AutoHoot Starting System
The AutoHoot automated starting system consists of a control box with a rotary on-off switch and a large push button for manually sounding the horn. There are also two LEDs and an internal beeper to indicate progress in the sequence. Although, this can replace a countdown watch, it would be wise to use one to avoid confusion.
On the side of the control box are 2 labeled toggle switches to select the wanted starting sequence. (not shown)
One toggle switch selects between the 3 minute club race and a 5 minute regatta sequence.
The second toggle switch selects between the sequences controlled by the switch above and the count-down sequence used for junior starts.
In addition, in the cabinet with the radio is a toggle switch to select between the air horn and the backup electric horn. This allows us to use the AutoHoot in the event the air horn is out of gas. It can be flipped even in mid sequence if there is an air horn problem.
When the RC is ready to begin and after confirming the switches are in appropriate position and all starting flags are at the ready, the AutoHoot is switched on. It will immediately sound 4 short blasts to alert the fleets that the first fleet warning signal is 1 minute away. The green LED indicates the AutoHoot is on. Starting sequences will repeat until switched off.
The internal beeper and LEDs will cue the RC when to deploy the flags. The first class flag should be at the ready.
Chart 1 - Minute before first class warning signal.
Following are LED and internal beeper signals during each minute of the starting sequences.
Chart 2 - each minute in starting sequence
*Hoot length is 1.5 sec. except at the 1 min. mark (prep flag down) when it is 3 sec.
The last 5 seconds before a signal is counted down with beeps to cue the flag display.
After the last fleet has started, the AutoHoot is to be switched off.
The horn button on the cord is still available to signal recalls and finishes as before. The large red button will also manually sound horn.
5 Minute regatta starts
Since there is a 3 minute pause between the preparatory flag hoist and downing, the cueing beeps and LED display differs from above. After the preparatory flag hoist, the LEDs are off and the internal beeper is silent until 2 min 30 seconds before the start when the cuing resumes.
Chart 3 - Cuing during pause while preparatory flag is displayed
Cueing proceeds as in chart 2 above.
At first look this may appear complicated, but when done once it will become intuitive.