Sunday, October 11, 2015

A virtual cruiseship?

I was out sailing my lovely and newly updated Ktaba Cirya, when this rather big thing popped up on the horizon. At first I thought they had made a new island, but no! On closer inspection it turned out to be yet another thing I've never seen before: A virtual cruiseship.
A new island? 
I'm often amazed by the things people build. This is no exception, but... I mean for what? The Cirya I can take out and go sailing with a friend. Would anyone do the same with a cruise-ship, or are there passengers on board? Will people be going on virtual cruises round the Blake Sea? Sometime in the future they might. Movies have been made on that subject.
No, it's a cruise-ship
As you can see it's not that big after all. Big enough to be big for the virtual waters. Small enough to still be able to sail around without constantly running aground. Even if it did hit a rock, I am sure there will be help available from the Coastguard. I don't know if there are organised pilotboats in SL. Probably.
An empty cruise-ship
Up on the top deck, I'd expect to see people flocking around the pool and the bar - and the golfcourse, but it was quite empty. Would have been fun to see a full fledged party going in up there. Perhaps the SL Enquirer will have cruises in their add-section in the next issue. Dunno. The cabins look kinda nice, so why not book a cruise right away?
Empty cabins too
Sadly I only managed to get one picture from the inside before she was gone. I turned around my Cirya, but upwind I was not able to catch up and get a closer look. Soon I lost visual contact and after a few minutes she was nowhere to be found. Well, never mind! Off to find me an island where I can drop the anchor for the night.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Flying Shadow launched

So the Flying Shadow was launched. If you dunno what it is, it's a two-seater foiling cat; The virtual edition of the RL Flying Phantom. Here's a few shots from the launch. This first one is just people waiting for Dutch to start his speach ;-)
The wait
Quite a crowd showed up. In fact there were so many of us that I lost count. Time and opportunity for interesting boat talks. Anyway, when Dutch finally began speaking he didn't say much. It almost sounded like he was tired of boatbuilding; That's understandable. The Flying Shadow is a remarkable boat in several ways. It must have been hard work.
The speach
After a few crude sentences from the builder, there was announcments of a Flying Shadow club, regular races, a possible clubhouse and probably merchandise too, but I crashed out; I guess the sim overloaded or something. Didn't hear the whole thing, and to be honest I'd much rather hear the builder talk about the building process and all the inherent frustrations in building such a boat.
So what's so friggin special about this boat? Since the builder didn't bother to tell us, I'll give you my few cents on the subject. It's not the first cat in this virtual world. It's not the first foiling boat either. It isn't even the first foiling cat; We all saw those crazy boats in the Americas Cup. So what's the deal here... Is the Flying Shadow any different from a Nacra 17? Yes, the Nacra flies too... it just doesn't in our little virtual pond.
Details, details, details
Well, the graphics are superb. Nothing less. It's just so precise and delicious. It started with the Laser or was it the VO70?? Somehow I get the feeling that Dutch has taken the graphics to a new level here. There are sheets and trimlines all over, and the hulls and the sails look very nice; But we're getting used to that quality from the Mesh Shop. This time the real snacks are in the small details such as the working carbon  jib traveller, the super nice mainsheet traveller, the user interface and it's options.
Perfect balance
The boat must be balanced to go at it's fastest. Both sailors take part in that. There are main and jib/genakker to trim. Both sailors can do that, simultanously. Plus you need to handle those daggerboards, keep a lookout and steer precisely. Especially the lookout is important; Going 25 knots makes things approach kinda fast. Things as in other boats and islands. And it's fun. It's like a sailboat on steroids blasting it's way down south and across the Blake Sea in only a couple of minutes. I am pretty sure the polar implementation is good enough to make downwind sailing interesting too, but that remains to be seen.

The sail engine itself is a BOSS 3.0; It is yet another step up from the BWind 2.5. I'd call it a supercharged next-gen BWind of sorts.  It's been morphed from 2.0 into 2.5 and then into something much more advanced than the original BWind. The BOSS 3.0 is a very fast, very capable and very responsive sail engine. It handles sim crossings extremely smooth. Even at crazy 25 knots it seems to blast past those dreaded sim borders without taking much notice. That is truly amazing.
Checkout from the launch party
So there... in reality the Flying Shadow is just a modded Nacra. However, in our virtual waters it is
one of a kind. It sails great, it looks great and it is great fun; It is kinda easy to sail, but I am sure it will turn out to be difficult to sail well. Plus the graphics details are superdelicious. Did I mention it's super fun to sail? I didn't? Ok, here goes: It's super fun to sail... Sounds like the perfect weekend project: Figure out the Flying Shadow... I'm in. Cheers...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Is it a bird, a plane or a rocket?

