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Board » General Discussion » BWR Route Helper Tool

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Interesting thread.
1) It may have already been suggested...
2) There is no way to enforce it...
3) Could there possibly be "divisions" for races? Super-router, router, pencil&paper, guess-timator, total newbie, etc... whatever classifications would allow similar capabilities to compete together, and help each other learn the ropes.

I am not suggesting the Big Boys are not willing to help with questions, I have certainly learned quite a bit, but new SOLers may be a bit intimidated by the level of sophistication; especially if trying to break into a very busy Chat session with a basic (but important) question.

I tried to come up with suggestions how to logistically create divisions but perhaps the veterans would have better input.

Good topic.
All this is nothing new... Tn fact it is the main reason I quitted already months ago...
Where is the spirit of Corinthian sailing SOL has in the early days?
"Sailing is an Art"
Who used software in the top 50 finishers of Leg 5 of the Global Challenge?

I do and I finished 21st.

I also get a full nights sleep every night unless I am close to shore or the finish.

I can not afford to spend more time at my computer SOLing than I already do.

Also I have learnt so much about Expedition and how routing works that I hope to use my knowledge alot more in the real world.

Cheers Undercover
Wow I didnt realize posting this would be so controversial!

Firstly if you look at my results lately it should be clear I am not sailing to a computer optimised route... In many races I do not use one at all, and those I do, I use a grid so large the only effect is to save me time planning out a route by hand, so I can ideally spend more time on fine-tuning a route.

I originally started using routing software as an educational tool, I would actually plot the route after i sailed it in SOL and analyse where I could have gone better. After some time I found that routes I would plot by hand would coincide more or less with a route from BWR (remember I only use large grids), so now it becomes a question. "Should I still do this by hand only to get very similar result in 3 hours to what I get in BWR in 15 minutes?". To me this seems a silly question: what are computers largely for? Performing tedious repetitive tasks, just like this.

Also, there is one use of BWR being overlooked (possibly Expedition also but I dont recall SP can do this): that is for manually inputting a route, so that instead of using purely time offest DCs, you can allow BWR to compute the time (which will often have significant error). But you still need to decide the bearing and distance you will sail...

There are times when we need to run out the door unexpectedly, or something else comes up when we were planning to do a bit of SOLing, and this tool can help by allowing us to quickly input a route using BWR. Should we allow many hours of hard work to go to waste because we are pulled away from the game? Or should it not be fine to use a tool to more quickly input our route so we dont lose as many places? BWR can be used as simply an input alternative to the SOL client. How is there harm in automating the input phase? Infact this is precisely why I wrote the tool posted here. Likewise when manually entering DCs I have made the mistake of reversing the sign of a TWA. It is also possible to make error in converting the time. Using a tool such as this removes the possibility of such human error - trust me it is not pleasant to realize 30 hours later that 3 weeks of SOLing has been ruined because you entered the wrong sign in your TWA DCs in haste!

Sailonline.org is unique in that it is as close to one-design as you can get; there is not even performace issues to do with boat handling! And our sails and gear never wear out. Everyone on TWA of 47.6 in 12 knots has exactly the same boat speed. This seems to have softened alot to the realities that people will look for an edge. IRL this can be changing rigging or going to a new sailmaker or whatever else that is within class rules. I am actually surprised it has taken so long for a significant number of people to do the same on SOL. However, on SOL there is no rigging to play around with, nor alternative sailmakers to explore (and remember, plenty of people like tinkering with rigging just for the sake of it!). And just like in the boat shed or drive way, there are those who like to tinker with the virtual environment on SOL, perhaps just to better understand how it works, perhaps to perform better, perhaps for the fun of creating a tool which saves performing a tedious task.

TBH it seems to me that many of you have decided that SOL should be one particular way (ie no use of other software to help) and now get upset when others start discussing how they use such tools on SOL, when in fact you have no right to place such restriction on the game. Clearly some think use of routers is 'not in the spirit', but who are you to decide what that spirit should be? I personally think that syndicate sailing is going beyond the spirit in which this racing is intended, but to speak of quitting SOL or similar such drastic measures is simply 'cutting off my own nose despite my face' so to speak; but also I do not have the right to dictate to others how they play this game.

A large portion of this sport is about progress: research and technology to make boats go faster. Most of the polars we use to sail here would be impossible without it! (boats sailing faster than the TWS??)

There also appears to be some assumption that there is no 'middle ground'. Some will use routers to plot a route and then sail that exact route, others might use it as a guide, and yet others use software to explore routes themselves. Likewise they may at times rely completely on these tools, while at other times not use them at all. There is actually a wide spectrum of external tool use possible, and indeed happening.

