Saturday, June 30, 2012

Coconut Island

So someone emailed me about islands in the virtual world. Probably because of my last post with palms and stuff. There's a few really nice ones, and I probably don't know them all. This shot here is one of my favourites. I took those beachy images here. There is also a great hammock hanging from a palm over the ocean...
Coconut Island
What do you think? Pretty huh! Sadly, waters aren't always sailable in this virtual world. Some places allow boats. Some do not. Too bad. Mooring here in my RM20 would be sooooo nice. Of course I'd have a windsurfer lying on deck. I wonder if the RM20 has room for scuba gear...

By the way, - this could have been the island I gazed at in this post here, but it is not. This one is way more remote...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


It's gonna be summer time some time soon. Actually, any day now. Boat packed and ready to go; Just waiting for the weather. I won't be seeing any palms this year. At least not while sailing in RL. Those palmy beaches are too far away. Maybe next year. It's no surprise how RL can inspire SL. The reverse is also possible: A few days back I found this spot...
I kinda like this pic. It is almost artsy. 
Now I wanna sail there for real! So - does anyone know, where to find a spot like this in RL? It has to be within reach of a 14 days charter boat trip, - not in the middle of the ocean with 20 days of sailing. Croatia,  Italy, Crethe, - or maybe the West Indies?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Destination Paradise II

So we crossed the pond; The Blake Sea that is. Not much traffic out there. At least not this time. No sailboats. Didn't see a single warship either. Sometimes there's all kinds of air traffic. It seems to be a popular sport to round the Fastnet Rock in a jet. Here's the first land we saw on the other side.
At the other side
Gotta be around Blake Shore. It doesn't excactly look friendly. Winds were easy, so we had time to look around, and heres' a shot in the opposite direction. Looks a bit old-timerish, except maybe for the helicopter hovering above those classic tallships.
These are probably those dreaded pirate waters, so we better trim for optimum speed and get out of here. Incidentally, that's one of the beauties of the Flying Fizz, and the shot above shows it quite well. The main has an open foot. The sailshape itself can be trimmed, and the change is visible. Need more power? Do as you would do in a real boat. Make the sailshape more rounded.
In safe waters
Unsafe waters to the south, so we raced on, on an easterly course. No kite. Made it without seeing any pirates. Too bad really; I was kinda looking forward to meeting Jack Sparrow alias one certain Johnny Depp. Hmm... The good thing was, that more and more palms appeared on the horizon; Maybe this was the right course after all...
Norse surroundings
Sadly, the palms disappeared again. However, we found ourselves sailing a quite nice archipelago not unlike the Swedish or even the Norwegian one. Lotsa spruce and birch trees. Tons of little islands with small reefs and rocks everywhere. No detailed charts. Better stay in the middle. Look out for sudden changes of colour in the water. Marin had the best view for that; From the trapez.
Looking Finnish
This might even look kinda Finnish. There's no way to tell. In some areas people are very busy flying their country flag from a pole. Strangely we didn't see many flags on this journey. We saw quite a few lovely islands and even more houses. Some pretty nice lighthouses too.
A lighthouse
After passing at least twenty islands the chart indicated it was time to bear away and go a bit more south. We just needed to find our way out of the maze of islands. This next shot gives an impression of how virtual inshore sailing can look like.
Looking for an exit
Quite a nice and safe sail between these islands; Except you cannot enjoy the view for more than half a minute or you'll hit either a reef or an island. Well, there are ways to slow down. As we both realized that this was a real journey, not just a five minute sail, we flattened the sails and ran for coffee.
Kite time again
Then we finally found some open space with room for some kiting. Not much wind though. Even with the kite up and maximum power in the sails, Marin had to sit to leeward, when I was to windward. I guess I better loose some weight. This is around Sugar Reef, I think. Palms and sandy beaches ahead. Again. Weeeee... Hopefully they won't go away this time.

