Category Archives: Sailing Skills

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

Turn Style

racers

It’s not the meat, it’s the motion…

When a sailboat makes a turn in Second Life (and real-life), three major things happen that a skipper needs to think about:

  1. the boat changes heading in response to the hydrodynamic forces generated by the rudder deflection;
  2. the boat travels along an arc until it establishes the new heading; and
  3. the boat speed usually drops due to a loss of momentum generated by the turn.

How well a boat accomplishes these points often has a big effect on the user’s sense of fun and realism. 

For a while now I’ve been trying to come up with a few simple ways to measure the turning properties of SL boats. That information might be useful when comparing different boat classes, and it may also help assess whether a given boat is a reasonable emulation of it’s real-life counterpart. Anyway, I admit I don’t have any big conclusions at this point, but I wanted to show a few charts here to see if any sailors have better ideas how to approach this issue.

cruisers

Half-turns

For large US merchant transport vessels, there are detailed performance standards published by the American Bureau of Shipping. The ABS is a good resource for maneuverability test requirements and discussions about the principles involved.

Probably the most common performance test is a Circle Test that monitors a boat’s ability to move through a full 360° turn. That works well for a powerboat, where the engine can maintain a constant thrust during the exercise. However, it doesn’t work very well for a sailboat, since the wind is constantly changing during the turn. A full 360° turn is pretty much never a “circle.” 🙂

It makes a lot more sense to test a sailboat using a 180° half-turn, as the boat flips into the wind from one beam reach to the other.

To do that in SL, I’ve been using FRAPS to generate screenshots each second while a boat does a standard 180° turn. I then plot the boat position data sequence on an X-Y matrix. Each data point also includes the instantaneous boat speed and heading.

Rene Marine 12

Let me give a quick shout out for the Rene Marine 12 (Tofinu). It’s a great boat for this kind of test. It’s built by Rene Underby, who has a long track record as an accomplished boatbuilder in Second Life. Her Rene Marine  boat yard is  filled with a full line of sail craft that emphasize both authentic styling and realistic performance.

racer RM12

The RM 12 is her newest creation. Apropos of this discussion, it’s designed to give a realistic response to rudder deflections, it has an option to hold the rudder at a constant angle, and it has a full info-HUD that displays the boat’s status.

Here’s a chart of boat position for the RM-12 as it does a half- turn.

RM12 turn rev

click to enlarge

It shows a plot of the X-Y map location at each second for an RM 12 with RWS= 15kn. The boat begins on a starboard tack with RWA 90°; it then turns through 180° to a new heading of RWA 270°.

The boat initially sails in a straight line with a constant boat speed of 8.6 (green arrow). The skipper then swings the wheel hard over to initiate the turn (indicated by “TILLER” above) and locks the rudder at maximum deflection until the turn is complete.

If you then follow the dots, you’ll see that within a few seconds the boat responds to the rudder deflection by turning into the wind and losing speed. At the point indicated by a red star (*),  the sails suddenly flip over, changing the boat to a port tack. That actually happens quite early, when the boat is only beginning the actual turn. It then takes approximately 15 more seconds to complete the 180° course change. By that time the boat speed has dropped  to 4.2, half the original. In addition, the arc of the turn moves the new heading approximately 30 m further windward (Red Arrow).

A boat’s initial speed and consequent momentum has a big impact on how wide a turn the boat will carve in the water. This is nicely shown in the figure below.

turn radius - RM12 two RWS

The green curve to the right shows the sequence of positions each second for a RM-12 as it goes through the half turn powered by a 15 kn wind. The dark red curve shows the same boat, but this time powered by an 8.0 kn breeze. Under the lessened wind, the boat travels more slowly (the dots are closer together), and the boat cuts a much sharper turn.

Windless

The fact that the slower boat has the sharpest turn deserves an extra comment or two.

