Deviant Hotlaps

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Deviant Hotlaps

Postby Jane Fossett » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:57 am

Last week Cory Copeland raised an interesting question:
Should Hotlaps races use a constant wind speed and direction?

Currently most hotlaps race results are posted using a 'standard wind' for a particular startline that nearly always includes some deviation.
Most NYC B-1A hotlaps use wind settings with variance of DIR+- 15 and SPD+- 3.
This adds an additional challenge to the fleet races, since the wind speed and direction changes, and the skippers need to adapt.
However, in Hotlaps the wind deviation can provide an unfair advantage.
A lucky sailor could catch the most optimal wind conditions and run the course faster than other technically better, but unlucky, skippers.
The "Olympic Long Course" at SYC is a perfect example of this issue.
The lap time is highly dependent on how you catch the wind on certain legs.
The effect evens out in a fleet race, but it can have a major impact on hotlaps scores.

So here's the question:
Does it make sense to suggest we use constant wind settings for Hotlaps, with DIR+- 0 and SPD+- 0 ?

I mean, some of us lose sleep worrying about this stuff....
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Re: Deviant Hotlaps

Postby Yuukie Onmura » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:15 pm

Jane Fossett wrote:So here's the question:
Does it make sense to suggest we use constant wind settings for Hotlaps, with DIR+- 0 and SPD+- 0 ?



hmm i'd say yes.
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Re: Deviant Hotlaps

Postby Vin Mariani » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:10 pm

Jane Fossett wrote:So here's the question:
Does it make sense to suggest we use constant wind settings for Hotlaps, with DIR+- 0 and SPD+- 0 ?
I'm of two minds about this, and just to riff on that for a minute, call them red mind and blue mind.

In the desire to post a fast lap, I am well aware that the wind has more control over the variance in my lap times than my skill does. I'd like the d***d wind to settle down so I could detect small improvements in my skills. Also, comparisons among us would be more directly valid. Right now, posting a lap-o-the-month owes as much to dogged repetition and fortunate wind as to skill. DIR+- 0 and SPD+- 0 would add a lot of clarity about comparative skills.

Hey, this is sailing: dogged repetition and fortunate wind are de rigueur, along with unrepeatable results. The other reason I run laps is to practice for races, and all those "extra" repetitions aren't wasted in that sense. It's more practice. Also, I want to be prepared for a variety of winds at the race. If I sailed under dead steady wind, my lap might gradually turn into something gracefully close to perfection, but not relevant to every-day sailing or racing.

"gracefully close to perfection"? I don't think you have to worry about that, blue.

Hey, you big red bully, step over that corpus callosum and say that again!

All right, and here's a poke in your amygdala, too! #

%%%%&&&&@@##*=

Ow, fellas, fellas, settle down. (I knew this "two minds" thing was gonna be beyond my feeble powers.)

It's not an either/or situation. Why not split the lap categories into "race wind" and "steady wind"? People can do whichever they choose. (With my two minds, I'll probably do both. :) ) In a few weeks or months it will naturally sort itself out into whatever's more popular. Just remember to restore the default wind when you're done.
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Postby M1sha Dallin » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:13 pm

I agree with Vin :)
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Postby Slanty Uriza » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:03 pm

I am lost in two thoughts :?
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Two minds?

Postby Nber Medici » Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:41 am

HEHEHE, Vin that was really funny :)

Since I don't do hotlaps (primarily because I have no interest in being publicly humiliated), I am fairly indifferent to what ya'all (said in my best southern belle accent) decide. There is one issue however...at SYC the wind setter "belongs" to Hollywood Insiders group. So only members of that group can change the wind setter.

Race Directors are members of that group...but it is not open enrollment.
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Re: Two minds?

Postby Jane Fossett » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:55 am

Nber Medici wrote: ...at SYC the wind setter ... is not open enrollment.

That's right; I had forgotten that important point!
That simplifies the issue for the SYC windsetter.

However, for the the NYC Bismark Sea Raceline and others in SL,
I think "Zero Deviance" Hotlaps may make some sense.
I'm sure Vin's left frontal lobe would agree, no matter what his amygdala thinks.
In any event, the great thing about hot laps is that a skipper can sail the course at their convenience, and the way they choose.
They just need to remember to include wind conditions in their hotlaps posts, and to reset the wind when they are done!
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Postby Vin Mariani » Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:04 am

I guess we're in violent agreement, so let me descend to nit-picking for a moment.

"Zero Deviance"?

Hey, I'm not going anywhere in SL that uses that phrase. (Saves 'em the trouble of ejecting me, I suppose.) That would make race wind what? The oxymoronic, "normal deviance"? Now I like as much normal deviance as the next sailor, but let's not scare off the newcomers, shall we? How about something more nautical, perhaps "Wind 11, steady" and "Race wind"? Other ideas, anyone?

Vin <-- suddenly, world's biggest target for "deviance" comments
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Zero deviance

Postby Nber Medici » Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:11 am

HEHEHE... can't resist that title...

I'd be happy to set the SYC start line at zero variability for wind direction if that is what ya'all decide you want. We can always change it back for a race series.
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Maybe just enough deviance to keep it fun

Postby Cory Copeland » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:28 am

To make Hot Laps 100% fair (LL deviances not withstanding), we would have to have the wind set to zero deviance. I for one find zero deviance sailing a bit boring but, for beginners, it helps them over the hump as they learn the skills of sailing in SL. Remember, one of the reasons we have Hot Laps is for beginners to learn and grow by being able beat their best times, without the intimidation of fleet racing.

This being said, Hot Laps is mostly used by advanced and expert sailors trying to throw down their best times for the month.

