BluewaterRacing has the facility to import the position of other boats from various text formats, which can be quite useful for a few reasons:
- In long races when there is a significant divergence in the fleet, it can be helpful to plot a route for boats far from your position, to see how your route choice is stacking up compared to theirs
- Even when the fleet is reasonably close, in conjunction with reverse iso’s, it can be illuminating (& often reassuring) to compare your position with others – especially if you have diverged from your initial route plan for whatever reason
- It can be instructive to compare potential future routes of competitors
Unfortunately there is no easy way to import SOL fleet positions into Bluewater — until now 😉
Here is a small utility to export selected fleet positions from sailonline races, in a very simple format that BWR can import. The format is (and you need to tell this to BWR) “id datetime lat lon”. In fact the best thing to do is to specify this in your Bluewater prefs file, which is located under your ‘Application Data’ folder, in a subfolder called ‘bluewater’ – file called ‘bluewater.pref’. Locate the line – importFieldlist ” …… ” – and place that list of fields ‘id datetime lat lon’ between the quotes. There is no way to auto-update the positions from within BWR, so you will need to manually import periodically.
For this to work properly you will need an update of the 1.52 version of Bluewater. Even if you have recently upgraded to this new version, you need to do so again as there was a small issue with importing positions which the developers have now fixed. This version is also needed to save the field list in the prefs file, to save you specifying it every time you run Bluewater. I will refer you to the BWR manual for information on importing positions, rather than reproduce it all here, but I will mention that the position does not seem to show on the map until you specify a valid polar for it (them – you end up with a new route for each boat you import a position for) and usually you should specify the same polar as for the race, so you can generate a route and estimated finish time (or mark rounding time) for the other boat(s).
The application will refresh the text file containing the position data at an interval you specify, from every 10 minutes to every 2 hours, and re-importing the positions adds the latest position to the route for that boat, so you can also build up a ‘live’ route for the boats you are watching.
Application use is simple, and the ‘Start’ button is not activated until all necessary input data is provided.
- Enter your login details, and the Race List will become active
- Choose a race from the dropdown list, the left list box will then populate with the fleet.
- Double click a boat to list it in the right side list. This is the boats that will be included in the exported position list. You can also double-click a boat from this list to remove it.
- Specify an output file (this will be overwritten with later position reports), a good idea is to place it in the Bluewater installation folder, as this is where Bluewater first opens the browse dialog to when you tell it to import position. You MUST specify a file ending in .txt.
- Specify an update frequency. The default is every 15 minutes.
- Once this is done, the ‘Start’ button becomes enabled – clicking it starts the position reports being generated.
- Start then turns to ‘Stop’ to stop the process. Next to this button is a label that indicates how many reports have been written, ie “Writes: 1” – every time this increases you can import the positions into BWR again.
- If needed you can stop the tool, and change races. The fleet list will refresh and included boats will clear, so if you are importing regular positions it may be easier to run 2 instances of the tool.
Briefly, to import the positions select “Import Positions” from the File Menu, navigate to the file, confirm or enter the proper field list, leave the default separator of ‘,’ and click Continue. The first time in a race you do this, you will get an Import Error dialog, informing you there are no route names matching the boats listed in the positions file, asking you if you would like to create them – click Yes. As I mentioned, you will need to then go into each new route’s options and specify a polar file – obviously if you just want to positions shown on the BWR map you can enter any polar, but if you plan to compute any competitor routes you then need to make sure it is the right polar for the race.
Be mindful that when you first select a race, and also when you click Start – the application will pause momentarily to query the sailonline server for fleet data.
Download from here
I also recently discovered how to have a shortcut created on the Desktop when installing, so there will be one there and listed under ‘SOL Tools’ on the start menu.
NOTE: As pointed out by Bruce in the comments, the password field now masks the actual password text from display. Redownload from the same link if you already have the tool and want this ‘feature’.