Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Who u gonna call

Walking around at Tradewinds, - "enjoying" the spooky Halloween show, I met this rather creepy ghost, and that old song came to mind... 
Who u gonna call: Ghostbusters! But ofcourse... Who else? There is just one minor problem; Two actually: I don't seem to have the number, and I dunno if they have an office in SL.
Ghostbusters at sea?
So I was wondering if the coastguard can help. They have impressive boats all over the virtual oceans, but this particular one wasn't manned. Again I need a number. Don't wanna send out a mayday just because of a few ghost...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sailing Nautilus

It's Nautilus time. Woohooo. I walked down to the pier at Tradewinds, rezzed my brand new Nautilus mini sub. Then I jumped on board, started the engines and headed south. I'll show you why in a minute; Here's me taking off:
Heading south, course set for Eliades
It was a beautiful day to go sailing; I crossed the startline in Siracusa and for a minute there I really felt more like Fun Fizzin. Then I pressed the dive button. The alarm sounded, pictures from "Das Boot" flashed before my eyes, there was a bubbly sound and then silence...
I was undercover; Not very deep though. These waters are very shallow, so navigation is important. Regrettably the charts aren't very good. There's only rudimentary depth curves available, so navigation is about watching the seafloor and getting a visual on your waypoints.
Waypoint one
After a while I managed to find my first waypoint; The shot above is me parked at a buoy in Eliades. Next stop is waypoint two, - a small island due south, at the entrance of the Blake Sea. Then I'll set the course to a 125 degrees and speed up a bit to get to my third waypoint.
Surface at waypoint three
After a while the seafloor raised, and I must admit I was kinda excited to see if my navigation was good. I surfaced to take a peek, and yesss... there is was! I had arrived safely at Sharp Tooth Isle. I've been there before, but i never arrived submerged. Till now. 
Filling the tanks...
So far so good. Let's set the course to 150 and see what we find... I am sure the Nautilus will love a little snack this morning. We better sneak a bit... so water in, air out. More bubbly. After a couple of minutes of careful sailing navigation I got some bleebs on the radar, and it was time to take another peek at the world up there.
Nautilus looking for lunch
Yummy. Hello lunch! Did u ever hear the story about the tall ship that was transformed into a pile of chopsticks within seconds? No? Oh well, I'll be good and not tell it then, but I'll tell you this: It was pretty hard to hold the Nautilus back. 
Outside view
Anyway, here's me and my Nautilus looking at tallships in Blake Diego Harbour, and I decided to sail home via Nantucket Yacht Club. Beautiful place, but that's another story. You can't see it on the picture, but is it the lighthouse there - seen though the surface...
Passing NYC on a westerly course
Passing NYC while going west; Next stop Pslande, after which I turned 90 degrees to starboard going up the west coast looking for my good old first waypoint, and here it is...
Tradewinds due north
Tradewinds straight ahead on a northernly course, but let's go 15 degrees instead, and see what's there...  It's the little island east of Tradewinds - in Dizadare. The radar says that something's there; Since it is not on the surface, it might be on the seafloor?
Is there a treasure to be found here?
Ancient Greece? The lost city of Atlantis? Nah, it is hardly big enough for that, but it looks great, and there just might be a treasure to be found out there. Diamonds and pearls or rocks and clams? That remains to be seen; Can't seem to find my wetsuit, so let's save that for laterz...
Sun sets after a long day below surface
This is about the Nautilus anyway, and she is a fun toy. She sails, dives, cavitates, bubbles and whirls just like you'd expect from an electrical submarine. You can use it as a hideaway, - sit and talk with friends. Take a nap. Go diving. Go anywhere there's water and pop up and say booh! It is stable and low lag, and it is fast. I could probably outrun those overly fast sailboats, but since the charts are so bad, I expect I'd run aground before I could spell speeding is not allowed. So... This kinda concludes my Nautilus experiences. I hope you enjoyed the ride. I know I did.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Nautilus

