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Virtual Yachting - Proon Yacht Squadron

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Virtual Yachting - Proon Yacht Squadron

Old 29th Jun 2009, 08:38
  #1 (permalink)  

Rainbow Chaser
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Wink Virtual Yachting - Proon Yacht Squadron

For some months now more than 100 prooners have been participating in the Volvo Ocean Race Game – a virtual online replicant of the real life/real world ocean race (see the thread here). We have had varying degrees of success and encountered various system hiccups or irritants that held us up one way or another. Overall, though, most have enjoyed the experience of the game.

Finding alternatives to satisfy the virtual sailing bug has proved fruitful and the two sites that are running races, seemingly on a fairly regular basis, are:

virtualregatta.com

As Yak97 says, there is a race starting on 2 July but
I think they must be scraping the barrel a little because, as far as I can see & read, they are pretending France is an island and sailing round it.
The races on this site are in the style the VORG – wave sounds in the background, you set your own sails and winds are updated twice a day. One current race , Baule-Dakar, is against a well-known French yachtsman, Loick Peyron, and entrants have a chance to win a share of a pot of EUR30,000 (all those who beat Loick to the finish will share this!).

The site is France-based and the forums/chit chat zone are in French – there is an English clickable option but I haven't found it to work.

If you are familiar with VORG then you will be familiar with how this site works!


Sailonline


This is a Sweden-based site so the language used is English. This is what I said over on the VORG thread

Just a reminder for those who like sailing (Real World or virtual)... I did Leg 10 on*Sailonline.org - Online Sailing and found it absolutely brilliant!! I wasn't v good but because the winds are constantly changing and it is a much more technical approach to actually sailing the wessel its excellent!

Today I have started a time-trial, the sailonline site has in-port races that you can sign up to do at any time (obviously you get ranked once you complete).

The other super thing is that there is a chat window that you can open alongside your wessel/course.

Deffo to be recommended for those who like free virtual sailing!! And NO I have no personal connection with the site or its owners (although I did have a lot of fun on my many trips to Sweden for business and leisure in the past, so do have fond memories!!
)

Sailonline will also let us set up the name that we are seen on screen by, and I understand it would be possible to race as a PPRuNe Yacht Squadron – by adding, for example PYS – [boat name]. There are already groups doing this and one of the longer-term members of Sailonline is a prooner who I am sure will add to what I have written here!!

See you virtual racing soon eh?!!!

Rainbow Chaser
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 08:43
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Wunderbra
 
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RAINBOW, what HAVE you done? Just as I thought I'd kicked my VORG addiction, you go and throw those links at me...

I WILL be strong and resist...

One day at a time!
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 08:47
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Rainbow Chaser
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matt sorry but.. the great thing about SOL (sailonline) is that you can set up a whole series of delay commands so your wessel will sail while you are away and because there is a weather slider on the bottom of the screen, you can make fairly good estimates of future positions so the commands you set up do actually work out reasonably well!!
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 14:19
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I'm a SOL addict and will donate to their site if they start to have regular races. I'm happy that the Gotland Runt can be raced already as a trial run because I won't be home to participate in the true race.

The timed commands work but are rather difficult to get right. I'm scared of setting a early time resulting in a turn towards shore so most of the time my turns are late instead.

Edit: Boatname is chksix
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 21:05
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Rainbow Chaser
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Wink

Baule-Dakar on virtualregatta is driving me bonkers! I have been held up just N of the Canaries for over 24hrs!! Fortunately for the PYS (proon Yacht Squadron) Ride the Wind 99 currently lying 4th overall is showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the field (forgive the mixed metaphor!) and making up for my deficiencies!!

As for SOL (sailonline) I am in the middle of a practice for the round Gotland race which is due to start in a couple of days' time. I can't quite get my head round the VMG concept (which I thought was all about pace towards a mark/buoy but which apparently isn't) but I am improving on my use of the Delay Commands... well I think so !! I will find out tomorrow morning.

