Category Archives: Handicap Hotlaps

Hotlaps Update, September 2013

Hotlaps Handicaps September 17 2013

Hotlaps 2013 is a sailing format that helps skippers practice skills while doing fun, solo laps that are posted online. The Hotlaps database allows skippers to compare their lap time results with others; they can also contrast the relative performance of different boats that sail under the same ‘trial lap’ conditions.

There are six different Hotlaps raceline locations, and each has its own Hotlaps course: PLUMGUTBREADNUTKNAPTRACKICONLINKOUSSULU, and HEPURN. Sailing a Hotlap takes only ten minutes, and you can do it any time you want, in any boat.

hotlapsposters Just go to one of the racelines and click on the ‘Hotlaps 2013′ poster above the green buoy; it will give you all the info you need.

When you finish sailing the lap you can post it online by clicking a poster that’s labeled “Enter your lap time here.” It’s just as easy as that. 🙂

Sailors have been doing Hotlaps and posting their results since early in 2007, but this year we started a new 2013 cycle in deference to the large number of great, boats that have recently hit the water in SL. Since we began it in January, Hotlaps sailors have logged 442 lap scores sailing 45 different boat classes! Let me give a shout-out to that great group of 68 skippers who did all those laps:

2525, ak Topsail, Andi Merryman, Armano Xaris, B112, B117, B12, BM12, Brett Kjeller, Bunnie, Chaos Mandelbrot, CharliePakk, charliepakk, Dekka, Destiny Wescott, don Berthios, Emelia Azemus, Fearless Freenote, Glorfindel Arrow, gnupf gufler, Hannelore Ballinger, HansMarx, Hay Ah, IDBSDF61, JFos, Joy Acker, Justin Blade, Kain Xenobuilder, Kentrock Mesmer, Kris Hollysharp, Lance Corrimal, laured Cabassoun, Lesbo Charisma, Little Vixen, LucyInTheSky Afarensis, Maiko Taurog, michiya Yoshikawa, Nikif, notohama, nozomimi karu, Ome Audeburgh, pascal kira, Patrice Cournoyer, Pazzo Pestana, Peacy Cortes, Pensive Mission, poko Zepp, Popow Horbaczewski, Porter Tracy, Qyv Inshan, Rebbie Resident, Rim Telling, Ronin Zane, S11D, sailman, Samlara Vintner, SkyBlue Earthboy, Slanty, SteveLL resident, Takabou Destiny, Trapez Breen, VictorCR, Wolfhard Resident, Wrye Diabolito, Xi Larnia, xpaulx pain, yala74, Yuukie Onmura. ~~ WOOTS! ~~

2013 Hotlaps

All that hotlaps data goes into a public spreadsheet that contains multiple, linked pages that sort the results by race line and boat class, color-coded by skipper. Here’s an example, showing the submitted lap data for Plum Gut from January through September 16:

Sept 18 2013 Plum Gut Laps

click to enlarge

You can click the above image to get a larger view, but you can also just go to the live spreadsheet page any time to see the list of entered lap times.

2013 Handicaps

The pool of standardized lap data makes it possible to compare performance of different sailboats and calculate a “Handicap Factor” for each popular boat class.  Hotlaps 2013 uses the Melges-24 as it’s arbitrary reference standard. The M-24 is the Hotlaps index boat, and by definition it has a Handicap of 1.00. (You can see that shown in red in the first data row below).  All other boats have handicap values expressed relative to that standard.  

Here’s the current summary list of Handicaps for all the tested boats at each of the race courses:

summary HH

Each row in the above matrix represents a different boat class and the columns contain the handicap values for those boats for the six race lines.  Slower boats (i.e., those with longer lap times than M-24) have Handicap Factors that are less than 1.00,  and faster boats have handicap factors greater than 1.00. 

handicapsFor example, several sailors tested the Mesh Shop Laser One on each of the six Hotlaps courses. The average handicap values were 0.75, 0.73, 0.74, 0.62, 0.69, and 0.79. That’s a pretty tight clustering of results, considering the varied sailors involved and the differences of each course.

