Monthly Archives: June 2010

SL-VT Round Five: NYC

Woots!! Round Five of the SL-VT ACA33 Regatta Series will be at SL-NYC. Here’s Gemma Vuckovic’s Notice of Race!


Saturday 10th July & Sunday 11th July


Francois Jacques – Commodore

YACHT spec:

ACA33 Racer v 2.53


Location: Start-line, Blake Sea – Atlantic. Here’s also the Landmark to the Spectator’s Platform.


Please use the on-line spreadsheet for your Entry

Alternatively just send Gemma a notecard stating your preferred start time slot 🙂
The slots are: 6:00am, 10:30am or 4:00pm.
Last date of entry is Thursday 8th July, (and late entries will not be accepted!).

RACE SCHEDULE – Qualifying

There will be 3 or 4 time slots, depending on the number of entrants, on Saturday 10th July – 6am, 10:30am & 4pm
Entrants should select one round/time slot that they wish to compete in.
Time Slots will be filled on a strictly first come basis.
Each Qualifying Time Slot will consist of a series of races in a group of 4 competitors maximum.
Each Competitor will compete in a “one against one” format against the other Competitors in turn.

Scoring – the winner in each race will be awarded 1 point.
The competitor, in EACH time slot, with the most points will progress to the Finals on Sunday 11th July 8.00am.
Ties will be determined by one additional race, where ALL tied competitors will compete.


Winners of each Qualifying time slot will compete again on Sunday 11th July in the NYC 5th round Finals.
Finals time will be 8.00am on Sunday 11th July at NYC Atlantic start-line.


The first and second placed competitor of this 5th round event at NYC will proceed to the SL VT TROPHY FINALS , to be held in early August.


i. The 2010 SL-VT Trophy Round 1 will be governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing in Second Life or RRSSL. In addition to these ISAF Rules 12 and 17 will be in effect.

ii. The applicable Racing Rules of Sailing are as follows:

Rule 10: Starboard Rights: Starboard boats have right of way over Port Tack Boats.

Rule 11: Leeward Rights: Leeward boats have right of way over Windward Boats.

When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, a boat clear astern shall keep clear of a boat clear ahead.

Rule 13: A boat has no right of way while tacking.

Rule 16: When a right-of-way boat changes course, it shall give the other boat room to keep clear.

If a boat clear astern becomes overlapped within two of her hull lengths to leeward of a boat on the same tack, she shall not sail above her proper course while they remain on the same tack and overlapped within that distance, unless in doing so she promptly sails astern of the other boat. This rule does not apply if the overlap begins while the windward boat is required by rule 13 to keep clear.

Rule 18: When overlapped, inside boats have right of way at marks, NOT including starting line marks.

Rule 19: A boat approaching an obstruction has right of way to tack or gybe.

iv. Race Guidelines

— A Protest must be shouted.
— In the event of a protest, the umpires will rule the protest valid or not. The protested boat will then have to do a 360-degree turn before finishing the race. Failure to do the penalty turn will lead to disqualification for the race.
— Avoiding Contact. A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room
(a) need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room, and
(b) shall not be penalized under this rule unless there is contact that causes damage or injury.
(c) For purposes of right-of-way rulings, “damage” shall only consist of incidents which fuse prims, eject crew, lose the race wind, disrupt physics continuity, or impair the functionality of a boat’s script sufficiently to require a script reset.
— A boat shall start racing (raise her sails) no later than 15 seconds after the beginning of the starting sequence and shall not lower her sails or moor until she finishes or retires.
— Do not touch (i.e. edit) other boats; do not edit your boat after starting.
— At the discretion of the race director, attempts to “game” the rules can lead to disqualification. Gaming the rules is loosely defined as using the ruleset to violate the fundamental purpose of the ruleset. The purpose of the ruleset is to keep boats sailing competitively and “safely”, not provide opportunities to win by other means than excellence in sailing skills.
— Good sportsmanship is more highly regarded that the ability to win at any cost.
A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play.


The SLVTrophy is a grid-wide competition for ACA33 racers, inspired by the Real Life Vuitton Trophy events. Don Berithos and Roan Blackburn from Golden Gate Yacht Club have tirelessly promoted the concept in both SL and RL for many months, and the pieces are now falling together quite nicely.

During the first phase of the multi-week SLVT competition, individual clubs and sailing groups are invited to hold their own in-house races; each approved club can choose two skippers they want to represent them in a final regatta series that will take place in early August.

Liv Leigh helped don develop an organizational vision for the event; it includes a great “match template” that any other club is welcome to adopt, follow, or adapt to their own needs. It consists of  a simple round-robin match race shoot-out scheme that lets each club chose the “challenge skippers” to represent them for the August event.

