Start sequence

What kind of electronics do you use to play your start sequence? I was using a CD player but with more people bouncing the dock it skips. I tried an MP3 player but you have to push to many buttons to get it to the start again. I’m thinking of a Walkman(they have anti-skip) but I thought I’d check and see what others do.

Hi Don,

I have a ‘new to us’ boom box that seems more stable and less prone to vibration. It may have the anti-skip feature.

Another possibility is that I have seen a model of a boom box with a USB port. If we put just the one track on a USB stick then that may be a good solution.

We can try my boom box in early April once I am back home.


I made a Cassette tape once with a copy of the starting sequence on each side. I first measured a bout 2 minutes plus a little and then cut off the tape there, discarded the extra part and attached the short section to the take-up wheel. To play it you just push the play button and it stops itself at the end. The tape player was patched into a battery-powered bullhorn.

BTW- are you using the “AMYA version” with the annoying knocking sound, or are you going with what’s required by the rules?

Thanks Tom
At the moment I’m useing the AMYA one. It serves the purpose.

Hi TomoHawk,

What do you think is wrong with the AMYA version? The only thing that I hear that is included, but not required is an aural at 15 seconds, otherwise, to me it sounds like it meets the requirements. I don’t think that the extra comment would invalidate it, whereas something missing may be a bigger problem.


I think Rule E 3.5 is fairly self-explanatory

Audible signals for starting a heat shall be at one-minute intervals and shall be a warning signal, a preparatory signal and
a starting signal. During the minute before the starting signal, oral signals shall be made at ten-second intervals, and during
the final ten seconds at one-second intervals. Each signal shall be timed from the beginning of its sound.

So all the extra oral announcements and the knocking sounds aren’t required. Rule E 3.5 even tells you which audible signals there shall be. the 15-second countdown at the end isn’t called for, but it’s minimal and after 2 minutes of mostly silence, it seems reasonable. It puts more pressure on the skipper to be able to keep track of time for himself, but that can be earned, as we did driving scale tugs and such. It’s not that much of an effort, because you’re not in a dingy, with the rudder in one hand, the sheet in the other, and your feet hooked under the hiking strap, etc., etc.

Somewhere, ages ago, there was a DIY-build countdown timer with a digital chip. Maybe in Model Yachting magazine. The club in Irvine, CA used one. No moving parts.

How about this…

One of those digital memo recorders should work just as good as an MP3 player. You just need to turn it on for every heat, or disable the auto-shutoff. Mine will stay on until you turn it off, but it wasn’t cheap.

The MP3 player Don mentioned should work just fine as well, but you have to disable the sleep timer, possibly even each day, before the event. I once had one that worked like the one Don mentioned; after it went to sleep (turned itself off) you had to turn it on again, then reload the MP3 playlist (which is only the one file) and then start the player, even if it was the only file on the device:mad: The cassette tape idea worked perfectly, but people complained that they didn’t want to flip the tape for each heat? People preferred to catch the silence between recordings and press the stop button, or rewind the tape to find the end of the last recording?) yeesh. :grumpy:

It’s all dependent on the MP3 player. I know of one that requires 7 button pushes, while another just needs 2 to restart the desired file.

If you don’t like the AMYA files, go roll your own

7 Keypresses? Either it was not the best decision for buying an MP3 player or somebody has bad judgment in gift-giving. :wink:

Hi guys,

I’m a Sound Engineer… laptop out into a little hi-fi with an aux input. You can get almost any cable variation. There’s also an ap I saw for the i-phone that looks like it could work.
If anyone needs loops of audio files or anything like that let me know. I can pretty much make them however you want

Laptop? Hi-Fi? Cables? That sounds a little like you’re putting on a rock concert. All we need is a little sound player (MP3 player that won’t turn itself off) a simple patch cable and a $2 boombox. The boats are incredibly simple, the sound player sould be too.

Don’t engineers usually over-design things, and hobbyists ultra-simplify? :zbeer: :wink:

Since I’m just wishing. What I would like is:

  1. Loud. What seems loud in a room just doesn’t cut it on a windy dock.

  2. Simple. One button operation. It can power down to save batteries but must start up and play with one button push.

  3. Large button with “PLAY” written on it so any old fart can operate it.

  4. Ugly plywood box so no one will steal it.

  5. CD(with anti skip) or solid state. I’m thinking a Walkman with a small amp.

Feel free to add features. Maybe some engineer can design something that we could build.


This is what I used when I was RD:

Loud: a battery-powered Bullhorn from Radio Shack

Simple: A cassette tape player with a custom cassette with a copy of the start sequence on each side. The cassette player is connected to the Bullhorn’s Microphone input with a simple patch cable.

The hardest thing would be to flip the tape and press the Play button. The bullhorn can be left on the whole time, unless you want to turn it off for lunch. I think the bullhorn uses 12V so you could have a small gell-cell for that, and a toggle switch.

There are digital recorders/players out there that are just as simple as pressing a play button. You just don’t find those in the stores because the kids want MP3/video players instead. It might be something you would need to get a (digital gadget guru) to make. My digital voice memo thing has only a play and record button on it, so it’s about as easy to use as you can get. It just has an 80 second capacity.

You could probably put it all in a box to protect it from the elements. A shelf near the top with a lid gives access to the tape player and the bullhorn’s power switch.

Honestly it’s easy…

Any small boom box with an “Aux input”
Take a little headphone connector jack out of your laptop (that can be chained to your desk etc) and plug into the input called “Aux” on the boombox.Set boombox to aux in… Click click on the file and …cue drum roll please…ta-dah.

You can use mediaplayer on the blaptop or i-tunes…they both have the mandatory big play button. I suppose battery life could be an issue (shouldn’t if you only use it for start sequences)

Want it louder…get bigger boombox.

You could use the oldest laptop in the world and it should work well. Then when you get into it, you can start playing soothing songs whilst sailing around or possibly even sounds of the ocean…I have samples lol…seagulls and all :stuck_out_tongue:

And yes… a cassette deck is probably simpler. And have you tried resting the cd player on a thick piece of sponge to absorb the shocks from the ground through the table? Really fancy would be a little frame with strings attached that the cd player sits on., effectively isolating the player from any vibrations on the floor…sorry, overkill again

Hey Don, no jokes, put the speakers upwind and aim them at the guys so the sound travels with the wind…high frequencies get seriously affected by the wind. Might help you out a bit.

I think this device might work for this purpose. It even has a switch for the power, so I think it will stay on.

Did you read the comments?