Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Let it snow

Time for indoor activities

Pat and I headed up to Five O’Clock Somewhere Friday evening, amid gathering clouds and blustery wind. This morning when we got up, snow was falling. It continued to fall off and on all day, and it’s predicted to snow some more overnight and Sunday.

Meanwhile, we recently got the Posey Sailing Tactics Simulator, which has the reputation for providing really good practice, especially in the absence of a high-speed Internet connection that would allow participation in such real-time simulations as Tacticat.

I started out with most of the settings average – skill level 7 on a scale of 1 to 15 (reflecting the level of competence of my competition), medium wind conditions (15-25 knots), some chop and tide to deal with, in Northeast Harbor, Maine. I was sailing a generic 25-foot keelboat, and I had the program set on what I would consider “fantasy” – that is, it assumes that the crew automatically responds to my every command. That’s definitely NOT like real life.

At first, I had some trouble with the controls, as they are not intuitive and they are awkward in that they involve both the keyboard and the mouse. I kept fouling other boats, since the keys that I thought were changing the course of the boat were, in fact, merely changing the direction of the point of view.

Once I got the controls figured out, however, I got a good start (right on the line at exactly the right time, but not as fast as I would have liked to have been going), and I did a horizon job on the fleet. So much for the idea of tactics – the only times I would even see the rest of the fleet were when I had just rounded a mark and they were all still coming the other direction.

My second race, I didn’t get such a good start. I was a little late to the line, although I did have good boat speed. I quickly got out ahead of most of the fleet, however, with one other boat a smidge ahead of me and another somewhat further ahead – I figured those were Zorro and Applegal. For most of the race, the boat ahead maintained its lead while I was dueling with the other. Then after rounding the final leeward mark (I lost some distance because I hadn’t figured in the tidal set sufficiently), I overtook the close boat. About halfway to the finish line, I took a chance on tacking away from the rest of the fleet and hoped the lift I found would be enough to compensate for the adverse tide, and it did. Once again, I won the race.

So at least for sailing in Maine, against average sailors, in moderate conditions, with a perfect crew, I do pretty well. I’ll have to try setting up the simulator for Elephant Butte or Heron lakes and see what happens then.

Meanwhile, there are still some flakes in the air outside, and Pat has built a fire in the fireplace. It’s time to take a break from the computer.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Tillerman said...

I used to play the Posey simulator sometimes before I got hooked on Tacticat. I found much the same as you - at the average difficulty setting it's not too hard to win as long as you don't make any major mistakes. Time to crank up the skill level setting!

Sun May 06, 05:55:00 AM MDT  

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