Category Archives: Races

Posts about one race in specific

Some Murky Thoughts About Sailing Through The Doldrums

For some time I have mulled over the issues of attempting to route through significant areas of doldrums, or indeed any large masses of low wind speed.

In my thinking, the most significant aspect of this circumstance is the nature of the routing algorithm. For the sake of the discussion, let’s use the Melbourne to Osaka race as an example, because it’s a good one. Continue reading Some Murky Thoughts About Sailing Through The Doldrums

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!

Puerto Aguirre – 2017


The race was designated a ‘sprint’, but the winds were light and the water almost glassy — just like it was in this photo looking east toward mainland Chile across a cove on the island of Puerto Aguirre.
The light airs forecast in our WRF High Resolution GRIB made for a technical race that put a premium on keeping the boat moving while threading through a myriad of islas.
The length of the race favored skippers in the time zones of the Americas.
Continue reading Puerto Aguirre – 2017

40′ Series 2017 — The Sardinia Cup

The six race 2017 40′ Series Championship Q1&Q2  requires skippers to choose among three boats:

Click within the image for a full-size graphic
  1. The Ker 40
  2. The Class 40
  3. The SOTO 40

Each boat must be raced twice in the six races scheduled for Q1 & Q2 of 2017.  Sardinia was our first opportunity to test our ability to choose.

The Sardinia course was a great choice to kick-off the series.  The legs of the course cover all points of the compass — testing the polars of all three boats.
Here is how the race developed, plus some comments on skipper strategies in the series:
Continue reading 40′ Series 2017 — The Sardinia Cup

Doing the ZigZag with DCC

The Hawaiian ZigZag race is a personal favorite for me.  It’s a long CourseImagesprint through warm waters that bring back great memories.  This year, I was excited to test the Delay Command Checker software (DCC) during the race.

The DCC software surprised me both by how easy it was to use and by how many useful or time-saving features it offered.  DCC fit right in with my routing software.  That said, it would work well [perhaps providing even more benefits] for SOTP skippers

Continue reading Doing the ZigZag with DCC

Ocean racing along the latitude parallels

This is not really a report on my Geraldton-Cape Town race so much as some observations on SOL ocean racing which hopefully might lead to some conversations on the Solfans blog and Sol chat.

I have promised to do a Pilot Charts routing before each race to show what, according to the ‘most likely’ reading of the Pilot Charts for the location and time and year we are racing, would be the ‘most likely’ quickest course.

This is of course not likely to be the course any of us might actually sail because we’ll be racing in ‘real weather’, and not ‘most likely’.  However, even from this second race where I have compared the Pilot Charts course with the actual, there are some interesting observations to make. Continue reading Ocean racing along the latitude parallels

Routing Based On Pilot Charts – Geraldton to Cape Town preview

It seemed to me that as a part of course pre-planning for long ocean races, it might be useful if I published on Solfans for each new SOL ocean race the suggested OpenCPN routing based on Pilot Chart wind data for people to make use of if they so desired.  It also seemed that it might be a useful resource for the non-routers out there.

Here is that route for the upcoming Geraldton Cape Town race.


I have run a route on my own router using the SOL grib data and superimposed that for comparative purposes.  The suggested Pilot Chart routing for March is the pale pink line and the routing using SOL and NOAA extended grib data as at the 22:30 WX on Feb 28 is the deeper pink line with the wind direction barbs attached.  You can see that the primary difference is that the current weather data suggests a much more northerly route than the Pilot Charts suggest, principally because of a significant high currently lying west of Perth.

The OpenCPN Pilot Chart route suggests a trip of 18 days 8 hours, and the route using SOL weather suggests 14 days 13 hours.  In other words, we can expect a faster than average trip.Overlay-Geraldton-Cape-Town

Continue reading Routing Based On Pilot Charts – Geraldton to Cape Town preview