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Board » Sailonline Race Committee » Rules and Decisions » The Tall Ship boat in fact was … a dinghy one.

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Dear SRC,

Good morning.

I suppose you can roughly estimate how much time takes a real life Full Rigger to tack or gybe and after, reach full sailing performance.
I risk a number for the tacks - 30 to 45 minutes - with good sea conditions.
This video will help to clear some minds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlRbcTsm2rc.

In the actual Leg from Cadiz to La Coruna of The Tall Ships Races 2016 we had the pleasure to assist from a part of the fleet in several occasions to a boat’s “tack show”, as if they were happily sailing an Optimist.
“Some of the skippers must have lost totally the sense of ridicule”, I thought and said in the race chat.

More to come.
In spite of that remark I guess that kind of sailing behavior is going to be conscientiously continued for the remaining upwind race.
Why not? This “crime” pays well.

This situation occurs only because the SOL Performance Loss penalty is everything but appropriated for this kind of boats, where the entrance/exiting maneuvers BS’s are so low.
So, using and abusing an astronomical quantity of tacks permits this type of boats to quickly gain a comfortable windward position in relation to the rest of the fleet without any time penalty incurred.

I’m sure that one of the SOL intentions was/is to approach real life sailing to the sim, hence the
SOL Performance Loss penalty purpose to, namely, discourage the abundance of boat maneuvers, a principle that I repute as totally correct but, in this case, it just don’t work.
By the contrary, is an open invitation to madly tack/gybe without a price to pay.

Accordingly to the present SOL rules, this behavior is not susceptible for presenting a formal protest against the skippers that took and abuse this “profitable sailing” option, showing, namely, a total lack of sportsmanship, far beyond the ridicule of sailing a Full Rigger like it was a dinghy.
Here, we have a loophole in the actual SOL rules.

To avoid future similar situations, I ask SRC to formally pronounce about the real time measures you think should be enforced and taken.

A final remark.
In the beginning of this race Richard asked apologies for choosing the Full rigger for this Leg. It shouldn’t because the problem isn’t the boat but, the way some of the skippers handle her.
Sail Fair.
Good afternoon, everyone.

I have just decided to comment on the previous post because I feel I have to make a few points about the Race 3 of the Tall Ships Series.

First, I would like to say that, in a sense, I am a newcomer to SOL, not fully conversant with SOL rules and technical stuff and I did not have the intention to break any of them -- I am just playing and trying to do the best with the boat I and everybody else were given.

I am well aware that the behaviour of the boat was probably not realistic. I do not blame anyone for that, for a "blame game" does not seem to be a proper thing here. Sometimes, when you try to describe a system in numerical terms, shortcomings come out. That's life.

During the race, I realized that fast tacking would work, but I did not like doing that every one or two minutes for practical reasons -- fine-tuning the routing showed that postponing the tacks could actually be more efficient.

(It is fitting that, at the crucial junction of the race, off Finisterre, the winning option was an offshore, almost manoeuvre-free route.)

As for sportsmanship, Wikipedia states that its four elements are "often shown being good form, the will to win, equity and fairness". The full article is in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sportsmanship.

In view of the irresignation expressed in the previous post, I respectfully ask the SRC to investigate my conduct throughout the race for "lack of sportsmanship" or abusing of "profitable sailing". I do not want to have my name or my results tarnished because of such suspicions or charges.

I do not understand what the author expects of the SRC when he asks it "to formally pronounce about the real time measures you think should be enforced and taken".

This si all for the moment. Thanks for your patience.


=== Navegare Necesse ===
This is typically something that should be "baked into" the simulation, rather than have SRC create a rule that states a maximum number of tacks or something.

The performance model is intended to prevent quick tacking.

I'm pretty sure SRC still agrees that the performance loss model is in many cases not realistic. Either far to much performance loss, or far too little (thin this case).

