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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Hotlapper of The Week - Destiny Wescott

We are starting a new weekly post for Hotlaps. It is the 'Hotlapper of The Week'. Will try to have these posted for Wednesday of each race week.
Our first Hotlapper of The Week is none other that Destiny Wescott.  We love that you are Hotlapping with us :)

Ginger Henderson: So what brought you to sailing in Second life?
Destiny Wescott: I started sailing in Second Life because it looked like a fun way to explore lots of area's that I hadn't seen before.

Ginger Henderson: What about Hotlaps? What do you like about it?
Destiny Wescott: There are a few things that make Hotlaps rock!  Hotlaps are a great way to compete against other sailors to see who's the fastest, without many of the problems racing in sl brings with it... such as barging, wind shadowing, right of ways, sim corners, lag monsters.  If you run into any of these problems during a race, chances are there are not going to be any restarts.  With hotlaps everyone can sail the course as many times as they like in more favorable conditions.
With sailing the same course over and over, trying to sail it faster and faster... I find I'm still discovering new tactics to make my boats sail faster.  Especially in regards to sailing with different wind speeds.
Sailing hotlaps is a great opportunity to chat with other sailors about strategy and tactics.  I have picked up a number of tidbits from others in the sailing community over the years that have helped me become a faster and more experienced sailor.
Sail any boat any time you want!  I enjoy sailing competitively, but not all races are at a respectable time for me and not all boat classes I enjoy sailing get raced.  Hotlaps has helped refuel my desire to sail some of my boats that have been hidden away in my inventory for too long:)

Ginger Henderson: Anything you would like to see as possible changes or some suggestion you may have for the Hotlaps?
Destiny Wescott: So far I have really been enjoying sailing the Hotlaps and would like to give a big thanks to all those that has done their part in making them possible... you all rock!
 I have one idea I think some others might also enjoy.  If it don't cause to much lag, I think it would be useful to have a hud that displays a sailor's current lap time for a hotlap he/she is sailing at the moment.
 Lately I have been using an online stopwatch when sailing coldlaps (sailing the course without signing in to sail a hotlap.. hehe, I call them coldlaps;).  After I started doing this I would take note of the time on my stopwatch at certain points of the course to help determine if some of the different approaches I have been taking are faster or slower.  Some times I will even use the online stopwatch when I'm sailing hotlaps so I will know how well I'm doing as I sail the course.
 If other hotlappers would also find such a hud displaying their current lap time useful without it causing to much lag, then such a gadget might be a nice addition to the hotlaps.

Ginger Henderson: What time-zone in Real Life are you from?
Destiny Wescott: I'm in the United States, Pacific Time.  Which means my rl time is always the same as sl time.

Ginger Henderson: Do you sail also in your Real Life? (But we understand if you say 'none of your business' ;))
Destiny Wescott: I never have had the opportunity to sail in real life.  Since I started sailing and racing in sl, I have had started watching real life regatta's.  Sailing in real life looks like a lot of fun and I hope to have the chance to try it some day.

Ginger Henderson: What are your  top 3 favorite sailboats in Second Life?
Destiny Wescott: If I didn't have more then 3 boats, this would be easy to answer:)  I generally favor the smaller and slower boats since they don't have the extra lag that comes with sailing at faster speeds.  The Leetle Cat II will always be one of my favorites, its so adorable and fun to sail!  I first discovered sl's sailing community and started racing with my nacra, when it was the only boat I sailed for the longest time... so the nacra will always have sentimental value to me.  I also enjoy sailing the T1 (Trudeau One) very much.  I enjoy competing against other sailors with the T1 and there are some very fast T1 sailors around, I like the challenge:)  The T1 also has a deep keel for me, the deepest sailing boat I own which always has me keeping an eye on shallow waters.  I find the T1's deep keel makes things more challenging, which I also find exciting.

Ginger Henderson: We saw you rock in your Nacra 17 recently.  How long have you been sailing this boat?
Destiny Wescott: I have been sailing the Nacra since July of 2013.  I spent a lot of time sailing and getting to know how this boat likes to be sailed fast!  I really enjoy how it handles and with respectable sailing conditions I feel its a great boat for sailing fast without sailing too fast (in relation to speed vs lag).

Ginger Henderson: Do you practice a lot with sailing?
Destiny Wescott: I use to practice a lot.  I have spent a good amount of time sailing over the years here in sl.  Some weeks I will sail more then others, it all depends on whats going on and if I'm in the mood for it.

