Category Archives: ACA33 3.0

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

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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.

tri

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. 🙂

harpoon

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

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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

2012 Relay For Life Weekend

For each of the past eight summers sailors have joined together to support Relay For Life, Linden Lab’s major charity initiative to fund cancer research.

As part of Relay, different user groups across the grid divide into community teams. The teams each hold fundraiser events, and it all leads up to a blow-out weekend in July, held on a set of Linden sims designed for the purpose. This year RFL weekend falls on July 14-15. (That’s right, it starts tomorrow!)

SLSailing’s team is named Sail4Life, and this year it’s leaders are Chad Sawson, Aislyn Keynes, and Fancie Beebee.

With their agreement, this year several sailing clubs “jumped the gun” on RFL weekend and held early S4L events in May and June to build up enthusiasm for RFL.

In these pages, I’ve recently talked about the FIYC Poker Race, the NY30 Solstice Challenge, and Benny’s Woodstock, but actually there were many more events; I’m sorry I could not cover them all. However, it made no difference whether a fundraiser was large or small; after all, $20L is $20L, whether it comes from a loud, mega-event or from a late-night personal donation in memory of a loved one, dropped into a distant kiosk in a solitary, waterside sim.

It’s all for a common purpose, we are all together.

I’m mentioning all this because Relay For Life weekend starts tomorrow, and as soon as it opens you’re most welcome to pile in to the RFL sims. There will be things to buy and fun stuff to do, and at the S4L installation you’ll find a host of boats up for auction!

OkOk… I know you’re thinking you probably already own too many boats, or maybe you own the whole fleet… 🙂 You worry this boat auction will be a big yawn.

Well, sportsfans, guess again!

Francois Jacques hand-picked the boats going to auction this year, and that means you won’t be disappointed! In addition to three new Trudeau NY30’s (including one donated by Laycee Deed), you can also bid on the ultra-brand-new, meshy Ktaba 20 Teleri MX I talked about a few days ago, and the latest version of Caf Binder’s ACA (it’s that one with the fresh paint smell). 🙂

And woots! that’s just the beginning…. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Quest’s heatbreak beta, the all-time favorite unlaunched racer touted by Orca and Noodle… their boat-to-die-for … 🙂  

The Quest Melges 24

will be up on the auction block! Kids, this is your chance to own hull #001!

OH… Yikes, I almost forgot… 🙂 There’s another boat I need to shout about, but maybe you can guess. You know the worst-kept secret in the big-boat Ocean racing community? Yup, its Kain Xenobuilder’s VO70 !!!! 

Well, you don’t have to stand in line drooling, wondering when you can get one of those Xeno Builds. Kain kindly donated a beta to Francois for the Auction! Geez, FJ knows what to ask for, and that means some lucky bidder will get to know this incredible boat before it ever launches!

I have a lot more to say about auction stuff, but maybe I’ve said too much already…  See? I told you this Auction was going to be fun. 🙂

Let me turn the microphone over to Chad Sawson at this point, he’ll tell you how to get a mooring rental slip at SFL’s sim! To give you a flavor of what he’s talking about, I’m inserting pics from past SFL installs; click on them for a full view. 🙂

2012 Sail4Life Relay Weekend Boat Slip Rental Donations

As part of the 2012 Sail4Life Team’s efforts to raise funds and help eliminate Cancer, we will be renting slips for boat owners and builders to display their pride and joy(s) and take part in the water sim activities at the 2012 Relay for Life of Second Life event July 14th & 15th.
Boats may be rezzed and housed all weekend long and will be on display for all those circling the track during the relay weekend. You can drop by anytime and take your friends out for a cruise or participate in the 24 hour marathon sail. All funds received will go directly to the American Cancer Society to help their world wide effort to fund ongoing research and eliminate Cancer.

Who Can Participate?
Anyone that owns a boat, power or sail, that is within the size parameters defined below. Those registering for a slip will be accommodated on a first come first served basis and assigned slip numbers sequentially.

Boat Size Limitations
We have set up two different slips for rental. Class A/1 and Class 2/3. Please see dimensions for each type below.

