Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fearless cruising

I never really sailed much in WW boats. Wild Wind that is. When I finally realized I should, they were sorta gone. Taking a break from SL. Luckily Wild Wind is now back in the game and has been for a while.
Greener pastures
One day I was hanging out at SL, when Fearless moored his WW OP60. I hopped into my favourite sailor-dress and rushed over to ask for a ride. Fearless said yes, so I jumped onboard and we took of.
Heading south
Now that I look at the pictures I remember thinking: Why is it so green. In fact it's supergreen. Yes Sir! The sailing experience was super-green. The boat moves with a distinct lightness, and there's loads of details everywhere: Paired rudders, daggerboards, deck spreaders, rope bags and more.
Deck spreaders
Here's more nice details. The deck spreaders has support ropes. Dunno the english terms for the lines running over the deck spreaders, so please: Someone write it in a comment. It's not that I like those rather weird extra poles for supporting the mast, but they're made to look like the real thing, and that they do very well.
Here's another shot of the deck spreaders. Strangely, while the deck spreaders are in place and supported by ropes, there are no sheets on the boat. I always found it a bit weird having no sheets. It sorta breaks the bubble for me.
Waking up
The wake is different. There's no triangular wake, - only the foam right behind the boat. This is actually a nice touch, because that's where the foam goes if anywhere at all. Those triangular foamy wakes seen so often in SL - they should really be just a wave moving away from the boat.
Canting keel
Trimming seems a bit on the easy side as there's no adjusting the sailshape. However, there's a canting keel to play with. It can be on auto, but it's way more fun to use the manual override. Otherwise the boat is simply too automatic for my taste. The rudder and the daggerboards seem to have their own will.
Cruising in an Open 60
But that's just me. If I wanna go cruising, I'd take my T-One or my good old Bolero. If I go out in a racer like the Open 60, I'd deffo want to work with it. Not just sit and tan while going 18 knots downhill.
No sheets anywhere
Wild Wind chose to default to the ever rotating SL wind. i only tried that in a few other boats. This Laser for instance. SL wind is nowhere near any kind of normal wind, so why bother building that into a boat? Luckily there are other options. You can lock the wind to a specific setting, but who'd wanna do that? Instead the WWC cruising wind is probably the best option; Provided you want a slightly realistic wind.
It's a cruiser in disguise
So overall it's a very nice build with loads of good details, but crucial details such as sheets are missing. The sail-engine works flawlessly, and it crosses sim borders very nicely. Still, to me the boat flies a little too easy and with too few trimming options. I'd consider it a cruiser in disguise, and a really nice one too. Much like many other boats in SL.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Foul weather experience

We had a few rainy days this summer. So I went to SL to catch the sun. I found it, but I also found the worst virtual weather I've ever experienced. However, it all started beautifully. Somewhere in Folkvang...
Smooth sailing in the sunset
I accidentally found the viking ship, and when I hopped on, it (the ship) asked me if I wanted to go on a journey. I accepted and a whole story unfolded before my eyes. A true story of a viking journey.
The ravens cage
The attention to detail was quite unique. The ship had cargo covered with blankets or cow-hides,  barrels with I-dunno-what plus sheep and then there was the cage for the obligatory raven. The vikings used the raven to find the course to land - if they got lost at sea. Release it and see where it goes.
Arriving somewhere
So, I just sat there... the story was rather lengthy but interesting. However, the scenery was amazing. In fact it was so overwhelming, I'll admit I was too busy looking and taking pics to catch all the details of the story.
The waves were amazing too. They are difficult to catch on fotos in RL; They're even more difficult to catch in SL, but they're a pretty big deal. The SL waters may look watery and wet, but in fact they're flat as a pancake. Here, they had me worried. The waves.
Quiet night
Just as in RL the wind eased a bit at night, so here's a shot upwards. Pretty. Pretty realistic and pretty sleep inducing. It was so nice, but it wasn't gonna last...
This is what woke me up. It is - by very far - the worst virtual weather I have ever experienced. Lightning struck more than once near the boat. The wind picked up and closed in on storm. The waves grew taller and taller while heavy rain filled the air... Foul weather indeed.
Where's my horn
After a hefty night this was the morning... fog. Loads of it and thick too. Quite exciting in that scary way. Ahh, but not that scary. After all I kinda knew I wouldn't meet Emma Maersk or any of her siblings. That's comforting. Still, I had no horn and no charts... Hmm...
Staring at the horizon some 50 meters ahead expecting anything can be exhausting. Here, I finally saw some rocks. Good? Bad? Dunno yet. 
Let's find land
After a while the sun broke through and it was time to test the raven. Here she is... flying, circling, looking for land, and after a few minutes she took off. I followed.
Ahh, yes... the sun is back
Not much to see. I mean, - no land. The sun was up though, and that always helps cheering me up. Happily I splashed forward in the same direction. The Raven was out of sight, but finally...
Finally. This chalcky rock appeared and I knew the journey was about to end. Not with me being lost at sea, but with me landing somewhere... presumably nice. Maybe there'd be a pub nearby, so I could get a beer. I won't tell. Go check the journey yourself... it all begins somewhere in Folkvang.

