Category Archives: Quest IACC

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.


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. 🙂


Quest IACC Launches May 15

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Quest Marine’s Qyv Ishram has the knowledge, experience, and tenacity to design and build high performance racing vessels that meet the challenge of Second Life’s waters. Her new marina in Fruit Islands includes a diversity of well thought-out, nicely detailed sail craft.

Several weeks ago I wrote about one of Qyv’s boats, the Quest Q-2m. It’s a pocket racer that grabbed instant popularity on race courses grid-wide. 🙂 Well, today I’m back to tell you about the latest Quest launch; this time it’s an IACC raceboat, and it’s launch party is Sunday, May 15!

IACC stands for International Americas Cup Class. IACC is what most people on this planet dream about when the words ‘sail racing‘ get mentioned. It’s therefore no surprise I guess that there are several IACC designs built by different SL boatwrights.

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The image above shows just a few of the popular SL America’s Cup monohulls. The Trudeau J-Class is not strictly based on IACC-spec, but I included it above since it shares many design features that were incorporated in later SL- America’s Cup race builds. I admit there are several other boats however, including the ACA33 Light that I forgot to add to the image above; the Wildwind ACJ2 is also missing in the above dock line-up, but you can get a great video of ACJ2 v ACA here. 🙂

At some point I guess it makes sense  for me or somebody else to sit down and compare all the various IACC emulations. However, I believe they each reflect a different artisan’s view, and each emphasizes a set of particular performance features or regatta tools. I see them as personal visions of each builder;  in most cases they are simply not comparable.

In that context, this week’s New Kid on the Block is the Quest IACC, and wow, it’s pretty impressive. Elbag Gable’s sent the launch notices and invitations already: 🙂

At 3pm SLT (11pm UK) on SUNDAY Qyv Inshan’s new Quest Marine facility is officially opened with the launch public release of her latest sailing race boat the IACC which a lot of you have already bought I see!
God, otherwise know as LDeWell Hawker, will give a short discourse on Qyv’s boats and we will all make appreciative noises after which, at 3.30pm SLT that’s 1130 pm UK, Brenda and I are hosting a celebratory musical evening for you all to socialise and let your hair down on the lawn at Victoria House our home on Eden Victoria where Jazzman Correia will blast our earballs and get our feet atapping.
No land mark, just walk across the quivvering bridge from Qyv’s Marina, past my greenhouse (dodging the water sprinkler) and onto the lawn with a sprightly and purposeful step !!
Hope to see hundreds of you there, they are full size sims so we should be able to accomodate three score and ten anyway!

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OK kids,  now let me tell you why I’m now pretty psyched about this Quest creation!

Sailing The Quest IACC

Let me begin by saying that the Quest- IACC is pretty gorgeous. The detailed appearance of Quest’s IACC testifies to the time and care that went into it’s construction. As evidence of all Qyv’s efforts and the time spent in preparation, I received the first betas for this boat five months ago. It’s gone through many changes, and a skipper will be hard-pressed to find bugs on this build! In testimony to that view, the launch hull and sails are skillfully detailed, and the SL-dimensions nicely match the contours of similar IACC builds, as shown in the images above.

It’s worth mentioning one significant design difference compared to other AC boats. The Quest mast is taller than any other America’s Cup build I know, so please be careful when you sail under bridges! (of course, that wont be a big issue if you are a race skipper on defined courses). 🙂

Here’s a big positive issue, though: This boat features many adjustable options. For example, you can change the communication channel, adjust the camera angle, and also fine tune the avatar position. Texture templates are downloadable, so it’s pretty easy to personalize your boat’s appearance. These are substantial new features since my last Quest review, and I love the changes!

Please understand, however, that the Quest IACC has a limited purpose; it’s primarily designed as a solo, match race boat. It may not come with all the bells and whistles you want for group cruising… although I admit it comes with plenty of options.  For one example, the skipper/ owner controls the helm, and there is no option to transfer to a new skipper or to share sail control with the crew. However, the IACC does have room for your friends to sail along; there are animated sit positions for two crewmembers that can join-in for the ride!

The boat adds novel options useful for match racing; for example, it can raise flags that identify the IACC as the Port or Starboard boat in a Match Racing pair, or signal a protest!

Quest IACC Performance

OK, so what’s different or unique about this boat? Why would you ever consider getting another America’s Cup creation?

