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Board » General Discussion » Sailors with routers

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I thought about this long and hard, and I'm going to step on people's toes anyway with an honest answer, so be warned...
1. It is safe to assume that the consistent winners are good in every phase of the game, including the skill to come up with very good SOTP routes. In that regard the router debates are always somewhat insulting.
2. It's a given that routers offer a competitve advantage, that said the real gain is in time spent. Which you want to minimize in a multi week race. The difference between good SOTP and true optimum route is bound to be trumped by wx "luck" by orders of magnitude.
3. When I started in SOL my goal wasn't winning but to come up with sensible routes. It seems to me that people who whine about routers often fail that standard.
4. While some good info is out there, I'm not aware of any good and comprehensive routing tutorial. This should be fixed.
5. The need to do 5 million little course changes per race is a problem. Allowing the server to take VMC commands could be a way to level the playing field, although I'm ambivalent on the matter.
6. People have in the past suggested to reward online time in some form. (in the form of micro randomised wx or whatever). A horrible idea that would drive me to either look at automation or quit SOL altogether.
7. IMO the powers that be need to have a hard look at race design. I think that much of the supposed SOTP friendly design is not working. Ocean races are the most popular, one should put more emphasis on medium length events along the lines of Sail Fiji or S2H. Easier start/finish layouts would be nice too.

Lastly am I the only one who thinks the F1 comparision is silly? Maybe the series has changed since I last watched, for the worse I'm sure. Back when 2 drivers would sweep all races in a given season. Good times.
Re outlaw's #4:

QtVLM runs on windows, linux and mac. Installation on Windows ad Mac should be quite straighforward. I plan to make a little guide on installation under linux (rpm based, already guides for deb based).

Here is my "introduction to QtVLM". Other tutorials can be found here. I want to make another solfans post for some slightly more advanced options.

QtVLM is completely free (opensource, even).

If there's any reason why the argument "I cannot route" is still valid, let me know.
_____
That leaves the perfectly fine "I don't want to route". For those people:
If you've never tried it. Try it for one or two races (ocean races). It'll teach you a lot, even SOTP skills. It will also teach you that it's not a simple "click the button and get an optimal route", it leaves a lot to meteorology etc. As dingo says "Most routers only take an hour or two to understand their use. It takes a few more hours to also understand when not to use them.".
**I'm not trying to get you into routing, I'm telling you to examine what routing really is**

Then finally, as I said before, I would really love to have a group+ranking (or more) with people who've agreed to use no other software than on a given list. I really understand (I think I do) the experience of SOTP sailing, and it certainly would be nice to see who's sailing SOTP with you.

--- Last Edited by kroppyer at 2014-11-09 12:40:13 ---
Outlaw said it all. I agree with his points from first to last. Especially #1.
Again, for SOL-racing, any freeware routing software is OK (BWR, QtVLM etc). With the help of brainaid gribs/polars anyone can start with the same gear. Will everyone finish at the same time. NO.
It is true that this router bashing is not fair. I believe that most sailors who do use a router also spend more time on the game.

It takes me at least 15 or 20 minutes at each wx to do routing calculations. On top of that I usually spend at least a few hours (often more) each day monitoring the situation and hand steering my little boat.

So if there should be a division between boats it should not be between router/non-router user. But rather between the time spend on the game. And that would not work.

This kind of action will not increase the number of players in SOL. In the inferior VR platform over 6000 players have already finished the first leg of the VOR race. Some of them SOTP, thousands of them are router users.
I've been SOL'ing for a few years as a SOTP (obvious) in ocean events that allow me to work (part time), sail, play golf and sleep well. From race results and continuous encounters I get to know those boats that are skippered by people who would live a similarly time consuming lifestyle to myself. I would not like to use a router because my expectation of me would be that of becoming one of the "bee hive" of boats that are expected to produce the winner.
I enjoy my occasional use of SOL racing against those boats I happily call 2nd division.
cheers BUNCHA
We need some more groups, not just routers and non routers ;) Whats about guys like me, who start a race without a router but bring in a router in the middle of the game and end the race without any router? Is it allowed to start in the nonrouter group if i run a router but ignore its output? Who will control that? I just wonder that most of the critics about routers came from folks that never used a router. Do you really think you can start an ocean race with your router, make your DC´s and thats it. After your 3 week vacation you will in the top ten? Thats a nice dream! Test the routers and you will change your mind that routers gives you an automatic top ranking. BTW, even in real sailing its a good idea to use uptodate tools.
To me, yacht racing is a little like golf. In golf we agree to be bound by the rules as we do when we race on the water (RRS #2 Fair Sailing).

I think we need to create two or three categories and people need to check the appropriate box at the beginning of the race and confirm it at the end ... a post-race declaration that we have sailed by the rules of the race.

Some possibilities include:

NR/SOTP - No Routing (nothing beyond the SOL client)
LR - Limited Routing (provided by SOL'ers)
FR - Free Router(s)
CR - Commercial Router (Expedition, etc)
AP - Full Auto-Pilot
X - eXperimental

Your thoughts?
I don't use a router myself, usually my results reflect quite well how much time I am willing or can dedicate to the race.

I think what outlaw wrote is pretty much my thoughts about the subject. The router is just a calculator which reduces the time needed.

Some questions in my mind about this which should be decided if we choose to do this:
- How should the possible different categories be visible?
- Should you be able to change category during a race (obviously not from router to non-router)
- Who is volunteering to do the changes?
Given the wx uncertainties (ofter 5-7 days every wx forecast becomes crap) routing in ocean races is only useful to quickly understand the wx pattern. On the other hand, between two WP whose distance is below 6hrs, a router can give you the perfect solution. But in these cases a lot of manual steering is also involved making the router pretty useless.

Now, if you don't want to use it, to it's like refusing 3DL sails on a TP52. Here (not speaking about short races) we test our planning skills and to do that, as IRL, many use software tools. Want to make a class ranking? Put an R close to my boat name. Will I be sure that all the fellows in the NR class will never look at software tools? No. Is there a way to enforce this? No. Will this attract new solers? No.

I am sorry but I really think we should put our limited time into other improvements:

- Better polar for new boats (the one used in SWR Leg 1 demands for improvement).
- Better wx data (we should use always max resolution NOAA, in the client we should have the setting to download a lower resolution set, if bandwidth is an issue).
- Better connections with important IRL races in our countries (this ATTRACTS new SOLers).
- Mobile client for Iphone (the one for Android is a beauty, now it's the apples' turn)
- And a lot more.
I, who was an opponent of the router before, have realized that it´s not worth anything to begin putting too much boundaries and putting everybody in the same box. You just have to accept that there will be different opportunities out there, just like that we have more or less time to spend on this. I also believe that those who sail with router runs a small risk of being wrong if they rely on the router too much. They must, after all, to think a little longer than 6 hours, just like the rest of us.

Besides ... it is possible to beat them ...;-)

/Jepsom

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