Ginger Henderson: Would you like to share your secrets and help others sail faster too? Things such as your preferred AWA on different headings and tactical choices on this weeks course like where to start from, where to tack?
Destiny Wescott: This weeks course allows from some fast starts.  If anyone's ever had to shake their finger at you for barging at the start of a race, then you know what I'm talking about ;)   Crank up your speed by approaching the line with a higher awa/twa then turn to a close hauled approach near the race line.  If done smoothly you can make it a good ways to the first mark with speeds noticeably faster then if you were to cross the start already on a close hauled approach.  If you want to shave 5-10 second more off your lap time, give this a try.
 In regards to the awkward approach many will find with the second yellow buoy of the course (ne buoy in Petrel, 7th buoy of the course), if you are making quick tacks close to the buoy in order to round it and find yourself losing to much speed from having to make two tacks right away... remember to hike, shifting your weight where needed will speed things up.  If your still losing to much speed you may want to think about making that first tack sooner.  Depending on the boat, how far away you are from this buoy when finish rounding it can also have a noticeable difference on what awa/twa you will use to reach the next mark.. which will likely effect your speed.  So make sure your not to be far east of the buoy when you finish rounding it.  If your competing for the fastest time, you will want to have rounding this buoy down well.  I have been practicing my approach with this buoy for each of my boats several times before moving on from sailing my coldlaps, until it feels like I got it down.

Ginger Henderson: What question would you want added to this interview? so we can ask the next sailor for you.
Destiny Wescott: How do you tweak your Bwind?  I have been setting my Bwind with no variations and no gusts.  I'm under the impression everyone has been setting their Bwind this way.  If I'm mistaken then my bad!  I talked to a couple others who were unsure of how the Bwind should be set, so I'm curious how many are setting their Bwind differently and never mention it.

Ginger Henderson: Any other things you would like to share with others?
Destiny Wescott: Although the wind we have been using from the WWC has very light wind shifts and gusts, when competing for the fastest time... they become rather noticeable.  If you want to shave some more time off you laps, start paying attention to the wind speed.  You may find you will sail the course faster starting out when the wind is above 9.26 m/s instead of below it, or timing it so you have stronger winds when sailing close hauled.

Ginger Henderson: Thank you very much for your time for this interview and hope to see you on the Second Life waters soon.  :)


  1. Great interview and a nice read!
    Thank you for putting in your time.

    On the timer hud:
    In the earlier version of the hotlaps we tried out handing out personal timer huds.
    It seemed some racers did more cold laps and only crossed the line when the time was good enough.
    This would give a distorted view of the reality :) it is fun to see the times improve during the week.
    It is also good to see even the fastest sailors screw up sometimes!

    On the Bwind tweaks:
    We made a WWC windsetter that converts the tako wind the setter broadcasts ( used for trudeau and wildwind boats ) to a similar wind for the TMS and Bandit boats )
    It is obviously important that the people sailing these boats say racing to catch this wind as they have variations and gusts.
    If one would just do the wind manually with no variations this would get an unfair advantage.
    We did post about these sailors having to catch the racewind in the notices in the info notecard and on the website, this should do.

    On timing your departure:

    We would love for you to elaborate some more.
    We have been investigating this subject and did not find clear tell tales of what departure time would result in the best wind!

    1. In response to the inquiry for me to elaborate on my strategy with wind gusts, its a strategy still in development. I started paying attention to the wind gusts a couple weeks ago when we were sailing hotlaps in Orwood. While competing for the fastest time with some of the Trudeau boats, I noticed a huge difference with many of my lap times even though it seemed I would sail the laps equally as well in regards to handling, heading, and approaches. The biggest difference I noticed between my laps were the wind gusts and how they effect my speed, especially when sailing close hauled. So with my unproven theory that these slight wind variations are having a noticeable impact on my lap times, I began to test it out with the strategy I mentioned of.
      The wind gusts do appear to be random as expected. My strategy is used to try and take advantage when the wind gusts are at their best, I have no way of knowing when that will be until it happens by looking at the current wind strength my boat display tells me it is. This week course in GWSC is a good time to test this theory out. The course starts out with some upwind beats, which is when I notice my speeds most effected with the slower winds when sailing with some boats. What I have been doing this week is waiting before I start sailing a hotlap with my sails lowered (not moored though), so I can see the display of my boat that reads the current wind strength. When the wind gusts are favorable I begin my hotlap, hoping it will provide me with a better lap time then if I start my hotlap when the wind is slower.
      I might be giving these slight wind gusts more credit then they are due, but I'm curious to find out why some of my lap times vary so much at times when I feel they shouldn't... and right now the wind gusts are my prime suspect.
      I mentioned my strategy in this interview to help keep things fair and I'm curious as to what others have noticed too.