Rainbow Chaser
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 21:14
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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The VMG in SOL is only showing your speed towards or away from the winds' eye. Would be great if we could specify a point for the VMG calculation ourselves.

One deceptive thing is the TWA track that will often move around as new winds appear. Have to keep a close eye on that.
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 21:42
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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The DCMeatloaf races (not particularly well) at SOL, and will keep eyes peeled for fellow ppruners. I think Kaos and the Halve_Maen edged me by mere minutes in leg 10 of the Volvo. Look forward to seeing more names I recognize over there!
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Old 29th Jun 2009, 23:44
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Just a reminder to all those who enjoyed taking part in the VORG that there is a donations bar on the playing page where you can contribute to scheme set up to try to save the albatross from extinction.
All donations gratefully received!!
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Old 1st Jul 2009, 05:40
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Some tips on Sail Online

As previously mentioned by Brockenspectre/Rainbow Chaser..

For anyone just starting out in Sailonline aka SOL (Sailonline.org - Online Sailing) here are a few tips to fill in the gaps a bit more quickly. I am only targeting one or two of the trickier aspects of the game in an attempt to help folks get the gist of the game more readily and avoid possible confusion over issues that had me scratching my head in my early days. The SOL interface is generally very user-friendly and intuitive, and probably more “technical” than what VORG players would be used to. I think the game is a bit more challenging and therefore more “realistic”. Feel free to ask other questions in this forum and I will try to answer, but there are likely to be more experienced Sol’ers than me around in PPRuNe.

Register

After registering a boat name (only one allowed per email address) you can then log in at the home page and register for a race by clicking the relevant “Go to race” tab for that particular race. This will load the screen (make sure you have Flash loaded on your PC) and will put you at the start line. Don’t worry - until you actually set a course and hit the “Send Command” button your boat will not move.

Read the manual

There are online instructions under the “manual” link on the homepage which I’d strongly recommend you read very thoroughly, and better still, click on the link on that page for the PDF manual and print it out to have it handy by your computer while you’re having a play with the controls.

If you register before 1 hour pre-race (or even several days pre-race), you can start your boat and have a play to get used to the control panel and its features. An hour before the race starts, all boats will magically be dragged back to the start line and stay there until the start.

Delayed Commands (DCs)

This feature (aka autopilot) allows you to set course changes at particular times during the race. This is handy for when you can’t be at the computer, or if you really think you should get at least an hour of sleep at night. For it to work though, having decided on the course you want to input, you must tick the box next to “delay” in the control panel and enter the time interval at which you want the course change to occur in the delay field. So you're not entering a time, but a time interval.

In other words, this course change time is referenced forward from the time you click on the “Send Command” button. Be careful when you enter that time interval too. It might pay to have a calculator handy, because the time interval you enter into the delay field is in decimal minutes, so a desired course change 2 hours and 25 mins from “now”, when you hit the “Send Command” button would be entered as 2.42 (which in this case is strictly 2.41666 hours recurring, but rounded up).

Once entered, verify the DC has been loaded by clicking on the DC tab, which is the one with the clock symbol. To actually see the new command has been loaded, click on the refresh (curved green arrows) button to refresh the DC list. If you’ve entered an incorrect DC, no problem. Just click on the DC you don’t want and highlight it, then hit the delete (red circle) button. All gone!

If you can’t be online at the start, you can set the initial course for the start by using DCs. I am not sure how early you can do this, but I assume it is within 1 hour prior to the race.

One trap you’ll want to avoid after setting a DC is forgetting to untick the delay box, then making a course change in the interim. You guessed it - that change you wanted now is actually going to happen at some other time in the future, because the program took it to be a DC. No problem though. Untick the delay box, make your course change, then delete the unwanted DC from the DC (clock) tab.