Lastly, for those who think using a router is a sure way to a fast time in SOL, it is not. In principle it is possible for software to compute a perfect route for SOL within the 6hr window of a Wx update. And I mean perfect, written specifically for SOL using the same weather interpolation and update intervals as the server. But that route must still be implemented in the simulator. There is uncertainty in how the next weather pattern will develop - an optimal route within 1 window may not be optimal over 3 or 4?. There is still plenty to do, even if you have such a theoretical perfect route plotted for you, in actually getting your boat to the finish line ahead of all others...

As it is impossible (without breaking privacy laws) to stop people using tools like BWR or their own home written tools, would you rather those who create them to keep to themselves or to share?

But seriously: "Souless Geeks" Zero? Taking it abit far aren't you?
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__
my 1 cent.

when I started SOLING about 2 years ago there was brainaid winning every single race. This was partly because he was developing his own tool but mostly because he is a skilled sailor and metereologist. Noone was complaining. Most of the top sailors (Wiz, SWE54) were also using routing tools and winning races, still nobody complained.

Then some other player started to develop custom routers and some other learned how to use available ones (Expedition, BWR, MaxSea, Deckman, SP etc) and the competition become harder. But still it was possible to me finishing on the podium and systematically sleep overnight (unless there was some WP rounding).

Now many people uses software tool and many are starting to develop their own. But we have also some newcomer who are doing surprisingly well.

Few months ago I proposed to reduce wx updates in ocean races at 1 every 24h. This will increase our sleeping ours and also demand for better wx prediction skills and reduce the "mathematical" sailing. Also short races with lots of islands or WP reduce the effectiveness of software routing.

For sure, everytime this issue is brought up we start and endless and pointless discussion about routring/non routing. IMHO this should not be the case as we are all a bunch of quite experienced sailors and we all know what seamanship and sportmanship are, no matter if IRL or on a computer screen.

have a nice day
Aaron Gage

You typed alot and my poor english might miss some point in it...sorry for that.
But I think I get the most of it and I must put an reply. I try to do it short.

For me there is no problem with "some" routing, really. But when you see how some "group" of SOLers hacking other boats to see the possible routs for them...I think it "low".. even lower than Glocalnet...;)

And when you compare this with IRL you must see the differences. Thx wx here IS the next hours weather. When you have possibilities to put the wx in a computer and push a button to see the optimum route, I think the fun part is lost. I don´t find the right word for "facit", but I try here with "key". IRL, the real weather allways shows a difference from the forecast, more or less. That makes you to think abit on your own.

I think you also talk about "allways find a way to make it faster (IRL this can be changing rigging or going to a new sailmaker or whatever). Thats way there is so many class rules I think. X-35 for an example, (the boat I sail) you can not do so much to speed that up. Everything must be as it is from the builder. You can not have more than 640kg crew...you can not buy that much sails you want ... you can not move the blocks and winches ... etc etc . Everything just to make the class fair, fun and interesting I guess. Express is a big class here in sweden and that class has a lot of rules as well and I think thats the big reason why it is so big. People like to have the same conditions.

If the majority want to change a class rule that would certainly be done... and if I do not like it so it's up to me to continue or not. But I like it here so much that I feel I can speak my mind. And if I read the inputs I get right, I am not alone with my thoughts. To bad there is no rules in this class... It seems to be free to do what ever...

Last but not least, I am not upset because of routingusers, but I am upset when I get information that says like it did in my last replay at 2011-02-28 21:01:05!!

Over and out

Gilles spoiled
I would like to share with my friends a couple of thought:

First with Jep, so get the replay to his questions,
1) c´mon !that is as the same level as chatting in the chat room with friends!
2)could be that some one do but is no guarantee to win, and as I heard the implementation in SOL make it different anyhow.. so what? I am not doing (not evven a clou how to..)
3) that in normal learning curve IMO
4) life is what happen while you make plan! I have not such a time!!!!
5) see iberian discussion....
6) what the hell are you talking about? se point 4)

At the same time I could not take personally point 7, even if I know was written with no bad meaning. (saying that from an italian guy living in Germany)

I celebrate a victory? of course! who doesn´t? as I try always to congratulate to the top20 even if I am not partecipating to a regatta.
do I sleep the night? yes, with some exception like tricky rounding and want to win.

When I joint SOL 2 years ago there were regularly a group of swedish boats taking 6 or more place in the top10.
This give to me the stimulus to learn, and share the lesson I learnt with my fellow.
Be sure I was the children to which the candy are stolen, but I grew up and take revenge because I lernt how to sail!

and for all....
is a competitive world: you want to win? learn!
you want happy sailing? enjoy and have fun!

IRL when I go one/two days sailing I look the weather and make a routing of course!
Is basic planning and safety! simply belongs to good seamannship
or someone is telling me that go IRL for a regatta of 2 days and look up the clouds on the start line?
which sails you bring on board then???

from the 76Trombones blog some big value lesson I taken ( available to everyone under link), thanks 76!!!

