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Old 06 October 2013, 07:07   #31
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Originally Posted by ShinyShoe View Post
With modern tech this should be easier and easier. AIS was interesting from afar - although only 3 RIBs had it. With a tablet, 3G and possibly the ability for the support vehicle to receive its own AIS it might have been even better.

Ignoring the legalities, I assume you could use DSC possition polling to do the same thing as well. So Support moves along shore to some ideally pre-determined vantage points (I'm sure locals could make suggestions on here ahead of time) and is able to track the fleet.
Like a lot of "furringers" you have some illusions about the west of Ireland that need to be dispelled.

"Internet AIS" coverage is patchy there because it is initially uploaded by amateurs. They have both good and bad locations and so there are gaps and shadows in their reception. Kit may be down for days. Their broadband may be off. The west of Ireland is poorly served in this respect.

The entire western half of the country has a basic main road network, most of which avoids the coast. Trying to "meet the fleet" at a headland is not a thing that would work on a daily basis.

3G - that's a good one!
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Old 06 October 2013, 07:10   #32
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Personally I'd prefer to explore the Irish Coast at my speed (or with a few friends) rather than having to race round to the organiser's itinerary.

I agree (quick mark it on the calendar) Boating for us is all about enjoying the view & exploring new places. Personally I don't particularly want to beat the crap out of meself & the boat just to get somewhere before someone else does. But that's just me, each to their own
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Old 06 October 2013, 08:36   #33
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"Internet AIS" coverage is patchy there because it is initially uploaded by amateurs. They have both good and bad locations and so there are gaps and shadows in their reception. Kit may be down for days. Their broadband may be off. The west of Ireland is poorly served in this respect.
Oh I know all the pitfalls of Internet AIS, hence why I suggested the support vehicle might want to be able to fill the gaps...

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The entire western half of the country has a basic main road network, most of which avoids the coast.
I have driven parts of it. I'd agree its not the most sophisticated road network, and perhaps doing it with a 7m RIB trailer (even empty) on the back might make it even more challenging. There are good parts of it that the road network does cover the coast though. Although doing headlands might mean 30mile journey up a dead end...

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Trying to "meet the fleet" at a headland is not a thing that would work on a daily basis.
?? Better to get the RIBs to use a smartphone to send the possition data in then... You ideally want something that doesn't require active work from the RIB crew as they will loose track of time and then coz alarm when they haven't checked in... ...might end up getting towed by a lifeboat when you didn't really need to be...

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3G - that's a good one!
Haven't been for a while. Maybe I assumed it'd have improved since I was there... Vodafone reports coverage in most of the west for phone and not that bad for 3G. O2 looks like its a joke... but maybe its vodafone thats taking the micky!

Now had I said 4G that'd have been a joke!!! ;-)

The actual data requirement would be low its only a few characters for an MMSI, a time & date and a Long Lat, so could work with 9600kbps or even 4800 on a basic mobile voice link. You'd just need some means to map it all... If you can make the mapping part available offline you can survice without G. Simillar issue for DSC pos polling... ...just plot it on a standard bit of plotting software rather than using google maps. There is an API available on marinetraffic.com that would let you just get the positional data... provided marinetraffic had it.
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Old 06 October 2013, 08:43   #34
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You'd be altogether better off with a Yellowbrick type system arranged for all participants by the organizer.
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Old 06 October 2013, 09:31   #35
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Well I like the concept but:

The LinleySwann RI boat had one - he was offline more often than he was on. Which considering its a self contained unit makes no sense (unless he wanted to be off for some reason . I think he had charging issues.

I think Willk was "proposing" this as a smaller scale venture. 1 4x4, 4 boats so no organiser to speak of. While that means you might only need 4 yellow bricks, that means you still have to find money for 4 yellow bricks which is even less likely to come from sponsorship. Not sure what they cost to hire for a couple of weeks. The operating cost for an owned unit is 8/month, 0.10 per pos report for the number you might want. Assuming you are afloat for 80 hours (8 hours a day, 10days) and send a report every 15 mins, you'd need 32 of credit. So its costing you 40 for the data plus your share of the unit... No idea what that'd be but doubt it'll be cheap. I'd expect the total cost to be c. 100. But it doesn't actually help you navigate on the water. It has some overlap with a PLB but isn't as certain to get you help. Your shore support still needs to be able to connect to the t'internet to know whats happening. If its your distress beacon you need it in your pocket which may reduce signal quality but means its also not constantly charging. And the yellow brick will then send the 'alert' message by SMS. If thats to the support vehicle then thats not reliable. Sometimes SMSs just never arrive for soem reason. More likely its delayed because your signal is weak.

If you don't want it as a means to navigate on the water or distress only to let people follow the action then I'd say the marinetracking iAIS ap would do the trick for you provided the at sea coverage of 2G was good enough... If all4 boats were using it and go round a corner and stop sending data then its probably a safe bet they all lost signal... or hit a ship!
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Old 06 October 2013, 10:53   #36
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I think Willk was "proposing" this as a smaller scale venture. 1 4x4, 4 boats so no organiser to speak of.
"proposing" in inverted commas is spot on

As regards the support vehicle needing to keep an eye on the "fleet", I was more thinking about it being in the right place at the right time, not tracking every boat every minute. The boats should be able to look after themselves, but by texting base at certain check points they could let the vehicle know how the day was going. Some of those days are long!

I'd have thought that a PLB on each boat and maybe an AIS transponder somewhere in the fleet would suffice.

A Note: The comms in the RI were brutal. I can't overstate the importance of a good VHF setup. Some boats had very poor comms - bad antennae, broken antennae, water in sets, water in mics, blown fuses. I'd be optimising any kit I had before a venture like that.
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