Friday, March 30, 2012

Moored and explored

I was out sailing, and I passed this place. I simply had to moor and explore, go see what's up there. It is a perfect example of a number nine: Approaching a new island, - being excited about what will be there.
What's up there?
I've sailed past this island a hundred times. Always on my way to some exotic destination far away. Kinda like in RL. Those distant isles always seem more enchanting, - even though that island right across the water is just as mysterious and fun to explore. Different language, different money, different icecreams...

Anyway, you can see the south end of this island here, and the north end of the island here. What's up there I'll save for another post, but I'll tell you it's beautiful.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


What's so great about sailing anyhow? Hibernation got me thinking. Apart from the beautiful places, - there's a few things... in no particular order...
A beautiful place...
1) The socializing
Relaxing with friends, discussing how to go faster, checking out new gear, helping newbies come up to speed, the feeling of a community... It's so great.

2) Racing
It's intense. Getting away with a good start and tacking to cross in front is a fantastic feeling. A port start done right is huge too. Makes you feel so much alive.
Easy on the tiller or you will get wet with excitement.
3) Max speed planing
Hoisting the kite in strong winds, feeling the accellerations and the vibrations when the boat is pushed to the max and you know just one tiny mistake will slam you right over.

4) Taking off
Planning a cruise is intense. Buy and store food and drink, pack clothes, books and music, check the boat and all gear. Phew. It can get stressy. What is fantastic is the calmness that settles a few minutes after take off. Everything is in place. We're off. The wind decides where we go. Total relaxation. Maybe it's time for the Destination Paradise post...
Sudden change of sea-colour. Get the chart out. Like now!
5) Inshore navigation
Visiting the beautiful Swedish archipelago requires precise navigation. Again it is the intenseness, the need for absolute concious presense that rocks.. or rather keeps you off the rocks.

6) Guests
Having guests on board is fantastic. Especially non sailors. Watching how they adapt to life on board, learn the routines and get bitten by the bug... it's an amazing process.
There should be a marina here. See something? Anything?
7) Nightsailing
The realisation of how small we are compared to the universe. The need for extra awareness. Somehow it also gives a very strong feeling of being together, a shared destiny if you will, with those onboard. More nightsailing here...

8) Swimming at sea
Noone around? Sails down, rip off clothes and jump in. Climb up and dry in the sun with a cold beer and a chocolate chip cookie. Less than a handfull of things can beat that.
Can we get an orangina and a veggieburger in there?
9) Approaching a new island
Ahh, the restlessness, the anticipation of what will be in there. So many islands to explore.

10) Freedom
No phones, no papers, no email, no plans... just go where ever the wind takes you. Strangely, you cannot always go where you want, but still it's an extreme feeling of freedom.
Let's not have really big waves, ok
Oh, and a good book in the hammock... that's priceless too...

Oops! Was that a ten things I like most post? I suppose it had to happen, eventually. Is there a favourite, a number one? Not sure. Do you have a favourite?

Friday, March 23, 2012


Hibernation is not a button on your computer. It is a state of mind, and it doesn't take just 10 seconds (Yeah right) to wake up. Oh no. The dark times of winter makes you sleepy, slow and sometimes almost depressed. Happens to most northern people, but there is hope. Yesterday morning I took this photo...
No, it's not a lake. It is the ocean... 
Oh yes it looks nice. The sky is blue and the ice is gone. What you cannot see is that sea is still below the (freshwater) freezing point, and the air is just above. Brrr... I've done wintertraining before. In snow. It's not much fun, when you need to broom the foredeck before getting up there to gybe the spin.
Still hibernating
The second image shows boats in hibernation. It's strange to think that in one month they'll all be out there. Sailing the waves and the wind, happily racing, but right now... they don't look very happy. Obviously, hibernation is not a very hyper nation.
Enough talk about the dark and cold times of winter. Here's a picture of a happy me happily sailing my virtual rescueboat in a happy hyper hiber-dream. There's even an island with birds circling above. Woohooo!
Yes, I know... Ain't no substitute for sailing, but six months in the freezer?? Virtual sailing is The Healer!

