Handicap Hotlaps November Update


Yikes. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve posted Handicap Hotlaps results, and that’s way too long! Since those 2013 performance numbers came out, a dumpster full of new ships were launched in SL, and it’s time for a Hotlaps update!


Linkous Hotlaps Posters

Some sailors (anyway, at least six of you) may remember Hotlaps.  It’s a format that lets skippers do solo practice runs and then then upload their lap scores to a simple online spreadsheet.

The data lets skippers compare their personal lap times with those of other sailors. The combined lap times can also be used to set a ‘relative performance index‘ for the different boat classes in SL (at least under the ‘trial lap’ wind conditions).

You can can read about the history of Hotlaps here  and you can get the practical details about sailing a 2015 lap by clicking here. :-) At the moment, there are five different raceline locations where you can run a Hotlap, and each one has its own course: BREADNUTKNAPTRACKICONLINKOUSSULU, and HEPURN. All you need to do is click the poster at the raceline to get details.

Adding it up

The current round of Hotlaps began in 2013; since then, a total of 98 skippers have logged 632 laps, sailing 49 different boat categories. Kudos to the following skippers who uploaded their laptimes:

2525, A89, AC88, ak Topsail, Andi Merryman, Andi01, Andrea Curtis, Armano Xaris, Arya89 Resident, B112, B117, B12, BM12, Brett Kjeller, Bunnie, burt Artis, Chaos Mandelbrot, Charlz Price, CharliePakk, charliepakk, Dekka, Destiny Wescott, don Berthios, Emelia Azemus, Fearless Freenote, Glorfindel Arrow, gnupf gufler, Hannelore Ballinger, HansMarx, Hay Ah, IDBSDF61, idTHEA, Irreverent Emoto, James Munson, JazzyDaze, Jeanemery, JFos, Joel Rahul, Joy Acker, Justin Blade, Kain Xenobuilder, Kentrock Mesmer, Kris Hollysharp, Lance Corrimal, laured Cabassoun, Lesbo Charisma, Little Vixen, LucyInTheSky Afarensis, Maiko Taurog, michiya Yoshikawa, Nikif, notohama, nozomimi karu, Ome Audeburgh, Pan Carfield , pascal kira, Patrice Cournoyer, Pazzo Pestana, Peacy Cortes, Pensive Mission, PHOP, poko Zepp, Popow Horbaczewski, Porter Tracy, Qyv Inshan, Rebbie Resident, Rim Telling, Ronin Zane, S11D, sailman, Samlara Vintner, SkyBlue Earthboy, Shell Wemyss, Slanty, SteveLL resident, Takabou Destiny, Trapez Breen, VictorCR, Wolfhard Resident, Wrye Diabolito, Tori Petlyakov, Vivipezz Resident, Xi Larnia, xpaulx pain, yala74, Yuukie Onmura, Kali, ANDI01, James Munson, Isis Rexie, Zequ Quartz, Jenni Carfield, granthious, Uri Jefferson, EmilyWaugh Resident, Coulton Nitely, Zach Dakun, Tori Petlyakov

The uploaded lap data for each raceline is entered into a spreadsheet with separate columns for different boats. The scores are then used to determine the “average lap time” for each boat class. Here’s an example of one spreadsheet:

2015 1017 Plum Gut adj



To make comparisons easy, the spreadsheet results are then expressed relative to an Index Boat, the Quest Melges-24 using a simple ratio:

(Hotlaps Performance Factor) = (Test Boat Laptime)/(M-24 Index Laptime)

The M-24 lap time is defined as a performance score of 1.00. A boat that’s twice as fast will get a performance score of 2.00, and a boat that’s only half as fast will score 0.50.

Here’s the current list of Hotlaps Performance Factors for five different racelines:

HH 2015-1017 AIn general, there’s good lap-time correlation across multiple skippers sailing on any single racecourse. There’s also a strong “Performance Factor” correlation across all the different Hotlaps racelines.

HH 2015-1017 bThese findings support the idea that hotlaps scores can be a useful parameter that predicts sailing performance for different boat classes (and sailors) on any race course in Second Life.

The figure shown to the right is a summary that lists the average Performance Factors for each boat class sailed on all five race lines.

The results aren’t too surprising. They show that the M-24 (PF=1.00) is a pretty speedy racer with lap times comparable to much larger boats, including the ACA33, Mesh Shop VO-70, WW OP-60, and even the Nacra-17.