To be continued...
(Continued from Destination Paradise)

Continue to Destination Paradise III.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Destination Paradise

It doesn't have to be all about racing. There are plenty of cruising opportunities in the virtual waters. It is perfectly possible to sail for hours and never see the same water twice. I've done that a couple of times, and since the summer is near, it is cruising time.
Heading south from Tradewinds
Two things are really important for cruising. Some would say three, but let's start with the first. You need a great crew. No matter how big the boat, you will be close together for an extended period of time, so pick your crew wisely. I was so lucky as to meet Marin on the pier; He was looking for a cruise too. Great guy. Knows his sailing. Sweet too...
Rounding Pslande
The second thing you need is a great boat. In RL you'd probably go for a 40-footer or something. In a virtual world, you'd go for a stable and fun boat. We had no doubts. The Flying Fizz simply provides the best and the most realistic team sailing experience available. So off we went; Wind, team sailing, waves, current, the works, and...
Entering Blake
Here we are, entering the Blake Sea. Clear blue sky and absolutely nothing on the horizon. Kinda like coming out of an archipelago, entering open sea. That's when the third thing comes in: Where to go?! You need a great destination, but we skipped that. True cruising means exploring. It means not knowing where you might end up. Going with the flow. Airflow that is...
Spyglass in the back
Today the wind was sending us south. We talked about cruising in RL, and we easily agreed that we wanted to see some palms and sandy beaches; Usually that means heading south. There is no reason it should be true in a virtual world, but hey... there is no reason why it shouldn't be true either. Anyway, it's about the sailing, not the destination... 
Passing Sharp-Tooth Isle
I checked the charts; Can't see any palms on the charts, but there is a pretty nice sailing trip to some southernly - and to me rather unexplored - waters. That ended up as the plan... The Great Plan, hehe. Going somewhere as far away as possible, not knowing what to expect. Soon after that, we saw the majestic Sharp-Tooth Isle on the horizon. 
Sharp-Tooth in the back
We passed it on a south-easterly course... Rather small waves, lovely breeze; Champagne conditions. Marin mostly in the trapez; Me murmuring about those classic Digestives, - and that's when that ticklering sensation in the stomach started. The excitement! We didn't know what we would see next. Unexplored waters ahead. This is cruising...

To be continued...

Continue to Destination Paradise II.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer sailing haiku

Lazy waves splashing
Heavy sun and shifty winds
Wet and salty skin


Just me trying to capture that summer lazy afternoon sail. Wish I was there right now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A cruising device

Never much liked engine powered boats. That's not a big surprise. Also, I never really gave a lot of thought to engine powered canoes. That changed yesterday, when Manul sent me a three seater electrical canoe:
Electrical canoe
My first thought was - ehm - not worth repeating here. However, I did spend some RL time canoing the local streams, arms falling off after hours of upstream paddling. Canoing can be nice. I also saw a canoe with an electrical outboard engine.
The engine
It was - ofcourse - operated by a (rather cute) guy. I smiled intensely as he passed by, but he didn't offer me a ride. We met later that same day. Hehe. He was out to take his wife, kid and mother in law for a picnic on the lake.
Humming about
Anyway, I gave the canoe a shot, and it is super nice. Very relaxing with a nice canoing sound. There's only a quiet hum from the engine. It is stable and straight forward to sail. Good for cuising and exploring while chatting and having a sandwich; Huge battery under the seat, and it virtually never weares out.
The camping canoe
But wait... there's more...It comes with a tent. Not a big one, but you can just about squeeze two people in there. I suppose after one night like that there are two options. Either you're in love, or you'll never see each other again...
Lights out
Here's me totally relaxed in the tiny tent. Strangely, there is no light. Would be nice with a cozy little light in there. After all the battery is huge. I'd like to see a solar charger add on. Just in case. Would make it a totally ecological vessel.
Nice one
So, it is a sweet little thingie. Very nicely made. Lotsa good details. Quiet, easy to sail and with a sleep over option. Add to that no maintenance and six plus knots. Not sure how long the battery will last at that speed though. Which reminds me: There's no emergency paddle on board, so I hope there's enough power to make it home from here. All I need now is a river in a jungle and a lake with an island. And maybe Manul in the drivers seat...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Depressed sailors haiku

Strong winds on the bay
Still inside I choose to stay
It's a rainy day 

Boats shiver and rock
Kinda like sheep in their flock
Drip says the windsock

Marina looks dead
Golfing pops up in my head
Alert flashes red

Walking home all wet
My mind made up, I am set
to take the next jet

Down south to the sun
Warm waters and sailing fun
sailor on the run


Friday, June 15, 2012

It's friday

Finally friday. What am I to do? The RL weather isn't excactly fantastic. What to do, what to do? Maybe just spend some time unwinding?
The unwinding
Hmm. Booring. Then what? I guess I could use some excersize; Let's call it warmup. It's summer, but it's still  so cold I need to warm up. I bet all you office people out there could do with a little excersize too; No need to do a marathon, but standing in the rain, lifting buckets of cold water is so much like sheeting in and out, hehe. It has to be cold; Lift it ten times and pour it over your head to get that sailing sensation...
The excersize
No? Then, maybe some meditation. Ready? Sit and ask yourself: Do I sail enough; Repeat that a hundred times. Like a mantra. Yes, a hundred... Close your eyes; See that dream boat chopping through those waves! See that island in the distance... Go on... I'll wait and do likewise: Do I sail enough, do I sail enough, do I sail enough... 

