YOTREPS 2.0 ? Love at second sight…

The YOTREPS module

The YOTREPS module

Have you ever fooled around the AirMail program and found this “module” under, surprise surprise, the MODULES tab? I have been getting a lot of inspiration from it, which in turn has got me thinking about ways to change around the Southbound Evening Net.

Or maybe it was the other way around: I was looking for inspiration on how to change how we do things and then found, or rather, rediscovered  the YOTREPS thingy.

It is love at second sight.


YOTREPS is a yacht-reporting protocol.
It was conceived and created by Mike Harris. (If you have no idea what it is,  a good briefing, read this.)

What does it report? everything that can be filled in, or selected, in the form. Weather, sea state,  your position, what your barometer is reading, how cold the water is. The report form is included in the AirMail program, written by Jim Corenman, one of the founders of the SailMail Association. The reports are generally sent via a high frequency radio aboard vessels that have no access to the Internet, and are received by a server.  There is a flow chart of the system below, under the comment form, at the bottom of this page.

The data entered into the form focus on very important stuff, especially weather reports – especially since we can use these to improve  forecasts by sending the reports to NOAA and elsewhere. This lets forecasters use our observations to compare them with what their models are predicting. That’s important.

But I also love the notion that we can use it to help communicate with one another about  everything else that’s important to us in this cruising life (this is not normally considered a regular function of it).

The everything else button is not exactly labeled as such on the YOTREPS form, so finding it takes a bit of digging.  It is hiding in plain sight –  right here.YOTREPScomment

You may have to open the dialog box a bit to see it, depending on  your computer screen resolution,  but here it is:  a simple comment field.  In this case I have added the hashtag #Puerto Escondido.  (Unfortunately at the present time the comment field can only accept 60 characters, but that, along with other design/system elements could be changed).

If you are a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram the whole hashtag thing will be familiar.  (click on the word “hashtag” above and you’ll get a quick read from Wikipedia).

Anyway, the hashtag #PuertoEscondido will among other things, take you to this lovely photo of the once-popular hidden port located just south of the Baja California community of Loreto, where, btw, they do so have fuel.  Once you have access to the Internet, of course.

Puerto Escondido, BCS

Doesn’t this set your heart a-flutter, like it does mine?  why not???

Because here’s the thing that seems so remarkable to me.  Many of us on boats blog.  Some of us have set up our blogs so we can add posts through our HF radios.  But one of the limitations of blogs is that they are constructed like silos.  You post on your blog and those you love, your friends, and perhaps envious workmates can see what you are up to. They come to your silo, your record of your personal experiences and insights.  To see what other boats are up to, you have to find other silos.

Sailblogs has tried to change this by not only hosting many blogs, but by designing in various ways to group them, including the creation of sailblog groups.  For example, take the sailblog group, Blue Water Circumnavigators.   It looks like to me it’s the biggest group, with 96 members.  But the last post was November, 2013, and it was one of three for all of 2013.

It’s easy to see why it doesn’t work.  It does not use the spectacularly successful conventions of social media. It turns out that it is a mega-silo,  a silo-of-silos.Silos-Three1

It doesn’t have to be this way.  We can begin sharing important information – weather, environmental issues, navigational hazards;   and all sorts of other meaningful observations.

YOTREPS:   ya gotta love it.   (Or tell me why not, below.)




YOTREPS flow chart





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