The average handicap for all courses was 0.72, suggesting that the Mesh Shop Laser One is 28% slower than  the Melges-24 on any typical racecourse (The M-24’s handicap= 1.00).

 The figure to the right shows a current list of handicaps for tested boats, averaged over all six lines. The slowest boats in the bunch include the Shelly, the Fizz,  and the Galiko NY32 (which has a Fizz engine). All these boats produced handicaps of 0.50-0.60, evidence they are roughly half as fast as the Melges-24.

Of course, a slow boat is not a bad thing; it just reflects the builder’s design and vision. Several other boats had handicaps as slow as the ones named above in the 0.50-0.60 range, including the Leetle Cat II, the Patchogue II, the RM Pilot, and the ACA Tiny.

Cruiser handicaps.


powered by Rotaru

However, that’s the slow end of the spectum; most cruise boats are faster than that. The cruisers in SL tended to generate handicaps that range from 0.60- 0.90. That means they are 10-40% slower than the Melges-24, at least when sailed with a 15 knot wind. Nearly all Trudeau boats fit in this 0.60-0.90 “cruiser”-group. It’s a realistic speed-spot for them, since most Trudeaus are classic designs of earlier, multipurpose vessels; they are not hotrods.

Many other popular boats also fit in that Cruiser 0.60-0.90 speed-niche. For example, Craig Kbata’s Teleri 20 scores 0.70, Manul Rotaru‘s Beach Trimaran rates a 0.82, and Rene Marine‘s RM-12 comes in at 0.69. Quest Marine has two boats in this speed range as well; the 2M (0.74) and the Scow  (0.85).

bandit 50Analyse Dean’s recent Bandit 50 is one of the quickest of this whole cruising group. It scored a 0.89, placing it just 10% behind the Melges 24 racer. Kain Xenobuilder also has a new cruiser, the Cafe del Mar 75, that uses the same BWind 2.5 engine as the Bandit 50. You might think Cafe’s sailing performance would be similar to Bandit’s, but you’d be wrong. 🙂 CDM75The Hotlaps data shows that the Café 75 is a much faster boat, earning a handicap of 1.12; that beats Bandit 50 by over 20% !!

The Cafe Del Mar is designed to emulate a beamy mid-size cruising boat, but it sails more like an ocean racer. It’s even  12% faster than the lean-and-mean, carbon and glass Melges 24! Wowzers!

I’ll tell you much more about Bandit 50, Cafe 75, and the RM 12 in a separate post soon. 🙂

Racer Handicaps

The third large group of handicaps primarily includes the large, ocean race boats in SL. They all tended to score in the 0.90-1.20 range. 

Q M-24 launchSince Hotlaps 2013 uses the Melges 24 as it’s benchmark standard to set the other handicaps, it’s no surprise that boats that score around 1.00 are also racers. For example, Kanker Greenacre’s Tako 3.3 scored a handicap of 1.03 in this series, almost identical to the M-24. 🙂 

The Quest IACC scored a 0.94, a bit behind the ACA33 Racer with 1.03. The Mesh Shop’s two ocean racers are right in that mix as well; The OD65 ranked 1.10, and the VO70 earned a 1.03.OD-65

It’s interesting to comment that the Mesh Shop VO70 has a handicap that’s identical to  the old  Wildwind VO70 (1.03). That makes a lot of sense since both builders were modeling the same boat, but it’s great to see the consistency. 🙂

Speaking of Wildwind boats, the present lap results clearly show that WildWind is continuing its reputation for building the fastest ocean racers in SL sailing. The Wildcat-45 catamaran scored a 1.12, the WW Open-60 rated 1.07, and the (still beta) WW AC-72 came in with a rather incredible 1.54. If WildWind decides to release it, the AC-72 could be the fastest sailboat ever launched in Second Life. More important, it would be a truly remarkable emulation of this year’s RL Americas Cup racer. 🙂

ac72 crew

Handicaps for History

There are still many boats to test and extra data laps to run to get accurate numbers across the whole fleet. By December 2013, we should easily exceed 500 new database laps, and that data will be added to a pool of many thousand laps on numerous courses dating back a full seven years.

