Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Racing Lil-Laser

Tried the Racing Lil-Laser in the waters around Tradewinds. Its a fun little thing. It doesn't look excactly like a Laser, but the resemblance is definately there. It comes with a nice looking hull, a rather nice sail, and a BWind sail-engine inside. That means it sails well, and it handles sim crossings almost as if they aren't there.
Somewhere south of TYC.
What's more interesting is, that it has a wind vane; Something I have wished for - for a long time - so that I can sail by feel and not by numbers. Yay!
It gets even better. The vane changes colour according to the sail trim. While that is not a realistic feature to have, it is far more fun to look at the vane than staring at sheet angles in degrees or radians. Still, I miss looking at the sails to sail.
South of Tradewinds.
The vane is positioned quite unrealistically on the hull after the mast, but as I said... it is much better than a hud full of numbers. While the sail looks rather good with stretch-lines and all, it is flat like a pancake. The depth of the sail cannot be adjusted. Also the centerboard is fixed, and you cannot balance the boat by moving around. More ways to sit would be nice. The Racing Lil-Laser is  good for casual sailing, a fun race and for beginners learning. If you know sailing from RL, I think you would quickly find it too easy and start looking for something else.
You can get a Lil-Laser at Tradewinds for a bargain price. No hesitations needed. Support Becca's work with the low lag BWind sail engine. It's definately a good thing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A beauty at sea

I took the Trudeau One for a spin in the Caribbean yesterday, and what a lovely day it was. The Trudeau One is, like its RL counterpart the IOD, not only an extremely well designed and built boat; She sails well too. Perhaps sim crossings aren't her favourite, but the sailing itself... Whoa! Take a look:
Me and my One in the Carribean.
It is not just the hull and the mast that are NVR, Near Virtual Reality. The sails curve like real sails, and they luff, if you are being sloppy on the sheet. The boat heels as expected, and to retain good speed you must compensate by moving you and your crew around. There is also a nice spinnaker; When it is up , it looks really nice. When it is down, you can relax on the spinnaker-bag in the front. Just add a cold beer, and it really doesn't get any better.
A flyby in the Trudeau One.
Even the hud is designed to match the boat. No ugly numbers there, only analog displays and a few buttons to adjust the sailing; Now, one might argue that a hud isn't realistic. While that is true, the concept of a hud enables mouselook sailing. I therefore suspect the One is ready for primetime racing too, but perhaps the racers prefer more modern boats. What a pity.
The beautiful Trudeau One.
The Caribbeans was fun to sail, but it doesn't seem to be made for sailing. I had difficulties finding a harbour and a rez spot. Many places the water is so narrow - between two islands - that you gotta steer continuously in order to keep from running aground. Two boats won't fit in at once. On top of that, there are "no entry" zones reaching into the water around several islands. The scenery is nice, as you can probably see. With little variation, though, so if you hate coconut islands, go sail somewhere else.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Boatshow at Tradewinds

There are so many reasons why TYC, Tradewinds Yacht Club, is a nice place. First of all, I've met so many sweet people there, but right now... there is a boatshow. I didn't count, but I think there are some 30 boats on display there.
Boatshow at TYC, fall 2010.
Dingys, kayaks, sailboats, yachts, multihulls and powerboats. So if you just love boats and everything about sailing, you gotta go there and have a look.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Virtual Optisailing

While I am at it... We all started in the opti; At least the saying goes, that all god sailors began in a dinghy. Hehe. Windsurfers might disagree, but hey... what do they know ;-) It is all about feeling the wind and the waves. Anywas, the story of the Optimist is amazing. Started in NY sometime in the fiftees; Then spread out world wide. Probably the most succesfull class of all times, - now spreading in SL too.

Me in a Shelly Fizz somewhere in Fruit.
When I was new, someone gave me a rusty old Shelly. Kinda like in RL -  only my first real Optimist was wooden. Today you can get a brand new and shiny Virtual Optimist aka Shelly-Fizz at the Tradewinds YC... for free. So wipe your eyes and go get one.

Why would anyone wanna sail that little critter, you might ask. For one thing it has been reckognized as a prime beginners boat thoughout the last thirty or forty years. It is affordable, it is easy to build your own, it is easy to sail, and the box shaped hull is stable. Besides, we have fun; Check this out:
Shelly racing somewhere near Tradewinds Yacht Club.
Back to the realism thing... What makes the Shelly so realistic? There are five things...

1) It has a Fizz engine, so it sails very well.
2) It has working telltales and sail sounds.
3) It has a working windvane.
4) There are no numbers, huds, displays or instruments.
5) It has mouselook sailing.

