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Board » General Discussion » Length of Finish Lines

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AHOY SOLers - in SSANZ race chat overnight there has been some discussion about a change in the length of the finishing line. The finishing line was changed halfway through the race because, quite simply, I had forgotten to adjust it prior to race start - the change affected both ends of the line.

There have recently been comments about finish lines needing to be an appropriate length for a race being run and also being aligned well.

I am not an IRL sailor and sometimes I don't see where finish lines should really extend from a sailing perspective. Instead, my focus has been on (trying to) ensure that the finish line, which is always at right-angles to the rhumbline, is creating a reasonable line for finishing boats.

In hindsight, it was probably wrong to make the change when I did but I was so cross with myself that I had failed to get the finish line right that I was more focused on getting the line right then the timeliness of the changing.

Fleet races are open for at least 24hrs practice prior to being raced - during this time please always feel free to make constructive and helpful comments to ensure that the course raced, in all respects, is the best it can be.

In this specific case, however, due to other technical issues an old course framework was used here and, quite simply, in the heat of getting everything done the the length of the finish line was not adjusted prior to race start.

The SSANZ races in SOL are all buddied up with real races in New Zealand so our leeway to adjust is relatively limited (as with all real races) but even so if improvements can be seen, then please always let us know!


Are there specific rules in real sail-racing for determining how long race finish lines should be?

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2011-07-16 09:58:22 ---
Ciao ALL ....

RC asked me in chat to comment on this therad , and I am about to do it with pleasure , in hope to contribute to SOL in a constructive manner :

How long a finish line should be IS NOT THE ISSUE : SOL constraints both on departure mechanicals and on finish lines do not allow to replicate properly IRL . Departure is self explanatory ; as to finish , think for example to the fact that in SOL one can cross the line in either direction . That is NOT IRL for sure . The lenght of the finish line can be whatever , and whatever will be , it will constitute , as always in SOL, the last option as to best tactical choice of where to cross it.

The issue is : CHANGES to the race rules or course DURING the race .

IRL race committees do change things DURING a race , but with the following TWO MAJOR GOLDEN RULES in mind :

1) a change of rule MUST NOT favor some at cost of others .

One good example was the delaying of closure of the Texel timed race . That gave some boats able to re-start an advantage that others still on the track could not have . Simple solution would be to automate the closure time ( being performed by server as per set NOR rule )

2) A change of course ( waypoint ....finish line....etc ) can only take place if NO ONE BOAT has entered the leg where the change occurs AND provided ALL boats can be informed of the change without any chance of doubt . In case of last night finish line the change could be done prior to me passing the last waypoint , and having in place a system that tells ALL boats about the change . ( idea : something similar to the brand new AG whistle of new wx arrived ??? )

3) in case of doubt about 1 AND 2 being adhered to .....CHANGE NOTHING !!!!!

was it a valuable contribution ? ;) ;) ;)

ciao ....and remember .....nowdays without your 105% commitment and dedication to SOL operational handling , there would not be a lot of fun in SOL as there is .......( matter of facts ....not just only recognition ) ..


Piero ( OLD WISE WIN ;) )
According to our course guides (Incognitos excellent work) finish lines should have a certain length and angle. So some finish lines recently where too short. And I don't agree with the "perpenticular angle" thingy because sometimes its very unhandy.

IRL sailing: There are no specific rules for finishing lines. Sometimes race commitees drawing very short lines or have even marks to round for finishing a race - just to keep a clearer record of the finishers.
But that is not very suitable for SOL.


WIN - Quite often course changes IRL will advantage some boats - for example a course shortening will most definitely advantage the current leader...

Stu: The finish being perpendicular to the rhumbline is the best way to code it in the server/client - 1 less piece of info for RC to figure out or the course designer to decide - and less to communicate between server and client...
What CAN be done is to place an extra waypoint close to finish line, such that it doesn't actually change the course, but forces the line to a certain angle - which IS something a few of us have been trying to do - just many of those races have not been opened yet...
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__
Futher having a finish line between two natural headlands in a harbour (US=Harbor) would again be more realistic.

The Antwerpen race is up a narrow "river" and the finish line was around several bends and was not 2 or 4 miles long, as was required by SoL for the NZ White Island Race.

Is there a problem with the number of boats 400+ trying to finish on a short 0.25nm finish line that the server / software cannot handle??

--- Last Edited by NZL_PaulR at 2011-07-18 04:37:42 ---

--- Last Edited by NZL_PaulR at 2011-07-18 04:38:13 ---
If it breaks, it's not strong enough!
3) in case of doubt about 1 AND 2 being adhered to .....CHANGE NOTHING !!!!!
Totally agree with you WIN. Sitting with the feeling that if one permit change after the start is gone, this will lead to new protests from those who set up DC's long before the last WP is passed. Have been exposed to this and woke up far away from the finish line. No pleasant experience having set up DC's that would have led me to a good placement. Begins to draw on my age and then I will have my beauty sleep in peace and with the knowledge that I will hit the finish line.

Many set up DC's for the entire race as it is better to get 50 points instead of 200 points because of the possibility of not being online during the race. A just love to hang out with the rankings, and sometimes this goes straight in the bucket ...
Another interesting finish line at the NASA race ;-) just 0.5nm long and just a half is useable....

In our guidelines we are finding a finish line lenght between 1nm and 20nm, according to the length of the race.

Probably we should talk about the purpose of doing it difficult (or even not). A short race can get additional thrill with a difficult finish line. A longer race should have a clear, uncluttered last leg towards the FL, so a DC is easy. IMHO.

best regards


Here are a few other thoughts for discussion.

In SoL we ALL start from the same single "dot" position but IRL we can choose a start anywhere along a line. I accept the SoL STARTING dot as fair to all and is a computer reality.

If a SoL race is the same or very similar to a real yacht race, more especially if real yachts are also shown (Tall ships, Trackers etc), then the finish line should be the same as IRL.

For fictional races, SoL can do what it likes, e.g. a race to the North Pole, perhaps with the same latitude (60N) start point but choose your own longitude and race to a 1nm circular finishing line e,g, at 89deg 59minutes N. Impossible in reality, but possible in SoL.

Other races then the finish line should be at 90 degrees to the last headland, as most yacht clubs try to do to avoid bias.

The arguement that the finish has to be LONG for LONG races distracts IMHO from the SoL stated aim to be as realistic as possible.

A Round the World Race IRL will often end inside a harbour, for more publicity purposes, rather than say 20 miles out at sea where no one would see a yacht finishing, E.G. Rio de Janerio, Sydney, Auckland, Capetown and finally Portsmouth and Southampton are well within the confines of the Solent, in fact in very narrow channels. Likewise Antwerpen.

So having a finish that is easy for DCs, detracts from SoL's aims, IMHO.

If it breaks, it's not strong enough!
Stuart has a valid point about finishing lines being on land. OK for land yachts but not ocean sailors. n this case, shorten the line further to it's CORRECT natural length.
If it breaks, it's not strong enough!
IRL usually finish lines are very short as there is no need for longer finish lines.

Shall give you an example:BARCOLANA regatta at Trieste is the biggest in the world with almost 2000 boats from supper maxis to 6 mts cabin boats.The start line is almost 3 nm long and finish line only 70 mts.
In most of the regattas the finishing lines are just 50 or so mts long.

In SOL races those lines could be somewhat longer than IRL but not very long.The alignment should be perpendicular to arriving course.

However the length of finishing lines are not so important.

What is important and imperative in SOL that there are NO changes from first issuing of NOR.I have pointed out that, several times in last 6 months.


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