A series of more traditional, classic racers and cruisers are slightly slower. These include most of the Trudeau boats (Trudeau 12m PF=0.88) and Bandits (Bandit IF=0.69), as well as boats by Rene Marine and Craig Ktaba. Of course, fastest isn’t always best. One of the most popular cruisers in SL turns out also to be the slowest in this bunch. Motor Loon‘s great Loonetta 31 earns a rather tardy PF=0.66. :-)

At the other end of the spectrum, it’s perhaps no surprise that a number of high performance ocean racers walk away with top awards as speed sleds on SL waters. As a class, they rank a good 15-20% ahead of the (already very fast) Melges-24. These big, super-speed machines include the Wildwind Wildcat-45 and OP-60, the Mesh Shop OD-65 and Cafe 75, and the RCJ-44.

Hotter Laps

All these numbers and comparisons raise more questions than they answer. It will take more test laps and varying conditions to see how reliable these ratings are, and how generally they apply. I’m therefore pretty thrilled to see that Petra Paname and Bridget Beresford have each started their own versions of Hotlaps trials. It will be fun to compare the results with more boats, more sailors, more laps, and more race conditions!

Go SL Sailing!


Stand Up To Cancer at Breakers September 17


This month musicians and DJs are blitzing SL with a rapidfire series of concerts to support Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C). Inara Pey has posted all the details of the mega-multisite series here.

While you’re reading about the event, don’t forget to bookmark Inara’s fantastic modemworld blog for all the critical need-to-know info she posts. :-)

Speaking of critical info, I just learned from NYCharlie Vyper that his New England Community at Breakers will host the SU2C concert for September 17. Ten acts will play on their stage from 3:30pm to 8:30pm SLT!

Stand Up To Cancer Benefit at Breakers

The calendar for the full September series is located here.

So hey, this will be a great concert for a fantastic cause. Besides, let’s be practical: it’s Thursday, a slump day, and what else do you have to do?

I mean, eight years ago you could at least go to an SL casino and lose $L400,000,000 on a single hand of blackjack… but then the Linden vice squad got involved, and that’s a whole different story. :-)

Bar Harbor

This month you can have much more fun at the SU2C series of concerts and you will support cancer research too! (And hey, that million dollar donation is optional.) :-)

Stand Up To Cancer Benefit

September 17
3:30pm-8:30pm SLT


Breakers (45, 139, 26)

See you there!


Leeward Cruise sails ‘Gilligan’s Island’

It may seem a bit early for Halloween, but who cares!

Admiral Chaos Mandelbrot is planning a Gilligan’s Island themed cruise for his LCC excursion on Tuesday, September 1 at 5:00SLT !! This should be fun!!

So go grab your boatshoes and pick a good cruise boat; the fleet takes off from Sailors Rest in Blake Sea at 5PM sharp! (and no one’s left on the dock!).

Here’s the rest of the course:

LCC_2015-09-01 Gilligan's IsleIf that’s confusing, no worries, mate! The Apres Cruise party is here. :-)

Come as you are…
Come crew if you have no boat!
Come as Ginger, MaryAnne, or Thurston Howell if you must!

See you at Sailors Rest at 5PM SLT!

SAIL4LIFE 12M Regatta Last Race

S4L 12M Regatta Last RaceThe last race of the S4L Twelve Meter Regatta was quite remarkable. There were four sail race teams on the water, and all had already proven their skill and endurance by surviving a series of no-nonsense qualifying events. The sailors who came to race on July 11 were indeed ‘the best of the best.’ :-)

Unfortunately, James Munson had to drop out due to equipment problems. (this happens a lot in RL racing too). Please note that James was way out front in Race #1, on his way to a First Place when his boat crashed. He certainly deserved to be in this group, and hopefully he’ll be back next time.

12M Finals Option BThat left only three boats on the water: TEAM WYC-1, TEAM WYC-2, and TEAM PENGZILLA. They were remarkably evenly matched, with each boat winning one of the first three races.

Race Four was the ultimate decider, the final competition that would determine the team challenge winners for 2015. If you were a spectator that morning, you knew nothing could ever be better than this! One ultimate, winner-takes-all shootout. :-)

The race that played out after the start gun sounded was absolutely fascinating; it was chock full of tactical decisions and daring moves. I’ll talk about the details soon,  but in my last post I promised you a video of Race #4.

Here it is. This is a ‘racer’s cut’ version, with the clips in sequence and attention to the race marks so you can follow the boats as they sail the course shown above. You can also watch a higher rez version of the video on Vimeo. :-)

Waypoint Wonderful!


Yesterday North Sea hosted the FINALS for the S4L TWELVE METER REGATTA, sponsored by SAIL4LIFE.