 Class A/1 – Max Length Overall: 20 Meters; Max Beam: 4.5 Meters
Class 2/3 – Max Length Overall: 33 Meters; Max Beam: 6.5 Meters

Slip Rental Minimum Donation Amounts
Class A/1: $1,000 L$
Class 2/3: $1,500 L$

Requirements for Participation
All Scripts MUST be disabled while moored. Scripts should only be enabled when the vessel is in use. When moored at it’s assigned location all scripts must be deactivated.
Centering and Alignment – While moored, the boat should be aligned with the appropriate X or Y coordinate of their assigned slip number plate to insure everyone has ample space between vessels.

How to Register
Just Go Here! (Cut and paste to your browser)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFpOajZCN1BzVklXRGZZV09zTE8xNHc6MQ


Here’s a candid pic of Jane at the S4L dock bar, back in 2008…
It was great fun! Let’s hope 2012 is better! Woot! 

GO SAIL4LIFE!!

2011 ACA Trophy Awards

by Jane Fossett and Amythest Wingtips

After two months of hard-fought sailing under difficult conditions, this past weekend the 2011 ACA Trophy Regatta came to an official close with an Awards Ceremony at Hollywood Bowl.

In the off-chance you spent the last three months in Nepal brushing up on transcendental meditation, here’s a recap of the ACA Trophy Promo video that will get you up to speed on the event:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Well now it’s over, and an enthusiatic crowd of threescore sailors came to Hollywood on Saturday to celebrate the Race, all the Competitors, and to shower particular praise on the ultimate Winning Skippers!

LDeWell Hawker and Quirky Torok organized the event and ran Saturday’s show. They began by extolling kudos and heeping awards on division winners Joro Aya (Intermediate Trophy) and Ox Seetan (ACA Lite Trophy)!

They then focused on the Elite Division Finalists, the top four winners of the entire, two-month Regatta.

The ACA Elite Third and Fourth prizes went to Miwha Masala and Silber Sands for a truly glorious bracket of Matches; you can read the details of their Petit Final Match event here.

The Top Two spots in the Elite Division were decided on July 24, the Regatta’s final race day. It was an ultimate Match duel that pit Bolt Bashly against KazumaHs Destiny for the top prize: the ACA Trophy. When the salt-spray cleared that day, Bolt sailed away with the Trophy in hand. How he won that final series proved a true tale of sailing derring-do, a confrontation for the nautical history books.

MarkTwain White filmed the Kaz-Bolt Match series, and his rendition is a true tribute to the excellence of the final competitors.  It reveals MTW’s remarkable skill and effort, and the movie ranks among the best virtual sailing videos of all-time. Go watch it a few dozen times times, take notes, grab yourself a copy, then tell your friends to watch, and cherish it always. 🙂

Oh, by the way: Make sure you thank MTW too. 🙂

Bolt and Kaz Battle for Cup Kudos

The Final Match shoot-out took place in Blake Sea, with Starboards Yacht Club hosting. Quirky Torok coordinated the complex event, while LDeWell Hawker kept strict control over all facets of racing, to ensure fairness and consistency.

Actually, the Regatta format ended up pretty simple; the best things usually are.

click to enlarge

The first skipper to win three races on Sunday would win the Regatta, and the ruleset was strict:  No recourse was given for crashes or sim-server problems. This was a no-whining final fight, a do-or-die duel of Destiny. (No pun intended, Kaz!) 🙂

With so much at stake, it’s worth commenting that Bolt Bashly had some difficulty finding his groove in the early flights. In fact, he lost the initial two races against Kaz pretty badly. In the First Race, Bolt missed the last gate and was scored DSQ. Then in the Second Race, Bolt crashed offline while approaching the Finish line. As the Third Race began, KazumaHs Destiny had  racked-up two wins.  With 2-0 on the scoreboard, it looked like Kaz was in the catbird seat, and on a roll to win the Regatta.

Bolt was in a bad spot; to stay alive he needed to belly-up and pull off three race-wins in a row. One loss and Bolt would Bottom-Out.

