Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Virtual Sailing after VolvoOceanRace.

It was in 2009 the Leg of that VORG from Gothenburg to Stockholm, that I started with Virtual Sailing. 
After that VORG, I did some trials and test and ultimately decided that LiveSkipper was the best virtual Sailing Player for me.
After that time, now some 6 years back, I still sail in LiveSkipper with a lot of pleasure, but hate to say that sailing this years VORG was terrible, as if the time was turned back to the old days. 

LiveSkipper Virtual Sailing Player

In 2009, the LiveSkipper Virtual Sailing Player was already better than the VORG player , but the progress that LiveSkipper made over the last years , did not show in the VORG players. The 2012 VORG player from United Games, was indeed better than the previous one, but this years VORG from VR is worse again, not better even than the 2008 VORG player.

To name just a couple of Advantages of LiveSkipper(LS):
- the LS player uses the complete screen, to offer a very wide and clear view on the sailing routes.
- LS maps show the shorelines clearly in yellow , zooming in upto  pixel accuracy
- LS is free to play, with all options like auto-pilot, auto-sail, Waypoints, scheduler with 4 Marks (for optimal sailing while you sleep)
- LS offers a clear and easy to use polar diagram , see pop-up window in the game.
- LS offers upto 24hrs polar projections, (see the red lines ahead of my boat), that show the distance you can sail with the present sail choice in 3, 6, 9  upto 24 hours in each direction, dynamic taking the wind forecast for the future projection lines. This allows a good view on wind forecast and with the marks  and scheduler a good tool for route optimization.
- LS offers a ruler, that allows you  to set a course, measure distances, check on heading to a  target, indicates sailing time to a target point, show loxodromic and orthodromic shortest distances to a target. 
- the Windforecast goes in steps upto 7 days.
- LS has a very good detailed manual, in the form of LiveSkipper wiki, in 3 languages, French, Spanish and English
- LS has a very active Forum again in the 3 languages, where questions are answered quickly
- LS has a chatroom, which you can even turn into a private chatroom.
- LS has less players, than the previous VORG's, which contributes to better and more enjoyable sailing.

If you have touched on virtual sailing and like to continue it, or you look to start with Virtual Sailing, or when you like to enjoy your Virtual Sailing even more, now is the time to connect to LiveSkipper.
You may contact me here, or in Liveskipper forum or send a PM in LiveSkipper and I will answer your questions and help you to get started.

Fair  Winds. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The VolvoOcearnRace 2014-2015 is over, see you ......

Was the last In-Port Race of the VolvoOceanRace 2014-15 nice to see, NO; was it exciting to see , YES.

Brunel leading the VOR fleet in Gothenburg In-Port Race

It was Vestas Wind that made the best start, shortly followed by SCA. It was Brunel that made the worst start of them all (even of all their starts in the VOR 2014-15). Still Brunel won this last In-Port race and Vestas Wind came in last.

Still, I think, that an In-Port race in a narrow water, with shifty and almost no wind, is un-worthy for an Ocean Race event as the VolvoOceanRace. It is not so much the skill of the skippers that decide on winning or loosing in such an event , but more the sudden effects of the winds and the restrictions of the narrow waters where the boats are at that moment. 

Anyway, the Overall classification, was partly decided by this floating show for Mapfre and Alvimedica. Mapfre, was equal on points with Alvimedica and the classification in the In-Port would decide.

Mapfre, made a strategical battle of it, by holding Alvidmedica in control, and allowing Dongfeng to come in between;this was just enough to give the advantage to Mapfre.

Brunel made a bad start, as said, but was at the right time at the right spot and got some wind, that pushed them ahead of all the boats; a shortening of the race course helped in getting over the finish line and take Victory. Brunel did all they could do to pass AbuDhabi in the In-Port classsification, but it was not enough. AbuDhabi managed to end as 6th leaving just Vestas Wind behind them, which brought them the required point difference with Brunel.

