Thursday, September 29, 2011

365 days ago

Today is my one year blogoversary. Whoa! 365 days of fun has passed. Unreal. A year ago I was completely  unaware what blogging meant, was and could. I just felt a strong urge to write. Suddenly it appeared to me; Blogging is the answer. I spent a few hours searching for blog tools, and soon after I posted my first entry. So, here I am. Still finding my way through the blogosphere.
There are lots of blogs out there; Even lots of sailing blogs. Good ones. Many of these have inspired me, and  I will just mention a few of the better ones. Alex & Taru's blog is the blog about the ultimate sailing dream. Tillermans blog is a totally different sailing blog. Always interesting, often in a totally unexpected way. I guess I like surprises... Oh, - Captain JP's blog not only inspires me, - it gave me my best "blog-laugh" so far with the story about Buff's TV show. Maybe I should get me a blogroll or something.

And the quest? How's it going with the quest for realism? It's flying. Sailing in SL gets better by the day. Boat builders are improving, refining and creating better boats in a pace I can hardly keep up with. Balduin Aabye just released a Bolero with real telltales. ReneMarine has something truly amazing in the works, and Quest Marine just release the Q-Scow. A dinghy that actually feels like a dinghy. And then there is the Nemo, with a brand new realistic windsystem.
Boat race? Yes, indeed!
Clubs, sailors  and RDs are embracing the ISAF ruleset. Certain birds are singing about sailing in SL being even better in the future.We have weekly races for training. Weekly graded races provides a ranking in more than a handfull of boat types. And then there's a few cups around too. One world Cup, ACA Cup, Flying Fizz Cup. Nuff said. Look at the picture above. It does look like a boat race, right.

The other quest? Well, ever since my first day in SL, I've been looking for Strawberry Margaritas. Haven't yet found any, but yesterday I came close. I was in Costa Rica sims, looking for a marina, where I could launch my Fizz. Didn't find it. Instead, I found a bar that featured Strawberry Daiquiri. Not the same as a Margarita, but close...
Lounging with a Strawberry Daiquiri
This picture is just me enjoying the Strawberry Daiquiri at ElMegros place. I guess he is ready for round three of the Flying Fizz Cup 2011. Look at all those Fizz Cup flags! If you zoom in, you can see the zodiac in the back. Right there is the starting line.

Strawberry Margaritas 4ever!

Should I look back? Just a little?? ok...

Most beautiful post?
Do I have a most beautiful post? It is probably the one about the LeetleCat.
The LeetleCat II in the North Sea.
Most popular post?
The Mothosphere went crazy when I posted this.
Me Mothing south of Tradewinds YC.
Most surprising post?
I never anticipated this post would become so popular, but it did...
Night sailing in the Bolero.
This will do for now, unless someone comes up with an absolutely fantastic category, which I have left out.

Summing it all up... Quite a few people have chosen to read my scriblings, and I am happy for that. I hope, I have inspired at least some of you to sail more in SL, - and maybe even in RL. The thought of that makes me smile. In any case, if you've had half the fun reading my blog, then I've had twice the fun writing it.

It's a new year, it's a new life... and I'm feeling good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Touching the finishing mark

I am sure, most sailors are aware of rule 31. It's the one that says you cannot touch a mark while racing. If you do, you can correct the fault by doing a 360. We've seen a few marks touched in the Fizz Cup so far, and no problems there. Sail clear, do the 360 immediately, and your in the clear.
Ziz touching the mark, - or is he?
It's pretty simple. If you foul, you are required by rule 2 Fair sailing to correct the foul - or retire. The correction must be in compliance with rule 44. Sail clear, do the rounds, and do it immediately. I suspect most sailors know they cannot touch the starting mark either. Not before the gun. Not after the gun. A 360 is still the answer.
Krysha, very close to the starting mark.
Now, what happens, if you hit the finishing mark after finishing? After finishing, right! Definitions say that a boat finishes when any part of the boat or crew in normal position crosses the finishline. So, can you touch the finishing mark after finishing? Ofcourse not! Why? Definitions again. A boat is racing until she finishes and clears the finish line and marks. So, all race rules are still active after finishing.
Q is very close to the finishing mark here.
Besides that, rule 31 says you cannot touch a fnishing mark after finishing. If you do, you need to do a 360 and finish again by sailing clear of the line on the course side and crossing it again. Failing do do so will result in a protest from the other sailors or from the RD, and the Jury has no option but to rule a DSQ.