However, if you want to be part of SVLT and use another format, or an entirely different selection method… hey, that’s ok too.  This is an interclub event, and its up to each interested sailing group to decide what they want, what they think works best, and what’s most fun for them. Having said that, let me also comment that I’m pretty sure only one date is still open for regatta qualifying matches, and that slot will almost certainly go fast this coming week. Please contact Don, Roan, Liv, or Jane, or maybe just post a note to ISailSL if you’d like your club involved during July.

Anyway, so far SL-VT’s held THREE qualifying  events. The first two were at Tradewinds and Mango. This weekend however GGYC held Round Three in Dire Strait, sailing from the new Linden  raceline in Fedallah. GGYC’s Commodore Don Berithos was in charge, and he decided on a bare-bones, up-down racecourse and a no-nonsense strait line elimination series, as shown below.

The first day of Round Three races were held on Saturday June 26 at 6:00am and 10:00am. Although the race track was modelled after a classic Windward-Leeward course, don chose a SouthEast wind for day one; that made the initial elimination trials a fairly easy “reach sail” in both directions.

Well, easy or not, the skippers sprang into action, ready to roll. Elizabet Foxtrot showed exactly how much enthusiasm the competition fleet shared… She sailed against Don B himself in the very first race, strait out of of the blocks at 6:00am. Don drew up the course and picked the wind.  Although Don sailed very well, Elizabet handily defeated him… on that very course Don himself drew up! ( 🙂 nice going Elizabet, and thanks for taking it so graciously, Don!).

The remainer of Saturday’s matches were just as intense, and by the end of Saturday racing, the only four skippers who remained standing were Colin Nesmeth, KazumaHs Destiny, Takabou Destiny, and Elizabet Foxtrot. they were all pretty fantastic, but the SLVT rules said GGYC could only name two of them to represent the Club in the grid-wide August finals. Sunday’s races were therefore critical; Sunday would determine which half of the Saturday, 4-way celebrity dance card would advance, and who might earn the right to fly the GGYC burgee in the SL-VT ultimate race-off next month.

No surprise, the Sunday races were rather excellent. I was particularly impressed that the spectator crowd took an active, detailed interest. One viewer posted a concerned comment Saturday night saying that the race course was designed as a Windward/Leeward challenge, but Saturday’s race wind was a reach. He argued that the choice of wind wasn’t the best test condition for Round Three.

Well… Kudos to don Berithos; he apparently saw the same problem and took those outside comments to heart. Sunday’s race wind was different, more difficult. It came from the southwest, forcing  all the boats to start on a classic upwind beat to the top mark in STUBB sim.

Grin. Did I say “Classic start” and ” Traditional, RL first leg upwind beat ?”
Well those words mean a lot to seasoned racers in RL and SL…
People with the skill, determination, and experience of Team Destiny.

When I realized there was a wind shift to the ‘usual, extra-tough upwind/downwind exercize,’ I imagined that change might only advantage a few people… those sailors who had the long-term experience and the hard-won knowledge from extensive practice on such a tough course. KazumaHs and Takabou Destiny have that hard-won insight and skill. Sunday’s race wind settings should have made the course more difficult. As proof, the Sunday finish times were a full 2-3 minutes longer than Saturday.  However, my guess is that experienced sailors in SL saw it differently. They were used to an upwind beat off the line, and also familiar with all the tribulations incurred from a return leg, downwind-dead-run duel with a challenging competitor on such a course. The change in wind settings seriously favored a leathery, SL-sunburned, salty sailor.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not say in any way it was unfair; in fact, quite the opposite. Changing the wind on Sunday to a classic Windward/ Leeward duel pushed the competitors to show their basic skills, and maybe even reveal a few tactics.  If you make the race conditions simple and classic, it suddenly becomes impossible  for any Skipper to win by ‘accident or mistake.’   A simple design forces the fleet to show their experience and skill.

I think I commented before, and quoted others as well stating the opinion that  “Team Destiny could win this whole regatta.”

Well ladies, gentlemen,
and sportsfans everywhere…
Today in Round Three,
KazumaHs Destiny and Takabou Destiny indeed won it all.
In fact,
they blew everyone else away in the process

You think maybe that says something for precision, skill, and practice? 🙂

Hey… I told you Team Destiny was Dangerous…

How Dangerous? Well even NIKE has a publc Service Announcement trying to stop Destiny, they sail so well. 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Five Seconds to go, Destiny panics.”
I was there today, and all the other days.
Don’t count on it; Destiny doesn’t blink,
Team Destiny doesn’t panic.
Give them an opening… and they will WIN.

KazumaHs Destiny and Takabou Destiny win Round Three

Maybe we’d all be a bit better on land and faster on the water… with some Destiny in our lives.



