The Finishing Line

Frequently Asked Questions

These Frequently Asked Questions may provide you with some answers to your own questions. They may also help you with ideas about how to get better use out of the system.

As questions are asked, they are added to the page, so keep an eye on it.

Q In a series result, how do I tell the system how many races to drop?
A

When setting up a Competition, there are 3 options for dropping races.

  • You can tell the system how races are to count. Above this number of completed races will cause the worst races to be dropped.
  • You can tell the system to drop one race after the completion of each set of a specifes number of races.
  • You can tell the system to drop a race after completion of the number of races listed (eg drop 1 after 5, 2 afer 7 etc) up to 5 drops.
   
Q I have been asked to show all the fleet in the results not just the one's competing on that day. How can I do this?
A

There is a tick box on the Systems options screen called "Show non-starters" which you tick to show DNC's in the results.

   
Q

Can I update handicaps after Consolidating a day's races?

A Handicap update works fine on a consolidated race provided that the handicap updating system you are using does not rely on BCYs or times. As you can appreciate, there is no BCY or race time associated with a consolidated race. So if you use a penalty type system for handicapping there will be no problem.
   
Q

We want to get a rating/yardstick result as well as a performance handicap result for our mixed fleets. How do we do this?

A You will need to set up 2 divisions and copy the boats across into both. The division for the rating result should be set up to not update handicaps. If both results are required each day then you set up the races for one division and copy them across to the other. There will be 2 separate results for the division.
   
Q

We are running a regatta and I have been asked if we can display mark roundings on Sportspage during each race.

A

Under Processing/Change Race Date you can put in the marks for which you want to record the roundings. Then as the boats round the mark, record the sail (or bow) numbers and hit update and publish.The boats (skippers) will be displayed on Sportspage. You can update as often as you like and the display will be updated.

As the computer may not be on the boat recording the roundings this may best be done using a radio or phone contact to shore or the start/finish boat.

   
Q

After each race I want to email the newly calculated handicaps to the fleet handicappers.

A For each fleet, you can put the email address of the handicapper into the Division Details.You also need to put your return email address into the System Options. After you have recalculated the handicaps, then select "Send email to handicappers" from the reports menu. This will send the Handicap Recalculations report to the named email address and also an amendment sheet on which the handicapper can make changes and return them to you. You can process the returned sheet using the "Import Handicaps" option on the handicap maintenance menu.
   
Q

I have found that the handicaps for boats in one of the fleets keeps creeping up. Is therre a way to keep them more stable?

A

There is a parameter called Normalise which you can include in the parameter set which does this for you. If you put in Normalise Allboats then the handicap of the scratch boat after each race will be set to the base handicap for the fleet and the handicaps of all other boats will be adjusted proportionally. However, there is a variation to this which you might like to consider: If you leave out the Allboats then instead of all boats being adjusted, only those boats which competed are adjusted. This overcomes the problem of boats which have not sailed for a while finding their handicaps have changed in their absence.

If you decide to use this feature, then I recommend that you let the fleet sailors know about it so they don't have to wonder about why handicaps changed the way they did.

   
Q

I am using Finishing Line for a Regatta. Is there anything special I should do?

A

There is a flag in Systems Options which you should tick. This will allow use of certain features which are specific to a regatta. It will put the skipper's club in the html results (if it is an international regatta, you can channge the Organisation type in System Options to Country and put the country in place of the club). It will put an extra menu item on to Race Day Processing to allow input and uploading to Sportspage of Mark Roundings.

   
Q Our club is running multiple short course races. We want give out pennants to the overall winners both handicap and scratch on the day and carry the handicap result as a single race into a Short Course Series competition. If we run more than 3 races on the day then only the best 3 results are to be included. We also want the first heat to be a Consistency race with the handicaps being updated.
A

You need to set up the Short Course Series competition as a handicap competition. Then use Maintain Races to add a Multiple Race Day for each day that you are running the short course races. On this screen you identify the short course series competition to receive the consolidated handicap result. The races for the heats are set up and also a consolidated race. The heats are given a day number of 1 upwards and the consolidated race is given a day number of blank.

As you want to include the first heat in your consistency competition, you need to modify the first heat for each race day to update the handicaps and also add it to the Consistency competition.

On the race day you process each race in turn, including updating the handicaps for the first race. Any races which you scheduled but which were not raced should be marked as abandoned. When the last heat has been processed, go to the blank day number and calculate the result for the consolidated race.

When you print out the HTML results for the day, the consolidated result is shown along with a link to the individual heats.

   
Q

I am new to the Finishing Line and am a bit confused by which boxes to tick when setting up the system?

A Where possible the Finishing Line defaults to the most common options. The Help system describes the various fields and their use.
   
Q

What operating systems does The Finishing Line work under?

A

The Finishing Line works under all Windows operating systems up to Windows 10.

