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Board » General Discussion » Starting to get over it......SOL

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I am losing interest in SOLing now, without the need/use of routing programs I feeling left behind and the enthusiasm is on the down. I don't get up for the new weather anymore and not at the computer, well on SOL during the day for the new weathers.
After my sheer brilliant in the Hobart/Christchurch race many years ago and some other good results 9th in the last SOR (Volvo) I have slowly sliding down the rankings, It use to be fun but now it seams to to involved transferring girps (or what ever the electronic form of the wind), polars between computers and programmes and want ever else happens.

I also use to like the short races where we chip the corners, but are people talk about vmgs, vmcs and a whole lot more acronyms I start getting dizzy.


I have enjoyed the time I have sailed and make contacts in different places around the world, and can only think what the "Gods of SOL" have put into the excellent software.

The "Sloop" might be sailing off into the sunset after crossing the line at Galway.
That is a pity you feel that way John, but good results do not require anything more than SOTP and time.
This last race in NZ I did not use a router, and came 2nd by only 2 seconds. 'africa' never uses weather routing software and is currently 6th overall in the rankings.

Perhaps (not withstanding the wider use of weather routers) the standard and knowledge level on SOL has gone up over time? If you are consciously skipping wx updates and not spending as much time on SOL as the past, certainly you cannot expect to be achieving good results?

The concepts such as VMC and 'Targets' etc are even more relevant to the SOTP SOLer than one using routing software. Don't 'switch off' if people start talking about it - it is important! And very much for IRL racing to. Throwing around acronyms will happen in any conversation by knowledgeable yachties, whether online or over a beer/rum in the bar after a race (racing offshore I mean)

But using routing software or not - I'm not sure most SOLers appreciate the amount of time those who consistently finish well actually spend on the races. I did not sleep for more than 2x 1hr blocks during this recent NZ race (so nap is a better word than sleep). I have known WINSTON_4 to rely heavily on his special Italian coffee for extended periods. Certainly we are not the only two.
If routing software is the 'easy way to sail', why is it, that it has taken 5 (?) years of SOL racing before we had our first SOLer in the SYC rankings with a perfect score? How is it that WINSTON still manages to win almost every race he enters?? (certainly well north of 1/2)

This is also a good opportunity to explain (once again) that using routing software is far from the easy path to a good result. A good example is this past VOR leg 5. How divergent were the routes taken by myself/rumskib/NZL_UC and 76T/WIN/ita (all known router users) - with still others sailing somewhere completely different. And I can tell you this - my router was telling me to go the same way as 76T et al - I ignored it, much to my benefit, almost scoring a podium (if not for medical emergency 14 hours before the finish), and the very SOLer I mentioned who doesn't use any routing software was the one who slipped by to claim the final podium spot :)

Also that use of some other external software does not necessarily mean a weather router. I routinely use ExpeditionLT to download the GFS (global forecast system) files. Sure, the wind is not exactly like on SOL, but I am not using it in a weather router. I do this because I can see information not available in the SOL forecast - ie pressure (MSLP) etc - which aids me in my decision making.

Many have said in chat or other places, things like "Oh, the ranking would be very different if we banned routers"
No, they wouldn't...
I have absolutely no doubt, that purely by hand, the likes of 76T, ita, WIN and many others (myself included) would still sail almost identical routes, it would just cost them more time to determine that route. So really, routers just become a time saving tool for many. Personally I did not ever use one for a race until I was consistently coming up with near optimal routes by hand. And then what are computers largely for but to save us the repetitive grunt work?
I did use one 'retrospectively' on the race to learn from it - ie compare my own route with what the router would have suggested. It was a great way to increase my knowledge by trying to figure out why the router suggested something so different to where I had actually sailed.
They have many uses other than 'tell me where to go in the race'.

The use of routing software is really misunderstood by many who do not use them, and sadly there is very little anyone can do to remedy this.

PS: In a 'VOR year', you cant expect as many of the short 'corner chipping' races. SOl has also established a sort of 'Annual Race Calendar' which we try to stick to, and just 'fill the gaps' with other short races. There just arent as many gaps to fill in the even years

--- Last Edited by Aaron Gage at 2012-04-09 06:05:23 ---
I help develop the client interface for the best online ocean racing sim there is... __/)/)_/)__
Hi John

Sorry to hear you're not loving it. You should be finding something enjoyable with SOL, otherwise why bother? Take a break and come back. Or find something else to enjoy out of it.

I agree with Aaron, routers only speed up a tedious calculation process if you are that way inclined. Many sail very fast, and certainly faster than me, without using them at all. I only started using one because my spreadsheets and pipe scrap paper were getting silly. I also wanted to learn how to use one in case I ever do some more offshore racing.

I enjoy the challenge here, and the banter on the chat. I feel I'm learning from those who know more, so when I'm on the water, I'll be wiser and that might help win some more races. Then again, I might just talk bull as usual and have a yarn with my rum.

