Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Abu Dhabi new boat for Volvo Ocean Race

from the hidden camera : a view of the new Sailing Boat Type Volvo Open 70 for the Team Abu Dhabi .
Apparently the hull build is finished and now it is looking for some water or maybe first will visit a shop to get some extra, like mast, deck, keel, rudder, sails etc to make it a real Sailing boat. :)

If you look from the other side it even looks a Sailing boat already a little! 

That is  a long boat, it even spills over the post width 

Friday, 24 June 2011


Welcomed by traditional Abu Dhabi sailing dhows, I could Finish the VolvoOceanRaceGame Beta II this morning.  
The winds stay calm but with almost reaching 10 kts it was sufficient for a smooth sailing end to this reverse Abu Dhabi - Sanya leg of the coming Volvo Ocean Race. 

I finished in 285th place, after a successful end-sprint that won me 38 places in the last day !
Had it not been for the disaster with the still not understood Crew energy losses in one of the first WP schedule nights, I could have done better. But this is a good training for if the real races will start. 

Abu Dhabi is preparing itself well, for the arrival of the VOR fleet by end of the year, early next year as you can see on this picture.

This Beta II race was an interesting one, notwithstanding the frustrations of the Crew Energy but lets hope that  VOR can improve that in next races, as there are enough complaints raised on this.  

Upto the next Beta trials. 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cleared the Strait of Hormuz

It some time that I updated but first my internet knocked off for about 48 hrs and then there was not too much to report on the Indian Ocean. 

Coming into the Gulf of Oman things got interesting again. First passing the SE point of the Arabian Peninsula is the Turtle beach of Rass Al Hadd. 

. These are endangered species, so please treat them kindly, better leave them alone. 

The winds got variable in the Gulf of Oman and some sail changes and heading adjustments got the energy out of the crew. This resulted in reduced boat speed and how unnatural for a racing sailor to continue with a less optimal sail just to prevent further boat speed reductions. :(

Now passed the Strait of Hormuz and trying to sail head wind towards the Finish in Abu Dhabi. 

Rank: 323 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Passed Cape Comorin, India

Last night on the WP's autopilot, I did pass Cape Comorin another milestone on this Beta II race.This is the Southern most point of the Indian peninsula. 

The wind in the coming days looks very stable, as it's the Western Monsoon winds that make the rain come to  India. It is stated that the yearly monsoon always starts in the 1st week on June in Bombay, and I can confirm that it did the years I lived there. 

The Crew has an easy time and I start thinking of selling off some of the Crew energy that for the next two days is hardly required and quickly refilled. Anybody interested in buying some 10% at a time ?

The leaders in this race are in stronger winds and even a better wind angle, so I think not the catch them before the Finish. No problem that takes the tension down and will increase the pleasure of the sailing. 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Team Sanya from China enters Volvo Ocean Race

Just now I read the news on VolvoOceanRace web that a 7th boat has registered for the VolvoOceanRace. 

Team SANYA  from China has entered the VOR.

The captain will be Mike Sanderson, who before has won a VolvoOceanRace. 

Have to search for more details. 

Passed Sri Lanka gate

The beach looks inviting, but this time I have to pass as not to loose out in the BetaII

Yesterday in a veering westerly winds I could pass The Sri Lanka gate and later also the SW coast of Sri Lanka. 
It was a busy day with looking for the best moments for a tack, go SW not in this block but better the next block and thus this un-realistic sailing strategy works out in the ranking list.
Major advantage of these stable winds is that no sail changes required which saves a lot of energy for the Crew, leaving some for an additional tack to round the coast at closer distances.
Rank this moring : 342

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sailing the Indian Ocean

The weather in the Straits of Malacca was variable with mostly weak and variable winds. Large difference in the wind speed in different blocks and even the wind direction could change 180 degree with a wind update. So very intensive study of the wind  in different blocks and for wind updates were required to sail the optimum course. This resulted often in sailing the block borders.

Now I am sailing towards Sri Lanka in far stronger and most welcomed more stable winds. With the strange Crew energy issue there is no problem here as sail changes are not required, while a heading adjustments does not cost that much energy.

I was using the Dutch weather widget, but that one did not show the wind conditions, and for sailing that is the most important weather data. So I went searching of alternatives, which I found and published on the right. 
Typically, the Dutch one, now for Colombo also give the wind conditions. Anyway temporary I will publish both, hope they do not contradict, and you may let me know which one you prefer.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Weak Winds in Straits of Malacca

The last day I am sailing from Singapore NW in the Straits of Malacca in mostly weak and variable winds. 
The strategy for optimal sailing is now looking mostly to the block weather patterns now and in 12 hrs, as it is hardly possible to sail more then 1 block per 12 hrs weather update. 

Luckily UG have given some information on Crew energy reductions per actions and the recovery efficiency. 

sail change  - 12 % energy (this is UG info, my observation is 9%?)
heading change - 3 % energy
WP and auto sail - ? % energy, but be sure it cost you, pity that not more information on these are given. I count on the reductions for single actions + 3%. 
Recovery - 0.5 % per 10 min cycle, so 3 % per hour if you don't touch anything.
So a sail change is recovered in 4 hrs and a heading change in 1 hr. 