First of all, if a boat is not moving through the water, the rudder is useless and the boat can’t turn. The force that causes the boat to change direction is generated by the deflection of the water flow passing the angled rudder. This point is sort of obvious, but it’s worth mentioning since most SL builders add a small ‘kick’ to their boats so skippers can still maneuver them even without sail power or headway. The RM-12 and a few other SL boats are more realistic, and you’ll find the RM-12 won’t turn unless it’s moving. 🙂

Second point: Once a boat is underway, the turning force produced goes up with the square of the water velocity over the rudder. In other words, the turning force at 4kn is four times the force at 2kn; the faster boat turns more quickly. However, if you look at the figure above, it shows that the faster boat actually cuts a wider turn. That’s due in large part to the greater residual forward momentum at faster speeds. The turning force may be stronger, but it has more work to do to reverse the boat direction.

A Few Comparisons

Why is any of this worth worrying about? Well actually it’s not worth worrying about, but it is interesting when you start to compare the turning ability of different boats powered by the same wind speed.

turn radius - multi-boat test

Here’s the same chart I posted above, showing the RM-12 at 15 kn (green) and 8.0 kn (purple). I’ve now superimposed two more curves. The orange curve is for the popular Melges-24 racer.

Although it’s quite a speedy boat, the M-24 can cut one of the sharpest turns of the entire sailboat fleet in SL as shown above in orange.

So if you love the maneuverability of the  Melges-24, the chart explains why! The Melges is a spry, high tech, and compact raceboat. It’s designed to slice a turn as sharply as possible and the SL data backs it up!

racers m24

Now look at the other boat I’ve added to the chart above in red. It’s the Wildwind Open 60, a new, very fast ocean racer that’s slated to replace the JMO-60 very soon. The shape of the turn in the Open 60 falls right on top of the RM-12. However, don’t let that fool you. If you look at the distance between each of the dots in the curve, you’ll see that the Open 60 is moving easily twice as fast as the more traditional and reserved RM-12. At those speeds, the Open 60 gets around race marks pretty well, but you do need to leave a lot of room!

turn plots of OP60-OD65-VO70

OK, here’s another comparison to the right. This time it’s for three pretty similar ocean racers: the Wildwind Open 60, the Mesh Shop VO 70, and the Mesh Shop OD 65.

The three boats end up with very similar turning properties. In fact, although they are totally different designs coming from boat yards in  Japan and Netherlands, the Open 60 has a turning curve that nearly exactly overlaps the VO-70. I think that indicates both builders came up with designs that reflected real life performance, and it looks like they both hit the mark. 🙂

loons

And More…

The last chart for today is shown below, and I apologize it’s really ugly; it looks like clumps of seaweed, or Lindsay Lohan’s hair after a particularly rough night.

turn radius - many

The chart overlaps turn plots from a variety of different boats, to give you a flavor of the diversity in the fleet.

There are some interesting findings. For example, the Mesh Shop OD-65 has the same turning radius as the Trudeau New York 30. However, once again the OD-65 has a much faster boat speed that likely explains the apparent similarity.

Two boats have a surprising overlap on the chart that I can’t easily explain. Motor Loon’s Loonetta 31 is an absolutely delightful, fully appointed cruiser. It’s not intended for competitive sailing, and in fact Loon went out of his way to make it clear the boat was not a racer. Well kids, here’s another reason to love your Loonetta: it turns out to have the same turning radius as the Mesh Shop Laser One, and it does it at the same boat speed!

Anyone up for a Loonetta Regatta? 🙂

racers laser

 Quo Vadis

I admit I’m still not sure what to make of these curves, if anything. For the moment, I think they just provide another way to display some performance characteristics of virtual boats we all sail. There are certainly no “good curves,” or bad ones. The results are just interesting, and maybe some are fun.