So AbuDhabi winner in Overall Legs and in the In-Port races of the VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015. See you in 4 years at the next edition of VOR.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace 2014-15 comes to its last Port: Gothenburg.

The VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 has finished with the Offshore Legs. However, there is still one In-Port Race to be sailed on Saturday 27 June in the harbour of Gothenburg. The Overall ranking is also finished, apart from those Boats that have equal points, as for those the last In-Port Race is important as the best Boat in the In-Port Race Scoreboard will win from the other. 

Winner in Leg 9

Leg 9 was a split one, as there was a 24+hrs pitstop in The Hague. Alvimedica started first from their pitstop and could maintain their lead, be it that it had shrunk dramatically. Behind the winner were 3 Boats, Brunel, Dongfeng and Maphre, who sailed almost the whole distance from The Hague close together. Maphre who started 2nd sailed first along the Dutch coast, only to change heading and follow Dongfeng into the North sea. This allowed Brunel to close in and even pass Maphre, for sure a move that held. Later on Brunel manage to gain a small lead over Dongfeng and this is how these 3 Boats chasing Alvimedica approaching Gothenburg archipelago with many small islands. Wind calms and patches of winds, made it all very tricky. Dongfeng and Maphre both lost some time on Brunel to round the first buoy, but managed later to close in again as Brunel sailed into a windhole. Later Dongfeng got the same problem which allowed Brunel to escape and finish Leg 9 in 2nd place and Maphre could also pass Dongfeng; Maphre 3 and Dongfeng ultimately 4th . 
Abu Dhabi already sure of enough points for the Overall Win had only to finish; they sailed an easy race mostly alone without dangers. The last pair of boats, Vestas wind and SCA were close together but Vestas Wind cold hold on to their small lead and finish in 6th place with SCA closing the Leg 9 in 7th place. 

AbuDhabi celebrates its Victory in VOR 2014-15

Overall Winner of the VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 is 
1. AbuDhabi
2. Team Brunel
3. Dongfeng team.  

It is thus a very important In-Port race for Alvimedica and Maphre, who are 2 points apart in the I-P score, 32 resp 34 points. So if Alvimedica stays ahead of Maphre or when behind does not have more than one boat in between, Alvimedica will take 4th place, and Maphre 5th. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace, pitstop has refreshed the teams for a prolongued End-Sprint to Gothenburg.

The Pitstop in The Hague, did not allow others than the sailing crew to make any repairs or stocking up on the Boas, so they are nicely lined up for the public to have a close look.

VOR Boats lined up in Scheveningen during Pitstop.

This Saturday starting with Alvimedica, the 1st boats to the pits area, will allow the Boats to sail on to the finish in Gothenburg and end the VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 version, apart from the In-Port race on Saturday next week. 

The other boats will be released in sequence and with intervals matching the arrival in the pitstop area. We will have to see which boats suffered and which benefitted from the pitstop; not in time of re-start of course , but with different winds suddenly a huge advantage in Miles might have halved only.

Also to the North-West of the Netherelands, are a number of exclusion zones, some very long almost reaching to Jutland, Denmark. The navigators will also be very busy to sort out with the windsforecast, which slot between exclusion zones to choose. It could become a short, intense sprint to Gotherburg of about 450 Nm.

Friday, 19 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 ONE & ONLY Pitstop.

It is a first in this VolvoOceanRace, a Pitstop. During the last Leg from Lorient to Gothenburg a 24+hrs Pitstop has to be made in The Hague, either to give some rest to the tired skippers and sailors or to honor the interest of Volvo in the Netherlands.

Alvimedica, first to make a Pitstop in The Hague
After a tricky first half of Leg 9, there was a large exclusion zone in the Channel, closing about 80% of the water and leaving only small stretches of water on either side close the White British cliffs and the French beaches  Alvimedica won the pitstop.
They will get out as first Boat starting Saturday 20 June from 1000 UTC , following in sequence by the other Boats, with a time interval for starting according to the arrival in the piistop.