The virtual Nautilus is on display at the Tradewinds Halloween show. I haven't had a chance to ask Tasha, why it is there, but I am assuming it is due to the Nautilus being at the center of a dark and mysterious myth of an evil sea creature. I am - ofcourse - referring to Captain Nemo's fantastic boat, the Nautilus from the Jules Verne Novel: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.
The virtual Nautilus 
It is a great looking build with loads of details. True to the Disney movie from sometime in the fifties. Never saw that movie; Way before my time. However, it seems the Disney design has inspired most pictures of the Nautilus since then. The Nautilus in the book is in fact much more like a modern sub. Nemo describes it a a cigarshaped hull 70 meters long and 8 meters wide. Kinda like a Whiskey-Class, says Wikipedia.
Nautilus mini sub v3.7
The virtual Nautilus is much smaller though, On the first image, you can see me sitting inside the boat; Check  the window. On the second image it is pretty obvious the boat is not 70 meters long. It still looks great,  though perhaps not quite as impressive as a 70 meter sub. The real Nautilus was big. However, todays super subs are bigger. The Russian Typhoon, says Wikipedia, is 175 meters. Way bigger.
Inside the beast
The inside is - sadly - not quite as spacious as the real boat; Err, - I mean the real Nautilus from the book. However, the famous organ is there as can be seen on this picture. It is playing Bach or something. Continuously. Sounds like Bach. There is also a small dining table, a couch and a bookshelf, referring to the library of the real boat. Of course those fabulous mid-ship windows to the ocean are there too.
At the rear end there's a couple of bunks. Several ancient charts decorate the inside of the hull, though I suppose they really aren't meant as decoration. Sadly there is no access to the engine room; Those fantastic batteries cannot be inspected, and the watermaker isn't visible either. There is also a ladder to the control room.
I really would have expected to see more controls up here, but then again, noone really knows what controls the Nautilus had; The boat was built way before the computer was invented, so it is probably not a "drive by wire" vessel. Rumours has it that Nemo was in fact building a Nautilus II; Bigger, faster and more deadly. Perhaps it would have an onboard computer. Dunno. A nav system like GPS would make submerged navigation a lot easier.
The controls
Here's a complete view of the controls. They seem to work. At least the compass is showing the right bearing. To the left there is engine power. Oh, that thing there to the right, outside the window, it is not a bigger Nautilus or the Nautilus II. It is a giant squidlike sea monster; Part of Ana's Halloween installation.
Back on the outside... There is a hatch on top of the boat, so that you can get in without getting wet. My straw hat isn't exactly made for diving. Nemo was into seafloor gardening, and the mini Nautilus sports a  hatch at the bottom too. I opened it on the picture above. That way you can stay submerged and go for a walk in your favourite neopren suit. Yes, I have one; Didn't bother to change.

So what's left... Ahh, the best part of it all: The Nautilus mini sub v3.7 is free. How about that, George?  Aley, the builder, is giving it away; I've read somewhere that Aley has an entire area with a Nautilus theme. I better go there and check it out someday, but right now I can't wait to get inworld and sail my brand new Nautilus. Maybe sail down to the Blake and ram some of those full-riggers! Just kidding...

PS: More on virtual subs. I especially like the on seen here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween bits

Here's a few more bits more from the Halloween show at Tradewinds. First there's this sub. Not entirely sure how it relates to Halloween, but dark and depressing organ tunes seem to float right out of it. Eeeek, and those bats... go away...
Bats and depressing music
Then there's these two amazing creatures. They are kinda like big and little sis on both hull and saildesign. On the picture they're kinda sailing their separate ways, but in reality there is a convergence thing going on; Bigger boats begin to look more and more like dinghies.
As usual with Dutch Kain boats the details are many and well done. Nothing left untouched or unfinished. Here's a top view:
The VO dressed up for Halloween
The Flying Halloweenish Fizz is almost as detailed, but of course there's a less winches and stuff. I especially like the ghost in the sail; It almost looks like a real class insignia.
The Flying Fizz, Halloweenish edition
In the back you see the entrance to the fabulous Flying Dutchman Halloween experience by Ana. Not only is  it surrounded by monsters, but there are skeletons, spooks, chains, spiders and what nuts on board, and more of it if you dare enter the maze.

PS: More on the Tradewinds site.
PPS: Did anyone try

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Flying Dutchman

There is a spookylicious Halloween show at Tradewinds these days. I went there and looked for the Flying Dutchman, and this is what I found:
Not really the Flying Dutchman I was looking for
Nah... the truth is that Tasha and Co have a spectacular show running, - including a very special Flying Dutchman with spooks, skeletons and what nuts crazy house effects, and that's not all, but come see for yourself. It is way bigger than last year
The real virtual Flying Dutchman
With a bit of luck you might even complete the maze in the belly of the beast, and... Oh I wont reveal it all. See that pumpkin there in the middle? Looks  like it is kinda floating... What will it do? Perhaps this:
How about a sailing pumpkin
A sailing pumpkin! Complete with jib, main, mast and keel... Rumours has it there will be a race with these things. Perhaps not the sleekest and most elegant of yachts, but it does act like a sailboat.
Is that a cousin to the Lock Ness monster?
In fact it's the perfect vessel for a closer look at the Flying Dutchman and the surrounding monsters. Just add garlic and your perfectly safe...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The M24 rocket in action

