Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ktaba Wauw

I rarely get my hands on a boat that really makes me go wauw! It happened a few days back with another update of the Ktaba 20. Yes, Craig Ktaba is still working on the already beautiful Ktaba20. It's a long journey towards perfection, but it is so worth the wait.
Jib sheets
This version is much improved on both sailing engine and the graphics details. The graphics details are top notch. Just check the image above. Not only does it come with a main sheet. There are jib sheets too, and they actually run around the winches and back to a cleat; And they only do that to leeward.
Looking up there's more fun. This is probably the first time I've seen a keeler with windex that works; Meaning two things: It turns with the apparent wind, and it can be seen from the cockpit. Not a big deal, as many boatbuilders would say. Wrong. The windex is one of the key components of creating that feel, the illusion of being in a real boat. It's been on the Shelly Fizz, built by a racer and loved by racers, for years.
Smooth sailing
Question: What's the first thing a sailor looks for, - before setting sail? The wind direction. Why? You simply cannot sail (or even set sails) without knowing the wind direction. And where can it be seen? Look up, and there it is. Craig even modeled a windex that looks pretty much like a real one. It only misses the screaming orange colour on the bottom side; Makes it easier to see from the cockpit.
Sheets and boat
Here's one more shot of the sheets. Note how they run through the sheet traveller and around shrouds. The loose sheet just hanging round the mast. Totally realistic. I just love lying on the foredeck, half asleep, listening to the bow wake, having an occasional peek at the windex, the sails and sheets; Just to make sure the autopilot is on course.
Tiny details
There's just one tiny detail about those sheets; Probably noone will notice, but it is visible on the picture right above here; I'll let you figure it out, and then I'll send Craig an email about it.

The feel? The sailing? It's delicious. The sails look like sails, and they luff when they're supposed to. The boat moves like a boat; It supports realistic waves from the WWC windsetter. It heels over and accellerates as a real boat. It has nice sounds, though the winches are kinda silent.
La Deliciuse
One obvious thing gone missing though: There's no telltales. However, there is a pretty good hud in the form of a compass that includes wind angle, real and apparent. This means it is perfectly possible to sail the boat without that (f)ugly floating text hud, which so many boatbuilders seem to find sufficient. Oh, and there is a trimmable spin; And if you aren't really comfortable hoisting the spin, then you can always just wing the jib.
Taking a break in a lagoon
Cruisers will probably prefer that winging jib, as it is easier to handle. Requires less attention. In many ways the Ktaba is in fact perfect for a cruise around the virtual oceans. So many lagoons begging you to sail there, to moore and explore. It has room for a few friends too, and if they aren't just there to tan, they can even take part in the trimming.
That's when it starts to get really interesting. This lovely cruising vessel is built to race too. It has crewed  trimming, and there's several sail configurations to choose from. All this is run by a pretty lean and mean sailing engine, - built specifically for this boat. Low lag, easy sim crossing and WWC support, so there's shadowing, windbending, shifts, gusts, currents and more. A total dream machine. Wauv. Sail simulation? Oh yes! Much more on that in a later post.

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