Any way of knowing how many boats are in the breakaway group to the southeast in AG2R?
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-04-30 | 00:48:12

I see those guys finishing about 15 hours ahead of the main fleet if the current forecast holds up. Would be nice to know if we are racing for 500th or 5000th position. That could affect strategy. Might be time to roll the dice.

commenticon 63 Comments
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-04-30 | 13:04:00
These guys seem more than 500... , 5000 (optimist) could be nearer from reality, but it depends if you talk only for head of this group or the all, it could be having some place for an intermediate. So we are in a race :) untill the finish line
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-04-30 | 14:52:55
I think at this point we've lost this race. If there's 500 guys in the leading pack of that group I can take that without losing points. If it's 5000 it's going to call for a hail mary gybe early and hope the conditions improve to support it.

I see a lot of red dots on the map over there. Maybe Cvetan has a way of ascertaining how many unique routing requests are coming from that group?
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-04-30 | 16:17:46
My answer was based on the proportion of red dots of our group, and the other, and the position of the fregate. It's not hope we need, it's a miracle :)
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-04-30 | 16:31:01
Hopefully we'll know more in another day or so. Our group is hours behind, but probably not 15 hours... And we have more than a week to pass boats. My guess is that the best finisher from the North group will wind up somewhere in the 200-300 range overall at the end. Buddha and Tipap tend to find a way to salvage a reasonable finish in situations like this, for example.
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-04-30 | 17:42:00
Except in the Chiloe, when they didn't ;) I know, I was with them in the western group.
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-04-30 | 18:51:24
The south group has also to go more south than at the instant, so ...
Post by iconPost by Solveig IV VSC | 2020-04-30 | 19:16:12
I would go with YourMom's estimate - around 300.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-03 | 17:44:50
I'm happy to see the number of participants continuing to rise... It reduces the VSR hit of a bad finish.
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-03 | 18:02:00
Has someone figured out the VSR formula, or is that something I should just wait for the new and improved FAQ for?
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-03 | 18:11:50
Yes. Here's the discussion, which includes a link to BGSteMarine's spreadsheet for easy calculations:
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-03 | 19:00:54
Wow, that is really helpful.

Clear that once you work your way to the top of the rankings you become very risk-averse to stay there. Also, if the fleet ever splits into two or more strategies, you better pick the right one.

Final conclusion, you better race every race to the end of you may never see the top again. It would be nice to have an Abandon Race option. Sometimes life gets in the way of sitting down at the computer at 4 scheduled times each day and night (at a minimum).
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-03 | 20:33:36
I lost 13 VSR points in the Chiloe expedition. Had a brief go left/right moment, finished 800-something in the end. So you better make your mind, even if it's wrong ;-)
Post by iconPost by Hardtack | 2020-05-03 | 20:50:01
In Chiloe I followed all the advices I gathered in this forum, looked at the weather before the race, determined that the east route (hugging the coast) would be faster, sticked to the route even when the router would send me west, and finished 15th.
I could have finished 3rd I think, if server didn't crash an hour before the finish and send me aground. Or maybe I just fell asleep when I meant do my last gybe at 4am local time. I don't remember ;-)

Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-03 | 23:43:11
In both Chilio and AG2R there was a point where the router was oscillating between two very different strategies as the updates filtered in. You had to make a choice. Turns out I along with half the top VSR players made the wrong choice. It took a couple of days to realize you are now racing for 500th :0 The only thing worse is vacillating, which Cvetan points out.

Frankly, this is what makes me keep playing the game. If it's just a matter of doing what the router says, where's the navigation skill in that?

Now I'm working on a 5 run home run as my hail mary move to see if I can catch up (sorry for the American sports references that will probably mean nothing to most of you lol )

Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-04 | 03:06:06
I'm still far from your heights. You are racing for the 500th, and one hour later you, how many could I hope ? ;)
I can see than the top has always the same pleasure of playing : doubt, take decisions, to have the best results even if it's not the win...
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-05 | 02:31:31
Well, Buddha has passed Zwyck and is in 385th place. There are some boats NNE of Buddha ranked ahead, so I'm guessing the number of boats that went to Africa and sailed well enough to not be passed yet is about 350. So I guess my estimate of 200-300 was a little optimistic, but not bad.

The easiest reference points for everyone to see are the Pro sailors. It looks like the real forward pack ends with Alberto Bona (71st) and Grassi/Beccaria (73rd). No one from the La Palma group is likely to catch any of that front pack.

Then you get to Gerckens/Faguet (159th) and Delahaye (172nd). Probably still out of reach.