Well let me start from the top. The Quest IACC is powered by a Bwind engine, and it comes with many standard Bwind features most sailors will recognize. The single most important feature in that pack might go unnoticed by many, though; it’s stability.

I test lots of boats, and I admit that I’m often intentionally sloppy. I sail with huge draw distances and my Avatar often has a major server drain, so I crash a lot. I’m usually happy to get 30 min and a dozen sim-lenths out of SL before a PTSD-enhancing nautical trauma ensues. Well, that doesn’t happen in this boat. Simply stated, I don’t crash in Quest IACC.

This week I’ve been sailing an old IACC beta from six months ago, alternating with the new-launch version. In many hours of sailing (several hours accompanied by crew), I only crashed three times. I checked in with Hawk on this issue as well, and he agreed: The Q-IACC doesn’t crash… my heavy Avatar just gets left behind on a sim border when I hit a four-corner hand-off. 🙂

Personally, when the SL grid is behaving very badly, I admit I usually whimper and regress to a few boats that I know from grit-experience are rock-stable for me: that list includes T-One and T-12; now, I’m adding the Quest IACC. 🙂

HUD. The boat has a spare, central text HUD display that conveniently announces a wealth of numerical details about the boat’s performance, including heading, real/apparent wind speed and angle, and separate readouts of sail “efficiency” for the main and spinnaker. It may offer more info than you need to know, but personally I take everything I can get. I appreciate the sleek, no-nonsense, quick-updated reporting.

Let me add that the sail-luffing graphic is nicely done and quite accurate. Oh, and the Quest IACC sails don’t just change texture, they actually flap. 🙂

Polar Position. The figure to the right below shows a simple chart of boat speed plotted against wind angle, using just the main and jib.

Apparent wind is shown in blue, and real wind angle is shown in red.

Typical of  many AC builds,  too, the boat strongly accelerates between Apparent Angles of 20-30,  corresponding to real wind angles of 30-50. Powered by a constant 15 kn breeze, the boat will do a reasonable 10-11kn over a generous expanse of upwind and reach headings, without the aid of a spinnaker.

Did I Mention a Spinnaker? Well, this boat has two of them.

Adapting a spinnaker to boats in SL is no easy matter, particularly if you want to maintain some of the standard conventions from real-life sailing. Different boats in second life use a variety of compromises that date all the way back to the settings for spinnakers on the original Takos. The J-Classic introduced its own set of spinnaker standards a few years ago, and those quickly matured (and simplified) based on the experience of many racers. Many other boat builders adapted the J-Classic standard or alteratively sidestepped the issue by adding a “gennaker” headsail (a cross between a Genoa jib and a spinnaker) that frequently acted like a downsail jib on steroids. 🙂

Quest is working this out in their own way, and deserve huge kudos for that effort; it’s not easy! Qyv’s fitted out the new IACC with two separate spinnakers that parallel the RL sailing options. There’s an Asymmetric Spin that’s adjustable on a broad reach, and there’s a fixed, Full Spin with a fixed setting for use on a dead, downwind run!

Please take a look at the curves I’ve posted above on the right. They show the explosive power enhancement that kicks in when IACC adds it’s Asymmetic Spin. At AWA90° there’s more than a 30% propulsion boost that suddenly kicks in when the sail fills. Since it’s an asymmetric, the “collapse penalty” is less than you might experience in other AC vessels.

So when do you put up the Full Spinnaker? 🙂 Well, at the last possible moment. If you’re sailing the Asym, you can’t trim better than sheet=  80°, which corresponds to a downwind heading of AWA 160°. At least in my hands, with a Full Spinnaker flying, the sheet is fixed at 85°. That could grab you a few hard-won fractions of a knot as you try to inch over the finish line on a dead run! Woots!

Conclusion. This boat is a pretty remarkable boat that holds its own among a fleet of rather fantastic racing vessels, and it comes armed with unique features that give it the potential to “stand out from the crowd.” So go over to Quest, give the boat a test run, and see what you think!

But wait…  Did I mention it has its own shadow? And did I say it uses BWind or full WCC wind controls at your choice? 🙂

I’m running into posting limits for this article, so I’ll need to add those features to a later discussion; there’s a lot more to talk about with the Quest IACC!

This is is a nice boat! 🙂