Post by iconPost by CoreTeam | 2020-07-31 | 12:20:38

I have a doubt about gates (or no gates) 5 and 6.
As far as I understand here in Zezo, you need to avoid the TSS area of the channel, going north or south to pass 5 and 6.
But looking at the game looks like 5 and 6 are gates and you need to go between them, so, sailing in the middle of the TSS area.
So.... how we pass those buoys?

commenticon 49 Comments
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-07-31 | 14:59:45
There's a thread about this in the VR forum. If you look about halfway down the second page, you'll see where I quoted someone who made a nice diagram of the situation, and described my understanding in English of the situation.

I believe it's meant to be an exclusion zone. Probably won't be able to see it anywhere but the dashboard until after validting buoy 4, but it looks like the gates are north and south of the box, rather than across the box. Technically, though, all it really achieves is to require that you not pass between the 5 pair or between the 6 pair... you can still sail north of one pair and south of the other. Technically, you can also pass to the wrong side between a pair as long as you return to the correct side before rounding.

In most wind conditions, it will still properly serve as an exclusion zone... but there could be circumstances where the exception scenarios will be relevant.
Post by iconPost by CoreTeam | 2020-07-31 | 19:41:09
Thanks! I have no idea of French so I avoided the forum to be honest, but as far as I was talking with another boats and I got to the conclusion that the diagram here in Zezo is ok, those are buoys that are delimitating the exclusion zone of the TSS area. A TSS area is forbidden to sail in a real race, and it was an exclusion zone in last year's Fastnet real race:
So, I believe that the idea of VR is to leave that marks rounding to north of them or south of them to be out of the exclusion zone.
Maybe they don't have a way to program a square area of exclusion, and that's why they put marks like that. But it's logic to be out of the TSS sailing. The question is why they make it so complicated to understand and why the diagrams of the game are so unclear about this!
Anyway, I guess that we will know only when we pass mark 4, and that will be the challenge :-(
I'm still not understanding why the hell they can't make a simple sailing instructions document.
Post by iconPost by ikipotati | 2020-08-04 | 22:53:49
Full explanation for any confusion about the VR system... the creators and maintainers are French...ribbit
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-07-31 | 15:04:40
Hi, there is a topic on VR Club House upcoming race, to shorten it (if i understood correctly) :
you have to sail the buoys in the number they are coming 1,2,3,4,5 &6...
you cannot pass between the 2 buoys 5, ditto for buoys 6

Good wind & see you on race
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-07-31 | 15:05:13
Game is pretty clear I think, they are gates you have to go through.

Looking at Navionics charts, there looks to be an east and westbound TSS, with a "median strip" in the middle. Gates would appear to require you to sail down that median strip and avoid shipping traffic.

I'm sure we've got some locals here who can chime in.

Edit: After seeing YMSA and Linus' post while I was composing mine, that makes more sense now. You don't see the roating circles until you pass the previous mark, so I assumed you had to pass between. If you have to pass outside, that makes more sense.

Now, question, if you've passed outside the "5" pair, can you cut inbetween 5 and 6, which would defeat the purpose of a TSS?
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-07-31 | 16:00:40
Yes. That's the dialogue going on in the VR forum. VR has defined it with the apparent intend of a TSS exclusion zone, but the result they've achieved isn't the same as the intent. In most wind conditions, the best strategy would be to stay on one side of it... which would achieve the intent... but technically, you can pass gate 5 to one side and gate 6 to the other, as shown in the red line in the diagram in the VR forum, which would be straight through the TSS.

It also allows lesser violations of the TSS. You could sail between the two 5 buoys, and then come back out and go around, for example. Or you could pass south of 5, and then go North of the 5/6 southern side, and then return south before passing 6. Both of these seem weird, but consider if the wind is from the East and shifting left. If you pass south of 5, you might hold on starboard tack, taking the header, right into the middle of the TSS box, and then tack back to pass south of 6. The VR settings would allow this, but it would be a clear violation of the TSS in a real race.

It's ok. Their gates don't have to be totally realistic. We can race it as it is. But it means some people will be confused, and some might be unhappy, and if a winner "violates the TSS" they'll probably have to deal with angry people yelling that they're "cheaters", etc. This all happens from time to time.
Post by iconPost by Jumbuck | 2020-08-01 | 21:13:35

It's clearly meant to replicate the approx 20nm x 20nm exclusion zone introduced to keep racing yachts out of the northern (westbound) shipping channel, the zone between, and the southern (eastbound) shipping channel.
Even in the real world when racing cross channel in light winds and strong tides, it is almost impossible not to be swept in and back out of this zone, and I've yet to see a real race yacht penalized when this has happened.
But VR might have managed this zone better by inventing a square land mass over the zone.........

Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-08-02 | 08:35:41
reading this forum & the VR forum one more time :

I come to the conclusion that the passage of a buoy 5 would only cause the activation of a single buoy 6 (5 North activates 6 North & but NO 6 South, same reasoning for South).

It would make sense with the TSS & the PAT-ROCK comments "Pass the buoys and the rest is just literature"
Post by iconPost by CoreTeam | 2020-08-03 | 11:35:50
We will see it when we reach mark 5 ;-) That's the only true here jajaja
Good luck to everyone!
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-07-31 | 16:09:09
Cvetan, a separate question that I've been wondering about... Do you have a way to archive old forum topics? We have many race-specific topics like this, which are valuable content at the time but then often have little value after the race is over. It would be nice if those topics could be punted to an archive folder for "old races" to make it easier to search for content that has longer term value.

I've thought about raising this question before, but every time, I realize it's a "can of worms". Once the "old races" get archived, then it becomes necessary to eliminate the redundant or invalid threads... and then it starts making sense to organize remaining "long term value" threads into categories like "Zezo functionality", "VR analysis", "Dashboard", "Technical topics", etc... So it would eventually turn into a library of topics similar to VR's forum, requiring administration, etc... And I don't want to suggest anything that would require a serious investment of time or technology. So my guess is that you've chosen to leave it as-is and "keep it simple"? If so, that's fine. I'm just wondering about your thoughts on this.
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-07-31 | 16:56:18
We definitely need something better.

The "forum" is about 500 lines of code written in one afternoon, and was initially intended to be something like blog with comments, but the things got out of control ;-)

Sorting it into topics is not a bad idea, and won't be too hard, but then there might be a better way to do it. I'm not sure I want to deal with full-fledged forum software. A wiki could probably work for the documentation part.
Post by iconPost by TomekN_zegluj_net | 2020-08-04 | 11:08:40
Hi Cvetan,

In which "minute" (from 10) in Fastnet VR is making the calculation?
Greetings from Gdańsk!


Post by iconPost by Hardtack | 2020-08-04 | 13:10:54
Check out the VRDashboard chrome extension. Start here:
It will tell you exactly when the VR engine runs, and many other things.

Post by iconPost by TomekN_zegluj_net | 2020-08-04 | 14:59:45
Thanks Hardtack.

I'm using VR Dashboards from Years... ;-)

Anyway, this info is not shown on VR Dasboard (or I can not find it..).

As I remember VR is "recalculating" iterations every 10 minutes, but for currently running race it starts on the "specified minute" (first, second, etc.

I would like to know, in which "minute" it's going on this Fastnet race.

Post by iconPost by Hardtack | 2020-08-04 | 15:52:13
Yeah - I remember the 10min intervals too. But we also had 2min intervals for a while, didn't we?! I'm slightly confused.

Anyway, the 'Time' column on the 'Race Log' tab displays engine update times. Currently the engine recalculates every 5min (usually at 0/5/15... in all races).

Btw. it seems that the wind interpolation is done in 10min intervals. At least I often see it 'jump' every 10min.

Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-04 | 16:20:55
Early routings suggest it might actually be best to go North of 5 and South of 6. Uh-oh... People will be angry if the winner takes that route and VR hasn't made it clear before 4 whether or not that's ok. Hopefully the forecast will change to support a best path being either North of both or South of both. Or VR will clarify soon.

I posted a follow-up to the VR forum, asking again if an answer has been given. It's mostly French, but my impression is still no... That going North then South (or South then North) is probably acceptable even though it probably isn't what VR intended...

LvP's post makes me wonder, though... Is it possible that only one side of the 6 gates will activate for you, once you validate 5? So if you go North of 5, it'll force you to go North of 6? That would actually be better, but I'm not aware of VR having the capability to put dependencies into gate activations like that.
Post by iconPost by Hardtack | 2020-08-04 | 16:43:30
VR has extended checkpoint group 10 (buoys marked 5) with two gates between 5N/6N and 5S/6S, respectively.

This makes it impossible(*) to shortcut through the exclusion zone (you could still slalom around the marks but it will definitely not be the fastest route).

The problem now is... the additional gates are invisible. People might think going north of 5N and then south of 6S is legal, but it no longer is.

If we are lucky, the 5N/5S buoys will be invalidated again if a player crosses one of the additional gates in the wrong direction.