None of the above... It's tomorrow! This is the latest, greatest, fastest and the most advanced yet from Dutch. It's the Flying Shadow...
When tomorrow comes...
OMG it's fast! I almost wet my pants sailing this... See the real thing here. See it inworld tomorrow. Launch at 2pm SLT, Dutch Harbour. (That's 2300CEST)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wooden boatshow

There's a wooden boatshow running at Tradewinds. Boats started to arrive a couple of days ago, and now the marina is almost full. I am pretty sure Ahab will be running in circles later today to organize it all.
Wooden oldtimers
There's a handfull of those oldtimers with creaking sounds, many masts, cockroaches and bow spirits, but there are also classics such as 12meters and the Cotton Blossom.
Classics from the 30ies
If these are too big for you, - there are also quite a few smaller boats; Still classics but just not as classy as a 12 meter. Anything from the small Leetlecat to the Shields.
Smaller boats too
... and if that isn't enough there's a couple of giants too... Two wooden Js... Yes, wooden J-boats do exist. Shamrock is one RL J-class that's wooden. Of the older ones - from before 1900 - some were also wooden. Oh, and the new ones aren't all steel... This could be Craig Ktabas Vanya... Even the bronze ones were wooden as they were only tobin bronze plated. The hull itself was wooden.
Pirate ships - guns and everything are both wooden , classics and gigantic. These boats are fantastic builds with so many accurate details it is absolutely breathtaking. Not old enough? There are two vikingships on display too. One of which I have sailed.

Should you want to relax with a boat that runs when you turn the key, this is it:
I've seen quite a few very classy powerboats in SL. Currently there are only two of them at the show. I hope this changes. Yes they stink and they're noisy, but the woodwork still looks amazing.

So here's to a great weekend; If you dunno what to do... pop by and check out the boatshow. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beginners rules

I received a question from ThomasK Andel about rules for inexperienced sailors. Thank you, Thomas.

The question is: Are there any universal rules to be used at a regatta series? The answer is a big YES! The International Sailing Federation aka ISAF maintains and develops a set of racing rules that are used globally in yacht races. The rules may seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, you should bear in mind that they have been developed over many decades to ensure clarity and fairness.
ISAF logo

Still, the rules book is a rather small book, and you only need to know a few pages by heart. You can get the rules in PDF format at the ISAF site. Here's a link: ISAF rulesbook. You want the PDF that says "ISAF racing rules for sailing 2013-2016", and you need to be concerned about pages 12-16. Oh, and if your native language isn't english, these rules are translated to pretty much any language on the planet.

Several clever people publish books to help sailors understand the rules. You see, - Yacht racing can be a complicated sport. Sometimes help is needed to figure out just what rules are in play at a certain point. I used to read Paul Elvstroms book, when I started sailing... now I just read the ISAF Book and sometimes the Case Book. The casebook is (strangely ;-) good for looking up cases;
Paul Elvstrom explains 
If that's all too much and complicated, then another approach may be better: You can use a reduced set of rules. I am not much of a fan of this approach, but kids are usually not able to master the full rules-set. The important thing is to step up and use the full rules as soon as possible. Otherwise people get stuck with the simplified rules-set; That would be a pity because it means loosing so many of the finer aspects of the game. You can read about that elsewhere on my blog.

So, should I recommend a reduced rules-set for inexperienced sailors, I would have to recommend the use of the international sailing rules; Those are the rules used at night and when not racing, so it makes sense to learn those and be aware of the difference between the two rules-sets. I'll add two extra rules. One for rounding marks and one for correcting mistakes.

My list of 5 super simple rules for inexperienced sailors:
  1. Port boat must keep clear of Starbord boat.
  2. Overtaking boat must keep clear - even if she is Leeward.
  3. Windward boat must keep clear of Leeward boat.
  4. The boat that enters the 3 boatlength zone last must keep clear of boats in front.
  5. Hit a mark or do a foul you must do a 360 turn or you are disqualified.
Number 2 has the effect that you cannot - as an overtaking boat - choose the leeward side to gain luffing rights. Luffing is only for defense. Number 4 is really not needed, as it follows from 2; However, it is important to get to know the zone around the marks. So there: Five super simple rules that makes racing possible.

I know for a fact that these five simple rules work great for beginner optimist-sailors aged nine or ten. Let me stress this again: As soon as the sailors master these five simple rules, it is important to scrap them - or rather - add more details by using the full rule-set; Otherwise the sailors will never be able to compete on an international, national - or even interclub scale.
Having a coffee while my lovely Folkboat rests
I hope this kinda clarifies things. If not, feel free to contact me inworld with more questions; We can grab a coffee and talk rules, or I can pop over and be your "second level support" while your race is on.

Happy sailing,

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pirates reported

Isn't it just amazing what people build in SL... Anything that sails from tiny one man boats such as the Quest Q2.4mR to huge pirate ships - aka Tallships! Check this out:
I kinda like this picture
It doesn't have to be sailed by pirates. I suppose Lord Nelson or Tordenskiold would fit in very nice too... The only thing missing in the virtual waters are modern big sailboats... boats like "The Maltese Falcon"... and perhaps it would be nice with a few Wallys too... The "Wally Esence" looks appealing. (Yes, there is a missing s).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Containership at Tradewinds

Here's something I haven't seen before: A virtual containership. It is also - by far - the smallest containership I have ever seen in either worlds.
What's in a virtual container?
So, what's a virtual container contain? What goods need transportation? It can't be toydolls from China, and it can't be cars from Germany. So what is it? Bits and bytes needed for new land somewhere? BTW: It flies a Norwegian flag...
Nuke-plant in disguise?
I took a brief look inside and whoa! By the looks of the controls this is a nuclear plant in disguise. Who'd have guessed that? Ok, perhaps it is just a nuclear powered containership. In that case it is probably the first of its kind.
Top view
Ooops. Probably not nuclear powered after all, or else there's something burning in the kitchen. So once again, anyting's possible. Always dreamt of steering your own containership - only slightly smaller than Emma Maersk - this is it...

For other posts on amazing workboats click the category right below here, where it says workboats.