest only. People can see them on the archive server, but you cannot change them, nor can you retrieve them from the archive server back into HalSail.

If you want to keep a snapshot of what is in your HalSail account in a form that can be used to restore the account, you need to make a Hal file.

A common use of the archive server is to allow you to spring clean your data at the beginning of each season after archiving your results from the previous season. That lets you remove any boats that are no longer relevant and set up a new schedule of races.

The archive server is accessible from the Admin menu.

  • If you have archived results before, HalSail will automatically connect you to your account on the archive server.
  • If you have not archived results from HalSail before, but have been using the Windows version of Hal, you may already have an archive account (previously known as the Club Results Service). You will be given the option of continuing to use that account if you know its login and password.
  • If you have never used the archive before, or cannot remember the old account login, HalSail will automatically set up a new account for you.
You can store 20 separate sets of results on the archive server. So if you archive results at the end of each year you will have the last 20 years of results available to view.

next item

How do I add my own styling to public results?

HalSail does its best to show results in a way that suits every requirement and every device your users may use. However you might want to alter the styling by, for instance, adding your sponsor's banner, or changing the size of the font, or the background colour.

If you have some web design skills and have access to your own server, you can make quite extensive changes by adding a bespoke style sheet (.css file). You have to host the style sheet on your own server and tell HalSail its address so that it can be linked into the results page.

A typical link to such a page would be

xxx?CSS=https://www.myclub.com/mystyle.css

where the first part is the normal address of your results and the parameter in yellow is the address of your style sheet. Note that you have to use a secure connection to access your style sheet (https: not http:) or modern browsers will refuse to load it. Also they will remove the style sheet from the parameters shown in the address bar after they have loaded it.

Try clicking the button on the right to see the kind of thing you can do with a style sheet. Note that the size and colour of the font has been changed and the name of the club has been put in red.

To get you started there is a sample style sheet for you to download.

next item

Can I display my results on a screen in the club bar?

You can show your latest results on a big screen. To set this up go to the Results menu Public links page. Under General links there is one to allow you to set up the sequence of pages.

Clicking that link takes you to a screen where you can preview the pages to be shown and add any extra ones. Initially it shows the results of the races on the last day for which your account contains any results. So first thing in the morning it would show the previous day's results, both individual races and overall series results. As soon as any new results are put in it shows the current day's results.

There is a button on the preview page to allow you to add extra pages. These might be more results from your account, or they might be pages from your club website. You could show the weather forecast, for instance, or a page showing social events. Note that some popular commercial websites frown on this sort of display and do their best to stop it working. Links to Facebook or Google will result in blank pages when the sequence is launched, for instance.

The aim is to display results in the bar, or some place where competitors and other interested people are likely to congregate. The easiest way to set up the hardware is to use a laptop and duplicate its screen to a large TV or projector. It pays to go to full screen mode in the browser (usually F11) before launching the sequence.

next item

How do I enter details of boats?

To add a new boat click New boat in the Boat menu. This brings up a page where you can enter its details, including sail number, bow number if any, name, helm, crew, etc.

Entering a new boat in this way does not make it a member of any of the racing classes (fleets). In order to take part in any races it will need to be added to one or more classes. There is a list of available classes on the right of the page. Click on any of them to add it to that class and enter its handicap in that class if required.

In order to speed up the addition of similar boats you can make a duplicate. This will be another new boat that is automatically made a member of the same class(es) as the previous boat. You still have to enter sail number, etc.

For more information, you might like to see the video on this subject

next item

How do I use the calendar to schedule races?

The calendar page (Schedule Menu) not only displays the races in your sailing programme, it also lets you edit their properties.

Whether you are logged in or not

Click any race with provisional or validated results to open the results page in a new tab.

If you are logged in as a sailing secretary or higher

Click any race with no results yet, or that is abandoned or cancelled, to edit its properties.

Click an empty space to schedule a new race.

Drag a race that has no results to another day to reschedule it to the same time on the new date.

Drag a race to another day while holding down the 'alt' key to copy it to the new date.

next item

How do I change the email address of a user?

You cannot change the login email address of a user. However you can add a new user with the new email address and then delete the old one.

Log in as a club admin and from the Admin menu choose Users of your account. Add a new user with the new email address and delete the old one.

Note that if the email address you want to change is that of the only club admin user, you will have to set up the new one and then log in with that email before you can delete the old one.

next item

How do I specify the races for which I have results?

When you have new results to enter, go to the Results menu and choose Enter or edit new results. This will lead you to the screen where you tell HalSail which races you have results for.

There is a calendar where you choose the date of the races. This opens to the latest date for which any races were scheduled, so if you are entering results for today it will show all the races scheduled for today. If the races you are seeking are not shown, use the calendar to find them.

Select one or more races. If you have several races for different classes (fleets) you can select them all. HalSail will automatically enter the result for each boat in the correct race.

Once you have selected the races you have the option to show the starting sequence. This will give the sequence of sound signals, flag hoists and drops that are needed to for the start(s). Printing it out beforehand makes a useful aide memoire.

Click the Enter results button to go to the screen where you actually put in the results.

next item

What classes (fleets) do I need to support my racing programme?

The class register defines the fundamental organisation of your club's racing. It is vital that you get their structure right.

Start with the boat register. Every boat that takes part in any races needs to be in the Boat Register. If it is not there its sail number will not be in the list of boats available to the race officer when he is entering results.

Next consider the Class Register. All racing takes place in classes. Each series of races, or each individual race, is for one of the classes in the Class Register. For a boat to take part in a particular race it must be in the Boat Register and be a member of the class in question.

For instance, your club might organise races every Monday evening for the classes shown below.

So Laser 1, Laser 2, etc. must be in the Lasers class. Fireball, Scorpion, etc. must be in the Dinghy H'cap class. And so on. On Wednesday evenings the Lasers might not have their own start but might sail with the other non-asymmetric dinghies. So racing should be organised as shown below. Note that the Lasers and the boats that were in the Dinghy H'cap class for Monday evenings also need to be in the Non-Asym class so that they can take part on Wednesdays.

Sometimes the club may organise races for all the boats on its Boat Register, so it needs a class for that. Below you see that all the boats are members of the All-In H'cap class.

So all boats are members of at least two classes: their own class and the All-In H'cap class. The Lasers and the non-asymmetric dinghies are members of three classes because they sometimes sail together in the Non-Asym class and sometimes sail separately in the Lasers and Dinghy H'cap classes.

This is a typical structure for club racing. You should note the following important points:

  • Races are set in series. Each series is for one class. Note that a series can have any number of races in it up to 42. It could have just one race.
  • To take part in a race a boat must be in the Boat Register and be a member of the class for which the series is organised.
  • Each boat may be a member of several classes overall, so that the fleet can be divided in different ways on different occasions.
  • On any one occasion the races should be for classes that divide up the boats unambiguously. In other words each boat should be a member of one, and only one, class that is racing on that occasion.

For more information, you might like to see the video on this subject

next item

How is a boat's configuration described?

A boat's configuration has six components:

  • Category - dinghy, cruiser, keelboat or multihull
  • Rig - una, sloop, yawl or ketch
  • Keel - none, cb (centreboard), fin, drop, twin or triple
  • Engine - none (or outboard), IBF (inboard with folding propeller), IB2 (inboard with fixed 2 blade prop) or IB3 (inboard with fixed 3 blade prop)
  • Spinnaker - none, conventional or asymmetric
  • Persons - the total number of people in the crew

If you are uploading boats from a spreadsheet, these components can be included in individual columns headed Category, Rig, Keel, Engine, Spinnaker and Persons.

next item

How much does HalSail cost?

HalSail is not free. The cost of developing the app and running our server has to be recouped somehow.

The cost of using HalSail is £80.00 (pounds sterling) per year, or for those clubs in the European Union €95.00, or for those clubs in the US $100.00.

There is a free introductory period of 45 days, during which you can use the full capabilities of the app, except that you cannot download a backup file of your data or upload to the archive service. You will be limited to a maximum of 200 individual results during the introductory period.

At the end of your free introductory period you will be asked to pay a subscription. You can pay online with a credit or debit card via Stripe, our online payment partner, or we can send you an invoice to pay by bank transfer or cheque.

If you pay for a subscription, your data will be kept and will be available as long as you maintain your payments. If you subsequently let your subscription lapse, your data will be kept for 180 days from the date of lapse.

If you do not pay for a subscription at the end of your free introductory period, your account will be removed and your data deleted after 30 days.

next item

How does HalSail protect my privacy and comply with the General Data Protection Regulation?

HalSail takes the protection of your data very seriously. It stores its data in the UK and is careful to comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulations. To that end it only collects the minimum amount of information needed to compute and display your sailing results.

The EU has agreed that the UK General Data Protection Regulations are adequate to meet their General Data Protection Regulations. Details of the agreement are on the EU website and on the UK Information Commissioner's website .

The personal data HalSail can collect and store is:

  • The name and email address of each registered user. Registered users are those people who can log into an account on HalSail. HalSail does not collect personal data when anybody looks at results without logging in.
  • The name of the owner, helm and crew of each boat, if that information has been entered by a registered user. Note that none of these is essential to compute results, but storing and displaying them makes the results more meaningful.
  • The email address and telephone number through which a boat can be contacted, if that information has been entered by a registered user. This is not displayed to anybody who browses HalSail without logging in, but it is available to registered users for boats in their own account.

In each case, HalSail provides the mechanism by which the personal data is collected, processed, stored and displayed. HalSail does not decide whose data is stored. That is up to the registered users of HalSail.

HalSail stores your data on computers in the UK. It does not pass your data to third parties, except by displaying results containing the names of owners, helms and crews of boats.

As a user of HalSail you have the following rights:

  • The right to see any data about yourself.
  • The right to correct anything that is wrong.
  • The right to have your data deleted.

To exercise any of the above rights, in the first instance you should contact the registered user who put your data into HalSail.

If you do not know who put your data into HalSail, you can apply to HalSail for that information by sending a message through our enquiry form.

next item

How do I set the default discards and scoring for new series?

When you set up a new series it comes with default values for the following:

  • the scoring system (LP, BP, etc) and the embargo policy for results
  • how many points each category of non-finisher (OCS, DSQ, RET, etc.) gets, relative to the number of entries, or the number of competitors in the race, etc.
  • switches that control which fields to display on results pages (boat name, helm, crew, etc.)
  • the table of discards showing how many races should count in the series total for each number of races sailed.

You can set default values for each of these things from the Schedule Menu.

next item

How do I set up the table of discards (excluded races) for a series?

Racing Rules of Sailing states in Appendix A that a boat's worst race score may be excluded (discarded) from her series score when computing the overall results of a series. In fact, the notice of race or sailing instructions often state that more than one race may be excluded in longer series.

This is implemented in HalSail by means of a table of races sailed versus races to count, which is part of the setup page for each series and is accessed under the Schedule menu. First find the series you are looking for and go to its edit page.

Set up the table of discards as required. For instance if the SIs state that 1 race may be excluded if at least 3 are sailed and 2 may be excluded if 5 or more are sailed in a 6 race series, you would set up the table as follows:

Races sailed Races to count Explanation
1 1 No discard
2 2 No discard
3 2 1 discard
4 3 1 discard
5 3 2 discards
6 4 2 discards

Racing Rules of Sailing Appendix A goes on to explain how the particular race scores to be excluded are chosen. These rules are implemented in HalSail so that the overall series score is computed automatically from the race scores.

next item

How does HalSail cope with boats that do not compete in a race (DNC)?