Romance on the Digital Seas

This will be quick, I promise… but darn, it’s important :-).

Sailing in RL and SL can be be rather wonderous, and often it’s a uniquely romantic experience.
I’m pretty hard-headed I know; but for me, gazing at the stars on an overnight passage is often an overwheming experience.
I’m frequently rendered speechless… to everyone’s great relief. 🙂

If you are landlocked or a non-sailor reading this, you may not fully understand, so here is a clip of Patrick Leavitt and Fanci Beebe from a few months ago to get you in the mood. If you sail Sailor’s Cove or anywhere else in SL, I’m sure you already have many similar images.

RJ in black knee socks and a PFD, Nov 2006

But here’s my point: What’s wrong with that video?
Well, in my humble opinion, I think it’s missing the single most romantic thing any sailor can do for his/her partner

If you really want to show caring and affection for those you take sailing… give them a life jacket. They will understand, and know you are watching over them.
Frankly, on the occasions a skipper shoved a jacket at me and gruffly said ‘Wear this,’ I admit I prolly never once said ‘Thank You.‘ However, I guarantee that each time it happened, I thought to myself  “Wear the damn jacket, Jane. He’s trying to save your life.”

In SL, SLCG life jackets are free… and they are cute, too.
Most important however, if you use the jackets here… you will remember to use them in Real Life too.
The statistics are compelling:
If we all do that one, small, free, incredibly romantic, easy thing… we will save real lives.
That’s it; that’s all I have to say; wear a pfd, save a life, and feel really great about it.

Consider this a mini- SL Public Service Announcement on behalf of Fanci, Patrick, Sanstrom, RJ, Tig, Jane… and all SLCG.

Now GO SAIL!!!


Golden Gate hosts SL-VT Rnd3 on June 26


Just back from La Maddalena, Commodore Don Berithos of Golden Gate Yacht Club-SL announced an open sign-up for Qualifying Round Three of the SL-VT Regatta Series.

You can read more (and get additional links) on GGYC’s Official ISailSL blog or on the SLSailing SL-Vuitton Trophy thread.

Round Three will take place the weekend of June 26-27, and will follow a familiar One-Design Match Race format that worked well in the preceeding Tradewinds and Mango Rounds. This time all the races will be in Nautilus’ Dire Strait, starting from the brand new, still-has-that-fresh-paint-smell, 130m raceline in Fedallah.

On Saturday, the competing ACA33 skippers will race Round-Robin in a time slot of their choosing, and the best four skippers from that contest will sail against each other on Sunday. The top two sailors that emerge from that confrontation will earn the right to represent GGYC-SL in the SL-VT Finals Regatta scheduled for early August.

Think you are pretty good sailing your ACA33? Come sign up for the Round Three Qualifying Matches!

Click Here For A Link To The Entry Form.

Amy and Ziz win Mango Match-Up


Mango Yacht Club and Fruit Island Estates hosted Round Two of the SL-VT Qualifying Series this past weekend. Many skippers will remember Fruit Islands from the J-Classic Regatta, and it was great fun to return there for another major race event.    

I must admit the sailing conditions were pretty great throughout the two days of racing and the week of practice that preceded it.  Even though the spectators totally filled the adjacent sim for most of the event,  the scheduled races were interrupted only twice by technical sim issues. Co-owners Equinox Pinion and Dennis Lagan, and Estate Manager Lizzo Dreamscape were omni-present anchors of reassurance, however; when problems arose they immediately got racers back on the water. THANK YOU, FRUIT ISLANDS!!!    

Did I mention Mango Yacht Club? Mango’s Commodore is Isis Rexi, a racing protégé of Liv Leigh. As I’ve mentioned before, Isis fell in love with Fruit Islands during Round Two of J-Classic, when she absolutely trounced everyone, beating her nearest competition by a full three minutes.  

 Isis helped launch Mango Yacht Club, and with  the wonderful assistance of Elbag Gable, LDeWell Hawker and several others she set up a fantastic Sail Training Program in Strawberry sim.    


You’ll recall that Hawk was the overall winner in last week’s SL-VT Round One at Tradewinds Yacht Club; although Isis has been on sabbatical, Hawk and Elbag were enthusiastic to help plan Round Two on Fruit Island’s waters, and the result was pretty great.    

 Hawk designed the Round Two racecourse, using new Fruit Island sims with a race line in Sapodilla. The course was reminicent of Round One, with two upwind-downwind short loops that taxed the skill of the skippers and the features of the boat. In a week of practice sessions, good skippers could run the route in seven minutes plus small change.   

