Category Archives: Fruit Islands

Hotlaps 2013 Progress

HH jan 2013 header

The Hotlaps 2013 lap entries are growing; in the first nine days, seventeen skippers logged a total of eighty-six laps that are split across the four courses.

jan 8 sailors HH The skipper’s names are listed in the box to the right, and the colors match the time-trial entries that are included on the summary spreadsheets for each Hotlaps course.

Plum Gut has the largest number of laps so far, with fifty-three lap times logged for fifteen different boats (see below).

The Melges-24 is the tentative “Index Boat” for handicap comparisons, so it deserves special comment here. The average Plum Gut lap time is 8:46, based on seven runs by Armano, Yala74, and Kris. Although the number of entries is still small, the scores are consistent and tightly grouped with a standard deviation of only 10 sec. We’ll see if this changes as more laps get added, but so far the M-24 Index looks valid and reliable. Let’s see if that holds up as sailors add more data points.

Jan8 hh

Please click to enlarge

Below is a quick ‘Summary Table’ of Handicaps for the fifteen boat classes entered so far.

HH Summary Jan8 2012Knaptrackicon still needs Index laps, so it’s handicap factors are blank at the moment. However, where the data is available, the scores of the other three lines are pretty consistent. The WildWind boats are by far the speediest, with Wildcat45, RCJ-44, and TR30 all earning handicaps of 1.10-1.15 (meaning they are 10-15% faster than M-24). In contrast, the newly reworked JG-44 looks like it’s coming in with lap times that are roughly 15% slower than M-24 on all three courses. The Mesh Shop boats and the ACA33v3 look like they fall in the middle, while the Trudeau fleet, Caf Binder’s Jangars, Manul Rotaru’s BeachTri, and Balduin Aabye’s Bolero all come in at the back of the pack with scores 30 – 40% slower than the Melges.

Of course, a slow boat is not a “bad” boat. Several builders argue that slower boats are more realistic in SL waters, but that’s a discussion for another time. 🙂 The point here is that the handicaps are generating meaningful data, and we’re on track to fill in many of the blank spaces on the above form. 🙂

Yesterday I sent out posters to advertise Hotlaps. They are full mod/copy, so please stick one up in an appropriate place (like your local gas station bathroom). The notecard embedded in the poster gives details about Hotlaps 2013, including landmarks, charts, and links. The notecard is networked, so the Info will automatically update as we add more Hotlaps locations, and as Hay Ah adds new lap features to her racelines.

Hotlaps 2013 info

You got ten minutes?
You could sail a Hotlap! 🙂

HANDICAP HOTLAPS 2013


HH2013

Handicap Hotlaps Kickoff

Handicap Hotlaps lets sailors practice their skill on a short, standard course and then post the results online. The previous article includes a long list of links to a variety of old discussions about Hotlaps and the related boat handicap scores, but reading all that stuff  can get very boring, very fast.

But hey, do you have a few minutes? Forget about reading that stuff… Let’s go sail some Hotlaps instead! 🙂

hotlapsposters

Handicap Hotlaps 2013

All you need to do is go to a raceline that’s set up with a Hotlaps course and rez your boat. The first three Hotlaps racelines are located in Plum Gut, Knaptackicon, and soon Breadnut (as soon as Hawk puts up the posters).  Over the next few days I’ll add several more.

Here’s how it works.

When you go to a Hotlaps line you’ll see two posters. Click on the top one that says “Hotlaps 2013.” It gives you a notecard with all the details for that line.

Plum Gut Handicap Hotlaps 1005

That note will include the current Hotlaps chart for the line, and it will also tell you how to set the wind. (Here’s a tip: the Handicap wind is always 15 knots with no variance, but the wind angle depends on the orientation of each raceline and course. In Plum Gut the angle is 0.0°, in Knaptrackicon it’s 180°, and in Breadnut it’s 225°. Check the notecard to be sure which wind is correct at a particular race line.)

