Sunday, January 13, 2008

Offshore Racing Update

I'm not sure if you've been following the amazing progress of Francis Joyon but it looks like he is about to shatter Ellen MacArthur's round the world single handed record.

Now on the final stretch after crossing the equator and passing the Cape Verde Islands he remains about 10 days or two and half thousand miles ahead of Ellen.

It's a shame his web site is in French, though that of course should be good practice. However can't fault the web based "cartographie" (above)

Unlike the web site for the Barcelona World Race: its been an interesting race but as too often in the past I've found the race tracking less than helpful. I really don't think that Flash or Shockwave plug-in technologies are up to doing the sort of 3D visualisation that the organisers are trying to achieve. All too often it either freezes or crashes my laptop.

Two approaches work ok:

1) HTML page based - such as Joyon's above. As can be seen this can be show all the information you need including most importantly the wind now and in the immediate future without requiring plug-ins

2) Stand-alone application - nothing I've seen has come even close to the wonderful race viewer supplied free with the last Volvo Ocean race. You can still download it from the Volvo site but alas they have taken away the telemetry (why?). I hope it will be used for future Volvos and licensed for other races - preferably all other major offshore races.

Another problem with the Barcelona site is its overcomplicated and makes finding multimedia hard. I remember see a video where leaders Paprec-Virbac2 passed an iceberg and did a wonderfully ironic gosh aren't we so French and naughty commentry of "oh la la its so big"!

Or at least I think they did - despite contacting the race organisers still can't find that clip again. It's a shame as I think its double-handed Open 60s is a good format for offshore racing and it has attracted a good list of top names.

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