How did I ever manage to overlook Virtual Loup-de-Mer?

Well, I didn’t overlook it, really. Much worse, I dismissed it. I tried Vlm once, must have been back in ’09 or even earlier. It was mostly in French and didn’t agree with me. I never bothered with it again. Until recently, that is.

Turns out I missed out. Because Vlm is friggin’ awesome!

Seriously. It is.

Vlm is unlike any other online sailing slash navigation simulator I’ve ever used. For starters, it doesn’t have a Flash client interface. Yeah, that’s right: you don’t even need to have installed that resource hogging, crash-prone security risk, which even its own creators advice against using, anymore. Also, Vlm is completely free and open source with its code base available on GitHub. What’s more, as we’ll see in a future post, Vlm is also the place where weather router QtVlm really comes to shine.

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Schakel’s Unofficial Fleet Rankings

To add to Sailonline’s own already extensive and somewhat confusing collection of rankings, let me introduce a radically new perspective on sailing performance on SOL: Schakel’s Unofficial Fleet Rankings (SUFR).

Contrary to Sailonline’s low point-based SYC member rankings and all of its series rankings, SUFR is a high point scoring system that is based on 10 of the most recent races*. As such, it accurately identifies sailors that have been performing consistently well over recent months. And because both SYC members and non-SYC members are included, you’ll find you will be competing for your rank against a larger number of boats.

Your score for each race is the total number of entries in the race plus 1 minus your final race rankings, provided you finish. If you are registered in a race but do not finish, you are awarded 1 point. If you are not registered, you receive no points.

This effectively ‘weighs’ each race as more entries result in a more points being awarded, which is fitting since the longer ocean races generally attract more people anyway. Also, it may very well fuel the motivation to finish.

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How to run brainaid’s NMEA proxy from the Sailonline client

Brainaid’s NMEA proxy java applet is a thing of beauty, it truly is. But getting it to run is a bit of a hassle. First you have go to his site, you have to enter your credentials and select a race to be able to log in before you’re finally able to get on to the navigation page where it sits waiting for you to run it. Is there no way to make this any easier?

I’m glad you asked. Sure there is. Short version: you install a browser extension that executes a script while loading the Sailonline client, adding at the page bottom a button that will get the NMEA applet for you. Easy, huh?

Well, let’s get to the nitty gritty:
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Barcelona World Race game

With the start of the Barcelona World Race just 100 days away, the race organizers have opened their virtual race game for a test regatta starting on September 25th. You can enter the race at the Barcelona World Race Game website, which is almost entirely in Spanish. However, an English language version of the game client is available, as well as apps for Android (image below) and Apple mobile devices.

Android interface BWR game

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