Cape Town - Goa Who is going to win?
Post by iconPost by nsp | 2020-05-17 | 16:56:19

Hi all.

I confess I am loving this one.

Full of tactics.

Lots of options.

There are boats Deep south,others close to shore of mainland africa, other close to Madagascar.

And in this moment everything is open.

For a long time I don't see so many risking different tactics -I even see some top sailors changing strategies in the midlle - and even fighting against our beloved router software...Of course after the strategy zezo as always is helping us keeping it in the right path.

I am having fun, and I hope you all are.

Whos's gonna win?

Fair winds all!!!


commenticon 64 Comments
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-17 | 17:15:45
I admit I like this one. Lots of strategic choices.
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-17 | 18:04:43
A real beautiful race for a young skipper.
Very open, many options, the truth of one day isn't the trush from the day after.

And the helpfull support of our router Zezo
Good wind all & enjoy
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-17 | 22:00:03
I love this race!!! There are many options and every choice made in the last 24/36 hours has still a chance to be the winning one!
Thanks to Cvetan for his support with Zezo!
Let's enjoy it until the last mile and may the best win!
Post by iconPost by DancingBrave | 2020-05-18 | 04:00:33
Forecasts are getting progressively worse, much worse, for the Western group :(
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-18 | 12:40:07
This is my first race and I'm having a tonne of fun. I'm Running in the top 1000, but the leaders are just starting to streach away from me. That's what I get for not paying for upgrades I guess! It has been tactically interesting, but the western route never really seemed like it could work. There were early gains in the first 2 days, but they were never getting through on the coast once the wind dropped and they'll need to be super lucky to get back across the east.

I was surprised that the routing said to go that way. But as with any navigator, I ignored the computer and did my own thing!
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-18 | 14:18:57
The router actively suggested the Western route for few days before the start.

Then at the start it did not prefer it anymore. As you say, conditions along the coast got worse, and also the high pressure in Arabian sea moved around (but that's still to be seen)

There is often that dilemma - to stay with the week-long forecast or jump to the new conditions. Sometimes it makes sense, sometime not.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-18 | 14:32:12
Looks like my third straight race choosing the wrong strategy and then trying to salvage whatever I can get. Frustrating, but it's a risk of how I race. I could have bailed out when Buddha and Tipap did... But I tend to insist upon sticking with a route that has a chance until I'm certain it can't work... which usually means going past the point of no return.

Hopefully the next forecast will give us a bit more wind for later today... Doing 7-8 kts in 4 kts windspeed for several hours would likely lock in West as a failed gambit.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-19 | 00:31:38
So I'm new here (this is my first race), but I take it the fact I'm 10nm behind Tipap in a standard boat +foils is a good thing?
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-19 | 00:26:08
Even the suggested route was to follow the coast then head offshore slightly and sail a big circle as the wind lifted you inside Madagascar taking an early loss for the gain of afew hours in 10 days time. It never looked like a sensible route. The different route that looked interesting to me was gybing early on the approach to the south of Madagascar and runny way out east of Reunion and Mauritius. It was more distance, but it essentially avoids the high off India and runs in with the last of this big low to the east. I didn't do it, but I'm still not convinced it isn't faster.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-18 | 14:53:04
If you ran this race 10 times, the west route would win 9 of them according to historical wind patterns. Early cyclone in Bay of Bengal is filling in wind to the east where normally there isn't any.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-18 | 15:52:45
yeah... I was counting on that cyclone disappearing from the forecast. I figured 10-12 days in the future (a few days ago), the forecast wouldn't be reliable. And then it turned out to actually be reliable. Oh well. Hopefully I'm getting all of my massive mistakes out of the way before Vendee.

I'd like to see an extreme East boat like Aspiln or FFVoile win it... although that would dig my grave even deeper. I'm trying to figure out now just how bad things are for the West group... I'm starting to realize we may wind up with 2,000+ if the forecast doesn't get any better. Ouch.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-18 | 16:34:43
Still a week to go. There's a possibility that the high yet develops and the east boats have to swing way west. That's my fantasy, please don't take it away.