The realisation of a better performance model, that prevents quick tacking like it happened in this race, is mostly up to the tech team, and I suppose in a good part, up to me.

We've discussed, publicly and privately, many ideas. The more realistic we try to make it, the more complex it becomes, and the less chance I'll/we'll have the resources to make it happen.

In the context of the tall ships, there is one interesting thing on which I'd like to hear your opinion(s):
First, we should consider that it's not really possible to make boats turn slowly, a tack or a gybe happens in an instant, we can't really do anything about that. Performance loss should simulate the distance/time lost during a tack.
What if you tack/gybe by accident? of course, you should get the full penalty, but if you decide to tack/gybe back directly after, to correct for the mistake, should you really get 2 full "tall ship"-tack penalties? You'll also see that something like blocking a second tack/gybe within x minutes after the previous is not an option (although realistic for a tall ship).
Viva Alexandre,

Good morning.

There’s no other way to argue this issue, so I’ll be straight forward without extra tacks on the words. Just four.

1. Pilot

Please, correct if I’m wrong.
I recall once you saying in one race chat that your profession was “Pilot”.
Sea (?) Pilot or Air (?) Pilot.
Whichever Pilot you are (Sea or Air one) Alexandre, you have much more knowledge and experience coming from your profession than the majority of the SOLers who navigate alongside us.

With the extra knowledge comes an extended responsibility, not only to SOL itself, the SOL community, SOL partnerships and buddies, but starting with your own behavior in the “water”.
“That’s life”, yes, and the reason why IRL a skipper/captain has much more responsibilities than a simple crew member, (that’s also the main reason for the “skipper is always right” rule).

2. The Loss of Performance, aka LP.

Other skippers, and chiefly the older in SOL, also have that extra knowledge, especially about the SOL “trading tricks”.
One of those “tricks”, if we can call it like that, is the use of SOL LP formula. No innocents here.

A couple years ago (May.2014), me and Jan/bonknhoot brought to SOL the AC72 sailboat (link ).
About the AC72 we predicted and left it expressly written (once again), that the SOL LP wasn’t appropriate for that kind of boat - the ultra-fast, mainly the new foiling generation.

And, as in real life, where the extremes touch, the same conclusion could/should have been applied to the extra slow boats, especially the ones in the category of the “Full Riggers”.

About this (too much) old SOL issue (please see also: link ) I recall once I left written that the SOL LP was a “good” school for teaching bad sailing, particularly for the newcomers, like you Alexandre.
Sorry to say, but that’s the only clearance I can concede you.

Once again, unfortunately this race proves it, and not only with the novices.

If you are (?) a Sea Pilot, you must/should have a correct knowledge about the average weight, length, rig distribution, sail shape and area, and especially about MANEUVERABILITY of a ship with similar characteristics of a “Full Rigger”.

In the end and, in your own words, you recognized it.
Anyhow, you, and others, missed the point because one thing is what the SOL program with their tech limitations allows a skipper to do - as Huib (well) says in their comment to this post - and other is what a conscientious SOLer should perform in a race, not to mention taking profit from a “crime that pays”.

I leave here two questions:

a - In a real life situation - without any “SOL LP” - would you have tacked/gybed the Full Rigger like you and others did?

b - Assuming the SOL LP was the correct one for this SOL “Full Rigger” race, after how many tacks/gybes you were able to conclude that with 15 minutes or less time between boat maneuvers, the performed sailing was not only ridicule but ineffectively? Only after touching Cabo Finisterra?

3. During the race.

I also recall that during the race I’ve made three comments about some skippers “sailing style”.
The very first when the top boats touched the Ria de Faro (in the South, Algarve).
Latter, at the race chat and in the forum, when they were about Lisboa latitude, between Cabo Espichel (Setúbal entrance) and Cabo Raso (after Cascais).
The last one, when the first boats were close to the La Coruna FL, just to confirm what I and everybody previously saw it coming.

