Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year
I wish you all happy sailing in the new year

(Merry Christmas to those who missed the Christmas post)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Premium Boat

There's been quite a lot of hype about a Linden sponsored premium gift boat. Me, I've been wondering why the Lindens would create what appears to be a sort of channel conflict. It turns out they didn't. Here's why, but first, - let's have a look.
Premium boat at Tradewinds
It's the one in the foreground. It looks a little like a 12mR. Not overly detailed, but nice from a distance. The hull shape is probably the best part, though the bow looks a little weird from this angle. The keel isn't bad, but it isn't good either. The keel front-edge is shaped a little strange, but hey... you can't see that while sailing. Then there's the mast...
Premium boat mast
It's hardly tall enough for a boat this size. The spreaders are placed way too high. Sadly this is a common mistake among SL boatbuilders. Shrouds? They completely left out the lower shrouds, but where would they go with this spreader configuration anyway? Realistically, a boat this size would have at least two sets of spreaders. Another thing is the front stay. It would never attach to the tip of the bow like that.
Me wondering
The sailing? I suppose it's ok. There is a nicely done hud. It's just that... I like to see the boat and the ocean while I sail. I don't like huds. Sailing should be an intuitive experience of the forces of nature. It is not about staring at instruments. Oh, and the jib can't be trimmed. At all. Where-ever I point the boat the jib is securely fastened as if I was on a tight beat. The jib shape is a little strange too. The main moves, but the sail is flat like a pancake, so don't look up.
Real Premium Boat
Obviously, this boat won't compete with the exisiting virtual sailboats on the market. It's not really a premium boat. It's merely  this month give away for premium accounts. So does it serve a purpose? It might make non sailors curious. It might make them go look for more, better boats. In that sense it is a good boat, but as a sailor... I'd choose a real Premium boat such as the one shown above. It's the RM20 from ReneMarine. That's a real yacht.

More details on the Linden Premium give-away boat at the Tradewinds website. Mind you, there are other boats that are a million times more fun, such as the Fries Yacht, the Hepcat, the Q-Scow, the Cotton Blossom, the Fizz et cetera, et c...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Hey Sailor!!
I just wanted to say Merry Christmas...

So here goes... To all Tradewinders, bloggers, sailors, friends and family:
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year with lotsa sailing.
... and now you'll excuse me, it's a little cold out here, and I have things to do inside. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Boatshow at Tradewinds

Overwhelmed by all the Xmas stuff? Tired of hot red wine with nuts and raisins? Need something entirely different and refreshing? There's a boatshow running at Tradewinds!
Boatshow at Tradewinds YC
There are several interesting things to see. ReneMarines beatiful RM20 is there. The lovely new minischouw is there too.
To the right in this picture you see the Linden Premium handout, and in the center you see Qyvs new 2.4mR; I guess it's Tasha messing with Xmas gift wrapping on the table. Be back with details on several of these boats.

More on boatshows at Tradewinds YC.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Fries Yacht

The mini schouw is a cute little thing. It may not have the looks of a tall and sleek classic racer, but it has a high cuteness factor. Honestly, it doesn't really look speedy, right. Well, reality is different. Last week I saw the Fries Yacht "speeding" around Tradewinds. When Jet asked if I wanted to try it, I had no second thoughts. Yesss!
All aboard
So here we are. Me admiring the Fries Yacht, and Jet talking about all the wonders I will experience in a few minutes. Now, I like Jet, but too much sales talk usually make me go on stand by. However, just looking at the details of the boat kept me awake. It's that beautiful.
We had to motor a little, because someone was fishing inside the marina. Strange idea. Maybe we need those signs from RL: "No fishing in the marina". Anyway, that gave me time to study the onboard instruments. Lotsa little buttons there.
Sails up!
Sails up, and whooohooo... If I had expected this thing to be kinda sluggish, I was sooo wrong. It does not sail like a dull fat bottomed keeler. At all. The sounds were very enticing as we heeled over and accellerated, much like a Wayfarer or even faster. Not that a Wayfarer is considered fast these days. 
Speedy little critter
Here we are going full speed ahead. It feels great. I mean... the feel is great. It's moving, sounding and behaving - in so many ways - like a real boat. It is not a Tako, not a Bwind, it's... is it Superman? No, it's a  ReneMarine boat, and it's wonderfull.
It wants so much to be a real boat. Check the instruments. These aren't meant for mooring. They're clearly made for racing. Jet insisted on all the little buttons actually working. Not sure I tried them all, but the ones I did try, they clearly had an effect. On the display.
There's no keel. Stability is built in. The sideboards prevent sidetracking, and they seem to work by themselves. Automagically. What's left for us to do is steering and trimming. Dunno how these boats are sailed in RL, but I suppose a little balancing would be in place at times.
Never mind that. There's luffing sails, a vane at the top of the mast, and I am sure I can push a button to get a compass on the instrument. But the best part is this: She sails like a dream. Simple as that. I don't know what Rene put inside this boat, but it feels so alive. It almost carves around a mark. On top of that it is very responsive, so you feel totally in control. It sure is virtual sailing.
ahh... beers out.
That's not to say it wont do cruising. It absolutely will, and you can even let your friends steer it, while you grab a beer, relax and get some tan. That feature wasn't quite finished yet. The steering part I mean. I tried it. It worked for a little while.
...and then some relaxing
So how do I feel about the mini schouw... aka "The Fries Yacht"? It's a strange mixed feeling. The boat itself is beautifully made. The boat type does not excactly have the appearance of a sexy race boat. Nevertheless, it sails so well I would not be surprised to see an active racing fleet. The sailing engine from ReneMarine is to blame for that. It's fantastic. Is it a fun boat to sail? Definately. Is it one of those boats you just gotta have? Absolutely. Once you've sailed it, you will love that feel and want more. Thanx Jet. I had a great time.

