Saturday, October 29, 2011


Speaking of spooky... Halloween is a new thing, where I live. However, kids love it, so it's probably not going away anytime soon.
Pumpkins Everywhere Inc setting up
Tasha has set up a free giftbox full of pumpkins . It's right here at Tradewinds, so here I am... playing with them. Above there is still light, and I feel safe, but later...
Pumpkins Everywhere tm
At night they really glow. I ought to go to that place where I landed with the chute (scroll down) and place a few pumkins there. Thanx Tasha, - these are fun. Halloween afficionados will find entire areas in SL dedicated to Halloween fun, items, gifts, experiences and what nuts.

PS: New thing? The reformation (1517) stopped All Souls Day. In 1770 the government declared All Saints discontinued. There was some kinda financial crisis, and they needed us to work more and play less. Now, it is reappearing as Halloween, and we have again a financial crisis. Hmm...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Woohoo - I am flying!

I've posted quite a few times on the Flying Fizz; This here is a little break - with some  real flying. Yes, you can fly in SL too.
Just jumped...
So... I went flying with a friend. Talking boats of course, but then he had to leave. I had no idea where we were, and for fun I just said, so chute me!
Woohoo - I am flying!
Shouldn't have said that? Oh, yes indeed. It was a beautiful day for a jump. Chute on the back, door open and 3, 2, 1 - I was airborne.
I wasn't really dressed for the occasion. No goggles. Just a sweater and jeans, so after a short while I pulled to reduce the windchill factor.
Sunshine, peace, - and Smetana!!?
Such relief. It worked, and all of a sudden I was hanging there in complete silence and sunshine. So nice. Dunno why, but Smetanas beautiful "Die Moldau" came to mind. Sadly, I forgot to bring my iPod.
Whoopsidaisy... all water?
Then reality struck! I looked down and saw nothing but water. Time to look for some land. Ok, there is an island over there... Kinda covered in haze, but let's see what's there...
On approach...
Wasn't really easy to see much... Ooops, a house. Let's avoid that. Yuck... is that a swamp? Don't wanna go down there. Uncharted area here... I mean there could be crocs.
Found a spot!
Oh great... there is a garden. Let's go for that. This looks wonderfull. If only I can avoid that gate over there, and the little pond, and those trees, nono not the bench, this thing clearly lacks flaps... and touch down...
Made it...
Ahh, landed. Here I am, - ehm, where am I? This place looks beautiful. Except maybe the haze makes it a little spooky. If I was out playing with a WWII sub, this is where I'd break the surface to get supplies or to land a spy. Well, I am not.
Thanx for flying!
I am more of a Fizz Fanatic, and I am gonna have to go explore here someday, - when the forecast says sunshine. Perfect place to sail for a picnic... sailing the Flying Fizz from Tradewinds to here will be fun...  and that's really the end of this lil flight.  This is your captain speaking. Hope you enjoyed the flight, - and please fly with us again.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Over board finish?

Can you finish, while you are over board? What kinda question is that? Well, I wasn't there to see it, but apparently this is just what happened in the Fizz Cup races during this weekend. Someone finished without being on board. Surely, that never happens in real life! Hehe, let me put it in a real life perspective...
Woohoo a Laser
I was way ahead in my dinghy; Finishing downwind. Strong wind, current flowing with me. Finish line like 50 meters ahead. That's when I decided to do a gybe. The boom smacked over, while I jumped to the other side - hanging only in the tiller extension. It broke off, and before I could get my feet under the straps I was offline - ehh - overboard. The boat turned into the wind, and crossed the line carried by current and wind - without me; Instead of a first, I received a DNF. Bad luck, but hey I just wasn't good enough to win, falling over board like that.

It's all in rule 47.2:

No person on board shall intentionally leave, except when ill or injured, or to help a person or vessel in danger, or to swim. A person leaving the boat by accident or to swim shall be back on board before the boat continues in the race.

So no! You cannot finish, while you are not on board yourself. Very unruly.

Plus: I just reread the Fizz Cup SI. Turns out the SI (section 1.iii) specifically states that a whole lot of special SL cases such as lag and crash and more are to be considered nothing more than a gear breakdown in RL, - equalling a DNF.

More on racing rules.

PS: I found a virtual Laser Radial, as you can see on the photo. So far, I've sailed a few other single-sail boats such as the Tako, the Lil-Laser, the Shelly, the MR-Trainer, the Leetlecat and the Moth.

