Category Archives: Open 60

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

WildWind Launches Open 60

wildwind open 60 006

This week Corry Kamichi’s much-anticipated WildWind Open 60 hit the water. It’s available now through WildWind’s store on the dock at Far East Yacht Club in Borden sim. You can read all about the Open 60 here, but you’ll probably have more fun if you go to Borden and take a test drive!

racers

 

WildWind Open 60 Nears Launch

Wildwind Open 60

Corry Kamachi will soon launch her WildWind Open 60. The new boat is mesh construction and a total re-design of her 2009 JMO-60 ocean racer. Personally, I think the new Open 60 is rather awesome. 🙂

Although the boat is still technically in beta, many sailors already have ‘final beta‘ copies, and there’s a lot of buzz among racers about this latest Wildwind, so I thought I’d give you a few details about what you can expect. I know I’m “jumping the gun” here by talking about a boat that doesn’t yet exist, but please chalk that up to my youthful exuberance and enthusiasm about the boat. 🙂

When the Wildwind Open 60 finally launches, I’ll be truly delighted to write another post to emphasize the final changes in this already great sailboat.

So having said all that, here goes…

What’s an “Open 60?”

The International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA sets the box rule that defines the Open 60 Class  (LWL 60 ft or 18.3 meters) and manages the  Open 60 race fleet. IMOCA takes that job seriously, describing the Open 60 as “The most successful ocean racing class” in modern sailing.

Actually, they’re right, and the Open 60’s are designed to withstand the most grueling and audacious yacht races ever held. The Vendee Globe is probably the best known of these events; its a nonstop, 24,000 mile, around-the-world, pull-out-all-the-stops race, and each boat has just a solo sailor at the helm. This is the stuff superheroes are made of. 🙂

The boats are built for speed, but ocean racing demands they also emphasize endurance and safety. The real-life Open 60 raceboats are rather incredible examples of cutting-edge, high-tech engineering.

It’s no easy task to re-create the presence, performance, and penache of such a boat for the virtual sailing community, and Corry Kamachi is one of a very few builders in SL who have both the chops and sheer street cred to bring a credible Open 60 emulation to the SL raceline.

In that context, let me remind readers that I’ve also  recently reviewed two boats by Kain Xenobuilder that fit in the same ocean racing class: the Mesh Shop  Volvo Open 70 and One Design 65. If you’re in the market for an ocean race boat please keep reading below, but be sure to read about the other two boats as well. I like both the Mesh Shop and the WildWind versions; however they are quite different, and it’s up to individual sailors to determine which boat will suit their needs. 

With that caveat, let me introduce the Wildwind Open 60. Better grab your seat though; this could be a fast ride! 🙂

Open 60: Built by Wildwind

open 60 measurementThe Wildwind Open 60 is a carefully crafted mesh build that faithfully adheres to the RL IMOCA Open 60 specs.

The boat’s water-line length is roughly 18m, and the bowsprit extends that to nearly 20m at deck level. The beam is roughly six meters and the bulb keel is six meters as well.

The mast towers 25m above deck level and it supports both a mainsail and the skipper’s choice of a standard jib or gennaker. The sails are deployed and trimmed together by chat commands or through the HUD.

rig details

Before we talk about sail control however, let me mention a few more authentic details you’ll find on the WildWind Open 60 build.

The boat has paired rudders, daggerboards, and deck spreaders that are all automatically deployed while the boat is underway. (Note: Deck spreaders are poles that look like outriggers. They provide increased stability for the mast.)

dual rudders

The figure inserted to the right shows the nice level of accuracy and detail for the dual retractable rudders.

The upper image is the WildWind boat in the moored position, with both rudders up. The lower image is a similar view of the Safran RL Open 60 racer. 🙂 It’s a pretty close match;  the Wildwind‘s degree of detail for the rudder linkage, housing and struts is impressive.

Speaking of the those rudders,

in SL when the Open 60 heels, the leeward rudder will deploy and the windward rudder flips up. When the boat is flat in the water, both rudders automatically go down.

basketOK, let me throw in just one more example to shows the care that went into even the minor features in this boat.