12M Finals Option BFour outstanding teams had each earned the right to compete by winning their Qualification Rounds on June 20. The Final Foursome included:

Yesterday they raced a carefully thought out, no-frills Olympic course designed by Ldewell Hawker; Hawk also served as uber Race Director for the Finals event.

Silber Sands and Joro Aya were the principal judges, ably assisted by Iteke and Rolf80 Titanium, and Taku Raymaker and Jane Fossett served as Appeal Judges.

S4L TWELVE METER FINALS 2015 poster 101 fleet

The race conditions were overall excellent, thanks largely to Elbag Gable’s careful attention to sim performance issues for the event. Sadly however, FLORIDA SAILS had to withdraw from the competion when skipper James Munson developed computer problems that resulted in repeated crashes. This was particularly unfortunate, since FLORIDA SAILS was leading the pack in Race #1 just before James crashed out. :-(

The remaining three teams were remarkably well matched. In the initial heats, WYC-1, WYC-2, and PENGZILLA had each earned a first place win. At that point the whole regatta was still a toss-up, anyone could win! It all came down to Race #4.

I’ll have a great deal more to say about the FINALS, but let me now comment that heat #4 turned out to be the most exciting, best-sailed race I’ve ever seen in a decade of SLSailing. When the teams finally roared over the Finish line, I wanted to jump up from my computer display and applaud! They were all winners! :-)

WYC1 start

Of course, things don’t really work out that way. The whole idea of a regatta is to pick winners and losers and to shine a bright light on those sailors with stand-out skill and technical prowess that can bring them to victory against the best sailors in Second Life.

In that Fourth critical race, each boat flashed evidence of unique sailing skill and champion style. My heart stopped a dozen times as I watched the fleet make hairpin turns around marks and execute tacks that forced boats within pixels of major collision.

Waypoint trophiesThe Finish turned out to be extremely close, but as the salt spray cleared at the end of race #4, the judges were unanimous: Team Waypoint – 1  was the regatta champion (skippers: Bunnie Mills, nozomimi Karu). In an amazing demonstration of WYC’s ability, the Regatta Second-Place Award went to their sister WYC boat: Team Waypoint – 2 (skipper: io LittleBoots).

You might ask: There were three boats! How close was that last race? How epic was the competition?
Well kids, here’s ‘how’ :-) : Team Pengzilla (skipper: Chaos Mandelbrot) made a series of smart tactical moves during the race that allowed him to break ahead, and PENGZILLA actually crossed the Finish line in front of the Waypoint boats. Unfortunately (at least for you Penguin fans out there), it turned out Chaos made a serious, split-second error when timing one critical tack. The judges witnessed the event, and all agreed to DSQ the Mandelbrot-Boozehound Duck Dynasty Team from that heat. :-) This was an important decision that determined the outcome, so Jane, Taku, and Hawk all chimed-in too, agreeing 100%  with the Judges’ decision.

Chaos and Benny took their loss with typical grace, charm, and lots of laughter. They were happy with their performance, and were the very first to loudly congratulate the two incredible Waypoint winning teams!!


sail4life trophies

Here are the numbers as they played out:

1: Bunnie Mills IDWYC1 — 00:19:28
2: io LittleBoots ID444 — 00:21:42
3: Chaos Mandelbrot IDPZ09 — 00:22:09
4: James Munson IDJM58 — not Finished
1: io LittleBoots ID444 — 00:19:25
2: Bunnie Mills IDWYC1 — 00:20:46
3: Chaos Mandelbrot IDPZ09 — 00:27:58
4: James Munson IDJM58 — not Finished
1: Chaos Mandelbrot IDPZ09 — 00:20:57
2: nozomimi Karu IDWYC1 — 00:21:42
3: io LittleBoots ID444 — not Finished
1: nozomimi Karu IDWYC1 — 00:20:53
2: io LittleBoots ID444 — 00:21:27
Chaos Mandelbrot IDPZ09 — 00:20:39 (DSQ)

And here’s the analysis from SailWave:

As I said, I have much more to tell you about these wonderful races. Give me a couple days to edit the video, and then let’s talk about it!!!


wonderful winners 2015

Deja Vu Sim Crossing

deja vu sim crossing

Instant Replay

Here’s an interesting issue. When a boat sails into a new sim, it will often suddenly jump back twenty meters or so and then resail that distance.

To illustrate this point, here’s a small outtake from a video of the S4L 12M Qualifying Races.

deja vu2

click to enlarge

I’ve also posted a few frame captures below. In the first image (A), TEAM WYC2 approaches the Finish on a Run, with EUREKA slightly astern. Image B was captured slightly later, when WYC2‘s bow touched the line. You might think the race was over at that moment, but you’d be wrong. As shown in Image C, WYC2‘s boat suddenly jumped backwards a considerable distance; you can even see the boat’s wake in front of the bow. Image D shows the boat retracing it’s path, cutting the line a second time.

