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Board » General Discussion » Practice Races - proposal for them to be set up like SOL Races

Post annotated by RainbowChaser :
This post was moved from the thread SWR 6 - Practice Racing to have it stand out from practice racing "chit chat".
This is addressed specifically to those who run SOL:

The practice races (around the buoys)are becoming more popular and much more competitive. Even with only 10-20 racers it is very difficult to determine buoy-roundings and finishes. In addition, the burden of organizing these races is becoming an increasing burden upon RainbowChaser.

Would it be possible to change the system so that these races would be run on the regular system, with
1. Separate sign-up,
2. a 'start' point,
3. a 'start-line separate from the start point,
4. buoys located appropriately with rounding checked by the system
5. finish line (ditto)

These races correspond to the IRL in-port races of the VOR, so are not outside the normal routine of SOL, except that they would last only for 2-3 hours, starting at 1800 or 1900 UTC., and rarely have more than ten entrants.
It would also be very helpful if these races could be planned and carried out by different volunteers among the regular 'practice racing' group, having access to the SOL system ONLY for these specific races.
When 5 to 10 boats simultaneous cross the finish line, it is almost beyond the capability of anyone to determine the order of finish, as boats may be finishing from different directions.

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2012-04-20 17:10:32 ---
If it breaks, it's not strong enough--if it doesn't, it's too heavy.
Rod - this is an excellent post (which is why I gave it a title of its own)!

As I set up practice races and SOL races both are "doable" from a my-time point of view.

One drawback, is the size additional load on the server of all the raced/archived practice races - unless the DevtDudes can create a mechanism by which the race is reusable. It would, I think, be possible to have a PR weather system which I could create/re-create for each zone, but that too will add load.

Another drawback is the potential performance impact on boats in official/ranking races from a server-ranking practice race, For about 2hrs each evening up to 20 (at the moment) practice racers are sending a lot of commands into the system. Right now they disappear into the "load" of a single open race but if set up as a separate server-race, then they would compete load-wise.

The range/style of courses available might be somewhat limited. The SOL server cannot (yet) show gates...offer "choice of rounding" and both of these options are very popular in practice races.

I agree that something needs to assist with final ranking in Practice Racing - have thought so for a very long time as we struggle to declare finishers - but to have course-restricted racing wouldn't be as much fun.

Suggestions anyone? The key issue really is how best to rank boats finishing one of the short/informal practice race courses!

As for giving a group of SOLers access to the database I think that is a non-starter.

One thing that would help is if more practice racers accepted my almost nightly invitation to design our course for the next day (based on forecast wx) so that all I would need to do is set it up. As a non-sailor my courses are, I am sure, not necessarily the best or most fun for the prevailing conditions!!

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2012-04-20 17:11:18 ---
To RainbowChaser:- Please understand that I think you do a very difficult job very well. My concern is that 'round-the-buoys' racing is 'Practice' for the type of Radio-control racing that I do. I have not ever, and probably never will, be the navigator in a round-the-world ocean race.
The participants in the practice races are getting much more skillful, and competitive, which results in many more boats finishing at the same time. This is almost impossible to determine accurately as every participant sees the finish differently. Logging in as Sol prevents a sailor from making any real course changes just prior to the finish.
The only solution that I have been able to think up, is to make these into 'mini' regular races, or to appoint a volunteer "Race Director" for the race, as is done in Radio-sailing. The RD receives the average score for the race if it is part of a series. The RD would just watch the race without participating. The RD would need to get an accurate picture of all boat names and positions immediately prior to the finish of the first boat, because that is the ONLY way to determine finishing order.
I have no wish to be a 'sea lawyer' in this matter. My only concern is the general improvement of this virtual racing site into the best that it is possible for it to be.
If it breaks, it's not strong enough--if it doesn't, it's too heavy.
Good ideas there Rod. Hopefully the wonderful SOL gods can work something out without challenging the server etc. I also like the recent idea of having a few start times during the day. Today's 6am start was never likely to happen for me.
I understand what Rod says about being very hard to call positions at PRs.

But I like the informal nature of PRs.

And, even if actually it doesn't occur at real life, I like the possibility about having regional PRs at same course, adjusted to timezones. I have flexible time, so I can join my global fellows, but I know that maybe is impossible to other brazilian SOLers to be practicing at middle of afternoon.

Anyway, totally agree that RainbowChaser is doing a excelent job, and would support any improvemnt that light the burden of organizing it.

Good Wind All

Anything that can make things better is welcome. I don´t know if this the thing to do. Some months ago we where talking of a special PR-race course and I think RC did puit up a race in The Auletians, because we wanted it in a secure wind-blowing place. That would be a different thing to what Rod is proposing, but as I said I´m for everything that makes SOL better though I don´t have any porblems with how things is working now, if it´s not a too heavy burden for RC.
Agree with robert, i like it as its now.(if its not to much work for Rainbow C.) Its a practice race not real race ! You can compare tracks with each other and play with vmg and look at polar and talk on chat . And most of the time the practicerace get decided by server at a bouy. Maybe we should cancel the rankings!
If people want to race short races for real , maybe its an idea to have a short timedrace open all the time. See ya's on the virtual sea....: )
I, too, like the informal nature of the practice races--BUT--the participants are becoming more skillful--more boats are together when rounding buoys and finishing and it is becoming more difficult to determine the order of finish.
It seems unfair to RC for her to spend so much of her racing time finding out 1) who is sailing, 2)who has rounded, 3)who has finished and in what order.
These jobs would all be completed automatically if the race was set up in the regular format. I do not know how much work RC has to do to set up a race formally vs. informally, but it cannot be much different.
The only special requirement for what I have proposed would be in the original sign-up for the race, so that only those who really intended to race would sign-up. This is intended only to prevent people signing in under the impression that it was a regular race, only to realize later that the race lasted only 2-3 hours.
A special race for small numbers for a short time could well have a refresh interval of ONE SECOND for all participants rather than 15 sec or one minute---without overstressing the server.
On a personal note--I use SOL as practice for the radio-racing that I do--I will NEVER be asked to navigate an ocean racing yacht around the world---and I suspect very few other SOLers will, either! If they were, they would be doing it IRL and not spending time sitting in front of computers!!
If it breaks, it's not strong enough--if it doesn't, it's too heavy.

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