Monthly Archives: January 2013

Two Hundred Hotlaps

200 hotlaps

This post is just a quick update and reminder about Hotlaps. 🙂

Hotlaps 2013 is a format that lets sailors build sailing skills and have fun by doing solo practice runs and sharing the scores online. The database allows skippers to compare their lap times with others; they can also contrast the relative performance of different boats sailing the same ‘trial lap’ conditions.

At the moment, there are six different raceline locations, and each has its own Hotlaps course: PLUMGUT, BREADNUT, KNAPTRACKICON, LINKOUS, SULU, and HEPURN.


Sailing a Hotlap takes only ten minutes, and you can do it any time you want, in any boat. Just go to one of the racelines and click on the ‘Hotlaps 2013′ poster above the green buoy; it will give you all the info you need.

The current round of Hotlaps began less than four weeks ago, and yesterday we hit a total of 200 lap entries recorded by 36 skippers in 26 different boat classes. Notohama Resident has the notable distinction of sailing lap #200 in a Flying Fizz at Plum Gut. 🙂

Speaking of which, please let me give a shout-out to all the sailors who have sailed laps so far this month. Woots! :

 yala74, Armano Xaris, Jane Fossett, Andi Merryman, Lance Corrimal, LucyInTheSky Afarensis, S11D, Emelia Azemus, B117, B12, BM12, Chaos Mandelbrot, Hay Ah, Kris Hollysharp, Slanty, poko Zepp, Qyv Inshan, Justin Blade, nozomimi karu, SkyBlue Earthboy, Trapez Breen, Yuukie Onmura, Joy Acker, Wolfhard Resident, notohama Resident, Pazzo Pestana, Kentrock Mesmer, Bunnie, , VictorCR, B112, Maiko Taurog, xpaulx pain, Fearless Freenote, Rim Telling, Xi Larnia, Hannelore Ballinger.

Here’s also a new update for the Plum Gut spreadsheet that I posted ten days ago, so you can get an idea where this is going. Please click on the image below to get a readable size, and you’ll see it includes all the individual Plum Gut Hotlaps scores, color- matched to the skippers. The online spreadsheet has separate pages for each of the racelines. It makes it easy for a sailor to watch their progress over time, and to compare their skill against others running the course.

Hay Ah’s currently testing out an interactive display that should soon make this Hotlaps info much more user-friendly and available to skippers in-world, right at the raceline. 🙂 (Thank You, Hay!)

Plum Gut Hotlaps Jan28 2013

please click to enlarge

The Hotlaps data makes it possible to generate simple performance handicaps for different sailboat classes. The handicaps are normalized with respect to an index boat (the Melges-24 has a handicap of 1.00) to make the handicaps factors easy-to-use.

So far, across the six different courses a total of 26 boats have been evaluated, yielding 64 estimated handicaps. Here’s the current list for all six courses:

HH Summary Jan 27

At the end of this month I’ll post about the conclusions we migfht be able to draw from this type of data, and I’ll also list the names of skippers who logged the fastest adjusted lap times for each boat class during January. 🙂

However, if you sail hotlaps please remember to log all your “average, good” lap times, not just your fastest runs. That way we’ll get a more realistic profile for each of the boats in the fleet.

overlapped and parallel

Sail4Life 2013 Logo Contest

S4L Logo Contest 2013

Nber Medici announces:

The 2013 Relay for Life of Second Life will be kicking off Team Registration on February 8th. As the Sail for Life group gears up for this season, we are running a “Sail for Life” Graphic contest. The theme for Relay for Life of Second Life this year is “Celebrating 100 Years of Hope.”

RFL logoAnyone can enter the graphics / logo contest. The guidelines are relatively simple and are listed below. The S4L Committee will judge the entries. The winner and two runners-up will be selected and their names will be publicized to the SL Sailing community.