North Sea Hotlaps 2013 v105

Breadnut Hotlaps Course

Once you have the chart and the wind, you can sail a solo lap whenever its convenient for you by following the race course instructions. Once you complete the course, you’ll end up with a lap time (lap time is Finish Time minus Start Time). If you think that result is an ‘average, good‘ time for you in that boat class, then please take an extra moment to post your score online.

You can do that very easily by clicking the poster above the green buoy, the one that says “Enter your lap time here“. That will give you a web link to a data entry form.

DYC Handicap Hotlaps 2013 v106

Knaptrackicon DYC Hotlaps Course

Just add your skipper name, your boat class and your net lap time, and you’re done. Then you can go back and run the course again, or switch to a different boat!
Actually, you can run as many Hotlaps in as many different boats as you want; the more the better. Every time you submit a data lap time it helps define the relative performance of that boat class.

Please remember one thing: don’t just submit your best score on a race course; Hotlaps wants all your average, good scores. We are trying to determine the “average, good” lap time of an “average, good” skipper sailing many different boats!

Mo’ Hotlaps

Kudos to Hawk and Kentrock for all the help planning and setting up the first three Hotlaps courses. Hay Ah’s also promised to look at ways to improve the Hotlaps interface, so online scores will be better integrated with the raceline. 🙂

I’ll add Hotlaps to two more racelines this week, and Liv Leigh will soon add a Hotlaps course at Tradewinds. If you have a raceline, you can add your own Hotlaps course too. Just let me know so I can give you the info and add that site to the list!

Well, that’s enough reading; let’s sail!

FIYC

Northern Light

A Beacon for North Sea

Two days ago I wrote about the new North Sea region in Fruit Islands. The expansion adds twenty new open-water sims to Fruit’s extensive waterways, and it promises a wealth of future sailing opportunities for racers and cruisers alike.

Today I’d like to follow up on one, small feature of the project, the lighthouse that forms North Sea’s centerpiece.

If you click on the map below, you’ll get a 2144 x 1588 pixel view of the Northwest corner of Fruit Islands; it shows the names and locations the individual North Sea sims. Right in the center of that map you’ll find a new lighthouse, located on a small island in Ziziphus.

The North Sea Light will stand as a signature landmark for sailing in Fruit Islands, and its lit beacon will serve as an enduring reference point for vessels crossing North Sea’s open ocean.

Like most sailors in SL and RL, I think lighthouses are pretty important. For thousands of years, the light from these fixed navigational beacons guided sailors to distant shores; they fueled the history and legend of human progress.

Maybe that sounds excessive and overstated… but I don’t think so.

Even in 2011 on a dark night surrounded by choppy sea, the flash of a familiar lighthouse signals safety to any sailor, and that simple message means everything.

The lighthouse beacon points the way to a friendly harbor, and the beacon’s identity and cadence often means ‘home’ to a weary crew as they end a long passage.

Elbag Gable understood this as he planned North Sea. He asked RJ Kikuchiyo to design and build an iconic beacon that sailors would recognize and use.

If you’re reading this article, you already know RJ; he is a remarkable builder, teacher, and mentor in SL, and his knowledge and taste for nautical builds is legendary. He has a particular affection for lighthouses, and his reproductions can be found on all the major waterways in Second Life. A close look will reveal each build is wondrously detailed and historically accurate;  collectively they form an integral part of the spirit and substance of SL Sailing.

In fact, it’s notable that nearly all of the major sailing communities have their own signature Kiku-Craft beacon. Look around, and you’ll see what I mean.