The meditate
You're back? That was fast. Did you do a hundred? Next up is a stretch... The doctor always recommends stretching. Take a good, long one, and clear your mind. It might help if you imagine you're sitting in my chair here, looking at the ocean...
Stretch and relax
When you're done, you should feel totally relaxed and ready to answer the question you just meditated over. I know what my answer is. Well, I kinda knew that beforehand. What's yours? Feel ready for the weekend? Know what you wanna do? Know what you must do?
The water
It's got to do with water, right? Lots of water. Not water from above. The other kind of water. Not the grey, cold stuff with penguins. Oh no! It's about the blue water, or even better: The turquise water. That's what we like. Champagne conditions...
The necklace
Shooting the turquise water shot, made me remember something from my todo list. I kinda promised JP a picture with water, palms and a necklace; In the comments. In this post here; So, - here it is. JP. I hope you like it.
The yeah!
Have a great sailing weekend. I know I will... one way or another...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I just sat here, thinking how complicated a sail simulator really is; First there is wind. It has a general direction and force. Then there's the shifts. Shifts are puffs and lulls, lifts and headers moving down the course with a certain rythm. Any two boats experiene different wind unless they sail close together, and if they do, they will generate shadowing and bending. On top of that, there's local wind variations due to geography.
A good thinking spot
Then there's the waves. Waves vary in height and distance, and they travel. Just like the wind, the waves have a direction and a speed; Boat A and B meets the same wave at different positions, and if the depth is different, then the wave will be different in length, height and force. Waves typically become smaller on the lee side of an island. On top of that the waves attack the boat differently based on their direction relative to the boat direction. Waves from the bow are choppy. Waves from aft come slower and make you surf. Waves from the side make you roll.
The view from another good thinking spot
Currents add to the fun too. The current also has a speed and a direction. Both may vary. Typically the speed varies with the depth, and the direction changes with local underwater geography. The current may also vary in both direction and strength over time, - as the wind changes, or the moon generates tide.
A good sailing spot
All these things make racing more fun and more challenging, and guess what... all these things are actually in the WWC system. It is really a wind, wave and current simulator in itself. The WWC receiver and interpreter provide all the data needed to make a boat sail under all the above mentioned conditions. I guess that's why I love the Flying Fizz... It acts like a boat, and it has a sailing engine with full support for all the WWC features. Just add seaspray and you're virtually out there...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Girls like flowers

I suppose everybody knows statistics can't be trusted. Mark Twain certainly knew. I usually put statistics in yet another category: Booring. A blog changes that. The visitor statistics show all kinds of useless and untrustworthy information about the visitors, but there is also bits and pieces that can be fun.
The stats show what people have searched for in order to get here. Yesterday a bunch of people landed here on my little blog from google by searching for "do girls like virtual flowers". Can you believe it? What kinda question is that... I mean flowers are flowers; I thought I'd try to answer the question with a simple post.
A little greenhouse
You are looking at it. I set out to find some nice and natural looking flowery spots suited for a picture or two. It didn't take long, but then I kinda knew where I was going before I left.
Lotsa flowers
There's quite a few pretty spots in this virtual world. Virtual sailing is great, but where would it be without all the other people; Those who create islands, villages, marinas, boat yards, skyscrapers and gardens? Sailing isn't the only thing in here. Architects and gardeners are having loads of fun too.
Even more flowers
Back to the question: The answer is - ofcourse - yes. Girls do like virtual flowers. Absolutely. Virtual girls also like real flowers and vice versa. Virtual or not they have the same effect. They touch the heart. So there's the answer for you guys out there...

Sailing the virtual waters of SL is great fun, because the boats are good, and the racing is good. But let's not forget the beautiful scenery in the Blake Sea and the North Sea. There is always a new island to explore.