Note that the RD and members of the RC cannot give you a DSQ. They can protest as per rule 60, or they can request the protest committee to take action under rule 69.1 Allegations of gross misconduct.

Incidentally, the shots in this post are here to show how difficult it can be so see, if a boat actually touches a mark. Angles can play tricks, and often you can't be sure unless someone litterally assaults the mark.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Runaway J

Just sat on the pier at Tradewinds; Thinking about all the new boats coming out these days. Balduin called. We talked about the  updated Cotton Blossom. It's sooo nice. I'll post my notes with some pictures in the foreseeable future.
What a fine ship.
All of a sudden a J-class sailed past. Took a closer look, and whoa... there was noone at the helm. It read Columbia somewhere on the side of a skylight, but otherwise there was no ID. Looked it up and found an article about it at Trudeau's website. Apparently it is a live aboard model. A really nice one.
Pretty and majestic.
Maybe I should have a closer look at the Columbia some time. Would be nice to have a bedroom  slightly bigger than the Bolero. Well, that will have to wait. Right now I need to test the updated Cotton Blossom. It is bigger than the Bolero, but since it's a racer, there's no berths.
Wonder if it clears that next island.
The Columbia... what a dream boat. Lil big for casual cruising; She's not built for crossing the Atlantic either. Built for speed. Wauw! Gotta run... need to call the coastguard about the "Runaway J" out there before someone gets hurt.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fizz Cup round two at TRYC

We saw some good sailing at the Fizz Cup round two at TRYC. I was not watching group one sailing, but from what I hear it was close race on an interesting course. Windshifts were definately part of the equation, and Liv had a fantastic day taking a fourth and two firsts.
The group two fleet.
In group two there was only five sailors at the line. Two noshows, and then one sailor chose to switch to group one. There can be a million good reasons for switching groups, but looking at the scores and how it changes those, it can easily become messy. Anyway, the sailing was good. I watched and judged.
Right after the gun.
Here we are, right after the gun. Darhal had an easy win in race one, because those two hunting him chose to "dance" with each other instead. Not very exciting to wait for Darhal to hit a wreck or something. He didn't.
Darhal in front.
Here's Darhal rounding mark one with a comfortable lead. The next race was much more exciting. Everybody chose the port side of the course except Krysha, and what a tactic move that was. Krysha rounded mark one with a huge lead, and she stayed up there for the rest of the race.
Krysha wayyy ahead.
Dunno what Krysha found out there on the SB side of the course, but she went there again on the downwind leg, and the wind was still there. Above you see her leading. Ahem, you might have to click and zoom in,  - in order to see her. She is the dot on the horizon. The second boats is helmed by Darhal, and in third place u see Hii.

Hii going high
In the last race we saw yet another sailor in front. Hii found the right trim and got off to a good start. Above you see Hii overtaking Darhal right after the start. Darhal was on the hunt for most of the first two legs, but a capsize right after the seconds mark was enough. Hii never looked back after that. That thing in the back right is the hovering spectator platform. A very nifty feature of SL.
Ouch... capsize right after the gun.
All in all we had a great set of races with protests, capsizes and great tactics all steered by the steady hand of RD Orca; Not entirely sure how many judges were there. Three is sufficient, and I guess it's accurate to say we were more than covered. Anyway, we had a great time. 

After finishing the inport races, there was a long distance time trial. Results have not yet been published as far as I can see, but I hear than - again - there were problems and therefore many DNFs.

More on the Fizz Cup here.