Not yet written
next item

How does HalSail handle the ECHO handicap system?

ECHO is a scheme of progressive handicapping designed in Ireland. It aims to improve the fairness of handicaps by gradually altering them based on each boat's performance. Details are available from Irish Sailing.

HalSail implements this by calculating a new handicap for each boat after every race in a series for any class whose handicap type is ECHO. The new handicap is used for the next race in the series, whereupon another new handicap is calculated for the race after that, and so on. Note that to generate new handicaps there must be at least three finishers. If a race has only one or two finishers the handicaps will remain unaltered for the next race.

ECHO allows users to vary the severity of the handicap alterations between races. There is a parameter known as the ECHO Blend which you can set when editing the details of an ECHO series. The blend is the ratio of the handicap actually achieved in a race to the starting handicap to use when calculating the handicap to use for the next race. So if the ECHO Blend is zero, none of the achieved handicap will be used and so there will be no handicap changes during the series. If the ECHO BLend is 1.0, all the change will be used in each race, which would be very severe. Typical values for the blend are between 0.1 and 0.4, with 0.3 (which is the same a that used in NHC) being the most common.

The detailed maths are given in another FAQ.

The handicaps that are calculated during an ECHO series are not entered into the Boat Register like other handicaps, they are recalculated every time the results are needed and then discarded. Any handicaps in the Boat Register valid after the start of the first race in the series are ignored. The output of the result of any race in the series shows the handicap used in that race and the handicap to be used in the next race.

Storing handicaps at the end of a series

As stated above, the handicaps that are applied to each race in a series are not stored in the Boat Register. They are calculated each time they are needed and then discarded. However you may want to carry over the handicaps from the end of one series to start the next series. You do this from the analyse results page. Go to Results / Analyse handicaps and select the series in question. At the bottom of the column giving the analysis of each race there is a button labeled Save handicaps. Click this link to store the handicaps calculated for each boat at the end of that race permanently in the Boat register. You will be asked when you want the realigned handicaps to start. Choose a time just before the start of the first race of the next series.

Taking a snapshot of ECHO handicaps

As well as storing handicaps at the end of a series for use in the next one, you may want to take a snapshot of the current handicaps to use in another racing class. Perhaps you want to run a championship with non-progressive handicaps, taken from the current state of an ECHO series. You can do that by setting up a plain TCF racing class with the boats that will be taking part in the championship, then using the above method to save the handicaps after any race in an ECHO series, putting them into the boat register for your new class not the ECHO class.

next item

What is the mathematical explanation of ECHO?

ECHO is a progressive handicap scheme, in the sense that it adjusts the handicap given to each boat based on the results of previous races. A boat that does well will be penalised in subsequent races and a boat that does badly will be helped. If crews perform consistently and the conditions are the same, all the boats’ results converge after a number of races.

It relies on an algorithm provided by Irish Sailing. This explanation refers to the 2017 version and has been written by Peter Hopford of HAL's Race Results for the benefit of any user of the scheme.

The maths of each race begins as normal. You have:
H1   The handicap given to a boat before the start of a race. This is used to calculate its corrected time and hence its place.
Te   The elapsed time of a boat in a race (rounded to the nearest second).
Tc   The corrected time of a boat (rounded to the nearest second).
  • Tc = TeH1
As in other handicap systems, the positions in a race are given in order of corrected times.
But then the interesting part starts. First we work out:
Ha   Handicap achieved by a boat in a race. Also known as the ECHO Index.
  • Ha = ΣH1 / Te Σ(1/Te)
where Σ indicates the sum over all the boats finishing the race.
If all boats had been given this handicap at the start they would have tied for equal first place.
Then we combine the achieved handicap with the starting handicap to get the handicap to be used for the next race.
α   The blend (proportion) of the existing handicap H1 and the achieved handicap Ha to be combined into the handicap for the next race. The blend is set up for each series at the judgement of the race committee. For the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 it was set to 0.6. For the O leary Winter League it was 0.25
The finishing handicap from this race that will be used for the next race by boats that finish this race.
H2 = (1-α)H1 + αHa
The handicap that will be used for the next race by boats that did not take part in this race or did not finish is unaltered.
H2 = H1
And so we move to the next race in the series and start the process again.
At the end of the series we get a set of finishing handicaps from the last race that can be used to start the next series.
next item

Can I send emails with links to the latest results?

Anybody who is logged in can send emails with links to the results of a series. If you are logged in as a boat administrator, or higher, you do this from the Results Menu. If you are logged in as a race officer you do it from the Output menu. You choose the race whose results you wish to email, then choose the recipients.

Recipients are taken from email addresses recorded in the Boat Register. You can send emails to:

  • all the boats in the racing class
  • all the boats that have at least one result in the series
  • or only those boats that are competitors in the particular race chosen.

In addition you can set up a list of supporters who will receive all result emails.

next item

How do I embargo public access to the results of a race?

Normally anybody can see results you put into HalSail as soon as you enter them, provided they have the correct public link. So if you have a link on your club web site anybody who clicks it will see the results, even if you are still in the process of entering them. They might see that a particular boat has won a race, for instance, when in fact there are other boats with slower handicaps that you have not entered yet and that might win.

If this is a problem, you can embargo results until you are ready to release them. The available embargo periods are

  • No embargo (default case)
  • Embargo until 5 minutes after you last entered a result for that race. So provided you do not leave more than 5 minutes between entering results, they will remain embargoed until 5 minutes after you enter the last one.
  • Embargo until one hour after you last entered a result for that race.
  • Embargo until midnight on the day of the race.
  • Always embargoed. This is useful if you do not want the public ever to see results of a particular race, perhaps because you only want them to see tandem results derived from that race.

The embargo only applies to people viewing the results without logging in.

You set the embargo policy at the series level. So when you make a new series, or edit an existing series, you have the option to set the embargo policy.

If a race in a series is embargoed, the public still have access to the results of earlier races in that series, if any. Public results for that series will look as though the embargoed race and any subsequent races have not yet been sailed.

next item

How can I embellish my links to personalise the user experience?

The URLs for links to results take the form www.halsail.com/result/public/12345, where the number denotes the particular series.

You can add the following types of embellishment to these URLs to derive links that fit your requirements.

  • HideDropDowns tells the page to open without the usual drop-down lists, so that the user cannot move to other classes or other series.
  • HideClubName tells the page to omit the heading showing the name of the club. This is useful if the URL is embedded in another page that already gives the name of the club.
  • HideOverall tells the page to omit the overall results. This is useful if the series is really just a succession of individual races, not a true series.
  • HideRankNoFinishes (or HRNF) tells the page to omit a boat's rank number in the overall series results if it has no finishes, in other words if it retired or had some other non-finishing result in each race.
  • Selector=X (or Flag=X) applies if you are using boat selectors and the 'Show selectors' switch is set for the series. The embellishment tells the page to open with only the boats with selector X showing.
  • CSS=https://www.myclubsite.com/mystyle.css to add your own bespoke style sheet. URL must be the web address of a css file hosted on your own secure server.

You add a '?' mark to the URL before the first embellishment and separate embellishments with '&' signs.

Thus the URL www.halsail.com/result/public/12345?HideClubName&Selector=H is the address for the results of a series, hiding the name of the club and showing only boats with the selector H.

Note that if you replace 'public' with 'helm' as in www.halsail.com/result/helm/12345 you will get a page scoring the series by helm rather than boat.

next item

How can people enter one of my events?

As outlined in another FAQ , it is often convenient to group a set of races into an event. Typical events are regattas or open meetings containing series for more than one racing class.

If your event is open to outsiders, you want a method for people to submit a request to enter the event. HalSail provides a page that is accessible to anybody (that is a page that does not need a login) that facilitates entering an event. You can get the link to the entry page for an event from the Public Links page under the Results menu which you can add to your publicity for the event, by putting it on your own web site and in emails and social media posts about the event.

The entry page allows people to fill in their details and submit an application for entry. If the application is for a boat that is already in the Boat Register, there is a convenient way to fill in the details automatically. The entry is stored awaiting somebody with at least sailing secretary credentials to log into HalSail and examine the applications.

Each application can either be accepted, or it can be modified, or rejected. Part of the acceptance process might be ensuring that the applicant has paid the entry fee. While HalSail does not provide such facilities itself, you can include a link in your publicity to a payment website such as Paypal or WebCollect.

Once you are happy with the application and any fee has been paid, you accept it and the boat is added automatically to the appropriate racing class ready to participate in the event. You can send an automatic email when an application is accepted.

It is, of course, a fundamental principle of HalSail that all boats that are in a racing class are eligible to take part in any race in any series for that class. So if you want everybody to enter specifically for your event, including boats that are already in your boat register, you need to set it up for empty racing classes.

next item

How do I enter new results?

Once you have chosen the races for which you have results, you will be asked for the name of the race officer, the minimum and maximum wind speeds and wind direction. These will shown on all the result screens and printouts.

You will see a list of all the boats that were eiligble to take part in the race(s). To enter a result you find the boat concerned either by scrolling down to it, or by entering its sail number, or name, or other detail into the search box. Once you have found the boat, click the Enter result button alongside it.

A popup box appears with the details of the boat, for confirmation that you have the correct one. If the boat is participating in a level (non-handicap) race you enter its finish place, which defaults to the next one. In other words if 3 boats have already finished in that race, the finish place box will default to 4. If the boat is participating in a handicap race, you enter its finish time to the nearest second .

You also have the opportunity to enter the status of the boat, normally OK but could be any of the status codes defined in Racing Rules of Sailing such as OCS, DNF, etc.

Finally, if the boat was not being sailed by its regular helm and crew you can enter the names of guest helm and guest crew that were sailing the boat in that particular race.

Save the information in the popup box and go on to the next boat.

Note that you can also input results using a phone or tablet in real time as boats cross the finish line.

For more information, you might like to see the video on this subject

next item

What are 'events' and how can I use them?

A HalSail event is a set of one or more series. Typically you would use it to group together the series for a championship, regatta or open meeting in a way that makes it easier for the public to find them.

To set up an event, go to the Schedule menu, New event.

Using an event you can make the following pages available. Each page is accessible without logging in, so you can put a link to it on your own web site.

  • A title page for the event with links to the results and the pages below.
  • A page of entries. This consists of a list of all the boats entered in one of the series in the event, in other words all the boats in the racing classes for those series.
  • A page showing the races that make up the event, in other words a list of all the races in start-time order.
  • A link to an event web site, if there is one. This could be a dedicated web site for the event, or a section of your own site. This is where you would display the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions, details of the social programme, weather forecast, and so on.

Note that grouping series into an event does not affect how you manage them in HalSail. Each series still consists of one or more races for a particular class. Somebody logged into HalSail needs to populate the Boat Register and set up the classes and series in the normal way.

Using an event allows you to provide the information your competitors need in a publicly accessible way. There is also a way for people to apply to enter an event using a special page on the HalSail web site .

next item

What happens if the normal helm or crew are absent and somebody else is in the boat?

You can add guest helms and guest crews to results. You do this as you enter the result itself, by entering their names in the Guest Helm and/or Guest Crew boxes.

The guest names will appear in the result for that boat in that race, in place of the normal helm and crew names which are derived from the Boat Register.