Add to that the WWC Windsystem with wind variations, waves and currents.
Me again... Shelly in Fruit Islands.
The Shelly-Fizz in fact provides one of the best near real life sailing experiences available. You just gotta love that, if know what you're doing. The only RL thing I miss in the Shelly is a compas for detecting windshifts. U need to see windshifts, if you are in a race.

Real virtuality, take two

Another real deal inworld is Rene Marines beautiful "Zee Schouw". She might not be a full blown racer, but Kudos to Rene for the faithful replica.  I can easily imagine myself dazing on the deck with a cool beer, going downwind on autopilot, whilst palmtrees and coconut islands pass before my eyes.
Me admiring Rene Marines Zee Schouw.
Am I dreaming? Not at all. In the back - a view down south with the island of Wicktro on the horizon. Beyond Wicktro is the Blake Sea with its myriads of lovely destinations. The southern part of Blake is full of coconut islands.

Real virtual boats

Sometimes I see a boat that makes my heart beat faster. It might look fast or comfortable or both. It might be just big. Not that size is the only thing that matters. This one took my breath away because it looked so real. In fact it is real. Sira built it after the well known Nordic Folkboat; Over here - in its home waters - we often just refer to it as the Folkboat. If you are a sailor, You'd already know it. There's more than 4000 boats out there in RL. Check it out. Its all there... even the curved seat for the helmsman. Haven't tested her at sea, but it comes with the BBK sailing engine, and therefore I expect it to sail well.
Siras beautiful and faithful Folkboat.

The boat can be seen at Tradewinds Yacht Club. It is really a good place, if you love boats. Right now there is a boatbuilder show. Lotsa things to look at. Remember to say hi to Tasha; She runs the place, and she is an endless source of knowledge on SL Sailing. Oh, a more modern yacht modeled after the real thing is the QSM40. A bit bigger. Modified BBK sailing engine. Very well worth a sail too.

Update as per medio february 2014: It seems people are still finding this post; Sadly I only took this one photo of the virtual Folkboat. That was back in october 2010. Sadly I never saw the virtual Folkboat again, and I fear it has been lost with Sira.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Matchrace trainer

Yesterday in Fruit Islands, Hawk gave me the opportunity of trying a dedicated training boat, the Quest Match Trainer. Matchrace is not a simple game; Sailing is difficult. ISAF rules aren't simple either; Grasping both sailing and rules at the same time takes years of effort in the real world. Therefore it makes sence to have a trainingboat. Less sails to worry about, less speed to handle, smaller pricetag. Makes it easier to focus on the rules. Here it is...

Looking for adventures around a place called Eden.
So what's it like, the Quest Match trainer? Simple :-D Nice and easy and a lot like a BWind boat. Surprise!!! It is a BWind boat with a spiffed up hull and sail. It has a reasonably modern hull and a fancy kevlar sail. The centerboard looks a little underdimensioned to me, but in broad terms she looks good. Not sure how I like the targa thingy in the back, but the equipment placed there indicates it serves a purpose; Uplink and stuff i guess. Oh, and it provides a place to hoist the red flag or course. After all it is a matchrace trainer.
Inshore sailing in Eden
So if you wanna learn matchrace, checkout the facilities in Fruit Islands. Ask for Hawk. He has all the gear needed for a good and realistic matchrace.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The QSM40

Had a great night sailgeeking with Hawk and Qyv; So nice to meet people with real sailing experience. So much easier to talk about the feel, ISAF rules, navigation and what not. Tried the new QSM40 built by Qyv. Very nice sailing. Lag free, easy to handle, very responsive, no crashes and good looking too; Even the sim crossings are handled quite well. A really nice matchracer. Qyv tells me it is modelled after Pelle Pettersons SM40; Yes, that SM40... from the WMRT. Feels great being back in a PP boat. Spent many hours in the International 806.

Me and my latest toy, the QSM40... 
Above you see me aboard my latest toy. In the back the builder, Qyv, and another sailor, elMegro. And do we race these boats? You can bite your nose we do, and its intense. This first night I learned, that it stalls at 29 degress apparent wind. Optimum downwind angle is 171. At least with the spin up and with tonights winds. Realism is good... the feel is definately there. Sounds are good too.
Cruising in Fruit Islands

Still missing the windvane, the telltales and the curved sails. The option of sailing in mouselook would be nice too. U need to be able to see the course and the angles. There is a hud giving speed, course and a few other figures. Sailing by numbers floating above the boat a few meters behind it just isn't my idea of sailing. Besides, in matchrace you'd care little about your absolute speed. What you care about is  moving faster than the other boat.
Excellent racing conditions in Fruit Islands
On the realism thing, the Flying Fizz still has an edge. More on that later. Oh... and Hawk gave me a matchrace training boat too. Will try that sometime soon and take a few notes. It is smaller, less complicated and meant for beginners and learning.