Logo Contest Rules

1. The graphic should build on the overall Relay Theme of “Celebrating 100 Years of Hope,” but have a sailing motif.

2. Logo Contest entries can be in either JPG or PNG format, and should measure 1024×1024 pixels.

3. Contestants should submit two versions of the same graphic; one in full color (known by graphics professionals as “4-color”) and a second, “spot color” version. For an explanation of these terms, please click here.


2012 S4L Logo

5. The text should be clearly visible and readable at a moderate distance.

6. Logo entries should also include both transparent and opaque background versions of the graphic.

7. The American Cancer Society logo may not be used as part of the S4L graphic.

Entries become the property of the Sail for Life committee and will be provided upon request to content providers who want to incorporate the graphic into products that will be sold for the sole benefit of Relay for Life. The submissions will be made electronically, sent to

The deadline for submission is February 15th, 2013.

Taku and Jane S4L 2012

Race Mark Rez Retro

Racing One Design 65

click to enlarge

Yesterday I posted briefly about race buoy late-rezzing problems, and I mentioned one potential fix: increasing the physical size of the buoy by linking a large, underwater block to it. Today I sailed a series of hotlaps using the new, modified buoy in Trulan and it worked quite nicely. 🙂 The picture above shows my boat approaching Trulan sim, and if you look closely you can see that the buoy has already rezzed off the port bow, a full two sims distant.

Yesterday I also mentioned that this is not a new issue. Last evening I went back to the archives and read a series of old posts on the topic. MarkTwain White suggested the same fix for late-rezzing buoys back in April, 2008; I think that could be the original post on the issue, and I cited the reference in my initial comment.

Going through the archives, I was reminded of two more potential solutions, and I thought I’d mention them here.

 1. Raise the seafloor under the buoy.

In a private water sim, the owner can terraform a sharp peak directly beneath a buoy. That will not make the mark rez more quickly, but it will produce a permanent, easily recognized target on the world map and the mini map.

The 2008 discussion I referenced above was actually about Svar Beckersted‘s fix for a late-rez buoy in USS’ Bartlett sim. Here’s what it looked like five years ago:


As I said, this fix doesn’t make the buoy rez faster or sooner, but it does make it show up on the map. To emphasize that point, here’s a low resolution chart of the USS sims from back then; you can easily make out the location of the “Bartlett Buoy Mound” (red arrow, below).

USS MAP 063008

Click to enlarge

2. Sky markers.

The 2007 ACA32 SL Regatta was held on a sixpack of private sims. overhead diskEven in that restricted space, sailors had some difficulty identifying the race buoys at a distance on the horizon. The solution was to place large, pancake-shaped objects above mast height over each of the buoys. That way the competition boats could easily orient to the mark locations, even when a landmass or another boat was in the way.

That solution worked well for ACA32, but it never really caught on for subsequent regattas. However, this topic gives me an excuse to post SurfWidow Beaumont’s great ACA32 video one more time; keep your eyes open for the race buoys in the vid, and you’ll see the large, dark pancakes overhead. 🙂

So in summary it looks like the race mark rez issue has been around a long time, and there are a number of ways to handle it. I also think it’s less of a problem these days, since many racing skippers use waypoint HUDs like TRAPNAV to highlight the race mark locations.

Race Mark Rez


Noodle asked: “It is kinda hard to call a layline, when the buoys aren’t visible beyond 64 meters. Any idea why it is so? Do they simply need to be bigger for SL to display them properly?”

It’s pretty frustrating to sail a race course and not see the mark buoys until you’re practically on top of them. Sailors often use landmark HUDs like TRAPNAV to get around the problem (Thank you Trapeze!).

I certainly don’t pretend to know the algorithm SL uses to prioritize the order of objects as they rez in the viewer, but I suspect you are right; size matters. I remember that several of us looked into this issue back in 2007 when it was a major problem for the Starboards Yacht Club races. Since the issue is coming up again for many sailors (including me), I ran around and did a few backyard tests on it today. 🙂

view angleI tried to figure out the distance at which each of the  three buoys on the Linkous hotlaps course first appeared.