Note that the normal names from the Boat Register will always appear in the overall results of the series. The guest names only appear in the results of individual races unless all the races have the same guest names, or specifically ask for a particular guest name to appear in the overall results.

Adding guest helms or crews does not alter the way a series is scored. By default series are scored by boat, in other words the performance of each boat in the various races in the series is used to calculate the overall series scores. However you may wish to see how each helm has done, whatever boat they happened to sail. You can do this using score by helm.

next item

How do I protect my data with a Hal file?

HalSail protects your data with regular backups, so that if anything happens at the server it can be restored. The most you should lose if that happens is anything you entered during the last day or so.

However that does not protect you from errors at your end. What happens if somebody erroneously deletes a boat from your account, together with all its results? HalSail gives you lots of warnings before you can do that, but sometimes such things happen.

The solution is to make regular backups of your own, using the 'Save to Hal file' item in the Admin menu. You download the Hal file and store it somewhere safe locally. If you ever need to restore the data in your account, you use the 'Load data from Hal file' option in the Admin menu.

You can also open a Hal file with the PC version of Hal, Hal's Race Results, should you want to do some off-line manipulation.

Note: protecting your data by saving it to a Hal file is not the same thing as sending your data How do I protect my data with a Hal file? to the archive server.

next item

What types of handicap does HalSail support?

HalSail supports any handicap scheme that uses a Time Correction Coefficient (TCC) (sometimes called a Time Correction Factor) to convert elapsed times into corrected times. Such schemes are often known as time-on-time handicapping. The only difference between them is the degree of precision in the numbers and way they are displayed.

In the majority of cases (e.g. IRC and ORC) the handicap is displayed as a number given to 3 decimal places (e.g. 0.965). In that case the faster the boat the higher the number.

In some cases the handicap is given as a reciprocal, so that the faster the boat the lower the number. For instance in the RYA's Portsmouth Yardstick scheme and in its YTC scheme the handicap is given as 1000/TCC, so that a boat with a number of 1050 has a TCC of 0.952

In other cases, for instance in CYCA, the handicap is given as the number of minutes allowed per hour sailed.

The following handicap schemes are commonly used in HalSail. The ones in red are progressive schemes where the handicap of each boat is modified after each race in a series, depending on its performance.

Level
Fleet racing
IHS
Island Handicap System from the Channel Islands
NHC 
National Handicap scheme for Cruisers from the UK's Royal Yachting Association
PHRF 
PY
Portsmouth Yardstick from the UK's Royal Yachting Association.
YTC 
YTC from the Royal Yachting Association.

In addition there is a generic scheme:

TCF
Plain time correction factor given to 4 decimal places

Note that you can give a local name to any of the above schemes when you apply it to a particular racing class (fleet). You might have a class that sails under PY numbers that you have modified to suit your own conditions and call the scheme "Club Handicaps", for instance.

next item

How do I specify the handicap to be used by each boat?

A different handicap is allocated in HalSail to each boat in each class (fleet) in which it takes part. So a boat may have different handicaps in different classes. Indeed the different classes may have different types of handicap, one might use NHC and another IRC, for instance. Some classes may race level without handicaps.

To allocate a handicap to a boat in a class find the boat using the Boat menu. Bring up the edit page for the boat and click against the class whose handicap you wish to set. You edit the popup form to set a handicap.

Handicaps can vary with time. You can set more than one handicap per boat in each class, different handicaps to start at different times. The earliest handicap is marked as from the beginning, but you can add a new handicap to start at a particular time on a particular date.

The handicap that will be used in a particular race depends on the dates set. If a series is marked in the schedule as handicaps can vary then the handicap used will be that valid at the start of the race. If the series is not marked as handicaps can vary the handicap used will be that valid at the start of the first race in the series.

next item

How can I import boats into HalSail from a spreadsheet or csv file?

It is sometimes convenient to import boats from a spreadsheet or csv file, rather than using the normal input screens.

  • You will find Load boats from spreadsheet or csv file in the Boats menu.
  • Navigate to the Excel (.xls or .xlsx or .csv) file.
  • Click Import.
  • HalSail will read the boats details row by row until it comes to a row with no sail number, when it will stop.
  • HalSail will display a preview of the boats in the spreadsheet. If there are any duplicate sail numbers with boats already in the register you will be offered the choice for each duplicated boat:
    • Ignore the duplicate and leave the boat in the reigster unaltered (default)
    • Update the details of the boat in the register with those taken from the spreadsheet
    • Add a new boat with the duplicate sail number.
  • When you are satisfied with the preview, all the boats will be entered into the Boat Register.

There are some pre-conditions you have to fulfill for the above procedure to work.

  • The spreadsheet must contain headers in row 1, 2 or 3 specifying what is in each column. You can input any combination of
    • sail number
    • bow number
    • selectors
    • boat name
    • boat type
    • boat owner
    • helm
    • crew
    • club the owner represents
    • phone
    • email
    • notes
    • class
    • handicap
    • handicaplow *
    • handicaphigh *
  • * handicaplow and handicaphigh are only used for ORC handicaps where there is a separate value for low and high wind strengths.
  • Only sail number is obligatory.
  • Handicaps must be specified in a format appropriate for the type of handicap used for the class, for instance 950 for a RYA_PY class, or 0.950 for an IRC class.
  • The first row with no entry in the sail number column indicates the end of the data.
  • The columns can be in any order, but must be within the first 26 columns (A to Z) of the spreadsheet.
  • If you specify a class the boat will be put into it. If you do not specify a class the boat will be put into the Boat Register but will not have any class associated with them. In that case handicap data will be ignored.

If you wish, you can download a sample Excel file to get the correct format.

next item

Which apps does HalSail integrate with?

HalSail has full integrations with the following apps.

  • SailEvent for collecting entries and tallying afloat and ashore.
  • PYOnline for uploading data to the RYA's database of Portsmouth Yardstick results.
  • Irish Sailing Live for uploading to the depository of results for Irish clubs.

In addition HalSail can import data in the form of Excel or csv files. So you can import boats from any entry system that produces lists of boats in one of those formats. You can also import a list of racing classes, or a list races for the schedule. If you have a system that takes results in the form of sail numbers and finish times, or finish places, you can import those too.

next item

Does HalSail automatically get the correct IRC rating for a boat?

Handicaps from the International Rating Certificate organisation (IRC) are downloaded automatically. You can see a complete list here.

Use the Standard handicaps link in the Boats menu to set the handicap of any boat in an IRC racing class to its latest value.

Note that you can override the standard handicap and set it to a different value if you wish.

next item

Can I upload my results from HalSail to the Irish Sailing Live website?

Among its integrations, HalSail can upload results to the Irish Sailing Live website.

This integration is only open to HalSail accounts registered to Irish clubs. If your account is an Irish one, there will be an extra button in the Results menu allowing you to choose a series to upload. The button has the Irish Sailing logo logo

next item

What features have been added to HalSail recently?

HalSail is constantly updated to bring in more features and to keep it running smoothly. The latest innovations are:

  • Full compliance with Racing Rules of Sailing 2021 - 2024 from World Sailing.
  • Display all your latest results in a sequence on a big screen. All races on the last day of racing shown for 20 seconds each in a continuous sequence. If there are overall results for each series these are shown too. Once the sequence is finished the display reverts to the start and repeats ad infinitum.
  • Set an embargo policy for each series so that the public cannot see results immediately after they have been entered. This can be set to no embargo (the default), 5 minutes after the last result was input, 1 hour after the last result was input, midnight on the day the last result was input, or embargoed for ever so that they are invisible to the public.
  • Staggered starts for races where boats start at intervals. Note, this is not the same as pursuit races where boats start at times adjusted according to their handicaps.
  • Series can be scored by helm, rather than by boat. Useful if people change boats during a series.
  • Integration with SailEvent for online entry and app-based tallying afloat and ashore.
  • High-points scoring as an option for overall series results. Unlike the normal low-points scoring, the boat with the most points wins. Points are allocated as follows:
    • One point for competing (coming to the starting area)
    • One point for finishing,
    • One point for each boat beaten.
  • IRC ratings imported automatically from RORC and applied automatically as the default handicap in IRC racing classes.
  • Upload results to the RYA's Portsmouth Yardstick online database all in one go. Previously this could only be done one race at a time.
  • Integration with Irish Sailing Live database of results for Irish clubs.

For a more detailed explanation of the evolution of HalSail see the detailed HalSail history.

next item

Can I import my data from Hals Race Results?

If you have used the off-line version of Hal (Hals Race Results) you can get started in HalSail by loading your data from a Hal file.

Open Hals Race Results and use the file menu to make an archive file. Store it somewhere on your computer.

Log into HalSail and open the Admin menu. Click the 'Load from Hal file' item.

Loading from a Hal file destroys everything that is already in your HalSail account, so if you have data in HalSail you will be asked whether you want to save it. You will then be asked to confirm your action by emailing you a code that you have to enter.

Navigate to the archive file you made with Hals Race Results and load it.

next item

How do I log into HalSail?

Once you have set up an account and verified it by responding to the email we send you, you can log into your account by using the Login button at the top right of the screen.

You will be asked for the email address you registered with us and the password you supplied.

next item

How do I specify a logo to put on my results printouts?

You can use an image hosted on your own web site as a logo

next item

What do I do if I forget my HalSail password?

If you forget your password, click the Forgotten password link on the home page so that HalSail can send you a password-reset email.

next item

What are the main features of HalSail?

HalSail can handle club racing, regattas and championships.

HalSail produces results for individual races and series, using the Low Points scoring scheme from the Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024, with discards as desired. It can also use the old Bonus Point system from earlier editions of RRS and a variation of the Low Points scheme where the winner gets 0.75 points rather than 1. It also has a high points system which gives one point for each of the boats beaten in a race. Details are in this FAQ.

HalSail can be used for handicap races as well as non-handicap (level rating) races. See the different types of handicap.

HalSail can produce multiple results from the same data by using tandem series. These can show how a series would have turned out under a different set of handicaps, or how a subset of the races would score as a series, or what would happen if you allowed a different number of discards.

HalSail can be used with any device that has a browser, including phones and tablets as well as desktop computers and laptops, both Windows and Macs.

HalSail maintains full compatibility with Hal's Race Results, the Windows version of HAL. You can transfer data from Hal's Race Results to HalSail and vice versa by uploading or downloading a HAL file.

Security of your data

HalSail keeps your results in a database on its server. This is regularly backed up.

In addition you can download a file of your data to act as your personal archive. You can edit this file in Hal's Race Results if you wish and you can upload the file back to HalSail at any time.

HalSail abides by the General Data Protection Regulations and enables you to fulfill your obligations under the same. The FAQ on Data Protection provides more details.

next item

How should I prepare to do the results of a major event?

There are a number of things to consider when planning to use HalSail for a major event.

What equipment is needed?

Luckily you do not need much beyond a PC, Mac, or laptop and an internet connection. You need to decide where you are going to enter the results - on the committee boat or ashore? If you are calculating the results ashore, remotely from the race officer’s team, you need a reliable communication link. Mobile phone is best as it does not clog up the VHF channels.

Despite the fact that most people will see the results online, either on their own devices or on a display in the club, you will need to print results for the official notice board and to give to officials. So you will need a printer. It is good to use paper of different colours for different types of printout. For instance: provisional results on pink paper, validated results on pale green paper and other notices, such as boat lists, on white paper.