That’s prolly a good time to sit back with a stiff drink and try to make some conclusions about what Hotlaps can tell us about the diversity of boats we all share and sail in Second Life. 🙂


Hotlap Handicaps for April

Wrye Diabolito handicapping a BBS2

I’ve been away quite a bit recently, so I have lots of catching up to do here over the next few weeks. 🙂 I’ll begin with a quick update and reminder about Hotlaps! 🙂

Hotlaps 2013 is a format that lets sailors build sailing skills and have fun by doing solo practice runs and sharing the scores online.

hotlapspostersThe database allows skippers to compare their lap times with others and contrast the relative performance of different boats under the same ‘trial lap’ conditions.

There are currently six different raceline locations, and each one has its own Hotlaps course: PLUMGUTBREADNUTKNAPTRACKICONLINKOUSSULU, and HEPURN.

Sailing a Hotlap takes only ten minutes, and you can do it any time you want, in any boat. Just go to one of the racelines and click on the ‘Hotlaps 2013′ poster above the green buoy; it will give you all the info you need.

April 9 skippersSince the beginning of the year, a total of fifty-seven skippers have sailed 344 laps in thirty-eight different boat classesWoots!

The names of all the skippers that have posted lap times is shown in the table to the right. Each name is color-coded to make it easier to find a sailor’s individual lap times on the spreadsheets for each of the hotlaps courses.

If you go to the Handicap Hotlaps 2013 spreadsheet, you’ll find individual pages for each of the hotlaps sites, as well as raw data entry lists and summary sheets.

Here’s a snapshot of the current hotlaps results for Plum Gut, showing the individual timescores separated by boat class and the calculated “average good lap time” for each boat.

Apr 9 Plum Gut HH

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With repeated runs, it’s impressive that nearly all sailors come up with similar lap times for a given boat; the variance across the fleet is pretty small. (That’s good!)

The consistency of the Hotlaps data makes it possible to generate simple performance handicaps for different sailboat classes. The handicaps are ‘normalized’ with respect to an index boat (the Melges-24) to make the handicaps factors easy-to-use. The Melges-24 has a handicap of “1.00.” A boat with a handicap of 1.30 has a lap time that’s 30% faster than the M-24, while handicap of 0.70 means the boat is 30% slower.

Anyway, here’s a snapshot of the current, summary table showing the calculated handicaps for different boats on each of the six hotlaps courses. The handicap for a given boat is nearly always consistent across all six Hotlaps courses. That’s pretty good evidence that the handicaps are valid for any racecourse in SL.

Hotlaps Handicaps April 10 2013

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If you look at the above table, you’ll see a few new boats listed. 🙂 I’ve been sailing the Rene Marine 12 a lot recently, and it weighs in with a handicap of 0.69, making it roughly 30% slower than the Melges-24, but pretty close in performance to the RM Pilot, Laser One, Francois Jacques, and Trudeau One.

Kudos to Peacy Cortes, who recently added the venerable Tetra 35 to the spreadsheets. The Tetra clocked in with a respectably speedy 0.97, pretty close to the engine-related Tako 3 (1.03). Yesterday Wrye Diabolito also posted lap data for the Becky Baby Sloop II, earning that boat a 0.75 handicap similar to several other Bwind-engine vessels on the list.

There are several more additions to the list, so take a look. And if you don’t find the boat you’re looking for, or if you disagree with a handicap factor, that’s great! Just pull that boat out of your pocket and go run a few more laps on any of the six courses, and then post the results to the spreadsheet!

The more “average, good” lap times sailors submit, the more accurate the profile will be for each of the boats in the fleet.

Adjustment Bureau

Mixed numbers

On February 14 a handful of hardy sailors converged on North Sea’s Breadnut raceline for a fun, mixed fleet race. We did two heats on the North Sea Hotlaps course, and everyone sailed a different boat class. Since the sim conditions were pretty good,  I thought it might be interesting to look at the results using the Handicap factors. Handicapping might “level the playing field,” and allow different boats to fairly compete with each other.