A few might even have something to do with sailing in SL. 🙂

virtual turns

Hotlaps tops 300

hepurn thurs

Woots! Kudos to LucyInThe Sky Afarensis; yesterday she posted lap #300 to the Hotlaps spreadsheet! She hit that tercentennial ceiling in real style too, by adding a new boat class to the list: The ACA Racer Tiny. 🙂

On the six Hotlaps courses to date, a total of 54 skippers have sailed 305 laps in 33 different boats. Wowzers! Here’s the current list of skippers who did all that sailing, colored-coded for the spreadsheets:

skippers 54

And next, here’s a copy of the current, active spreadsheet for the Plum Gut course. Individual lap scores are arranged in columns based on boat class, and the colors for each entry identify the skipper. As highlited below, there’s a set of tabs at the very bottom of the sheet that allow a user to switch to different pages in order to view individual race line results, raw entry data, or summary sheets.

Sailors can even edit the various spreadsheet pages. If you make a mistake filling out the entry form, you can go to the Lap data page, find the error there and correct it. If any Hotlaps user wants to rearrange or sort the data for a particular page, please feel free to open a new tab on the spreadsheet to do that. You can then copy the data you’re interested in to your new page for editing, and leave the original intact.

plum gut feb24

click to enlarge

Of course Plum Gut is just one of the six Hotlaps venues. There are five more.

This collected lap data has many potential uses. Individual sailors can follow their own laptimes to see if different sailing strategies make a measurable difference in their scores, or they can compare how their times match up against other sailors in the fleet.

The hotlaps data also makes it possible to “performance handicap” the many, popular boats in SLSailing. As I’ve discussed before, that’s done by comparing the average lap time for a given boat on a particular racecourse against the same information for a standard, “index” boat: The Melges-24. After nearly two months of data collection, the Melges is looking like a great index, for a dozen reasons I wont bore you about here. If you own a Quest Melges-24, you likely know the reasons already. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the handicap table as of yesterday. Below, the table to the left shows the handicap factors for boats on each of the six hotlaps courses (where the data is available). The table on the right shows the average handicap score for each of those boats, with the associated standard deviation for the small sample of values in each case.

summary tables feb25


So, how useful and reliable are the handicap factors?

Well, that’s what were still trying to figure out, but let me briefly talk about three points that came up in last Thursday’s Midnight Madness races.

hepurn feb21

Midnight Madness is a fun, multiclass race every Thursday at 9:00 pm, cosponsored by Danshire and Eden Bay Yacht Clubs. At the moment I’m using  Madness results to calculate potential handicap ‘adjustments’ and comparing them to the uncorrected, “normal” finish times.

As usual, a small but really great group of skippers showed up this past Thursday to race the Hepurn Hotlaps course. Here’s the result for race one.

