One of the main reasons for doing the Derby in addition to fun competition is to give you all practice in how the SPOT messages are to be used. We are using SPOT OK and CUSTOM messages as checkpoint arrival time stamps and to mark your major turning points along the course. Almost all of the Derby entries so far have had some misuse of SPOT messages and that includes my own. Please read carefully.
- SPOT is required for all WaterTribe events. Although the TRACKING SUBSCRIPTION is recommended, it is not required. You can comply with all event rules with the basic SPOT functions. This is one benefit of making the PLB a requirment for all participants.
- If you have the tracking subscription, your SPOT should be in tracking mode the entire time you are on the water or on a portage. If you are coming into a place where you intend to stop (checkpoint, campsite, anchorage, marina, etc.) turn off tracking about 10 minutes before you get there. Then send an OK or CUSTOM message when you arrive.
- Send an OK message just before you leave the beach. If you have tracking, wait till this OK message is done before you turn tracking on. This can sometimes take 30 minutes so be patient.
- Send an OK message at each major turn IF you plan to be on that course for longer than 30 minutes. If you are tacking, just leave your SPOT in tracking mode. If you have a SPOT 2 in tracking mode, you can just hit the OK button and the SPOT will automatically switch back to tracking when the OK is complete.
- Send an OK message if a major storm front passes you and you emerge safe.
- Send an OK message if you capsize and recover. You get the idea. When stuff happens and you are OK, send an OK message. This will help you tell your tales after the event is over.
- Send a CUSTOM message if you are stopping to camp or to anchor. If you have an old SPOT that doesn't have CUSTOM, hit the OK instead. Remember that if you are stopping, shut off tracking about 30 minutes before stopping. Then hit the message button. After it is done, turn it off.
- Send an OK or CUSTOM message when the bow of your boat touches land at a checkpoint. This OK or CUSTOM message is your checkin. You have to stay at the checkpoint at least until your message completes.
- Sending a HELP message means you are safe and dropping out. This should only be sent on land. Any HELP message while on the water will indicate to race management that you have actually sent an SOS. You should follow any HELP message with a phone call to your shore contact. Your shore contact should then call race management. I will discuss this in more detail at the captains meeting. Of course, you can define your own meaning of the HELP message outside of the actual event. Maybe it tells your family to come and pick you up. In the event - dropping out. Outside the event - up to you.
For the Derby, pretend that your starting point is the start of the race and send an OK message at the start of your training session. Pretend that your ending point is the end of the race and send an OK message to checkin. Send OK messages at your major turning points. Note that even if you start and end at the same spot you need to send the starting and ending OK messages. Using tracking mode is not required but it will give you mileage credit for when you have lots of undocumented turns like tacking or a river.
If you do it right, you can look at your track on the mapper. Use the option of showing your track and just the messages. It should be easy to pick the starting and ending OK message waypoints and send them to me by email to get your Derby credit.
I know that all sounds very complicated. But it is actually very simple. Let's all go out and paddle this week.