4. Credibility.

At some point, and against one of my basic principles, I confess I was about to give up on this race, simply because I refuse to go along in farces.
But DNF wasn’t/isn’t/won’t be ever an option for psail.

The winning by all means Alexandre has a big price to pay latter: credibility.
Not only personal but to the SOL community we all are proud to belong.

I wonder what the real life skippers and sailors that took part in this Cadiz-La Coruna race thought/think about this Sol race.

To finish I recommend all to carefully read this: link

Hope the Alexandria lighthouse doesn’t lose the right brilliance to guide you good in the future.

edited by kroppyer to fix links, which were causing a display error
Sail Fair.
Bom dia, JB.

I have been a maritime pilot since 1998, and was a merchant marine officer before it.

I am not exactly claiming innocence regarding the issue of loss of performance. Ordinarily, I do not care much about it, because I find it hard to fully grasp its subtleties -- an attitude that has already cost me dearly in some races. This time, I noticed that there was something unexpected going on, and I simply played along with it, no harm intended to anyone.

I am well aware that the description of the behaviour of the full-rigger in SOL is nowhere close to real life. One way to (try and) tackle the issue would be to introduce something like a factor for fatigue for humans and material. After all, tacking or gybing demands effort and the resources needed to do it are not inexhaustible. In the 2011-2012 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, there was such a factor to prevent excessive manoeuvring.

I must say, en passant, that there is at least one limitation of the "boats" all of us take advantage of. In real life, there are sail changes and the consequent loss of performance, but we do not have it here. Should we play as if there were any?

In real life, no one would have maneuvered as I did in this numerical representation of the world. There would be no "edge of the world" either, by the way -- the western group would have been able to fully execute their plan (regardless of it paying off or not), but they were prevented to by the limits of the SOL world.

As for your question, I quote,

"Assuming the SOL LP was the correct one for this SOL “Full Rigger” race, after how many tacks/gybes you were able to conclude that with 15 minutes or less time between boat maneuvers, the performed sailing was not only ridicule but ineffectively? Only after touching Cabo Finisterra?"

This question sounds rhetorical and derogatory. It sounds rhetorical because it is more concerned in making a point than in getting an answer, and derogatory because it tries to depreciate my ability to quickly realize that, in the hypothesis under exam, the manoeuvring frequency that took place in the actual race would have been futile. Therefore, answering becomes unfortunately useless.

I cannot comment on your remarks because I have not read them. I can only say that it was interesting that, in the end, the winning option was a relatively simple one in terms of maneuverability.

Let the SOL community speak by itself about my credibility, the one you have just called into question again.

All in all, I understand and respect your point, despite the excessive vinegar in it.

Até a próxima e bons ventos!


=== Navegare Necesse ===
Viva Alexandre,

Good morning.

Again, straight to the points leaving here crystal clear the following subjects:

1 - I’m no judge and,
2 - I don’t judge anybody;
3 - For that purpose - “judging” skippers behavior - there’s an entity, SRC (SRC link: http://www.sailonline.org/wiki/show/RaceCommittee/ );
4 - Hence the initial question I left to that precise entity - SRC - in order to take FUTURE effective action, in due time, to avoid FUTURE similar situations, and,
5 - not, RETROACTIVELY, to this particular race;
6 - My comments were made about public, notorious and indisputable precise FACTS that occurred during the race;
7 - Those comments weren’t about the skipper’s “INTENTIONS”, yours included;
8 - My race observations not only applied/y to a particular person - in this case, you, Alexandre - but also to others who, during the race, took a similar behavior.
9 - At least, I recognize, you had the guts to break the silence and came on this post;
10 - If you, or any other SOL member senses that the race weather Grib size was incorrect (short, from what I understood), feel all free to make a protest to SRC, preferably, before the gun (but people, don’t forget to say “how much is enough”);
11 - To your short list of SOL imperfections - which are correct in appreciation - I, and a lot people, could sum up a big list of others things.
12 - “Rethorical” and “derogatory” question, your qualification, but I would say, uncomfortable.