The SL-VT Round Two format was also similar to Liv Leigh’s TYC First Round trials. Saturday consisted of  match races that narrowed the field of competitors to four. That small group then met on Sunday morning for a final shootout that picked two winners to represent Mango and Fruit Islands in the SL-VT grid-wide regatta scheduled for early August.     

When the fog lifted and salt-spray cleared on Sunday morning, this was the final line-up:    


Ziz Kidd
Amythest Wingtips
US Vemo
Takabou Destiny

Match 1 Us Vemo — ziz Kidd
Match 2 Amythest Wingtips — takabou Destiny
Match 3 Amythest Wingtips — ziz Kidd
Match 4 Us Vemo — takabou Destiny
Match 5 Us Vemo — Amythest Wingtips
Match 6 takabou Destiny — ziz Kidd


Match 1 Us Vemo — ziz Kidd

The first race Sunday morning matched ziz Kidd with US Vemo.    

In Saturday’s preliminary round, US Vemo won a hard-fought race against Ziz, crossing the line in a blistering 06:50. This first Sunday Final event gave Ziz a second shot at US Vemo; it was payback time.    

US Vemo over early!! Yikes!!

Well. the payback came pretty quickly, as shown above; in fact, it came  too quickly :-).  Although US Vemo was leading in the prestart, perhaps fueled by excitement and wind variations he  jumped the line a split- second early and was forced to 360°-around the red buoy to get a valid restart.    

That’s all Ziz ever needed. Ziz roared past, and had a three boat length lead at the first tack, and kept it through the turn at the top mark.    


Of course these are both outstanding skippers, and US Vemo wasn’t ready to give up. Less than 24 hours before, he had beaten Ziz on this very same track.    

As shown above, once they flipped to the long downwind leg going South, US Vemo began gaining ground by shadowing his opponent.  Unfortunately, he never quite had time to catch up, and when Ziz won the bottom turn, few options remained.    


Ziz widened his lead in the course’s second lap, and won this first match with an unimpressive time of 07:52.  That’s actually a minute longer than the best times US and Ziz racked up the prior day, but in this race it was all that was needed.    

Match 2 Amythest Wingtips — takabou Destiny

The Sunday dance card was pretty full, and so the next race began with minimal delay. Amythest Windtips took on takabou Destiny in Match Two.    


As shown above, Amy won the Start, crossing the line a scant four seconds ahead of takabou, and in lee position. Takabou lost additional momentum changing course as he passed the green buoy, giving Amy a clear advantage. (note to sailing sportsfans: Do Not Give AMY Advantage.) Powered by clean air, Amy took off in overdrive and expanded her lead to several boat lengths  by the time the duo passed  the top mark.    


The image above shows Amy leading as the boats moved downwind, but takabou was still game-to-go. He clawed his way back using skill, tricks and tools.  As shown below, after the very last turn with only pixels between the boats and the Finish, takabou and Amy were neck-and-neck. if you look closer however, you see that Amy is windward and forward as the boats converge on the line; takabou can’t win from that position– he fought a great fight, but he ran out of time and water.    

Amy grabbed Race Two with 07:56, just nine seconds ahead of her competitor.    


Match 3 Amythest Wingtips — ziz Kidd

Amy stayed in place for Match Three, and Ziz Kidd sailed out to replace takabou for this race.    


Amy did not win a top spot in Tradewinds’ Round One last week, but all the staff  comments buzzed with “Watch for protests, don’t blink… Amy is very fast.” Well, in Match Three she started to live up to that reputation.   


In this match she was up against Ziz Kidd… a tried and proven race technician that was every inch as good a racer. Amy had no room to fool around, and she knew that. As the countdown finished and the horn went off, Amy literally exploded over the line at top speed with a start time of 00:00!!!  Maybe based on his experience from Match One, Ziz chose a more conservative start, crossing the line windward to Amy a bare three seconds later. The delay and distance of the starting boats was a classic setup however, and many eyes riveted on the two boats as they proceeded to the first tack point.  


As shown above, Amy tacked first, falling to port and cutting over Ziz’s bow. In the second image above (maybe 2-3 seconds later), Ziz also turned and fell parallel and leeward to Amy. At some point in this sequence or soon after, Ziz shouted STARBOARD!! and Protested.  The protest was denied on the water by the judges.  

Amy had clean air and open water after that first turn; she stepped on the gas and pushed her boat for everything it could give. Of course she needed to; Ziz stayed in the fight with her and never gave her an inch.    


The image above shows Ziz desperately taking back the few seconds of time and distance he lost in the start sequence. He did a truly noble job, pulling parallel and overlapped with Amy as they came to the bottom turn for the first lap. Unfortunately, as you can see above Ziz was overlapped outside Amy as they approached the turn, placing him wide and lee at the mark.    