Race One Lap Times: 
 Chaos Mandelbrot   M24 crewed — Start: 00:05  —  Last lap: 00:10:32
 Kris Hollysharp   M24 — Start: 00:01  —  Last lap: 00:11:18
 SteveLL Resident   Q2M — Start: 00:11  —  Last lap: 00:15:01
 qwerty Qork   IDQQ99 — Start: 00:02  —  Last lap: not finished
 Glorfindel Arrow   IDA81  — Start: 00:06  —  Last lap: not finished
Race One Results:
 1: Chaos Mandelbrot  (M24 crewed, 1.10) — 10:37 — corrected 11:40
 2: Kris Hollysharp   (M24, 1.00) — 11:19 — corrected 11:19
 3: SteveLL Resident   (2M, 0.76) — 15:12 — corrected 11:36
 4: qwerty Qork   IDQQ99 — not Finished
 5: Glorfindel Arrow   (M24, 1.0)  — not Finished
Unfortunately, qwerty and Glorf both crashed. Chaos and Kris both sailed Melges-24, and SteveLL sailed a Q2M.
R1 start
Kris was aggressive, extremely adept, and crossed the start line 4 seconds ahead of Chaos and Jane. However, a crewed Melges-24 can sail faster than one with a solo skipper, so Chaos was able to pull even with Kris and eventually pass her about midway through the course. Chaos went on to finish first, with an 18 sec. lead over Kris.
Looking at the prior handicaps however, a crew member gives an M-24 a roughly 10% performance advantage. Chaos’ corrected lap time would then be 11:40, a full minute behind Kris!
A similar issue came up with SteveLL. He was sailing a Quest 2-M, which is a much slower boat than the Melges-24. Steve cross the finish line a full 4 min. behind the lead boats, and there’s really no chance he could win a race without handicap adjustments.
However, factoring in the current handicap for the Q2-M (0.76) Steve’s corrected finish time becomes 11:36, a score that’s directly competitive with the two Melges in the race. In fact, with corrected scores Steve nosed out Chaos for Second Place!
second race finish
For the Second Race, a wondrous thing happened. There was a bright light from above, the heavens opened up, and Pensive Mission appeared at the race line, holding on to his Tako. pm and cmAlthough Pensive only makes rare appearances in regattas these days, he was one of Mowry Bay’s original Mow-Mows, and his skill with a Tako is part of SL’s nautical lore.
Well, in the Second Race we got a chance to see that legendary Boatman of the Mowry Apocalypse ride his Tako around Hepurn’s waters once more.
The Tako is quite a speedy boat and it’s powered by a real wind engine that makes beating to windward less of a hassle than most new boats. Thanks to Slanty Uriza, we also have a handicap from the Sulu Hotlaps Course. It’s 1.03, a close match for the Melges-24, so it made sense that Pensive was able to keep in close lockstep with both Chaos and Kris as the boats zoomed around the course.
A pleasant surprise occurred at the end of the race however, as I tallied up the scores. Since the Tako uses a very different wind engine, I wasn’t sure how “portable” the handicap factors might be within a mixed fleet or across different race courses. Well, to get a partial answer to that question I used Pensive’s single lap score to calculate a new Tako handicap for the Hepurn line.
Pensive’s Hepurn handicap worked out to 1.03, an exact match for Slanty’s Tako handicap using the Sulu line!! 🙂
 It looks like the handicap factors are proving to be both valid and consistent. That’s a nice thing. 🙂
Race Two Lap Times:
 Chaos Mandelbrot   IDCM91 — Start: 0:03  —  Last lap: 10:05
 Kris Hollysharp   IDKH47 — Start: 0:03  —  Last lap: 10:36
 Pensive Mission   ID25  — Start: 0:02  —  Last lap: 10:47
 Glorfindel Arrow   IDA81  — Start: 0:02  —  Last lap: 13:22
 SteveLL Resident   IDJB25 — Start: 0:05  —  Last lap: 14:40

Race Two Results:
1: Chaos Mandelbrot  M24 crew, 1.10 — 10:08 — Corrected 11:09
2: Kris Hollysharp   M24, 1.0 — 10:39 — Corrected 10:39
3: Pensive Mission   Tako 3.3 (1.03)  — 10:49 — Corrected 11:08
4: Glorfindel Arrow   M24, 1.0  — 13:24 — Corrected 13:24
5: SteveLL Resident   IDJB25 — 00:14:45 — Corrected 11:14

Adjustment Bureau

Mixed numbers

On February 14 a handful of hardy sailors converged on North Sea’s Breadnut raceline for a fun, mixed fleet race. We did two heats on the North Sea Hotlaps course, and everyone sailed a different boat class. Since the sim conditions were pretty good,  I thought it might be interesting to look at the results using the Handicap factors. Handicapping might “level the playing field,” and allow different boats to fairly compete with each other.