That must have seemed a daunting challenge, but in sail racing,  we all know it ain’t over till the Fat Lady sings. Bolt was far from Bashed. Although Kaz is a terrific sailor, Bolt was game-to-go, and the wise bets were on his side. Here’s why:

A One Minute Match Mantra

Over the past few months, Hawk worked tirelessly to teach sailors the details of Match Race Strategy; He’s posted videos, interactive slide shows, and offered many practical training classes. So if you want to win a one-on-one Match, make sure you talk to Hawk and attend his sessions over in Fruit Islands! The classes are great fun, and even if you don’t race, Hawk’s help will make you a much better sailor and give you a lot of new jokes.

But if you don’t have time for the Advanced Course, don’t worry.  The tricks to win Match Racing are actually pretty simple, and we saw them play out in the Finals.

When it comes down to it, there are really only two guiding principles necessary to win:

Rule 1. Win the Start.
Rule 2. Never let Anyone Pass You. 

Some of us think everything after that is irrelevant. 🙂

Forget about the race course. Focus only on what happens BEFORE you cross the line. If you can’t win the Start, your Match racing future is limited, since a skipper that crosses the Startline first has a huge advantage on any standard, windward-leeward course.

You want proof? Well… That principle proved Dogma in the ACA Trophy Finals… Let’s take a quick look.

Race #1

In Race #1 of the Finals, Bolt lost. Worse, it looked like he did something truly, incredibly stupid: Bolt forgot to go through the final course gate. How dumb can you get?

But wait a second though, and look again. Actually, Bolt won the Race #1 Start hands-down against Kaz.

That was a true eye-opener; it’s not easy to beat Kaz. Kaz is a Great Sailor, and he earned his spot in the Finals by defeating each-and-every skipper that dared match skill against him. Geez, Kaz even beat Miwha Masala. Many think Miwha is the all-time best ACA skipper in the whole SL fleet.

But Sportsfans? Even though Bolt lost Race #1… he actually, decisively beat Kaz across that Race #1 Start line.

You may have your own ideas about Race #1, but Jane and Amy think Bolt was focused on just one thing: winning that initial  prestart duel and seizing the Start. Well, he decisively nailed it, grabbing a strong lead lead as he crossed the line in front of Kaz.  Bolt then jealously guarded his position, never giving up his lead as he rounded the course.

Unfortunately, it looks like Bolt was so focused on the “Two Basic Rules” listed above that he ultimately forgot the Third Rule of Racing. Bolt missed the final race mark and ended up DSQ.

Rule #3 is well-known to all sail-racers, but it’s usually left unspoken and it’s not in the ISAF Race Rules, either. Here it is:

Rule 3. Don’t F*ck Up. 🙂

Bolt broke Rule #3 in the First Race. That was maybe a minor embarrassment, but hey, no big deal.  Bolt wasn’t emulating Lindsay Lohan, and wasn’t planning to be a repeat offender. You could Bet the Bank that Bolt was not going to make that mistake again. 🙂

Race #2

Race #2 actually turned out to be a replay of the First test. Bolt had his eyes glued on the the Start, and he played Kaz hard for a singular goal. Bolt’s mission was to make it across the line First.

Well, with intense determination he succeeded. Bolt crossed ahead of Kaz and grabbed clean air.

Once over the line in the lead, Bolt held all the cards. If you clock the two boats in any race, Kaz and Bolt turned out very closely matched for both speed and technical prowess. That made the Start advantage truly crucial, and in Race #2 it let Bolt hold his lead on every leg as he roared around the course.

Unfortunately, Bolt crashed just prior to the Finish. Since Kaz was glued to Bolt’s tail at every move and only seconds astern, Kaz easily grabbed the lead and cruised to his second straight win in the series!

Race #3

OKOK; Kaz was now leading 2-0. He only needed one additional win to capture the whole Regatta. Race #3 was truly a do-or-die moment for Bolt Bashly.  MarkTwain White saw it too, and expressed empathy over Bolt’s sorry predicament:

“Bolt must feel snake-bit after leading the first two races into the final seconds, only to lose.”

Well, after watching these races for five years, I’m convinced the outcomes are not determined by snakes, luck, or even destiny. (I’m sure MTW would agree, and if you have doubts, go look at the Destiny video in the article on Kaz and Takabou from last year 🙂 ).