Then Baudard/Blevec (284th) and Hochart/Roynette (312th). They make viable targets for the front of the La Palma group.

So... best-case for the La Palma group is probably around 250. But... The La Palma group has a lot of boats in it. Being 100th in the La Palma group probably means more like 400th overall.
Post by iconPost by EZY3210 | 2020-05-05 | 08:52:27
Hi guys, perhaps a bit off topic but I don't want to make a new one. I am quite a newbie. Only started VR since I am stuck at home and started using Zezo's Dashboard and Tocct's polars since the last two races. Thank you very much btw for your great tools!
I am part of the La Palma group in this race and it looks like I wasn't assertive enough (or maybe sleeping?) when sailing abeam the south cape of Portugal. That is where our ways separated from the African coast group. Now here is my question:
- I have a full option boat apart from hvy wx sails and winch pro.
- I have lots of time. I check in the beginning of the race probably every hour and later every 2 hours.
- I check in especially just after 0600, 1200, 1800Z to follow possibly new routings after WX update. I program for the night and am asleep at 0200 CET (France) so I miss that wx update.
- I don't pay in the VR game. Only use credits I won before.
- I follow quite closely the zezo routing but avoid gybing if I will stay under two hours on that tack. I sometimes adjust the course a couple of degrees according to toxcct polar.
- I was in top 400 somewhere abeam Porto. Now I am around 1300 th.

Where did it go wrong?What happened in front of the Portuguese coast? Did our ways separate when I was asleep? Do the Pro boats and/or paying players sail quicker even if they have the same options as some one who is not paying?
Of course this is exactly the fun of this game, applying different tactics in function of your gear and wx. But perhaps there are different forces? $$?

Thanks a lot for your views and help!

Post by iconPost by EZY3210 | 2020-05-05 | 10:13:01
Yourmomsa, I just read your topic "proposal for new FAQ",.Obviously I was using wrong hours for wind update. Thanks
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-05 | 13:33:49
What's the name of your boat? I don't see a boat called "EZY3210". You have the same options and general habits as me, so you shouldn't be losing distance badly unless you make a poor strategic decision or make a mistake like sailing all night with the wrong sail. It's hard to assess without seeing your boat, though.

One thing to keep in mind is that the rankings often aren't a good measure of progress. Partly because they're based on distance to finish, which often doesn't translate to expected arrival times. For example, boats directly North of me right now are ranked ahead but would pass behind me if I gybed... and boats directly South of me are ranked behind me, but would cross me if they gybed. So... if your ranking is dropping, it might just be from establishing a more southerly position. The second issue with rankings is that VR has some kind of ugly bug with how the rankings themselves are presented on the screen. You'll see your number jump all over the place. You can only get a consistent number if you actually click on your boat and see what the pop-up window says. Any other ranking should be disregarded as semi-arbitrary.

Regarding your other question... It's a common question for new boats when frustrated at how difficult it is to keep up with highly experienced boats. The answer is no. There are no speed advantages for the full-pack (paying boats), nor the pro boats. Of course, they have an advantage over boats who haven't paid for all of the options with credits... But if you pay for all of the options with credits, you are not any slower. The biggest advantage for Full Pack (and Pro) boats, beyond having all of the options, is that you get unlimited cards.

FWIW... Many top boats run on credits instead of with paid entries. You gain credits every time you finish a race, so if you always pay for every race, you accumulate a lot of credits... I'm doing AG2R on credits. I have every option except Radio and HG. I ran LA-Honolulu (and won) with the same setup, which pretty well proves that paying for a full pack does not produce any unfair advantage.

Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-05 | 14:17:50
I am also a beginner, this is my 4th race.
We have the same boats (full option) we have a FANTASTIC TOOL : ZEZO, and its manual.But we don't have the same skill/experience, knowledge than the top racers to have the the best read of the map/ meteo and the good clic at the good time. We make errors, to climb we have to learn from our mistakes and from the race of the top members. Don't forget to have fun and pleasure in racing with these people.
I'm about the 1000 and it's very well.
Have a good race
I'm happy
Post by iconPost by wallin | 2020-05-05 | 11:33:21
Interesting the fact that they chose the coast of Africa, a route much longer than La Palm. In the Africa group there are very experienced people like Toppen, Luxairfrance, Machaon and others.
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-05 | 12:33:21
405 is the number we were looking for.

Once we had cleared the mass of boats trying to sail the rhumbline and something in between I was 10 miles clear NE of the La Palma group (hence least DTF) and in 405th. I agree with YourMomSA, about half those on the La Palma group are passable.

