Thursday, January 26, 2012

A normal boat

What's a normal boat? Easy question, right?. It's a boat that's built to conquer the sea. So, would that be a Vikingship? Let's get a little more modern... Soling, no wait, -  an X79, - or could it be a Melges 24? Nah, it's  clearly a J80. The more I think about it, the blurrier the answer is. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to try something entirely different:
Sailing Motor Loons sailboat
It's from Motor Loon Watersports, and it sure is different. The sailing-script is the very popular BWind, so I expected it to sail well. It did. It has the livelyness of a smaller boat; Despite it's size, details and many functions, it doesn't feel sluggish at all. Steering is precise and it reacts instantly. It's a little different but in a good and interesting way. Sounds are good. The trimming sounds are great. Winches clicking. Trimming is easy too, or is it too easy? The spin autotrims and autogybes, and jib and main run on the same sheet.
Looking good
On the cruising side all that's missing is really bat-slides and lazyjacks for the main and possibly also auto-reefing. The underwater hull is pretty good. There's even a folding prop. (It doesn't yet unfold. I checked). On deck there are fittings everywhere. The cockpit is detailed, and there is even engine room with a hatch that opens. All in all it's a really nice cruiser.

What about the looks... It's clearly not a Q2m, but is it sexy, is it pretty? I suppose it's a matter of preference. I love sailing, I love  cruising, but cruisers... Honestly? To me cruisers are in the department of acquired taste.
Cruising with Motor
So it's a cruiser. Nothing wrong with that, but it means certain things have been given lower priorities.  There is no windvane, no compass, no telltales, no instruments, no balancing, easy sheet handling, no sail shape trimming. This really means you can enjoy sailing without thinking of all those things, - as Motor rightly noted. And he is right. It does sail very well. The livelyness and those well made sounds sure add to the sailing feel.
Cruising interior
On the inside you'll find just about anything you need. Didn't see an icecube dispenser, but there's a nice kitchen, a "living-room", bathroom and nice bed out front. You could live on this boat. Have spices grow in the vases, and you'r ready to invite the neighbours over. However, I wouldn't recommend plants. Where I come from, plants onboard kinda means bad luck. Some people say that women on board means bad luck too. Such crap. This boat is all about cozy and comfortable.
Island ahead
Back to the question: What is a normal boat? I grew up in a competitive sailing environment, so I never really looked at those floating family campers. You know, - the "Tired-of-life-42" types such as Dufour, Hanse, Bavaria. Eeew. To me  Solings or H-boats are perfectly normal boats suited for day cruising as well as racing. Even Lasers might be normal. (Though crazy people sail them). Going cruising for more than a week calls for something bigger. Around 40 feet. X-34 is a good start. Bigger gets you more luxury, but sadly... less feel. 

My conclusion? Well, - defining a normal boat is just as hard as it is to define normal, or am I wrong... Moth, Elliot or Camper32? What's your perception of a normal boat? Care to share... click comments right down there...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Testing 1, 2, 3

After flying comes sailing. That's the order of nature. Eventually, you run out of fuel, and chances are you will land on water...
Ahh, back on water
So here we are; Steavano and me, off the coast of Pslande. Tradewinds YC up ahead north. Ahh... these waters are so enchanting.
Steering clear of those reefs
Anyway, we're testing this boat. Yes, it might seem familiar, and sure enough, - it is somewhat similar to Becca's Baby Sloop. With a few enhancements. Yes, it looks different, but the really interesting stuff is on the inside. Hidden in the scripts that make it sail.
Tradewinds up ahead
We had a wonderful time sailing this, and it's an absolutely worthy update. Super low lag, fantastic sim crossing, easy to sail, plus more which I am not allowed to reveal. Yet. However, it is very interesting. Boatbuilders will absolutely want this. The future of virtual sailing looks so bright you better wear shades.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More seaplanes