LvP is wrong, imo. There is no direct information in the server messages telling the UI which gate of a group was used. At least there wasn't until recently. The UI could look at the boat path, but I doubt that such a function is or will be implemented.

(*) I found a truely elegant explanation of how the additional gates work but unfortunately, it did not fit in this short message. :^)

Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-04 | 17:05:54
Thanks! This is a huge relief. I hate it when there's confusion about the right course.
Post by iconPost by Hardtack | 2020-08-04 | 20:48:30
Argh. It's a mess. I no longer understand what made me believe that VR had fixed the issue. Instead I /think/ that you can now simply pass between 5N and 5S and then south of 6S. Please see my post in the VR forum.

For reference, this is the URL to the thread

Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-04 | 22:24:15
Well, I guess they have about 14 hours until the leaders get to 4. Since all good routings involve a close rounding at 4, this mess won't impact anyone's decisions until then. 14 hours from now will be Wednesday mid-afternoon in France, right? So they have most of a workday to sort it out.

Even if they don't resolve it until 4 or 5 PM French time Wednesday, it probably won't dramatically impact any routings anyone would have done by then.

If it's still a mess at the end of the French Wednesday workday... Thursday will be interesting.
Post by iconPost by Velaska | 2020-08-05 | 08:26:17
They finally posted a message, the Caskets it's an exclusion zone, officially :)
Post by iconPost by Velaska | 2020-08-05 | 08:26:19

Post by iconPost by DancingBrave | 2020-08-04 | 18:05:23
In the game, is there a blob of rock under the Fastnet turning point?

i.e. is it a buoy which one can take pixel peeping liberties with or, as per reality, a land based lighthouse that demands caution with our waypoint placement?
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-04 | 19:21:25
No. In fact, the buoy isn't even in the real location of Fastnet Rock. The actual rock is at 51 23 21.48, 9 36 10.68.
Post by iconPost by tabasco2 | 2020-08-04 | 20:35:43
Now I have a question .... What is the position of the Fastnet buoy in the game? 51-22-02 N, 9-36-24W or 51 23 21N, 9 36 10W?

Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-08-04 | 21:12:40
Hi with the Dashboard, so in the game, the Fastnet buoy is : 51-22-02-47 N 9-36-24-21 W
Post by iconPost by tabasco2 | 2020-08-04 | 21:20:40
Thank you Linus.

Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-08-05 | 00:26:21
If anyone was able to position a single waypoint that achieved a Fastnet rounding with only 13 degrees between your entry and exit, kudos to you. After a few hours with graph paper, pencil, protractor and the finiest motor control on the mouse I could manage, I've concluded it's not possible(by me).

Many thanks to Hardtack for giving minute scale on the VRdashboard map to confirm what I've set will work.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-05 | 02:28:45
I think Toppen did it. (Sorta... ;-) )

I used 3 waypoints at the mark and a fourth away.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-08-05 | 03:41:41
Yes, yes he did indeed.

I went with one intermediate way point to sail as tight as I could without triggering a sail change, then another to bear away. Widenned out the angle just enough to pass under the mark by about 0.05 seconds.

The changes Hardtack made the Dashboard were indispensible.
Post by iconPost by mawer | 2020-08-05 | 08:21:23
First time for me to sail a u-turn around a buoy; used 4 waypoints (like YMSA) and lost 150 places; how do you place your waypoints that close ? I left visible water between the white dots and the bouy and ended up sailing a few hundred yards extra distance; watching your tracks in the dashboard map looks like you placed your waypoints more or less directly over the buoy ?
How do you adjust the distance on the screen; you are talking about a pixel distance but I can`t see the way to handle it on the monitor; even with high resolution.
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-08-05 | 08:42:48
I'm not the only one to have to increase my skills about the WP ;)
it (must) exist(s) a software tool to do that (on excel ?)

An important information from VR :

The area inside buoys 5 & 6 is forbiden ! must be bypassed by South OR North !
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-08-05 | 09:38:26
Waypoints are visible in recent versions of the dashboard.
Post by iconPost by mawer | 2020-08-05 | 10:01:37
I know; you see the angles of your trackpath and the coordinates in the commandline; to clarify the procedure: you place your waypoints pretty much on top of the buoy with very little overlaps and check the result in the mapview of the dashboard; as long as there is some distance there you don`t care about the strange view in the gamescreen with the waypoints pretty much on one spot with no real visible distance ?
Post by iconPost by mawer | 2020-08-05 | 10:18:26
different story with the upcoming buoy 4 placed on a landmark ?; better to see waterpixels between the white dots and the shoreline ?
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-08-05 | 10:40:30
The game screen tells you the lat lon of the waypoints you set to the second, but it truncates rather than rounds. You can check the Dashboard to see the actual location to the hundredth of a second. That's around 10cm.