  2. This is a great addition to your site, Ginger. Well done! Destiny is an absolutely brilliant racer and I have learned a ton of things from her (including from this article). She's always willing to answer questions and share her love of sailing and racing. Thanks to you both!

  3. Thank you Ginger and Destiny. This is enjoyable and informative. The interview is a great idea. I hope to see more.
    I enjoy Hotlaps as it allows practice in any boat at any time, yet provides a competitive aspect as well. Thanks to all that have worked on this project.

  4. Thank you, Ginger and Destiny, for this interview. I'm reframing my earlier comment.

    Thanks, Destiny, for sharing tactical tips. I'm going to try the start as you described, and keep flailing away on mark 7, the dreaded yellow buoy, while keeping your advice in mind.

    I agree it's nice to hang out on the float and chat with other sailors. Also nice to meet some Gull's Wing residents. :)

    However, I must echo what Hotlaps said above. Obviously one can do what one wants, but if a sailor is setting wind that differs from what everyone else is using, that negates the whole point of the exercise, which is to compare times with others sailing under the SAME conditions.

    In setting up Hotlaps, Burt acknowledged anyone could game the system. He also said people could set their own wind if necessary. Is there a contradiction here? I don't know.

    1. Luna, I think that Burt was referring to the non TMS/Bandit bwind boats by saying 'people could set their own wind if necessary'.
      And those wind settings are provided each week with the new Hotlaps locations.
      Burt can comment on it to clarify but that is my understanding.
      As stated before anyone could cheat but then they will never truly enjoy the feeling of pride and accomplishments in sailing in a Hotlaps. Would be a waste.

  5. Thank you all for the very kind comments. Could not have done it without the Hotlaps team and I thank Burt for coming up with the idea of doing an interview :)

  6. Great looking page and a profi interview, thank you both for your work!

    Ginger was right on the money, Most Bwind boats cannot be set using a windsetter, these should be set according to the wind speed and direction that can be found in the information notecard ( touch the ? on the sign )
    Maybe we should add a sign near the line about how to set the wind on next weeks hotlaps.

    Did you see? 400+ laps sailed @GWSC !!

  7. Hello everyone:) I'm glad I did this interview, its helped clear up a rather important misunderstanding I had in relation to what wind settings I need to be using with my Bwind boats from TMS (The Mesh Shop).
    I reviewed all my "Hotlaps explained" notecards to figure out how I came to this misunderstanding and I think I narrowed it down. Starting with last weeks Hotlap in Boisesono, I notice the first reference for TMS boats to use this new converted racing wind. Which is stated by the following weather forecast.

    "W E A T H E R F O R C A S T
    Wind direction North East 45 wind speed 18 knots.
    Accept wwc racewind or say racing when in a Bandit / TMS boat (Near the windsetter)
    If your boat uses Bwind set your wind to NE 18"

    I had interpreted this the wrong way. First of all there are more Bandit boats in sl then I can keep track of. I still don't know why there are so many different boats called the Bandit! Do a lot of boat builders want to be bandits? Any way I read "Accept wwc racewind or say racing when in a Bandit / TMS boat", as reference to Bandit boats from TMS... instead of all Bandit boats and all boats from TMS. It was easy for me to make this misunderstanding since the weather forecast also states "if your boat uses Bwind set your wind to NE 18". I thought TMS has the patent on the Bwind engine, resulting in all Bwind boats coming from TMS. Obviously I was mistaken.
    Me having used the wrong wind with the nacra and laser for the past couple weeks was an honest mistake on my part. I'm probably one of the last people anyone wants having an unfair advantage, and that includes me as well. I would rather finish last then compete with an unfair advantage. I feel awful about this and would like to apologize to all hotlappers and those involved with the Hotlaps, especially those that have competed-ed against me these past couple of weeks with the nacra and laser... I am sorry!
    I haven't sailed any hotlaps with the laser yet this week, and I will be asking for all my hotlaps I sailed with the nacra using the wrong wind to be deleted.
    I hope at the very least, this helps clear things up for any others that may have also been unsure about wind settings. And if I'm still mistaken about what boats need to be using this new converted wind, someone please let me know.