There's nothing like a quiet morning at Tradewinds, watching the sun come up. Talk about stress-relief.
There's even more planes now. The backyard is now full of planes too. They're all over - all the way to Balduins boat yard.
The backyard
The north end is also almost full of aquaplanes and seacopters. Overall I counted more than fifty fantastic flying sea planes.
North end
While I was counting, - an old friend popped out of nowhere. It was Steavano Angel. I told him about my heli and before I knew it, he put me in the drivers seat of this:
Steavano's heli
That was fun. It's actually a little easier to fly than my new heli. Turns out Steavano is a boy with many toys, so we also went for a ride in this lil thing here:
It's a Drusilla Saunders C-90 King Air. This plane is much more like a simulator. Not only does it come with passenger seats in the cabin and a copilot seat in the cockpit. The amount of tiny details is massive. It also has an impressive dashboard, and there's a hud with like a million controls.
Air Tradewinds
If you are into flying, you can catch a glimpse of the cockpit gizmoes, dials and instruments in last picture of this post. Thanx for flying with Air Tradewinds, and now back to sailing.

PS: I'd really wanna try a glider. RL as well as SL. I wonder if I can find one.
PPS: And how about iceboating?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Inspired by the seaplanes

I met Manul at the Seaplane show. He was playing with an RC tricopter of sorts. It looked like fun, so I asked for the address of the shop. Minutes later I found myself in a shop full of helicopters, and...
Tradewinds Seaplane Show
... here I am, sitting in the miniscule cockpit of my latest toy. Oh no! Nonono! Don't even think this blog will evolve into a flying blog; It's a seacopter - or whatever the term is... it can land on water, so it's a kind of a boat in some weird way, right?
Up, up and away
Anyway, I started the thing up and sure... up it went. Pretty darn easy, except I didn't really know who was in control. I sure wasn't.
Tilt forward to go forward
Ok, that's high enough for a first flight, thank you very much. Where's the chute? Better check the manual. Fast... Ahh, a little forward tilt and it moves forward. Easy peasy.
Loosing altitude?
Ooops, - there seems to be a catch: Tilting forward apparently also means loosing height. It's a good thing this thing floats. More power, more power...
I got the power
Got the altitude stabilized. I think. Sorta, but now I am floating sideways. Let's see if it can be steered with the arrow keys...
That worked well, except I mostly just rotated and now the lighthouse is coming a little too close. This is gonna be spectacular. I really hope Harbourmaster Ahab isn't watching... 
Got the "hang" of it
Luckily, I missed the lighthouse! This shot is hours later... I kinda got it figured. It's not nearly as easy as it looks. Which makes sense. My dad always says the funniest thing he ever tried was flying a helicopter.  Then he adds, - and the most difficult. Me, I'll stick with sailing. That's where I feel at home, even though flying and chuting is fun.

Seaplanes at Tradewinds

There's an amazing seaplane show at Tradewinds YC. I never gave the seaplane "genre" much thought myself, but obviously someone else did.
My favourite?
This one impressed me a lot. I am really not sure why. It's big, it's powerful, it's... ehm... yellow!? Oh, and they fly. These are not just cartoon cardboard mockups. Push the right button and all hell breaks loose when the engines start.
Hmm, which one is next?
It's not like there's a handfull or two, oh no. They seem to come in all sizes, colours and shapes. Who would have thought SL was a regular flight simulator? Here's and overview... I see thirtyfive or so...
35 Seaplanes and counting
This next one is nice too. Total classic I am told. DC3. One of the most reliable planes ever build, or that's what they say at least. I have no idea. It's from my granddad's time.
The super classic and classy DC3
 Ok, one more... just to let you see, that they aren't just fakes. This shot is from the cockpit of a C90. 
Imagine having that many gizmoes, knobs and handles in a boat. Phew. We'd need more sails, or would we? A standard aeroplane has only two sets of "sails". Are sailors left with fewer trim options than possible?  Do they have a cockpit like this on those AC cats? I mean, they do have wing-sails, and they obviously could use instruments to display the heeling angle, - maybe even fire off an alarm at a certain point.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Racing rules revisited