Thus Alvimedica gets a nice 2hrs advance for the short stretch left till Gotherburg, and have a fair chance for Victory in this last Leg 9.

If there are no further changes in the order, it will be a very close call for the 2nd Overall postition.

Now, if the standings in Gothenburg are as in the pitstop:
1. AbuDhabi        -19 points with 5  brings 24 points  - winner Overall
2. Brunel            -27 points with 4 brings 31 points   - (depend on In-Port )
3. Dongfeng        -29 pionts with 2 brings 31 points   -(Brunel<>Dongfeng)
4. Maphre           -31 points with 3 brings 34 points   - (depend on In-Port)
5. Alvimedica       -33 points with 1 brings 34 points  - (Maphre<>Alvimedica)
6. SCA                -44 points with 7 brings 51 points   - 6th
7. Vestas             -54 points with 6 brings 60 points  - 7th

Now in the In-Port races , Brunel is 5 points ahead of Dongfeng, so a finish for Brunel as 5th will put Brunel on the 2nd place Overall.

Between the other two, Alvimedica is 2 points ahead of Maphre, so has to stay ahead of Maphre or allow Maphre just be in front of them, to secure the 4th place Overall.

The final Gothenburg In-Port race will be sailed on Saturday 27 June. 

See how important the results from the In-Port race can become.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace final LEG 9 well on its way to Gothenburg.

The final LEG 9 in the VolvoOceanRace started with a fierce battle in the waters of Lorient. Boats were clearly fighting for the starting positions once entering the Open Waters, as wind forecast was promising some difficulties in passing other boats.
Team Brunel sailed a master race and was clearly the winner to start the race in the big waters. Indeed they could hold the lead till the entrance to the Channel.
There Alvimedica, sailed a slightly different course, cutting right to the French coast and gaining the lead.  After that they could only extend their lead and Brunel was falling to forth place, enough to loose their potential 2nd Podium place.
VOR fleet split on the Channel exclusion zone going into the North Sea

This Leg has put too many exclusion zones in, such that the narrow waters of the Strait of Dover, has been forbidden for aobut 80% and only a 10% strip of water on either side is available for the VOR fleet.
However, this brings some challenges to the teams, as the channel exclusion zone, stretches from Caen to Rotterdam and allows no crossing once a side has been choosen and entered. 
In the image above , you can see 3 boats north and 4 boats south in the Channel. So I guess that the differences are not felt too big and some might expect the best of the Northern approach and some the Southern .

We will have to wait till the Boats reach the pit lane in front of The Hague, as the fleet will come together there again for a day rest in this short leg.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace , starts today Tuesday the last Leg 9.

The VolvoOceanRace is starting Today, Tuesday 16th June 2015 it last Leg 9 from Lorient, France to Gothenburg, Sweden;with a pitstop at the coast of The Hague, Netherlands. The starters gun will sound at 1500 UTC.

The 7 Boats will first sail the parcours shown in the image below before selecting the best heading and sail to go fastest to Gotherburg.

Lorient Starters parcours for Leg 9.
The starter parcour sailing will be broadcasted on the Internet, so for each Globe trotter to see. Youtube will have a recorder to see it later.

The Boats will have a pitstop at a location just outside the coast of The Hague. Each boat will stop at the pit lane, the arrival times will be recorded and at Saturday 20th June from 10:00 UTC onwards, the boats will start in sequence of arrival in the pit with a delay that is equal to the difference in arrival time; navigators just take care that wind patterns will be changed in those 24+ hrs. I will see this for the first time and wonder what impact it will have on the standings.

AbuDhabi, has already the points in hand to win, but I understand they have to finish and of course not collect any penalty points. The 2nd--5th placed on the Scoreboard are just 6 points apart, to a fierce battle is expected between Brunel, Dongfeng, Maphre, Alvimedica, as each still has a chance for the 2 and 3rd Podium places.