The picture to the right shows a ‘mesh bag’ tagged to the cockpit bulkhead beneath the port winch. It’s a humorous – but authentic – detail. The bag’s there to keep the line stowed and untangled. It prevents a sailor from accidentally stepping on the line while releasing the sail sheet. (That mistake can have rather disastrous consequences if you’re a solo skipper sailing the Roaring 40’s.) 🙂

No one would fault Corry for leaving the bag out… but there it is. 🙂 It’s a nice detail.

Cockpit

Inside the cockpit the boat has two helm stations, and the skipper automatically flips to the windward station while under sail. (The crew flip as well!)

op60 deck spreader

Since real life Open 60‘s are usually raced single-handed, all the sailing functions on a Wildwind Open 60 are controlled by the solo skipper. Despite that, the cockpit has room for one crew member, and two more can fit in the cabin. The boat comes with a crew HUD so your passengers can see what’s happening as you sail.

Crew Quarters

OP60cabin

Races like the Vendee Globe can last for three months under very harsh conditions, so a cabin is pretty essential.

Corry’s 2009  JMO-60 acknowledged that need; it had a little cubby forward of the cockpit where a solo sailor could squeeze if they held their breath. 🙂

By contrast, as shown in the pics to the right, the Open 60 cabin is positively luxurious! 🙂 It accommodates a pair of sailors with ease, and still has lots of space left over! RL sailors never get such good treatment… 🙂

Phantom Keel Cant

A hydraulically-tilted bulb keel is an impressive, high-tech feature of the IMOCA Open 60 design.

keel cantThe Wildwind Open 60 boat also has a canting keel that helps it stay balanced and prevents excess heel.

A skipper has the option to set it by hand or let the boat make the adjustments automatically.

Although the bulb keel is quite long, don’t worry about running aground in this boat. The keel, dagger board and rudder are all phantom while sailing; the boat draws less than 1.0 m.

In fact, only the hull and bowsprit are physical. The mast, boom, deck spreader, rigging and sails are all phantom, allowing the boat to sail under very low obstructions. So if you plan to race this boat, be sure to keep your eye on the bowsprit. That frontal protuberance is the one thing that could get you into trouble, either by a collision or by triggering the race line early.

Texturizing

Corry’s come up with a new system to change all the textures in this boat. The owner just preloads a script template with the uuid’s of a new texture design, and drops that on the boat.

saveol RL and SL

Bingo! One click later all the textures change to harmoniously match your request. Corry has a number of wonderful, preloaded texture packages, but the system is wide open and you can easily make your own designs.

In fact, a sailor could easily collect a whole library of templates with various texture settings. It would then take just a few seconds to load a new script and change the boat’s appearance to fit your whim.

The figure to the right shows my current favorite texture set (at least it’s my favorite this week 🙂 ).

The top image is Samantha Davies aboard her Saveol Open 60 before it dismasted, causing Sam to crash out of the Vendee Globe. The second image shows her textures applied to the Wildwind build, courtesy of Corry. Not a bad match! Here’s a short vid of Sam Davie’s pimped-out Saveol:

[Please also note: If you break your Wildwind boat, I’m pretty sure the repair will be a lot cheaper than a new mast was for Sam’s Saveol after the Vendee Globe!]

Build Bottom Line

The WildWind Open 60 build closely follows the RL Open 60 Rule. On close inspection, the boat shows a masterful balance of features. There are many realistic (and unexpected) touches, including deck spreaders and a surprisingly spacious cabin. All the components work together in a consistent, artistic harmony.

If you’re hard-nosed racer, perhaps the textures and winch details aren’t so important. In that case, let me give you the numerical bottom line: all that gorgeous, accurate mesh build I just mentioned weighs in at a miraculously small 26 prim with an LOD=28.

Enough said.

WW OP60

Sailing Performance

The Open 60 uses a variation of the new Wildwind sail engine that was first introduced with the Wildcat45 AC catamaran.

OP60 hudsA skipper can control the boat through chat commands or with any combination of three HUDs (shown on the right).