Just stuff

A few other random things of note:
  • Clock time is UTC, and weather update times are UTC.
  • Land is always green, and water is white during daytime, or charcoal/black at night. While you can see other boats during daytime, you’ll only see their navigation lights at night, i.e. red for port, green for starboard.
  • Course changes, DCs entered, boat progress on the map etc are not absolutely immediate. While I believe any changes you make are fairly immediate, you may not see them on your screen for a short period until the SOL server has updated, which it does at intervals rather than continuously, presumably to cut down on bandwidth, so be patient and wait just a little while and you’ll be rewarded.
  • You can get a good idea of how to plan your course by utilizing the forecast winds using the slider control at the bottom of the screen. These are real forecast winds, and you can safely plan much of your race using them as a guide, but note that while you can see the forecast for days in advance, the forecasts are updated generally 4 times a day, so what you thought might happen in 8 hours may in fact be different after the next intervening forecast update.
  • Think about your course, and how many time you’ll want to tack, if indeed conditions require it. Sometimes they do, sometimes maybe not so often as you’d be tempted to do. Biggish changes in course will degrade the boat’s speed for a few minutes or even more until it is back up to 100% performance, and so can shave a bit of time and distance off over the course of a long race.
  • If you wish to keep your relationship on an even keel, it might not be a bad idea to get a sailing buddy to log in and sail your boat for you when you can’t be there to make tricky course changes, or for that matter, just to share the workload around.
  • Finally, there is a chat window in which you can chat to other Sol’ers from around the world. They’re a friendly bunch and are often willing to help if you’re truly stumped on something you haven’t been able to work out or just don’t understand.

As mentioned this is simply a collection of some thoughts arising out of my experience of SOL over the past couple of months. I am happy to answer other queries if you like, but it may be best to PM me.

Ta.

AztecCamera

Last edited by silversaab; 1st Jul 2009 at 06:05. Reason: Tidy up
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Old 1st Jul 2009, 10:24
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Great summary Aztec

I wasn't going to race tonight but the addiction kicked in so now I've got the mobile client ready and will issue commands while away from keyboard.
I've laid up half the route around Gotland already since planning from the mobile dev will be nearly impossible. (no wind data).

Some notes of mine

Rounding marks:
I checked during the trial run that a mark will validate while cutting real close. Zoom right in and you'll get a resolution of 0.1 nm (185 m). Quite a difference from the VORG.

TWA:
Setting a TWA and leaving the boat unattended can have disastrous effects since the track can shift as the winds get updated. So don't use it for cutting close to land or marks.

Wind shifts:
180° shifts are smoothed out by reducing wind to near zero during the shift. Very realistic IMO.

Track "economy":
Always aim for the tightest course toward your next mark. Don't go blindly for highest speed through the water if it will make your run longer. Use the "stepping/drawing" tool to compare track heading options. VMG in this sim is the speed directly against/away from the wind direction.

Some obvious ones there....
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Old 1st Jul 2009, 13:29
  #11 (permalink)  

Rainbow Chaser
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SOL - Gotland Rundt

anyone else taking part? I hope to have Rainbow Chaser at the start

Aztec Camera and chksix - excellent SOL tips!! Thank you!!

VORG

draughtsman99 - I bought a bunch of credits and only used some on Repair Kits so.. is there any way, do you know, of assigning them to the Albatross appeal? I can't be the only one with credits left in the VORG "accounts" and as I very much doubt that there will be any form of refund I would much rather see those funds go to some good purpose than into the fat coffers of promoters etc!!!

Virtual Regatta

I am still tearing my hair out in the Baule-Dakar ... no matter what I do the 'Chaser is slipping back through the places so.. I have decided to sail my own race to the finish and pretend I don't care that at one point I was ahead of Peyron!!


Rainbow Chaser
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Old 1st Jul 2009, 14:27
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Stercus Accidit
 
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The DCMeatloaf races (not particularly well) at SOL, and will keep eyes peeled for fellow ppruners. I think Kaos and the Halve_Maen edged me by mere minutes in leg 10 of the Volvo. Look forward to seeing more names I recognize over there!
Are you sure that was me in SOL, DC? I only sailed leg 10 in VORG, not in SOL. Only registered iN SOL under the KAOS banner, not de Maen and haven't been seriously sailing, just some testing.
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Old 1st Jul 2009, 23:22
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Ah, Kaos, just figured it was you. That takes some of the sting out of the loss then.
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Old 4th Jul 2009, 20:46
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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The yacht squadron is quiet. Can't let it die like this...

