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Board » Sailonline Race Committee » Open letter to SRC.

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The virtual flagpole is large enough for all the flags you'd ever want. But of course, you don't really want too many flags. But that has more to do with what you're using flagpole for that how flagpole works. If you want to distinguish hundreds of classes, each with very specific rules of what information and tools they can use, then go ahead. But it won't have much purpose.

Since you were born you could see the things around you. When you go out racing, you can see the boats around you. They have never explicitly given permission to be seen, yet you see them and they see you. It's how it's been since the beginning. You know it's going to happen when you enter the race.

Since sol was born, everyone could see the position of the whole fleet. They never gave explicit permission to have their coordinates shared with other racers, yet you know where they are and they know where you are. It's how it's been since the beginning. You know it's going to happen when you enter the race.

Of course, there is no horizon in sol. You can see other boats no matter how far away they are. But that's besides the point, you make it sound like you have a right to be invisible and sol needs your permission to show your position.

Of course we could change the rules (change the software). Once it was decided that DCs should not be public, and I think that's for the better (imagine if you could see everyone's DCs..). Similarly it may be for the better to limit the information of the fleet (positions/headings). It will make the game different, that's for sure. Some may like it, some may not.

It has been discussed before numerous times to limit the information of positions and heading of competitors available. It very often boils down to "we don't have the manpower to make it happen".
Viva Huib.

The flagpole was/is a good idea and it doesn’t occupy any space in the virtual rigging. I was just joking about it.

After your comments, I feel I’m not alone in the water, so concerning the rest of the discussion, let me give you an example.
But, please, don’t try this at home waters (my advice).

You are part of sailing team doing a regatta. 60 seconds after the gun you go to the galley, pick the VHF in an open channel and start to “blow” all the boat’s relevant data (BS, VMG, waypoint for VMC, HDG, COG, Drift, XTE, TWA, TWS). Meanwhile you hear loud cheers from nearby boats (I wonder why?).
In the next minute you skipper sends you to a “refreshing” encounter and you find yourself vigorously swimming back home.

The real issue here, as in real life, is not “seeing the other boats” - at least the ones before the horizon line in a clear day - and “being seen” and/or, knowing the other boats position (if you see the others you know their positions and vice-versa).
Huib, the problem here is having EXACT figures (coming from the live log data) from all the boats in a race fleet.

That situation doesn’t happen in real life and it shouldn’t ever happen in SOL, unless a particular skipper gives an express authorization for it. Above all, it’s a skipper prerogative and right to transmit or allow someone on his behalf to pass that kind of info.

Did you, or anybody that you know, gave that permission? I didn’t.

Anyhow, my boat live log data, yours and all the rest are used for whatever purposes, namely, the ones that only a particular set of “skippers” know how to use to good profit. Do you doubt of that?
That particular purpose isn’t for the sake of truth and sportsmanship in sailing. Above all, created and consolidated the bad habit of “sailing over the shoulder”, confused by some SOL skippers by the word “cover”, if you know what I mean.

If I may, a small correction to your DC’s comment. It’s not the DC’s that are disclosed, unless you have login and password for entering a third boat.

What now worries me most is the absolute silence from SRC, namely, on this subject.
Sail Fair.
As Chairman of SRC I have become aware of this forum posting. I am away on holiday (location and activities private). I shall address your concerns with SRC and if necessary the Management Team and revert as soon as possible. Best regards Richard Hardcastle / Go4iT Chair - SRC
Dear SRC,

Good afternoon.

Again, it was more than a month ago (01.Aug.2016) that I brought this open letter to SOL forum.

Till now I patiently waited for an answer from SRC to the questions I’ve wrote:

“Are you willing to change the policies for the use of:

1 - AIS?
2 - Boat’s log data releasing?”.

As nothing did happened I´m persuaded, again, to think you don’t have any interest in the above mentioned subjects and to give any replies, whatever will be.

If (?) that is the case, at least for me, it will have consequences.

