Daily Archives: March 13, 2011

One World, First Final

After eight weeks of qualifying rounds, four teams converged on Plum Gut sim on March 5th to compete for the Championship of the ONE WORLD Regatta. The tallies for all four boats were tied with perfect ‘4.0’ low scores, based on their four first place wins out of the entire eight-race series.

The name of each Finalist Team is listed below, followed by the starting crew (in red). I’ve also added the names of the backup crew that would substitute in case of a crash (shown in blue). Those team members not racing in the Finals are shown in black.

Alain Gloster, Suzi Siemans

Bunnie Mills, Seraina Benelli, Dunan Wilder, Kentrock Messmer*

Armano Xaris, Viciously Llewellyn, Inge Loening

Momomos Netizen, Bunta Beck, Noodleqt Exonar, nobuko Criss, Liv Leigh

(* note: Kentrock withdrew from KENOBI to host the Finals at FIYC.)

Hay Ah served as Finals Race Director, with support from Kentrock Messmer. Silber Sands lead the Judging Committee, and she was assisted by Amythest Wingtips, Chaos Mandelbrot, LDeWell Hawker, Maryanne O’Hare, and Soro Dagostino. Naeve Rossini and Quirky Torok did the play-by-play commentary in both Group Chat and by Radio Broadcast.

Four races were held, using courses cunningly crafted by Kentrock. Each course was designed with a fleet lap time of approximately 15 minutes. Using a standard low point scoring system with one discard, the boat with the best showing at the conclusion of the Finalist four race series would be declared victorious.

The First Race course was primarily a windward-leeward trial with an additional reach leg that took advantage of the island layout. Although “F1” seems a fairly straightforward, smallish course, the one-sim wide waterway and the cluster of islands in the southeast corner of Sugar Reef turned the race into a real tactical challenge. In practice trials, sailors passed each other from different directions through narrow channels trying to gain room, and hoping to garner advantage. Kentrock built an exciting racetrack! 🙂

Hay Ah and Silber Sands met with the fleet just prior to Race 1, resolving any last minute issues and questions. The sailors were all pros, and knew the drill; the First Finals Race began right on time.

Here’s the three minute video of the Prestart, courtesy of Hawk. Since this was still Race 1, all four teams were getting their sea-legs. They gave each other ample room, and there was little evidence of aggressive maneuvering that might provoke a foul, or push an opponent over the line early.

However, as the clock ticked away the last thirty seconds before the gun, all four boats  converged in the SE quadrant of Plum Gut, preparing to make a Starboard Close Haul dash for the Line. Kenobi was no-nonsense and Ready to Rock. In less time than it took to put SPF 50 on your nose, They broke ahead of all the competition and adroitly set a razor-sharp heading for the starboard end of the Startline. Bunnie cut the line with  jackrabbit speed at 00:05, a full six seconds ahead of Momomos Netizen and his SVC-472 team! Eureka and FIYC were still drinking coffee, apparently, and a tad tardy. 🙂 They crossed the line together, a full 27 seconds behind Kenobi! WOOT! The race was off!

courtesy of Dil Spitz

If you look carefully at the images above, you can see that although Kenobi has the lead, SVC had windward height as they both start beating to the first mark. In fact, Momomos was right on Kenobi’s stern, and he therefore prudently decided to hunt Bunnie’s lead boat, looking for any opening to pass or block. SVC-472 and Kenobi actually stayed glued together for much of the remainder of the race, as discussed below. Although much further back, Eureka also decided initially to continue on starboard. (Well… at least for a while. 🙂 )

Armano Xaris was skipper of FIYC, and bringing up the rear. I imagine he found that a pretty unusual position. 🙂 In most regattas I’ve followed this past year, Armano was leading the pack;  but this time he had to play catch-up! My guess is that Armano thought fast and decided to change tactics: he broke to Port just as he crossed the line. In both the J-Classic Finals and the 2009 Fizz qualifying races, an early port-tack strategy paid off big-time for late starting boats. It looks like Armano did his homework!

In fact, on their way to the top mark the four boats all ended up using different strategies that put them on different courses. It’s a huge tribute to Kentrock’s course design. 🙂

I’ve diagrammed below the routes  the four skippers took to reach the top mark.

As I mentioned above, Momomos was actually hunting Kenobi, so both boats followed a nearly identical path. That route was set by Bunnie, since she was in the lead. I’ve shown their path in Red above.

Bunnie actually set a pretty gutsy course. She decided to hit the top mark on a minimal, three tack approach; she was hoping to ‘shake off’  Momomos from her tail in the process. However, to pull off that kind of juggernaut would take enormous skill, ice-water nerves…  and more than a little luck with wind shifts. Team Kenobi had absolutely zero room for error.

Take a look at the two images above; they mirror the boat positions show in the preceding diagram. As shown in A, in order for Kenobi to thread the needle and make it to open water in Breakers Point sim on the second tack, Bunnie needed to take her first tack to the extreme, aiming as far West and as high to the wind as possible. That meant she couldn’t turn until she was right at the mouth of Bar Harbor Channel, and sitting on top of the Flat Hammock/ Bar Harbor sim edge in a multi-factorial crash zone. 🙂

Watching her do this, at I first thought Kenobi had crashed; the boat was way over a reasonable tack point. I then saw their strategy and grinned… I saw Sean Connery do this before.