Feb14 mixed fleet

Here are the lap times for the five boats in the first race:
Race One Lap Times: 
Chaos Mandelbrot   IDCM91 — Start: 00:00:16  —  Last lap: 00:11:54
Melges-24 Handicap= 1.00
 takabou Destiny   ID0021 — Start: 00:01:48  —  Last lap: 00:12:15
Q IACC Handicap=0.92 
 Brett Kjeller   ID157 — Start: 00:00:27  —  Last lap: 00:15:19 –
RM12 new Handicap 0.75
 SteveLL Resident   IDJB25 — Start: 00:01:09  —  Last lap: 00:15:15
Q 2M handicap 0.77
 lesbo Charisma   ID159 — Start: 00:01:45  —  Last lap: 00:16:18
FranJac handicap 0.75
feb 16 handicaps
For each boat above I’ve also listed the handicap correction factor in red, based on the Hotlaps data for the Breadnut raceline, where available. Click on the figure to the right to get the current Handicap Summary Table, based on 269 laps sailed by 50 skippers in 32 different boat classes.
For each of the five boats in the race, I then corrected the Finish time by multiplying the boat’s lap time by the Handicap factor, then adding that result to the Start time. (I didn’t think it made sense to handicap the Start times). Anyway, here’s the actual Finish rank, with the corrected times shown in red.
Race Results:
 1: Chaos Mandelbrot   Melges-24 — 00:12:10 corrected: 00:12:10
 2: takabou Destiny   Q IACC — 00:14:03 corrected: 13:06
 3: Brett Kjeller   RM 12 — 00:15:46 corrected: 11:56
 4: SteveLL Resident   Q 2M — 00:16:24 corrected 13:20
 5: lesbo Charisma   FranJac — 00:18:03 corrected: 13:58
Chaos Mandelbrot crossed the Finish line first, sailing a Melges-24. The M-24 is the “Handicap Index” boat, so it needs no correction. Takabou Destiny crossed second in a Q IACC, which is 0.92 as fast as the M-24; adjusting for that handicap took 57 sec off Tak’s Finish time. Chaos still beat takabou, but only because Chaos crossed the Start line first; Tak actually sailed the faster time-corrected lap. 🙂
takabou
Lesbo Charisma sailed a Francois Jacques and crossed the Finish in the #5 slot. Lesbo in FranJacThe FranJac is a great boat, but it’s considerably slower than the Melges-24.
Lesbo’s uncorrected time was six minutes behind Chaos. However if you adjust for the handicap (.75) her time is 13:58. Like takabou, Lesbo was late getting started; her corrected lap time was 12:13, a number that is suddenly competitive with Chaos’ 11:38 and tak’s 11:18 handicapped lap times. 🙂
SteveLL Resident sailed a Quest 2M and ranked #4 crossing the Finish. There was no handicap available for the Q2M on the Breadnut line, so I used the Plum Gut Q2M handicap of 0.77
SteveLL
From past Hotlaps series, I’m pretty convinced the results from one standard course can be applied to most other courses.
You want proof of that (grin)? SteveLL sailed both race heats on July 14. Since we were racing the North Sea Hotlaps Course and using the Hotlaps wind, I took Steve’s race laps and used them to calculate a new Q2M handicap for the Breadnut line. It came in at 0.77, exactly matching the Plum Gut result! 🙂 SteveLL’s corrected Finish time was therefore  13:20, entrenching him in the #4 slot for the first heat. 🙂
Brett Kjeller raced a shiny, new RM12 and Finished #3. There are no data for that boat on any of the Hotlap racelines. Brett’s laps can be used to set a new Handicap for the RM 12, but those numbers really can’t be used to adjust his own time in the same race.  🙂
However, it’s worth commenting that Brett’s lap scores from this race would yield a first-guess handicap of 0.75; if that number’s confirmed by more hotlaps, it would compare favorably with the FranJac (0.75) and Q2M (o.77) that were also part of this small, mixed fleet.
Brett
Here are the the results for the second race, again with handicap corrections added in red. I think the idea to handicap mixed fleet races is interesting, and there are probably several ways to do it. Using the hotlaps numbers is one method that might turn out valid and reliable over time.
Another method might be to simply group together boats that have a similar Handicap score; races often treat the VO-70 and OD-65 as though they were equivalent; the same is true for the ACA33 3.x and the Quest IACC,  as well as the Trudeau One, FranJac, and New York 30. Whether these boats can fairly compete with each other in a race is a question that might be answered, at least in part, by the Hotlaps project.
For the moment, it’s just fun to play with the numbers, and recall such great racing with friends. 🙂
Race Two Lap Times:
 Chaos Mandelbrot   IDCM91 — Start: 00:00:11  —  Last lap: 00:11:40
 takabou Destiny   ID0021 — Start: 00:00:50  —  Last lap: 00:13:15
 SteveLL Resident   IDJB25 — Start: 00:00:26  —  Last lap: 00:14:59
 Brett Kjeller   ID157 — Start: 00:00:26  —  Last lap: 00:15:32
 lesbo Charisma   ID2159 — Start: 00:00:38  —  Last lap: not finished
Race Two Results:
 1: Chaos Mandelbrot   Melges-24 — 00:11:51 corrected:00:11:51
 2: takabou Destiny   Q IACC — 00:14:05 corrected 13:03
 3: SteveLL Resident   Q 2M — 00:15:25 corrected 12:24
 4: Brett Kjeller   RM12 — 00:15:58 corrected 12:05
 5: lesbo Charisma   FranJac — not Finished
mixed nuts