Friday, 12 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace , the penultimate Lorient In-Port Race

The penultimate In-Port Race in the VolvoOceanRace will be on Sunday 14 June at 1200 UTC. While the points do not count this year in the Overall VOR classification, the standing will be important for those Boats that scored equal points in the Overall VOR races.

Parcours Lorient In-Port Race
And before Leg 8, there were 2 boat-pairs on equal point. We may expect thus a fierce battle in the waters just off the Lorient coast. The parcour is like the image above shows.

Don't miss, it and if you can't be in Lorient, you can watch it live on the internet, via the VOR website or in Youtube.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

SCA glorious Victory in VolvoOceanRace Leg 8

The boys were chasing the girls for the last couple of days, but the Girls were too fast for them all. SCA took Victory in Lorient on Leg 8 in the VolvoOceanRace with a comfortable lead.

SCA's last Miles before taking the win.

SCA took the lead already in the first night of this Leg. In front of the Portuguese coast with weak  variable winds, they found the best winds and run away never to be approached again.The 2nd day , SCA could extend their lead and in the stormy Gulf of Bisque, they sailed a perfect strategy, with never gave any change to close in , let alone pass the girls. A well deserved win.

Second came Vestas Wind, after a 6 months rest, where their boat, which they wrecked on some coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. They must be happy, that their new navigator could avoid the corals reefs, there are  not too many around Portugal though. 

Third AbuDhabi and very important with a boat between them and their nearest rivals. The points in the Overall ranking are beyond reach for the other boats, so they just have to sail and finish the last Leg 9.

Brunel, made a good last day of sailing, with passages of first Dongfeng and later Alvimedica in the final miles in a tight battle.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace Leg 8 is on its way.

Saturday, 6th June, started the activities towards Leg 8 , Lisbon to Lorient, France, with a Lisbon In-Port Race with the full number of Boat; Vestas Wind is ready after a repair and able to sail again. [Vesta wind, made a small navigational error and landed on some reefs just North of Mauritius, the boat damaged that much that a 6 month repair campaign was required].

The Lisbon In-Port race was held in reasonable winds, be it that there were some un-expected shifts that either helped some of the Boats or pulled them back in the ranking. Maphre made a good start and actually was not in danger anymore, be it that they had to make some crucial moves to stay ahead of AbuDhabi and Alvimedica; it is thought that the extensive training of Alvimedica in Lisbon waters will have helped them with some local knowledge on winds, wind-shift and the currents from tide and the river.  
It was a very, lets say too close, finish between SCA and Vestas Wind. The later being in un-favorable position, tried to force themselves in between the buoy and SCA, which was not possible. Vestas Wind touched the buoy and came close to SCA, but got a penalty for unsafe sailing and had to to around; this lost them 2 places and on the last place. 

Ranking Lisbon In-Port 
1 Maphre
2 AbuDhabi
3 Alvimedica
5 Brunel 
6 Dongfeng
7 Vesta Wind

On Sunday, Leg 8 started with a Lisbon parcours under the bridge. Again Maphre made a good start and was leading the fleet till the turning point, landinwards of the bridge.By this time the wind collapsed and the currents came in. Maphre was taken by the currents and at a time got further and further away from the mark.  The fleet compressed to set sail to open waters. Midway a sudden windshift, forced all boats to make some heading changes.
Team Brunel, 1st Boat to leave Lisbon for Leg 8 to Lorient

 Brunel resolved this the best and they were the winners of the Leg 8 starting parcour race , setting sail as first into the open waters.  

Friday, 5 June 2015

Lisbon In-Port Race in VolvoOceanRace, will there be good wind?

Last version of the VolvoOceanRace had weak winds during the Lisbon In-Port Race, will tomorrow be any different? Lets hope that winds are good and that a fierce battle can be fought on the Tagus river. 

The Start is at  13:00 UTC Saturday 6th June 2015.

If you are not in Lisbon, you still can enjoy the live spectacle via internet, either on Youtube or the VOR website. 

A day later, the VOR fleet, complete this time with Boats Vestas wind back in the race, at the time Leg 8 to Lorient will start.