Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Watch the Wind

Tillerman's Tacticat Tip #2 is Watch the Wind.

Remember, in Tacticat, other things being equal, all boats have the same boatspeed. You can't beat your competition around the course like you do at your home club in real world sailing by just having a boat that's tuned better or by having superior boatspeed due to your amazing helming skills. In Tacticat if two boats are sailing in "sail by the telltales" or automatic mode, and they are both in clear air, then the boat in stronger wind will be faster. So one of the best ways to edge out on the rest of the fleet is to find that stronger wind.

As far as I know there are only two ways in Tacticat to "see" the wind velocity.

One is by using the W key, and then zoom in (Z key). This displays wind strength either in numbers (who knows what units) or shades of grey. Unfortunately you can only see the wind in the area of the course fairly close to your boat. (Just like it is in the real world for sailors with less than perfect eyesight such as myself!)

The other method is to use the I key which enables you to display the wind velocity for all the boats racing. So then you can check out whether the guys on the far side of the course are in stronger or lighter winds than yourself.

So in Tacticat everyone can be a 2 on Tillerman's spoof Not-the-Beaufort Wind Scale. Anyone worked out yet how to be a 1 in Tacticat - i.e. predict the wind before you can see it on the screen?

Check where the wind pressure is before the start. Develop your start strategy with this in mind. Keep checking the wind. It does change. Check it before the start of every leg. It may determine which side of the course to sail on the run, which gate mark to round, which way to go on the second beat.

Keep an eye on the wind direction too. There are persistent shifts and oscillating shifts and sometimes both. Use them, just as you would in real world racing. I always keep the laylines of my boat displayed (Y key) and tend to judge the shifts from watching the laylines move. There is also a wind indicator on the top left hand corner of the screen which shows which way the wind has shifted and by how much.

One of the things I appreciate about Tacticat is that it is much easier for me to see immediately what is happening to wind velocity around the course than I find it to assess in real life. So I can make tactical decisions based on what the wind is doing and observe the effects immediately. Teaches me to get better at observing the wind in real racing. I hope. Hey, there's got to be some payback for all these hours I have spent this winter wearing out my Shift and Enter keys!

1 comment:

aestela said...

Tacticat wind units are one of the best kept secrets of Tacticat Sea.

People started calling them knots. And they are knots in some way ...


There is another way to see your wind. It is the 'E' key, E for electronics equipment as it shows all sailing parameters of your boat


And no. There is no way to guess what's going to happen with the wind (apart from the oscillatory come-back and the drifting lulls and gusts).


aestela, Tacticat Admin

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