Category Archives: Solstice Challenge

Solstice Challenge and Sail4Life

Now that the last boat is in and all the appeals are resolved, I get to do the fun part. I get to write about the individual races and teams, and show you who won and how they did it!

Before I get to that though, let me take a moment to remind everyone about the real purpose behind Solstice Challenge; it was a fundraiser to support SAIL4LIFE.


The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is a major fundraising event in real life, and in Second Life as well.
Since the first sailboats appeared in Linden water, sailors have taken an active role in RFL through fundraising events coordinated by their Sail For Life team.

Sail4Life 2005

The interest and commitment to Sail For Life has expanded and deepened over time, and this year under co-captains Aislin Keyes, Chad Sawson, and Fanci Beebe, S4L’s put together a full dance card of great events that should interest any resident of SL, whether they sail or not!

Solstice Challenge

The “New York 30 Solstice Challenge” regatta was a good example of the common commitment of many people here. For some time Dale Irata had planned a SAILstice event that weekend, coordinating it with similar activities in real life yacht clubs. Kentrock Messmer also wanted to stage a High Roller’s race regatta that day, repeating a very popular event from last year. While we all tried to come up with the best fit for the limited time available, Divine Providence interceded. Well, actually it was Jacqueline Trudeau. 🙂 Just as we were putting the event together, Trudeau Yachts launched a great new boat, the New York 30. Trudeau offered to give each of the S4L race teams a boat in return for their donation as a way to encourage participation and increase the number of contributions for the event. Her offer was remarkably generous, but it was quickly paralleled by commitments from several others to match the entry donations of the contestants.

courtesy of Dil Spitz

Well, the sailors came through, and we got our sixteen teams… but something surprising happened along the way. Estate owners and SL residents came up and offered to sponsor race teams and to match what the racers were all contributing. Francois Jacques and Vin Mariani raised the stakes even higher; they each offered to match the racer donations, but then they pledged to donate an additional 50% for any new match donations from that point on.

Wow, the response was pretty wonderful.

There were sixteen teams that each donated $L5,000 to race. In several cases sponsors jumped in to cover entry fees or made open-ended donations to the fleet, so no sailor was turned away because they couldn’t afford the entry.

Then thirteen wonderful residents and estate owners bellied up to the table to cheer on the fleet. They matched those team donations in large and small amounts. Their help and encouragement was the stuff that makes SL great, and they are guardian angels of the sailing community. Please give them a High-5 and a big hug when you see them!

Allie Tomsen, Armano Xaris, Charlz Price, David Wetherby, Elbag Gable, Francois Jacques, MarkTwain White, Nber Medici, Jane Fossett, Laycee Deed, OlOwl Magic, Taku Raymaker, and Vin Mariani.

Since we let sailors donate into any convenient kiosk, I can only tell you about the contributions I know of; if you think I’ve missed any, please let me know. Having said that, the weekend regatta raised $L80,000 from team entry donations, and $L477,000 from matching donors.

Francois and Vin matched a share of those donations with an extra $L150,500, and I’m happy to report that over half the race fleet were decked out in Woodstock teeshirts, triggering an additional donation from Fran for $L10,000.

The total donations for entry fees, matches, and tee shirt sponsors came to a rather glorious $L 717,500.

Now go look in the mirror and say thanks to yourself for such a fantastic display of kindness, generosity, and support for SAIL4LIFE.

Good job, SLSailing!

(Not bad for a weekend with your friends, playing with toy boats!)

Solstice Finals Appeal Ruling

courtesy of Dil Spitz – click to enlarge

by Kentrock Messmer and Jane Fossett

On June 26, the Race Committee granted Faster Pussycat an extraordinary appeal over the protest ruling in Race Four. Kentrock Messmer and Jane Fossett are the two appeals judges for this case, for reasons discussed in the Notice.

Trapez Breen (skipper of Faster Pussycat) made no complaint about any of the Solstice judging, and declined the offer of an appeal. Armano Xaris (skipper of New Horizon) and the Protest Committee both welcomed an Appeal review. They submitted notecards detailing their understanding of the protest event and the applicable Rules.

Last leg in red

Although Trapez Breen voiced no complaint, other members of the Faster Pussycat crew did, as detailed here, here, and here, and in many in-world discussions. The allegations are strongly worded, and could delegitimize the success of so many great sailors during the competition. In addition, it’s important to add that Trapez Breen and her Pussycats raced truly brilliantly in both the Qualifying heats and the Finals. If it were not for the disqualification in race four, they would have easily captured First Place. It’s important to make sure the judges called it right. The Finals race judges were Silber Sands (#1 judge), Joro Aya, Bea Woodget, and Samlara Vintner.

For these reasons, another review seemed well-justified.

The Protest Event

The protest occurred during the last leg of the race (highlighted in red on the above chart). As shown below, both boats were on a broad reach in Flat Hammock and Armano was clear astern of Trapez. In this situation Rule 12 applies, and Armano must keep clear. However, in the second image below, Armano next establishes overlap with Trapez from the Windward side. As soon as that occurs, Rule 12 switches off and Rule 11 kicks in. Armano is the windward boat, and he must keep clear.