PS: Just in case you missed the "icebergs".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The virtual IOD collection

This is a fun contrast to the AC spacebug, I recently wrote about. For a while now, I've been watching a brand new oldtimer moored at Tradewinds. It seems virtual oldtimers are hot these days. Good things last... Probably because there is virtually no maintenance.
Left to right: Jim, Craig and me.
Here's the builder, Craig, and Jim and me talking virtual IODs, and there is definately something to talk about. They are so alike, yet so different. For starters the Trudeau One on the left is too big. It is almost 10 meters long. On the right we have the Bolero, which is also a little too big. The Ktaba 20 in the middle matches the size more accurately.
Then there's the rig and mast. Note how different the spreaders look. The Trudeau One has the most accurate mast. It is the only one of these three with a strut above the spreaders to support the top of the mast. Right now, it seems to me the Ktaba 20 mast is a little too short. The Bolero sports an interior setup with beds, lamps and what nuts plus live telltales.
The Trudeau One and the Ktaba 20 have spinnaker poles lying on deck. However, they all come with spinnakers. Then there's the sailing engine. The Ktaba and the Bolero use modified BWind. The One uses a Trudeau engine, and it is the only one of these three to support crewed balancing. I suppose that's why the One is popular for racing.
Motoring, Craig in the back with sails set

Hmm... This could be lengthy, so I better stop. Suffice to say it is interesting to watch how different these virtual IODs really are. Naturally, we took the Ktaba 20 to sea. It sails nicely, but it is work in progress. Iit would not be fair to go into details now, so laters... When Craig tells me it is ready. 

PS: If you can't wait, then check Orca's Ktaba20 sailing pics.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Beast

There's been so much talk about these boats. They've been massively promoted in RL. I've watched them sail on TV and on the website. I've talked to people sailing these things. I have also met people sailing them in SL, and now... I finally tried one.
The Beast at Tradewinds
I am talking about the AC45 cats. A few days back I was at Tradewinds YC messing with the Babysloop. As I stood there, Wendy Ohare landed one of these things right next to me, - on the beach. I probably stared, and Wendy probably noticed, and so she offered me a ride.
Set sails - uhm and wings
Didn't think twice, so here we are waiting for lift off. Wingsail and everything. Me very excited. So, she pulls the sheet and wrooom... it took off like nothing I've ever experienced. I mean really... the Hepcat was fast but this...
Within seconds we were at the starting line south of Dex, barely missing the mark, as we approached it so fast it simply popped out of nowhere. I can almost understand why Larry and his boyz choose to look like Bob the Builder, whenever they're at sea. It's a scary machine.
The unidentified flying object
Speed is obviously everything with these boats. No wonder they can't cover each other. No wonder there is hardly any boat to boat infight except at the marks. It is simply impossible to do a safe leeward tack. Besides, the course is so narrow, they can barely accellerate to max speed before they need to tack to avoid the hitting the boundary.
At full speed
In fact most of the close race as we know it from fleet race is non existant. These boats race so differently they even use different rules. So maybe they get a lot of attention from average Joe, but to a seasoned sailor the AC just isn't interesting anymore. It is not sailing. It is something else. It is sailing redesigned to compete with NASCAR. What a strange idea.
The wing
Here's a closeup of the wing as seen from my position. Pretty well made with the sections and the see through and all. The details are generally very good. Hull, mast, wing and everything looks great. The instruments are somewhat disappointing though. Dunno if they plan to make it better, but green text flowing mid-air on a super racer like this? That's not really up to par. Below is another shot taken from where I sat.
The onboard view
The most amazing thing however, is how well it handles sim crossing. When we sailed, I didn't once think about lag or anything. It was only afterwards it struck me... I didn't notice the sim crossing. At all. That's really something, as most other builders struggle with that at much lower speeds.
Helicopter view
I wonder what Corry did. Corry Kamachi, the builder. Is there a trick. Hmm. She probably knows stuff after building the WildWind boats for years. Too bad she stopped doing that. I haven't tried any of the other WildWinds, but if they are anything like this one...
But for now, - let's have another go round the sea south of Tradewinds. I know, they look weird and they're slow at turning. True, the AC circus is becoming just that, - a spectacular show which faintly resembles boat racing. Still, - for an afternoon cruise it is a refreshing, exhillerating and tickling experience. There is only one other boat that has this effect on me...