In Blake Sea, it’s Fastnet Light,
in Sailor’s Cove, it’s Race Rock,
at NYC, it’s Sankaty Head,
at Tradewinds, it’s Drum Point,
in Triumphal, it’s El Morro

I could go on-and-on with this list, it’s pretty long, but you get the idea. 🙂

Sanibel Light

Anyway, let me get off my soapbox here and tell you about the new lighthouse that just came on-line in North Sea. 🙂 RJ modeled it after the Point Ybel Light on Florida’s Sanibel Island. Here’s a pic of the RL structure:

Sanibel lighthouse dates to the late 19th century, and it was the first lighthouse on the Florida Gulf Coast north of Key West. It’s positioned on the East end of Sanibel Island, and for over a century it’s served as a coastal Aid To Navigation, guiding ships into nearby San Carlos Bay. The Coast Guard maintains the beacon on its ‘active’ list still, but the town of Sanibel now controls of the property.

The lighthouse sits on a foundation of iron pilings, and the 30 meter vertical structure consists of an iron skeleton framework that supports the central, cylindrical tower. The beacon on top alerts approaching sailors with a white, double-flash that repeats every ten seconds.

Actually, in that context I’ve often wondered about the difficulty light keepers must have endured, as they try to sleep while an intense light flash went off  repeatedly through the night. Well, while looking through the Sanibel archives online this week, I got a hint about a possible coping strategy some light keepers may have used.

It turns out one of the historic Sanibel light keepers had thirteen children while he was maintaining the light. 🙂 He might have had difficulty getting to sleep, but at least he used the time productively!

OKOK, unrelated to that comment, let me add that Sanibel’s lighthouse is a well-recognized and important part of the Gulf Coast/ Caribbean region history, and several decades ago it was recognized as a national historic site in The USA.

Sanibel Light is a great tribute to sailing, and RJ has re-created it as an icon to sailors in North Sea. From it’s prominence in Ziziphus sim, it will stand as a constant monument in easy view of all those enjoying the new ocean sims.

So… next time you sail past it, look up and think of all the generations of sailors world-wide who went before you, and then go hug Elbag and RJ for keeping the spirit and tradition alive in SL!

Fruit Islands Launches North Sea!

North Sea

Elbag Gable recently announced an extensive, truly remarkable open-water addition to Fruit Islands Estate. It’s named North Sea, and here’s Elbag’s post:

Gable and Hawker watch for a sim crash

“The Owners, Officers and Residents of The Fruit Islands and Eden Estates announce the opening of The North Sea, a privately funded block of 20 sea sims with access to over 100 more navigable sims throughout the Fruit Islands estate.
The North Sea is dedicated to the pursuance and promotion of, and training in all aspects of competitive and leisure sailing and boating. A schedule of multi-class events will be available and promulgated shortly.
There will of course be a suitably extravagant opening ceremony in a few weeks plus accompanying  party with entertainment and boatsy sorts of stuff in due course for you all to enjoy  but in the meantime we have a long course in place right now that hawk has quickly put together so people can use the water whilst we continue to tweak things – you are all welcome to come over and play!
Any boat will do as always.
Enjoy your sailing!”

Wow, after many visits to the new waterways, I totally agree with Elbag. North Sea will expand Fruit Island’s navigable water in remarkable ways. The new water sims provide unique options for sailing, cruising, racing, teaching… and just plain, sail-powered fun. 🙂

I’m pretty sure that North Sea will also prove a game-changer for SL Sailing. The new, open water infrastructure will shape the evolution of virtual sailing in ways that benefit all members of Second Life.

Fruit Islands Estate

OK, let me back up a bit, in case you are not familiar with Fruit Islands Estate.

Here’s  a video from March 2009 to get you started. It gives a sense of Fruit Estate’s early excitement, and announces their initial vision. However, please remember: In March 2009, the Estate was less than half it’s current size, and Fruit was still getting its sea legs. 🙂 But even then, Fruit had a consistent tropical island theme and the entire estate was united by navigable waterways. Fruit was loaded with sailing opportunities.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Since that video in 2009, Fruit’s sixty sims prospered and blossomed under the strong leadership of co-owners Equinox Pinion and Dennis Lagan.They know and love sailing, but more important, they have a long-standing, visionary commitment to build a multipurpose, maritime community online. If you’ve visited Fruit Islands and watched it grow, you understand what I mean.