The leader of Gotland race is about to turn the final mark.
I have 124 nm to go due to my mistake early on
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Old 4th Jul 2009, 21:18
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Rainbow Chaser
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chksix - I think a lot of people were fatigued by the end of VORG having seen it through to the finish "on principle". More than 100 did VORG so more than a handful must have enjoyed it!! It is also summer holiday season when thoughts turn to vacations and family and other priorities!! Hopefully some more will join in on SOL (or VirtualRegatta) as time passes and they begin to miss virtual sailing!!

In SOL's Gotland Runt I have clawed my way up to 90th at the mo but I am totally confused as to what to do with the latest winds... if i didn't have a mark to round and Sandhamn to reach it would be fine.. I would just head out across the Baltic!!! So... who knows where I will finish.

Have to say, though, that so far I find SOL a very amiable place.... the chat (bit like anywhere) is obviously among folks who know each other well, but I have found them very welcoming of me, a newbie. Hopefully there will be a little break but some good race thought of for not-too-far in the future!!

On VirtualRegatta, the Loick Peyron challenge is over for me, I didn't get my money back as I finished way back in the field but Yak97 in Ride the Wind 99 will do so!!

I am also having a go at the "Tour de France" but the winds are weird - as ever, Ride the Wind 99 is some way ahead of 'Chaser!!!

Rainbow Chaser
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Old 4th Jul 2009, 21:48
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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I'm just unhappy that I found SOL this late
I've missed some amazing races as I found out while going through the archive.

I wonder what place I could've achieved if I hadn't banged up on that island 3 hrs after the start? Got passed by 340 boats and was 13 nm behind then. That distance grew since the wind was creating a void that couldn't be passed to reach the leading 100.

Right now I'm at 198 and can see a few "targets" I can pass but as time passes the competition grows fiercer.
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Old 5th Jul 2009, 09:55
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Join Date: Oct 2002
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SOL Finish

Well done brockenspectre, see Rainbow Chaser finished in 91st!

I'm trying to catch chksix at the moment. My lowly position due to work getting in the way!!

The round France race is becoming similar to a transatlantic race earlier, with loads of different sails, but all producing very similar performance. And I wish they wouldn't keep changing the format of the website, having to log out and log back in again just to keep the updates running properly is a pain!

Ride the Wind 99
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Old 5th Jul 2009, 10:35
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Rainbow Chaser
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Yak97 - apart from work getting in your way, you can also take comfort as I have from the fact that the winds in this Gotland Runt have, apparently, been the most fickle and most inconsistent in recent races! I was online for my finish and a couple of the more experience SOLers were saying that it had been and is being a difficult race for everyone!! At least when you are online you know you will do well!! I seem always to do a lot better when I am NOT online and fast asleep hehehe

What was fun about the finish was that I turned the final mark back in 96th, spotted a few wessels ahead of me and took a risk on my final leg to Sandhamn and.. it paid off !!!!

I found that if you really zoom right in then you can set a steer so finely that when you zoom back out you might believe you will be missing the marks.

Rainbow Chaser
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Old 5th Jul 2009, 16:01
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brockenspectre sorry I don't know about the unused credit - I am not involved with the organisation - just like to think that people who enjoyed the game would put their hands in their pocket for a good cause.

I too bought all the toys for one of my boats but then of course did not have any credit left.
The 'toys' were of little use in the latter stages.
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Old 5th Jul 2009, 17:33
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Yak97 - You might be able to catch me since I'll have to do the final turn by timer only due to work getting in the way.

I'll have to wrangle the computer from the chief somehow...
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