I normally use the Firestorm viewer. For all images below, I set the draw distance at 1024m and all graphics at median settings. I then emptied cache and teleported to Henker, the sim next to Trulan, where there’s a centrally-located yellow buoy.

From Henker I looked into Trulan and saw… nothing. As shown below, if you are 150m away from a buoy (and across 1 sim line), the buoy never rezzes, even with dd=1024.

If you move closer to the buoy, it suddenly appears when you are within 130m. The same thing happens with the other two buoys there; they first rez at distance of 130 m (which is across a sim line in each case).

buoys rez at 130m

To make sure this was a server-side effect, I repeated the measurements using a different viewer. The Singularity viewer features ‘draw-distance stepping‘ (that’s why Orca likes it 🙂 ). When you move to a new view region, Singularity prioritizes the objects closest to you so they rez first.

How does it do that? Easy. If you set your dd=1024, when you go to a new area Singularity throttles that dd back to a much shorter view distance in order to speed up the local rez. It then gradually returns the DD back to your preset numbers.

If you open up the map after you teleport, you can watch the draw distance in Singularity graphically expand during the first minute or two. Here’s an example:

singular vision

Using this viewer, the three buoys in Zindra all rezzed at a distance of 130 m, as they had in Firestorm. That’s no surprise; Singularity doesn’t actually change rez priority, it just sort of ‘modulates’ what you asked the viewer to do. The 130m rez limit for the buoys I looked at was apparently a server decision.

So how does the server-side algorithm decide what distance to rez something? Well, a big factor seems to be object size (meaning linear dimensions, not ‘prim count‘). To demonstrate that, I rezzed a 20x15x24m one prim box in the air over the buoy in Trulan. I then logged out, emptied cache, and came back over 256m away from the target. When I did that, the box popped into view immediately, even though I still could not see the much smaller race buoy beneath it.

256m boxThis evidence supports a fix that many sailors and estate owners are very familiar with, and have used for a long time.

buoy base

If you want a race mark to rez early, you somehow need to make it look ‘bigger’ without messing up the craftsmanship or authentic appearance of the buoy.

Probably the simplest way to do that is to attach a large, single-prim underwater extension to the buoy, as shown in the pic on the right. This simple adjustment also makes the mark more visible on the map and mini-map.

I’m pretty sure this fix also works if the large underwater object is phantom and transparent, but I haven’t tried that out yet under the current server versions, and there are reasons to think it might not work with the recent changes. We’ll see. 🙂

I also know there are probably more elegant ways to fix the buoy-rez problem, but please remember this is Jane talking here. I don’t tend to do ‘elegant‘ well. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the bottom-line result, included below. The top picture shows the yellow nav buoy in Trulan. It’s very pretty and nicely scripted by RJ Kikuchiyo, and it has multiple user- controlled options (ask your local SL Coast Guard for a box of them). 🙂

The lower picture shows the effect of the underwater attachment. You can now see that buoy two sims away and at a distance of over 400 m.

over 400m distance

Hepurn Hotlaps

Hepurn Hotlaps

Kudos to Hannelore Ballinger, Elbag Gable and Mowry Bay Boat Club for hosting the sixth Hotlaps 2013 site!

The new course uses the Linden raceline in Hepurn, and you can get all the details to sail a Hotlap by clicking the poster above the green buoy on the starboard side of the line.

Mowry Bay Hepurn raceline

(Note: The posters are phantom and semi-transparent, so they aren’t an obstruction to sailing.)

There’s a large rez-enabled parcel on Linden water that begins 35m south of the raceline, so sailors should have no trouble getting their boats underway. The Green buoy also contains Hay Ah’s version of the WWC setter, so if you want the correct wind to sail a lap just click on the buoy and say “use hotlaps 2013.”