Friday, September 23, 2011


It doesn't have to be about sailing, but steampunk?! I was unaware of the genre, till I logged into Tradewinds a few weeks back. There was a Steampunk exhibition. Steampunk, it seems, is a mix of past and future leading to a strange breed of steam powered spaceships of sorts.
A steampunk submarine
Strange, yet somehow interesting. Ships, subs, planes, spacestations whatever we know today - packed in a pre-WWII design and powered by steam. Here's me, looking - staring actually - at a fascinating creature. A bug-like submarine, which frankly gives me the creeps. The design reminds me of Captain Nemo's Nautilus, but to be fair... I think he was technologically way past steam powered engines.
A day cruiser?
This next one isn't less weird, but at least the passengers can breathe fresh air. Beautifully crafted in that almost melancholic old fashioned way. Maybe the Steampunk people are hopeless romantics? Hey, maybe I should meet one of those guys :-D
Pretty simple machines, huh!
Here's a picture of the engine in another boat. I searched a little and it seems there are places in SL, entire cities, totally devoted or is it "hopelessly devoted"  to steampunk. Go there if ur into it. I found it interesting, but I am glad that Tradewinds now has a boatbuilder exhibition. Loads of interesting boatprojects underway. Back to sailing again :-)

Next up, more Fizz Cup racing. Here is an intro.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fizz cup round 1 afterparty

After saturdays two groups of racing, there was a long distance time trial race on sunday. I have no pictures from it, because there is nothing to show. There is no fight for the pin, no upwind tactical fight, no shadowing on the reach. Just single boats on the course. That is not to say I dislike the time trial. I might find it a bit strange compared to traditional RL cups, but it does have a certain element of competition.
Fizz Cup 2011 at Tradewinds YC.
There are two other things worth mentioning. First there is... the course. Now, traditionally SL yacht races have been "blessed" with really dull conditions. No current, rock steady wind direction, no gusts, no local wind variations. Everything known weeks before the race. No surprizes what so ever. Kinda like driving an F1 on the Commodore 64. Totally predictable and boooring. The Fizz Cup 2011 races at Tradewinds were different. Thanx to Liv, they sported all of the above mentioned features. 
The wind indicator had a busy day.
Not to an extent that is similar to RL, but it was a huge step in the right direction. The current could have been stronger, the local variations could have been bigger, the puffs could have been stronger, the waves could have changed over the course, and the line could have been skewed too... And these parameters could have changed from race to race or even mid race. That would have been interesting. That would have made a difference, because then no sailor would have known anything about the conditions beforehand. We have only scratched the surface of what the wwc and the Flying Fizz is capable of doing. In the future, I hope we will scratch some more; Create much harder and virtually realistic conditions.
Is that guy staring?
Another thing is the party. Every good race event has a party. Fizz Cup 2011 had a great party at Tropicana. Beautiful place with bar, dancefloor, tub, pool, lounge and what ever else you need for a wonderful evening with loads of fruity cocktails, headache and sore feet the day after. Contact Sylvie Etoile for more info. Usually, I don't like party pictures, but these are from before people got wasted. I guess it's ok then.
Let's do some real dancing.
For once I was not wearing my sailing outfit. Nor was I being a total beach bum. I even dropped the Docksides. Looked around at all the party people and found El, - looking soo classy. Turns out he is a wonderful dancer, - and he can talk sailing while dancing. Huh! El also likes the advanced sailing. We talked a lot about racing the Fizz in expert mode on a much more difficult course. And stuff.
Arrrr, my feet hurt. Gimme my sailing moccasins.
More on that in another post. Here's just me back home at Tradewinds, early morning, a bit dizzy after two days of hard racing and a long night of boat talk and dancing. What a great race weekend. Good night zzzzz....

Oh, - in the back it's Rene from ReneMarine moonlighting on a new and very exciting boat project.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fizz Cup inport TYC group 2

Group one sailed at 0600 SLT. Group two was on at 1300 SLT. Here we had six boats at the line: Dahral Huet, Hii2newsplus Writer, Joro Aya, Krysha Lundquist, Quirky Torok and SkyBlue Earthboy.
Right after the gun, - pinfight.
Again, we saw intense racing, and this time we had the SL Coastguard in place to keep strangers from cruising inside the racing area. Zoom in and you can see one of the coastguard ships in the back.
Close racing
Someone suggested that maybe group two wasn't as hard racing as group one. Looking at the shot above, it seems to me it was a pretty close race. They chose differents paths compared to group one, - especially downwind. That changed the lap time, but that's another story.
Top mark rounding. Note the capsize on the reach.
Here we are at the top mark. Talk about sailing on the edge! Check the capsize, - black hull. Dahral had quite a good day taking 1, 4, 1 totaling six points using the lowpoint scoring system. However, the group winner is Joro with 2, 1, 2 and a total of five points.
Skyblue looking for pressure...
We use a special scoring system for the Fizz Cup, so those numbers won't be on the scoreboard. Above, you see Skyblue looking for pressure; Krysha a few boatlengths ahead. Below you see Quirky; Also looking for pressure.
Q looking for a breeze...
Overall, we had lotsa good sailing in group two, and there was a few incidents too. One DSQ for Quirky, and one DNF for Skyblue. I guess the weather was better, when this group sailed. In group one we had more DNFs.