The word to you SRC.
Sail Fair.
JB is referred to a combined response today from SRC to this posting and to the posting about the La Corunna race that can found on that page http://www.sailonline.org/board/thread/14413/the-tall-ship-boat-in-fact-was-a-dingh/?page=1#post-14530.
Good afternoon Richard and all SRC members.

Follows my answer to this subject, the “AIS from the brainaid NMEA connection and the sailing robot”, in the proper forum section where it was initially raised.

Taking the risk to repeat myself I’ll start with some undisputable facts.

1 - The “AIS” generated info data is private to the skipper who uses it.

2 - Being private, the only person who was rights and entitled to disclose parts or all of “AIS” generated data is the skipper who uses it.

3 - SOL allows the “AIS” info from all boats to be disclosed, namely, by means of other external servers (pls mind this, I’ve nothing against the owners of those servers, by the contrary).

4 - (From a recent apport from shackle in this topic), That “AIS” info also goes unencrypted to every SOL client, meaning that anybody with the right skills/tools can extract that precise data.

5 - Not all, or we can say, the vast majority of the SOLers don’t have the skills neither the tools to use for good real time boats “AIS” information,

6 - which, de oer si, constitutes on an immediate transfer of advantages and gain to the ones who know how and use it in personal profit.

Note 1: If you don’t believe it, just ask yourself the top skippers why they use “AIS info extensively during races. If they don’t use it at all (?!), its simple existence is meaningful, no?

7 - SOL didn’t ask me if I would allow that my boat “AIS” info data could be disclose - something - even if SOL have asked for it - I wouldn’t ever allow. And I still don’t.

8 - Here, the SOL “AIS” has extra info the RL one doesn’t transmit (exact figures to the cent of HDG, BS; TWA; TWS; TWD, VMG, VMC. DBL, DTF) so, the more correct term is “real time boat monitoring” (with 60 seconds delay, to be rigorous).

9 - I suppose you know that boats real time monitoring is strictly forbidden in RL races and,

10 - when it is allowed, or it’s forbidden to pass/collect that real live info to/by the racing boats or, is transmitted with several hours delay (recent example: the last Bermuda race won by the boat “Apache” the delay was 4 hrs, something in the SOL past was limited to 1 hour via hmm’s Solblog).

11 - Being “visible” from other boats doesn’t confound with the other boats skipper’s knowing exactly your boat figures, unless you turn on your “AIS” system, but just if and when you choose to do it. Not by default and, above all, without skippers expressly authorization.

12 - You don’t need to use “AIS” info to be competitive and even win races.

13 - In your b) paragraph (…b) It seems impossible to us that any such AIS, sollog or TCP information can predict Delayed Course changes.), (sic) you totally miss the point because a sailing tactical software doesn’t “predict DC’s.”

14 - It’s not a crystal ball. It instructs the skipper to react in his sailing accordingly to info collected, namely from the other boats “AIS”.

The evidences of the “impossible” to SRC.

15 - If you don’t want to ask the top skippers if they use, or not, boats real time monitoring (pls see Note 1), log yourself to the hmm’s SOLBlog to any SOL race (exception made to TR’s) and look to the top boats figures.

16 - There is no reasonable neither rational explanation why, in an open sea race, when a particular boat changes direction immediately is followed by the same movements from others, unless a particular and precise info is known: the one coming from “AIS”, to be very clear.

17 - There isn’t also any plausible explanation for (generically speaking) a boat that practically only participates on long races (days/weeks in a row), against the top skippers and even so, has a 100% record success, unless it has a unique advantage.

18 - Coincidences all the time? The same routing software results? No!

19 - So please SRC, don’t ask me evidences of something that is clear and unmistakable, even to a blind, or,

20 - if you don’t know, something that in order to be physically obtained as an “evidence” would imply to “hack” machines, which in my country beyond being qualified as felony, above all, is against my basic principles.