Amy’s set-up, flawless skill and positioning kept Ziz at bay, and she went on to win with a breathtaking 06:56. A truly incredible match.    

I want to take an extra moment here to comment about the protest, because judging major regattas is a serious and thankless task. It takes a lot of work, and nobody even thinks about it unless something goes wrong. If you are a Judge, you can’t expect any thanks… but you need to bring an umbrella because the critics will rain down on you.    

Match Three had the only significant protest in two days of sailing. Silber Sands did a pretty great job;  she was the #1 Judge, assisted by judges Chaos Mandelbrot, Massy Johin, and Elbag Gable. 

The match rules for this round stated all protests would be decided on the water during the race, and that the judges’ ruling would stand. However, after Silber Sands denied Ziz’s Starboard protest, she convened a post-race Protest Hearing, so both skippers have a chance to tell their versions of the event, and all the judges could discuss again.    

The protest denial was upheld, and “NEXT RACE!” was called.   

Match 4 Us Vemo — takabou Destiny


Ready for the back-half of the race card, Takabou and US Vemo bellied up to the raceline.    

 This promised to be a spectacular match; both boats crossed the line in parallel, and US Vemo scored an audacious  00:00 start, followed three seconds later by TD. At the end of the first upwind tack however, both boats froze in place on the water at a sim ‘4-corner,’ and many sailors attending the race also crashed offline. It was yet one more sad reminder that on occasion the weather in SL can be painfully unpredictable.    

US Vemo falls overboard, Boat runs aground

After a quick reboot of the involved sims however, the race was back on, and US and TD tried again.  

This time US let all the stops out, again hitting the line at exactly 00:00.  TD was still somewhat disoriented though from his recent out-of-world experience, and he crossed the line a fraction of a second too early. TD did an obligatory recross, but his official start time placed him a full 30 seconds astern of US!    


In such a brief duel, 30 seconds can be a lifetime. Nonetheless, TD used skill and tenacity to  haul up alongside US during the downwind leg of the first lap, as shown above. Unfortunately that placed him outside and leeward as the two boats came around the bottom mark. Although after the 30 second start penalty it was remarkable TD was there at all, it’s notable that his disadvantaged position at the bottom turn cost him wind, distance, and time.    

As shown below, during the final lap TD dropped astern again, fended off by the lead boat. US Vemo finished a brief thirteen seconds ahead of TD, earning a respectable finish time of 07:00.    

Match 5 Us Vemo — Amythest Wingtips

There was no rest for the weary, however. US Vemo stayed on the line, and Amy came out as his next challenge.    

Amy was ready to roll, and again crossed the start line at exactly 00:00, five seconds in front of US Vemo.    

US Vemo trails Amythest Wingtips

More important , Amy had the momentum crossing the line and quickly used it to build a substantial lead on her way to the top mark.   

Amy’s a very fast sailor, and it was probably a tactical error for US Vemo to let Amy set up in the prestart and sprint over the line unencumbered. With clean air and an open course in front of her, on a good day Amy can be unbeatable, and she dramatically demonstrated it in race five. Amy’s first lap net time was 17 seconds faster than US Vemo, and she relentlessly increased that lead through the second lap, finishing with 06:51, a full 27 seconds ahead of her competition. 

Match 6 takabou Destiny — ziz Kidd

In the last match of the day, takabou Destiny met ziz Kidd. TD tried the same start maneuver he had used in Match Two against Amy, approaching the line on a Starboard reach to build up momentum, then sharply turning to cross the line as soon as the race began. This is called ‘barging‘ and it’s a risky tactic, since leeward starting boats have right of way and can easily block the barging boat. 
Ziz Kidd demonstrated how to do this in Match Six. If you look at the picture below,   ZK made a classic fleet start, setting close haul and shooting for the line at the extreme windward end, next to the green start buoy. TD roared in from the East, cutting up to close haul to cross the line windward of Ziz, but look what happens!! They both arrive together and there’s no room; Ziz could loudly PROTEST under Rule 11 (Leeward Rights) .  
Ziz chose not to do that, though; he simply held to his course, and takabou obliged him by changing direction, even though that meant TD’s boat would slam into the green buoy and lose momentum. As you can see below,  ZK then grabbed the advantage and forged a strong lead. 
Takabou stayed in the fight, but ZK’s lead allowed him to avoid TD’s windshadow for much of the race that followed. 
Ziz Kidd won this last race with a Finish time of 06:58
 The two top places for Round Two therefore were awarded to Amythest Wingtips (3 wins) and ziz Kidd (2 wins). They will now go on to sail for Mango and Fruit Islands in the SL-VT Finals Matchups in August!! 
Woot! Great Sailing!! 