However, MTW was surely correct: Bolt needed to win three straight races to beat Kaz, and capture the ACA Trophy. Bolt was nearly out, and now he had no margin of error. Kaz had the skill, nerve, and experience to hold the line, and he could smell victory.

A hush went over the crowd at the start of Race #3, as all eyes fell on the two champion contenders. Jane kept thinking of the legendary sailor Erik the Red, who once commented, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Bolt seemingly took those words to heart. He stuck to his elemental strategy: Win the Start.

If anything, it looked like Bolt doubled-down in Race #3. Go review the prestart in MTW’s video for that race. The last few seconds begin around 11:30 min. It shows Bolt dramatically cutting Kaz off at the Committee Boat, in a remarkable display of classic Leeward tactics. Wow!

Here are four snaps of that start from a different angle (taken by Jane):

If you’re a sailor, the sequence is pretty clear. The first image above shows Bolt parallel with Kaz  at the west end of the line, with only four seconds on the countdown clock. Bolt is leeward, and he has Right-Of-Way. Kaz is frozen; he has no room to pass between Bolt and the Committee Boat.

The next three images show how it plays out. Bolt plays his leeward card, cutting the line first on Starboard tack. Kaz is forced to come about. He crosses the line several seconds later on Port tack, with far less momentum.

Bolt decisively won Race #3 right there at the Start.

Race #4

Race #4 turned out to be a replay. Both skippers flaunted skill and swagger in the prestart, but Bolt timed his final tack well. He broke free from Kaz and crossed the Start line several seconds in front.

Bolt then never looked back. Bolt won Race #4, tying it all up. Bolt and Kaz had each won two Races.

Race #5

After nearly three months of ACA Trophy events and after four Finals races, for such great sailors, an even match score down to the wire seemed both exciting and appropriate.  The two Finalists had closely matched abilities, and everything would depend on a single tie-breaking Match.

The Race #5 Prestart was an epic duel of two great champions. Kaz and Bolt traded nonstop punches as the clocked ticked down, and the Start struggle proved an even match until the final seconds.

click to enlarge

Bolt then Burst across the line, scoring his Fifth Straight Start Win in the Finals series. Once they were across the startline, Kaz bravely fought against Bolt, sailing with skill and endurance. For such expert skippers, however, the Start advantage proved decisive, and it allowed  Bolt Bashly to sail across the Finish, and into the History Books…  as the ACA 2011 Trophy Winner.

The 2011 ACA Trophy Regatta was a truly fantastic competition that paid ultimate homage to many weeks… and months… of work by Quirky, Hawk, and over three dozen incredible sailors!

Congratulations to Bolt, Kaz, and all the fantastic skippers; but lets also raise Mega Kudos for Quirky, Hawk, Elbag, SYC, Fruit Islands and the ACA Group for such a Great Effort!

WOOT!

Bolt Bashly takes ACA Trophy in Five Matches

by Jane Fossett and Amythest Wingtips

Today, in a remarkably display of sheer tenacity and raw sailing skill, Bolt Bashly sailed away with the 2011 ACA Elite Trophy.

Way back in May, thirty-five sailors signed-on for a two month ordeal of elimination contests that would determine the best ACA 3.0 skipper in Second Life. After a long haul that tested the mettle of SLSailing’s Best of the Best, on July 24 only two skippers remained standing, undefeated:

KazumaHs Destiny and Bolt Bashly.

Today they met in Blake Sea for an Ultimate Match Duel to decide the 2011 Trophy Crown. As each match progressed this morning, it became obvious these two skippers were true champions and deserved their finalist status. Kaz and Bolt were closely matched technically, and sailed each flight with near-identical boat speed and flawless mark-rounding finesse.  It’s therefore no surprise that the competition sequence went the full limit. After four completed Matches, Kaz and Bolt ended up tied, 2-2.

Everything came down to Race #5.

Amy and Jane will fill you in with all the race play-by-play later this week, but here’s the bottom line. With such evenly matched, experienced skippers sailing a no-frills, windward-leeward Match course, everything depended on winning the Start, and that’s where Bolt Bashly excelled.

Today, Bolt Bashly owned the Startline. He won all five Starts, including the crucial Race #5. Kaz put up an epic contest in the final test, but Bolt struggled free and blew over the Raceline first, gaining a tiny, few-second advantage.