The images below show this from another perspective, and demonstrate the two boats remained overlapped with roughly the same heading as they approached the finish line.

Joro Aya was the judge on the water; she also wrote the summary note card for the appeal review with the consensus support of the other three judges. Joro had a good view of the boats and commented on the tactics in this situation:

“Trapez now has a big tactical advantage. She is leeward and is not limited by Rule 17 because She did not come from clear astern when the overlap started. She could have luffed Armano all the way to hell and back if she had wanted to.”

Trapez remained on course however, and Armano slowly advanced on her windward side. Joro documents:

“Trap’s crew hails “up lee”, warning Armano to keep clear. Armano is still keeping clear, even steers up slightly and shortly to make sure.”

The appeals judges did angular measurements on the boat headings shown in each of the many pictures from this segment of the race, providing evidence that Armano did veer roughly 5° windward, but then came back on course when Trapez didn’t luff and both boats hit the “Zone.”

Joro summarized this part of the race for the protest group:

“The situation remained pretty much the same until the boats reached the markzone. During this time Trap was not once forced off her proper course and had room to steer both upwind and downwind if she chose to.”

The New York 30 is a relatively large boat, and the size of the Zone was a point of discussion in the race thread. Jane Fossett documented in the regatta Rules:

“Judges will use a two boat-length zone to resolve Rule 18 protests over ROW at racemarks. Rule 18 does not apply at start line marks, but will apply at the marks that define a GATE, except as stated in Rule 18.4.”

Head Judge Silber Sands added:

“Please note that rule 18 does not apply at start line marks BUT at finish line marks!”

These comments become directly relevant as both boats approach the East end of the finish line as shown above. The last two pictures in that sequence have both boats clearly in the zone. At that point Armano falls off by 5° in order to clear the green finish mark.

Joro summarized the race judge’s view:

“Both still on a port tack, nothing has changed except that it is now a rule 18 situation. Armano is inside and overlapped at the time the 1st boat (Trap) enters the zone. Trap must give Armano room to sail safely between her and the finish mark. Nothing more and nothing less.”

However, if you look at the last two ‘in the zone’ images above, the Pussycat boat actually heads up by 10°, cutting off any window for Armano to pass.

The pictures below show what happened next. Armano calls for Room! but his destiny is sealed; Trapez only turns away to avoid the debris after Armano slams into the buoy.

Joro again summarized the judges’ impression:

“Trap could have steered down to give Armano room and would have easilly won if she had done so. She could also have gybed away from Armano and would have also easily won the race.
BUT… she did neither. Armano hailed for mark room and Trap did nothing.”

That assessment by the protest committee seems amply confirmed by the multiple images documenting the incident, and by the direct observation of both current Appeals Judges who watched it happen.

At the end of the race, the protest committee concluded:

Armano – New Horizon tried to finish and broke rule 11 and 31 (and 14).
Trapez – Faster Pussycat broke rule 18.2b (and 14)
They exonerated Armano  for breaking rule 11 (as stated in rule 18.5) and for breaking rule 31 (as stated in rule 64.1c).
As there was no damage or injury, neither boat was penalized for rule 14
Trapez – Faster Pussycat was DSQ for breaking rule 18.

 Appeals Review Ruling

Kentrock Messmer and Jane Fossett are the appeals judges on behalf of the Solstice Challenge race committee.

After reviewing all of the available evidence, we concur with the decisions of the protest committee in each instance, and see no evidence supporting any other conclusion. Therefore, the results of race four are affirmed, and the appeal motion to overturn is denied.

Solstice Appeal

The Solstice Challenge Regatta held four qualifying events in different time slots on Saturday, June 23. The winners of those four timeslot race groups all advanced to a final race series on Sunday, June 24 in Sailors Cove.

That added up to 25 races involving 16 boats, and each boat could hold as many as five sailors. It was great fun, and a large number of sailors, spectators, and plain-old good friends came to the events and watched the competition.

The sailing conditions were very good over the weekend as well; only a few of the qualifying races were disrupted by grid problems or crashing boats, and the fleet took it in stride. During the Finals on Sunday there was significant lag in Plum Gut, the starting sim. This was certainly no surprise, given the fact that each of the four boats had four or five sailors aboard, and a large crowd was clustered on the perimeter of the starting area watching the boats cross the line.

The race teams all took this in stride, however. after all, this was certainly not the first nor the last big race for them. These teams were real pros. 🙂

Courtesy of Dil Spitz

As further evidence of the wonderful knowledge and experience of the fleet, in each of the four final heats a number of protests were called, involving a variety of Race Rules. The protest committee (Silber Sands (#1 Judge), Joro Aya, Bea Woodget, and Samlara Vintner) had their hands full as they efficiently – and expertly – adjudicated the protests and weighed the penalties.

After two hours of racing, the first-place slot came down to an incredibly exciting,  photo-finish duel between NEW HORIZON (skippered by Armano Xaris)  and FASTER PUSSYCAT (skippered by Trapez Breen).