  8. Hotlaps and why I almost gave up racing. Thank you, Ginger, for starting this Hotlaps Weekly. I have sailed in RL since age 4 and have a lot of RL racing experience and accomplishment. I have also had a fair amount of success in SL racing over several years. I started sailing hotlaps in the very first one, which was a very straightforward course, so all it required was straightforward sailing skills that did not demand much sailing experience. My expectation was that the times of the best sailors would be closely matched, hopefully including mine. I was wrong. My times were close to each other as long as I did not make any mistakes, but when I saw the times of some of the most successful sailors, I was shocked. One was 47 seconds faster than my best time and another was 56. As the hotlaps have progressed, I have improved in a few different boats, which is the great benefit of having them, but for the most part the time gap is still about 20 seconds between myself and those same people who are the uncatchables. For awhile the frustration became an addiction as I would try over and over again to match those best times. Finally I have concluded that the only explanation is a technical one. The playing field is not even, so we should only be trying to improve our own times. On the other hand this raises the question about why should one race when there is such a handicap, so I have mostly quit racing. Where is the pleasure? Destiny's explanation about her wind choices helps explain part of my dilemma in regard to her times. I also know that she uses a gaming console; whereas I use a computer instead, which offers her a distinct advantage as it does for others. I mention all this so that other hotlappers might have a better understanding, and I wish you all fair sailing.

    1. Hello everyone :)

      The "gaming console" I am said to be using is actually a Nostromo SpeedPad n52, which I use with my computer. Its basically a tricked out one-handed keyboard with a palm rest. There are other sailors in SL that are able to keep up with me and even get the better of me at times, using their regular keyboards. I have been open to the sailing community about my use of this device and have encouraged others to try it. If you feel this type of device will enhance your sailing experience in SL, I suggest getting one. They are sold to the public. But, don't get a device like this and think you are all of a sudden going to be at the head of the pack. Everyone has their preferences as to what works best for them. The big SECRET behind my speed is that I spend countless hours learning how my boats can be sailed the fastest through a lengthy series of speed tests and time trials. To truly master sailing a boat, first you must reveal all of its strengths and weaknesses.

      500+ laps sailed at GWSC.. Wooot, Hotlappers !!

  9. Thank you all for your comments and replies.
    We never doudted that destiny has made an honest mistake, she is a really good sport!
    We deleted her Nacra times that were set with the wrong wind for this week, and we are not surprized her new times are top of the bill again!

    We are 100% convinced that no hotlapper would cheat on purpose

  10. Thx Gingah and Des for this very informative interview, what a great idea for a new column. I myself had an interview column for a much too little while, called "Hey Rock Star ... Spare a Minute?" in which I asked much more common, not so focussed questions. I kinda stopped doing it, that's why I'm so looking forward to reading more Regular Hottie of the Week interviews in the near future.

    And Dest is absolutely correct. Maybe her "gaming console" is giving her an advantage over other sailors, maybe even over sailors on the same skill level. But it's not an unfair advantage for several reasons. Some racers are automatically better off right from the start becasue of a beter internet connection, less latency, less packet loss, a better tuned viewer, better graphics, better hardware. Some of us are just paying more for better internet and better hardware, so they get more out of their SL sailing hobby. This includes Destiny's SpeedPad.

    But most important fact is still that you are a good virtual sailor and know your shit inside out. Des obviously does, and she sails and races and practices a lot. She puts in a lot of effort! That's why she's faster than you and me. Simple as that.

    1. Lol I repeated a bit of what you said Orca, should have refreshed before so I can see your comment ;) hugs

  11. Again thank you all for your contribution to this blog :). Real happy with how this has turned out.
    One thing more to add is that it is nearly impossible for all sailors in Second Life to be on a par. Unlike a game console like PlayStation, there are many variables in SL. Such as your computer, hardware, internet connection, consoles, monitors (I have 2 :P) etc.
    So it would be impossible to say that all have the same playing field.
    But, as I seen in many sailors, no matter what tools they have or don't have is their determination to try and try and try again. Practising with what ever tools they have and keep showing up. That to me is the true spirit of what a Second Life sailor is all about. Even after nearly completing a lap if they crash, they log back in and try again. My hats off to all of you. Hugs :)

  12. Great job ! This is a great community and I am glad to be part of it. In mainly aspects I do feel the same spirit of any RL sailing club. Competitive but friendly and respectful. The sea always reveals the best of us :)

  13. It's just hard work to become fastest. Need to have basics in computer, internet etc. But when that is done some hard work remains on sailing the boat, but also in finding out which viewer settings and viewer work for you. Have been out Sl for a while, but i don't think this has changed 😄