It has always been a great tactic to start first and then continuously increase the gap. It is so much easier to win, when you can freely pick your own optimal route to the next mark. However, this time it was just a little different.
The M24 pocket rocket
I had the experience of sailing with Ronin in the beautiful Melges 24 from Qyv. A truly unreal experience. Don't get me wrong. The skipper was nice and in a good mood. The boat was (is) nice too, but the setup somehow just didn't work for me. It was one of these popular strong wind races...
30 knots in the Blake
Dunno why strong wind sailing is so popular. Gusts approaching thirty knots really should keep people inside with a hot chocolate and a hot date in front of the fireplace. Few average Joes would race in 25 knots of wind; Maybe it is just me... I've had my share of strong wind sailing. Dinghies and keelers. Gear break down. People get hurt. Not pretty. Just imagine a hand pulled through a Harken ratchet block. Twenty knots  of wind on a 40 footer and people begin to get hurt.
Looks like 5 m/sec from east on a summer afternoon
The virtual sailing experience breaks down under extreme conditions. There is no seaspray, no waves, no excessive heeling, no broaching, no capsize, no luffing main, no indication - what so ever - that the boat is totally over powered. It is unreal. Two people keeping the M24 upright in 25 knots gusts? Duh! Logging 23 knots downwind can be done in a Melges 24, but 15 knots upwind? That's way over hull speed. Not gonna happen. We even outran a handfull of ACAs. As if in another world. In strong winds the virtual Melges 24 is an overly speedy boat. It simply fails to produce a boatly reaction  to the strong wind. It was not designed to do so.
Another World 
Sailing at high speeds fits badly in the virtual world. It is not just the fact that sim crossings get worse at high speeds. At 23 knots you've crossed the virtual ocean in like two minutes. Tactics and windshifts? Forget those. You can sail on any tack in around 25 seconds and you are out of bounds. Windshifts can barely be read or used. The scenery has problems updating at that speed. Other boats appear on the horizon and within seconds they are in the rear mirror. Nah, - the experience is something else. It does not remind me much of sailing.
The M24 doing 15 knots upwind
The virtual Melges 24 itself is perfectly capable of providing a decent sailing experience. The boat is rather true to the real thing. Beautifully build. Good looking sails and a few other nice details. However, these pictures of hefty wind sailing look just  like a beautiful afternoon lake sailing in 10 knots wind. I look forward to sailing the virtual Melges 24 in a more realistic setup;
Hard work in foul weather
The M24 - somehow - bears resemblance to the beautiful Q2m, and - no big surprise - it also reminds me of the Q2.4mR. The M24 is more fun though. It has a bow spirit and a gennaker. Crewed racing is also more fun, because it has balance. I needed to move my lil self around and do my thing: Fight the pressure of those howling wind and  the roaring waves of the Blake Sea. It sure looks like hard work, right?

Incidentally we won at least one race; We totally outpaced those of ACAs. Like tiny apples beating huge oranges in a discipline neither was built for. Now, I'd love to try the virtual Melges 24 in a 12 knot class boat race, but this racing.experience? To me it was simply uninteresting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New rules highlights

Those new RRS 2013-16 are well underway, and since there's a few changes I thought I'd read them. If you don't have them yet, then get them from
A nice evening read with...
First quick flip through reveals few changes. All is good; We're in the comfort zone. Oh wait, - section D seems to have been rewritten. Not that I do a lot of team racing, so who cares. No really, - it is a fun discipline. Maybe we should take it up. Virtual teamracing. Whoopsidaisy and the Linden Labs have their gaming platform. Teehee...
 an unreal sunset and
Back to more important stuff; It begins with changes in definitions. The definition of "finish", "keep clear" and "mark-room" has been changed. Then on to what matters in part two: "When boats meet".
a lovely scent of roses plus...
Rule 14: Avoiding contact is different. Rule 18: Mark room has changed too. Rule 20: Room to tack at an obstruction has changed, - as has rule 21: Exoneration. In part three, rule 28: Sailing the course is also changed, and rule 44: Taking a penalty has also been improved, and that's about it for the racing rules.
ocean waves blending with splashes from the fountain makes...
There's a couple of weird things added about not littering the sea. Sportsmanship now includes the notion of reducing environmental impact to a minimum. Rule 55 says "A competitor shall not intentionally put trash in the water". Isn't this a bit silly and unrelated to racing? Next they'll add rule 56: Sailors must wear sunscreen, especially red heads, because they're more susceptible to sunburn. Duh.
the RRS 2013-16 much easier to digest.
Later in the book, there's changes to rule 61: Protest requirements, rule 64: Decisions and rule 69: Allegations of gross misconduct. Then there's alotta stuff for windsurfers and kiteboards, until we finally reach some of the last changes, - and they are related to appeals.