Although I’ve already posted the race times, you may have to wait another day or two to find out who truly won. Just as the lead boats crossed the Finish line, NEW HORIZON protested PUSSYCAT and Armano’s protest was allowed by the Judges. The sailors aboard FASTER PUSSYCAT loudly disagreed with that ruling however, and moved to Appeal the judge’s decision.

Protest appeals are fairly common in RL sailboat racing, and they often happen in major SLSailing regattas as well. Given all the time, effort and enthusiasm invested by the competing teams, it made sense to give this protest a second look and affirm or reverse the protest committee’s original decision.

So, with the unanimous agreement of the Solstice Race Committee and Finals Protest Committee, the following notice was released yesterday:


The Solstice Race Committee grants the Triumphal Yacht Club team FASTER PUSSYCATS KEEL KEEL the right to an extraordinary appeal in Finals Race #4.

In yesterday’s Finals fourth heat, Trapez Breen and Armano Xaris were involved in a protest event on the last leg as they approached the Finish line.
The Judges considered the protests, and ruled in favor of Armano’s NEW HORIZONS. PUSSYCATS was scored ‘DSQ.’ 
 However, sailors aboard PUSSYCATS immediately asked to appeal the judges’ finding.

For this Regatta, the Appeals Committee consists of members of the Race Committee that are present for a given heat and available to hear the appeal motion.
In this case, Kentrock and Jane are both members of the Race Committee and were also present ‘on the water’ during heat #4.
They witnessed the event-in-question and heard the judge’s discussion. However, neither Kentrock nor Jane were judges for yesterday’s regatta.

As Regatta Chair, I rule that Jane Fossett made an error yesterday by not formally hearing PUSSYCAT’s Appeal. 

The Race Committee/ Appeals Judges will correct that error now, and hear the appeal this week.
Kentrock and Jane will represent the full Race Committee in that process.

Here is how we will manage the hearing: In the next 24hr, each skipper will submit a notecard to Jane Fossett explaining his/her understanding of the event-in-question, the protest, and the race rules as they apply.

The Finals Race Judges will also submit a notecard on their rulings in this instance.

Kentrock and Jane will then review that information.
They will also consider the material already posted online about this protest, the transcripts from all the chat threads during the race,
and the opinions of sailors as needed.

Kent and Jane will then post an Appeal decision.

« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 10:04:37 PM by jane fossett »

Solstice Challenge Begins

Click to enlarge

Today the S4L Solstice Challenge officially opened, with a Regatta Party hosted by Elbag Gable in Eden Celebration sim. The event was rather wondrous, and well-deserved Kudos go to Elbag and all the great people in Eden, North Sea, and Fruit Islands!

And what a party it was! The first hour was a rather incredible lightshow by Tyrehl. It was so popular that at one point a full 67 people were crowded into the sim! (I didn’t think that was possible!)

courtesy of Dil Spitz

The second hour was a performance by Lightning’s ABBA tribute in SL, held at the Eden concert stage. It was a pretty fantastic kick-off to the weekend of sailboat racing coming up!

Chaos slept through it 🙂

As most readers know, Solstice Challenge is a weekend race regatta to raise contributions for Relay For Life, one of the major SL fundraisers. There are sixteen great teams sailing in SOLSTICE, and each paid a donation “entry fee” to join the race. Many others in the sailing community then generously chipped in too, matching the racer’s contributions or paying to sponsor boats, greatly increasing the fundraising total.

The response has been pretty great so far, but hey, you can still donate any time you want over the weekend to support your favorite team or the whole fleet. There will be Sail4Life kiosks at all the spectator platforms for each race!

Here’s a list of the teams that will be racing on Saturday in four timeslots. Each qualifying event is hosted by a different SL Yacht Club, and the timeslot fleet will sail that club’s home water. The four timeslot winners will then meet on Sunday morning in Sailors Cove for a FINALS shootout to pick the regatta winner!

click to enlarge

Solstice Challenge Weekend!

Click to enlarge

Woots! Here we go!

The Solstice Challenge S4L fundraiser kicks off on Friday, June 22 with a wonderful party hosted by Elbag Gable in Eden Celebration. It begins with a Big Bang, courtesy of a massive fireworks show that should get the race skippers excited for the upcoming competition!

That will then blend in to a performance by SL’s Lightning ABBA tribute. 🙂 This should be something great; please come and celebrate Sail4Life’s Solstice Regatta!

Summer SAILstice

Summer SAILstice is a global celebration of the start of summer. Last year over 17,000 sailors kicked off the sailing season by hooking up with a SAILstice event! It’s not just for RL sailors, though. Virtual sailors are welcome to join hands with the SAILstice community as well.

Dale Irata from SL’s Island Yacht Club has made it easy to get connected, and you can even support Sail4Life while you do it. Just click on any of the in-world posters that have the above logo and you’ll get all the links and info. While you’re there, you can even pick up a S4L Teeshirt!

There’s no excuse if you’re not signed into SL, though. 🙂 Here’s a link to Dale’s SL SAILstice webpage that will tell you what it’s all about!

In fact, SAILstice was the theme and inspiration for the upcoming New York 30 Solstice Challenge regatta on June 23-24. You can sign up to race as your SAILstice sailing event, and Dale will even throw in a special regatta version of the SAILstice Teeshirt!