Category Archives: Kbata 20

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.

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

Teleri Gets an Update

Six weeks ago I posted about Craig Ktaba’s new racing sloop, the Ktaba 20 Teleri MX. The boat’s modeled after the International One Design Class, and it’s fully compliant with the wind, wave, and current parameters from raceline windsetters. The boat has many features that show the builder’s attention to detail and his emphasis on a realistic sailing experience.

With that kind of dedication, I guess it’s no surprise that Craig is already back with a new Teleri update! I’ve posted the full Owner’s Manual here, but let me list a few of the new features added since my original review:

Better control.

— The Teleri is one of the few boats in SL that lets crew help sheet the sails. A new ‘controls‘ command lets the skipper decide whether crew should have that job or not. 🙂

— The original Teleri had a strong weather helm, but the new boat is more evenly balanced. It still pulls to weather (as it should), but the effect is more a ‘gentle nudge’ than a ‘hard tug.’

— Teleri also has new camera control options, including a ‘follow cam’ that enhances a skipper’s situational awareness in a race.

A new polar.

The Teleri’s performance curve got a tuneup; the new numbers should make it more true-to-life while also enhancing the boat’s ease of use. The chart below shows a plot of boat speed as a function of wind angle using a wind speed of 4.86kt. That light wind was chosen to simplify the measurements, but the shape of the curve should help sailors predict boat performance at higher wind intensities.

The chart shows the Teleri is still quite speedy. The blue curve shows Boat Speed vs Real Wind Angle (RWA); Teleri’s maximum speed occurs on a beam reach, and it tops out at >90% RWS (Yikes that’s fast!). The dotted line above in red also shows Boat Speed plotted against Apparent Wind Angle (AWA). This view reveals a near-linear speed decay at progressive downwind headings, and the curve is reminiscent of the Trudeau Twenty family of boats.

Spinnaker Adjustments

The new Teleri update has spinnaker options that seem a fair compromise between realism and ease of use. A skipper can only raise the spin when the boat heading is close to a dead run (over AWA 145° or RWA 160°). Once inflated, the spin adjusts automatically, although a sailor can use keystrokes to manually fine tune it.

As shown in the purple curve (Spin) on the above chart, a well-tended spinnaker can add as much as a 50% boost to a downwind run. However, as the boat speeds up or changes heading the AWA will quickly rotate windward and the spinnaker will collapse! If you try to sail with a deflated, noisily flapping spinnaker, all those potential benefits of a large head sail become penalties and the boat speed dramatically drops.

Winging the jib is a safer option on downwind tacks over RWA 130° (shown in green on the chart); it gives a more modest boost to performance. 🙂

Gybing to apparent wind.

Nearly all sailboats in Second Life ‘auto-gybe’ to real wind headings. In other words, when the wind shifts from one side of the boat to the other the boom swings over, and the boat begins to heel towards the new lee side.

However, in RL things are not that simple. When a sloop makes a downwind gybe, the wind force is coming from the stern and the pressure of the wind keeps the boom from swinging over. This effect is modeled in the Teleri, as shown below.

The image on the left shows a boat on a port tack with a Real Wind Angle of 169°. With a small course correction the boat then crosses the wind, ending on a starboard tack with RWA= -169°. Since the breeze is still coming from behind, the boom stays stuck on the ‘wrong’ side.

To flip over the boom in Teleri, you’ll need to do what sailors do in RL: either tack further windward, or pull in the sheet until the boom swings over by itself. 🙂

To my knowledge this is the only boat in SLSailing that has this realistic feature.

And there’s more

The new update includes a host of additional features I haven’t mentioned above, but I’m pretty sure they’ll make seasoned SL racers smile. To give you the details, I’ve posted the full user’s manual online. Once you get bored reading all that stuff, stop by Triumphal Yacht Club, where Charlz Price just set up a free Teleri demo dispenser, and try it out for yourself!

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!!

Ktaba Teleri MX: A New One Design Racer

Ktaba Teleri MX

The International One Design was developed in the 1930’s by Corny Shields as an affordable club racer. It quickly grew in respect and popularity across the sailing community, and it served as the benchmark for many subsequent designs.  IOD deservedly became the first boat recognized by ISAF in it’s ‘Classic Yacht Division.‘ When Trudeau ONE launched in July 2010 I wrote much about the history and legend of the International One Design class, and admiration for those great boats was a big part of the ONE WORLD Regatta that kicked off later that year.

click to enlarge

With that background, I got pretty excited this week when Craig Ktaba launched his own SL interpretation of the classic IOD sloop. His boat’s called the Ktaba Teleri MX, and for a boat that should be a spare, no-frills racer, this one is chock-full of nice details and surprising script goodies. 🙂

The final version of Craig’s boat hit the water only a couple days ago, so I’m still looking it over. I’ll have a lot more to say in the upcoming weeks, so consider this post just a “first look.” Maybe its just first-date infatuation, but so far I think the Teleri looks pretty nice!

Boat Design

The Teleri follows a classical construction layout that should be familiar to many sailors. It is a single-masted sloop with a 3/4 fractional Bermuda rig and a full keel, and it borrows heavily from the IOD in real life. It’s powered by a highly modified BWind engine, and it can be sailed solo by a skipper or with the assistance of up to two crewmembers. I’ll tell you more about those features below; let’s first look at the build!

click to enlarge

Mesh Machine

Boats with sculpted hulls often exhibit a mismatch in SL between the visible boat you can see and the underlying shape of the sculpted prims that make them up. This isn’t a big deal on a casual cruise, but it can result in confusion and serious problems when sailing in a crowded, “high-performance” race fleet. Invisible parts of the boat can cause collisions, hit marks, or even trigger race lines inadvertently.