Initial Setup

Once the Notice of Race has been published, you can start setting up HalSail. The first thing to do is set up the Class Register and the Race Schedule. Think whether any tandem series are needed, for instance to pick out a mini-series within the overall results. Pay particular attention to the table of discards and to the scoring arrangements for non-finishers. Do the Sailing Instructions specify that boats scoring DSQ get more points than those that retire (RET or DNF), for instance?

Set up the series switches on the Race Schedule that control what will be shown on printouts and web pages. Cruisers usually like to see the boat name and owner, whereas dinghies often do not have names and the helm is the most important identifier. Ensure that non-validated results will be shown as provisional (set the Mark Provisional switch).

If you are going to provide the race team with start-sequence printouts, make sure the class flag is in the Class Register and the start sequence is correct in the Race Schedule.

As the Entries come in

Populate the Boat Register as the entries arrive. It is important to get the full names, first and last, of all competitors, including the crew. It is embarrassing if nobody knows the first name of a prize winner. Proper design of the Entry Form will help here. The same goes for the name of the club each boat comes from. If you want HalSail to send emails to competitors giving results, make sure the email field in the Boat Register is filled in. Multiple emails can be sent for each boat by separating the email addresses with semi-colons.

If this is a handicap event, make sure you get the right type for each boat and the correct handicap. If you are using bow numbers, enter these as you go. Use the same numbers for things like dinghy parking slots and social tickets.

Do you need any selectors? For instance, do you need to identify boats that have female helms, or boats that are eligible for particular prizes?

If accepting entries before people arrive, it is useful to provide a link on the event web site to the HalSail entry list, which is available from the Results / Public links menu item. Seeing boats already entered encourages other people to join in.

On Registration Day

This is the time to double check all the information you have pre-entered in HalSail. Print out the entry list and get each competitor to check his or her entry while they are registering. This is the time to catch misspelled names or changes of crew.

Make sure you have correctly identified which boats are eligible for special prizes, such as cadets or older boats.

On the first morning

The event is about to start and this is the last opportunity to iron out any problems without too much embarrassment.

Check the entry list and give copies to the race team. Make round sheets for the race team to tick off boats in the starting area and to use as the race progresses. Make a print out of the flag and sound signals.

Double check the arrangements for entering the results. If using a mobile phone, make sure its battery is charged and there is plenty of data and call time available.

After each Race

Your aim should be to get the results into circulation as soon as possible, so that competitors can see how they stand and any mistakes get picked up quickly.

Note the time the race started (not necessarily the scheduled time) and alter the start time in HalSail if necessary. Note the time of the first and last boats to finish. The time of the last boat often controls when protest time ends.

Calculate the results and check them carefully. Print both single-race results and the overall series results for each class on pink paper. Post them on the notice board. Once protest time ends and the race officer and protest committee, or jury, are happy, mark the race as validated and reprint the results on pale green paper.

Final Results and Prize Giving

After the last race there is always a rush to get any protests dealt with, the results completed and the prize-giving underway. Liaise with the race officer and protest panel, or jury, to find out whether any results need amendment.

Once you have sign-off of the results, print a final set for use at the prize-giving. If you are using tandem series to calculate secondary results, print them as well. Go over the list of prizes and check them against the results.

Make sure final results are on all notice boards. Send emails to interested journalists, together with the regatta description, which somebody will, of course, have prepared.

next item

Where should I enter the results for a major event?

You need to make an early decision on the basic arrangement for producing results. There are four options.

Option 1 - Enter results on the committee boat using a tablet or phone as each boat crosses the finish line.

This is the quickest method, but it relies on a good team and a person dedicated to entering the data. This method should never he used alone. Results should always be written down on paper in the old-fashioned way, just in case anything goes wrong. Indeed most major events use a tape recorder to capture the results and two independent teams to write them down, in addition to anybody entering results directly on a phone or tablet.

This method is unlikely to be viable in a large regatta with boats that need to be timed across the line in quick order. It is not possible to find the correct boat and click its sail number when a whole group of boats crosses the line nearly simultaneously. On the other hand, if the boats are racing level so that you only need to get them in order, not time them, this method is much easier. If you get a little behind in entering results, it is easy to catch up when there is a lull.

You should consider applying an embargo policy when using this method, or misleading results will be on the web when only the first few boats have crossed the line. You can set the embargo by editing the series from the Schedule menu.

Option 2 – Score on the committee boat after each race. The race officer’s team does the results on the committee boat, or in the starting hut if they are shore-based. This is an efficient option if the race officer is happy to dedicate at least one member of his team to it immediately after the finish of each race. Bear in mind, though, that if there are several races being run back-to-back this may be a busy time for the team. Also you have to be sure that there is a suitable place to do it in comfort and that you have a laptop with sufficient battery endurance.

Option 3 – Score in the club after each race. Results can be sent ashore by radio, telephone or RIB. This option can be as fast as Option 2 if there is somebody standing by to process the results as soon as they arrive.

You need reliable communications to the shore, which is usually best by mobile phone. VHF is an alternative, but ties up valuable radio time and clogs the air waves.

Make sure the person receiving the results over the phone or radio has a pre-printed form with line numbers on it. Read the results in blocks of ten boats and confirm that sender and receiver are both on the same line number.

An alternative way to get results ashore, which works remarkably well, is to photograph the hand-written results with a phone and sent the resulting file as an attachment to an email.

The person ashore needs to print provisional results and get them on to notice boards as soon as possible. It is useful to get them on the web immediately, marked provisional, so that competitors’ friends and family can see them.

Option 4 – Score in the club at the end of each day. This is the simplest option, but also the slowest. Competitors will not see results until well after they have come ashore, by which time many may have gone home. You are likely to get late queries, very likely the next morning when people are keen to get back out on the water and need to know how they stand in the rankings.

next item

What do I do if the boat whose result I need to enter is not on the list?

If you are entering the results of a race, you pick each boat from a list of boats that are in the class(es) taking part. That list is contained in the Boat Register and boats can be added or their details edited by using the options contained in the Boat menu.

However if you are logged in with only race officer's priviledges, you do not have access to the Boats menu. What you can do, if your club administrator allows it, is to add a boat provisionally so that you can record its result. The next time anybody with boat administration priviledges logs in, they will be asked to review any boats that are provisional.

To use that feature, the club administrator must enable it the Club and user details page under the Admin menu. It is disabled by default.

If the feature is enabled, every time anybody starts to enter results, the list of boats will contain all the boats currently in the classes in question and there will be a button at the bottom of the list marked Add a boat. Clicking that starts a wizard to do the following:

  • Elicit the sail number and, if there are multiple classes taking part in the event, which class the boat is in.
  • Search the Boat Register to see whether there are any boats with that sail number. If there are, it could be that one of them is the correct boat but it is not marked as being a member of the class that is racing. If that is the case, the boat will be added to the class provisionally.
  • If the boat is not in the Boat Register, gather all its details and add it to the register and to the correct class provisionally.
  • If the class is a handicap one, elicit the handicap to be allocated to the boat.

The race officer can now enter a result for the boat.

As soon as anybody logs into the club's account with Boat Admin priviledges or higher, they will be asked to review all entries in the Boat Register that are provisional.

next item

How does HalSail handle the National Handicap scheme for Cruisers (NHC)?

NHC is a scheme of progressive handicapping designed by the UK's Royal Yachting Association. It aims to improve the fairness of handicaps by gradually altering them based on each boat's performance. Details are available from the RYA.

HalSail implements this by calculating a new handicap for each boat after every race in a series for any class whose handicap type is NHC. The new handicap is used for the next race in the series, whereupon another new handicap is calculated for the race after that, and so on. Note that to generate new handicaps there must be at least three finishers. If a race has only one or two finishers the handicaps will remain unaltered for the next race.

The handicaps that are calculated during a NHC series are not entered into the Boat Register like other handicaps, they are recalculated every time the results are displayed and then discarded. Any handicaps in the Boat Register valid after the start of the first race in the series are ignored. The output of the result of any race in the series shows the handicap used in that race and the handicap to be used in the next race.

The RYA has issued a set of base numbers for the scheme that all boats should start on for their first series. These numbers are incorporated into HalSail so that when you enter a type in the Boat Register you are prompted to use the correct handicap for any NHC class.

Note that the base number should be the first handicap at the top of the list when you click the class membership entry in the Boat Register. It should be the entry that is set to start at the beginning. HalSail always assumes that the first entry in the handicap list is the base number you want to use.

What are realigned handicaps?

In any progressive handicap scheme there is a danger that the handicaps will over time drift away from the base numbers, not just for individual boats but for a whole fleet. NHC incorporates a method of realigning handicaps so that the average for the fleet remains constant even though individual boats may move away from their base numbers by a considerable amount. If this were not done new boats could not be brought in on their base numbers in a fair way.

Realignment is done after each race, so that the average of the handicaps for the next race is the same as the average of the base numbers. Note that all boats are realigned that have taken part in any race in the series, whether they took part in that particular race or not.

The realignment process can lead to some strange consequences. You might expect that roughly the same number of boats would have their handicap increased after a race as have it decreased. However that is not always so. If the finishers in a race are on average above their base handicaps, because there are other boats that have taken part in the series but are not finishers that are below theirs, then realignment will bring all the finishers down a bit. It can happen that realignment brings even the winner down by more than the increase in handicap from that race, so no boats increase their handicaps. They all decrease it, or stay the same if they are non-finishers.

Storing handicaps at the end of a series

As stated above, the handicaps that are applied to each race in a series are not stored in the Boat Register. They are calculated each time they are needed and then discarded. However you may want to carry over the handicaps from the end of one series to start the next series. You do this from the analyse results page. Go to Results / Analyse handicaps and select the series in question. At the bottom of the column giving the analysis of each race there is a button labeled Save handicaps. Click this link to store the handicaps calculated for each boat at the end of that race permanently in the Boat register. You will be asked when you want the realigned handicaps to start. Choose a time just before the start of the first race of the next series.

Taking a snapshot of NHC handicaps

As well as storing handicaps at the end of a series for use in the next one, you may want to take a snapshot of the current handicaps to use in another racing class. Perhaps you want to run a championship with non-progressive handicaps, taken from the current state of a NHC series. You can do that by setting up a plain TCF racing class with the boats that will be taking part in the championship, then using the above method to save the handicaps after any race in a NHC series, putting them into the boat register for your new class not the NHC class.

Must you always start on the base numbers?

The RYA recommends that you start on the base numbers when using the NHC scheme. However as far as HalSail is concerned you can start with any numbers you like. The base numbers are built into HalSail so that it is convenient to use them, but you can override them by setting other values in the Boat Register. So if your club has a good set of starting numbers, from previous experience or from another source, you can use them as the starting point if you like.

Details of the NHC algorithm

Details of the mathematics used in the NHC scheme are given in the NHC Explanation FAQ.

next item

What is the detailed mathematical explanation of NHC?

The RYA's National Handicap scheme for Cruisers was introduced in 2013. It is a progressive handicap scheme, in the sense that it adjusts the handicap given to each boat based on the results of previous races. A boat that does well will be penalised in subsequent races and a boat that does badly will be helped. If crews perform consistently and the conditions are the same, all the boats’ results converge after a number of races.

It relies on an algorithm that is built into scoring programs. This explanation refers to the May 2015 version and has been written by Peter Hopford of HAL's Race Results for the benefit of any user of the scheme.