If you play the above video again, you’ll notice that Eureka also shows the same, strange behavior. As it nears the line, the boat sudddenly jumps back roughly 20m.

This is a significant effect that could easily disrupt a close race. Did WYC2 actually finish in Image B, or did it finish several seconds later in Image D? So… what’s going on here?

Funny Numbers

I’m pretty sure the problem above has nothing to do with the race line in Breadnut; I think it happens because the boats cross a sim boundary just before they finish.

Sailing across a sim boundary optimally involves a seamless hand-off of data from one simulator to the next, and that process requires efficient communication between server and client. This sounds straightforward but in practice it’s often imperfect, particularly when several vehicles are trying to cross the same border together. I sailed my first SL boat race back in 2006, and on that day every single boat crashed on the sim edge. :-) Although many things have improved in SL since then, sim crossings sadly remain a near death-defying challenge for many virtual skippers.

I’ve been sailing the Trudeau 12 Meter quite a bit recently, and it turns out to have very funny behavior at sim borders. Let me show you.

In the figure below, I’m sailing a boat on a beam reach in 15 kn wind. I sailed West in Linkous while taking a snapshot of the display every second. As the boat moves west within the sim, the X- position coordinate on the interface correspondingly decreases.

Linkous numbers

click to enlarge

In the first image above, the boat is at Linkous (+19).  A few seconds later it should enter Van Daemo sim, but instead the interface reads Linkous (-2) and next reading is Linkous (-8). I assume these negative numbers mean the boat is already moving into the next sim, but the asset “handover” is not yet complete. Proof of this comes one second later, when the interface reads Van Daemo (+241), implying the boat is already 15 m into the sim.

This all makes a certain amount of sense, and is hardly worth talking about; however, what happens next totally confuses me. (Okay okay, I admit that’s not hard to do)

Anyway, as my boat sails further west In Van Daemo, the horizontal position coordinates should continue to decline. The first two frames shown below demonstrate exactly that, with X-positions of  (+235) then (+230). However, the third frame below is one second later, and it registers (+251)! In other words, the boat suddenly jumped back a full 21 m !! The boat continues from that point on it’s original heading and with most of the previous momentum. At average rates of speed, I’d guess that will cost a racer roughly 4 to 8 seconds overall every time it happens.

This is the same problem shown in the video at the top of this page.

Linkous numbers 2

click to enlarge

This sudden “jump back” effect is consistent across many grid locations, and I don’t think it is unique to any specific group of sim server candidates. So far I’ve only looked for it in 12 m boats, but I think the problem is likely far more widespread and server-related.

Having said that, let me also add a few more observations:

  1. The effect is present in Trudeau 12 m traveling under engine only.
  2. I don’t see the effect when walking across a sim border.
  3. I don’t see the effect when driving a small outboard across a sim boundary.
  4. I don’t see the effect when sailing Wildwind OP60.
  5. I do think I’ve seen the effect in some Qwest boats, but I haven’t looked carefully yet.

Chaos Mandelbrot (LCC Admiral and SL-Pundit-In-Residence) tells me this issue of ‘bounce back’ after sim crossing is already widely known and it’s been prevalent across the grid for several months. Nonetheless, I can’t find any good discussion of the problem, and I’d love to hear from someone who can explain what’s going on here. :-)

DilSpi 2

Sail4Life 12M Final Four Will Race On July 11


The S4L 12M Qualifying Races on June 20 were a real thrill, with 16 seasoned SL teams battling it out to earn a spot in the annual Sail4Life Regatta FINALS. After 12 hours of competition only four teams remained afloat. This quintessential quartet will now go on to race in a FINALS event on July 11 in North Sea.
The FOUR FABULOUS FINALISTS are: (drumroll please!!!)

1. TEAM WYC1Bunnie Mills, 彡NOZOMI彡 (Nozomimi Karu), いんちゃん™ (Infrared Razor), 寅次郎 (Torajiro Whitfield), あやちゃ (Ayahoshi), Кαηα (Rairu370)
2. TEAM PENGZILLAChaos Mandelbrot, Bennythe Boozehound
3. FLORIDA SAILS —  James Munson
4. TEAM WYC2 いお (Io Littleboots),  Sachbee Resident

Here are the numbers as the Qualifying Heats played out:


The next stop will be the FINALS shootout in North SEA!!