To give some colour to EZY3210 and Wallin, the zezo route (at least for me) was oscillating between the La Palma and African coast routes as one weather file downloaded. Some guys reacted to the early short-range update and chose the Africa route. It all hinged on low-pressure cells in the north Atlantic that were further south than normal, disrupting the Azores high. For the next 3 updates, the Africa guys were looking like they made a big mistake adding hundreds of miles. However, if you remember, we passed La Palma in very light winds while the Africa group zipped along in a steady 18-20knts. If the trades had stayed steady the positions would have been reversed and that group would probably have been lucky to finish in the top 5000.

Now the question is, how many competent sailors are there in the La Palma group? In other words, taking some risks to try and close up on the Africa group, what's your downside if you end up falling back in the pack?

Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-05 | 14:25:26
It was very surprising because before they had their good wind they began by low wind along the coast. I saw that but thank not competent enough to understand their choice so I prefered the 'stability' and the the Zezo West option.
I would like to know how they made their choice.
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-05 | 14:49:10
Maybe one of them will answer why they did it. I can only answer why I did not. The Africa route violated one of my principles which is when choosing among two equal predicted outcomes, reject the one that has the largest departure from the rhumb line. If the forecast changes and that route is no longer viable you will be stuck 100's of miles off course.
Post by iconPost by EZY3210 | 2020-05-05 | 18:40:57
Thank you Mom and bmertens for your replies!

Good to know you don t need to pay to get good perf.
My biggest question was why I missed the train to the African coast. I only want to learn from my mistakes. And Linus, me too I m happy;). I just want to steepen the learning curve;)
Bmertens you partly answered my question. You said 'the zezo routing was oscillating for me'. Do you mean it was one moment giving a routing via La Palma and 5 min later via the African coast? Or was it an hour interval? Or did you simulate a routing calculation with a starting point a couple of NM east or west of your position ? Was it night time (CET) when you saw it oscillating?

Do the pro guys use zezo? In the real life I use W4D and I used it in the beginning of the confinement when I started playing VR. But it was complicated because I needed to enter manually the coords and the calculation took much longer than zezo. So i wonder do the pro guys use their own router software or do they use zezo? Their course changes are pretty similar to the zezo onces.

Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-05 | 18:53:24
The router probably never showed that route clearly. Let's say because the route did not reach the finish by 4 days when the routes split.

Here comes the experience and attention. In such situations you have to imagine the finishing part yourself, taking notice of the forecast at the time your boat reaches the area.

Or maybe the real sailors were using different weather model that gave preference to the other route - that's usual in real world sailing

Unfortunately GFS is the only free global model. Access to the EU alternative costs something like $100k/year, so I'd have to collect $10/month from every user just to cover that cost.

P.S. I'll ask Toppen for some first-hand insight.

Post by iconPost by SlyStarLeRetour | 2020-05-05 | 20:34:48
Well Cvetan, to be frank,i can remember the route to African coast was visible on your Zezo during perhaps 20 to 30 minutes. Then the window was shut off and the "usual" route to Las Palmas was provided.
It is probably as question of talent (and luck?) to be able (like Toppen, Luxair PrawnStar and Machaon) to feel (to smell??) this was good routing ...

PS - I still wonder why i did not jump in that group too... :)

Thanks a lot for your continuous work !!
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-05 | 20:45:05
That's exactly what Toppen said. Saw it during the update and went for it.

I was busy at that time and never saw it coming.
Post by iconPost by EZY3210 | 2020-05-05 | 21:57:46
That makes sense. thanks!
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-05 | 22:07:12
In this case, I saw it on the short term forecast update. When the full forecast downloaded, it went away. So, it was combining forecasts from 6 hours apart. By the time the full download had completed those guys had committed to it.

I've seen other cases where two routes are so close to equal in time that the little delay between taking a position and entering and running the route could cause the result to flip from one to the other. I look at those very closely and try to reproduce the result then analyze why and which is more probable.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-05 | 22:23:48
Regarding EZY3210's original question, I don't think anyone can properly assess where he lost ground to the leaders without knowing his boat's name. With the name, we can check his track against the leaders' tracks and may be able to provide some useful insight.

Regarding the Africa decision, I have a few thoughts on that... With reference to Cvetan's experience comment... Experienced users know which winds tend to be reliable and which tend to be more unstable and therefore produce less reliable routings. I'm a big fan of the trade winds, and will often look for opportunities to deviate from Zezo's recommended route in favor of a route that gets into the trade winds. In this race, I was looking at routes from Day 1 that would get me into the trades ASAP. I looked for routes, that early, that went to the area of the Canary Islands. I tried routings to that destination, and I also experimented with destinations near Brazil, to see if I could force the router to try routes like that. My experience was telling me that would be the best route, and I'm kicking myself now for not trusting my instincts. (Although people who watch me know that sometimes when I insist on trusting my instincts, I produce humorously bad results... so it isn't as simple as it sounds).

