Friday, 20 May 2011

Finished the BETA Race

A VolvoOceanRaceGame (VORG) beta race was organised for Beta players. These beta players could request for a free optainable key needed to play. 
The Race Started in Alicante 4th May 2011 13:00 UTC and the route was towards Galway for the Finish. 

The fastest boat so far "eddie" has sailed this route in  10d 12hrs 40min, for sure not a time for a Volvo Open 70 boat. But for this race a common polar for a 36ft boat was used.
I finished in 80th place on my boat Paradise  in a sailing time of 12d 17hrs 40min; and hope that not other boats that started later will sail faster.

This route was not treated as a race, but as a kind of "fastest" time for the route, a Challenge as we call this in LiveSkipper. The comment from VORG race committee informs that during the VOR this will be handled as a real race with a fixed Starting time.

Some of my experiences with this new (beta) player:
- The player is easy to understand and the control on the boat is easy: selection heading from a large navigational circle around the boat and selection of the sail, assisted by the indications on screen of the complete Polar, the boat speed, the heading and the TWA. 
- The wind information is clear. It is shows on the location indicated with your mouse, as windspeed in kts and wind direction in the right top corner of the game screen.
-The settings of the boat and wind at the boat location are shown in 4 stations at the bottom of the screen, for boat speed and heading, wind speed and - direction, the sail that is hoisted and it gives your ranking in the fleet and the Distance to the Finish. 
- Some reduction in boat speed will result from too often changes in heading and or sail. First the Crew efficiency drops down from 120% as a relaxed fully rested crew. Once the crew gets tired, below 100% also the boatspeed will drop off, indicated as % on the sail efficencie. 
- the WP(waypoint) scheduler is working fine, with 5 WP available. However, in setting the waypoints there is no assistance in a direction indication, distance to the boats or time indication. This makes it very difficult to set the WP scheduler for optimal results, now it looks more a rought guess as to set the WP's. 
- a distanced to sail in 12 and 23 hrs is available for the given heading and sail on the boats. However this takes into account only actual the wind-conditions a the boat location; a shift in wind will /might change this complete.
- Wind situations are refreshed twice a day at 6 - 18 hrs GMT. Wind forecast can be shown on the screen for each 12 hrs till 48, afterwhich it shows only full days till a forecast on 7 days.
- wind arrows show the windsituation on the screen. The wind-conditions are fixed within a certain grid square, and change suddenly in the next grid square. This is far from realistic, but can be used properly for the virtual game. It would be preferred to have a interpolation of wind-conditions between grids points like the modern virtual games like LiveSkipper or SailOnLine have. 
- ALL in ALL, this is a Virtual player that can be used very good for a virtual sailing race, especially as there is a promise that in future an auto-sail will be available for the WP scheduler settings.

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