It takes some playing around to get them where you want them. Nudge a bit, check dashboard, repeat. I had everything plotted on graph paper. Then check Dashboard map and zoom way in to confirm you round the mark. Then go have lunch. Trust what you've done and do not touch the waypoints until the next server update, even if the game UI tells you funny things.

I managed to get it to where I sailed past the mark about 7m, then within 50cm on the way back.

With land features you don't know the actual cooridinates so you have to go visually as close as you dare. Do not refer to actual charts. The game map is it's own world.
Post by iconPost by mawer | 2020-08-05 | 10:50:30
thanks !!!; hopefully will do a better job next time
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-05 | 18:22:21
What'll happen if someone sails through the South side of the TSS zone after passing South of 5? Will 5 be suddenly invalidated?

If so, will crossing back to the correct side of that line cause it to re-validate?

I would think yes and yes... That would make sense with the TSS being defined as gates. With more wind up there, it's possible some people might try it. I'm not sure if it would be a good move or not. Zezo is saying to just sail pretty close to due East. But it would be pretty disconcerting to try it. The whole time you're on the wrong side of the line, you'd be looking at a yellow 5 buoy... trusting that it'll change back to green when you re-cross the line... which might not be until you reach the 6 buoy.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-08-05 | 22:01:41
I think the message they sent everyones says you must stay out of the box. It will be interesting to see how they police that, since I can't see how they would designate a line from 5S to 6S and penalize anyone who ventures north of that.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-05 | 22:28:53
I've been wondering that too. No one that I'm tracking seems to be trying it. But someone in 800th could pretty easily go unnoticed doing that to get up to 300th or something like that.
Post by iconPost by BGSteMarine | 2020-08-06 | 12:55:47
As I expected, the law is clear, but there is no police ! ;-)

Here (in red), the trace of a player with a rank between 500 and 1000 :

And a zoom on Buoy #5 South :

Quite sure that there will be no claim about that, but VR clearly need to do something better than that !! lol

Post by iconPost by Hardtack | 2020-08-06 | 13:07:15
Could this be due to path simplification though? I know that often boats seem to be cutting corner (going over land for example) when in reality they didn't.

A fellow German sailor passed between 5S and 6S, but (unexpectedly, to me) her arrival was not validated.
Post by iconPost by BGSteMarine | 2020-08-06 | 13:16:39
I don't think it is a question of path simplification this time. For all the other players I have checked, I can see clearly the path turning south of the buoy.
And clearly, the gates configuration that has been set up by VR allowed the "red path", even it was against law ! ;-)
Post by iconPost by BGSteMarine | 2020-08-06 | 14:41:19
Hum ... you could be right ultimately Michael ...
I have found an other "case" in my team, with a path very similar to the one above (very flat path), and which is definitively a path simplification problem !
I will made some tests with my second boat!
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-08-05 | 22:36:15
If you look at the Dashboard map, there is a line connecting 5S to 6S. My guess is crossing that line reactivates 5S and you would have to go back and round it to port again.
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-08-06 | 16:29:05
Hi look at this topic on VR forum, there is a similar case with mark 5N, but the boat is still looking for a validation of its mark ;)
Hope for a next race a better simulation of the TSS area.
Why only on the fastnet ?
I'm not on Europa race, but it could be an excellent occasion with Ouessant(area often used by VR). :)
Post by iconPost by BGSteMarine | 2020-08-07 | 10:54:10
As promised, I did the test with my second boat, and it is confirmed : No Police! lol
1- entering the TSS between Buoys #5 south and north : The group #5 is not validated

2- Going North and passing the invisible gate between B5N and B6N : Group #5 validated !!

Wider view :

A player can therefore have taken the most direct route through the TSS towards Cherbourg, and have his route validated ...
Conclusion: VR still has work to do! ;-)
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-08-07 | 14:59:49
Thanks! Fortunately, it looks like the top racers all heeded the notification, so no one appears to have gained spots in the front of the pack. It would be very hard to figure out if anyone further back did. Hopefully if RORC wants VR to do Fastnet with TSS again next year (I'm assuming the TSS was at RORC's request), then VR will apply a stricter solution next year. They have a year to figure it out, unless they intend to put TSS into Vendee.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-08-08 | 22:52:14
Zezo never suggested going through the middle which i suspect is why none of the leaders did.
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