These two skippers were far too good to give up a lead, however small, and today Bolt proved that in spades. Bolt won the decisive fifth contest with pretty much the same hair’s breadth lead over Kaz that he held from the very start. Today two great sailors showed us all how it’s done. 🙂

Huge Kudos to Bolt and Kaz for their fantastic contest today.
It was full of the very best SL Sailing has to offer!

And everyone else, please remember the 2011 ACA Awards Ceremony is scheduled for next weekend. Hold those dates open;  Quirky Torok will update us all with the details!

EndGame: Bolt and Kaz Sail for ACA Crown

Are you ready?
After many weeks of heroic sailing,
Only two incredible sailors remain standing.

It’s down to a final, intrepid duo:

Bolt Bashly vs. KazumaHs Destiny

They sailed to victory against multiple challengers,
proving their mettle against a massive fleet
composed of the best IACC racers in all Second Life.

Now it’s Time for the Final Face-off.
It all ends on Sunday.

Two months of ACA Trophy racing
will conclude with a Final Match Event;
An ultimate do-or-die shoot-out in Blake Sea.
Here we go:

2011 ACA Regatta Finals
Starboards Yacht Club, BLAKE SEA
July 24 9:00AM

 

Miwha Magic

The 2011 ACA Trophy will come to a close in the next two weeks. Before that happens, I wanted to give a few well-deserved accolades for the sailors and organizers of the event. Let me begin with a big shout-out for the wondrous sailing of Miwha Masala!

Although it’s difficult to compare different boat designs and regatta formats, it’s definately not hard ranking Miwha’s sailing skill and her love for racing! In multiple sailing events over the past two years, Miwha had a spot reserved on the winner’s platform. She can sail pretty much anything that floats, and deserves a medal as Outstanding Sailing Diva of 2010-2011. 🙂

In case you have any doubt about that, I think her performance in the 2011 ACA Trophy Regatta proves my point.

Those gifted people with large brains reading this article may recall that two months ago the ACA Regatta began with a First Round Qualifying Elimination based on solo, time-trials. The fastest skippers in that contest then advanced into the Second Round.

Well, in that gritty tour de force numbers-game, Miwha Masala immediately bounced to the top. She was unbeatable sailing solo, and each of her First Round Qualifying Laps testified to her flawless sailing skill and her masterful addiction to speed.  Miwha quickly earned a mythic reputation as the fleet’s most Fast and Furious contender.

To her enduring credit, Miwha was also an essential resource for other racers, graciously sharing strategic tips with any who asked. Here’s my favorite picture from the ACA Trophy first week, showing Miwha and Taka hanging out at the Fruit Islands raceline. 🙂

When the Round #1 speed trials finished, I guess it was no surprise that Miwha stood alone at the head of the fleet. She owned the fastest laptimes of any sailor on the course, earning a well-deserved #1 Regatta Rank.  At the June 6 Award Ceremony in Eden, Miwha walked away with the Top Prize for the best performance of any ACA competitor.

(Oh! Huge kudos to Elbag, Quirky, and Hawk for the Awards Event!)

However, in mid-June the competition fleet entered the ACA Trophy Second Round. Round #2 used a Match Race format where contestants sailed against each other head-to-head. That required a new level of intensity; sailors had to prove they had the motivation, the skill and the sheer audacity to outsail their friends… (I mean “their competition.”) 🙂

Well, that Second Round saw a surprising upset; KazumaHs Destiny beat the odds, and outsailed Miwha Masala.


Kaz is a pretty great sailor, but on the day he matched against Miwha, Kaz stepped up his sailing proficiency to a whole new level. He beat Miwha with a pretty thrilling display of tactical prowess and cool-headed racing skill.