Update: Don tells me this is really a 35' cat built to wet our appetites. I thought it looked a little small for a 45'. Also, I understand the work on the AC45 goes on. I am very excited to hear that. The AC game might not resemble classic sailing much, but it sure is spectacular and it looks like fun.

More on the AC circus...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Ten from Manul

A few weeks ago I happened to see the beautiful Ten moored at Tradewinds YC. Yesterday I sailed it  with its constructor, - and I was not disappointed. It's truely a true beauty at sea. Probably one of the best looking virtual boats available in SL. I am sure many will agree:
The Ten 
I have covered a few boats by now. Pretty ones too. The Virtual Dragon is one of them. The Virtual Laser is another. This one is different. It is the first of its kind in a certain respect. See if you can guess what I mean, or read on for the answer. 
Upwind is a breeze
Why did an absolutely great looking boat, such as the Ten, never go into mass production? It's because Manul is not really into that. He just builds out of love for sailing. Obviously. Now, - I can make no promises, but it is springtime, and I did hear the birds sing a little song about the Ten...
Somewhere south of Tradewinds
The Ten is - according to the constructor - inspired by the H-Boat and the Soling. I immediately saw the Soling part, but I'll admit I also saw Knarr and Dragon. All four I know from my RL waters, and that's probably why the Ten makes me feel right at home. 
Smooth sailing downwind as well
She sails like a charm. Easy to handle. Probably due to the BWind sailing-engine. It's not the newest version, but it is still good. However, I can't help thinking how she would sail with the latest and greates from Becca. Dreams, you might say. True, but dreams are at the beginning of every change, are they not?
Dreaming about boats
Just click this image, and tell me you wouldn't wanna be on that boat. Be honest. Are you back from the high rez image? It's a good thing wooden boats are easy to maintain in a virtual world, hehe. Hundreds of hours were never spent to make her shine like that.
Back at Tradewinds... still dreaming
Seven days of sanding and painting, followed by two days of wax on, wax off... Every year. No Sir. We don't use that. But that's not what makes this boat special. Did you figure it out? You see, there are so many real boats I'd like to see replicated into virtual sailing. Like I said, this one is different. Any bells ringing?

This is an original and unique design, purely constructed and built in the virtual world. It is the first boat I'd like to see go the other way, - replicate from virtual to the real world. If I had a million, I'd call the local boatyard and ask them to build a real Ten for me. Right now. And I'd be so proud to sail it. Thanx for the ride, Manul. I loved it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dragon under sail

Enough talk. Let's sail. The Virtual Dragon is still just a prototype, so there are a few missing details.
Set sails
Building a classic such as the Dragon is a daunting task. So many eyes will see it. So many eyes will know how the original looks.
 The balance is good. Very good, but maybe not very realistic. Look mum... no hands...
Smooth sailing
It's smooth sailing allright. I left the tiller and crawled below deck. Guess what I found!?
That's right, - an old bag. I opened it and woohoo, there was a spinnaker inside, and sheets too.
Telltales? Not yet...
So, it sails quite well for a prototype. Ofcourse I have a list of todos. Some things are major issues. Some are in the nitty gritty department.
Better get back to Vic and tell him: I like.
Here's my list: Sheets, telltales, battens, strut, less angled spreaders, realistic sailshapes, flapping, a few hull inacuracies, hinges for the rudder, wake, a compass and maybe she floats just a tad too high. Anything else? Check the photos in full screen and don't be afraid to leave comments. I will tell Vic. I know he wants it to be accurate.
The proud builder on the right
Anyway, I enjoyed the sailing. I hope you enjoyed the pics. They were made to wet your appetite. Set your inner Dragon on fire.

