Why is this page here and not on the WOA website?Recently the Westsail Owners' Association website was moved to a new server that would allow the site to be more easily updated and maintained. While the basic content was successfuly transferred into the new site, a new Forum was started from scratch and the old Forum was converted to a collection of 41 PDF documents.
Most of the Westsails are somewhere around 35 years old. They were well-built boats and most of the boats that were built are still sailing today... many half way 'round the world. But like all classic sailboats, they will all have problems over time, and most of the problems are relatively similar from boat to boat. There's a fair degree of likelihood that any problem that might come up has already been tackled by another owner. It's also fairly likely that the solution is buried somewhere in the archives of the Forum.
Long ago, I started downloading and archiving the entire Westsail.org website, with periodic refreshes. I did this mainly because I wanted a localized version of the site that I could access while cruising remote corners of the world, with limited access to the Internet. Perhaps the biggest benefit, however, has been the major improvement in my ability to search more than 11,000 posts efficiently.
It's likely that the old forum data could have been integrated with the new application, creating one contiguous and searchable source of information. But this would have required substantial programming and data manipulation and the decision was made by the WOA to take the current course. I therefore created this application as a means to preserve the seven years worth of resources that I consider to be incredibly valuable information for current and future Westsail owners. I hope you find it as useful as I have.
1975 Westsail 32, Hull #438
Thread: "Westsail Support Network"
12,268 posts on 2,444 threads • From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012
How to Make an Effective Search
Primary Settings and Expectations
- Search "How" - There are two basic ways to make a search for content on this site and the methods will typically give you very different results.
- If you search with a "How" setting of "Text Strings", your search will look for one or more occurrences of the individual words, but these words need not be adjacent to one another. This method will typically give you the greatest number of results.
- If you search with a "How" setting of "Full Phrase", your submitted search words must all appear in the post, and they must be also be contiguous, and they must appear in the exact order entered. This setting will typically give you the most specific results, but understand that users do not always type things the way you expect.
- Search "Which" - You can modify your search results by determining whether or not all words in your search string must appear in the result set.
- If you search with a "Which" setting of "Any Word", your search will look for occurrences of one or more of the individual words. This method will typically give you the largest result set.
- If you search with a "Which" setting of "All Words", your search will look only for occurrences where all words appear. This method will typically give you the most specific result set and is a good way to limit results where one or more of the words is fairly common.
- Search "Where" - Determine which sections of the messages contain your search string.
- If you search with a "Where" setting of "Message Text", your search will look for occurrences only within the body of the message. This method will typically give you a smaller result set, but the does not give you unwanted results where the search string appears in a given user's screen name.
- If you search with a "Where" setting of "Text & Author", your search will add matches in the user name section to search results. This is especially useful where you want to find all occurrences of posts by a given user.
- Search "What" - This is where you must enter the word or words you wish to find.
- Simply enter the word or words you want to find into the box, separating the words by single spaces.
Additional Settings & Notes
- Capitalization - All searches are performed in a case-insensitive manor. As such, proper capitalization is not a requirement for any match to be successful.
- Punctuation - All non-alphanumeric characters (excluding spaces) are removed from the string, prior to the search. Also, the search is performed against a special search record which has been treated similarly. This assures that items are not omitted due to differences in punctuation, etc.
- Special Terms - There are special situations where non-punctuation searches are not productive. Take the example of a search for Perkins 4-108. This phrase would actually not be found because one of the resulting words ("4") is only a single character in length. Therefore, the search is also performed against the entire phrase at the same time. This example is somewhat special in its own right, because the phrase is sometimes found as Perkins 4.108 and sometimes as Perkins 4-108. It would be beneficial, therefor, to search it both ways.
- Partial Words - In order to maximize efficiency, the search engine was designed to search partial words as well. For example, if you try to find information on anchoring but don't get sufficient results, you can simply search on the word anchor. This will return results for anchoring as well.