Check back when I test the Laser Radial and the new Q-Scow.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My first time

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for a newspaper called Surf'n Sail. Dunno what went wrong, but shortly after I received a mail from the Redacteur... He was sorry to announce that the last issue was indeed the last issue. Ever. Strange, I thought the story was quite funny.
My first bubbly
The reporter was a real sweet-talker, so I told him the full story. If he was touched by it, then he never showed it. He kept on scribbling on his ipad like forever; Then he took a few pictures and went off. However, usually less than ten percent of a story makes it to print. This time was no exception, so here it is... The subject of the interview was...

My first time

I met this dude. I forgot where; Probably at the Sweethearts Club. He was sweet and good looking. I was young and clueless. Not like today, where I am a bit older, hehe. Anyway. We talked for a while, and he went in to the usual craptalk. You look sweet and all that. After a while he asked me some more personal questions; What do you like to do, when you are not here. Stuff like that. At the time I had no idea what to do in SL. So, - I told him I was pretty clueless on that.
Me trying to look clueless
He was a real sweet-talker too; I guess they have a club or something. Anyways, he went "pretty allright". He never did comment upon the cluelessness. A little later he moved closer and asked if I wanted to see what he liked to do. Something really nice. Something wild, wet and crazy; You will like it. It's not dangerous at all, just put on a bikini. 

That's when I got suspicious. 

However, I went along. He changed to boxers, and we sat down on this device, still chatting. He went on about how this is so much better, when you are two, and that's when he started talking strange. First he said, please sit still while I turn this thing on. Ehm... what thing? Then he started saying "start", "raise". I went, geeezzz, can you talk to it? Can I tell it what to do? Amazing. Lemme try...
Question: Will bubbly undress any woman?
Then we started. Strange sensation. First we moved slowly; It was unreal. Didn't hurt a bit. Seemed perfectly safe. Then we went faster. Kinda exciting. All kinds of images flashing through my mind. Phew! Very hot; Very wet. Faster and faster we went. Sounds getting louder and louder, me getting all dizzy until suddenly...  He yelled "I lost control", and it all came to an abrupt halt. Always stops too early, right!

He said, eeek - we're stuck! 

I was like what? Now? What do you mean stuck? Then he started saying lower. Lower. Geeezzz... like now? Then it gets weird. He went on saying "raise", "lower", "raise" a few times until he firmly announced: It doesn't work any more. Gaaahhh. Not dangerous huh? Here I was, - thinking he was on top of things, and then he pops it like that? Game over...
Gotta get me one of these
Ok, I stopped hyperventilating. Got myself together and said thanx for the ride. He wanted to know if I had enjoyed it. Told him it had been fun, but not nearly as much fun as I had expected. Told him I knew it could be so much better. He didn't understand. So, we parted, and we never spoke again. Can't even remember his name. Too bad really...

What really happened was, he go so excited he forgot to control the darn thing; We simply hit an island, and the boat broke. Not physicaly. In SL boats break programatically. We simply sat there. The boat was stuck, and we were stuck in it. Total downer.
Felt like sailing a paperboat
Of all this, the only thing that made it to the paper was, that I had a bad first experience sailing, and that I concluded that virtual sailing virtually sucked. I mean, that boat didn't feel like a boat. It had no heel, no balance, no trimming, no wind indicator, no compass; All you did was steer and drive. Duh! Much later, I learned about the yacht clubs, and then the sweet people at Tradewinds YC showed me some real virtual sailing in the Flying Fizz. That kinda got me started.

Turns out most boats in SL are controlled using commands like "raise", "gybe", "lower", "moor" et.c.

All this just to point you to a hilarious post over at O Dock, a very inspiring and funny sailing blog. Can you believe that?  If you go there, then make sure you also read the comments. Sooo funny. O Docker, thanx for "turning me on". 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A North Sea hors d'oeuvre