Funny how only west boats seem to be participating in this thread.
Post by iconPost by lorenzo | 2020-05-18 | 20:46:54
[Funny how only west boats seem to be participating in this thread.]

Ever heard of superstition? We central keep our heads down and hope it won't change :-) :-)

Post by iconPost by Tarahumara_POR | 2020-05-18 | 16:39:33
I love these Oceanic races... I was checking before the Pilot Charts for the Indian Ocean May, and by the statistics, the route east of Madagascar was the choice... Zezo, in the beginning, was aiming trough coast of Africa.. but I was already aiming to not follow this one, from the simple fact that the pilot charts put lots of % of calms north of Madagascar and the Horn of Africa, and you need to cross it if you go close to the coast.
Good luck to all, still race open!!
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-18 | 19:41:13
What a year 2020
TGE won after an unlikely far north road, AG2R after an african option shortly viewed, Cape to Goa, on going but one more time, for this year, it 'll be a non-traditionnal route!
What for the next races ?
Do tradition get lost ?
Thanks everyone on these forum who help me to increase my skills. I'm now in a good place but without illusion for the finish...
Good Wind all
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-18 | 20:15:28
Here is another Eastern boat...I believe it is still open, at least for the next 2/3 days...let's see!
Good wind to everybody!
Post by iconPost by nsp | 2020-05-19 | 19:30:24
East really east is now gone :(
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-20 | 08:17:22
I don't know if somebody may be few days we could be at Maldives :):):)
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-20 | 13:42:27
The full-pack groups are seeming more cleanly defined at the moment...

East 1, which is led by Jamdesiles, appears to have 180-200 boats.

East 2, which I'm defining as the boats between luxair and Buddha, seems to have 400 boats.

West doesn't have a clearly defined leader... It includes me, NZ-Eligo, nicobaiona, kramaouet, Buenaonda, Big Bird, etc... I'm guessing we have 150-300 boats.

Then there are lots of other boats spread out across the "Extreme East" options... Too dispersed to define a "group" as far as I can tell.

As far as I can tell, the full-pack West group's goal at this point is just to beat the Extreme East boats and the non-full-pack boats trailing East 1 and East 2. Best-case for the West seems to be maybe 700th.

Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-20 | 23:54:09
That's a pretty good summary. I'm a non-full pack boat in the middle of East 1 and my ETA is T+132 which is about 2 hours ahead of the lead boat in East 2. The High off the West coast of India is starting to form quite stronly though which is going to prevent a significant obstacle. The routing is currently suggesting gybing in 48 hours time and going essentially the wrong way for 6 hours to get around it. The East 2 boats don't really have to deal with it.
Post by iconPost by CoreTeam | 2020-05-23 | 12:31:39
Hey guys! I'm new in the game and Cape to Goa is my first one.
What a race that I choose to start this.... damn doldrums! jajaja
Let's see how we end this last ride to Goa.... good luck to all!
West route wan's the winner this time.... we were close but not good enough :-(
Freddy (CoreTeam)

Post by iconPost by nsp | 2020-05-23 | 13:28:07
A little breeze now bennefiting the Far Far East, but won't be enough. Just to climb some places in rank. And maybe keep distance for the previous west packers.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-23 | 23:25:15
You're going to get me though! I had to gybe and run for 4 hours away from the finish to get around this massive high in the west. The leaders are basically trying to push through it going slow and boats like you are going benefit. I'm sitting about 50nm to windward of you but the router has you getting home an hour before me!

Still, this is my first race and I'm only running foila and winches so I'm pretty happy.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-24 | 02:30:39
YC6211, for a no money boat and your first race, you are doing amazingly well. I'd say you are in the top 5% of boats without the full pack. Finish well and you could beat all the West group boats and there are some people in there that know what they are doing (and me.)