Feb14 mixed fleet

Here are the lap times for the five boats in the first race:
Race One Lap Times: 
Chaos Mandelbrot   IDCM91 — Start: 00:00:16  —  Last lap: 00:11:54
Melges-24 Handicap= 1.00
 takabou Destiny   ID0021 — Start: 00:01:48  —  Last lap: 00:12:15
Q IACC Handicap=0.92 
 Brett Kjeller   ID157 — Start: 00:00:27  —  Last lap: 00:15:19 –
RM12 new Handicap 0.75
 SteveLL Resident   IDJB25 — Start: 00:01:09  —  Last lap: 00:15:15
Q 2M handicap 0.77
 lesbo Charisma   ID159 — Start: 00:01:45  —  Last lap: 00:16:18
FranJac handicap 0.75
feb 16 handicaps
For each boat above I’ve also listed the handicap correction factor in red, based on the Hotlaps data for the Breadnut raceline, where available. Click on the figure to the right to get the current Handicap Summary Table, based on 269 laps sailed by 50 skippers in 32 different boat classes.
For each of the five boats in the race, I then corrected the Finish time by multiplying the boat’s lap time by the Handicap factor, then adding that result to the Start time. (I didn’t think it made sense to handicap the Start times). Anyway, here’s the actual Finish rank, with the corrected times shown in red.
Race Results:
 1: Chaos Mandelbrot   Melges-24 — 00:12:10 corrected: 00:12:10
 2: takabou Destiny   Q IACC — 00:14:03 corrected: 13:06
 3: Brett Kjeller   RM 12 — 00:15:46 corrected: 11:56
 4: SteveLL Resident   Q 2M — 00:16:24 corrected 13:20
 5: lesbo Charisma   FranJac — 00:18:03 corrected: 13:58
Chaos Mandelbrot crossed the Finish line first, sailing a Melges-24. The M-24 is the “Handicap Index” boat, so it needs no correction. Takabou Destiny crossed second in a Q IACC, which is 0.92 as fast as the M-24; adjusting for that handicap took 57 sec off Tak’s Finish time. Chaos still beat takabou, but only because Chaos crossed the Start line first; Tak actually sailed the faster time-corrected lap. 🙂
Lesbo Charisma sailed a Francois Jacques and crossed the Finish in the #5 slot. Lesbo in FranJacThe FranJac is a great boat, but it’s considerably slower than the Melges-24.
Lesbo’s uncorrected time was six minutes behind Chaos. However if you adjust for the handicap (.75) her time is 13:58. Like takabou, Lesbo was late getting started; her corrected lap time was 12:13, a number that is suddenly competitive with Chaos’ 11:38 and tak’s 11:18 handicapped lap times. 🙂
SteveLL Resident sailed a Quest 2M and ranked #4 crossing the Finish. There was no handicap available for the Q2M on the Breadnut line, so I used the Plum Gut Q2M handicap of 0.77
From past Hotlaps series, I’m pretty convinced the results from one standard course can be applied to most other courses.
You want proof of that (grin)? SteveLL sailed both race heats on July 14. Since we were racing the North Sea Hotlaps Course and using the Hotlaps wind, I took Steve’s race laps and used them to calculate a new Q2M handicap for the Breadnut line. It came in at 0.77, exactly matching the Plum Gut result! 🙂 SteveLL’s corrected Finish time was therefore  13:20, entrenching him in the #4 slot for the first heat. 🙂
Brett Kjeller raced a shiny, new RM12 and Finished #3. There are no data for that boat on any of the Hotlap racelines. Brett’s laps can be used to set a new Handicap for the RM 12, but those numbers really can’t be used to adjust his own time in the same race.  🙂
However, it’s worth commenting that Brett’s lap scores from this race would yield a first-guess handicap of 0.75; if that number’s confirmed by more hotlaps, it would compare favorably with the FranJac (0.75) and Q2M (o.77) that were also part of this small, mixed fleet.
Here are the the results for the second race, again with handicap corrections added in red. I think the idea to handicap mixed fleet races is interesting, and there are probably several ways to do it. Using the hotlaps numbers is one method that might turn out valid and reliable over time.
Another method might be to simply group together boats that have a similar Handicap score; races often treat the VO-70 and OD-65 as though they were equivalent; the same is true for the ACA33 3.x and the Quest IACC,  as well as the Trudeau One, FranJac, and New York 30. Whether these boats can fairly compete with each other in a race is a question that might be answered, at least in part, by the Hotlaps project.
For the moment, it’s just fun to play with the numbers, and recall such great racing with friends. 🙂
Race Two Lap Times:
 Chaos Mandelbrot   IDCM91 — Start: 00:00:11  —  Last lap: 00:11:40
 takabou Destiny   ID0021 — Start: 00:00:50  —  Last lap: 00:13:15
 SteveLL Resident   IDJB25 — Start: 00:00:26  —  Last lap: 00:14:59
 Brett Kjeller   ID157 — Start: 00:00:26  —  Last lap: 00:15:32
 lesbo Charisma   ID2159 — Start: 00:00:38  —  Last lap: not finished
Race Two Results:
 1: Chaos Mandelbrot   Melges-24 — 00:11:51 corrected:00:11:51
 2: takabou Destiny   Q IACC — 00:14:05 corrected 13:03
 3: SteveLL Resident   Q 2M — 00:15:25 corrected 12:24
 4: Brett Kjeller   RM12 — 00:15:58 corrected 12:05
 5: lesbo Charisma   FranJac — not Finished
mixed nuts