"...the fastest boats are the ones that set a strategy and then look to the router, not the other way around."
"...Learning how weather systems behave can have a big impact on how you use routing software."
"...just doing what the voices tell you won’t lead you too far astray if you’re SOLing while juggling lunches and rushing people out the door in the morning."

Given the above the best tool used for setting dc is with pencil and paper looking at SOL weather chart, dc time= distance / speed

Now someone want to know if I use a routing?
no problem
NZL Leg 2 yes: end result 6
Bimini no routing; end result 14
global challenge
leg 1 no router end result; 11
leg 2 50%: following big guys at the beginning and lunch routing out of the window in the middle of the race, router was telling me to go south and I did NOT, I was reading the weather with wet finger and end result 3!
leg 3 yes and get stacked in wind hole for 16 hours; end result 34
leg 4 only in the middle phase; end result 1
Round White Island Race 2010 yes end result 1
Iberian tour: multicrew routing end result 2
november scurry no; end result 2
the others sorry but I do not remember, take 50%.....
all above you can take or leave it,

and if someone want to see who is really good without a router, I know a number of guys that will love to take the challenge, on navigation skill on SOL and sailing IRL and combine the result!

Why I love SOL?
chatting deep in the night about vocal, lifestyle in different part of the world, where is coldest , snow storm approaching,
sailing technic (of course!), learning to read the weather chart and thousand more little things with people sharing the sailing passion from all over the world,
big guys, and I am not, giving sailing lesson for free.

My 1 cent
Please apologize me if hurt someone, my bad english could have taken me out of track

--- Last Edited by Gilles at 2011-03-01 10:06:49 ---
Jepsom, what do you mean 'Hacking other boats'?

Are you referring to just keeping an eye on them? Or logging into their accounts? Or what exactly. This is the first time I have heard hacking applied to SOL...

I dont see anythign wrong with keeping close eye on competitors, I do it, to learn form them and to help keep them behind me on the odd occasion I am in front ;-)

But if there is actual hacking going on, that is disturbing...

And yes I did write alot! I didnt intend to but once I got started, it just came out!
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__
and to ita:

There has allways been complains about this, routing or not. Laiska was one of the first boats who used some kind of routers, and when he started to tell us the final results 6 hours before finishing, the main group get sad and mad... Whats the fun part here..? Then when Brainaid show up with his "key-of-routing" the dialogue was rolling...

I have allways vote for a Routingfree SOLing, except SP maybe (the game is a part of it, isn´t it) but I cant set the rules, And as long as there is no rules here nobody can say cheaters to anything or anyone. Ofcourse it´s up to me to be here or not.

Still, no one explained to me how it feels good to let a computer after the fact, beat one using only the tools the game provides. And to add routing and other boats to see their optimum routs... I can´t use a Code0 when I sail X-35 even if it´s faster in twa between 70 and 120 compared to a genua...and I can´t "see" how my competitors sheet their sails in detail eighter...

For me this is not sailing and strategy anymore...it´s just a fight between the best computer programmer. I am not one of those for sure... ;)

I hope that it´s ok to have an opinion in this without be hanged...

Ps. Undercover... Leg 5 in Global Challengeisn´t done yet... ;) Ds
Interesting comment here Jepsom
"But when you see how some "group" of SOLers hacking other boats to see the possible routs for them...I think it "low."
When I visited Vibrac-Paprec 3 I asked Loick Peyron which software they where useing.
His comment to me was and I quote
"We use Adrena as it has a better fleet routing option. That way we can see the potential course options our opposition may sail and react accordingly"
Within Expedition there is a fleet routing module. This has various formats for different races already built in. Volvo Race, Sydney Hobart, Trans Pac, Mini 650, Trans -Atlantic and a few others. Boat positions are downloaded from the various race commitee's and routed from there. This feature also has a handicapping system as well so you can work out your handicap place during the race.
I havent got this feature working yet as the fleet boat positions are from AIS data and I cant get them into the Race Schedules to do fleet routing without manually imputting them. I cant be bothered doing that as I dont think its so important.
For the next IMOCA leg I have set up which boats I will be keeping an eye on and spend more time looking at the race on Expedition than looking at the SOL race page.
Attachment for all to see. This is the top 10 placed boats pre start.
It will tell me there course and within 10% of there current speed.
Is that really hacking into other boats?
I am sure that the real boats know exactly what speed and heading there opposition are currently sailing.

Lets all just get on with what ever system we like to use and race as well as we can.

We could always set a limit to the hours each day that we look at SOL. More than 4 hours a day must be cheating.

Cheers Undercover

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