Hot Times

Hot Times Jan 2013

Thank you to all the skippers who have sailed Hotlaps so far. After five weeks in 2013, that adds up to 41 sailors doing 226 laps in 28 boat classes!

In the tradition of hotlaps from past years, I thought it might be fun to publish an ongoing list of the fastest skippers for the preceding month. To do that, I’m only considering boat classes that have lap times from at least three skippers. The lap times can be from any of the six different hotlaps courses.

I then normalize the scores from the different courses relative to the Melges-24 index. That makes the results comparable, and independent of the specific race line a sailor chooses. Based on that comparison, here’s a list of the speediest hotlap skippers for the month of January!

Hot Times Table Jan 2013

For example, during January sailors posted a total of 49 lap times for the Melges- 24. For each of the courses it’s possible to calculate the average lap time for that boat, and then determine the skipper that beats that average by the widest margin.

In January, Armano Xaris and Fearless Freenote ended up in a tie. They each sailed a Melges-24 lap that was 9.0% faster than the average for the fleet. Nice sailing, guys! 🙂

Kudos also go to  nozumimi karu, xpaul pain, Hannelore Ballinger, Bunnie Mills, Jane Fossett (that’s me!), Lucyinthesky Aferensis, and VictorCr for the fastest laps in their respective boat classes, as listed above. Nice job!

Now let’s see how the scores in February measure up over the next few weeks, but please remember: Hotlaps isn’t just about the fastest scores; be sure to enter your ‘good, average’ laptimes as well!

HL2013

Two Hundred Hotlaps

200 hotlaps

This post is just a quick update and reminder about Hotlaps. 🙂

Hotlaps 2013 is a format that lets sailors build sailing skills and have fun by doing solo practice runs and sharing the scores online. The database allows skippers to compare their lap times with others; they can also contrast the relative performance of different boats sailing the same ‘trial lap’ conditions.

At the moment, there are six different raceline locations, and each has its own Hotlaps course: PLUMGUTBREADNUTKNAPTRACKICONLINKOUSSULU, and HEPURN.

hotlapsposters

Sailing a Hotlap takes only ten minutes, and you can do it any time you want, in any boat. 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.

The current round of Hotlaps began less than four weeks ago, and yesterday we hit a total of 200 lap entries recorded by 36 skippers in 26 different boat classes. Notohama Resident has the notable distinction of sailing lap #200 in a Flying Fizz at Plum Gut. 🙂

Speaking of which, please let me give a shout-out to all the sailors who have sailed laps so far this month. Woots! :

 yala74, Armano Xaris, Jane Fossett, Andi Merryman, Lance Corrimal, LucyInTheSky Afarensis, S11D, Emelia Azemus, B117, B12, BM12, Chaos Mandelbrot, Hay Ah, Kris Hollysharp, Slanty, poko Zepp, Qyv Inshan, Justin Blade, nozomimi karu, SkyBlue Earthboy, Trapez Breen, Yuukie Onmura, Joy Acker, Wolfhard Resident, notohama Resident, Pazzo Pestana, Kentrock Mesmer, Bunnie, , VictorCR, B112, Maiko Taurog, xpaulx pain, Fearless Freenote, Rim Telling, Xi Larnia, Hannelore Ballinger.