Looks like the West group has scattered now. Everyone rolling the dice and looking for a miracle.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-24 | 03:56:34
I think having actual offshore nav experience has helped. It made it easier to ignore the routers sillier looking suggested routes. My goal was to finish in the top 2500 but I may be able to sneak into the top 1000 which would make me pretty happy.

The western boats have the same problem they've been facing all race. How do they get back east through the high? I'm not sure they have a good answer other than gybe and go south of it. But that would hurt.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-24 | 04:05:45
My original plan was to go North of it. At the time, it looked like boats going East enough to get East of it would have to go upwind to get to the finish, so I was thinking we'd get a fast run home at the end. But then the East boats got nice reaching conditions and that plan was hosed.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-24 | 05:58:18
You really needed the cyclone to hang around for another day or 2 to stop the mhigh from reforming to make that route work.

It's going to be interesting to see who wins from here. There are 2 groups at the front, the northern group pushed straight through the bottom of the high while the souther group gybed to go around it. I think the northern group will just get there, but it's close.
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-24 | 09:18:42
That's a good comment, about the router making silly suggestions.

I often have to explain that the router is stupid. It has no memory, can't see beyond the available data and does not have a clue about system stability.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-24 | 11:44:15
It's also trying to predict the weather in 2 weeks time and route around it. Even software like Expedition isn;t accurate at that range and it's only trying to route 1 boat. I don't know how many people are trying to use your router, but I assume trying to make a hyper accurate route for all of them would be computationally impossible. I assume that's why it's a little twitchy at short distances too? I was going to make a post with my thoughts after the race but in short, I thinks it's good at medium term positioning. Things like finding the middle ground of passing a nasty high between shorter distance and more wind. But long term planning it's only a guide. It would be nice if there was a function to add a waypoint. Early in this race it prefered the west route that I didn't. It would have been nice to have the option to add a waypoint left to port in the middle of Madagascar to force the router to accept my route to the east.
Post by iconPost by GeGaX | 2020-05-24 | 12:10:41
Hi 😉,
Do not follow, "stupidly" the router.
One interesting thing is to understand the isochrones and learn to interpret the Pilot Chart.
It is possible depending on that to set a destination point where you wish (right click - Set as destination).

Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-24 | 12:44:15
Hi I was in the same case prefering east route to west. so i fixed a point of my prefered route during 3/5 days before zezo 'understand' and gives me 'my route' untill Goa. The trouble is that during those first days it didn't give me long term forecast but it was my choice. To have prediction i had windy,... & some works in changing the start point to have general conditions. Zezo isn't the truth but a great tool.
It's true than have an option with a waypoint could be nice, but I believe this topic has been treated.
Good wind for the final
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-24 | 13:11:28
Yeah that's pretty much what I did. Thankfully the first few days weren't navigationally complex for the eastern route. It was more about picking the 2 gybe points so the router caught up with me by the time I needed it. If I was really struggling to get it working the way I wanted, I would have just exported the data to Expedition, but that would have been effort. I'm sure these things have been discussed before, that was just my thought as a new player.
Post by iconPost by Hamachi SA | 2020-05-24 | 16:01:35
I am in the east group doing OK. Missed a gybe due to sleep while a new model was being loaded and lost over 200 boats. I started the effort to use Expedition and got the Zezo GRIB loaded and at first glance winds seemed pretty close. But I couldn't find the Polars in an Expedition friendly format and was too lazy to convert. Might do that for the Tahiti race.

As you said, Zezo does a good job except for very short range nav. The Isochrones are as useful as the actual route.

