All posts by bonknhoot

Born in Holland, educated in Ireland, raced boats all my life. Substantially retired from that IRL sport, still find myself in boats and on the water doing deliveries and prepping, whilst SOL sates my inner racing daemons.

Precision round Puerto Aguirre for posterity

Having read Javakeda’s Victory Report for this one, I had to add my ha’pworth. But what to add? Well maybe this.
Once you had decided your best course would be to curve on a beam reach to the northern entrance of the Canal Caruso, then foot as fast (!/?) as you could South West across the dull(er) patch North of the island home of Puerto Aguirre itself, to find stronger breeze and head South, , keeping the boat close to Vmax all the time, to finally round Rudolphy Peninsula for a short beat to the finish, which of course you could cross from either end, the challenge was going to be “how much or how little to flatten the natural TWA curves and when”.
I reached said decision late, having anticipated early doors that it was going to be a beat all the way, and having set up for that. But when I looked again, an hour or two before the off, conditions had changed drastically.
Now as Javakeda writes, and as indeed I have written before, it is a myth that you cannot route a sprint. In fact, until a lucky question from bimmer to my address obliged Kipper and I to reveal what was wrong with Qt’s interpolation (from a SOL perspective) and more importantly how to fix it, – which, after a half a year of work, we had started doing by densifying gribs using u-v interpolation external to Qt – sprints through hi-res gribs could actually much more reliably be routed than ocean races through blue goo on 2 x 2 grids could.
Javakeda uses Expedition as his router of choice, which of course doesn’t have SOL/u-v interpolation as an option. So for him, that old truth still holds good: hi-res gribs are a much better input to route with than standard NOAA gribs. And why is that? Because if you have data on a 0.05 x 0.05 grid instead of on a very best 0.5 x 0.5 NOAA grid, you have 100x more data points where the router’s data simply cannot be wrong, and only very small squares in between where it can be (but only by a little).
I – formally a member of the VR 0$ Group “Les Pauvres Suisse au Tour de Monde” – of course use Qt, so for bonknhoot, hi-res/lo-res is no longer an issue, which leaves right-res, i.e. if you are obtaining gribs from a.n.other source than SOL itself, always request them on the same-res as the SOL gribs. Irrelevant I know, but not in WR3 (round world reverse #3) on at the moment as well.
What is however always an issue is that the smallest timestep Qt routes to is 5 minutes. This can make narrow passages impassable. On this occasion, it did not do so, but for example in Oup Helly Aa last week, it did, and rumskib uniquely spotted that. There are three parts to achieving such a spot.
1/ first route ignoring coastlines – how would you go if there were no obstructions?
2/ then route normally – and follow how the track develops and if, when and why it switches.
3/ finally re-route to the entrance of a likely passage and again from its exit.
And remember, close to coasts, Qt liberally sows “non-simplificable” waypoints. If you don’t change the status (one-by-one) of most of these, Qt will likely trick you into a marginally wrong turn. I think that happened to one or two as we came out of the Canal Caruso.
For Puerto Aguirre, in the end, I just quickly re-did 2/ and off we went. But I misjudged my curves ever so fractionally, losing a server hop sailing too wide en-route to the Canal Caruso (sailing more distance for very little delta-BS), and sailing a little too straight on the second half of the leg across the top of Puerto Aguirre’s island (taking me through less TWS than others enjoyed).
Right at the death, Javakeda tacked too early for the line, but sensibly avoided pinching up, so our mistakes didn’t even out and the race was his. Well done JK!

Turkey Time !

Where to begin?
What an extraordinary race! A race that just has everything that SOL has on offer for the (seriously?) ‘serious’ on-line yacht racer, including in this case:

  • the wind puzzles of the Black Sea,
  • the hunt for balance between angle and pressure in the Etesian winds of the Aegean,
  • a big ask on boat-handling skills through the narrows of the Bosporus and Dardanelles,
  • and through the maze of the Greek islands,
  • and lots of stamina and dedication and sleep management.

And of course, the race takes us along the coasts of pre-history where mankind’s first empires were founded, as well as its last and most long-lived, The Empire of The Ottomans. Continue reading 'Turkey Time !'

Two Halves

Like a game of Association Football, there is more than an element of luck involved in doing well in a virtual ocean race on SOL. And this element of luck is certainly borne out by my results so far in the SWR 14-15: 75, 287, 47, 9, 52 and now p2!

BonknDikBut if you indulge me in the conceit that I know what I am doing, shared by many football managers, for example like my fellow Haagenees who bankrupted Rangers pursuing glory, and is now certain that he will have saved Sunderland if they stay up, I will tell you the tale of how:

We followed the swings of the wind;
A struggle that seemed without end.
To starboard or port?
Well South, but not North!
To our monitors we were all pinned.

(from) Mouthansar

Continue reading 'Two Halves'

Agony Off Auckland

I always enjoy being invited to write something when bonknhoot makes the podium. However, on this particular occasion my pleasure is much tempered by the events as they transpired, for which I only have myself to blame. Memories of a race from Seattle to Vancouver earlier this year flash back as I write, where SS (skipper stupidity) assisted me in converting a P1 into a P4, but on that occasion there were mitigating circumstances: a series of marish hard-to-read radically shifting WXs. A2 got that P1 that time and more deja vu, in the Bay of Plenty he once again pipped me this time for P2, if only by seconds, which only made it worse. But well done, A2, and rafa too of course, who made the least mistakes of all us. Continue reading 'Agony Off Auckland'

Hop to La Rochelle

By now, many SOLers will have heard one or other competitor speak of ‘hopping’ or even ‘hopping the polar’. What are they talking about!? IRL we gybe and tack, but hop, hmmm? Deep Thought (a.k.a. Earth acc. to Slartibartfast) might have come up with it (didn’t) but the answer is ‘sail change’. A ‘hop’ in SOL is an IRL sail change accompanied by a change of course. Continue reading 'Hop to La Rochelle'