Here in the northern hemisphere the boats are away but in preparation for next year we are still adding features to RailMeets. A very much requested feature has been SMS messaging, it is now live. You can set the system to send a text message to your crew for any last minute updates. There are two parts to setting it up. First you and your crew need to set up your profile. Login and then click on your picture in the upper right corner (mobile users look for the three bars in the upper right corner). Select My Info and then click on Edit. Make sure you have your cell phone number in the phone number space and that the flag for country is correct. Click on Submit. Then click on My Settings and then Edit. In the Notifications pane, next to Last Minute Updates check SMS and then Update. That’s it, you are now ready to receive text messages from RailMeets.
When you need to send a last minute text to your crew do the following. From your dashboard click your boat name, that will bring up a list of events, find the event that you need to send the text for, then click on the envelope to send a message.
A window will pop up for you to type your message. Check the box for “Send as last minute notification (SMS if chosen by crew)” In a few seconds your phone will ding with a message. If your crew does not have SMS messaging set up in RailMeets they will get an old fashioned email.
It’s been a few weeks since I posted here but rest assured we have been busy. We exterminated a few bugs, been talking to OD fleets about future features, introduced SMS or text messaging (more on that next week) and what has been keeping us real busy is Race Committee Volunteer Management. RailMeets can now be used to manage your clubs race assets, volunteers, PRO’s, marks , boats, heck even the party areas. It’s designed to make your Race Committees life easier. The best part if your club is a RailMeets subscriber and you volunteer your assignments will appear on your Dashboard right next to your sailing commitments. You can view your clubs entire RC schedule at a glance. Is your regular boat out of town? You can now check and see if your RC needs some help. Tracking tools for the RC to see who had done their assignments and who still needs to volunteer. Want to learn more send us a note firstname.lastname@example.org
Sad reality is the season is winding down in the northern hemisphere (stop gloating you California and Caribbean users). That doesn’t mean RailMeets can’t be useful. For my boat I just put in a bunch of events for putting the boat away and a Crew BBQ. Here is how you do that. From your dashboard find the boat that you want to set up an event for and click on Events for that boat. Next click on Add Event. From there just fill out the form.
Top Tip – Visibility to All makes it public event, great for fleet parties and club work parties. Clicking on Crew will make it visible only to your crew. Top Tip #2 – Use Meeting on Dock for when you want the crew to show up at your house, Leaving Dock time for when you are lighting the BBQ grill and Race Time for when dinner is served. Or Meet on dock for when you want the work party to arrive Leaving Dock for when you leave the harbor after taking the mast down and Race time for when you get to the boat yard and then go for chili at Lindy’s
Here is a cool use for RailMeets. Do you have any four legged crew members? No I am not talking about your rabid bow man but that k9 that always seems to be hanging out on the boat. It’s easy just put them on as a guest or if they have skills set up another account for them. Then your crew will know when to bring the doggy treats. Here Captain John and “Sailor” discuss tactics.
Thinking of deleting Facebook but you are worried about missing these tips and tricks? Check out our blog https://blog.railmeets.com/ There is also a link on the bottom of every RailMeets page. We post the same content in both places but the blog usually has the addition of a witty headline. Sorry you will have to go elsewhere for funny cat videos.
Earlier this week I received a message via the RailMeets messaging system from Alex. He was in Chicago on business and was looking to get out for a race. We had a spot on my boat so I added him as a guest. You can add guests by going to the Change My Signups screen. For any event tap on the two people and a box will open, there you can indicate the number of guests.
Alex showed up at the appointed time, gear bag in one hand six pack of good beer in the other. He helped us rig the boat for the first CCYC pursuit race. For those of you that don’t know what a pursuit races is the Race Committee takes everyone’s handicaps and calculates the start time based on everyone finishing at the same time. So every boat with a different rating starts at a different time. We slot in after the T-10’s but just before our main rival a Farr39.
How did it go? We started late, had a decent upwind leg, passed a boat on the reaching leg. We then headed downwind into heavy fog. During a botched spinnaker take-down in the fog we lost sight of the fleet and the next mark. We missed the mark and realized our mistake when we sailed out of the fog and noticed everyone else on a different angle. We withdrew, opened some beers and sailed around a bit before heading in. On the way in we hit the heavy fog again. Predictably the GPS batteries died but fortunately one of the crew had his phone on him. Google maps, the ships compass and going slow got us home.