To finish.
Once again, you missed the most important issue: credibility.

Dá brilho nesse farol, Alexandre.
Sail Fair.
Dear SRC,

Good afternoon.

It was more than a month ago (05.Aug.2016) that I brought to SOL forum the subject in epigraph.
Till now I patiently waited for your answer, SRC .

As nothing did happened I´m persuaded to think you don’t have any interest in the above mentioned issue.

But more. If this subject was brought in the form of a formal protest, I wonder if your reply timing wouldn’t be now out of time and purpose.

Say from your justice.
Sail Fair.
SRC's draft response to you on the La Corunna race was circulated for comment to SRC last week. Responses were received but I had a computer malfunction that, along with my attendance at a sister-in-law's 70th birthday weekend 100 miles away in Surrey and some pressure to conclude the 2016Q4 SOL programme, along with other duties that I have, resulted in me relegating SRC's response to you down the job list. I had two meetings today and I am chairing an interview tomorrow. Then on Thursday and Friday I am visiting our Grandson in London. On Saturday I have another meeting and a workparty at my archery club. You are down for my attention on Sunday.
Hi, just my belated two cents...

1. In general I'm honestly very indifferent to the performance model. In normal conditions where tacks are hours or days apart it will simply never matter. Of course you get the odd race where performance wins ( Ornö Runt :) ), that's fun. Overall, don't fix wha's not broken.

2. There might be a misunderstanding concerning real life tall ships. These ships seem to tack poorly in light air, with 20kn of wind, meaning the bulk of the portugese coast, they should be able to perform normal tacks.

3. Short tacking is a simple matter of geometry. You might as well complain about gravitation. For 'credibility' you could look at the Abu Dabi - China leg of the las VOR, or the San Francisco America's Cup. Bottom line is people will do as many tacks as their 'performance model' allows. Deal with it.

4. That said the combination of really poor upwind performance (70-80 degreees TWA) and minimal perf hit makes short tacking more profitable than usual.

5. As stated before me, Alexandria won by picking the right time to go offshore. Excellent decision making.

6. I recall some boats doing a sawtooth pattern in open water. That puzzles me TBH. That might have been a form of protest, or a total misunderstanding how short tacking works, or a problem with their routing software. It's absolutely not a fast or sensical way to sail.

7. You can fix short tacking with appropriate course design. I for one don't care much for long, coastal races in general. Just my opinion of course.
In addressing the views expressed by Pertis (aka the SOL yacht ‘psail’) in emails to SRC that repeat posts by “JB” (aka the yacht ‘psail’) in the Forum, because they do not constitute formal protests, SRC is taking them as comments and observations such as one may receive from colleagues at the bar when relaxing over a post-race beverage.
SRC’s response follows.
“As SRC we have considered separately two broad aspects that you raised in your views, namely Performance Loss (‘PL’) for Tall Ships and the availability of AIS.
Performance Loss
Re: http://www.sailonline.org/board/thread/14413/the-tall-ship-boat-in-fact-was-a-dingh/?page=1#post-14530
The point you raised on 5th August 2016 and augmented on 13th September is the limited imposition by the SOL programme of a PL when frequently tacking a Tall Ship, as occurred with considerable success for the podium up the Portuguese coast even in moderate winds, during the Cadiz – La Corunna Tall Ships 2016 race.
Your point is that such sailing of a Tall Ship is unrealistic and takes advantage of a SOL PL parameter when PL would be low as the VMG of the vessel is low.
Our response is –
We agree but:
a) Such frequent tacking was available to everybody and was not against the current Sailonline Racing Rules (‘SRR’),
b) The current PL is not perfect but it applies to all sizes of SOL yachts and for all races (except Ice Yachts) and its use did not breach the SRR. At present PL is a percentage loss over time reflecting a yacht’s actual speed over the ground and is not graduated for hull length or ship manoeuvrability, and
c) The Tall Ship’s VMG was not improved but the frequent tacking may have enhanced the effect of an onshore wind bend.