So what's out there? Water! Lots of it, - and islands. So many islands. I can't show you the entire North Sea. That would take hundreds of photos. Instead, I'll show you a few shots to tickle your imagination. Call it a starter, antipasti, hors d'oeuvre... In one of the corners of the North Sea we find the Mango Marina. Lets have a look...
The ambience
It is the perfect place to go, if you need a shot of that marina ambiance, and it is the perfect place to launch your favourite boat and go for a cruise. The marina ambiance is definately there. Just click the image above, lean back, take a deep breath and you can almost feel the salty air on your skin.
The clubhouse
It is a beautiful marina. There are a million things to look at or do. It has (of course) mooring, - a clubhouse, a lighthouse, a lounging area, a small theater, a tennis court, a beautiful view from the tower of the clubhouse...  and a whole lot more. In fact I don't think I will be able to cover it all in this post. Go there and explore.
The view
The water? Oh, it's definately out there. Check out the view, mmmmhmmm; I can feel the urge to get out there just by looking at this picture. Wanna see how it looks, sailing? Ok, a few days ago I took the Cotton Blossom II for a spin from this marina. It was lovely. Pictures here in case you missed it.
The lighthouse
Not "oceanic" enough for you? Ok, then check the pictures from my cruise in the LeetleCat II. Those pictures are available here. However, it's not all about cruising. There is racing too. Serious racing. To give you an idea  of what that means, check out the post about dry training in the QSM40.
The Zen
No, I am not a sun-worshipper. Ok, I'll admit I love sunshine, but the view here... It is simply breath taking. Climbing that rock for a few minutes of meditation... Yummy. What a stress reliever. Incidentally, the Cotton Blossom is right over there, "in" the palm leaves.
The Cotton Blossom II 
Not sure how many palms there are around the real North Sea. None where I go. I suppose the south coast of England has palms. It's close but it's not really the North Sea. However, a little higher temperatures would seem like an improvement to the real thing. Bikini, sunglasses and a Flying Fizz? Oh yes, let's do what Alex and Taru does. Let's get out there. See the islands.

PS: I wonder how long it would take to circumnavigate the North Sea in a Foiling Moth.

Monday, October 17, 2011

U-Boat observed at Tradewinds

You never know what you get - sailing the SL waters. A little while ago, I was at Tradewinds to get my usual dose of sailing. All was good. Clear blue sky, rather flat water and good winds, when a strange shadow in the water caught my eye.
There was a gurgling sound and then a diesel started and this monster broke the surface. Gaaah, I got the creeps. Reminds me of the U-96 from Das Boot. Probably the creepiest movie I ever saw.
Not excactly a cosy view
I followed it for a bit. It sailed down south. It stayed topside. Probably because of the shallow water off the coast of Tradewinds. Not sure what it will do down south. Hopefully it won't try to sink my friends oiltanker. That's gonna make a h... ehm... a mess.
Here's a top view. Looks Japanese. I wonder if they really had wooden decks on their WWII subs. It's probably less slippery when wet, compared to an iron deck. Below, is a clear sideview. A rather "dark side-ish" view, don't u think? The details of the ship are good though. Maybe that's what makes it creepy.
A threatening view
There are other creepy ships in here. I've seen a huge battleship. Can't remember the name, but it was the size of Iowa. I instantly decided not to cover that kinda stuff here, but... This sub turned up right under my feet, and it got to me. Giving me the shivers.
Entering the Blake Sea.
This is where I left it, - disappearing into the depth of the Blake Sea. Brrr... I am gonna stay out of there for a while. It's a good thing, we have the beautiful North Sea, though I suppose those subs are there too. Anyway, I rushed back to Tradewinds and went smooth sailing in my lovely Bolero. Such a nice way to get rid of dark and negative mindsets. Pure zen-sailing. 

PS: Just another brrrr.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Windsurf alert!

Real sailors never took windsurfing seriously. I am not sure why. Perhaps it is because we feel a board isn't a real boat. Which is true by the way. Maybe it is just because it's annoying to see their stupid smile, when they sail past at twice the speed or more on their toy.
Windsurfer spotted. Battlestations !
Maybe it is because many windsurfers haven't learned to sail in classic sailing schools, so they dunno J. S. about how to behave at sea. For instance, Scandinavian sailors usually wave, when they meet at sea. It is an ancient thing, dating back from viking times. Whenever you meet someone at sea, you wave; This is to indicate that everything is ok, to ask the others if everything is ok, and to "say" bon voyage.
Hey, - it looks like fun ! ??

Surfers are clueless. I guess they just think: "Hey that's nice of her to wave. Maybe she has beers on board. Or weed". Hehe. Whatever the reason, it's always been huge fun to wave at a newbie surfer and see them crash, when they try to wave back. If you're in a keeler - with a big sail, you can also have fun with windshadows. Wait till just the right moment when he passes to leeward. Fast sheet out and splash.
Hmm... maybe I should say hi - and not wave...
Ok, I'll be good now. I was really amazed by this windsurfer. It actually looked like fun. That's not to say windsurfing isn't fun. I've done a fair share of windsurfing in RL. After I graduaded in dinghies, hihi. However, I tried windsurfing in SL once, and that was once too many. It was like driving car, and not a fancy one. No control what so ever. Just arrows to move around. Pure arcade. Dull.
Jeroentje roarring by
So, I decided to say hi, and I had a nice talk talk with Jeroentje about surfing. Turns out virtual windsurfing has taken a quantum leap forward. From arcade towards simulation. On this thing, he could control sheeting, and speed was depending on the sail trim. Sailing the thing didn't involve balance, so beginners can start here...
Watch your style...
Duh! No girl would wanna sail in that butt revealing position. Straighten up, dude! Apart from that, it looks good, and the accelleration... oh the accelleration. It's gotta be close to the accelleration of a Moth taking off. Speed was high too. I had trouble catching Jeroentje with my camera. Almost got him here... crossing the line...
To be honest, I think windsurfers are being more accepted by the sailing community these days. Kinda like snowboards. They're moving to the serious side too. In any case, when the next version of this virtual board comes out it might even sport WWC support - including windshadows, hehe. Then I am gonna go out there in a huge keeler. Nah, I think I will go get me one of those boards and fly away. More on that. Eventually.