Equi and Dennis made a major financial investment to develop Fruit Islands, but “money” was not the key factor in their success. Truth be told, they succeeded in SL the old-fashioned way. They invested their personal time, God-given talent, and gut-driven effort and devotion to make Fruit Islands a true success.

So… next time you see them, give Equi and Dennis a big hug! 

But wait, let me also make sure I give a shout-out to Lizzo Dreamscape, Fruit Island’s Estate Manager.

Through various projects, I’ve known Lizzo for over two years in SL. Even after such a long time, I remain pretty amazed at Lizzo’s knowledge, energy, and skill coordinating everything she does. She truly has her finger on the pulse of Fruit Islands, and she never misses a beat while debugging all the events, the individual interests, and the deluge of personal resident concerns that unify such a huge estate. 🙂

Fruit Sailing History

During it’s early growth, it’s no surprise that Fruit ‘fell below the radar‘ for most SLSailors. Two years ago though, Fruit sailing started to really heat up. 🙂

In summer 2009 I got a call from RJ Kikuchiyo; he was helping Dennis and Equi build a sailing marina in Fruit Island’s Mango sim. RJ said he was impressed with Fruit, and suggested it was worth a look.

Cough.  I don’t know about you, but When RJ recommends something, I usually jump to attention and run over to look. (I respond the same way when Warren Buffett calls with a stock tip.)

Anyway, I flew over to Mango for a visit, and of course RJ was correct: Fruit Estate was a truly great place for sailors! It had interconnected waterways, but there was much more. Fruit had a spirit of excitement, organization and coordination that was both infectious and exciting. The estate was a Mega-Regatta in the Making, just waiting for warning flags and race horns! 🙂

In September 2009, Fruit demonstrated that by kindly hosting the Second Round of the 2009 J-Classic.  It was a true test of endurance that involved a huge number of skilled sailors, and the race course was arguably the most difficult of the entire nine-week Regatta cycle.

Fruit Islands made a big effort, and the Round Two J-Classic turned out pretty wondrous.

Amy wins Fruit Islands SL-VT

That was just the beginning for Fruit Sailing, however. 🙂 Over the next two years, Fruit Islands went on to sponsor many racing, cruising, and teaching  initiatives that established their reputation for dedication and commitment to the SLSailing community. Isis Rexie, Elbag Gable, and LDewell Hawker joined in to build a Fruit-based Learn to Sail program that flourished in Strawberry and Muskmelon sims. Hawk unquestionably proved the value of this program during the recent match training sessions for the ACA Cup.  If you have any doubts about that, just ask any of the contestants! 🙂

In fact, over the past two years Fruit’s hosted a prodigious number of grid-wide sailing events, includingt the Mango Yacht Club Patchogue Regatta, Round Two of the SL One World Cup, the SL Vuiton Regatta, and the 2011 ACA Cup! As Elbag emaphasized in his North Sea announcement, Fruit Islands has never cared what boat you sail, or which home club you hail… The goal is to have fun, and maybe learn some real sailing skill in the process.

Elbag Gable and Brenda Hoisin

Gable at the helm

With all the above as set-up, let me now give extra, huge applause to Elbag Gable and Brenda Hoisin. They’ve provided unfailing support for the SLSailing community grid-wide in recent years. Much of their work has gone on behind the scenes, however, and they rarely get the loud praise they deserve.

Elbag’s worked with considerable vigor to promote sailing by adding sims, facilities, and strategic parcels in multiple mainland sites. That’s far from the whole story, however. Elbag’s partner, Brenda Hoisin has an artistic eye and a strong business sense.  Their team approach has turned critical sailing regions into popular landmarks full of visionary beauty and authentic nautical style.

Elbag and Brenda saw a unique potential to grow their dreams in Fruit Islands, and for many months they invested land and effort there to grow their own sailing estate. Eden Naturist Resort is a well-know multi-sim section they developed in the Northwest corner of Fruit Islands, and it’s now merged pretty wonderfully with the North Sea waters that lie below.