Post by iconPost by GeGaX | 2020-05-24 | 16:56:38
What is the format of the polars for Expedition ?
On the generator of Toxcct, there are many formats available
Post by iconPost by Hamachi SA | 2020-05-24 | 18:49:29
I don't know the name of the format but it looks like:

6 54.1 4.48 60 5.1 75 5.85 ...
8 53 6.21 60 6.97 75 7.84
10 51.8 8.16 60 9.31 75 9.76
12 50 9.59 60 10.57 75 11.56
14 49.4 11.08 60 13.16 75 14.43
16 48.4 12.23 60 14.23 75 16.22
18 47.4 12.72 60 14.83 75 17
I looked at Toxcct polar generator but didn't find this format. It wouldn't be hard to convert.
Post by iconPost by GeGaX | 2020-05-24 | 19:29:17
I downloaded Expedition and looked at the polar formatting

I think this method can work:
• Select [Adrena / SailGrib]
• Instead of saving with the extension .pol you save it with the extension .txt

The polars files are to put in the folder :
C:\Program Files\Expedition\Expedition4D\Polars
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-24 | 09:06:57
Hi, I'm in the southern group, because more fun to try something than to follow... I think that the high while mooves a bit late, and northern group has already the winner without change untill the finish line. But we are having so many changes since the start of this race...
Post by iconPost by nsp | 2020-05-24 | 14:38:47
Hi YC6211.

In fact, as someone said for the first one you are going preety well above aveerage, specially considering your boat is not fully rigged.

My 50cents:

Og course it depends a lot if it's a regional or a longer race, or if it is going on in a region where weather conditions are more stable. After all is different to race in Caribbean or Papua/New Guinea or the Deep South or Northern Atlantic.

There are several kind of players:

Some of us tend to design a strategy besed in studyinf geographical and weather patterns, the average weather conditions in a given part of the globe etc. Then bascially they start, normally not paying too much atention to zezo and "fighting it" for the first days till they get into the desired strategy.
In the long term, zezo will always help us to keep us on the right path sooner or later as we feel we are where we want.

Others follow Zezo, from second one to the finish. With little adjustments mainly to mark a contender move or some minor stuff.

And I have seen both solutions work, maybe with a tendancy for the second to win in stable weather conditions or regions.

During the years I have seen almost improbable things happening when for example a fleet splitting in two ways, going some West of Australia and others East on the way to Hong Kong, almost gave a strange result. Consider the scale of Australia, we are not talking about going East or west of Madagascar. :)

Another example is Your Mom, SA, he was for a long time VR number 1, and I saw him frequently doing strange routes sometimes with just a little pack with him (never alone because someone always follow him, lol), usually cents or a thousand of miles away from the main pack. And in the end, if not winning he was close to. I am sure he was not following Zezo for a long time, till he get the zone he was aiming to get in.

Post by iconPost by nsp | 2020-05-24 | 14:40:34
sorry for all typo :) fast typing :P
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-24 | 15:56:31
I've been following Zezo since before I got high in the rankings, but... I don't always tell Zezo to route to the next mark. I use my imagination for big-picture strategy, and then force it to route accordingly. (Although I don't always find anything I like better than Zezo's default route to the next mark).
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-25 | 00:27:20
I don't think east of Australia to get to Hong Kong is as crazy as it sounds depending on the time of year. Trading a fast route north for a fast route east can be good in some circumstances. Especially this time of year when you can run almost to Brisbane in a southerly before things get tricky. In summer I'm not sure I'd go for it though. Plus in VR you don't have to deal with the East Australian Current which forces you to go way out wide IRL. You would run into light air getting through the Solomon Islands and it probably isn't worth sailing all the way to New Caledonia to get through the doldrums (which is generally how the Melbourne to Osaka race is won). I'd be very interested to know which route worked in the split.

I think I'm more of a force zezo to follow my route kinda guy. Especially as a non full pack boat. I need a little creative navigation to make up for the boat speed deficit.
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-24 | 16:32:18
@YC6211 It's not that much about the router, it's about the forecast. 2 weeks is too much. Even 1 week is too much in some places and certain conditions.

I've run a 20-day simulations of VOR legs post-factum, with the actual winds, to compare against the winner, and see if there was even better router. The conclusion was that at least one of the 100000 boats gets it really close. The router also got it right with deterministic data.