Hot Times

Hot Times Jan 2013

Thank you to all the skippers who have sailed Hotlaps so far. After five weeks in 2013, that adds up to 41 sailors doing 226 laps in 28 boat classes!

In the tradition of hotlaps from past years, I thought it might be fun to publish an ongoing list of the fastest skippers for the preceding month. To do that, I’m only considering boat classes that have lap times from at least three skippers. The lap times can be from any of the six different hotlaps courses.

I then normalize the scores from the different courses relative to the Melges-24 index. That makes the results comparable, and independent of the specific race line a sailor chooses. Based on that comparison, here’s a list of the speediest hotlap skippers for the month of January!

Hot Times Table Jan 2013

For example, during January sailors posted a total of 49 lap times for the Melges- 24. For each of the courses it’s possible to calculate the average lap time for that boat, and then determine the skipper that beats that average by the widest margin.

In January, Armano Xaris and Fearless Freenote ended up in a tie. They each sailed a Melges-24 lap that was 9.0% faster than the average for the fleet. Nice sailing, guys! 🙂

Kudos also go to  nozumimi karu, xpaul pain, Hannelore Ballinger, Bunnie Mills, Jane Fossett (that’s me!), Lucyinthesky Aferensis, and VictorCr for the fastest laps in their respective boat classes, as listed above. Nice job!

Now let’s see how the scores in February measure up over the next few weeks, but please remember: Hotlaps isn’t just about the fastest scores; be sure to enter your ‘good, average’ laptimes as well!


Two Hundred Hotlaps

200 hotlaps

This post is just a quick update and reminder about Hotlaps. 🙂

Hotlaps 2013 is a format that lets sailors build sailing skills and have fun by doing solo practice runs and sharing the scores online. The database allows skippers to compare their lap times with others; they can also contrast the relative performance of different boats sailing the same ‘trial lap’ conditions.

At the moment, there are six different raceline locations, and each has its own Hotlaps course: PLUMGUTBREADNUTKNAPTRACKICONLINKOUSSULU, and HEPURN.


Sailing a Hotlap takes only ten minutes, and you can do it any time you want, in any boat. Just go to one of the racelines and click on the ‘Hotlaps 2013′ poster above the green buoy; it will give you all the info you need.