What good are those racing rules anyway? The ISAF RRS? Why would we want to use those rules? It's a question rarely asked in RL, where most people simply accept the rules as a given fact. Even the Knarr sailors use the ISAF rules, though they've been kinda reluctant to join the local ISAF family tree.
A good place to think?
However, it appears to be a question frequently asked in virtual sailing. For a long time I have avoided posting about this topic, hoping the subject could be dealt with through dialog and lobbyism. Now, the topic seems to emerge again, so I went to a quiet place and gave it some thought.
Thinking about RRS
Let's set the scene. In the red corner we have the ISAF RRS. Hated and loved, used, abused and supported every day by millions of sailors. Adjusted every four years by world class sailors in order to promote fair, fun and exciting races. Kids on the entire planet are taught these rules. They have proven their usefullness over years and years.
Thinking about RRSSL
In the blue corner we have RRSSL. A subset of the RRS, deviced by a single individual, consisting of only  rules 10, 11, 13, 16, 18 and 19, several of these reduced to catchy one-liners. These rules are only used in SL virtual sailing, they are not taught anywhere, they have no call books, no backing organisation, no proven track record, and they were defined four years ago for a virtual sailing environment much more primitive than what we have today. They are simply an easy to understand reduced ruleset.
Pros and cons
All the pros and cons make for a rather lengthy speech. Mainly two arguments are seen.

The first argument is that virtual sailing is not perfect, therefore we are better off with RRSSL. The story goes that virtual sailing in SL is in fact so weird that it does not make sense to use real rules. Obviously, I think this is wrong, and I have addressed that issue on my page dubbed Virtual Sailing. SL virtual sailing is not perfect, but it's pretty good. Using simplified rules solves no problems. It adds even more problems...

The second argument is that those RRSSL rules are good enough. Obviously, I disagree. The RRSSL has at least two problems. Firstly, RSSSL is a ruleset which in fact reverses ROW in a number of frequently seen situations. Secondly, RSSSL change the sailing game by promoting a bumperboat sailing style. I have addressed the reversed ROW and the bumperboat issue on the page dubbed ISAF rules. RRSSL is indeed rules upside down. Defunct.
Concluding anything?
So, I don't buy any of those arguments. Using defunct or upside down rules certainly won't make virtual sailing any better. Unhindered luffing anytime, anywhere?? Really... I can see the ISAF rules might seem complex to beginners, but those are the rules of the game. If you wanna play, then learn the rules! The rules aren't there to restrict you or to get in your way. The rules are part of the game. They facilitate a fair and fun game. The rules stop bargers, prohibit collisions and protect against bullies. That goes for any sport from chess to tennis.

Sure, beginners class can use rule 10 and a few more "essential" rules when training, but Yacht Clubs teaching and promoting such defunct rules?? Graded events using upside down rules? Who are they to not acknowledge the enormeous work and experience put into the RRS? I cannot see any reason why entities calling themselves virtual Yacht Clubs should teach and promote any other rules than the official ISAF RRS. Pushing anything but the RRS is wrong, confusing, makes sailing worse, and it simply makes no sense.

What do you think?

Not sure what to think of it all? Here's something to help you out. First, check What's in a virtual Boat, then see New fanatics start Here. If that's not enough, here's live action.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 2.4mR from Qyv

There's nothing like an early morning sail; Most experienced sailors know that. It's the silence of the sea, the sun coming up, the birds starting to sing, the first coffee where you can actually see the coffee and a fresh slice of toast with butter and jam.
There's nothing like an early morning sail.

This time it was different. No toast, hehe. This time I sailed the beautiful 2.4mR from Qyv Inshan. It was a very special experience, because I recently sailed the RL cousin. Mmmhmmm... Virtual sailing is definately worth the trouble, - even if the sea isn't frozen. As is (currently) the case where I live.
Zen and the art of sailing
It's pretty allright, huh! Let's just agree that Qyv has a special talent for choosing pretty boats. Then let's agree that she has a very special talent for bringing these boats to life. Virtual life that is. This is probably one of the nicest looking boats I ever sailed in SL. It's soooo close to the real thing.
That's a pretty hull if ever I saw one.
And it sails well. Very well. It seems the sail-engine in this boat was made for small boats. The usual simplification of having no balancing is perfectly natural in this baby. Why? Because the real thing has none of that. You simply can't hike in a 2.4mR. You might be able to lean your head a little to windward, but it really won't make a difference.
Sun's coming up
So, - do I like it? Oh yes... I am in looove. This is definately my preferred ride. Guys, - it'll take more than sweet talk, a good sixpack and even brains to drag me off this little wonder.
At home
I feel at home right here. Yes, the other boats from Qyv sail well and look great. This here might be the smallest boat in her lineup, but to me it's the greatest. This here is an exception to the size matters rule.
Being there
I can take almost the same pictures as I did in RL. In fact, I can get almost the same views as in RL. Add a hair dryer and sprinkle some water and it's like being there. 
Sure looks like sailing. Sure feels like sailing.
Ahh... isn't that beautiful? I am gonna sail this a lot more. It's like the Q2m only closer to the water and a little slower. Experienced virtual sailors will appreciate the lower speed as it creates less lag. The system has more time to load the world. Also, it seems small boats cross sim borders better. Radio controlled boats might do that even better, but it's not really the same. The 2.4mR will be a favourite of mine for long. I am sure.

