Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Virtual sails

A lot can be said about virtual sails. The most important thing to remember is that they keep getting better and better. The first sails were flat like pancakes, and they didn't luff. I can't say who invented the sailshaped sails, but Qyv Inshan surely understood the importance of the textures, as can be seen in this post here.
The QSM40; Probably the best looking sails in SL
The sails are the engine, and the tuning happens by tweaking the shape. So obviously sailors want to see the shape. Sometimes the sails has built-in lines to emphasize the shape. Sometimes the sailors add horizontal lines to make the shape easier to "read". On the QSM40 it is all there.
Flying Fizz; Probably the best sailing simulator in SL
Again, the Flying Fizz is the reference. It comes with lovely textures, it has live telltales and sheets plus a quite unique feature, - outhauls to tweak the sailshape. However, there is another less known feature, which is the subject of this post. It has a correctly shaped lower part of the main. The Fizz is a special case, since it has an open main bottom.
Lower part of  the main on the QSM40
Most other boats got this wrong, - even the beautiful QSM40 sails. The main simply has no shape in the lower part. Right above the boom the main becomes flat as can be seen on the picture above. I've talked to boatbuilders about this; They always say it is impossible to fix. Now, they said that about luffing sails and  telltales too...
Lower part of the main on a comparable real boat
So builders, - here's a challenge... This is what it should really look like. Well, apart from those vertical wrinckles. I was guest trimming that day, but my camera so wanted me to take pics instead. No worries, cause we found that defining lift before any other boats had a clue...

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot that Qyv's 2.4mR has an open foot main. Check it out in this post, where it is pretty obvious in the first image. Thanx Qyv.


  1. Do I see two winch handles in the 3rd shot? Isn't that a little overkill in a boat as small as the Fizz?

    1. You are absolutely right Doc. Winches would be overkill on a Fizz. Check the topbar image. That's a Fizz. Jam cleats and clam cleats only. Shot three is a QSM40 modeled after Pelle Pettersons SM40.

  2. True, true, the shape's all buggered up if you have bolt rope on the foot of your main (what is pictured). But what about a loose foot? (not attached to the main except at the corners) Some sailors feel that you can get a better shape with a loose footed main, and that the boat will point better and move faster. I have only sailed the polted variety, so I am not qualified to say which is better, but perhaps the builders were modelling that?

    1. The Fizz has just that, and open main foot. If you look at the RL picture, it has a bolt rope foot, - and yet is has a nice shape at the foot. The discussion about open versus closed foot is endless. Some feel the open shape is better; Some feel it looses pressure through the hole. BTW: It is a blast to take down a spin through that hole.

    2. Just got back from sailing a Catalina 22 (RL), very light airs, closed main, 150 gennoa. Had a blast. SL sailing is great, does in a pinch, but RL sailing is really where my heart is. I love watching the sail, shaping it and coaxing speed from thin air! (or today with very light airs, just getting the boat across the lake!) I am able to do the same with the Fizz. The other SL boats are getting better. Give me that sail!

  3. If you look closely at my later boats, the 2.4 specifically, it has a loose footed sail as well as the sail shape changes as you sheet both the main and jib out. It is more apparent in the jib but the main does it as well.


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