I've seen a North Atlantic crossing give correct prediction of South vs. North route with 1 hour difference between them in 1 week, but that's more exception than a rule.

When you put the doldrums into play there is another problem - router finds its way in static field of weak winds. But the field changes every 6 hours and in the end the actual track is much worse. We got that recently on a SA - Europe race.

Post by iconPost by Hamachi SA | 2020-05-24 | 16:52:04
I agree the issue is more the changing weather than Zezo. I am curious about the bias towards 5 degree TWAs (usually suggests 90, 95, rarely 92, 88, etc.). I am guessing you do that to limit permutations so routing becomes much less CPU intensive. Considering the number of people requesting routing, that makes total sense. But have you tried a test case without the rounding to see how much could be gained? That is the reason I was thinking Expedition might have a slight edge.
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-24 | 17:19:56
Yes, boat is sailed every 5 degrees and at optimum up/downwind angles, whatever they happen to be.

1 degree resolution would not have much benefit (other than possibly a bit smoother line) because the polars come in 5-regree increments and are interpolated linearly between the 5-degree points.

Mathematically it's almost the same if you sail one step at 50 and one at 55 vs. 2 steps at 52.5. Cos(2.5) is 0.99904822158, so there is only 0.1% error.

It could be a bit different if the polars were smooth lines (splines) because the speed might not be exactly the average, but still pretty close.

Post by iconPost by Hamachi SA | 2020-05-24 | 18:58:56
Makes sense. BTW, it wasn't meant as a criticism of the tool. I have a software dev background (a few years back) and I'm totally impressed with Zezo. Not just the software itself but the overall system reliability and performance.

Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-25 | 00:29:53
That's my point. It's only as good as the forecast it's given. I wouldn't trust any router that tells me to sail a crazy route for a benefit in 2 weeks. You need to be able to ignore the router if you think it's wrong. Especially in a race like this that had a cyclone playing funny buggers with the usual weather patterns.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-24 | 17:49:44
0.001 x 42 day lap of the planet is 1 hour! 😩
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-24 | 18:01:08
a few years ago, we saw a race won for 98 secondes !
It was without router !
It was in...
1978 ;)
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-25 | 17:02:26
another one! Giraglia 2008: IRC winner won by 58 seconds and it was a normal boat (with teak deck) and no professionals on board!
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-25 | 17:50:35
98 secondes 1978 First Route du Rhum !
2 routes : one north with a monohull built for this route, one South trade winds with a boat, one of the first trimaran, for this second
& at the end 98 secondes advantage South
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-24 | 18:04:11
Nothing stops you from sailing 52.5. The track tool even makes it easier to do it.

But in practice we spend most of the time sailing either a straight line from point A to point B, an optimum up/downwind VMG, or a smoothly changing curve.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-24 | 20:10:32
I'm kidding obviously. I always use the track tool to decide whether to sail an optimal TWA, straight bearing or even use a waypoint to get the orthodromic shortest distance.
Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-24 | 20:13:06
I know you're kidding, but every good joke has a piece of truth in it, and those things do make a difference sometimes.
Post by iconPost by YourMomSA | 2020-05-25 | 21:54:25
FWIW... The best I know of from the West fleet is NZ-Eligo. Currently running around 1,100th.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-26 | 00:28:48
I"m not aware of anyone ahead of NZ-Eligo in the West fleet.

How about the rookie who won in only his third race. His deviation from the pack started around the equator when he pressed east. You don't win one of these things by 22 minutes by sticking with the pack.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-26 | 00:40:06
Yeah it almost looks like he use dinshore racing tactics in the transition into the high. Instead of taking one gybe and lifting around to course, he gybed a few times in the relefent shits to position himself east and inside the lift. It gave him the best of both worlds by going fast along the east coast of Madagascar and then working to the far east to avoid the high. He essentially managed to avoid the choice making an ugly gybe to get south of the high (what I did) or push through the light air. Brilliant.
Post by iconPost by DjuLiTo | 2020-05-26 | 15:47:17
You forget just one thing : LUCK ! :D

I discovered the game with "La Transat AG2R" and then in the middle of this race I discovered the routers.