The current round of Hotlaps began less than four weeks ago, and yesterday we hit a total of 200 lap entries recorded by 36 skippers in 26 different boat classes. Notohama Resident has the notable distinction of sailing lap #200 in a Flying Fizz at Plum Gut. 🙂

Speaking of which, please let me give a shout-out to all the sailors who have sailed laps so far this month. Woots! :

 yala74, Armano Xaris, Jane Fossett, Andi Merryman, Lance Corrimal, LucyInTheSky Afarensis, S11D, Emelia Azemus, B117, B12, BM12, Chaos Mandelbrot, Hay Ah, Kris Hollysharp, Slanty, poko Zepp, Qyv Inshan, Justin Blade, nozomimi karu, SkyBlue Earthboy, Trapez Breen, Yuukie Onmura, Joy Acker, Wolfhard Resident, notohama Resident, Pazzo Pestana, Kentrock Mesmer, Bunnie, , VictorCR, B112, Maiko Taurog, xpaulx pain, Fearless Freenote, Rim Telling, Xi Larnia, Hannelore Ballinger.

Here’s also a new update for the Plum Gut spreadsheet that I posted ten days ago, so you can get an idea where this is going. Please click on the image below to get a readable size, and you’ll see it includes all the individual Plum Gut Hotlaps scores, color- matched to the skippers. The online spreadsheet has separate pages for each of the racelines. It makes it easy for a sailor to watch their progress over time, and to compare their skill against others running the course.

Hay Ah’s currently testing out an interactive display that should soon make this Hotlaps info much more user-friendly and available to skippers in-world, right at the raceline. 🙂 (Thank You, Hay!)

Plum Gut Hotlaps Jan28 2013

please click to enlarge

The Hotlaps data makes it possible to generate simple performance handicaps for different sailboat classes. The handicaps are normalized with respect to an index boat (the Melges-24 has a handicap of 1.00) to make the handicaps factors easy-to-use.

So far, across the six different courses a total of 26 boats have been evaluated, yielding 64 estimated handicaps. Here’s the current list for all six courses:

HH Summary Jan 27

At the end of this month I’ll post about the conclusions we migfht be able to draw from this type of data, and I’ll also list the names of skippers who logged the fastest adjusted lap times for each boat class during January. 🙂

However, if you sail hotlaps please remember to log all your “average, good” lap times, not just your fastest runs. That way we’ll get a more realistic profile for each of the boats in the fleet.

overlapped and parallel

Race Mark Rez Retro

Racing One Design 65

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Yesterday I posted briefly about race buoy late-rezzing problems, and I mentioned one potential fix: increasing the physical size of the buoy by linking a large, underwater block to it. Today I sailed a series of hotlaps using the new, modified buoy in Trulan and it worked quite nicely. 🙂 The picture above shows my boat approaching Trulan sim, and if you look closely you can see that the buoy has already rezzed off the port bow, a full two sims distant.

Yesterday I also mentioned that this is not a new issue. Last evening I went back to the archives and read a series of old posts on the topic. MarkTwain White suggested the same fix for late-rezzing buoys back in April, 2008; I think that could be the original post on the issue, and I cited the reference in my initial comment.

Going through the archives, I was reminded of two more potential solutions, and I thought I’d mention them here.

 1. Raise the seafloor under the buoy.

In a private water sim, the owner can terraform a sharp peak directly beneath a buoy. That will not make the mark rez more quickly, but it will produce a permanent, easily recognized target on the world map and the mini map.

The 2008 discussion I referenced above was actually about Svar Beckersted‘s fix for a late-rez buoy in USS’ Bartlett sim. Here’s what it looked like five years ago:


As I said, this fix doesn’t make the buoy rez faster or sooner, but it does make it show up on the map. To emphasize that point, here’s a low resolution chart of the USS sims from back then; you can easily make out the location of the “Bartlett Buoy Mound” (red arrow, below).

USS MAP 063008

Click to enlarge

2. Sky markers.

The 2007 ACA32 SL Regatta was held on a sixpack of private sims. overhead diskEven in that restricted space, sailors had some difficulty identifying the race buoys at a distance on the horizon. The solution was to place large, pancake-shaped objects above mast height over each of the buoys. That way the competition boats could easily orient to the mark locations, even when a landmass or another boat was in the way.

That solution worked well for ACA32, but it never really caught on for subsequent regattas. However, this topic gives me an excuse to post SurfWidow Beaumont’s great ACA32 video one more time; keep your eyes open for the race buoys in the vid, and you’ll see the large, dark pancakes overhead. 🙂

So in summary it looks like the race mark rez issue has been around a long time, and there are a number of ways to handle it. I also think it’s less of a problem these days, since many racing skippers use waypoint HUDs like TRAPNAV to highlight the race mark locations.