That doesn’t happen often, and it takes real magic to beat Miwha. Well, Kaz was the true sorcerer in Round #2. 🙂 When he trumped Miwha, Kaz earned the right to compete for the the Elite Division Top Prize, and I’ll have a lot more to say about that later. Today my focus is on Miwha. 🙂

New spectators  who saw that race might have gotten the wrong impression. Some may have concluded “Miwha was done,” or perhaps Miwha didn’t have what television pundits call “The Fire in the Belly” necessary to win. 🙂

Well, they obviously don’t know Miwha Masala. Miwha had the true heart to accept her defeat with consummate grace; she was full of praise for Kaz. But Miwha was far, far from out… 🙂

She came back the next week, waging a full steam campaign to capture the ACA Elite Division Petite Trophy (a.k.a., The 2011 ACA Elite Third Place). Miwha was ablaze with force, focus, and untarnished determination.

If you watched any of the ACA Trophy events, you also know that the “second-tier shoot-out for third place” was actually full of First-Ranked Sailors. Miwha needed to show she could fight her way to the front against battle-pr0ven, worthy opponents.

Miwha Trumps Taka

June 11 at 9:00am Miwha rezzed in Fruit Islands to matched-up against a grid-wide sailing expert. She faced Takabou Destiny, her good friend, and a truly wondrously-skilled ACA racer. Both Miwha and Taka were game-to-go that morning, and their match sequence took off exactly on time: Race Director LDeWell Hawker had this regatta under control, and he was ably backed-up by Qyv Inshan. 🙂

OKOK, as I mentioned, in this boat, on this course, Miwha was already the high mark from Round #1. However, in her match against Taka, Miwha had something to prove, and that day she set a new, ultimate standard. 🙂

Takabou Destiny was a worthy opponent. He is one of a small handful of truly incredible sailors in SL, and he can beat most other skippers any time, in any boat, on any course. 🙂 However, on June 11 Miwha proved an impenetrable roadblock. Kaz had beaten her a few days earlier, and Miwha absolutely would not let that happen again. On June 11, she didn’t. 🙂

Miwha stole the Starts, and then she relentlessly gained ground as she completed the course, despite strong resistance from Takabou in each flight.

Match Starts

I think all sailors agree that the “Start” is very important in sail-racing. Some might even argue that “Winning the Start” is Everything in a race, and that’s particularly true in Matches.

The ACA Match Rounds in Fruit Islands strongly demonstrated that point. Any skipper that could win advantage in Time and Position at the Start held the true Quantum of Victory. If you can win the start, you should win the race.

Well, on June 11 it was pretty undeniable that Miwha took on the best Takabou could offer, but she won the Starts by a full 11 seconds (R#1) and 09 seconds (R#2)! Woots; once she captured the Start and saw clear water, Miwha relentlessly widened her lead. She never faltered, and Taka never caught an opening he could exploit. Here’s a slightly modified version of Hawk’s Judging video from the first race:

Watch the above video carefully. If you ever need to match race Takabou, let me quote Wednesday Addams‘ advice: Be afraid, be Very Afraid.” 🙂 Taka played it excellently, and pushed Miwha far southwest of the line before the Start gun. The above video shows Miwha unintimidated; she ducked below his stern, and then broke for free water tacking back to the line. GRIN, she never looked back.

After two decisive tests that went in Miwha’s favor, Takabou accepted his defeat with rather great nobility. His love of sailing and his confidence in his skill is pretty obvious, and he certainly deserves huge praise.

You probably know what I think already: Tak’s a fantastic sailor, with the skill and determination to beat nearly any sailor, any day, in SL. However, he also knew June 11 belonged to Miwha. He put up a great fight, but accepted the result as Miwha proved her rank, flawlessly rounding the course in unbeatable style. Here are the numbers for their races below.

Miwha v Taka, Race #1
1: Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — 00:08:53
2: takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — 00:09:16
Lap Times:
Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — Start: 00:00:03  —  Last lap: 00:08:50
takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — Start: 00:00:14  —  Last lap: 00:09:02

Miwha v Taka, Race #2
1: Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — 00:09:04
2: takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — 00:09:29
Lap Times:
Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — Start: 00:00:09  —  Last lap: 00:08:55
takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — Start: 00:00:18  —  Last lap: 00:09:11

Miwha v Silber

After the victory above, Miwha had one more hurdle before she could claim the ACA Trophy Elite Third Place; there was still had one more Match to win.