The thing is... I couldn't force the router (early in the race) to give me a believable route like that. During those early days, the wind near La Palma was forecast to be strong enough to get around the corner and down to the trade winds without slowing down enough to justify the extra distance of sailing to the Canaries. That's why everyone (including me) continued on that route for the first few days.

When Zezo suddenly, briefly, showed a route that went near Africa, it was because the forecast for our arrival at La Palma suddenly dropped to be very weak winds, while forecasts near the African coast were looking stronger. If you made the turn toward Africa, it probably would have continued to tell you to go... but once you sailed a little closer to La Palma, it was no longer a good move. Why didn't I go when I saw it, even though I generally like that route? Although I like the trade winds, I don't like to commit to sudden large course changes to avoid light wind forecasts that appear suddenly. They often get less bad in the next forecast, making you regret the sudden course change. I was wrong, but had a reason.

The African route also had a stability risk. Specifically, the forecast included a light wind patch to navigate before hitting the trades and accelerating away. I remember seeing Toppen in 4 kts of wind, near the coast, and I also remember seeing that within a couple hours, he was going to be in 12+ kts. That was a critical time, because in those same 2 hours, the wind he was starting in was going to diminish to 3 kts, and then eventually to 2. This is a "rich getting richer" scenario (as opposed to a "fleet compression" scenario, where the trailing boats have more wind and gain on on the leaders). This was an extreme "rich getting richer" scenario. Anyone who bridged that light wind patch and got into the good winds accelerated away from the rest. Anyone who didn't make it lost a lot of distance by the time they got up to speed.

I think that's probably another reason why the router's recommendation for that route was temporary. The timing of various unstable localized changes had to be just right for it to work. The router would only recommend it when all of the pieces were forecast to work out as required.

Questioning these situations, and figuring out why they worked out the way they did, is a big part of building the experience to make quality decisions in future races. But... as Buddha, Tipap, and several other top boats demonstrated, no amount of analysis and experience will result in always making the right decision. Of course, if it did, this would get boring.

Post by iconPost by SlyStarLeRetour | 2020-05-06 | 02:44:16
Thanks for insights - very interesting - kind regards
Post by iconPost by MidnightFoiler | 2020-05-06 | 04:47:33
Ditto, I did wonder how come you didn't take it.

I remember you going stealth in my 3rd race ever (this one last time) to gybe east down the Portugal coast when few did. I hadn't discovered zezo and went for more wind of Africa a bit later and remembered the old saying to get to the Carribbean "Head south until the butter melts and then head west". Worked out ok as I managed 345th when most of the fleet including the top 10 gybed down to the finish from the North from a day or 2 out I think.

I dismissed it this time as early on looking at zezo it looked too light east of the canaries to be worth it and as you say it was ok near La Palma... should have kept it in mind!

Having fun trying to win the La Palma group now ;-) Will be interesting now BlakArrow, Tabarley and Tipap/Buddha have stayed further north - presumably hoping to take a few of the lead pack by not falling in line behind.
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-07 | 16:30:11
You notice the leaders of the Africa group have crept north to slide in front and cover the NE corner of the La Palma group. Good race tactics.

I'm with that NE group and I can tell you my tactic was not to catch the Africa group. I'd concluded that wasn't possible. It was to hold a tactically stronger position against the main La Palma pack. I was determined to gybe first back to starboard when I felt I was low enough to lay a line towards the finish. Remember, every inch you sail past the lay line is lost forever.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-07 | 17:09:07
I kinda like machaon's position.
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-07 | 18:05:50
For the win, sure. But, I'm not racing him anymore, I'm racing you :)
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-07 | 20:07:14
Good luck with that. ;-)

Edit: Never mind. Good race. I think the last two wind updates have ruined me. I think I've been wrong at every major strategic decision point in this race. I was really happy with my southern position 12 hours ago. C'est la vie.
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-08 | 08:19:14
The same with me! I was quite sure the southern position would have put us in a safer position than the northern positioned boats...let's see what happens in the next 24h
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-08 | 10:52:50
I love it when a plan comes together - George Peppard
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-08 | 12:02:54
:) Anyone knows if it is possible to pass between Saint Barth and the rock ENE of it?
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-08 | 13:24:09
You only have the last buoy to go around (buoy in the north of St bart to be left on port).
Be careful if you are too near from the shore, there is no indication about distance from the buoy wich is inside the island. ;)
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-08 | 13:57:00
You mean Ile Chevreau? No problem. People went through there in the Caribbean 600. That said, I ran aground several times in that race trying to cut close to land. There can be a huge discrepancy between what you see as your position in the client and where you really are in the server. Use waypoints.
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-08 | 14:24:13
Yes that's the rock I mean. About waypoints, I never used them until now. Once I set a waypoint do I have to stick to the route to the waypoint or can I adjust it? And the positioning of the waypoint is based on the server position?
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-08 | 15:14:01
Hi, read these docs if you don't known it :

