Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Bolero, Off shore

Balduin Aabye launched the Bolero recently. It is a faithfull replica of the knockabout sloop; Very pretty in that good old fashioned way. The RL knockabout sloop has a history of its own. Google it and enjoy the pictures. This is about the virtual knockabout, aka The Bolero.
Me and my Bolero leaving the safe waters of Nautilus.
To test her, I decided to take her off shore sailing. What better way to do that, than trying to make it over the new off shore connection to the continent of Oceania. If you are not aware of the new waterways added, check the Tradewinds Yacht Club website. Link on your right.

Bluewater sailing. Nautilus behind; Oceania ahead.

Inside the Bolero is a bwind sailing engine, so it is no surprise - she sails well. A little slow perhaps, but that adds to the feeling of reality. This is not a modern race boat. It is more of a classy day cruiser. The easy bowsplash sounds of the boat says it all. Sailing the Bolero has a certain Zen-like feel. It is peacefull and uncomplicated.
Totally relaxing off shore sailing.
So here's me being totally relaxed after climbing the mast to place the camera. Had some trouble with the autopilot, but it almost stayed on course while I was up there. Hopefully I can stay awake till I arrive at Oceania; Can't wait to take a nap in the cabin. Yes, there are berths for two in the cabin, and you can jump in and swim from the aft deck. The Bolero is perfect for a weekend for two in the Northern archipelago of Nautilus.
Taking a peek at the Oceania inshore waters.
The sails are well made. Curved and with stitchings. The spinnaker is too. Again, uncomplicated, classic, white and pretty. Autogybing makes spinnakers so much easier, - unless you are holding a course with the wind right aft. Then the autogybing flips you back and forth between starboard and port. Not something you would want in a close race situation. It is a design issue. Make the boat easy to sail usually means you loose a little control. That aside, the sailing is nice and intuitive.

Just moored in Oceania.
You can get a hud, if you want to sail by numbers, but check the above picture again. There is a little windvane. Here it is grey to indicate sails down. Otherwise it will tell you the wind direction. It will also indicate your trim by a colour. This allows for intuitive mouselook sailing. So realism is good, feel is good, and all in all it is a delightfull and relaxing experience to sail the Bolero. I will do that again, when I need a break.

About that ship there, Antinea, - see this link. It's important.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Qurved sails

I talked to Qyv a few days back. We discussed realism. Yesterday I got a new QSM40 from Qyv with curved sails, and it is a real beauty. I rushed inworld to get a few shots, and so - here is a look up the main sail.
Mainsail with curves from Qyv.
Huh! If that isn't nice, I dunno what is. Here is another one taken whilst swimming and having a friend sail by. Not easy, but the shot was worth it. Mmmhmmm... Those curves are almost as good as mine:
Curvy jib.
This morning I got another very nice surprise. Elbag called me and said Qyv made a special mouselook version of the QSM40. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Mouselook sailing is probably the single most important thing making you feel onboard for real. Not watching yourself in a pixel boat, but looking through your virtual eyes, seeing whatever you choose to look at.
Full speed ahead in the QSM40.
The hud also moved. It is now placed right after the mast, below the main sail, just as you would expect it to be on a real boat. So now, we can watch real sails, see the boatspeed, the course and the competitors and get the angles just as in real life. Yumsy. What a great training boat this is. Still misses a few points though. Speed feedback via changing sounds would be nice, and ticklers and wind vane would be sooo nice too. Try the QSM40. You won't regret it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sailing in a Tako-shell

I finally tried a Tako. Everybody talks about the Tako, because it was the first boat to cruise SL waters. Kanker built the first Tako in prehistoric time, around 2006 I think, whereby he invented sailing in SL. Kudos for that. I guess the Lindens didn't see that coming. Anyway, I thought I'd have to try it eventually. Raced in a Tako 2.3 once. That wasn't very realistic. This time I tried a 3.2.
Me, my Tako and Jonathan at Tradewinds.
The 3.2 is better. Much better. It has sounds, wake, bow splash, a rather nice hud giving angles of wind and sheet in a graphical way. There is also a wind indicator at the top of the mast. It sends out little cloudy blimps, - blurps of fluffy stuff. Not very realistic, and overall - somehow - the Tako doesn't quite give me that feel of realism. The hull is made from prims. From certain angles it looks like a lego boat. From other angles the Tako can look pretty good. You can see the "legos" on the side of the boat, if you look carefully on this photo:
Me and a friend in a Tako somewhere in Blake.
Downwind speed is low, - even with the spinnaker up. Very strange. It handles sim crossings pretty well, and the stability is good. It has mouselook sailing too, but the sails are flat like pancakes, so no need to look at them unless u wanna get ur smiley upside down. Oh, - and I gotta sit in SB side. There is no hanging, no balancing, even when it heels badly. Above it looks ok, but here...
Me getting my butt wet in Blake.

Very unnatural. It is - in fact - a little difficult to define, what is missing to give that feel. I think it is a combination of things. The single position, the non balancing, the flat sails, the unworldly wind vane, but most of all the linearity of the boat. It seems to move far too calm and predictable. That - to me - makes it too easy to handle and a little bit boring.