After we hung out in the club with our new friend Alex, a good time was had by all.
Do you have a RailMeets success story? Send us an email and tell us about it. If we use your story we’ll send you a nifty new RailMeets hat.
In a sure sign that summer is coming to a close this weekend is the Tri/Bi State regatta. For those of you not racing on southern Lake Michigan. This race has been around forever, is always on Labor Day weekend and is one of the most beloved races in the area. Sponsored by Jackson Park and Michigan City Yacht Clubs it starts Friday night from a point just offshore of Chicago near downtown. You watch the Chicago skyline fade over the horizon with the sun setting behind it as you head to St Joe, Michigan. If it is an average race most boats will finish as the sun rises over the Michigan shore. Spend Saturday relaxing on the beach, Sunday race back to Chicago or keep on going for the short hop to Michigan City Indiana. Then on Monday race from Michigan City to Chicago. Always a good time.
As you may know RailMeets has partnered with CASRA to provide a place to store LMPHRF rating certificates and as you know as part of the notice of race you are required to upload them to the site. Go to chicagosailracing.org and select Rating Validation at the top of the screen. That will take you to the login screen. If you are a RailMeets user you can log in the same way you do with RailMeets. Once you are in click on “My Boats”. Then click on your boat name. That will bring up your boat profile, scroll down and you will see a blue box that says “Edit Certificates” that will bring up all your certificates, scroll down and you will see “Upload New Certificate” use the browse button to find it on your hard drive. Don’t forget to select share with CASRA and click on submit. You are now in compliance with the NOR. New to the site visit our blog for other tips and tricks including creating your boat and uploading your crew as well as using the crew finders. https://blog.railmeets.com/
Best of luck to our Tri/Bi-State racers and stay safe
So I was hanging out at the Sailing Club last night and a user stopped me and asked when the “app” was coming out? Because of the way we built RailMeets an app is not necessary. It exists in the cloud and was built from the ground up to be mobile friendly. We routinely test on iPhones, iPads and various Android devices. Just use your phones web browser and getting a “app” for RailMeets is a simple as adding us to your home screen.
A couple of months ago I posted on our blog how to add RailMeets to your home screen. The instructions were for an iPhone but they they are similar for an Android device. check it out…
The events that happened at the start of this past weekends Chicago to Mackinac race were very sobering to us and the sailing community. Here at RailMeets our thoughts are with Jon’s family, friends and shipmates. We did not know him other than meeting once at a party but I am positive he will be remembered fondly and be missed.
Every one of us has moved around on a boat only to have a wave kick the boat sideways or push the boat up or down sending us into a tumble. Sometimes we get a nasty bruise or cut, we put some tape on it and keep going. Once in a while we get a leg in the water but we grab a lifeline or one of our shipmates manages to grab us as we go flying by. Rarely do we end up in the water.
Every so often a perfect shit storm happens. A slip leads to a fall which leads to a person in the water in difficult conditions. Equipment malfunction stacks the odds against them.
Most sailing tragedies we rationalize away. We think we wouldn’t have made that navigation error or that my boat is perfectly maintained or I don’t sail on a science project or I am in shape and my body can handle the stress. This one hits home because missteps and falls have happened to everyone that has ever stepped on to a race boat. It’s the nature of the game and part of the risks we take to pursue the sport we love and are passionate about.
Kudos to the boats and sailors that were able to be part of the search. It will be a while before we see a report on what happened but till then I ask that you go into your gear bag and check your equipment. Do your shoes and boots have enough traction? Check your life vest, is it in good condition? If it’s an inflatable, have you checked if it inflates? Is the trigger expired? Are your sailing gloves in good condition? How about your shipmates equipment?
This is not a reason to stop racing sailboats. I doubt Jon would have wanted that. It is a reason to pause, check our equipment and make sure we always have one hand for the boat and one for ourselves.
Chicago to Mac race. This is the 110th edition of the 330 mile freshwater classic. Looking at the entry list I see RailMeets users in just about every section. With a northerly breeze setting up on the race course this one looks like it it could be a challenge. Bring your long underwear and remember one hand for yourself and one hand the boat. Good luck, sail fast and sail safe!