Confirmed members
1,745 posts
Report post
Posted Tuesday at 12:42 AM
Les 3 guides sont désormais disponibles en anglais. Résultat d'une traduction automatique, la mise en page n'est pas parfaite.

Merci à @Velaska pour sa contribution.
The 3 guides are now available in English. Result of an automatic translation, the layout is not perfect.
Thanks to @Velaska for his contribution.
and the site

Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-08 | 16:00:41
Thank you very much. It is really useful!
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-07 | 16:48:53
It is my first VR experience (apart from a LA-Honolulu record trial) and have to say it is exciting to see that I am dealing quite good until now!
Thank you all for your contributions and tactical explanations!
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-07 | 18:53:21
Do you know from thje french author, La Fontaine, the story from the the hare and the tortle ?
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-07 | 21:07:14
Was not that by Aesop originally? ;-)
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-07 | 21:39:16
Yes ;)
but at school, "a long time ago", in french schhol we were learning the french version (stories for Louis XIV education, and a few centuries later, ours...)
At the moment I'm in hare position, far from the top but not too bad in classement, it's fun. I'm learning tactical in seing the roads of top racers (you are in the top) and it's more fun.
We'll see at the end ;)
Thanks for your explanation, it could be very interesting to have another at the end of the race.
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-07 | 21:48:22
I know what you mean, and it's a very good analogy for the sailing wold.

It's very easy ant tempting to be #1 in those races for a while, but rarely works in the long run, indeed.

Post by iconPost by lorenzo | 2020-05-08 | 15:22:26
Sic erunt novissimi primi, et primi novissimi
or something like that

I agree with YourMomSA long analysis. But I happen to see more and more surprising changes in the forecasts compared to the past. Climate change or more probably I have become less careful
Post by iconPost by SPRexxii | 2020-05-08 | 20:38:49
I agree with mom. Every single move I've made to take advantage of a persistent shift, or depression, has collapsed shortly after being committed to the decision. This is hands down my worst result in my entire VR career. Well there was that NY to San Fran that I inadvertently joined the night before it closed. -551 VSR!!!!! This race and Chilo have really made me question my abilities! Doa looks to be another hurt locker but at least its an Imoca

Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-09 | 13:56:53
Anyone know if the circumvention of the buoy is taken into account by zezo ?
I have a doubt when I'm seing the forecasts where finishing by the south ??? :( ?
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-09 | 14:18:45
Select "Go to St. Barth N" as your destination, or else, yes, it will approach from the south.
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-09 | 16:28:42
wait for me at the finish, you won't have long ;)
Post by iconPost by bmertens | 2020-05-09 | 18:52:53
I can see you over my transom Linus.
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-09 | 20:33:33
You wouldn't wait for me ? ;)

! Even with St Bart N, half of the time Zezo offers an arrival from the south:(

Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-11 | 04:44:03
Well, I guess I was about right when I said the best-case for the La Palma group was about 250th. Buddha was 276. I'm not sure if anyone beat him from La Palma or not.

Of course, I just kept doing more things wrong. Happy to simply end this one.
Post by iconPost by MidnightFoiler | 2020-05-11 | 05:31:04
tabarly-AVL 244th
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-11 | 08:56:28
So it's over! I don't know whether to be happy for the result of my first race on VR (582) or upset for some big strategic mistakes in the last week. In any event it has been a very nice experience and the support of zezo (dashborard, router and forum) has been superlative.

Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-11 | 20:24:08
582 ain't bad at all, even with router and advice. I'm doing worse myself half of the races.
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-11 | 19:39:05
Well I arrived, at a
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-11 | 19:46:27
Race finished with a better place than I was thinking at the start, and mistakeS (the last one just before the finish line : losing 26 mn and 100 places !!!) but almost pleasure to race, to share on this forum Thanks All.
Congratulation to Cveto for this tool and media and YourMom for his analyzes
See you on the Goa race perhaps to meet the Great Pumpkin :)

Topics list
Copyright 2009 by ZEZO.ORG. All Rights Reserved.