Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ultimate oldies

So what was Easter like? Mostly I took a break from SL. After all there is an RL or FL as some people call it. Easter lunch with family and friends is a big thing here. I really didn't have much schnapps, but I had lotsa raw heering. We love that in Scandinavia. One thing did happen in SL though. I raced again...
The virtual optimist aka the Shelly Fizz
If you look at the second picture in my last post (click or scroll down), you will see a couple of small sails in the back. Virtual Optimists. There's actually three boats out there to race. They are sailed by Bea, Motor and Colin. I joined them, and we sailed a couple of rounds in a nice southernly wind.
The race course (We only did one lap per race)
Here's the course. Start and finish at the green line. If you scrolled down and looked, the red "I" is the Tradewinds lighthouse. The red "II" is the buoy on which I sat. The island to the south is where I moored recently. Right under "laps" is Balduins Boat Yard. Where was I? The race... I joined the race, and I expected to get beaten badly. I haven't really raced much lately, and you know what they say:  Time on the water...
Measuring wind angles
Still, I took my time and did the usual stuff. Measuring the upwind courses on both tacks, measuring wind angle, checking the line, and then off we went. I didn't really time the perfect start, but I tacked well on the shifts, and I was first at the first mark. Bea right behind me, looking for the inner lane. On the first reach, she was just about to pass me on the outside. However, I luffed a little to stay in clear air. Then I remembered to get the centerboard up, and I fell back to the shortest path. That did it. Kept her right there... behind me.
Second reach, centerboard up
Second reach went well, but after the third reach, Bea was right behind me again. I think she gybed better, knowing the polar better than I. It was very close race, so I chose to cover her on the last leg - upwind to the finish line, and would you believe it... I won! I know, - it is just a game, but the racing... it is just like RL... high pulse and everything.
Training session
The second race went even better. I saw a windshift at the start. It made me go for a port end start on starboard tack. Even if I didn't time the start perfectly, I was right behind Bea when I first crossed on port tack. I then tacked in another shift, right on layline and I rounded first; Bea tacked in the same shift, but too early, so she had to pinch too much. Not sure if she had to take two more tacks to fetch the mark or not.

Anyways. Never looked back after that. Not true. Bea is quite experienced, so I looked back a lot to  make sure I covered. Ended up winning again, but this post  really isn't about me winning. It is about the Shelly Fizz and the realism it provides.
The sailing view
This is what sailing the Shelly Fizz looks like. You get the sail, boom angle, telltales and apparent wind from the vane. There are waves and currents too. In the picture above, you'd be able to see the current from the sideways movement. Add to that the global windshifts and local wind variations, and it doesn't get much better. There are only two or three boats in SL able to provide the level of racing realism depicted in the photo above.
Beating around the island 
Here we are again. Just a fun race around the island off the Tradewinds coast. It's a perfect course for a training session. Lots to learn for beginners, especially when you have to tack several times to get around the back of the island. Back to the race... Motor asked me, what is the point of having currents, when they are invisible. That's the point right there... it is not invisible. It just isn't visible to the untrained eye. Boatracing is fun, because it is difficult. Sometimes you don't even realize what's going on.

I am still not completely confident that I know what happened out there. I think I have a clue, but maybe I was just lucky. Maybe next time Bea will be untouchable. She has been annoyingly fast at other times, so there's no telling... I will just have to try again.
Getting back
The Shelly Fizz is an oldie. A superb one. She may not be as hip as those shiny new boats with highly detailed hulls and curvy sails, but the sailing... the sailing is almost unparalelled in the SL sailing universe. Half of it is the boat. The other half is the WWC windsystem. If you are beginner sailor looking to actually learn something about sailing, the Shelly is probably the best boat available. It has all the concepts and gizmos of a real boat, except balance. It is very affordable. Free actually, and you can get it at Tradewinds. Probably elsewhere too.

PS: One of my first posts was actually about the Shelly. Back then I wished for a compas. Now I have learned to use the minimap as such.


  1. Not about you winning, right! It was the first half of the post... you were feeling good about your wins, and it came gushing out.

    The Shelly is amazing in mouse mode! The realism you mentioned as well as a nealy in world view, with full control of the boat. The only thing missing is water in the face from the bow spray!

    1. Ofcourse I felt good :-D

      However, I was also totally amazed this was possible. My computer isn't the fastest on the planet, so I offer two explanations. Either I was just lucky, - or I was able to apply sailing skills due to the high degree of realism; Possibly somewhere in between...

      There is a third explanation: JP was sending me good vibes as I sailed. See comments in the post before this.

  2. I have no idea why the gaff rig is staging a micro-comeback among the pram set. Does it achieve more of a wing shape than the marconi? It doesn't look very robust.

    1. Doc, as I remember it, my Opti-sail was nowhere near a wing shape. Strangely, some newer virtual boats come with no telltales, no vane, no compass. Some even come without waves, currents and local windshifts...


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