At least this is something to work with and set out the best strategy.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Sailing again and .... to Singapore

After all the misery with the reduced Crew energy and Boat-speed, all is back to normal again. The game developer has stated that there were some too many options that all reduced the energy and boat-speed levels. I guess they were scared off by so many bad comments that they were re-considering and I understand they have decided not to reduce energy while on auto-sail and auto-angle.

Still this does not explain the large energy drain in my one night!. And I think it is important as this might be a bug, e.g. sailing close to a weather line and auto-sail is constantly changing the sail ??? 

Anyway I will approach Singapore today and that is a pleasant thought. I always liked this city!. 
. It is a pity we can not stop but we will great the lion looking over the Singapore waters. 

It will be very busy with other ship movements around here, so switch on your AIS (if you have one on-board) and look out for the other ship movements. 

Rank had improved to 602, but all the energy drama's has thrown me to far backwards. 

Monday, 6 June 2011

This Crew Energy looks bugged

Yesterday I had a bad message in the morning, the Crew were not feeling like working. They had only  13% of their energy and I still have not figured out how this comes.
The evening before I had steered the boat in position for a good night-sailing on the auto-pilot and the Crew Energy came down to I think 107%. I set the WP scheduler with 3 WP's only and two heading changes.

This apparently has drained the Energy down to 13% and what is worse the boat speed dropped to 75%; and this after a 9 hrs period of not making any changes.

Yesterday I made only 2 heading changes to save energy and set the autopilot with 2WP's for one heading change. 

This morning thus 24 hrs further the 13% has increased to 62%; mind you in this 24 hrs only 2 heading changes and a WP setting. 
The Boat speed has increased from 75% to 85% this morning. 

I fear that I will need another 24 hrs without real steering and sailing to come to the 100% energy level and full boat speed. 

My RACE is over and I have asked the Game Developers to check whether this is a bug, or this is normal behavior. In the latter case I have to think twice before registering for the real VORG race. 
In any case I hope that some more information will be given on how this damned Crew Energy punishment works, such that you can "work" with it. 

My rank is now 638, though this is hardly relevant anymore. 

Saturday, 4 June 2011

VORG Beta II On its Way to Singapore

The VolvoOceanRaceGame Beta II is well on its way. 
Boats are sailing along the Coast of Vietnam and now at the latitude of Ho Chi Minh town, soon to start the crossing to Singapore.

A group of Boats has found a way to follow the coast and jumped a weather block before the wind in that block died out. Now the front runners seems to sail into an area with headwinds. 
I was not that lucky and to prevent my boat coming to a hold, stayed more east in the stronger winds. I hope to get in the nect 12-24 hrs a more easterly (SE) wind and might be able to change the sail to Code0. Maybe even tomorrow change to the Spinakker :).
But lets not be happy to  quick, as I also have seen some wind changes that were different as the forecast made me believe.

On the BetaII player, which has some additional functionality.I have done some tests with the "auto-angle" and found mixed results.

The screen showing winds bars and gridlines.
The information on wind, and where the game have the wind-varietions located is far better than in Beta I. Now it is very clear where the borders of a block of identical wind conditions is, so planning the boat with the WP becomes possible.
The wind barbs give also a good indication of wind direction and wind strength. The latter with changing colors and length of the barbs and additional vanes for strong winds. 
It is however still a pity that this game does not use interpolation of wind conditions in between the grid points, whick would make it far more realistic and resembling real world wind systems.

A test with Auto angle while sailing from one weather block into the next one.
This worked for me, partly only. The indications on the screen, in the navigation circle as well as in the boat information at the bottom of the screen is NOT changed. However the course of the boat is following the NEW heading. 

 The auto angle is engaged.
The boat is sailing on heading 144 degree, with a speed of 10.14 kts under Genoa.
The wind in this block is 186 degree and 13.59 kts. 

The white horizontal line is the border of weather block.

So I sailed into the new weather and even waited another 10 min before taking this screen shot. 

The wind is now 190 degree and 11.51 kts. 
The boat is still sailing 144 degree and 10.42 kts. 
The TWA indication has changed from 42 to 40 degree?

The course of the boat however is changed with 4 degree at the point where I put the mouse pointer.

A test with auto angle during a wind update (600 and 1800 UTC)
This new functionality is NOT working. I tested is twice now and there is not adjustment of heading while the wind is change 10 or today even 24 degree. I hope this bug gets fixed as it is a very welcome function.



Thursday, 2 June 2011

The VolvoOceanRaceGame BETA II - Started

The VolvoOceanRaceGame BETA II has Started Yesterday 1st June 2011.
This is a closed 2nd test of the new VORG player, and I can see already some improvements from the 1st test. 

I see addional buttons:
-for "Enable auto-sail" selection. This will come handy if you have to set the WayPoint scheduler when away from the computer. I expect that the game will select the best sail or the given wind-conditions and the heading set for your boat.
-for "Enable auto angle". This, I expect, will lock the angle of attack, angle between the wind direction and your boat heading. So if the wind changes direction, you boat heading changes as well in order to keep sailing at the sail's most effective heading.
-When re-opening the game, I now see in a window a text stating whether the selected sail is the optimum selection for given wind conditions and choosen heading.

I will have to work with these and see that the effect is as expected. I guess today behind the computer is a better moment to test it as during the first night or later in the test-race.

I intend to follow the progress that I make in this race with my boat "Paradise" and plot it in a Google map. On the TAB above 'Route' you will be able to see it.  

Fair winds to all.