Update: Yes, all pictures are 100% true and unmanipulated screenshots.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Powerboat show

There is a powerboat show running at Tradewinds. I dropped by to catch a glimpse of all those peace-disturbers before I went shopping for TNT.
As if I'd do such a thing. Nah. However, I always keep old ropes and have them ready to throw out overboard. Just in case some fired up gazoline-sniffer comes too close, hehe.
Carpenters corner
Seriously, it is a nice show. There's loads of fancy looking smokers, and there's even a carpenters corner, where you can see how boats are built.
There's only one problem with the boatbuilders shed. It is way too tidy to look real, but apart from that there's a lot of really nice details.
Check the two pics above here. It would seem one is the unfinished version, and the next one is what it looks like when finally done - after 7 layers of varnish and wax and what's nuts.
Miami Vice
Not into classics and oldtimers? Go modern. This looks kinda like Miami Vice. Ok, it's like what... 30 years ago, so even Miami Vice is now officially antiquated. Still, I am sure there are fans out there.
Let's tan
Me, I am not really a fan of anything that antiquated, noisy and environmentally incorrect, but this next one got my attention. Now I just need a bikini and a drink... how come these things don't have drink dispensers?
Japan is also represented
Anyway, there's enough to see if you're into this sort of thing. I'll admit that some of these boats look really nice, and it's clear that the builders put a lot of work and pride in their creations. Too bad most of the boats cannot be taken for a testride. The roaarrrs that you'd expect to hear at a show like this are kinda absent. But it's still worth a visit. Definately.

Link to earlier Power Boat Show at Tradewinds. Click the category for more power-boat-stuff.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Size matters II

So it's been scaled a bit. The new Moth. I really like that. Here's a picture of a little Moth-talk. Not sure a kilt is the best outfit for Moth-sailing but hey... not my problem.
It looks pretty good on water too. Err, well not the kilt. The Moth. Plus I fit nicely on the trampoline - feeling I am just the right size, whereas my new Scottish friend felt the boat was now too small for him, teehee.
See... size is important
Strange problem in a virtual world. Click a few buttons and your own personal self has a suitable size. Or better yet: I have shoes that resize on my command! Why not have resizable boats and end the size debate once and for all??
I decided to check it out for real, so here's me taking off from Tradewinds Yacht Club. Still not sure what to think about that experiMental wing-thing, but at least it won't break no matter how I crash. There is one interesting thing about it though: I wonder how much extra speed it would give me compared to a standard sail. Hmm.
Speedy Gonzales 
Speedy it is. It's probably so dangerous we ought to wear helmets like those sissies in the Americas Cup. Duh. Maybe not. We can only fall into the water here. Soft water full of itsu bitsy bits. It probably won't hurt much, and the hull probably won't break into sharp edges either. 
Head on / chicken
So, if the speed is 43 knots, then a head to head crash would be like hitting full stop from 86knots or so? Maybe those helmets are a good idea after all, teehee. You need to react pretty fast here. Sometimes you only have very few seconds from first visual to impact. 
Better get back to safety. It's a fun boat. It's right sized, still too fast, and still too easy, but there's supposed to be an expert mode. I'd better try that, so stay tuned. And the subject? Well, here's Size Matters I. And here's that other Moth for reference.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Another virtual Moth