   
Q What does the BCY LIMIT parameter do?
 

The BCY LIMIT parameter has been introduced to assist in smoothing ou the fluctuations in the BCYs and hence habdicaps.

The problem with the BCY is that, due to circumstances a boat can get an unrealistically high or low BCY which may then affect their handicap for several weeks.The BCY LIMIT parameter is a new parameter which sets limits on the amount the BCY can vary from the boat's current handicap.

There are 3 percentages:
A (by default set to 92% of the current handicap)
B (set to 96% of current handicap)
C (set to 104% of current handicap).
If a boat's BCY is less than A, then the calculation is not used and the boat carries forward the current handicap.
If the BCY is less than B (but not less than A) then the BCY is set to the value of B (i.e. 96% of current handicap)
If the BCY is greater than C then the BCY is set to the value of C (i.e. 104% of current handicap)
The BCY is then used to calculate the new handicap as per your current parameters.

The defaults are those used by VYC, but you can vary them to suit your particular fleets.

By using this method, you should be able to smooth out the lumps which can cause some consternation in the fleet, both to the affected boat and to other competitors.

To implement this parameter, all you need to do is to add a line to the handicap parameters for each Division and to the master set of parameters under Set up/Handicap Systems.

The parameter is:
Parameter Id: BCY
Parameter Value 1: LIMIT
Parameter Value 2: 92
Parameter Value 3: 96
Parameter Value 4: 104

   
Q I have a boat which is in 2 divisions but sometimes only competes in one division. How do I stop the boat appearing in the results of the other division?
A You can give a different Finishing Code to the boat in each division. Go to Finish Details and double click on the Finishing Code for the relvant boat. You will see down the bottom a list (usually 2) of the divisions in which the boat competes. If you want to stop the boat from being in the results for one of the divisions, put in a code of DNC against that division.
   
Q How can I get rid of all the temporary files which are created in the sub-folders for each database?
A

You can use the "Clean Up text and HTML files"option under File/Utilities. This will clear out all .csv, .htm and .txt files for your current database.

 

   
Q

I am adding a new boat to a Division. How do I manage its handicap?

A The suggested approach is to put the boat on scratch for the first 3 races and then assess its handicap. I f you are using a TCF handicap system you can put in a parameter of NEWBOAT into the handicap parameters and this will take care of it for you. See Help under Handicap Parameters and scroll down to NEWBOAT.
   
Q

How can I get a copy of The Finishing Line?

A

Send an email to Patrick Colquhoun at Rossdhu@iinet.net.au with your mailing details.

 

   
Q

What will The Finishing Line cost me?

A

If you are a member of YAWA then only the cost of shipping the CD to you. If not a member of YAWA then talk to Patrick about the cost. There is an annual maintenace fee which provides you with updates, support and the ability to display your results on Sportspage.

 

   
Q

I want to download the latest version but my copy is several versions old. Is this a problem?

A

No. The latest update contains all the previous updates and will apply them when you open each database database.

 

   
Q

I have the latest version and I want to open last years database. Will it work OK?

A

Yes. The last years database will be brought up to the current level when you open it.

 

   
Q

How do I take a copy of my database home to work on and then bring it back to the club?

A

Firstly, you must have the same version of The Finishing Line on both the club and your home computer.

Take a backup (File/Backup) from the club onto a floppy disk and restore it (File/Restore) on your home computer. Make sure that both the back up and the restore are done BEFORE you log on, as the database must be closed when it is copied.

 

   
Q

How do I make a Test copy of my database?

A

The database to be used as the basis for the Test database must closed. So open a different database (File/Open) and then exit the system. Now go back in and log on. Go to File/New database, put in the name you want to give the new database and tick the box to copy an existing database. The test database will be an exact copy of the one you selected.

 

   
Q

What should I at do at the start of a new season?

A

This is my suggested strategy:

•  Load The Finishing Line but do not Log On.

•  Use File/New database to create the database for the new season.  Enter a name for the new database and tick the box which asks whether you want to copy an existing database. By default it will make a copy of you current database. Click OK

•  From the displayed screen select last year's database and click on Open.  Make sure it is the .mdb file you select and not the folder with the same name (the database has a key icon beside it).

•  This will create and open a new database which is an exact copy of last years.

•  Now Log On to the new database.

Open the new database and use File/Utilities/Purge data to get rid of all the previous years results, races etc. (Remember you can still go back to the last years database if you want to refer to it again). You will note that the last 5 BCYs may be carried forward to provide the start for handicaps for the coming year. I suggest you always carry the 5 forward as the system also uses the BCYs do determine if a boat is a New boat or not./

I suggest you also run File/Utilities/Clean up Race Calendar and File/Utilities/Clean up text and html files to get rid of old data.