Amy Flies First in Fruit Fleet

Match One
1: ziz Kidd — 00:07:52
2: Us Vemo — 00:08:04
Lap Times:
ziz Kidd — Start: 00:00:16 — Lap 1: 00:04:31 — Lap 2: 00:03:05
Us Vemo — Start: 00:00:28 — Lap 1: 00:04:30 — Lap 2: 00:03:06    

Match Two
1: Amythest Wingtips — 00:07:56
2: takabou Destiny — 00:08:07
Lap Times:
Amythest Wingtips — Start: 00:00:08 — Lap 1: 00:04:05 — Lap 2: 00:03:43
takabou Destiny — Start: 00:00:11 — Lap 1: 00:04:14 — Lap 2: 00:03:42    

Match Three
1: Amythest Wingtips — 00:06:56
2: ziz Kidd — 00:07:20
Lap Times:
Amythest Wingtips — Start: 00:00:00 — Lap 1: 00:04:04 — Lap 2: 00:02:52
ziz Kidd — Start: 00:00:03 — Lap 1: 00:04:08 — Lap 2: 00:03:09    

Match Four
1: Us Vemo — 00:07:00
2: takabou Destiny — 00:07:13
Lap Times:
Us Vemo — Start: 00:00:00 — Lap 1: 00:04:01 — Lap 2: 00:02:59
takabou Destiny — Start: 00:00:30 — Lap 1: 00:03:54 — Lap 2: 00:02:49    

Match Five
1: Amythest Wingtips — 00:06:51
2: Us Vemo — 00:07:18
[7:50:26] SLSA Raceline :
Amythest Wingtips — Start: 00:00:00 — Lap 1: 00:03:54 — Lap 2: 00:02:57
Us Vemo — Start: 00:00:05 — Lap 1: 00:04:11 — Lap 2: 00:03:02    

Match Six
1: ziz Kidd — 00:06:58
2: takabou Destiny — 00:07:14
ziz Kidd — Start: 00:00:07 — Lap 1: 00:04:02 — Lap 2: 00:02:49
takabou Destiny — Start: 00:00:07 — Lap 1: 00:04:11 — Lap 2: 00:02:56    


SL-VT Round Two at Fruit Islands June 12

For details, rules, and links, click here,

Click here to signup for a timeslot online!

Hawk takes SL-VT Round One

After three match-race elimination sets on June 5, Tradewinds Yacht Club winnowed its large challenge fleet to just three finalists: Amythest Wingtips, LDeWell Hawker, and Trapez Breen. As the sun rose over Southwest Nautilus on June 6, these three champions converged again in Dex to test their skills in a  final shoot-out to decide the Round One SL-VT winners.

The race format was simple and effective; there were three match races that paired all the finalists. The races used the same straightforward windward-leeward racecourse as the previous day from the Siracusa raceline next to TYC’s home port at Dex.

However, please don’t assume that made the race strategy ‘easy!’  Liv Leigh set the wind directional shifts =”20,” and that large variance forced sailors to adjust their tactics to the shifting conditions; this was a race where vigilance and creativity paid off.

Having said that, let me also add that the current version of the ACA33 has relatively limited user options, a very forgiving polar, and a fixed sail set that uses a “Real Wind” engine. It’s an easy boat to sail, but perhaps like the Tako,  the boat’s limitations present extra challenges in championship-level competition…

The skippers who met in the finals today certainly know the strengths and weaknesses of the ACA33, and know how to sail that boat to WIN…

Amethyst and Hawk

The Sunday Final Race Set went off at exactly 6:00am (great organizing, Liv!), and Amythest and Hawk were head-to-head in the first race match-up.

Liv decided on a 3:00 minute countdown for this series; that gave the boats ample time to jockey for position before the start gun went off.  I talk a lot about this here, but let me say it again: Start line strategy is incredibly important in both RL and SL sailboat racing,”  but maybe it is particularly true in a “point and shoot” real-wind boat like the ACA. I think most sailors will agree that  ‘A good skipper who wins the start will usually win the race.’

OK; Amythest is a very good sailor, and the Race Committee conference chatter was full of compliments about her skill and speed; she certainly earned her place in the finals lineup by beating some pretty tough competition. However in this final round she came up against Hawk, the ‘Minnesota Fats’ of ACA racing. Hawk’s performance was a good lesson on start strategy. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Look at the frame sequence above. In this first race Hawk had nerves of ice, approaching the line on a straight shot course leeward of Amythest, aiming to scrape alongside the windward buoy. Hawk played a ‘Classic’ start, and it proved to be the ‘Money Shot’ in this race.