There is a two column button HUD that fits along the left side of your viewing screen; it includes the major control functions laid out in a logical pattern for easy access.

The buttons make it very simple to switch between boat wind and race wind, to adjust the sails, and to change the keel cant. I particularly like the “view” button that lets you step through four different camera locations behind and above the boat. I also really like the small display screen on the button HUD that constantly announces the channel you’re using, your race ID number, your wind source, and the size of your sheet adjustment steps. Some of us need that kind of reassurance while sailing!

Speaking of sailing data, the boat comes with a separate Info-HUD that graphically displays just about anything you’d ever like to know to race this boat at top speed. It’s all very nicely laid out, and any SL sailor will learn all its features in less than a minute or two.

The third HUD is a full-featured head’s up numerical display that contains a compact list of the boat’s performance numbers.

Skippers have the choice to use all the HUDs, some combination, or to just go commando (no HUDs at  all 🙂 ). You’ll probably want a HUD however, because the boat doesn’t give any auditory or visual feedback when the sails go out of tune. You won’t really miss the luffing noises, since so much information is readily available on the HUD display.

Multi-Wind

Like most boats, the Open 60 defaults to SL wind. To pick your own wind, all you have to do is press the “wind lock” button. That opens a menu box that allows you to set the exact wind speed and direction. Once you’ve done it correctly, the button HUD mini-display tells you that you’re locked, and the info HUD shows the settings.

If you want to race, click the ‘Racing‘ button instead. The boat will then lock the WWC cruise wind broadcast from a raceline. The boat even has an option to use the old SLSF wind format, if that suits your needs.

At least once you’ll need to tell the boat your race ID, so the line can recognize your boat. After that the boat will remember, and your ID will display directly on the hull whenever you’re racing.

race number

Polars

The Open 60 is a speedy boat with a Hotlaps Handicap factor of 1.07, which makes it 7% faster than the Melges-24 (the Handicap Index boat).

WildWind Open 60 polar

Click on the figure to the right to see a polar plot of the Wildwind Open 60’s boat speed at different wind angles. The red line shows the numbers for Real Wind Angles (RWA) using the Main+Jib, and the blue dashed line shows similar data for Apparent Wind Angles (AWA). The curves show that the boat suddenly springs to life with a heading just over AWA 30. It hits a max boat speed that’s roughly 13% faster than Real Wind Speed, and the response curve is fairly flat from AWA 30-60 (RWA 70-120). Over RWA 120, the jib becomes much less efficient and performance quickly deteriorates.

The green line above shows boat speed for RWA using the Gennaker instead of the Jib. The Gennaker kicks in around RWA 90, and it’s clearly superior to the Jib by RWA 110. However performance again drops off with downwind angles over RWA 150.

Open 60 and OD 65 polar

Now take a look at the figure to the right. The red curve shows boat speed vs RWA for the Wildwind Open 60 using optimal sails.

On the graph in dark green I’ve also plotted results for the Mesh Shop One Design 65; it’s a very close match. These boats should be compatible with each other in mixed fleet, “big boat” races in SL.

The black dotted line on the chart shows the same numbers for the RL Open 60 Neutrogena. The SL boats are both a bit faster, but overall it’s a remarkably nice fit.

Keel Cant

The Wildwind Open 60 performs optimally when sailing with a heel angle of 30°. Adjusting the keel cant to hit that angle can give a sailor a performance edge.
heel angle v keel

The chart to the right plots the heel angle for a boat with an RWA 90° heading at six different wind speeds. The x-axis shows the effect of changing the keel cant from “-3” (leeward cant) to “+3” (windward cant).

The data shows that keel position can have a big impact on boat heel.

boat speed v keel cantThe next chart shows what this means for boat speed.

With faster wind speeds, canting the keel to the windward side can speed up the boat by keeping it in the 30° heel sweet-spot.

At much lower wind speeds you can get a modest boost by canting the keel leeward to increase heel to 30°.