At some point it is worth while running File/Utilities/Compact database to reclaim deleted space and reduce the size of your database (database must be closed to run this utility).

You are now ready to put in your races for the new season. All handicaps have been carried forward and boats and parameters are still the same.

If you are using Sportspage to display your results, after entering the race calendar you should go into Set up/Set up website and click on update result pages. This will put up stubs for each race and progressive result as well as the fixture list.

   

Q

How do I change the sequence in which the boats are listed in the “Print Results” or other reports?

A

Go to File/Utilities/Report Sort Sequence. A number of reports are listed which may be sorted into different pre-determined sequences. Double click on the report name to change to a different sequence.

 

 

 

Q

In The Finishing Line there are Divisions and Competitions. I am confused as to when I should use a Competition and when I need a new Division.

A

As a general principle, a Division races as a single fleet and has only one handicap. If you want to produce 2 sets of results based on different handicaps then you will need to set up separate Divisions.

An example of where you need separate Divisions would be in Off shore racing where boats have both a YAH and an IRC handicap.

An example of where you would use Competitions is where a fleet has a Consistency competition running through the season and several shorter duration Competitions (Spring/Summer series etc).

It is also not necessary for all boats to be included in each competition.. Say you have a normal club race with consistency points but this is also an invitation to other clubs, then you would set up a separate competition for the invitation with all boats included, but only include club boats in the consistency competition.

 

Q

How many characters may I put into a Sail number?

A

The Sail number field will hold a maximum of 10 characters. These may be a combination of letters and numbers.

 

 

 

Q

I am running a regatta with boats from different countries. How do I show the country on the result sheets?

A

In System Options, make sure you have Regatta ticked and change Organisation from Club to Country. Now under Set Up you can enter the Country names. As details of each boat are entered you select the country. This will appear on all HTML reports.

 

 

 

Q

I have calculated a race result but have used a wrong handicap. When I change the handicap and recalculate the results there is no difference. Why does the system not use the new handicap?

A

Because you want to be able to go back later and recalculate a result, the system stores the handicap (and fall number) which applied when you first calculated the result. If you want to change a handicap for a boat in a particular race then go to Race Day Processing/Processing/Review Finish Details. This displays the handicaps which have been used in that race. You can use a menu option to modify a particular handicap, or can reset all handicaps to the handicaps which are current in the Boat Register.

 

 

 

Q

I am running a regatta and have been asked to pull out sub-sets of results for Juniors and Masters. The points are to be those allocated in the championship result.

A

To do this you use Special Divisions. Go to Maintenance/Division/Modify Division and tick the box marked Special Divisions. Now got to Maintain Division/Special Divisions and Add as many special divisions as required. In this case, one for Juniors and one for Masters. You can now use Maintenance/Division/Boats/Maintain Boats/Special Divisions to enter the boats into the required special division. You will find that on certain screens and reports you can now request output of a Special Division instead of the full fleet.

 

 

 

Q

On Saturday I have been asked to run a handicap start using Fall numbers. The across-the-line result is to be the correct result. What do I do?

A

First make sure in Division Maintenance that the box “Handicap Start Correction” is not ticked.

Now set up the Race with a Start Type of Handicap start.

Go to Fall Numbers/Recalculate Fall Numbers. This screen allows you to calculate a Fall Number for each boat based on their current handicap. Decide on how long you expect the race to be for either the first or last boat, set the parameters accordingly and press Calculate. You can repeat this until you are happy with the result and then press Update to store the fall number for each boat. You can print a Fall Number sheet to give to competitors and for checking the start.

The Base Fall number in the System Options is set to the highest Fall Number. This is also the Start time for the race.

Enter Finish Times in the usual way and print results. The Elapsed time is the actual time each boat took to go round the course while the Corrected time (and position) is the over the line result taking account of the fall numbers. The Corrected Time result is the one which appears on the Summary Sheet.

 

 

 

Q

How can I do an assessment to see how the boats in my fleet are performing against their handicap?

A

If you go to Maintenance/Division/Handicaps/Display BCYs you display the handicap result for each boat showing their handicap and their BCY. The BCY is a theoretical handicap which if applied for a race would see all boats achieving exactly the same corrected time. Thus it is useful as a quick indicator of how well the boat is performing to its handicap. If the handicap is much higher than the BCY then the boat will be underperforming. Conversely, if the handicap is significantly lower than the BCY then the boat is probably performing well against the rest of the fleet.

 

 

 

Q

How are you allowed to describe wind strength in Race Day processing?

 

 

A

There are no laid down rules for recording wind strength and direction. It is only there for you reference when doing later analysis of boat performance.

 

Q

Should I update handicaps after a Handicap Start?

A

My preference is not to update handicaps following a handicap start but having said that there is nothing to stop it being done. I feel that the conditions are likely to give a quite different result to a Normal race and thus to update the handicaps based on it is a bit irrelevant.

