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 !'→
One look at the course, slaloming through all of the main islands, is enough to explain why this race is The Hawaiian Zig Zag.
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.
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!
But 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.
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'→
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'→
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.
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?
In my last post I’ve covered SailOnline’s new weather model, WRF with a 0.05°x0.05° grid. Now we’re going to race it from Boston to Newport. First a look at the big picture. A low pressure system has formed over Lake Ontario. It moves south across New Jersey and then up the coast towards Newfoundland.
Quality gribs are the lifeblood of weather navigation. And while I’m still exploring the new GFS data, the SailOnline tech team has surprised us by implementing the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) for virtual racing. The first test race is Boston to Newport, on a .05°x.05° grid with 1h timesteps. Let’s see how it looks.