PS: As usual the pics deserve full screen viewing. At least if you like flowers; More flowery shots here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Floating home

A few weeks ago, I saw a very nice floating home at Tradewinds. Actually, it was moored by the east pier of Balduin Aabyes Boat Yard. It's gone now; It was probably part of the boat show, though it really didn't look much like a boat. Still, it was not just a house on a raft.
Floating home
See? Almost a floating house with a targa top. Sort of. There's lots of stuff inside, and on the sun deck, there's a steering wheel with a dashboard, a lounge area and a bar. The only thing missing on the sun deck is a pool...
Sun deck
Inside you'll find whatever you need to support modern life. All very nicely made. The only thing missing on the inside is maybe an office with a computer and a good uplink.
The kitchen looks pretty much like a kitchen at home; It is not a galley at all. You could make any kind of food here. The bath is pretty complete too. Very detailed.
It is kinda funny to note how some people put in a fully featured bathroom. I guess it is for completeness. I like to wash of the salt after a swim; It is also nice to wash off the sand from the dunes at TYC. Other builders they seem to leave out bathrooms because - lets face it - virtual people rarely wash or brush their teeth.
Bedrooms are never left out. People may not wash, brush or pee, but they most definately log in to fall asleep. Hey listen, - I woke up after having this weird dream, and I had keyboard marks on my forehead!! Can you believe it? Hehe...
Back porch
Anyway... At the back end there's a porch. I suppose the box is filled with chairs and parasols. Stairs leading to the sun deck and the bar of course.
Nice one
So... what do you think!? My response to the salesperson would be: I like it, and I don't like it. It is nice because it feels very much like a real home, but perhaps it is a bit too much house and a bit too little boat for my taste. I like boats to be a bit more boatly, - even floating homes. As a houseboat this is no doubts a very good buy. My preferred liveaboard? It is shown in this post here. It is a boat made into a house, not a house made into a boat... see the difference?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend quiz

It's quiz time again. Yesterday, when I logged in to check my messages, I found the most amazing boat; It is probably the most fresh, fancy, up to date, modern design boat I have ever seen in the virtual waters of SL. Just have a look:
Probably the most modern boat I ever saw in SL
It is not very big. I'd say around 12 meters overall. Obviously a very modern design, - that includes the  keel. It is not extremely wide bodied, as can be seen on this next shot. Two steering wheels for optimum steering, sitting on the side, but... they are moderately sized and not far apart.
Two moderate size steering wheels
Now, steering wheels are not nearly as good as a tiller. Never. It is always a practical solution made to save space. Notice how bigger racing boats begin to have tillers, lately! Most 37ft family cruisers have wheels. The DS37 Matchracer - made for racing - has a tiller, and it is amazing how you can throw 37ft around with that. You can easily wipe the foredeck clean with just by moving your hand. That's called maneuvrability.
Weekend cruiser / daysailor / racer
The boat looks racy, but since it is around 12 meters, there's enough room for crucial "life support systems" down below. No detailed photos yet. It is work in progress, but what we have here is clearly a weekend cruiser disguised as a fancy day sailor, - and with a very modern shape. I like that.
Modern hull and rigging
My first thought was Micro-Wally, but no it is not. When I say it is probably the most fancy and modern virtual boat I've seen for long, it is not entirely true. There is one other, - built by a german boat builder, and it is precisely a pocket sized Wally. Never released. You might wanna search for Wally Yacht images and see some amazing boats.
What is it then?
Back on track. If this is not a Micro-Wally, then what is it? It is definately something I want to own and sail, but that's another story. Rene tells me it is made after a real boat, so here's the weekend quiz: Does anyone know the country, designer, size and name of the vessel... anyone?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New York 30 Solstice Challenge

Some of us remember the lovely One World Cup last spring. It was a great event, well organized and lots of fun. Now, - Jane's at it again. This time it is called The New York 30 Solstice Challenge, and here's the poster:
The official poster
Looks very exciting. This time it is for fun and fund (-raising). More details on Jane's site right here.

PS: More on the One World Cup here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Long way home

Sitting there thinking, I got inspired by those virtual VO70 boats. They are fantastic machines. Thought a littlebit about the feeling of being on board a real one:
Long Way Home III
Having buckets of icecold water thrown at your face for days and days and yet more days while eating astronaut food; Sleeping only a little at a time, in hard bunks and in a complete inferno of noise. Gaaaah... Presented with facts like this, a nice and cozy two hour inshore race sounds like a nice walk in the park. Very nice! The "Seanamagraph"? Oh well, it's not perfect, but it is...

See the virtual VO70 here. See the category for more seanamagraphs. My favourite is still the first one; The one with the virtual 2.4mR.