 

 

 

Q

I have moved my Finishing Line programs into a different directory and now I can't display results in WORD or Excel.

A

Check that the name of the directory where you have put the Finishing Line and all higher level directories, does not have any spaces in it.

 

Q

I have recently updated my computer and reloaded The Finishing Line. Now I can't display results in WORD or EXCEL.

 

 

A

In your new computer, Microsoft has changed the location of where you find Excel (and WORD).  Have a look in My Computer to find where the programs Excel.exe and Winword.exe are stored (Program Files/Microsoft Office/Officexx). Now go into The Finishing Line/ Set Up Wizard and go through until you come to the screen where it shows the paths to Excel and WORD.  Change the path accordingly and test to make sure it works.

 

 

 

Q

How do I apply a Mediation penalty where the points are half way between those due for the place the boat finished and points for disqualification?

A

On the Penalty/Redress screen, if you give the boat a Points Penalty of MED then the points will be allocated in the manner you are requesting.

 

 

 

Q

Is there a MAC version of The Finishing Line?

A

Sorry but the answer is NO.

 

 

 

Q

I have not downloaded a new version of The Finishing Line from Sportspage for some time. Does this mean that I need to download all the updates which there have been since I last downloaded?

 

 

A

No, you only need to download the latest version. All the intermediate ones are incorporated.

 

 

 

Q

We had a regatta on the weekend where we ran a Championship and Consistency competition. The problem we found is that the winners of the Championship also won the Consistency how do we reward the middle and back end of the fleet?

A

With regard to spreading the trophies around the competitors, this is always a bit of a problem because it depends on weather conditions during the regatta as well as individual performances. To overcome this we (at SoPYC) now write into the sailing instructions that overall winners in the championships will not be eligible for consistency prizes. Then you can simply eliminate them from the results. Within the Finishing Line you can do this by going to Maintenance/Division/Maintain Divisions/Competitions/Choose Boats and take out the championship winners from the Consistency competition. This may sound like a bit of a cop out, but it takes away a lot of headaches at a time when you are desperately trying to get a result out.

 

 

 

Q

At our club, if a boat does not compete in a race because it is away at a State or National Championship, it can be awarded Average Points. How does The Finishing Line handle Average Points?

A

There are 2 ways of calculating Average points – it can either be the average of all races in which a boat has finished during the season or the average of the last x races in which it has finished. In The Finishing Line this is controlled by a parameter in the relevant Points System.

When you want to apply Average Points, put in a Finishing Code of AVG. The boat will receive DNC points until you run a Progressive Result. The average will then be calculated on what ever races have been completed using the parameter as specified in the Points System. See the Help system for details of the parameter.

 

 

 

Q

When using the OLP points system for our club racing, I have been asked to use the feature specified in the Blue Book to give non-finishers points based on the number of starters instead of the number of competitors. How do I do this?

A

If you look at the Points System parameters for OLP you will see that there is a parameter for Non-Finishers and another one for Non-starters. If you change the Non-Finishers to STARTERS+1 then (instead of FLEET+1) then you will achieve the desired result.

In later versions of the template database supplied with The Finishing Line, there are 2 Points Systems for OLP to cover this situation. One is called OLP and the other OLP-LONG.

 

 

 

Q

For the regatta I am running I have been asked to do the following: -"Handicaps will initially be determined by back calculation using the finishing times from the first three races. A boat's handicap may be adjusted for its result in each subsequent race." How do I do this?

A

There is a feature in The Finishing Line called Average Handicaps which does exactly what you are asking for.  It will collect the BCYs over the first 3 races and then calculate an average handicap which is applied from the first race.  Place getters are then penalised as per the parameters from race 1 onwards.  Have a read of Average Handicaps in the Help system and this should guide you through the set up.

 

 

Q

When I attempt to Update Handicaps I get the following error.

"GP14-YARDSTICK parameter not found". This then results in a Run-Time Error (11) and it bombs out.

A

A yardstick parameter is expected for all TCF type of handicap updating. The master copy of the handicap parameters is accessed from Set Up/Handicap Systems and the particular parameters for the Division are accessed via Maintain Division/Handicap parameters.  I suggest that you put the following parameter in both places:

YARDSTICK  CT  1  4

This will calculate a BCY (back calculated yardstick) for each boat based on a yardstick of the average corrected time of the 1 st 4 boats.

 

 

 

Q

When I load Finishing Line it comes up with a box saying I need to change my time to a 24 hour clock. How do I d this?

A

On your Windows Start Menu select Control Panel and then Regional and Language Options. On the Regional Options panel select Customise and then select the Time Tab. From the dropdown list of Time Formats, select HH:mm:ss. Now press OK and you have a 24 hour clock. In later versions the entry in the Control Panel is called "Change keyboard or other input methods". Then select Formats.