North Sea

I’ve already posted an early map of the new North Sea sims above; it’s a multi-sim open ocean area dedicated to sailors and sailing.

I know there are many spots SL users can sail boats, but North Sea is pretty unique. It has a core of roughly twenty water sims for sailing, and all that open water is closely linked to Fruit’s 100+ additional navigable sims.

Yikes! Shortly after North Sea opened, Lothor and I cruised it with a zillion other Leeward Sailors. Here’s what it looked like from our boat with a 512m draw-distance…

Woots… There was open water on all sides for as far as I could see! North Sea is a pretty incredible and unique resource for sailing!

In fact, nearly every other set of sailing sims in SL ends up restricted; they appropriately contain islands, shops, or residential sky- parcels. Those constraints are essential, since they provide revenue to support the navigable water. However, those restrictions inevitably en-mire the waterways with sailing troubles, mostly due to ban lines, obstructive builds, and/ or prim-overloads with excess lag.

North Sea is something different. It’s a large swatch of open water dedicated to sailing, and it compliments and contrasts with Fruit Islands extensive residential maritime theme. North plus Fruit adds up to a pretty perfect mix for any sailing adventure!

Actually, the only similar open-water spot in SL is Blake Sea, the Linden Ocean that connects United Sailing Sims to the Nautilus mainland.

When it opened, Blake Sea had a major impact on SLSailing; it was a crucial nexus for the expansion of new sailing opportunities. With time and Linden support, new sailing initiatives emerged and expanded across the mainland grid, but Blake remained the solitary, large ocean for unfettered sailing.

Hawk and Elbag discuss buoys

Now with the launch of North Sea, the whole game changes once more. Suddenly  there’s a new, vast ocean of opportunities for the sailing community. After all, North Sea is owned by sailors, it’s designed by sailors, and it’s run by sailors. LdeWell Hawker is the Uber Sailing Director in charge of North Sea’s sailing vision– He’ll decide where the racelines and buoys go, and his planning has huge input and support from Elbag Gable, Qyv Inshan, and Hay Ah. How could a wind-weary, salt-encrusted team like that miss? 🙂

(Oh, and did I mention there’s a Great SL Coast Guard Station on the shores of North Sea? 🙂 )

So Go Sail North

As anyone knows, I’m a big fan of many sailing regions in SL. I think where a sailor drops anchor is a personal choice, maybe even a spiritual decision. Each marina and each estate has its own attributes.  However, with the addition of North Sea, I think the opportunities now widen, and sailors have new options. That’s a pretty good thing!

Go visit Fruit Islands and North Sea yourself. If you have questions or suggestions, my guess is you probably already know Elbag, Brenda, Hawk, Qyv, Isis, Lizzo, Equinox or Dennis… so go talk to them about the new changes in Fruit
and then go for a glorious sail in North Sea! 🙂


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!

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

ACA Trophy: Kaz, Lothor, Bolt and Silber Advance!

Takabou with Lothor in chase

Sailors saw Round Two of the ACA33 Elite Trophy wrap up this week with a series of match competitions.

“Elite” Matches
Thursday June 2nd
6am:   Viciously Llewellyn vs. Silber Sands

Saturday June 4th
6am:   Miwha Masala vs. KazumaHs Destiny

9am:   Lothor Vlodovic vs. takabou Destiny
6pm:   Carmen Foden vs.  Bolt Bashly

Miwha and Kaz

In Thursday’s Round Two opener three days ago, Silber Sands emerged the winner in her initial match-up against Cait (Viciously Llewellyn). However, everyone agreed the sims were awful that morning, and the conditions precluded sailors from truly competing at their level of ability. The problem was a grid-wide issue. Hawk, Quirky, Elbag, Equinox and Dennis worked very hard to optimize the race conditions in Fruit Islands, but some things are even beyond their combined, consummate control. 🙂