Definitions
H0   The base handicap for a boat (NHC base number) as published by the RYA. It is calculated from a small number of measurements such as length, beam, weight and sail area. Note that Hal's Race Results and HalSail both assume that the base handicap is the first one in the Boat Register.
H1   The handicap given to a boat in any particular race.
Te   The elapsed time of a boat in a race (rounded to the nearest second).
Tc   The corrected time of a boat (rounded to the nearest second).
  • Tc = TeH1
As in other handicap systems, the positions in a race are given in order of corrected times.
Ha   Handicap achieved by a boat in a race.
  • Ha =ΣH1 / Te Σ(1/Te)
where Σ indicates the sum over all the boats finishing the race. If all boats had been given this handicap at the start they would have tied for equal first place.
Hp   The provisional handicap for the next race before realignment takes place.
μtc   The mean (average) corrected time (Tc) across all the boats in a race.
σtc   The standard deviation of Tc across all the boats in a race.
Extreme Performer   A boat whose Tc differs from the mean by more than one standard deviation. This can be either
  • an extremely fast performer where Tc < μtc - σtc
  • or an extremely slow performer where Tc > μtc + σtc
α   The blend of the existing handicap H1 and the achieved handicap Ha to be used to calculate the new provisional handicap Hp for non-extreme performers. (Set to 0.3 in NHC 2015.)
Tt   The elapsed time that would put a boat on the threshold of being an extreme performer.
H2   The realigned handicap to be used in the next race.

Provisional new handicaps for non-extreme performers

The algorithm calculates the provisional handicaps for non-extreme performers as

  • Hp = (1-α)H1 + αHa

Provisional new handicaps for extreme performers

If it used the same formula for extreme performers the change in handicap would be very large and might not reflect the boat's true potential. If, for instance, a boat were very slow because it suffered gear failure, it would be unfair on the other boats to give it a huge reduction in handicap for the next race. If a boat finished just before the wind died delaying the remaining boats, it would be unfair to give it a huge increase in handicap for the next race. So the change of handicap is limited to that the boat would have had if its corrected time were one standard deviation away from the mean.

First the algorithm works out the elapsed time for a boat that would put it on the threshold of being an extreme performer

  • Tt = (μtc - σtc)/H1 for an extremely fast performer
  • Tt = (μtc + σtc)/H1 for an extremely slow performer

Now the provisional handicaps are worked out as for non-extreme performers but substituting Tt for the elapsed time

  • Hp = (1-α)H1 + α(ΣH1 / Tt Σ(1/Te))

Provisional new handicaps for other boats

Boats that did not take part in the race, or boats that took part but did not receive a finish time, have a provisional handicap that is the same as their starting handicap in the race.

  • Hp = H1

A boat that joins in for the first time ever starts on its base number H0.

Realignment to base numbers

The final step is realignment. This is done to ensure that the average handicap of a fleet does not drift away from the base numbers after many races. Realignment does not alter the relative handicaps of the boats in a fleet, it moves the whole fleet up or down together so that

  • ΣH2 = ΣH0

Note that realignment applies to all boats, so even if a boat did not take part in a race (DNC) it will be realigned, which is likely to result in a change of handicap. The only exception to this rule is that boats are not realigned if they have not taken part in any races in the series up to the race in question. As soon as they have a non-DNC result, even if a non-finisher, they are subject to realignment.

Final handicaps for the next race

  • H2 = Hp(ΣH0 / ΣHp)

rounded to 3 decimal places.

That is all there is to it. Simple really!

next item

How does HalSail treat Boats that do not finish a race?

Appendix A of the Racing Rules of Sailing sets out twelve situations in which a boat is given points without finishing a race. They are listed below.

BFD Disqualified (rule 30.4) Black Flag
DGM Disqualified non excludable (rule 69)
DNC Did not come to the starting area
DNE Disqualified, non excludable
DNF Did not finish
DNS Did not start
DSQ Disqualified
NSC Did not sail the course
OCS On course side (over the line)
RDG Redress given (points allocated by race, or protest, committee)
RET Retired
UFD Disqualified (rule 30.3) U Flag
In addition, Appendix LG, the Sailing Instructions Guide, adds a thirteenth:
TLE Time limit expired

The actual number of points a boat receives for each of the status codes shown above, apart from RDG, depends on how the series was set up in the Race Schedule.

The points for each of the codes is set in relation to either the number of competitors (boats that came to the starting area, whether or not they actually started), or the number of finishers, or the number in the class (i.e. the number entered), or the number in the series (i.e. the number that took part in at least one race in the series). Thus you might set the score for DNF to be the number of competitors plus 2.

You can also set an absolute number of points by making the score relative to a base of zero. Thus the points for DNC might be Zero plus 50 (i.e. 50 points no matter how many boats entered or took part).

The default for all codes is the number of boats in the class (i.e. entered) plus 1, unless a different account-level set of defaults is specified. However race organisers frequently alter the allocation. They might give more points for DSQ than for RET, for instance, in order to encourage the resolution of disputes before they reach the protest room.

In a club situation, there may be many more boats in a class than are likely to take part in a particular series. A club might have 50 Wayfarers on its books, for instance, but might know that it was very unlikely that more than 20 would take part in the Wednesday evening series. In that case it makes sense to set points relative to either the number of starters (which is likely to vary from race to race within the series) or to the number of boats in the series (i.e. boats with at least one non-DNC score in the series).

next item

How does HalSail implement ORC handicaps?

HalSail implements time-on-time handicapping according to the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) methodology. If you choose ORC as the type of handicap for a racing class, all series for that class will use ORC style handicaps, although you do not have to stick to the official ORC handicap numbers.

ORC handicaps in HalSail use the triple-number system for low, medium and high wind speeds. The race officer is asked to stipulate the min and max wind speeds and the average is used to determine which of the triple numbers to use in that race - low, medium or high. In accordance with ORC guidance, low wind speed handicaps are used up to 9 knots, medium wind speed handicaps from 10 to 13 knots and high wind speed handicaps at or above 14 knots.

If you wish to use single-number ORC handicaps you have two options:

  • either make the low, medium and high values in the triple-number system the same;
  • or use generic TCF handicaps, which are mathematically identical to the ORC time-on-time system, and give the handicap system the local name of ORC.

For more information, you might like to see the video on this subject

next item

How does HalSail implement the American PHRF handicap scheme?

PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) is a scheme of handicapping used mainly in North America. It has both time-on-distance and time-on-time formats, but HalSail implements only the time-on-time version.

Like all the other handicapping schemes in HalSail, except the Danish DH system, it boils down to a time correction coefficient (TCF). Corrected times are worked out by multiplying the elapsed time by the TCF.

In many schemes, such as IRC, the handicap is expressed directly as a TCF (eg IRC handicap of 0.981 means a TCF of 0.981). But in some schemes, such as the RYA's Portsmouth Yardstick scheme, the TCF is produced from a formula. In the case of PHRF the formula is:

TCF = A / (B + PHRF)

In the HalSail implementation the constant A is 650 and B is 550. So a PHRF of 100 gives a TCF of 1.0, meaning that the corrected time is the same as the elapsed time. The smaller the PHRF the faster the boat.

next item

How do I pay my subscription to HalSail?

Unfortunately HalSail is only free for an introductory period of 45 days. If you want to continue using it after that you will need to pay the annual subscription. After all, somebody has to provide the funds to pay for the server it runs on.

HalSail will remind you if your subscription, or introductory period, will expire in the next 35 days. A message will pop up when you log in to that effect. You can pay for a year's subscription to HalSail (80 pounds sterling) by clicking on the relevant button on the warning message.

If your subscription is within 60 days of expiry, but has not actually expired, you can ignore the warning and continue to use it. If it has expired you will not be able to add or alter any data, although you will still be able to see results that are already there.

HalSail accepts payments using credit or debit cards via PayPal. Note that you do not need your own PayPal account to do that and that HalSail does not see any details of your card. That is all handled by PayPal.

Alternatively you can ask HalSail to email an invoice which can be paid by cheque of bank transfer.

next item

How do I personalise results with my own banner and logos?

Another FAQ tells you how the general public can see your results on the web without being logged into your account. When they do so they see the results with the name of your club at the top of the page, but no other personalisation.

If you want to personalise the results more, you can add your own banner and logos. You have to host each image on your own web site and provide HalSail with its web address.

Log into your account as a club administrator and open the Admin / Club and user details page. You enter the necessary addresses on the Main settings section. Hint: the easiest way to get the addresses is to view the page that shows the image, right-click it if you are using Chrome on a Windows PC or ctrl+click it in Safari on a Mac, choose 'Copy image address' and paste it into HalSail.

You may want one set of logos for normal club races and different logos for a particular event. You can do that by setting the necessary image addresses in the details of the event, in the same way as outlined above for the club-level images. The event logos will override the club logos when viewing the results of that event.

next item

How do I input results in real time on a phone as boats cross the finish line?

There is a special part of the HalSail website that is optimised for phones, which lets you input results as boats cross the finish line. You select each boat as it approaches, by scrolling down the entry list, and click its sail number as it crosses the line. The phone automatically takes the finish time or place and enters it into HalSail.

You do not need to do anything special to access the phone site. Just log into www.HalSail.com using the phone's browser. HalSail detects that you are using a phone and automatically displays a page that is optimised for that screen size. You can also install HalSail as an app on your phone by clicking this link and scanning the QR code.

The phone site lets you select one or more races, alter start times, enter results and edit them. It lets you view a simplified version of the results, without showing complete details of crews and other information for which there is no room on a small screen. It does not let you access the Class Register, Boat Register or the Race Schedule.

An additional feature, only available on phone screens, is the ability to pre-select the boats that are taking part. The idea is that you do that as boats manoeuvre before the start, so that you know which boats to look out for at the finish. The pre-selected boats are highlighted on the screen with a pink background.

There are two reasons for this feature. Firstly it is a good safety aid. You know that you have to account for all the boats with pink backgrounds by the time all are finished. Secondly it simplifies finding boats as they cross the finish line. All the pre-selected boats are at the top of the list and have pink backgrounds. This is particularly useful in a situation where you have lots of boats in a class, but only a fraction of them are taking part in the race.

As an aide memoire for the race officer, the phone site also lets you see the timing of the flags and sound signals needed to start a particular sequence of races.

In other words, you can do all you need to enter and edit results on the water using your phone.

For more information, you might like to see the video on this subject

next item

How does HalSail handle pursuit races?

Pursuit races are handicap races that are run the opposite way from normal races. Rather than all boats starting together with times taken at the finish, boats start at different times, slowest first, then the rest at times depending on their handicap, fastest boat last. The idea is that after a set time they should all arrive at the finish line together. There is no need to time boats at the finish, the order is simply that in which they cross the line, just as in a level race.

You can indicate that a particular race is to be run as a pursuit race by editing it in the Schedule menu. Open its series for editing, then edit the particular race and set it to pursuit.

To get the start time for each boat:

  • Click the Get start times button
  • Set the race length in minutes (default 100) and the interval between starts (default 1 minute)
  • Set the start time for a scratch boat, ie a boat with a handicap of 1.000 in IRC, or 1000 in PY (Note that there may not actually be a boat with such a handicap, but that is when it would start if there were one)
  • Click the button to get the list of start times

Note that pursuit races are not the same as races with staggered starts. In a staggered-start race no attempt is made to get all the boats to finish at the same time. The staggered start is purely for the convenience of the race organisers, for instance to avoid congestion in the start area.

next item

How do I install the HalSail app on my phone?