I'll be back soon with more details on how she sails.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Sometimes virtual life is about cruising, sometimes it's about racing, and sometimes it is about relaxing, getting a break from a stressed workday. Yesterday, I visited Samlara in Eden, and after that I explored a bit and found this place:
The North Sea
It's the North Sea out there. Nice view huh? After a while a couple came out on deck of that boat. They danced for a few minutes. Couldn't hear the music. Then they sailed off in a cloud of smoke and pure peace and harmony was restored.
Ahh... Maximize the picture to get the full Zen-effect. Can you feel it? The island whispering come, explore. The lighthouse out there saying "come see what's beyond!"... Have a great weekend.

More spectacular views from the North Sea.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Right before Christmas I had a really fun day at Tradewinds. I met this guy, Tibbybob. He was very interested in sailing, and he asked me to show him some of my favourite boats. So I took him sailing in three of Qyv Inshans beautiful boats. Here's the first one. It's the QSM40 modeled after Pelle Pettersons SM40.
The QSM40
It's such a pretty boat. Comes with spinnaker too. However, the QSM40 is designed for one person, and currently can be sailed by one person only. Imagine the fun we could have with two, three or even four persons on board, - all of them involved in balance and trim. Yay! There's a challenge for the new year. A boatkit supporting four active sailors has existed for years, so it is definately possible.
The Q2m
The next one was a little smaller and a little simpler. It's the little sister, the Q2m. Again, a beautiful boat and a truly faithfull replica of a real boat. Takes two people and sails like a dream. No spin but the jib can be winged. It's one of my absolute favorites so far. The luffing sails are so nicely made. If less is more, then Qyv got the message. First the QSM40, then the Q2m and after that followed the Q-Scow.
The Q-Scow
A little smaller and a little simpler yet. Only one sail to mess with. It's an absolute blast for a beginner. Easy to sail plus there's room for an experienced sailor in the "passenger-seat". Like the others, it has full WWC support, so you have wind, waves and current plus local variantions. So what's next? If you look closely at the picture from the Tradewinds boatshow, you'll see a 2.4m R boat - aka a mini-12. I suppose that's about the smallest boat you can make for a single grown person. Be back with more details on that.
Qyvs boat yard in the back
Here's a view towards Qyvs boatyard. It's positioned just north of the North Sea. In the picture it's just across the strait, in the back to the left of the mast of my Bolero II. How can you build anything but pretty boats in an area like this, right. Oh, and don't think Qyv only makes small boats. Here's a close up...
All (most) all the Q-boats
It's an interesting lineup. Dingys, daysailors, matchracers, ACAs, VOs with swingkeels, multihulls... there's something for just about everybody, - in modern design. If you want classics, you're probably better off visiting Trudeau's boat yard. If you're into modern boats, this is it!! Qyv absolutely has a talent for building sexy, sleek, modern boats.
Qyv's lineup
It's the perfect place for a dedicated sailor to spend some time walking around looking. It's just like visiting a real boat yard, except these ones we can all afford. Oh, and there's one really neat thing about virtual boats: They can be in demo mode, - on display with the sails up;
More boats...
The 2.4m R isn't there yet; Like I said... can't wait to show you some pics of that little beauty. I'll post it in a few days. If you absolutely must have more on Qyv's boats, here's more on the QSM40, the Q2m and the Q-scow.

Some time ago I also visited Balduins Boatyard, maker of the Bolero and the Cottom Blossom and more.