PS: I've met a few sweet surfers in SL, so I filed this post under sailboats. After all. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Cotton Blossom II

Balduin Aabye is brewing again. This time - the result will be an updated version of the Cotton Blossom II. If you don't know what the Cotton Blossom is, then go to Balduin Aabyes website and read the story. Link here to the right, - or google for images of the Cotton Blossom II. Amazing pictures of a fantastic boat.
The Cotton Blossom in the North Sea
A few days back I sailed the Cotton Blossom around the North Sea with Serafina. We also explored the marina in Mango, but that's another story. The Cotton Blossom shares many features with the Bolero, so when she comes out, the Bolero will become less unique. That's because...
The Cotton Blossom comes with live telltales. This is huge, because experienced sailors will instantly know how to trim the boat. Put that ugly hud away and sail by telltales, luffing sails, heel, wake sound and wind drift. Yes, wind drift too. Yummy. It's absolutely delicious. As is the North Sea...
Enjoying the North Sea and the Cotton Blossom
Ok, you can get the primitive hud still, if you must know those figures. It isn't pretty, but it's still there for you to switch on. On top of that, there is a new graphical hud with direction, windangle, and trim, which you can place freely. As much as I love to hate huds, I must admit that Balduins new hud is rather nice.
Those lovely telltales
Here's a closeup of those beautiful telltales. As with the Bolero, they are placed a little different from RL telltales, and this has to do with the fact, that the jib is hard to see when sailing. Hopefully there will be a next version, where I can sit on the sidedeck and see both the jib and the telltales in the jib. I will write to Santa about that.
Mango marina in the back
It also has many of the other well known Bolero features. A nice spin, easy to trim, and it collapes both visually and with sound, if you aren't paying attention. Improved dynamic sounds, and much improved dynamics overall. This boat is very lively. That's partly because it has full WWC support with waves, wind and current. 
Back to the marina.
Full WWC support also means, the Cotton Blossom features tactical racing, so who knows... maybe we will see a fleet of virtual Cotton Blossoms racing. Obviously I miss a few things, since the sailing engine is the same as the one in the Bolero. The boats feel different, but the features are rather much alike. Balancing is missing, and crewed sailing is too. The crew cannot trim the jib. Or the spin. I will write to Santa about that too.
Sails down and ready to moor. 
Overall, this is a fantastic boat. Very pretty, - well almost majestic, and very much fun to sail due to the well designed feedback. Not the huds. All the other stuff, that turns it into a virtual sailing sensation. And the inside... it's true to the original. U can take a nap on the couch, once you are done sailing. Just lovely. Virtual sailing as it should be. Thanx Balduin. 

PS: Someone told me to write, that these images deserve full screen viewing.

Totally unrelated

I've mentioned the inworld art scene. Once. I haven't the time nor the energy to cover it, but the scenery here was so nice, I just had to post a picture. It's fall - just like in RL, and these trees look so nice.
A lil artshop in Sct. Petersburg.
I am somewhere called Antiquity Saint Petersburg, and this little art gallery was so nice - with Tchaikovsky streaming from a hidden speaker, birds singing, horses in the background plus a little stream gurgling down the hillside. There are a million other pretty sights to see here...

Real sailing with shifts

Speaking of windshifts and puffs in the Fizz Cup round three, - here's a link to a nice post by Tillerman. It's all about real sailing in real weather with real winds. Oh, and about a wonderful win. Tillerman sails the laser out there - in the real world. Lovely little toy.
elMegro trying to catch up :-)
I never really found a laser in SL that looks like the real thing. This post here is the closest I got, and it's not really that close. Anyway, what Tillerman writes about, is what we can recreate in SL with the Flying Fizz and the WWC, and that's precisely what makes it so interesting.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fun with rule 18

Here's a bit of fun with rule 18.