The Teleri MX is the first Mesh race boat I’ve looked at closely, and the hull and spar are pretty impressive. In a series of ‘bump tests’ to look at the boat’s collision boundary, I couldn’t find any mismatch for the bow, boat sides, or the boom. I got so excited I spent a few hours banging my boat into things just to see what would happen! 🙂

In the image below I got distracted and hit the dock in Knaptrackicon. Even that accident makes my point: The arrows below show how closely the hull forequarters line up against the dock and wedge against a moored boat.

This same collision accuracy happens with the boom and sails. The figure below shows side and vertex views of my boat sailing downwind into a wall. The boat comes to rest on contact points located on the jib and mainsail convexity.

Let me make this point once again below. In this example I tried to sail my Teleri through a narrow opening between two barriers.

The boat stops dead in the doorway, with the starboard hull pressed up against the white wall, and the mainsail hitting the purple wall. However, the boat will slide on through if the skipper sheets the sail tightly enough to fit.

Cruisers will probably think I’m making too big a deal out of this issue, but the racers reading this will get my point. (That of course assumes racers can actually read. 🙂 )

In the Solstice Challenge Regatta that just finished, much discussion went into protest disputes over “room at a mark” and problems associated with phantom sails and bowsprints. Mesh construction may help solve these SL-specific issues, and make virtual race boats more realistic. As for the Ktaba Teleri MX, the boat you see is the boat you get when sailing.

Detailing

Sailing vessels are more than just a hull, though, and Craig took his time with this boat; it shows in the quality of the detailing.

Go take a look; the winches and cleats are nicely fashioned, and so are the blocks and mainsheet. And as Noodle already pointed out, it’s tough enough to find any boat in SL that has a main sheet. 🙂

click to enlarge

Teleri Performance

The Teleri MX is built around the BWind engine, but Craig Ktaba’s spent considerable time tinkering with it and adding new features. I’m still going through the list of features and trying them all out, so I can only give you the highlights today.

Wind Options. The boat can use either the built-in BWind wind or Race Wind from a standard WWC setter. Out-of-the-box, the boat defaults to BWind from the North with RWS=16.5kts. This is interesting, because the boat also has a built-in warning announcement that cautions against sailing with wind over 15kts! 🙂

I agree with the warnings; the boat is tougher to handle with high winds, so don’t use the default settings. 🙂 You can easily switch to BWind by saying “bwind” or “cruise” and you can choose WWC wind by saying “wwc” or “race.”

If you choose WWC, the boat will look for race wind in competition mode; it does not use WWC cruise settings. Once you have the correct wind loaded in the WWC, you’ll need to say ‘race start‘ to have the setter broadcast that wind to your boat.

For its part, the boat has a simple dialog display that pops up when it senses WWC wind, so you’ll always know what’s going on.

Here’s a simple plot of boat speed v. real wind angle, using that ‘default’ wind of 16.5kts.

As you can see, the boat has a fairly smooth response curve. Teleri is dead in irons below RWA 30, but then quickly picks up speed as the boat falls off to close haul and the sails fill. At RWA 40 the boat speed is 60% of real wind speed, and Teleri then maxes out on a beam reach with a boat speed roughly 80% of RWS. On far downwind points of sail (RWA >160) the performance deteriorates, but the spinnaker nicely compensates for that, as shown above.

It’s worth commenting that Teleri has a strong weather helm. If you let go of the tiller on many RL sailboats, the boat will slowly turn to face the wind, and Craig Kbata’s intentionally built that effect into Teleri. The only other boat I’m aware of in SL that has a weather helm is the New York 30; the rest are either neutral or  have a Lee bias.

Display

The Teleri has both simple and full hud displays that should be familiar to any Bwind sailor. In this case, the HUD tells you if you are using racing or cruising wind, as well as the essential real and apparent wind parameters.

click to enlarge

Since the boat is fully WWC compliant (except for cruise wind), the HUD also displays wave and current information.

When you add crew, the HUD display changes too. The crew can adjust the headsails, so the new HUD includes separate sheeting information for the main and jib (or spinnaker). It also includes a readout of the wind/sheet ratio, so all aboard can keep sails correctly trimmed.

Sails

The Taleri comes with three sails: a main, jib and spinnaker. When a skipper is sailing solo, the main and jib move together and the sails autogybe to the apparent wind.

Over AWA 130 a sailor may choose to wing the jib to get an extra boost, and over AWA 145 you have the option to raise the spinnaker. The spinnaker angle is automatic for a solo skipper, and it conveniently auto-douces with AWA <145.

Once you add crew, things change a bit. A single crew member takes charge of the headsails, and they move independent of the main. If you have two crew aboard, one gets the jib and the other gets the spinnaker. There’s no free ride on this boat!

click to enlarge

Crew Effects

As I just mentioned, the Teleri can carry two crew in addition to the skipper, and the crew control the headsails. They can also switch positions to optimize the heel angle and maximize boat speed under different conditions.

This can get a little complicated, since the boat is fastest with moderate heel, and all sailors automatically switch sides when the boat gybes. I haven’t tested the effect of crew position on boat performance yet, but it will be fun to compare it to the recent Trudeau line and upcoming Quest boats to see how well it works!

Summary

The Teleri MX is Craig Kbata’s first production boat release, and it’s a great start. The Teleri is a mesh-constructed BWind racer that pays homage to the great International One Design vessels of the 1930’s. Although relatively small in size, the Teleri detailing is impressive and the feature list is long. It has non-phantom, luffing sails and a spinnaker for an extra downwind kick. The boat is fully WWC compliant (almost), and it has options to share sailing responsibilities with two extra crew.

My guess is this boat will quickly find it’s niche in the SL Sail-racing world, so you should probably stop reading this, get one to try yourself, and then start practicing! 🙂