Now, returning to the fairness theme, I think that setting the wind so it is fair for Hot Laps and easy for Beginners and FUN for enthusiastic sailors will be best. Let's look at the variables and think about what variables we have.


WIND SPEED:

Wind speed as a variable creates the greatest inequities in lap times. Beginner sailors who are trying to make their boats go fast get discouraged when they have "it all set right" yet they still go slow. I suggest that wind speed variability be set to zero at all hot lap sites.

Having wind speed changes in fleet racing doesn't even make sense to me but having fleet races at different steady wind speeds is fun.


WIND DIRECTION

Wind direction changes make sailing interesting and adds a level of skill to the sport. Anticipating which way the wind is changing adds a whole new dimension compared to setting your boat on a tack and waiting till the next turn.

Although having wind direction variability will make lap times unequal for Hot Laps, the inequality will be far less than with wind speed changes and it can be countered with skill. The sailor with the best skills will ultimately win because she has anticipated the wind, where to make her tacks and gybes and how to round each buoy. Because the windsetter is a random algorithm, even the best sailors will have to do a few laps to get their best times.


RATE

The rate of change of the wind direction adds to the skill level. Until we held the races at ACC, all windsetters I'd ever seen have been set to 1. Upping the rate to 2 creates multiple wind direction changes for each leg of most race courses and sailors need to be quick and alert. Increasing the rate of change improves "fairness" for expert sailors but is very difficult for beginner and intermediates.

Therefore, after all of my long windedness, i propose the following for all Hot Laps courses:

speed 6-11m/second too slow is boring and too fast makes it difficult for beginners.
speed +/- 0 zero deviance
direction X as required for your race course
direction +/- 15 to 45 degrees variation depending on course design
rate 1 maybe a specific start line and race course could have a rate of 2 for experts but i don't think it would be very popular.
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Re: Maybe just enough deviance to keep it fun

Postby Yuukie Onmura » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:39 am

Cory Copeland wrote:direction X as required for your race course



more fun, of course not really for beginners:

direction Y where Y is anything but X ;)


first iteration: look at course, find place with the least room, set wind so that you have to beat against the wind in exactly that place.

second iteration: run any given course in the opposite direction

third iteration: first + second; and spd+-5 dir+-25
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Postby Jane Fossett » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:55 am

Cory Copeland wrote:To make Hot Laps 100% fair (LL deviances not withstanding), we would have to have the wind set to zero deviance. ...
Wind direction changes make sailing interesting and adds a level of skill to the sport. Anticipating which way the wind is changing adds a whole new dimension compared to setting your boat on a tack and waiting till the next turn.
Although having wind direction variability will make lap times unequal for Hot Laps, the inequality will be far less than with wind speed changes and it can be countered with skill. The sailor with the best skills will ultimately win because she has anticipated the wind, where to make her tacks and gybes and how to round each buoy. Because the windsetter is a random algorithm, even the best sailors will have to do a few laps to get their best times. ...


I think the influence of wind deviance is highly dependent on the boat and the course.
I guess it's stating the obvious that the tako is particularly sensitive to minor fluctuations in wind direction.
Headings with wind= 35 and 90 degrees are very fast, but a tiny change to 34 or 91 will cause a precipitous loss of power.
This sensitivity to wind variation is less evident in boats with a smoother response curve or no spinnaker.

This is often pretty dependent on the race course, too.
The SYC Olympic Long Course may be one good example of this.
I attached a picture below that shows the Olympic Long Course from the "Reach Mark" to the "Bottom Mark."
Maybe it's different for everybody else, but I think of that part of the course in three steps.
The first step, shown in yellow, gets you near the shortcut between the islands in Santa Catalina.
That leg is critical, because if the Wind Variance God treats you nicely, you can do the entire distance as a single 90deg broad reach with spinnaker.
Unfortunately, at least in my experience, most of the time the wind god doesn't like me
and a spinnaker reach lands me on the golf course. (noted by a pink "*" below)
Usually... I'm forced to do the "yellow leg" as three tacks. Which of course loses a lot of time.
My only point here is that "wind directional variance" can have a huge impact on hot laps.
Please: I'm not arguing against variance! I think variance is wonderful,
emulates what happens in real life, and is extremely important for Fleet or match racing.
I just think it should be cautiously advocated for hot laps.
Grin... hey... I could be wrong...
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Postby MarkTwain White » Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:30 am

Jane Fossett wrote:The SYC Olympic Long Course may be one good example of this. {snip} that leg is critical, because if the Wind Variance God treats you nicely, you can do the entire distance as a single 90deg broad reach with spinnaker.
Unfortunately, at least in my experience, most of the time the wind god doesn't like me and a spinnaker reach lands me on the golf course. (noted by a pink "*" below) Usually... I'm forced to do the "yellow leg" as three tacks. Which of course loses a lot of time


Now why would anyone place the reach mark in such a "critical" position? :twisted:
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Beam Reach Fiends

Postby Jane Fossett » Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:01 pm

MarkTwain White wrote: Now why would anyone place the reach mark in such a "critical" position? :twisted:

Obviously, to confirm my SLSailing.com claim that "MarkTwain White has his own fiendish plan."
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Postby Pensive Mission » Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:02 pm

Jane Fossett wrote:Please: I'm not arguing against variance! I think variance is wonderful, emulates what happens in real life, and is extremely important for Fleet or match racing. I just think it should be cautiously advocated for hot laps. Grin... hey... I could be wrong...


This has been an interesting discussion, during the reading of which I have changed my opinion even more than Vin. But I like Cory's argument about speed vs wind variation, and so I would like to (cautiously, of course, Jane) advocate for his suggested conditions. If wind and speed were constant, I suspect all of us would asymptotically approach the same time on a given course (albeit at different rates -- for example, M1sha in a week, Pensive in a decade).
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