Just back from 14 days at sea... ahh. The flooded mailbox says "U gotta try that new Moth", so I did...
A moth with wing(s)
Compared to the first virtual Moth this one is a bit more detailed. That's because of the mesh technology not being available back then. Another difference is that this one has a wing. I am not entirely sure I'd prefer a wing in RL. Wings are more expensive and much more fragile than sails.
However, in SL that really doesn't matter. There is no damage done no matter how you crash. Yet. Another difference is that this one runs on a modded BWIND engine. This has implications for serious sailors as BWIND has difficulties implementing the full set of environmental quirks needed for a full sail simulator. Currents, waves, shadows and more... See this...
It's working!
However, kudos for taking on a task like this. Building a new boat with different characteristics such as a foiler isn't excactly easy. The new Moth seems to work allright, though the sailing feels a bit shaky. Oh, and it is way too easy to get it up and foiling. The windangle and windspeed doesn't seem to matter much. The balance is also too easy to handle, both in foiling and nonfoiling "mode". Still, this boat deserves more investigation and tests...
Size matters
Xeriko commented that it looks too big. I can only agree, so here's a shot of a real Moth. The person carrying the moth is around 1.80m tall. No, it's not me. I am holding the camera. It is a very small boat that easily fits into a box that easily fits on the roof of even the smallest cars... The real Moth is a single seater. It seems the Dolphin Moth is meant for two people??

Once again, I'd like to stress that this is not about the new Moth being bad or wrong or anything. I haven't given it a thorough testride, but it appears to be great work. It's just a littlebit too big to feel like a real Moth.

PS: OMG! Totally unrelated. Totally amazing :-D

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gone sailing...

A new delicatesse from Craigs Kitchen
Yeah! Gone sailing. For real...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Foiling in the AC62

It seems today everybody is sailing the AC62. The virtual one that is. I am not really sure what the fuzz is all about. We've seen a thirty-something for tests, the AC45er is there, and obviously we've seen the 72 footer too. The 62 footer should really just be a shrunken 72er, no?
BobbieLin and me checking out the AC62
It's a good looking cat. It's a beta, but not just any beta. Supposedly it is the final beta. Me, I think there's too many problems with the shrouds for a final beta, but I am not really into mesh. Perhaps it's a super-easy fix. Dunno. While still moored the shrouds are nicely aligned with the mast anyway.
Top view
While the AC62 is smaller than the AC72 it is still pretty tall as can be seen on the above picture. There are two dots on the ground. BobbieLin on land and me in the cockpit. Hardly visible. Nuff talk. Lets fly...
Cats do fly...
If there is a manual I didn't read it, so it took me a couple of minutes to figure it out. It started out sailing on SL wind. It's been a while since I tried that. Somehow I managed to set the wind to east and the windspeed to 30. Dunno if that's knots, but I hope it isn't meters per sec. The sheets can be adjusted quite alot, so the wing easily ends up outside the usable angles of attack, i.e. windangle. So beware... there's not alotta speed in this thingy if the wing is 90 degrees to the sailing direction.
...and they can fly both ways!
If winged correctly these boats are fast. The high speed generates so much relative wind that the wing is operated within a pretty narrow range of (apparent) wind angles; Somewhere between close hauled and beam reach. The foiling comes easy. We almost foiled instantly, once I got the wing trimmed, and we stayed up there. In fact it is surprisingly easy to get her foiling; Tacking and gybing while staying up is a challenge.
Speeding is allowed
Speeds are incredible. Unreal actually. We made 50 knots easily. I didn't check cause I was busy steering and trimming, but BobbieLin kept yelling "50 knots is unreal". I absolutely to agree. I mean, we were not sailing in a storm, and most of the time the jib wasn't even unfolded.
Super duper speedy flying critters all over
Sadly the grid was very bad today. Numerous sims were offline, so we could just take off, get foiling and withing 30 seconds... boom - we'd hit the border of an offline sim. Rather annoying. After a couple of hits I even heard myself shouting foul words. The few simborders we did manage to cross - they seemed to work out pretty good.
Tradewinds to the lee
The overall performance seems good. The boat reacts swiftly to rudder changes and a bit less swiftly to wing trim, but I suppose that's to be expected with a wing this size. Balancing - we were able to move around - that seemed to have minor influence on the sailing. The only real problem seems to be the speed. As with the 45er and the 72er - the virtual oceans simply aren't big enough. In a split second you'd have crossed our biggest ocean in here. Also, even on a very fast computer and line we'd hit stuff that we couldn't see. The system simply could not rez it (put it on screen) before we hit it. Loads of clear water ahead, then boom... stuck in the middle of an applefarm with no warning what so ever. What fun...
see ya laterz
That's not the builders fault. It's a good boat. It is supereasy to get it foiling, and I hope we can find the space to sail it. While we can afford it and probably sail in our little virtual world, I am more curious how much cheaper the 62 footer will be compared to the 72 footer. Will there be a significant difference? Cutting just over 10 percent of the costs will probably not give us lots more teams in the next round of the AC Circus, will it?