It's not from the Fizz Cup itself, but it is from a recent graded Fizz Race. Bea gave me the facts, the graphics and the question earlier this sunday. I will leave it open for a few days, then add my response.

In position 2: Yellow enters the zone on a port tack. Blue, still outside the zone,  hails "Starboard".

In position 3: Yellow tacks in the zone onto Blue lee bow (Blue not in the zone yet). Yellow passes head to wind, then fetch the mark on a stb tack. Blue has not to change her course, and thanks to a higher speed, Blue comes overlapped windward ahead to Yellow (Position 3 to 4).

In position 4: Overlap, Yellow inside hails for mark room.

In position 5: Blue doesn't give mark room to Yellow, and rounds the mark. Yellow has to slow down to round behind Blue and protests.

Protest Hearing: 
Yellow says:
- I protested under 18.2 (a) and (b). (First in the zone, overlapped, inside…)

Blue will argue with rule 13 and 18.3, stating that 18.2 can't apply because she was fetching the mark when Yellow tacked. (If two boats were approaching a mark on opposite tacks and one of them changes tack, and as a result is subject to rule 13 in the zone when the other is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 does not thereafter apply.)

Judges will agree with Blue, and will dismiss Yellow protest arguing with 18.3.

Yellow appeals:
Yellow appeals, stating that this case is not a 18.3 case, that she fully respected 18.3 because she didn't cause Blue to sail above close-hauled to avoid her nor prevent Blue from passing the mark on the required side, and that Blue did not become overlapped inside her, but outside.

Your decision? (Beware of FUD ;-)

My decision would be to DSQ Blue for breaking rule 11. See comments for insights.

Fizz Cup round three

Fizz Cup round three is coming to an end. On saturday we had three races in group one and three more in group two. From what I hear, all races were close, especially the fight for first, second and third place. Apparently, the conditions were tough. There are quite a few DNFs and DNCs on the scoreboard.
Joro taking first.
My internet provider had trouble with a router, so I was unable to get inworld till the last moments of the third race in group two. Talk about bad timing. These images are therefore from the finish of race three in group two. Above you see Joro winning. Incidentally, Joro won all three races in group two. That's very well done given the conditions. Dahral finished 2, 2, 4 and Hii finished 3, 3, 2.
Hii2news taking second.
There was some talk among the racers about the local winds being weird. However, if someone hates the windshifts, there is always someone else loving it. I mean, - if you're not in the puff yourself, that other team over there surely got there by chance! Not by skill, right? Hehe, I am really not sure what to make of it, but granted... we're not that used to local wind variances in Second Life.
Krysha takes third.
Strange actually. Local wind variances have been featured in the wwc and the Flying Fizz since I dunno when. 2008 at least. What it does is this: It enables us to create WWC, Winds, Waves and Currents that change over the course according to geography and ocean floor. Just like in RL. We've seen windshifts used a little, but the local wind variance feature has remained allmost untouched.
Dahral making fourth.
That's all history now. However, care must be taken to create realistic conditions; The objective is not to make the course impossible to sail. Realism is the objective. Adding local wind variations changes the game from a simple race of boat speed and boat handling. Now, there are real tactics involved. Reading the course, figuring out how that dude got to the top mark first by choosing another route. That makes racing so much more interesting.
Skyblue comes in last. The others gave up.
I guess this changes the game from arcade level to simulation. I like that. It is fun to see, that the top sailors win anyway. Maybe not quite as consistently, but - as in RL - even under difficult conditions, those same top sailors usually come out on top; Or are they just permanently luck-struck? I don't think so. In group one Ox finished 1, 2, 2, Miwha made DNF, 1, 1 and Liv came in as 2, 3, 3, so there you go.

I won't claim I know Flamenco, but I tried...
What I didn't miss was elMegros fabulous spanish party. Right after the last race, we went - ehh - somewhere to dance. I arrived in my jeans and a top, but after seeing Silbers fantastic dress, I had to do something. The beauty of SL is that you can teleport back home, look through your closet, change, and teleport back to the party in a matter of minutes, so here we are - all dressed up.
eLMegro showing us how
What's even more beautiful is, hehe, that noone can see me wearing docksides under this dress. Jeeezz, the thought of doing the Flamenco all night in high heels. All that stomping. Phew. Thanx for a wonderful party elMegro; And for a great race setup in the Gulf of Moles.

More about the Fizz Cup here. The official results are here. If you are fed up with racing, then check out the new Bolero here.