Thursday, October 16, 2014

The sailing plywood box

A couple of days ago I met Petra; She's a sweet and very energetic person, and some of her energy went into building a little Optimist. It's cute. Very cute. Actually it's even more cute than the other Optimist, because this one is sized like the real boat. Oh and it is wooden. Until you paint it and you can't see the difference. The realistic size means the two of us will barely fit inside the boat.
Squeeze me, squeeze you
Perhaps it is also floating a bit high considering it has two grownups on board. The optimum weight for an opti sailor is probably less than 50 kilos. While Petra is kinda skinny, it is safe to assume that the two of us weigh in at a hundred or more. Still, - or maybe because it ignores the weight - it sails pretty nicely. I suppose smaller boats are less work to render, so "smooth sailing" comes easier. The graphics engine is simply more relaxed, so we get better FPS readings.
Smooth sailing
Petra said it is WIP, and it is... the sails are flat like a pancake. There's no sheet, no downhaul, no outhaul and no line to adjust the gaff tension. Also, the sail sorta flies magically by the mast. It isn't tied to mast or boom with those hundreds of annoying little reefknots that I hated as a kid. Felt like hundreds anyway, and they were sort of a hill to climb everytime I wanted to get out there. From a distance you'll hardly notice these things; Sailing the boat their absense becomes more present. So to speak.
The sailing engine is - for now - a BWind 1.5x or thereabouts. It does a pretty good job. It is not very modern, but it sure is low lag. That's what the BWind is all about. It was designed with two simple goals in mind: Be a simplistic, low lag sailing engine. It was never meant to be an advanced sailing simulator, and it really isn't. BWind has no concept of balance, waves, currents, sailtrim, planing or any kind of funky wind stuff like shadowing, bending or local variations. However, it's still e great sailing engine. If you wanna have a go at building your own boat, BWind is probably where you wanna start.
Love the poses
The Shelly Fizz has most of those features, and that's probably why the Shiprats like it. That and possibly the windvane, which - to a dinghy sailor - is even more important than it is for a keeler. The Shelly Fizz might not be as cute, but the "wrong" size can actually be the right size. You see it fits a grown person. I can slip right into it and feel like I am 13 again. Braces and dimples not included.

In any case, We had a nice little Opti-trip. This little right sized Opti sure is a fun project. I understand it is not neccesarily meant to compete with the Shelly. It'll be fun to see where it goes from here.


  1. I never have seen the point of the Opti sail plan. The rig is much more complicated, in terms of moving parts, than it has to be. A marconi rig is so much simpler. The only rationale I can see is you get more sail area lower and closer to the surface.

    1. I agree. Why not put a marconi on the opti and it would probably sail better. Is it just me, or is there a tendency that boats with mast near the bow have sails that are "taller" than the mast..?


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