Sipping champagne after a great day at the race track.
Here we are, after finishing group one and two, each group doing three heats. What a great race-day. Thanx all organizers for making this happen; Thanx sailors for fierce and fair racing. Thanx coasties for watching out, and thanx Orcs for standing in RDing for me in group two, where I was unable to be on time.

Details from the Fizz Cup 2011 TYC group 1, - scroll down or click here.

Results on the official scoreboard, here:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fizz Cup inport TYC group 1

Seven boats at the line in group 1 of the Fizz Cup 2011 inport races at Tradewinds. EmmanuelMara Resident, Liv Leigh, Miwha Masala, Ox Seetan, Porter Tracy, Sandra Absent and Ziz Kidd.
Miwha ahead of the pack.
Tradewinds had prepared a special soup for todays contestants. Lotsa shifts, local puffs and lulls plus a nasty cross course current. That's all part of a good race, and it really didn't seem to bother Miwha.
Ziz Kidd hunting...
Everybody sailed nicely; Miwha had no problems in taking the first place in heat one and two. There were a few situations, but no protests. However, that was about to change.
Waiting for the gun.
Aggressiveness increased quite alot in the third heat. Not only did we have several rule 11 situations before the gun; As you can see below, everybody wanted the pin.
15 seconds and going into a tight squeeze at the pin.
We also had a few rule 10 situations in the race. First at the top mark was Liv, looking good in her Pink Fizz. Sadly she bumped into Miwha after rounding. Miwha protested, but Liv was unaware. Since we all saw the situation and heard Miwha protest, we had no choice but to DSQ Liv;
Liv and her Pink Fizz ahead.
This might be problematic, as it does not adhere to the rules, specifically rule 61.1. Since it is common in SL to handle the situation as we did, I suppose it is ok in the Fizz Cup. More on this in a separate post. In any case it is hard to DSQ the first boat after such a well sailed race. More DSQs: Porter hit the finish mark and failed to correct, and Ox failed to do a complete 720, so Ziz Kidd wins the third heat.
Just another shot from a start. Note the spectator platform to the right.
All in all it was a great day at the race track. Lotsa action, close race and a pinch of drama in the third heat. Add beautiful weather - as seen right above - and it "virtually" doesn't get much better. Results are on the official FizzCup site here. RL Sailors beware. You probably need to read the NOR and the SI in order to understand the points, but the ranks are also there.

Thanx Silber and Joro for judging and keeping an eye on things. You guys made my first inworld RD-ing a pleasure. Gotta love that Flying Fizz and all the lovely sailing, it brings us.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


After a quite a few training races, I guess TYC is ready for the Fizz Cup 2011. Right before I went to sleep there was Miwha, Silber, Bea, Porter, Quirky and a few more out there, trying to figure out the local winds and currents.
Morning at Tradewinds
I just love the colours of the Tradewinds Waters in the morning. Dunno who it is in that ACA in the back, but it sure was nice of them to sail by, right when I had the camera out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fun Fizzin

