Thursday, January 10, 2013

Virtual Nacra 17 Racing

Here's a handfull of cool thoughts and hot shots from the first Tradewinds race with the fantastic virtual Nacra 17 from Dutch Kain. Tadah. This took place yesterday at 2pm SLT at Tradewinds, and I was there as part of my on going cat therapy.
Waiting for  the clock to start ticking
Here we are, beautiful boat, beautiful sailing day, right south of Tradewinds, waiting for the clock to start ticking. None of us felt very confident sailing the Nacra, and one even capsized before we got started. Ofcourse Dutch was smiling from ear to ear. He's had way more hours in this boat than any of us.
The wind was 15 knots from a northly direction, and that usually means nice, flat water south of Tradewinds. The wind had a tendency to favour a port side start. I couldn't feel it because my hairdryer driver failed to work on 64bits windows, but pointing the cat told me 12 degrees.
Measuring wind angles
I sailed around the starting area and took notes of the angles on port and starboard upwinds. This is not a WWC boat; There's no shadowing, no current and no wave simulation, but it does come with some sort of global wind variations.
So off we went. For some reason Dutch had chosen a five minute starting sequence, so I was struggling with my watch. It was preset to three minutes. That's what we usually use in SL, or at least that's what I had used last. Timing the start is pretty important here, since the boat picks up speed like a rocket. If you're not at the line when the gun goes off, then you'll never catch the leaders.
Now! There are certain rules to take into account. For instance, you always let the designer win the first race in a new boat. That didn't make Dutch smile any less, when he came first. I came second, and I swiftly switched to relaxation mode, so that the third boat could "see just how long we had waited. Like 20 seconds, teehee. You can see the clock there, saying 09:27 for third place.
Different BWinds
That's when Becca sailed by in her BWind 2.0 Baby Sloop. In the back, to the right. The Baby Sloop is the  basis for many virtual boats in SL, - including the Nacra 17. The BWind must have been tweaked quite a bit by Dutch to make it work in a cat with two people on board.
Tasha and me
We sailed another race, and Dutch won again. This time he was just plain lucky. Ok, so maybe he knows in details at what angles the boat can carry the genn and I don't. So maybe he was just a bit faster at hoisting that genn. Still, I got off to a better start, but this boat is so fast the virtual world has trouble appearing in due time. I saw nothing but water and boom! I was in the middle of a building. Talk about a set back. I needed help, so Tasha hopped on board.
Last race
We did good, and here we are, - landing in a little over seven minutes. Not too bad, but Dutch did better with Ana on bord; Probably because she is so skinny. As you can see above, - Tasha and I could easily lift one of the hulls out of the water, but it was the wrong hull, the lee hull. Duh! The daggerboards work much better, when lifting the windward hull, so no more icecream for me...
Finally, on top of Dutch
As you can see, there's lots to work with; Genn, trim, balance, timing, steering, and the crew can help trimming via the hud. This calls for coordination. More than once both Tasha and I typed genn almost simultaneously resulting in the genn flipping up and down, hehe. We had huge fun. Don't miss out when the gun goes off on friday for another few rounds of Nacra action. More Nacra 17 racing tips...

My cat therapy? I just stopped sneezing whenever I see a cat.

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