Amythest  took a higher-stakes gamble attempting a windward-reach approach to gain momentum. I assume she planned to hit the line ahead of Hawk, with enough time to barge clear. In “a” you see their positions one second before the Race Start. Hawk has ROW and never changes course, but his timing and position effectively blocks Amythest, pushing her against the windward buoy. Hawk cuts the line at a perfect 00:00. Amythest is trapped, and forced to regroup (“b-c“). She spins the wheel to avoid a collision, and loses five seconds in the process. Much worse, she loses all her prestart momentum and ends up far astern of Hawk as the race begins.

Frame “d” shows that Amythest is still in the game however, full of guts and enthusiasm; she strategically cuts to a port tack as soon as she makes it over the line, but she ends up handicapped and never gets within striking range of her opponent. However, please don’t ever count Amythest out; despite the traumatic start to Race One, Hawk beat her by only 23 seconds. If I were Hawk, I’d really worry about the next match-up with Amythest. 🙂

Moments after the race conclusion, Trapez Breen moved up in position to challenge Hawk in the Second Match of the Round One Finals.

At first glance, the start looked a little like a replay of the first race. I’ve watched quite a few competition races, and I’m a big Trapez fan; she is lightning quick and makes precious few errors. In this case however, Trapez reached the windward edge of the line several seconds early. Her premature timing forced her to fall off and loosen sheets, but it did not  impair her momentum to any significant degree.  As you can see in the sequence below, Trapez cuts the line at 00:00 far leeward of  Hawk, who once again crosses next to the Windward buoy at 00:01.

Trapez and Hawk dance in Race Two

Trapez of course has ‘skill to spare‘ and quickly showed she had little concern over where she cut the raceline at the Start. After the first tack, she set a course clearly higher and windward to Hawk; an advantageous position. She played it for all it was worth, rounding the Top Mark several boatlengths ahead of Hawk. She then adroitly flipped her sails into wing-position to take the long run home.

Hawk took the turn moments later too, then lined up in Trap’s wake to play the only card Hawk had… As shown in the sequence below.

Hawk’s only chance was to snuggle up to Trapez and sit squarely on her stern, grabbing all the wind from her sails in his shadow. From far overhead, the Race Staff saw Hawk slowly gain momentum as Trapez gasped for breath. At the halfway red marker, Hawk saw an opening and made his move…  he swung past Trapez to grab the lead.

Trapez wasn’t done yet, however... she knows two can play this game. As soon as Hawk moved forward, Trapez had good air again and she used it to throw a blanket on Hawk. Although she then expertly closed the distance between the two boats, I guess we all know that “timing is everything” in life. As the boats approached the startline-turn, Trapez was overlapped but had no chance to pass Hawk.

As shown below, Hawk took the turn inside and fell on a course windward and parallel to Trapez starting the second lap. Once again that meant Hawk had the control position and Trapez fell back, caught in his foul air.

After one of the most exciting duels of the regatta, Hawk blew over the finish line at 06:34, a spare fourteen seconds ahead of Trapez.

With two wins under his belt, Hawk was the clear victor du jour for this event, but the second spot on the TYC SL-VT Challenge Team remained undecided. Amythest and Trapez therefore came back to the line for the third, and final, race on the Sunday TYC dance card.

Amy and Trap, Race Three

After her tough match and close loss to Hawk, there was no way Trapez would take second place again. From the moment the air horn blast announced the Race Three countdown, Trapez took off, looking for a win. She quickly grabbed dominant position during the mill, and focused attention on blocking her opponent rather than hitting the line at 00:00.

That strategy paid off big: Although Trapez crossed the line at 00:17 after the ‘official’ race start, she knew that number was irrelevent; she wasn’t racing against the clock, she was racing Amythest. Trapez used the time to decisively block her opponent, and she hauled over the line a full ten seconds ahead of Amy. Woots!

Trapez wins the start

Amy ran a GREAT race, and the day before she soundly beat all her competion. During the final series, the Race Committee chatter was full of praise for her skill and determination; but on this day, in this final race, it was all Trapez.

My guess is Amythest’s day is coming up very soon!

Trapez takes Silver

The 1-2-3 medals fell to Hawk, Trapez, and Amy; well deserved awards for some pretty great sailing.

Given the fun and excitement from Round One of SL-VT, I can’t wait to see what’s in store as we build up to the Finals in August!

Silver:Breen, Gold:Hawker, Bronze:Wingtips

Tradewinds SL-VT Trials


The SL-VT regatta series kicks off in a big-way this weekend. Tradewinds Yacht Club is holding a series of match races to determine which two skippers will get the chance to fly TYC’s colors  in the August finals hosted by Golden Gate.