- "Stop Words" - Google, like most other search sites, does not consider extremely common words when executing a search. This practice speeds up searching and reduces unintentional matches. These filtered words are known as stop words. While the list changes from time to time, there are currently over 650 such "Stop Words". The Westsail.info site follows the same practice when performing a string search, but performst the search as entered in a phrase search.
- Start Broad - For best results, start your searches very broad (only the most important key words) and add additional words to reduce results. If you are searching for something very specific, change the setting from Words to Phrase.
Westsail Support Network
I was going through the membership area of the website and found a sizable list of members out there on both coast. I'm sure some of them are no longer active, but none the less, there still remain numerous members.
Besides sailing, my other passion is two wheel travel with my old BMW motorcycle. I also belong to their organization since 1985. One of their most interesting attributes is something called their Anonomous Book. It is a list of members all over the country (Canada also). The list (about 20,000)does not have their names posted, but has their contact information and a series of alpha symbols of what this member is willing to provide to other members.
Some of those services are; mechanical help (m), parts available (p), coffee & conversation (kk), emergency help (e), spare room (r), and about 15 other various types of assistance.
I mention there are about 20,000 in the list but the members group is about 40,000 strong. So obviously, people list themselves voluntarily and just have the symbols that tell you what they are willing to do for other members.
In the 22 years I have been in this club, I have read hundreds of accounts in their monthly publication of how the membership has come to the aid of other motorcycle enthusiast. In all those years, there has never been one complaint of abuse of the services members were willing to offer.
I personally have travelled from VT to Alaska without ever needing help from anyone but always carried the Anonomous Book with me.
I live on the east coast and noticed how many members there are as you move from Maine to Florida. I'm just wondering if WOA members would like to open themselves to those traveling through their waters.
Perhaps a list of the following would be considered; mechanical help, dock space, mooring available, some parts, laundry available, shower available, ride to market offered, etc.
It may be a way to stay closely connected with those who we share a passion with in a world that doesn't seem to care about anything but themselves.
Food for thought.
It is an interesting thought, and if there is enough consensus, I'm sure we could add it to the membership database without too much difficulty.
The way the membership roster works is that we have a flag in the membership database called privacy = 'Y'. If anyone wants that set, then they will not be included in the online roster. I think we have 3 total members who have elected this option. I'm always happy to turn that on or off for anyone at any time.
We could have different levels of privacy to change the way things are displayed in the roster, but we've never gone that far in any kind of analysis.
We could also create a webpage form where members could add/update/delete services attached to their account... currently, the only way we could update something like that would be through one of us.
For me, I generally offer to let anyone tour the boat anytime they might be passing through, and if it is sailing season, they could probably get me to take them out for a sail pretty easily. If I know a member is passing through town, I might even offer to buy them dinner and restock their beer supply if they are in the middle of a long cruise. But I don't know if I would post such things as a standing offer for anyone at any time.
Just curious if there still is an option to re-up membership by paying on-line??
We don't have that set up yet, but I'm working on it. For now, the only option is to mail your check made out to Westsail Owners Association to me at:
Terry Shoup, WOA
254 East Fern Avenue, Suite 102
Redlands CA 92373
thanks for your comments Mike. In the BMW membership group, the list of "services" to other members are really not mandatory. There have been accounts when some members were asked for help of some kind and just weren't available to assist. It just provides the members with some people to call to see if the services they indicated are available.
I just thought this added feature may keep our members closer and I've always wanted to help cruisers who come into my area as we have been offered incredible help from total strangers when we extensively traveled the Chesapeake Bay for three years. One night we were anchored out in the East River on Mobjack Bay. The evening temperatures were going to bottom out to below freezing. We watched a man get into his dinghy from shore and rowed out to us. He was concerned about the cold night and insisted on us coming to shore with him to have dinner and stay in their spare bedroom. We agreed to have dinner and when we were to head back to our vessel, they showed us to the spare room that was ready for us. It just showed how strong the bond is between sailors. He owned a HR 42.
I'm not advocating that our members get to be house guest but just having a mooring available, laundry, or a hot shower is an incredible gift to wayward sailors.