Incidentally, one of my first posts showed a ReneMarine Zeeschouw.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Something strange and beautiful

I was out Fizzin. Just a short sail to test stuff, when all of a sudden I heard the sound of boats sailing, and these  two cuties started circling around me.
Rene and Jet in the background
It was Rene and Jet out testing their latest creation, a mini-schouw. They looked so cute I almost wanted to pet them like a little dog.
Closing in
Rene and Jet are cute too, but I really meant the boats. Above you see one of them coming closer. Pretty fast little critters. A little too fast actually, but these are test versions. Rene told me, the release version will be a little slower.
Ooops. Almost too close.
In this shot it's almost too close; Whoa, it's pretty. It's a good thing I am using a mesh viewer, or the boat would look like a brick or something.
Here's a shot of the boat with sails down and Rene on board. It's an absolutely lovely little boat, and it appears to sail really well. More details in a future post.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Miwha Masala wins Fizz Cup 2011

The Fizz Cup 2011 finals took place on the 10th and the 11th of december. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there, so no action pictures. Sorry bout that. However, I am told the Fizz Cup 2011 finals offered good sailing. The videos on seem to confirm that, - plus there's a few interesting situations to discuss ;-)

Miwha Masala won the cup with four firsts and two thirds in the six final races. Very nice and very stable sailing Miwha. Congrats. Detailed result in the table below.
A huge WOOT to all the clubs, helpers, RDs, judges, sailors, organizers and Bea for making it all happen. The Fizz Cup 2011 has been a fantastic voyage. Thanx. SL sailing will be so strange and quiet now, but new cups are already underway.

More about the Fizz Cup 2011.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New fanatics start here

Sailing in SL is fun. Sailing the Flying Fizz is great fun. Racing the Fizz is even better, but there is something  better yet. That's what I am doing on these pictures. Introducing the Flying Fizz to new sailors.

Sometimes the new sailors wear funny clothes; Unsuited for sailing I mean. I don't blame them. Often  they've tried some kind of freebie boat, and to be honest, those boats aren't very exciting. Some boats appear to be built solely to facilitate conversation. Steer and drive. In no way do they act like sailboats, so why worry about the outfit?

So when does the fun start? Sometimes it's when we capsize. That's a whoa, does it need balancing? Absolutely. Up again, we bear away, hoist the gennaker and lift out of the water. That's a weee, it's planing!! Sometimes it is when the new sailor - from the trapez - realize that the telltales are moving. That's a wauw, it's actually working.

Back on a beat there will be gusts and shifts. RL sailors will notice that on the compass. Real keen sailors will also notice the waves changing in shallow waters. What they really love, however, is that they can be part of the action, trimming the front sails, even hoisting the gen. That's a hey, teamwork! Eventually a puff will require us to depower the sails, - not by sheeting out; By flattening the sails. That's when they go whoa, will it do that too? Then I start talking about currents and local wind variations... Oh, the smile on those faces :-D

If you like sailing, you'll probably like virtual sailing in the Flying Fizz. Wanna race? The  Fizz Cup is the answer.

For the curious ones, here's a little more details on the history of sailing in SL.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fizz cup charts

There are other sail simulators out there. Ours is pretty complicated. We build the boats ourselves, we build and place the markers, and then we design an interesting mix of wind, waves and current. However, you are not required to build anything. Just visit a boatyard, pick your favourite boat and you are ready to sail.
These charts are for the Fizz Cup finals this weekend. On the charts you see lines, markers, rounding directions, a few islands plus expected winds. Strength and direction.
This makes it interesting to study and sail the course beforehand... ofcourse the RD makes sure the wind is never quite like shown on the map, but it makes sense to try and work out the optimal route.
As any sailor will know, it's about staying in the strong wind and keeping the angle where the boatspeed is maxed out on the polar. Here's an attempt to draw up a route with maximum speed. Sailing the course like this enables planing almost all the way round. Then there is the current to take into account. It might push you off the route. Yes, there's tactics in this route too. The reaching start is all about getting away into the open, rounding first.

I know they are all out there - right now - trying to get to know the wind and the current. Someone set up a webcam in the Blake Sea. Please.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fizz Cup Final

I just thought I'd blog the video-teaser for this weekends mega event. So here it is:
Yup. It's serious. More on that in a little while. If you enjoyed the video, then click here to get more about the Fizz Cup 2011.

If you are wondering what makes the Fizz so great, then read this very brief summary of sailing in SL.

Another sub on the loose

It was just another afternoon at Tradewinds. A handfull of sailors were talking about boats, when all of a sudden a series of explosions occurred. We looked but saw nothing. Very strange, - but after a while I heard a faint pinging sound, and...
Unknown sub 
This sucker was fooling around right off our coast. We contacted the skipper, who seemed a bit autistic. No response at all; We kinda gave up on the dialog after ten minutes or so. It was very one way. Kept an eye on the submarine, though.
Unknown sub with no communications
A little later we discovered what caused the explosions: Seamines. Not a nice thing to have right off the coast of a marina. So we tried to talk to the skipper again and make it stop. No luck.
Sub on the run?
Finally, he was done, and here's a picture of the sub running off. No idea where to, but hopefully it will stay away from Tradewinds YC. I wouldn't want to sail slalom between seamines, when I am out for a short evening cruise.

The first sub was a WWII model; There was also the steampunk sub.