Silber Sands had a list of ACA Regatta competition triumphs that equaled Miwha’s. A Final Silber-Miwha Match-up would decide which skipper owned the ACA Trophy Elite Third-Place spot. This was a high level duel, of course. It was so high, the loser would still go home carrying the #4 place award for the whole ACA Elite Regatta. So, this Match was really for Bragging Rights. 🙂

Although I’ve focused on Miwha above, I could just as easily have talked about Silber. As any user with a sailboat in SL already knows, Silber Sands is a great person and super sailor.

She also holds commanding knowledge and race experience across a wide range of one design boats in SL. Equally important, she has wisdom and clear insight over racing strategy and Rules application. Like Miwha, Silber has a gracious, self-effacing style, and she’ll probably deny all my laudatory comments about her here. 🙂

Nonetheless, I think most of us watching the Petit Final matches were not surprised when the final battle came down to a pas-de deux between Miwha and Silber.

OK, I said it before: If you can win the Start, you can win the Race. Well, two of the toughest, most in-your-face sailing duels I’ve ever watched took place between Miwha and Silber in their Final face-offs. It’s true they raced the prestart punch-out with guts and intensity, but they also sailed with remarkable grace, charm, and evident appreciation for each other’s talent. Their Final competition for the #3-#4 Elite Ranking spoke volumes about their understanding of the true fun of SL Sailing, and the wonder of the whole SL Sailor Community.

Watch this; it’s just the last four minutes of the Prestart from Race #1 of the Miwha-Silber Finals:

Often dueling skippers will avoid each other in the last few minutes before a start, trying to prevent a foul. With Hawk’s teaching and the strong hearts of all in this competition fleet, that never happened in the ACA Trophy. The skippers roared in to face each other during the final four minutes of each countdown, and the last matchup of Silber and Miwha demonstrated that in spades.

If you watch the above video frame-by-frame, you’ll see the two skippers used every tool they had available to gain advantage. They skirted the shoreline, islands, committee boats… and made breathtaking last-moment turns trying to fake their opponents.

With one minute to go, both skippers paused as they came to their pre-designed start positions. You can see it in the video, and I’ve captured it below as well.

The top frame shows the boats nearly in irons one minute before the Start, waiting to make a Starboard tack sprint for the raceline. Miwha is Lee and slightly ahead of Silber.

OK, normally Miwha in that spot would have Leeward advantage. She might possibly luff up Silber, and even push her off the racecourse. Maybe.

If you grab a stopwatch, you can time Miwha’s thinking here. 🙂 As I watch that video, I see Miwha realize her wind angle isn’t good enough to force Silber into the buoy. That means Miwha’s advantage is lost and she’s just going to strangle under Silber’s windward shadow as they cross the line.

In the second frame above you see Miwha take a truly gutsy gambit, making a last minute turn to gain better wind angle to hit the line. Silber sees what’s going on, and turns West to cut off Miwha’s juggernaut, but she’s too late. Miwha has the momentum and position needed to grab a strong windward-dominant start on Starboard tack.

Miwha took a chance, and won the Start by only six seconds against Silber’s truly heroic defense. Six seconds at the Start may not sound like much, I admit… but with skippers like Miwha and Silber, and in a well-tuned boat like Caf’s ACA3 3.0, six seconds into clean air will win you a race… anytime. 🙂

Miwha Wins!

Once more, against one of the best skippers in SL, Miwha Masala captured two straight wins to take the Elite #3 slot. Silber sailed away with #4, after a truly world class, bar-raising performance that showed us all ‘how it’s done.’

WOOTS to Miwha, Silber, Taka, and Thank You to all involved in the Petit Finals races… They were quite outstanding. After the sailors finished, I admit it took me at least two minutes to just remember to start breathing again. 🙂

Here’s the Final damage report:

Results:
1: Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — 00:09:41
2: Silber Sands   ID75SS — 00:09:59
Lap Times:
Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — Start: 00:00:03  —  Last lap: 00:09:38
Silber Sands   ID75SS — Start: 00:00:09  —  Last lap: 00:09:50

Race Results:
1: Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — 00:09:15
2: Silber Sands   ID75SS — 00:09:33
Lap Times:

Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — Start: 00:00:15  —  Last lap: 00:09:00
Silber Sands   ID75SS — Start: 00:00:22  —  Last lap: 00:09:11