Your suggestion that Sailonline should consider changing the SRR to require SRC to monitor all yachts and then to warn, calculate and punish, with time penalties or even disqualification, a skipper for frequent tacking or gybing demonstrates that you think SRC has many members and a lot of time to spare.

The principle of SOL is a Navigation Simulation that has progressed into a fairly realistic and competitive racing simulation. However SOL is not capable of replicating sailing in real life and the processing of a yacht’s velocity with variable wind velocity, course changes and BBQs has to be left to the programme within the server to operate as programmed.

If indeed you did want more realistic sailing then maybe SOL should consider also removing the certainty that accompanies every wind update, at least for the next six hours? This certainty is not something that any skipper/navigator can rely upon in real life. Or what about ending a yacht’s race if it collides with the shore to allow for recovery and repair?

To add a duty anything like that which you suggest for frequent tacking has no basis in the current SRR and would be an impossible load on SRC to administer equitably across the fleet.

Certainly SRC and the Management Team could ask the technical team if PL can be tweaked for some of the bottom yachts to make them even slower, as they have done by eliminating PL for the Ice Yachts. But it is SRC’s opinion and recommendation to the Management Team that an occasional incident with one race in a whole season does not merit any consideration of the scale of changes to the SRR that you are suggesting.

AIS from the brainaid NMEA connection and the sailing robot
Re: http://www.sailonline.org/board/thread/14400/open-letter-to-src/?page=1
We refer to an Open letter in the Forum addressed to SRC posted by JB (‘psail’) on 1st August 2016 and augmented on 13th September 2016. The article addresses the fact that AIS is available from the NMEA web site along with the almost current yacht position, course and speed for every yacht from hmm’s sollog feed.

You contest that knowing a yacht’s position, course and speed from AIS, when in real life she could be over the horizon, is somehow cheating or at least unfair. You continue to allege that hmm’s sollog feed could be used by computer software to allow a yacht to cover or at least to chase one or more top level competitors. You do not substantiate your allegation other than alleging skippers are using such information “… to good profit.”

You subsequently clarify that you would want to be able to turn off your AIS transmission and thus become invisible from the remainder of the fleet as, SRC is aware, has occurred for a limited period of time in real life and in virtual world races whilst you accept that a cloak of invisibility to the naked eye is not possible in the real world within the ship’s horizon. A SOL technical expert (Huib) has stated already in the Forum that such a wish has been discussed but “… we don’t have the manpower to make it happen.”

As with our comments above on PL, an approach can be made to the technical team to see if yachts can have a cloak of invisibility for a period of time but:
a) Is there any evidence that other yachts are using AIS information, sollog or TCP data to programme the track of their own yacht?
b) It seems impossible to us that any such AIS, sollog or TCP information can predict Delayed Course changes. Such an allegation is not evidenced.

SOL is a Navigation Simulation and SRC’s recommendation to the Management Team is to try and replicate real sailing -- but only when it is practical (i.e. the resources are available to implement it) and only when the enjoyment of participants is not decreased (i.e. loosing certainty every six hours over wind velocity and retiring for one collision or BBQ would be painful)!

The technical team should be asked if it is meaningful and could it be useful to delay the production of hmm’s sollog as that appears to be the source of concern. The Management Team should note that if indeed such information is available elsewhere over an unencrypted TCP connection (see Schakel’s input in the Forum) then any and all such action would be a total waste of time.

SRC recommend to the Management Team that all outside software involved with SOL should be carefully studied in regard to how it might directly, or indirectly, affect the realism aspects of sailing and the level playing field for all participants.

For and on behalf of SRC
Richard Hardcastle / Go4iT
Chair – SRC 18th September 2016”

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