I went from 12 000th to 2500 thanks to zezo.

Then I also understood that every fleets was following the same route making it very hard for me to do better than 200th in the GOA... Not fun... I cut zezo 3 days and went east hoping for good conditions to climb north. After 3 days I realized that I could win the race...

Post by iconPost by zezo | 2020-05-26 | 17:14:40
Thanks! Always nice to hear from a race winner.

And that's not just luck - you got it right that it's almost impossible to win a race by blindly following the router because at leas 100 more players are doing the same.
Post by iconPost by YC6211 | 2020-05-26 | 23:28:52
It's like going to the oposite side of the course in an inshore race. 9 times out of 10 you look like an idiot. But every once in a while you get a lucky shift and look like a legend! Congrats on a great win.
Post by iconPost by BooBill | 2020-05-26 | 13:52:36
So, I had a look at the tracks to see how NZ-Eligo managed to get 2 hrs in front of the West fleet pack. I looked at him, Big Bird, myself and YourMom. All boiled down to the last gybe 3 days ago to get below the high. Big Bird didn't gybe at all, and got caught too deep in the high. I gybed, but was the first to gybe back. YourMom went the furthest and NZ-Eligo split the middle between us. I'm finishing 3 miles ahead of YourMom, had a fraction of a kn less wind, but better angle. NZ-Eligo just found that sweet spot and unbelievably, that was worth 2 hrs. Wish I was following him before you brought his position to my attention. The whole time I'm was pretty pleased thinking I was winning this drag race. BTW, I changed my boat name to BooBill half way through the race if you want to look at the same tracks I'm analyzing (new team couldn't make a suitable nickname for old name).

Post by iconPost by nsp | 2020-05-26 | 14:34:27
And in the end, far far far east didn't behave too bad. if it wasn't for that unpredictable update it would have been better. 647 given the circumstances wasn't a bad result at all.
Only the staregy could have been less risky.
But sometimes you want to risk it...
Post by iconPost by LinusVanpelt | 2020-05-26 | 16:51:55
I'm also recent on VR, since The Great Escape where I discovered zezo.
For Goa, I chose first East option before the start thinking that it'll be a minority choice. It was in mid of Mad than I viewed that I was in the head group. After some mistakes, i fell down about 250th with no chance to get better. It's zezo that showed me the east gybe 3 days ago to a better finish. As a beginner, who is beginning to prepare my race, i saw at the start this very far east way but judged it too long ! When I did my gybe it was too late for the first.

I would like to thank experienced skippers for their analytical sharings which allows us to progress without being mere copyists

"Bravo DjuLiTo"
Post by iconPost by Gavitellogoloso | 2020-05-26 | 22:08:48
I join the group of very recent players, being the Transat my first full race and Goa the 2nd.
I started the Transat without knowing zezo and follow a personal idea - based just on the wind forecast on VR and some old words that said that going south it was the best thing. By the way, when I started to cross the ocean I was in 45.000th position... but I closed around 3000th place, good catch-up.
During the Transat I met on VR Luis75 (we are both from Rome) and he introduced me to zezo. My life changed :-)
Thank you Cvetan for this navigation aid!
Back to Goa challenge, I raced always in chat with Luis75. We took different paths - myself on the West-right group, the one that made the big jibe toward east few days before the target, while Luis75 took the West-left. After 12 days of navigation we reached Goa split only by 55 seconds! Really amazing.
I enjoyed this race even though it costed me several very early wake up in the middle of the night to check the weather :-)
Post by iconPost by Luis75 | 2020-05-27 | 08:05:55
Bravo Gavitello!!!! Well done!!!!
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