Friday, January 4, 2013

Wildcat therapy

I never really cared much for cats. Somehow they don't fit into the category of real boats. However, this whole AC craze is putting giant cats on my radar like never before. Like it or not, those cats are now everywhere. Jane Fosset once wrote: Weird plastic critters skittering across the water. Gotta love that description.
A weird plastic bug...
However, windsurfers don't fit in the real boat category either, and windsurfing is huge fun. Sadly, virtual windsurfing is far from being an interesting simulation. It's a very physical thing, and the physical aspects are hard to replicate into a virtual world. Besides, the waves in SL are - uhm - wavesurfing isn't really there. Not a problem for cats though. They prefer flat waters...
...skittering across the flat waters of SL
Now, where was I going with this? Ahh! Cat sailing can be fun too. If you've followed my scriblings, I suppose you knew that. I had great fun with the Hepcat; I kinda liked the Wildcat35, and lately the Nacra17 has gotten a lot of attention. In fact, I've received complaints that the Nacra17 gets too much attention.
The Wildcat 45
This here is the Wildcat 45. It's a pretty wild thing. It is big, it is detailed, it is fast and it is fun. It might not have totally realistic sailing engine, but it is much better than the predecessor 35er, which had a somewhat strange interpretation of apparent wind. However, the most interesting thing about it is the trimmable wing and the adjustable flap. That's pretty close to the real thing:
The wing and the flap
If you wanna go wing sailing, the Wildcat 45 is probably one of the best options if not the best available on the virtual sailing scene. It is not just a toy. Work must be done to sail it well. Besides the steering, there's a flap to adjust, and it is also possible to move around to optimize the heeling angle, i.e. lift the windward hull out of the water. 
Steering and trimming...
Here's the virtual sailors: Me trimming and Erasmus deeply fokused on the steering. At least that's what he said :-D 
... to maintain high speed
Looks pretty good, right? There's a lotta detail on this boat. Sheets and lines run everywhere, and the wake is pretty good too. Scroll back a few shots and you see there is also a genakker. The speed sensation is there too, but the steering appeared a littlebit too computergamish to me. It felt like shifting directions in small abrubt moves, - not a smooth linear curve. Perhaps it was just Erasmus being new to the boat, I dunno.
More trimming
One thing I noticed though. It seems the AC45 is relatively slow at turning, almost like a real cat, and that's a nice touch. Again, I really cannot tell if it was Erasmus being new to the boat, but it seemed to be a good and realistic implementation of the turning angle versus sailing speed. For details on the performance, polars and stuff see Janes take on the Wildcat.
Cat-ch a bird?
Overall this is a fun & wild cat and it loves to sail at high speeds. I won't compare it to the Nacra17, because they are very different. However, they're both huge fun to sail. They both require work to sail fast, and they both require the crew to work a bit; Also, they both seem to miss out on WWC features such as currents, windshadows and local variations. That aside, I think it is a fun virtual sailboat. Maybe, just maybe, I could learn to like cats better; I just need more virtual cat therapy...  


  1. Please dear Sailing Deities: Make it interesting to race with cats. Give us a cat with full WWC support. That's my wish for 2013.



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