Scan this QR code with the camera on your device. Then follow the instructions below to put a link on your home screen.
 
QR code
 
https://halsail.com/

Once you have HalSail visible on your device, do the following:

On an iPhone or iPad

  • Click the share button (box with an up arrow)
  • Scroll down and click add to home page

On an Android phone or tablet

  • Click the menu icon (three dots in upper right corner)
  • Click add to home screen
next item

How do I give recompense to somebody doing race-management duty?

Many clubs ask their members to do race-management duty periodically. It is common to compensate that member for not being able to take part in the race, by giving them some kind of result that does not spoil their chances in the series. The way to do that in HalSail is to use one of the various types of redress (RDG).

Enter a result for the boat in question and mark its status RDG. There are five types of RDG:

  • RDG 1. Average points for all races in the series. The boat gets the mean of the points it got in all other races in the series, including any non-finishing points such as DNC, OCS, etc.
  • RDG 2. Average points for all races excluding DNC results. The boat gets the mean of the points it got in all other races in the series, excluding points for DNC up to the maximum number of races it is allowed to exclude (discard). If it has more DNC results than it can exclude, the excess will be included in the mean.
  • RDG 3. Average points for all races before the one in question. The boat gets the mean of the points it got in all races in the series before this one. Later races do not affect this result.
  • RDG 4. Points for a given place. The boat will receive the same number of points as a boat that finished the race in that place. Note that another boat that really finished in that place will have equal points.
  • RDG 5. A particular number of points. The boat will be given a particular number of points specified by the protest panel or race committee.

The most common method of compensating for RO duty is RDG 2. Although some clubs are more generous and give a particular place using RDG 4.

next item

How do I edit the features of an individual race?

HalSail allows you to alter the following features of each individual race from the Schedule / Edit Series page:

  • Start The start date and time of the race.
  • Status By default this is No results yet which changes automatically to Provisional when you enter any results. You can alter it to Validated once you are satisfied with the results. If there are no results and you do not expect any, you can alter it to Cancelled or Abandoned.
  • Notes You can add any notes about the race, such as the course sailed or the tidal conditions.
  • Alternative name Races are always given the number of the race within the series, e.g. Race 1, Race 2, etc.. However if you wish to add another name to a particular race you can do so, such as "Whisky Race". The alternative name will be displayed alongside the race number in results.
  • Pursuit race Whether the race is to be run as a pursuit race. This only applies to handicap races.
  • Weighting All races are by default given the same weight of 100% in the series scoring. However you can weight an individual race more heavily, e.g 200% for a trophy race, or less heavily. Races that are weighted more than 100% must be made non-excludable in the series score.
  • Excludability Whether the race can be excluded from the series score if discards are permitted. Excluded races are determined according to the rules laid down in Racing Rules of Sailing Appendix A. For information on how to set up the discard table for a series see this FAQ.
  • Start sequence The timing of the start sequence, by default 5 minute warning, 4 minute preparation flag up, 1 minute preparation flag down, start at 0.
  • Race officer The name of the race officer.
  • Wind The wind conditions, consisting of speed in knots and direction chosen from the points of the compass.
next item

How do I handle boats that tie for a place in a race?

This FAQ describes how HalSail treats boats that tie for a position in a race. There is a separate FAQ that describes how it breaks ties between boats that have the same number of points in a series.

There are two cases to consider: level racing and handicap racing. In level racing (when the racing class or fleet has handicap type 'level') you enter places directly. If you consider that two boats crossed the finish line simultaneously and you cannot differentiate between them, you enter either one of them first. Then you enter the other one and give it the same place as the previous one. A check box appears asking whether you wish them to tie for the place. You tick that check box and save the result.

In handicap racing you enter finish times as normal. HalSail calculates the corrected times. If two (or more) boats have the same corrected time to the nearest second, HalSail registers them as tied.

Boats that are tied for a place in a race, whether level or handicap, share the points. For instance when using the normal LP scoring system, boats that tie for 4th place share the points for 4th and 5th. So they both get 4.5 points. The next boat is 6th and gets 6 points.

This procedure is as specified in Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024 Appendix A para A7.

next item

What are racing classes in HalSail?

A racing class is a fleet of boats that race together. They may all be the same type of boat (e.g. a class of Laser Radials, or Dragons) in which case they probably race level without handicapping, or they may be a fleet of mixed types racing under a handicap scheme.

Races are always grouped into series. Each series has one or more races, up to a maximum of 100 races. You can set up any number of series of races for a given racing class.

next item

How do I give a boat redress?

A protest panel or the race committee may decide to give a boat redress.

In HalSail you do that by giving the boat a finishing status of RDG and choosing one of the following types of redress:

  1. Av all races. Average points for all races in the series, including excluded races (discards). The boat gets the mean of the points it got in all other races in the series, including any non-finishing points such as DNC, OCS, etc.
  2. Av excluding DNC. Average points for all races excluding DNC results, but including excluded races (discards). The boat gets the mean of the points it got in all other races in the series, excluding points for DNC up to the maximum number of races it is allowed to exclude (discard). If it has more DNC results than it can exclude, the excess will be included in the mean.
  3. Av previous races. Average points for all races before the one in question, including excluded races (discards) The boat gets the mean of the points it got in all races in the series before this one. Later races do not affect this result.
  4. Place. Points for a given place. The boat will receive the same number of points as a boat that finished the race in that place. Note that another boat that really finished in that place will have equal points.
  5. Points. A particular number of points. The boat will be given a particular number of points specified by the protest panel or race committee.

In each of the above cases the boat may, or may not, count as a starter in the race. There is a check box you can set when allocating the status to specify whether the boat is a starter or not.

next item

How do I register for a HalSail account?

If you are setting up an account for an organisation that is new to HalSail, you need to set up a new account. If your organisation already has an account and you want to register a new user of that account, the procedure is different.

New account

Click the Register button at the top right of the HalSail screen and follow the instructions. This will entail:

  • Entering the name of the organisation, normally the name of your club
  • Entering your name and email address
  • Choosing a password for the account
  • Waiting for HalSail to send a confirmation email to that address and clicking on the link provided in the email.

New user of an existing account

You need to get in touch with the account administrator and ask them to add you. When they have entered your name and email address, together with the type of user you are - namely a race officer, boat administrator, sailing secretary, or a full account administrator - you will receive a confirmation email to which you must respond by clicking the link contained in it.

next item

Can I import entries and boats tallied afloat from SailEvent?

SailEvent is a web site that allows clubs to offer online entry and allows competitors to tally out for a race using their phones.

HalSail communicates with SailEvent so that its entries can be imported into the Boat Register. This is under Import in the Boats menu. Entries in SailEvent give the boat's sail number, the type of boat (class in SailEvent parlance), helm, crew and email address. As you import boats, you can automatically enter them into the appropriate racing class and allocate a handicap, if needed.

SailEvent also has a role to play during a race. Race officers using phones or tablets to input results into HalSail, can import the list of boats that have tallied afloat in SailEvent. These boats are pre-selected as taking part in the race, resulting in them being put at the top of the list when selecting finishers, in exactly the same way as boats pre-selected directly by the race team before the start.

If the competitor who has tallied out in SailEvent is not the normal helm of the boat they are sailing, they will automatically be added as a guest helm when the race officer finishes that boat.

Before HalSail can gather any of this data from SailEvent you have to set up the integration. You do that on the SailEvent web site integrations page after you have first logged in.

next item

How do I set up the schedule of races?

To set up your schedule of races you first need to set up your classes (fleets). Once you have done that you can create series and races for each class. Note that all races in HalSail are part of a series. Even a one-off race is a series of one race.

In the Schedule menu click New series. Choose the class for the series and click New series.

A new series will be created with one race starting today at noon. Fill in the details of the series - name, scoring system, etc - and save your changes.

Edit the single race so far allocated to the series to be the first race. Set its start time and date and any other details.

Add more races to the series by means of the button marked Add a race choosing either one hour later than the last race already in the series, or ond day later or one week later. Edit the individual races to get the correct start times.

Repeat the process with your other series. If you have another similar series, you may be able to save effort by using the Copy this series button. If you have series for several different classes starting at five minute intervals, for instance, you can set up the first one and copy it to the other classes.

In addition to the above method, you can edit races on the calendar page. Open the calendar from the Schedule menu. Locate a race and move it to another day by dragging it on the calendar. To duplicate a race on another day, drag it while holding down the alt key.

For more information, you might like to see the video on this subject

next item

Can I score a series by guest helms, rather than by boat?

Races and series are normally scored by boat. It is the boat's performance that is evaluated.

However in many clubs sailors move from one boat to another during a series. They may sail a Laser Radial in the first race, a RS200 in the second and a full rig Laser in the third. This is particularly the case where the club owns the boats and sailors take out any one of several boats whenever they race.

You can already use the guest helm field when entering a result to indicate who was sailing the boat on a particular occasion. However by default the results are still calculated by boat, when what you really wish to know is how each helm did.

That is where scoring by helm comes in. There is a button on the left-hand side of the bar on top of the overall results of a series to show results by helm. This takes you to a page that re-calculates the results of the series, and all its races, based on who was helming the boat in each race. If you use the guest helm field when filling in results, these names are used to score by helm.

In order to follow a helm from one boat to another between races, it is important to enter the guest helm consistently so that HalSail can track the names. HalSail ignores any spaces in the name and is case-insensitive. You can use either upper case or lower case letters as you like. But the names must be entered in the same way. For instance Andy Ball is not the same a A Ball or Andrew Ball. However andy ball, or andyBall, or ANDY BALL are all treated the same.

If you do not put a guest helm in for a particular result, the normal helm for the boat is used. So if you do not put any guest helms in, the results by helm will be the same as the results by boat.

next item

What series scoring systems are available?

The scoring system is set for each series individually on its edit page. The overall score for the series is the sum of the individual race scores, with allowance for any excluded races (discards).

Low-points systems

The vast majority of series are scored using the low-points system set out in Racing Rules of Sailing Appendix A.

  • LP - A boat gets points equal to its place in the race. The lower a boat's score the better. This is the HalSail default and the system most commonly used worldwide.

There are also two variations on the usual low-points system:

  • BP - Bonus points. Gives extra advantage to those coming in the first 7 places.
  • P75 - Low points but with the advantage of 0.75 points for coming first.

High-points system

In high-points systems, the higher a boat's score the better. The following high-points system is available:

  • HP - Each boat that comes to the start gets 1 point. Each finisher gets an extra point + the number of boats beaten.
    So if there are 12 boats that come to the start in a race (ie boats scored something other than DNC) the boat that comes 4th gets 10 points (1 for being there + 1 for finishing + 8 for beating eight boats). Boats that come to the start but do not finish get 1 point. Boats that do not compete get 0 points.

Summary

The following table shows the points allocated in each of these systems. The high-points results are based on a race with 12 competitors and 10 finishers.

  Low points best High points best
Place LP BP P75 HP
1 1 0 0.75 13
2 2 3 2 12
3 3 5.7 3 11
4 4 8 4 10
5 5 10 5 9
6 6 11.7 6 8
7 7 13 7 7
8 8 14 8 6
9 9 15 9 5
10 10 16 10 4
next item

How does HalSail protect my security?

HalSail keeps your results and other information in a database on its server. Nobody other than the HalSail app itself has access to this database.