Turn Radius

A week ago I wrote about the importance of turn radius to a sailboat’s performance. That’s particularly true for a high-speed racer like the Wildwind Open 60.

turn plots of OP60-OD65-VO70

The graphic to the right shows a plot of the X, Y position of an Open 60 as it goes through a standard turn. For comparison, I’ve included similar results for the Mesh Shop VO 70 and OD 65.

The three boats end up with very similar turning properties; the Open 60 has a turning curve that nearly exactly overlaps the VO-70. As I commented earlier, although these boats are extremely different from each other I think the performance similarities indicates the builders were each trying to model the real life performance of an ocean racer, and it looks like they both hit the mark. :-)

Summary: The Wildwind Open 60

In my opinion, Wildwind’s done it again. Following up on her fantastic Wildcat45 emulation of the AC45 Catamaran, Corry Kamachi‘s now releasing her Wildwind version of the Open 60 ocean racer.

Corry is one of the most popular and proficient master builders of contemporary, high-performance virtual racing yachts in Second Life, and the new Wildwind Open 60 demonstrates her consumate skill. The boat build is accurate in detail and dimensions, and it showcases many hallmark features of this ocean racing class, including dual dagger boards, deck spreaders, rudders, a surprisingly sumptuous cabin, and a skipper-controlled canting keel. All of this is amazing in a boat that weighs a mere 26 prim with LOD=28.

The boat is powered by the recently-upgraded WildWind sail engine. That means it’s compatible with several other recent boat designs that use real world apparent wind calculations and that report headings using a geographic map compass. It’s also compatible with Hay Ah’s SL raceline system and with WWC cruise wind settings.

A single skipper controls all the sailing functions with help from three different HUDs, but there’s also room for three passengers. The boat controls are low-lag and have many adjustable features.

Under sail the boat performs like a true champ. 🙂 It is quite fast, with a wind polar curve that’s a close match for the RL Open 60. In SL, the boat’s numbers are also comparable to the Mesh Shop One Design 65.

The WildWild Open 60 has a few downsides that are part of the design. These are not real problems, but are worth mentioning:

  1. The Wildwind Open 60 does not have visible or audible sail-luffing effects;
  2. Under sail, the WildWind Open 60 is nearly all phantom except for it’s hull and bowsprit.
  3. The boat does not presently have windshadow.
  4. The boat can only be operated by the owner; there is no system to let crew take over the helm during a long sail or a multi-heat race.

The above points are common issues for many other vessels in SLSailing. In the case of Open 60, most of the points reflect the builder’s effort to optimize performance while reducing lag. It’s hard to fault that explanation, given all else the boat contains. 🙂

Bottom line, if you like contemporary ocean race boats in SL, I’m certain you’re going to love the WildWind Open 60.

Go try a demo; you’ll see. 🙂

WW Open 60

Sexy Sixty

Wildwind Open60 beta - Sea of Fables

Open 60 beta

In the summer of 2009 Corry Kamichi launched her  JMO-60;  it quickly became my all-time favorite Wildwind monohull. The  JMO-60 was beautiful, blazingly fast, and chock-full of nice details and racing options.

wildwind JMO in 2009

JMO-60 sailing past the WildWind Fleet in 2009

Nonetheless, four years have gone by, and that’s a long time in SLSailing. This ocean racer was clearly due for a refit. 

Corry Kamichi knew this too. As soon as she finished her Wildcat45  catamaran, Corry started a total rebuild of her old global JMO racer.

The pieces are now falling together, and the name of her new boat is the Wildwind Open 60. It’s in beta sea-trials now, and I don’t know when it will launch or the full package of features the boat will ultimately contain.

Jane in OP60 beta waits for Fearless in OD65

That’s Fearless Freenote in the distance coming in Second Place 🙂

What I do know is the boat is fast, fun, and stable, and it’s dressed-out with every bell and whistle any die-hard, hi-tech sail-racer could want. 🙂

WW OP 60 beta

I’ll give you the full scoop when the boat’s officially released, but I just couldn’t resist posting a few pictures now, to show off what’s new from Wildwind!

WW OP 60 beta 4