Category Archives: Race reports

About a race in general.

Zigging, Zagging & Polar Hopping

One look at the course, slaloming  through all of the main islands, is enough to explain why this race is The Hawaiian Zig Zag.

SeaCart30diagram
Sea Cart 30 Polar Diagram (click for larger image)

But one look at the polar chart makes it clear that some of the zigzagging will come from avoiding the speed trough on the beam when the wind is in single digits.

Light airs are common in the channels between the islands.  The tradewinds blow in from the east, but split when they encounter Hawaii’s volcanic mountains.

Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, on The Big Island, extend 13,784ft and 13,680 ft respectively above sea level.  Add in 10,025ft Halealeka on Maui and you get quite a wind shadow.  The combination of the slalom course, the lumpy polar, and light airs made for active skippering.  

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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

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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'

Around the Bend on the Bay of Biscay

WindContoursAtStart
The course — with winds at starting time

At first glance, this race looked to be a simple reach up the coast.  At least that is how it would be if the initial winds held.

Yes, there was an island to deal with near the finish.  But odds were we would leave the island to starboard — problem solved.  This race seemed to be routine.

But as the ‘Mad Russian‘ character from Jack Benny’s radio show would have said, “Silly Boy!” The race was far from routine.

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Blown Away by Hi-Res Winds!

When Andrea [ita10267] first suggested that we could race with winds forecast in high resolution I was blown away.  I believed the potential benefit from such winds to SOL and SOLers would be immense — at least in theory.

Starting Route
Route at the start.

But would we be able to see the difference in the winds?

Would the winning routes be different from those sailed with lower resolution winds?

And how would the high resolution winds work with routing software?

Time to put theory into practice.

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Sailing to Tasmania

tasman_startI’m ending my SOL year with the Boxing Day Classic, the first half of the Tasman Double. A night start in Sydney, across Bass Strait and round Tasman Island, before steering into Hobart. Tasman Island is of course the relevant routing goal.

As a rule for the Southern Ocean in general, and the whole Tasman Sea / NZL area in particular, forecasts tend to be less then reliable. In last year’s edition I split from the main group in Bass Strait, and by sheer luck won the light air lottery. And then there’s my favorite, Sail Fiji. This year’s forecast was soooo bad. Anyway the forecast for this race is… amazingly stable. Ok.

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Sailonline World Race – Leg 2

WOW! this was one of the best sailing I ever done in SOL.

And this thanks to the challenging and changing wx along the route and to all the person that enter in this crazy long leg with a boat.
And of course to the hard fight with Lolla, to nominate the biggest opponent.
Lolla sailed a superb legs, applying the sailing strategic manual to the letter, and giving me only one risky chance that turned well at the end.
So as I pick up him as my reference opponent I will mention him more than others.

Continue reading 'Sailonline World Race – Leg 2'