21 - Even so, the mere possibility of that happening would preventively entail some action from SRC, instead of asking others - me, in case - for those “evidences”.

22 - Please, make yourself a favour and don’t waste your precious/spare time asking technical team anything about hmm’s Solblog shut out for the real time boat log, because the AIS info will keep going “other way” (pls see actual point 4).

23 - I repute this “AIS” issue as more important than the actual Tall Ships allowed “bad sailing” because it affects all races.

24 - Again, I feel deeply sorry to conclude that this issue was one additional reason to rethink my SOL future.

Thank you SRC.
Sail Fair.
For the record the primary stat that I care about is the relative bearing, from boat outlaw to my most dangerous competitors. I use sollog as the most accurate and convenient way to aquire this bearing. A very secondary number is the relative movement among boats, also this defaults to 'away' much of the time, which makes it less useful. Everything else is irrelevant to me.

Further I think that tactics are absolutely essential to racing, and limiting the information needed for tactics would lead to a sad shell of a game.

Finally the main factors for sol success would be, intelligence, on both the tactical and strategic aspects of routing, streamlining, meaning less time spent on the routing / steering grind, and commitment, time spent overall and at inconvenient daytime. (My commitment is sorely lacking nowadays...)

If there was serious abuse of AIS / bots among the top boats I think it would be highly visible, and I'm not aware of it happening.
Viva Outlaw.

I respect your opinions, and not just for a matter of principle but, I disagree with you in some aspects. Ahead now.

Only knowing the bearings of surrounding boats without knowing their BS’s and Cross Tracking Distances between individual bearings, doesn’t serve your intents, unless you also have access to the remaining numbers, probably (?) obtained from the same source - hmm’s site http://sol.hmm.iki.fi/sollog/races/.
After collecting that data, Excel (for example) can do the rest of the calculations routine.

In the water (RL) and to a certain level of precision you do it with an optical device (binoculars) containing a bearing compass and also a vertical and horizontal reticle (graduated in “mils” units). You also have to know with precision or the hull length and/or the masthead distance to the water line of the boat/s you want to live track to get an estimate/s of the relative distance/s.
A telemeter (optical or laser) can also solve the distance, without the need to know any additional measures from the other boats.

Anyway, you must have a clear vision line to the other boats, meaning that, at least, they need to be sailing from you at a distance between 10 to 20 Nm, in a clear day and without a big swell.

Inside the SOL client, using the graphical tool you get an estimation of all the distances and angles data from direct measures (on the screen), being the estimation of BS’s calculated by means of the (also estimated) pair (TWA, TWS) for a certain boat position inside the race field and Grib.

I emphasize here the words “estimation” or, translated in practical terms, minutes-hours of being behind, or ahead the boat being tracked, especially now when SOL races are getting every day closer.

In the present, as you and everybody knows, we can get almost real time (with a minimal delay of 60 secs) the precise (to 1/100 of degree, Nm or Kts) relevant boat data of all the fleet. The exception is the TR’s.
It is useless to compare it to RL, something I thought SOL persecuted, or at least, made an effort in that direction. Unfortunately, as it seems, no.

With the present status for boat data disclosure SOL beneficiates in large scale the persons who, having the right skills and tools - to be full clear, tactical software running with exact live data - extract and consume that info - private, I recall, not from public domain, as it is - to get a big leverage, namely, on the tactical side of the races, excluding in that way the rest of the SOLers.

Can you, or anybody explain me where is the fairness of this system?

Or better, do we have to wait for someone to take an implausible action and confess the “crime” to get the evidence of something that can already happen?
Between reacting and preventing goes a large distance.

Mind you that I’m not against software development. In the last year we saw great efforts in that chapter and probably they won’t stop here. Good.

In relation to your idea of fun in the game - again, I respect it - but we have different opinions.

For the rest, the only thing I can say you is that it would be better - as it is always - to have you sailing more frequently and I’m sure you would be more “aware” for some “funny” things happening. Being way I recognize it is difficult.

Sail Fair.

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