That pretty much covers it. Go read, preferably in a nice place like this small italian island or your favourite armchair. See you out there...

More on racing rules here...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Liveaboard show at Tradewinds

Tradewinds is at it again with (yet) another fabulous boatshow. This time the theme is Liveaboards; They come in all shapes and sizes; Small, big, narrow and bulky. Windpowered or gazoline powered. Old fashioned or modern.
Liveaboards at Tradewinds
In the middle you see one of my all times favourite liveaboards, the Morning Star; Or that's what I thought. It turned out to be a shorter version. Right beside it, there is a cutter moored. Looks like ReneMarines beautiful Cutter. In the back - barely visible - is ReneMarines fabulous RM20. Probably the prettiest boat ever made in SL.
Liveaboards at Tradewinds
Here's a shot from the other side of the TYC boatshed. Wildwinds, Loonettas, Trudeaus and many more. And how does all this make sense? I mean, really, how many people go for a virtual weekend cruise? Dunno, - but that's not important. It is great fun to see all these fantastic boats with so many fantastic details.
Liveaboards at Tradewinds
Here's a shot from the opposite direction. Two very different boats in the front. The one to the left is from ReneMarine. There's also a multihull, and if you look closely, there's even a canoe. I think it is Manuls cruising canoe.
Liveaboards at Tradewinds
Walking around, looking, I also found another old friend, - the Tetra 35; I decided to sit down and clear my thoughts, figure out what to write, so here's me taking a rest after looking at all the boats. I'll be back soon with a few more pictures of selected goodies. Ciao...

PS: Click here for all posts on boatshows at Tradewinds...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Another warship

This thingy here was observed at the north-east end of the Blake Sea near Pslande. It was coming out of Blake at very high speed, setting a course up the coast towards Dex.
Heading north, Spyglass in the back
I am not entirely sure what it is, but it was fast. I only managed to get this one shot before it disappeared. I looked at my telltales for a few secs and it was gone.

More of its kind filed under warships...

Friday, October 5, 2012

AC72 too big

Interesting read on Dean Barkers blog the other day. The foiling AC72 is a fantastic machine, but apparently it requires too much manpower; It is the not sailing crew, Dean is referring to. It is the shore crew.
Too big even for Americas Cup?
Here's a quote: "The catamarans are great but the AC72's are just way too expensive. Not only is the design and build of the new boats extreme, but then you need a small army just to launch and retrieve the boat each day let alone the work to maintain it."

My first reaction was: Whoa, finally something that's too big and expensive for "Ellisons Cup". Then I calmed down and it occured to me: Maybe this will help move focus from laywers and crazy scientists, -  back to the sailing? Probably not

Read it all on Dean Barkers blog.

Another thought: Larry could buy SL and hold the "Ellison cup" in there. In the virtual world any individual  can  launch and operate a monster like the EC72, err... AC72. No biggie. Then the rest of us can have Americas Cup back. With sailboat sailing.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


So, there I was. Out for a relaxing walk. Minding my own business. Thinking about nothing special. Enjoying the beauty of the virtual world. Watching birds fishing in the waves... Just zoom in and check the colours here. Amazing...
In fact I was just chilling when...

Sailing into the sunrise; Going 15 knots and rising; Seaspray everywhere. It kinda resembles a VO70, but it is far more lively; Feels like a giant dinghy. Gennaker ready? Gennaker up!
Wooohooo... 22 knots on the meter. Looking good. Little more tight on the sheet there. Hey, this thing will lift the bow and surf even on flat water. Ooops! Luff, luff, luff...
Barely made it round the corner. Was I dreaming? I was on this phantom, super mean sailing machine, which really doesn't exist; Looks kinda like one I've seen sketched.
Waking up
Reality emerged when I almost hit a buoy; I luffed hard to avoid it. Heeled over and got totally soaked and salty, and that's when...

It was all over. Everything was back to normal. Birds and crickets replaced the roar of the huge wake. Peace restored. What a wild and wet dream... what a boat...