Most of the information in the database is the data about your sailing races. This information is fed onto the web by HalSail in response to specific requests to see the results of particular sailing races. As such it is freely available to everybody. After all, that is the point of putting your results onto HalSail in the first place.

What is not freely available to everybody is the ability to load that data into the HalSail database, or to alter it. That is only available to users who are signed into one of the HalSail accounts. Even then each user is limited in what they can do in two ways:

  • Firstly they only get access to their own account. They cannot alter data in another account.
  • Secondly they can only alter the data in their own account in accordance with the type of user they are. There is a separate FAQ with details of the various levels of access possible.

HalSail depends, of course, on people being able to log into their particular account securely. This is accomplished by means of an email address and a password. When a user logs in, their email address and password are sent over the internet via a secure link. HalSail always uses secure links with an https address. You cannot log onto HalSail via an http link, only https.

When a user's password arrives at HalSail it is encoded using a strong encryption algorithm provided by Microsoft. The encoded password is compared with the encoded password stored in the database to authenticate the user. The plain text, unencrypted password is never stored by HalSail, so there is no way anybody that manages to break into the HalSail database can get at users' passwords.

next item

What can I use boat selectors for?

Selectors (also known as selection flags) can be allocated to each boat in the Boat Register. They consist of the letters A to Z and the numerals 0 to 9. You can allocate as many of these to each boat as you wish.

Selectors can have any meaning you like. You allocate meanings using the tool in the Boat Menu. For instance you might have:

  • G: This boat is a member of the Gold fleet
  • S: This boat is a member of the Silver fleet
  • L: This boat is helmed by a lady

If you specify the "Show selectors" switch when setting up a series, all results and entry lists will include the selection flags for each boat.

When you publish results you can filter them to show only boats with certain selectors

next item

What is the meaning of the various switches when setting up a series?

Av lap racing
Average lap racing is used where there is a large range of handicaps in a racing class. Boats do different numbers of laps and the race officer enters the number of laps done by each boat as well as its finishing time.
Handicap can vary
If set a boat's handicap can vary during the series. If not set, a boat's handicap is locked to that valid at the time of the start of the first race of the series.
Note, races for progressive classes (ECHO and NHC) always have variable handicaps, but they calculate their own variations during the course of a series, they ignore any handicaps in the boat register after that valid at the time of the first race in the series.
Show boat name
If set show the name of the boat on race and series results.
Show name of owner
If set show the name of the owner on race and series results.
Show name of helm
If set show the name of the helm on race and series results.
Show name of crew
If set show the name of the crew on race and series results.
Show boat notes in results
If set show any notes from the Boat Register against each result for that boat.
Show type of boat
If set show the type of boat on race and series results.
Show name of club
If set show the name of the club the boat comes from on race and series results.
Show bow number
If set show the bow (hull) number on race and series results.
Show selectors
If set show the selectors (previously called selection flags) on race and series results.
Mark provisional
If set mark race and series results "Provisional" until validated.
Show DNC
If set show DNC for any boats in the racing class that do not have a result in a race or series. If not set show DNC only for boats that have a result in another race in the series.
next item

How does HalSail handle boats that have equal scores in overall series results?

This FAQ describes how HalSail breaks ties between boats that have the same number of points in a series. There is a separate FAQ dealing with boats that tie for a place in an individual race.

There are two steps to the tie-breaking procedure. Usually ties are broken using the first step, but if that fails the second step is used. If neither step breaks the tie, then the boats are ranked equally in the series.

Step 1. Count back  The boat with more first places beats the boat with fewer first places. If both have the same number of first places (or none) look at the number of second places. Continue until one of the boats has more of a particular place than the other. Excluded (discarded) places are ignored.

Step 2. Later race precedence The boat with the better score in the last race beats the boat with poorer score in the last race. If they both have the same score in the last race, look at the next-to-last race, etc. No races are excluded in this step.

This procedure is as specified in Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024 Appendix A para A8.1 and A8.2.

next item

Can I publish my results on social media?

HalSail provides three main ways to publicise your results: sending emails containing links, or putting links on your own website, or via social media. This FAQ deals with social media. HalSail has inbuilt access to X (Twitter), WhatsApp and Telegram. They are available on the social media page under the Results Menu.

Twitter Twitter

You can send a tweet whenever you review your results. The default handle is @HalsRaceResults, so if your recipients follow that they will see any results.

If your club has its own X (Twitter) account, you can duplicate all tweets with your handle. To do that you need to enter your credentials on the Admin / Club and user details page in the section on "other details". If you have not already done so, you need to set up an app attached to your X account by going to the X development portal.

WhatsApp WhatsApp

From the social media page under the Results Menu, choose a series and click the WhatsApp button

Telegram Telegram

From the social media page under the Results Menu, choose a series and click the Telegram button

next item

How do I spring clean my HalSail data ready for a new season?

At the end of each season you need to consider how to prepare for the next one. One option is to use your existing classes and just carry on adding new series and races as before.

If your race programme will be much the same next season as last, you can duplicate your existing series. From the Schedule menu open an existing series in edit mode. Click Copy this series and opt to copy it to the same class 52 weeks later. This will give you a new series with the same races in it on the same days of the week. Do the same for your other series.

If you have lots of boats and want to make changes for the new season, just carrying on adding new series and races for your existing classes may lead to problems. You may need to delete some boats from the Boat Register in order to remove clutter, or remove old races so that the new ones are easier to find. But if you delete boats or races you will also delete their results and you may still want to have last year's results available.

Basically there are two ways to proceed. One is to add new classes and schedule your series and races for the new season using those classes. So you might rename your 'Laser' class as 'Laser 2021' and add a 'Laser 2022' class for new races. You add all the Lasers that are carrying on for the 2022 season to the Laser 2022 class along with any new ones. There is still a problem, though, with any boats that have changed helm. If you change the helm field in the Boat Register the new name will appear for old races as well as new ones. You could get around that by adding a new boat with the same sail number and put the new boat into the 2022 class, but things get messy.

A better way is to archive your existing data and do a spring clean ready for the new season. This is the procedure to follow:

  • Save your data by downloading it as a Hal file. Use the Admin Menu (you need to be logged in as a Club Administrator).
  • If you want to retain online access to your old results, you can upload them to the archive server, again from the Admin Menu.
    • If you have archived results before, HalSail will automatically connect you to your account on the archive server.
    • If you have not archived results from HalSail before, but have been using the Windows version of Hal, you may already have an archive account (previously known as the Club Results Service). You will be given the option of continuing to use that account if you know its login and password.
    • If you have never used the archive before, or cannot remember the old account login, HalSail will automatically set up a new account for you.
    You can store 20 separate sets of results on the archive server. So if you archive results at the end of each year you will have the last 20 years of results available to view.
  • Once you have archived your results, you are ready to do a spring clean using the tool in the Schedule Menu. This will remove any series whose final race is before a specified date, say 1 January. It will also remove any handicaps in the boat register that have been superseded by new ones and are no longer relevant.
  • Spring cleaning the schedule permanently removes series, races and results, but does not affect your boats or classes. You can then look at your classes to ensure they are still the ones you want, make any changes required to the boats and schedule new series and races.

Hint: if you wish to set up a new schedule of races for next year that is similar to this year, the easiest way to do it is to copy the existing series. Go to each series that will be the same next year and copy it to the same class adjusting the start times with a 52 week delay.

next item

Can I run races with staggered starts?

If all boats start at the same time in a large race, the starting area may become very congested. Staggered starts are a way to alleviate this problem.

In a staggered start, groups of boats are told to start at prescribed intervals. So some boats start at the normal start time for the race, some boats start a number of minutes later. However they all finish on the same line and have their times taken as normal. The race officer inputs the start delay (in minutes) for each boat alongside its finish time.

To use staggered starts you need to set the appropriate switch for the race in question. Go to the Schedule menu and edit the series containing the race with staggered starts. Edit the race in the list at the bottom of the screen and set the start to 'staggered'.

Once the setting is done, you will be asked to enter a time delay in minutes alongside the finish time. The elapsed and corrected times for each boat are calculated allowing for the delayed start.

Note that a race with staggered starts is not the same as a pursuit race. In a pursuit race the start time for each boat is calculated so that, if they all performed according to their handicaps, they would all finish at the same time. You do not need to record a finish time in a pursuit race since the order of finishing is taken as the result of the race, as in level racing.

next item

What standard handicap values are built into HalSail?

Standard handicaps are built into HalSail for different types of boat, or in the case of IRC for individual boats. You do not have to stick to the standard handicaps, you can use whatever values you wish, but handicaps will default to the standard when you first set the type of boat. The following have standard handicap values built in.

Once you have set the type of boat in the boat register, its handicap will be shown with a green outline if it has a standard and it agrees with it. It will be shown with a red outline if if has a standard, but it is not set to that standard. It will be shown with a grey outline if there is no built-in standard.

next item

Who are 'Supporters'?

Supporters are people who did not take part in the racing to whom you want to send emails with links to results.

You normally send result emails to competitors . These emails go to the addresses found in the Boat Register. But there may be other people - such as journalists, coaches, or parents - who you wish to keep informed of any new results. If you put them in your list of supporters, they will automatically be copied into any emails that go to competitors.

next item

What are the terms and conditions for using HalSail?

The term 'HalSail' or 'us' or 'we' refers to the owner of the website which is HalSail Ltd of 4 Woodville Court, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 3TJ, England. The term 'you' refers to the user or viewer of our website.

The use of this website is subject to the following terms of use:

  • After the initial 45 day introductory period, the use of HalSail is dependent on paying the annual subscription .
  • HalSail conforms to the UK and EU General Data Protection Regulation. If you enter personal data, such as people's names of email addresses, into HalSail you do so under the terms of this regulation. You can see HalSail's policy on the GDPR here.
  • The layout and content of the pages of this website is subject to change without notice.
  • Neither we nor any third parties provide any warantee or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and calculations found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and calculations may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  • Your use of any information or calculations found on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your responsibility to ensure that any products, services, calculations or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.
  • This website contains material which is owned or licensed to us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the algorithms, design, layout, appearance and graphics.
  • This website uses cookies to analyse its traffic. If you do allow cookies to be used, the following personal information may be stored by us for use by third parties: Google Analytics browsing data.
  • All trade marks reproduced in this website which are not the property of, or licensed to, the operator are acknowledged on the website.
  • Unauthorised use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence.
  • From time to time this website may also contain links to other websites. These links are provided for your convenience to provide further information. They do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the linked website(s);
  • Every effort is made to keep this website up and running smoothly. However, HalSail Ltd takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control.
  • Your use of this website and any dispute arising out of such use of the website is subject to the laws of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
next item

What are tandem series and how do I use them?

Tandem series are ghost series that do not have results of their own, but draw them from other series. You do not input results for a tandem series, you input them for real series and use them again in each tandem series.
  • You can use tandem series to compute the results of a series or race using different handicaps. You can enter finish times once but have two sets of results, such as one using NHC and one IRC.
  • You can use them to select just some of the boats in a series and compute a set of results for them, separately from the main results.
  • You can use them to compute results for just some of the races in a series. Thus you might have a long overall series, but pick out just those races in August for special prizes.

Note that, whatever you use them for, tandem series have all the flexibility of original series. Each has its own scoring system and its own table of discards, both of which could be different from the original series from which they derive results.

To make a tandem series, open the real series for editing in the schedule menu. Click the button to make a tandem series, choose the class for the tandem series and give it a name. The new tandem series will draw its results from all the races in the real series, but will use the handicaps and boats in the tandem class.