Hepurn Hotlaps

Hepurn Hotlaps

Kudos to Hannelore Ballinger, Elbag Gable and Mowry Bay Boat Club for hosting the sixth Hotlaps 2013 site!

The new course uses the Linden raceline in Hepurn, and you can get all the details to sail a Hotlap by clicking the poster above the green buoy on the starboard side of the line.

Mowry Bay Hepurn raceline

(Note: The posters are phantom and semi-transparent, so they aren’t an obstruction to sailing.)

There’s a large rez-enabled parcel on Linden water that begins 35m south of the raceline, so sailors should have no trouble getting their boats underway. The Green buoy also contains Hay Ah’s version of the WWC setter, so if you want the correct wind to sail a lap just click on the buoy and say “use hotlaps 2013.”

Here’s Hanne’s chart:

Mowry Bay Boat Club Hotlaps 2013

The course is classically designed with upwind, downwind, and reach legs. It resembles the old MBYC1 “Triangle” course that sailors raced in the Mowry Sprints regatta (you can read about that race here, here, and here).  It’s interesting to note the old MBYC1 course was used for racing and hotlaps as far back as 2006-2007. However, by comparison Hanne’s new course is over twice as long, it takes better advantage of the Linden waterways, and it is a better test of basic boat performance. It’s a great design. 🙂

There’s one unique aspect to this course compared to the other five Hotlaps installations. Hepurn Hotlaps uses a SW wind (15kn, 225deg), so the first leg of the course is a downwind run. Since Hotlaps are solo time trials and the legs are nicely balanced, I’m guessing the ‘spinnaker start’ in Hepurn will make no difference. We’ll see!

So here we go with Hepurn, Now We Are Six!

Now We Are Six

Hotlaps Locations:

Plum Gut






(click one for a link.)


You got ten minutes?
You could sail a Hotlap!  :-)

mowry mar5 2008

Hotlaps Turns Sixteen (Days)

Hotlaps Turns 16

Hotlaps 2013 is a sail racing format that lets sailors practice their skills by doing solo laps on a standard ‘test track.’ Skippers can then upload their ‘average, good‘ lap times to a spreadsheet that compares their results against other sailors and across different boat classes.

This round of Hotlaps is just getting going, but so far the response has been great and there’s lots more planned. 🙂

sailors jan16

click to enlarge

In just the first two weeks, 28 skippers entered 140 lap times for 24 different boats. The current list of Hotlaps sailors is shown on the right, and the ‘Color Code’ is a key to the lap times listed on the spreadsheet below (as well as on the pages of the active spreadsheet here).

There are five Hotlaps locations so far: Plum Gut, BreadnutLinkous, Knaptrackicon, and Sulu. There is a notecard over the raceline at each spot that will give a Hotlaps chart, database links, and any specific instructions. 🙂

So far, Plum Gut turns out to be the most popular Hotlaps location, with 88 lap entries. I’ve included a snapshot of the Plum Gut summary spreadsheet below. Click on it to get a bigger table that’s readable. 🙂

So far at Plum Gut seven sailors have contributed 15 laps sailing the Melges-24 “index boat.” The results are pretty consistent, with an average lap time of 8:59, and a standard deviation of 0:24. Fearless Freenote at the moment holds the speed record in that class; he logged a rather amazing 8:18 two days ago, edging out Armano Xaris’ prior time of 8:32.

Speaking of speediness, Fearless also showed that the lap time for the WildWind VO-70 is substantially faster than the new Mesh Shop VO-70. Many sailors guessed that was prolly the case, but it’s nice to see that Fearless nailed it. You can see the actual numbers in the table below. 🙂

HH Jan17 2013

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summary tables jan16

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Hotlaps isn’t just about speed though. The lap scores also help generate relative performance factors (a.k.a. “Handicaps“) that compare boats to an arbitrary standard (the Melges-24 is that index boat).