Here’s also a new update for the Plum Gut spreadsheet that I posted ten days ago, so you can get an idea where this is going. Please click on the image below to get a readable size, and you’ll see it includes all the individual Plum Gut Hotlaps scores, color- matched to the skippers. The online spreadsheet has separate pages for each of the racelines. It makes it easy for a sailor to watch their progress over time, and to compare their skill against others running the course.

Hay Ah’s currently testing out an interactive display that should soon make this Hotlaps info much more user-friendly and available to skippers in-world, right at the raceline. 🙂 (Thank You, Hay!)

Plum Gut Hotlaps Jan28 2013

please click to enlarge

The Hotlaps data makes it possible to generate simple performance handicaps for different sailboat classes. The handicaps are normalized with respect to an index boat (the Melges-24 has a handicap of 1.00) to make the handicaps factors easy-to-use.

So far, across the six different courses a total of 26 boats have been evaluated, yielding 64 estimated handicaps. Here’s the current list for all six courses:

HH Summary Jan 27

At the end of this month I’ll post about the conclusions we migfht be able to draw from this type of data, and I’ll also list the names of skippers who logged the fastest adjusted lap times for each boat class during January. 🙂

However, if you sail hotlaps please remember to log all your “average, good” lap times, not just your fastest runs. That way we’ll get a more realistic profile for each of the boats in the fleet.

overlapped and parallel

Race Mark Rez Retro

Racing One Design 65

click to enlarge

Yesterday I posted briefly about race buoy late-rezzing problems, and I mentioned one potential fix: increasing the physical size of the buoy by linking a large, underwater block to it. Today I sailed a series of hotlaps using the new, modified buoy in Trulan and it worked quite nicely. 🙂 The picture above shows my boat approaching Trulan sim, and if you look closely you can see that the buoy has already rezzed off the port bow, a full two sims distant.

Yesterday I also mentioned that this is not a new issue. Last evening I went back to the SLSailing.org archives and read a series of old posts on the topic. MarkTwain White suggested the same fix for late-rezzing buoys back in April, 2008; I think that could be the original post on the issue, and I cited the reference in my initial comment.

Going through the archives, I was reminded of two more potential solutions, and I thought I’d mention them here.

 1. Raise the seafloor under the buoy.

In a private water sim, the owner can terraform a sharp peak directly beneath a buoy. That will not make the mark rez more quickly, but it will produce a permanent, easily recognized target on the world map and the mini map.

The 2008 SLSailing.org discussion I referenced above was actually about Svar Beckersted‘s fix for a late-rez buoy in USS’ Bartlett sim. Here’s what it looked like five years ago:

blackett_red

As I said, this fix doesn’t make the buoy rez faster or sooner, but it does make it show up on the map. To emphasize that point, here’s a low resolution chart of the USS sims from back then; you can easily make out the location of the “Bartlett Buoy Mound” (red arrow, below).

USS MAP 063008

Click to enlarge

2. Sky markers.

The 2007 ACA32 SL Regatta was held on a sixpack of private sims. overhead diskEven in that restricted space, sailors had some difficulty identifying the race buoys at a distance on the horizon. The solution was to place large, pancake-shaped objects above mast height over each of the buoys. That way the competition boats could easily orient to the mark locations, even when a landmass or another boat was in the way.

That solution worked well for ACA32, but it never really caught on for subsequent regattas. However, this topic gives me an excuse to post SurfWidow Beaumont’s great ACA32 video one more time; keep your eyes open for the race buoys in the vid, and you’ll see the large, dark pancakes overhead. 🙂

So in summary it looks like the race mark rez issue has been around a long time, and there are a number of ways to handle it. I also think it’s less of a problem these days, since many racing skippers use waypoint HUDs like TRAPNAV to highlight the race mark locations.