The Flying Fizz Cup 2011 is coming up. I won't cover it in it's entirety, but I will show bits and pieces from it, because it is a massive event in a hitherto unparalleled boat, the Flying Fizz. Not only does the Fizz look good. It feels good, and it is hard work to make it fly. Fun, fun, fun...
Waiting for the evening breeze to kick in.
Yesterday we had a little training session south of Tradewinds. Loads of fun. Windshifts, puffs and lulls, currents and waves making it really hard to sail. For my part, the waves kept pushing me off course. Thats something I need to work on. Usually the Fizz is pretty steady on course, but these waves... jeezzz.
Prestart is hectic.
In one race we all kinda met in a huge traffic jam at the top mark. Most of us collided with someone, and some even hit the mark.That didn't spoil the fun; Everybody just said sorry and carried on. It was just a fun race, so no points at stake at this time. I was off to bed after a few races, but I took a couple of shots before I left.
Converging just before the gun.
Mihwa showed up, and joked about the huge waves getting her seasick. Well, I hope it was a joke, hehe. Otherwise, what mess. Don't wanna think that thought to end. Anyway, here's the "gun-shot". Well, - close. Noone was over early.
Bang, and they're off.
Business as usual. Winning the start is half the race, so look at the picture above, and guess who was first at the top mark. While you're guessing, I can just throw in an explanation of those weird blocks above the boats. They are sailnumbers. Don't ask. That's just how it works. By the way, todays course is an up down course. Gate and finish at the bottom.
The first top mark rounding.
You guessed it. Looking good there. So winning the start is good. Finding the path is also good, and trimming. This boat needs constant attention to the trim. That's another part of the Fizz fun; Crewed racing, shared trimming. Fizz Cup 2011 however, is singlehanded. Next shot will show the runner ups, while number one is off flying the kite.
More top mark roundings.
However, that didn't last. A bad gybe just before the bottom mark converted into a capsize. That enabled number two to overtake and stay ahead for the rest of the race. Make no mistake. These sailors know their stuff. One little error, and the others are roaring past you. Trust me, it's intense.
Thanx for all the fun guys...
It's a good thing I was off to bed. The racing could have carried on for hours, and it probably did. Many of these sailors have signed up for the Fizz Cup, and getting to know the local windshifts is key. Anyone who watched the AC race yesterday - Go Artemis - they will now how much it means to find the right path.

What a fun night. Back home to Tradewinds for me, and then off to bed.

The Fizz Cup will be covered on; Official notes, results and changes will be posted on the dedicated Fizz Cup site.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vanity is fair

Can anyone guess, what this is about? From the title? I expect old salts can. Here's a hint. It is a majestic and classic sailboat. Well, maybe not as classic as Roar Ege, but hey... Classy. Sails like a dream, looks like a dream, and this particular one is famous for having a certain kind of motive in the spinnaker. It looks like this:
Clay Ellison at the tiller; Dacron sails...
Yes, I have photos of the spinnaker, but first: Guess! I was really at Tradewinds to check the winds and currents for the Fizz Cup course, but something extraordinary caught my attention. Well, extraordinary and familiar. It is allways fun to see a faithfull replica of a real boat, but if it is a boat or class you've felt as u sailed it, it is even more special. 
Heading north, old style sails
I immediately called the builder and asked for a demo, and naturally - he was happy to pop by and show off the wonderful boat. As you can see, it comes with loads and loads of pretty details. Big and small.  Zoom in and have a look at the shrouds and the halyards. Just lovely. The sails come in two flavours. Dacron sails as depicted on photo one, and old style sails, which we went with for most of the afternoon. Beautiful. Now, lets see that spin.
Get it now?
Not yet. Here's the hull and the sailno. If you consider yourself an old salt, this is your last chance to guess. While you think about it, I can tell you that Clay Ellison, the builder and owner, isn't related to Larry "All Candy Diet" Ellison. Just in case you wondered... and so without further ado, here she is... "fully dressed":
Let's see that spin...
Huh! It is a beautiful replica of the real thing. It doesn't get much better. Absolutely Fantastic boats, and they race them still. Right off my home coast. Look at that mast, and tell me how your stomach feels about climbing up there. No? I'd never wanna go there.
Just me enjoying the ride.
Still not guessed it? Long, sleek, extremely classy 12m R-boat designed and built by William Fife III around 1936. These are the last hints, so if you haven't got it right by now, you're a landlubber. Scroll down to learn it is of course the Vanity, which you can see here.

Back at Tradewinds...
So, here we are after a fantastic sail in the waters south of Tradewinds YC. From a sailors perspective there are tiny adjustments to be made, but we are in the perfectionist category here. As a cruiser it is absolutely fabulous, and I suppose it will turn heads and also pick up girls anywhere you sail. I know it picked me up. Thanx for a wonderful afternoon sail, Clay.

PS: If you're a sucker for classics, u might like the J-class too.