Cheers, Kevin

--- Last Edited by NZL Scotsman at 2012-04-09 09:59:01 ---
I completely understand John's position, I started SOL on the 2008 Ocean Race... after a year and half racing here I took a 2-year break from SOL and restarted on leg1 of this years Ocean Race...

Back then we didn't have routers, we knew that brainaid was too far from us using data the way we could or did not know how... back then you could end up 500 or in the top 10 on a single leg

Looking back at the time, I think long races had a wild beauty, the only thing you could do is read statistical data of weather patterns for past years on certain parts of the world and move the slider on the client to see what weather you would have in the coming days...

I understand Aaron's point on the routing issue, I know this has been debated in the past a lot... myself I don't use a router, sometimes I had a look on zezo's charts without however sticking to the proposed route. I think some of us don't have the time, willingness or whatever to get to learn, use a new routing program...

On leg 1 and just before the top100 finished, I asked on chat what do the top100 had in common... Someone answered "dedication" but clearly there's more to that when you see that for 1000miles there are numerous boats with identical or close to indentical routes...

Yes times have changed and most possibly on a long voyage IRL you would also use a routing program... it does not mean however you are a good seaman ;)

Having said the above and speaking for myself, I am not too dedicated anyway, will miss 2 weather updates with the now Dayling savings change of time, so I don't complain... my beauty sleep superceeds the dedication to SOL :)

~ ride like the wind ~
I find the sailing IRL interupts my SoL sailing and if IRL sailing I like to get away from emails, internet, phones & TXT messages. Peace and quiet, smooth seas and fair winds, all relaxing in sunshine so I can concentrate on racing!

So I often go aground in SOL, miss the odd mark etc but enjoy sol if I can maintain a top 25% performance.

I do enjoy Google Earth seeing and learning about places we are sailing past, when I have spare time.

So I must admit I don't overstress if things go wrong in my SoL SOTP sailing.


--- Last Edited by NZL_PaulR at 2012-04-09 20:41:43 ---

--- Last Edited by NZL_PaulR at 2012-04-09 20:42:38 ---
If it breaks, it's not strong enough!
Sloop don't go i need the competition, as in less routers. me i only use what's on the screen and thanks to Agage's beta version it's given me more although for some reason it just stopped on one PC so now i can't use that during the day.
Read some of the comments and thought about having a go with these other tools but then thats more time and i'd rather be IRL sailing.
Perhaps a suggestion, we (honestly) say if we are using any more tools than the SOL beta version, those using routers etc could have a "-R" added to their name. This would be interesting and for all to see, like Agage mentioned.
I know how you feel. However, now-a-days I take a different view.

Reason 1: I have pushed through the pain barrier of beaching and use SOL to learn from my brain farts of which way to go, all the while following the moves from those up front, looking at the wx updates and why the top guns do what they do. These days I don't get upset if I'm late starting, beach or miss an update every now and then because I am out real life yachting, putting into practise what I have learnt from SOL. And it's fair to say that many of the trophies Edwin and I have collected over the past 2 years are a direct result of SOL. These days I expect to win, knowing that the reason we tack or gybe is because of what I have learnt from playing this game.

Reason 2: Yachtyakka would not be what it is today without the links and tips from those yachties who play SOL. Sharing their stories, their yachting and their passion for this fantastic sport. I have made irreplaceable contact with real yachties from all over the world like Eddie, Sophie, Joanne, Jeroen, Neil and too many more to name. This SOL community is simply the best.

happy sailing sloopjohnb, enjoy a break every now and then.

Thanks for introducing me and the crew.org members to the best online yachting, and thanks to Kale, Jacob and Jeroen and too many others to list here for all the work that is needed to keep this game at the top of the game.

I looked at routing software once, couldn't understand it but then I have no idea what SOTP or half the acronyms used here mean so I suppose it shouldn't be any surprise.

SOL = Good
Rum = Good
Too much Rum = pain
YY = Dodgy Island dwelling sheep toucher

OK, so I do know a few ;)
sotp = look out the window for witch way to go
sol = social media
rum = mmmmmmm
yy = my very doggy yachting entertainment blog
sheep = knotme knows more about this topic, ask him :-)

--- Last Edited by nzlyachtyakka at 2012-05-24 11:41:39 ---
After 4 1/2 years of SOLing the "Sloop" is heading into the sunset.

Over those years I have really enjoyed the racing, companionship of people from the 4 corners of the world.

I would like to thank Jakob, Kalle and Jeroen and the new chums AGage, Brainaid, hmm and 76trombones for putting together the best online sailing program on the web and wish them all the best in the future.

I will be lurking and may do the odd race.

Farwell and best of luck to all the SOLers.


--- Last Edited by NZL_SloopJohnB at 2012-07-05 09:05:51 ---

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