The table to the right lists the current set of handicap factors determined by lap scores at each of the five racelines. In general, all the racelines produce the same handicap rank for a given boat, but there’s still variability in the the actual handicap numbers. That should settle down as skippers sail more laps on all the lines and add their results to the mix. 🙂

Nonetheless, the present handicaps have a number of interesting results. For example, Slanty Uriza nicely showed on the Sulu line that the vernerable Tako 3.3 is a close lap-match for the new and shiny Melges-24, and both boats are roughly equal in speed to the ACA33 3.0.

We’ll see how well those numbers stand up in the coming weeks. 🙂
Oh, and don’t forget:

You got ten minutes?
You could sail a Hotlap! :-)

2005 hotlaps RFL

Sulu Adds a Hotlaps Course

three pines

Samlara Vintner’s designed the latest Hotlaps course for the  Linden raceline in Sulu. It’s a straightforward upwind/downwind course with an added,  short reach leg. Sailors need to pass through an upwind gate in Baltic, so it might take a little practice to figure out the optimal tack points, but that should make it fun.

The classic course should be great for Hotlaps using a standard 15 knot wind blowing from the SouthWest, and Slanty Uriza’s already logged an initial Melges-24 ‘index’ lap time of 0:09:33.

Sulu Hotlaps 2013 ver 1

If you want to try out the course (or match Slanty’s time), you can rez at  the Three Pines Sail Center in Oswego. There’s also a 50x50m rez zone in Sulu, located just West of the raceline. As usual, all the info you need to do a Hotlap is in the notecard above the green windsetter buoy. 🙂

Hotlaps 2013 Progress

HH jan 2013 header

The Hotlaps 2013 lap entries are growing; in the first nine days, seventeen skippers logged a total of eighty-six laps that are split across the four courses.

jan 8 sailors HH The skipper’s names are listed in the box to the right, and the colors match the time-trial entries that are included on the summary spreadsheets for each Hotlaps course.

Plum Gut has the largest number of laps so far, with fifty-three lap times logged for fifteen different boats (see below).

The Melges-24 is the tentative “Index Boat” for handicap comparisons, so it deserves special comment here. The average Plum Gut lap time is 8:46, based on seven runs by Armano, Yala74, and Kris. Although the number of entries is still small, the scores are consistent and tightly grouped with a standard deviation of only 10 sec. We’ll see if this changes as more laps get added, but so far the M-24 Index looks valid and reliable. Let’s see if that holds up as sailors add more data points.

Jan8 hh

Please click to enlarge

Below is a quick ‘Summary Table’ of Handicaps for the fifteen boat classes entered so far.

HH Summary Jan8 2012Knaptrackicon still needs Index laps, so it’s handicap factors are blank at the moment. However, where the data is available, the scores of the other three lines are pretty consistent. The WildWind boats are by far the speediest, with Wildcat45, RCJ-44, and TR30 all earning handicaps of 1.10-1.15 (meaning they are 10-15% faster than M-24). In contrast, the newly reworked JG-44 looks like it’s coming in with lap times that are roughly 15% slower than M-24 on all three courses. The Mesh Shop boats and the ACA33v3 look like they fall in the middle, while the Trudeau fleet, Caf Binder’s Jangars, Manul Rotaru’s BeachTri, and Balduin Aabye’s Bolero all come in at the back of the pack with scores 30 – 40% slower than the Melges.

Of course, a slow boat is not a “bad” boat. Several builders argue that slower boats are more realistic in SL waters, but that’s a discussion for another time. 🙂 The point here is that the handicaps are generating meaningful data, and we’re on track to fill in many of the blank spaces on the above form. 🙂

Yesterday I sent out posters to advertise Hotlaps. They are full mod/copy, so please stick one up in an appropriate place (like your local gas station bathroom). The notecard embedded in the poster gives details about Hotlaps 2013, including landmarks, charts, and links. The notecard is networked, so the Info will automatically update as we add more Hotlaps locations, and as Hay Ah adds new lap features to her racelines.

Hotlaps 2013 info

You got ten minutes?
You could sail a Hotlap! 🙂