Commodore Liv Leigh chose a deceptively simple, Windward-Leeward course for the qualifying trials, using a match race format. Each race-pair started on an upwind beat that ended in a counterclockwise turn around the red buoy in Elhadi. The boats then reversed course back to the raceline in Siracusa, and followed it with a second lap. There was a slight port-start advantage, but however the boats cut it, it took three tacks to fetch the top mark followed by a long, dead run home.

The races are still in progress so I can’t tell you too many details about the standings. However, I’d love to talk about one race, between Nobuko Cris and Ziz Kidd, that everyone agreed was by far the most exciting match from the 6:00am timeslot. 

Both Nobu and Ziz are outstanding sailors, and their skill Became quickly manifest in this matchup.

The three images below show the approach to the start line; both skippers are on Starboard, and Nobu is far in the lead. As anyone who has ever sailed against Nobu must know, she is verrry fast. That’s usually an advantage but this time it worked against her, since she approached the line at high speed and several seconds ahead of schedule; the countdown was still in progress.

The middle image shows Nobu unsheeting her sails in an effort to slow down and avoid an ‘over-early’ penalty. even that isn’t enough, however, and the third image in the sequence shws Nobu falling off and running parallel to the line, waiting for the clock  to hit “Zero.”

Nobu pays for her speedy exuberance; she loses momentum and position; worst of all, she gives Ziz time to catch up.

The image below shows the relative positions of the boats several seconds after the start. Ziz Kidd cut the line at a better angle, and ends up close-hauled, windward, and beating to the top mark. Nobu  may appear ahead of Ziz, but she doesn’t have his momentum and she’s forced to ‘pinch’ upwind because of her less advantageous start angle. 

Never count Nobu out this early, however. She was able to hold her position through the next tack, and both boats were parallel and overlapped approaching the top mark.

The two boats are shown taking the turn around the top mark below (note: If you can’t see the red mark in the pictures below, neither can I. I never once saw that mark today. I’ll check with Liv and everyone else, but maybe we can ask Linden DPW to add the usual tricks there so that buoy will rez early!).

Anyway, the usual dogma, whether you race cars, horses, or saiboats, says “The inside position has the advantage at the turn.” Nobuko Cris was in the lee slot fighting across many sims to stay in this race… and when she hit the ‘zone’ she was parallel and overlapped with Ziz Kidd and she had the inside. This was her chance to gain the extra distance and pull ahead. Nobu demonstrated perfect strategy, and against a lesser opponent she could have won the whole race at this turn…

Well, it didn’t happen. The images below tell why. In the first two frames, the boats are taking the turn… Nobu may be ‘inside’ but Ziz has the wind, and he cuts it close enough that his wind shadow has maximal effect. Ziz  steals all Nobu’s wind, and he once again grabs the momentum from the outside and pulls well ahead!!! Pretty nice maneuver!

But please don’t ever, ever count Nobuko Cris out. There’s an American phrase “The opera’s not over ’till the fat lady sings.”  I apologize to Nobu; I’m not referring to her appearance… I’m saying that sometimes great people like Nobu get to have the very last word 🙂 … To understand my point, watch what happens next!

In the image above, Nobu and Ziz are back at the line, ready to start lap two… and look what it shows: Nobu caught up again. She is now inside and well-overlapped.
This race is again a dead heat! Woot!

After they both take the turn, Nobu keeps the windward slot. She has control and is gradually moving forward of Ziz.
My guess is that most sailors in Ziz’s position would simply play the numbers here and just stay their course… and they would all lose.

Ziz refuses to give up, however, and he makes a big gamble. Ziz tacks early, ducking under Nobu’s stern as shown above.

Ziz was correct… Given his skill and savvy, surprising an opponent with a tactical dodge that wins clean air can often be enough to grab control from a less skilled opponent. Ziz had the right stuff… but unfortunately he was sailing against Nobuko Cris :-), somebody with all the skill and more. I can easily imagine Ziz laughing, thinking to himself: ‘Well, I guess it’s worth a try...” as he spun the wheel to make his early gybe.

OK, so it was Ziz’ best move, but Nobuko didn’t flinch; she never looked surprised and never lost a single second of her lead.
These two sailors are the definition of  ‘The Right Stuff.’

The above image shows Nobu a minute later, already rounding the top mark and several boat lengths ahead of Ziz. At that point the game was over; after a series of brilliant sailing maneuvers and sheer gutsy attacks, the closest, most spectacular race of the day landed in Nobuko’s hands. However, anyone watching from Momomos’ blimp high over the race course knew the real result: It was a truly remarkable demonstration of sailing skills by two of the most wonderful sailors in Second Life. We all got a  memorable, free lesson from the very best skippers… and very best people… on these wide digital waters we all call  ‘second home.’