Saturday the weather cleared, however; the Fruit Islands races were absolutely great, despite a large crowds of spectators! The matches were exactly what they should be: exciting, head-on confrontations between skippers that tested their skill, determination, and raw courage. Here’s how the numbers played out, along with the first-match prestart videos for each pairing, courtesy of Hawk:

6am:   Miwha Masala vs. KazumaHs Destiny

Match 1
1: KazumaHs Destiny   IDKH32 — 00:09:51
2: Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — 00:09:55
Lap Times:
KazumaHs Destiny   IDKH32 — Start: 00:00:20  —  Last lap: 00:09:31
Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — Start: 00:00:10  —  Last lap: 00:09:45

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Match 2
1: Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — 00:09:01
2: KazumaHs Destiny   IDKH32 — 00:09:39[07:11]
Lap Times:
Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — Start: 00:00:03  —  Last lap: 00:08:58
KazumaHs Destiny   IDKH32 — Start: 00:00:17  —  Last lap: 00:09:22

Match 3
1: KazumaHs Destiny   IDKH32 — 00:09:18
2: Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — 00:09:25[07:37]
Lap Times:
KazumaHs Destiny   IDKH32 — Start: 00:00:01  —  Last lap: 00:09:17
Miwha Masala   IDMM10 — Start: 00:00:12  —  Last lap: 00:09:13

9am:   Lothor Vlodovic vs. takabou Destiny

Match 1
1: takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — 00:09:23
2: Lothor Vlodovic   IDLV42 — 00:09:45
Lap Times:
takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — Start: 00:00:08  —  Last lap: 00:09:15
Lothor Vlodovic   IDLV42 — Start: 00:00:01  —  Last lap: 00:09:44

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Match 2
1: Lothor Vlodovic   IDLV42 — 00:09:50
2: takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — 00:10:03
Lap Times:
Lothor Vlodovic   IDLV42 — Start: 00:00:16  —  Last lap: 00:09:34
takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — Start: 00:00:22  —  Last lap: 00:09:41

Match 3
1: Lothor Vlodovic   IDLV42 — 00:09:34
2: takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — 00:09:48
Lap Times:
Lothor Vlodovic   IDLV42 — Start: 00:00:10  —  Last lap: 00:09:24
takabou Destiny   IDTD21 — Start: 00:00:28  —  Last lap: 00:09:20

Bolt

6pm:   Carmen Foden vs.  Bolt Bashly

Match 1
1: Bolt Bashly   IDBOLT — 00:09:04
2: Carmen Foden   ID27 — 00:09:29
Lap Times:
Bolt Bashly   IDBOLT — Start: 00:00:07  —  Last lap: 00:08:57
Carmen Foden   ID27 — Start: 00:00:09  —  Last lap: 00:09:20

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Match 2
1: Bolt Bashly   IDBOLT — 00:09:06
2: Carmen Foden   ID27 — 00:09:21
Lap Times:
Bolt Bashly   IDBOLT — Start: 00:00:02  —  Last lap: 00:09:04
Carmen Foden   ID27 — Start: 00:00:13  —  Last lap: 00:09:08

____

Round Two Winners going to the Finals:

— Silber Sands
— KazumaHs Destiny

— Lothor Vlodovic
— Bolt Bashly

At the end of the match cycle, Hawk announced:

“The Fruit island award for the time trial qualifer for ACA cup will be awarded tomorrow at 11:00am SLT at Eden Victoria sim.  Tunes by Quirky while I get my act together!   Top 8 get gold medals, 9-16 Silver and remaining 8 bronze medals.    Silver Platter to the top three times in the ACA 3.0.    Medals to the the Lite racers for top 3.
“Hope to see you all there…”

The match races on Saturday were truly incredible, and I have much more to say about them, but that needs to wait for another day! If you missed the races, make sure to check your schedule and get there to see the Finals next week; they are going to be pretty wondrous!

KazumaHs Destiny