More "virtual real boats" filed under Keelers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A virtual Dragon

It is a virtual Dragon allright, and a beautiful one. Vic said it is work in progress. That should mean it will be even better in the final version. If there is such a thing. Here's a fun picture... Classic meets future, only the future is now...
Grand-dad and grand-kid?
Suppose we have a Dragon and something very much resembling a 14 footerthe Flying Fizz. Old meets new, or is it really so? How many years apart are they now?

More pictures tomorrow. Sailing pictures. Orca has a few more shots here. Uhh, I can hardly wait to see a fleet of virtual Dragons fighting for the pin in the choppy waves some two hundred meters due south of the Tradewinds lighthouse.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hic sunt dracones

Better get Tasha to set up warning signs, hehe. I met Victor Cruiser at Tradewinds. We had a great talk about boats and stuff. Turns out Victor is working on a really nice boat. I had the privilege to take it for a test-ride. Thank you, Vic.
Mmmmhmmm. It is a classic. Can anyone guess what it is I am sailing here? Note that it is work in progress, so it is not completely accurate. Yet. However, it already has that realistic appearance as did the Folkboat. I will post more pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another Seanemagraph

After three rather spontaneous time trial runs in the Fizz, I thought the Flying Fizz should have a go in real water. So here it is. Me "fizzin" somewhere south of Tradewinds, Dex. Actually on my way home from the time trials.
Light wind planing in the Fizz
Yeah! It is kinda annoying that the buoy never comes closer. Hefty current, huh! Maybe I should remove it. Anyway, here's a link to more on the Flying Fizz, and here's a link to my other cinemagraphs: Morning at Tradewinds YC and Sailing the Q2.4m.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I protest !!

The ice is gone. Last week we had over (plus) 12 degrees Celcius. Clear blue sky, birds began to sing, and I felt that strong urge to get out there. For real.
I protest !!
Today, I woke up to a snow covered landscape. I was like: WTF? What's happening? Gimme back my spring! I protest !! 

Please Mr. Weatherman, - no more ice. Give us spring. Give us flowers. Give us strawberries.
Seconds before I crash in a puff
Give us blue skies and water with bearable temperatures. No more winter. Give us a sailing season. Give us this...
Let's go for a swim
... and more of it...

PS: Copenhagen waters are now at -2 degrees Celcius. Brrrr.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bwind Launch

The long awaited next version of Beccas sailboat-engine was finally launched this last friday. The BWind 2.0 is much improved in so many ways, that I won't even try and list all the details. Instead, I recommend you get the free Babysloop, and try it out for yourself.
The babysloop with BWind 2.0
Ofcourse Tradewinds YC had put on quite a show for the launch. A huge Blimp in TYC colours floating above us all, live music, intro by Tasha, speech by Becca and then a testsail all the way to Triumphal. Here's a shot of the crowd.
Live performance, speech, blimps
And here's Harbourmaster Ahab and me listening to Becca... I am wearing flats. It's Ahab not being very tall...
After the speech, everybody got a free Babysloop, and then we all set sails and sailed off to TRYC in the lovely weather.
Sail away
Now, I've tested the Babysloop a bit beforehand, so I kinda knew it worked. Sailing from Dex to Triumphal is quite a long trip, but what I heard from the sailors was that it worked great. Low lag, easy sim crossing, fantastic feel. In short, the BWind 2.0 sets a new standard. Thanx Becca and Tradewinds YC for giving us this.

Here's a few shots of me testing the Baby Sloop, and here's a couple of shots of version 1.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Unidentified Vikings

Never before seen types of vikingships spotted off the coast of Tradewinds YC. These boats have carved decorations, dragonheads, shields and other details.
Vikings to starboard
I talked to the owner. She looked kinda vikingish. Light skin, red-ish hair, dressed in old fashioned womens clothing.
Different winds
She did not know what sail engine was inside. It probably sailed on SL wind, since they kept turning to catch the wind. In any case, they did not use the same wind as I did.
Dragons and shields
They are built by something called Nightshade Design. I'll have to look it up and maybe get me one of these nicely made boats.

If you like vikingships, you might also wanna read about Linteus Denchs ship.