Here’s Hanne’s chart:

Mowry Bay Boat Club Hotlaps 2013

The course is classically designed with upwind, downwind, and reach legs. It resembles the old MBYC1 “Triangle” course that sailors raced in the Mowry Sprints regatta (you can read about that race here, here, and here).  It’s interesting to note the old MBYC1 course was used for racing and hotlaps as far back as 2006-2007. However, by comparison Hanne’s new course is over twice as long, it takes better advantage of the Linden waterways, and it is a better test of basic boat performance. It’s a great design. 🙂

There’s one unique aspect to this course compared to the other five Hotlaps installations. Hepurn Hotlaps uses a SW wind (15kn, 225deg), so the first leg of the course is a downwind run. Since Hotlaps are solo time trials and the legs are nicely balanced, I’m guessing the ‘spinnaker start’ in Hepurn will make no difference. We’ll see!

So here we go with Hepurn, Now We Are Six!

Now We Are Six

Hotlaps Locations:

Plum Gut






(click one for a link.)


You got ten minutes?
You could sail a Hotlap!  :-)

mowry mar5 2008

Schiffsratten NY30 Distance Race Starts February 2

banner ny30ldr

Two days ago Rossini Ralfo announced details for the New York 30 Long Distance Race. The regatta series will consist of four races, held on February 2nd, 9th, 23rd, and March 2nd. Trudeau New York 30 sailboats with a skipper and one crew are invited to compete.

Go read the details on the SrYC blog;
that’s where you’ll find the entry form too!


Hotlaps Turns Sixteen (Days)

Hotlaps Turns 16

Hotlaps 2013 is a sail racing format that lets sailors practice their skills by doing solo laps on a standard ‘test track.’ Skippers can then upload their ‘average, good‘ lap times to a spreadsheet that compares their results against other sailors and across different boat classes.

This round of Hotlaps is just getting going, but so far the response has been great and there’s lots more planned. 🙂

sailors jan16

click to enlarge

In just the first two weeks, 28 skippers entered 140 lap times for 24 different boats. The current list of Hotlaps sailors is shown on the right, and the ‘Color Code’ is a key to the lap times listed on the spreadsheet below (as well as on the pages of the active spreadsheet here).

There are five Hotlaps locations so far: Plum Gut, Breadnut, Linkous, Knaptrackicon, and Sulu. There is a notecard over the raceline at each spot that will give a Hotlaps chart, database links, and any specific instructions. 🙂

So far, Plum Gut turns out to be the most popular Hotlaps location, with 88 lap entries. I’ve included a snapshot of the Plum Gut summary spreadsheet below. Click on it to get a bigger table that’s readable. 🙂

So far at Plum Gut seven sailors have contributed 15 laps sailing the Melges-24 “index boat.” The results are pretty consistent, with an average lap time of 8:59, and a standard deviation of 0:24. Fearless Freenote at the moment holds the speed record in that class; he logged a rather amazing 8:18 two days ago, edging out Armano Xaris’ prior time of 8:32.

Speaking of speediness, Fearless also showed that the lap time for the WildWind VO-70 is substantially faster than the new Mesh Shop VO-70. Many sailors guessed that was prolly the case, but it’s nice to see that Fearless nailed it. You can see the actual numbers in the table below. 🙂

HH Jan17 2013

please click to enlarge

summary tables jan16

click to enlarge

Hotlaps isn’t just about speed though. The lap scores also help generate relative performance factors (a.k.a. “Handicaps“) that compare boats to an arbitrary standard (the Melges-24 is that index boat).

The table to the right lists the current set of handicap factors determined by lap scores at each of the five racelines. In general, all the racelines produce the same handicap rank for a given boat, but there’s still variability in the the actual handicap numbers. That should settle down as skippers sail more laps on all the lines and add their results to the mix. 🙂

Nonetheless, the present handicaps have a number of interesting results. For example, Slanty Uriza nicely showed on the Sulu line that the vernerable Tako 3.3 is a close lap-match for the new and shiny Melges-24, and both boats are roughly equal in speed to the ACA33 3.0.

We’ll see how well those numbers stand up in the coming weeks. 🙂
Oh, and don’t forget:

You got ten minutes?
You could sail a Hotlap! :-)

2005 hotlaps RFL