Anyone remember the movie Hunt for Red October? The Russian captain with the Scottish accent makes a gutsy, late tack that out-maneuvers the fleet chasing him and also beats a torpedo on his tail!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bunnie and Seriana pulled off the Red October late turn too, but in Race 1 they couldn’t shake Momomos. He followed right behind them in lockstep. However, SVC-472 lost a few seconds while adjusting to the audacious Kenobi tactics, and those few seconds cost a good deal on the next leg;

(and besides, both Eureka and FIYC were still planning their moves).

But that story needs to wait until tomorrow! 🙂


Added March 16, 2011:

When we last  left off in this tale of wind-driven derring-do, all four finalist boats were beating toward the top mark. KENOBI was in the lead, with SVC-472 on their stern.

Both boats followed identical courses. In the left image below, you can see they both tacked high enough to set a new course on Port that would take them straight through the narrow channel east of the islands. EUREKA had no such luck; Alain and Suzi crossed the Start line considerably further west of the lead boats; that means EUREKA ran out of water  sooner and were forced to come about to a lower, Port close haul. That course wouldn’t clear the channel, so Alain opted to avoid the channel entirely, and sail to the mark in Breakers Point by setting a course that went clockwise around the lighthouse in Sugar Reef.

FIYC was headed in that direction too. You’ll recall that Armano immediately made a short Port tack after crossing the line, and then flipped again back to Starboard, setting a long upwind course. That can be a smart option in the race waters of Sailors Cove, as shown in the images above. When Armano converged again with the fleet, FIYC was on Starboard, and the rest of the fleet was on Port. FIYC had right-of-way, and Armano had potential to cause considerable mayhem. 🙂

However, as you can see in the image on the right side of the figure above, the damage was slight. EUREKA was forced to make a momentary course change to stay clear, but FIYC passed well astern of the other two boats.

The figure above shows the different courses used by the boats to reach the yellow mark in Breakers Point. In the far distance you can see KENOBI nearing the turn, with nearly a half-sim lead over SVC-472. FIYC and EUREKA  are coming around the Light, approaching the mark from the Sugar Reef side.

The images above show the boat positions several seconds later. In A, you can see that KENOBI’s already rounded the yellow buoy and is now looping back  toward the second mark, narrowly missing FIYC’s stern in the process. In B, you can see KENOBI’s stern leaving the sim before SVC-472 even makes the turn.

Surrounded by clean air, fast sims, and open water,  there was no stopping Bunnie and Saraina. They threw KENOBI into overdrive and never looked back, building a remarkable lead over their rivals. The image above shows KENOBI two turns later heading for home!

However, the battle for the #2 spot was not over yet; SVC-472, FIYC, and EUREKA were all still in sparring range of each other.

The image to the right shows momomos Netizen and Bunta Beck aboard SVC-472 with spinnaker flying, holding  a commanding lead over both FIYC and EUREKA.

Those large parachutes can throw a serious shadow blanket however, and with each tick of the raceline clock both Armano and Alain used it to close the gap on SVC-472.

Wow! The last two sims proved to be one of the most exciting finishes of any race in the two month series! By the middle of Flat Hammock, FIYC and EUREKA closed the distance separating them from SVC-472.  All three were now fighting for the Runner-Up spot, And there were barely a few boat lengths to go.

It was time for Alain and Armano to make a move and try to push Armano out… As shown below, the boats suddenly split from stern-shadow stations and set anew courses in an effort to pass Momomos and try a Hail Mary dive for the Finish line…

The crowd on the Anchor Cove Blimp gasped in a fury of excited bad-typing and poor-grammar as they watched the ultimate drama play out on the ocean below…

Personally, I had no idea which of this fantastic four group would win Race One, but I was pretty sure of two things:

1: Alain and Armano had the right stuff to beat anybody, anytime… and
2: Nobody  in a sailboat in Second Life was ever going to push Momomos around. 🙂

Grin… Three good friends exploded across that finish line together, and momomos captured the #2 slot by a whisker (within Hisenberg uncertainty, of course 🙂 ).

Actually, Naeve Rossini announced it best to the crowd in Group Chat:

Naeve Rossini: The gap has closed between FIYC and SVC. There could be a place change here.
Hay Ah: oooh exciting !
Naeve Rossini: Overlapped approaching the line.
Naeve Rossini: Looks like SVC still has the lead by a boatlength.
Arabella Luminos: wouuah
Hay Ah: Runner up: momomos Netizen   IDJIRA ! Race time: 00:14:08
Hay Ah: #3: Armano Xaris   IDFI01 ! Race time: 00:14:10
Hay Ah: #4: Alain Gloster   IDAG64 ! Race time: 00:14:17
Naeve Rossini: Oooooh! The difference is less than the height of a fashion model!
Jane Fossett: WOOTS Great Finish!!
Arabella Luminos: ahahha Naeve
Naeve Rossini: Exciting finish! Great sailing all around!

So at the end of Race #1 we all learned two things… that everyone probably already knew.
– The first bit of knowledge was obvious: KENOBI was fast and flawless, and could win this regatta…
-The second was just as clear: SVC-472, EUREKA, and FIYC all had the right stuff to face up to KENOBI, and there were three more races to go.

The judging staff for the Finals under Silber Sands’ direction was pretty excellent (how excellent, you ask? Well, Jane had no vote. That seemed excellent to me! 🙂 ) However, at the end of Race #1, the judges had an inside bet going…

I haven’t looked up the exact words, but it was basically:

Those three boats won’t let KENOBI do that again in Race #2….”

Let’s discuss that next time. 🙂