If you do not want all the races in the real series to feature in the tandem series, you edit the tandem series and remove any races you do not want. Note that if you add races to the real series after setting up the tandem series, they are not copied to any tandem series automatically. You need to edit the tandem series and add the extra races.

Note that a tandem series cannot draw its races from more than one real series, although it can contain a subset of the races in a real series. If you need to make a set of results from a long series and for smaller subsets of that series, such as a season-long series divided into spring, summer and autumn subseries, you need to make the long series your real one and use tandem series to select the spring, summer and autumn subseries.

next item

What is the technical background to HalSail?

The following are the key technologies used to build HalSail.

Server

HalSail runs on a virtual machine hosted in the UK by Iomart running Windows Server 2016.

The data is held in a SQL Server 2016 database running on the same machine.

Server-side programming

HalSail is an ASP.Net MVC web site programmed in C#. It uses the Razor view engine and produces HTML5 output.

Client-side programming

Pages are written in HTML5 and CSS3 with extensive scripting in javascript and jQuery. Key jQuery plugins used are DataTables and FullCalendar.

Much use is made of Ajax to bring data from the server to the client without replacing the entire page.

Styling is based on Bootstrap 3.

Phones and tablets vary in size and many of the pages in HalSail scale automatically to suit the particular device being used. Formats vary according to the screen width:

  • 1200 pixels or greater - full-size laptops and desktop computers
  • 992 to 1199 pixels - laptops and many tablets in landscape mode
  • 823 to 991 pixels - larger tablets in portrait mode
  • 550 to 822 pixels - most tablets in portrait mode and phones in landscape mode
  • 400 to 549 pixels - larger phones in portrait mode
  • 399 pixels or less - smaller phones in portrait mode
next item

Time to win: when must slower boats finish in order to win a handicap race?

The first boat to finish is not necessarily the winner of a handicap race. There may be boats with slower handicaps that are yet to finish that could still win.

The Time-to-Win Page is designed to show which boats could win and when they have to finish in order to beat the current leader. It is particularly useful for longer races, where the first boat may finish hours, or even days, before some of the slower ones.

To view the time-to-win page bring up the public results page for the series in question. Each race in the series has a set of results. In handicap races, there is a clock icon () towards the right of the bar. Click the clock icon to see the time-to-win page.

next item

How does HalSail handle times?

HalSail uses time in a number of ways. You need to specify the start time of each race and, in the case of handicap races, the finish time of each boat . In addition you can specify the time when the handicap of a boat will change from one value to another . In each case you specify the time to the nearest second.

There is nothing in the Racing Rules of Sailing that states that times are to the nearest second. However it seems to be almost universal practice and some handicap schemes, such as IRC and ORC, do specify it explicitly. Indeed in the context of sailing, it is difficult to imagine a situation where it would make sense to specify a greater degree of timing precision than the nearest second.

The other type of time that is used in HalSail is the corrected time of each boat in a handicap race. It makes no sense to use more precision for that than for the race start time and the boat's finish time. So corrected time is also rounded to the nearest second. If two boats have the same corrected time to the nearest second, they will tie for a place in the race.

next item

How do I update boats to new standard handicap values?

You can update the handicaps of boats that are in classes that use the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick, Small Catamaran schemes or Australian Sailing Yardsticks.

Although the base numbers are stored in HalSail for the RYA National Handicap for Cruisers scheme, these are not really standard handicaps as they are updated after each race. HalSail does not automatically update the base numbers of NHC.

The procedure to update standard handicaps is as follows:

  • Open the Boats menu and choose Show boats with non-standard handicaps.
  • A list of boats that use handicaps different from their standard values appears. There is a button next to each entry in the list to examine the history of that particular handicap if you so wish.
  • If necessary, set the date and time that any new handicaps will start by clicking the Change start time button above the list.
  • You can update any individual handicap by clicking the button next to it, or you can update all of them by means of the Update All button.
next item

Can I upload my results from HalSail to the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick online database?

The RYA asks clubs to contribute to its database of results run under its Portsmouth Yardstick scheme. This is the way it gets up-to-date statistics about the relative performance of the different types of dinghy and small keelboat.

HalSail interfaces directly with the RYA's database. After analysing the handicaps of any series of races run under the PY scheme, in other words run for a class whose handicap type is RYA_PY, you can upload the results.

Click on the button marked Upload to RYA PY database set against the analysis results for each race, or scroll to the bottom of the page to upload all results in one go.

Note that in order for HalSail to log into the RYA database, you need to set up your credentials. Go to Club and user details on the Account menu. Click to edit your settings and put in your RYA PY login and password, which can be obtained from the RYA.

next item

Is HalSail registered for VAT?

HalSail Ltd is not registered for Value Added Tax in its home country of the United Kingdom.

However HalSail Ltd is registered for VAT in the European Union. The registration number is EU372045979.

HalSail Ltd charges VAT to clubs in the EU at the appropriate rate for the particular country. However if the club is itself registered for VAT, HalSail uses the Reverse Charge procedure, whereby the club is responsible for accounting for VAT, effectively paying the VAT and immediately claiming it back again.

So the way HalSail Ltd charges VAT to different customers is as follows:

  • Clubs in the UK - no VAT is charged.
  • Clubs in the EU that are themselves VAT registered - no VAT is charged because the reverse-charge mechanism applies.
  • Clubs in the EU that are not themselves VAT registered - VAT is charged at the appropriate rate for the country concerned and remitted to Finance Ireland under the one-stop-shop scheme.
  • Clubs in any other country - no VAT or sales tax is charged.

next item

How do I vary a boat's handicap over time?

With the exception of ECHO and NHC handicaps, this is done in the Boat Register. Handicaps do not vary from race to race or from series to series unless you specifically change them.

Open the Boat Register and find the boat whose handicap you want to vary. Click the handicap value for the class in question to open the handicap form.

  • Use the Add a new handicap to start on a particular date button to insert another handicap in the list.
  • Alter the value in the Hcap column to the desired handicap.
  • The default date from which the new handicap is valid is set to the date you perform the operation. To alter the date, click in the Valid fromcolumn to set the precise date and time you wish the handicap to start. But note the way this depends on the series as set out below.
  • Click OK.

Important: the handicap actually used for a boat in a particular race depends on how the series is set up. In the race schedule you will find a set of switches on the right-hand side. One of these is labelled Handicap can vary. If this switch is set, the handicap used in a particular race is that valid at the start of the race. If this switch is not set, the handicap used is that valid at the start of the first race in the series.

ECHO and NHC handicaps

In these progressive systems each boat's handicap is updated automatically after each race in a series. There is no need to put entries in the Boat Register by hand, except at the end of a series when you need to use the built-in tool to insert realigned handicaps to start the next series with.

next item

How does HalSail take account of the size of my screen?

HalSail can be viewed on a great variety of devices from the smallest phone to large desktops. All the pages on the HalSail web site are capable of scaling to take advantage of the screen space available.

The need to adjust to the size of the screen is particularly acute in pages with a lot of information. This is especially true of the pages that give the results of races and series. When using these pages you will notice considerable change to the format of the data according to the screen size.

HalSail adjusts the format to the following screen widths in pixels
Name Min Max Representative devices
Lg 1200 none Desktop computers and large laptops
Md 992 1199 Smaller laptops
Sm 822 991 Tablets in landscape orientation
Xs 550 821 Tablets in portrait and phones in landscape orientation
Xxs 400 549 Large phones in portrait orientation
Xxxs none 399 Small phones in portrait orientation
This device
Width
Height
Whole screen
HalSail window
In other words you are using:
next item

How do I view and edit my results?

You can view any of your results by going to the Results menu and clicking Review results by series. That takes you to a list of all the series that have any results. Click the Results button against the series of interest.

Alternatively you can go to the Schedule menu and bring up the race calendar. Click on any race shown in green on the calendar, which are the ones that have results as opposed to those that are in the schedule but have not been sailed yet.

Or you can choose Race list from the Schedule menu to show a list of all the races in date order. Click against any race to see the results.

Whichever way you arrive at the results screen, you will see the results of your race and if it is part of a series you will see the overall series results and the results of each individual race.

You have the opportunity to print the results of any of the races shown, or of the overall series results. You can also send an email to competitors with a link to the results, or you can send a X (Twitter) tweet with a link to the results.

You can also edit the details of any race, such as the race officer's name and the wind strength and direction.

next item

How can the public see the results?

You can, of course, print your results on paper to go on notice boards. But most people want to see them online, either on their phones or computers. This is HalSail's forté.

As well as giving users who are logged into HalSail the opportunity to see their results, you can also give the public access to your results without logging in. Public access is strictly on a read-only basis, so anybody who is not logged in cannot alter anything, just see existing results.

Anybody can see any of the results in HalSail. What they need is the address of any particular series. You provide that by putting it into a link from your own web site, or sending it in an email, or by social media such as WhatsApp, or by Twitter, or Telegram, or providing a QR code to scan. To get a link address and QR code that will take the public to any of your results, go to the Results menu and choose Get public links. This gives you several options:

  • There is a link that will lead to the last race with results in your account. When people click that link they will see the results of the series with the latest results and will have the opportunity to use drop-down lists to choose any other series in your account.
  • There are links to any particular series in your account. When people click these links they will go directly to the series in question and will have the opportunity to use drop-down lists to choose any other series in your account.
  • There is a link to a sequence of pages of your most recent results, automatically showing each page for 15 seconds. This is designed to display on a large screen in the bar, or similar location.
  • There is a link to the entries for a particular series. This shows the boats that are in the racing class (fleet) that the series is for. It is particularly useful to publicise this link in the build-up to an event, so that people can see who is coming and thus encourage more entries.

Any of the links can be copied and incorporated into your own web site, or put in emails you send out. You can also print QR codes that people can scan with the cameras on their phones or tablets.

Alternatively you can use the links as the source of an embedded frame on one of your own pages, so that they appear to be part of your site rather than coming from the HalSail site.

If none of these alternatives is flexible enough, you can use the HalSail API to get results in a machine-readable form that you can manipulate and display as you see fit.

next item

How do I respond when a protest committee declares a race void?

There are two ways to void races that have already been run, so that their results are no longer visible and do not count towards overall positions in a series.

The first is to delete the race completely, together with all its results. You can do that from the schedule menu by going to the series in question and editing it. The list of races is at the bottom of the page. Select the race to be deleted and click Edit or delete. When the popup appears, select Delete.

The second way is to mark the race as abandoned. Go to the Schedule menu and find the series. Edit the series, then edit the particular race. Change the race's status to Abandoned.

next item

How does HalSail implement the RYA YTC handicap scheme?

RYA YTC (formerly the South West Yacht Time Correction System) is a scheme of handicapping powered by the RORC Rating Office. The aim is to provide a simple rating system for club events and local regattas.

The mathematics is the same as for the RYA PY scheme, so handicaps are expressed as 1000 / TCC, where TCC is the time correction coefficient. A boat with a handicap of 1000 (a scratch boat) will have no correction made to its elapsed time. A boat with a handicap of more than 1000 will have a corrected time less than its elapsed time, in other words it is expected to be slower than a scratch boat. A boat with a handicap of less than 1000 will have a corrected time of more than its elapsed time, in other words it is expected to be faster than a scratch boat.

Using YTC in HalSail is simple. You set up the racing class to use YTC from the drop-down list of types of handicap.

next item