Monday, October 21, 2013

Fizz Cruising

So many people tell me the Flying Fizz is too difficult for them. While it is true the Fizz requires work to sail fast, I really think it is a pretty good cruiser. It's as simple as rez and go. The latest Fizz comes with a built in default wind that is perfect for beginners. And for experts.
Fizz Cruising
The important thing to remember is to NOT accept any local wind settings. Way too many marinas have local winds set to 25 knots or more. Now, most normal people would never go out in a wind that strong. Sailing the Fizz singlehanded is almost impossible in that windspeed. There's way too much power for one person to handle. With two people on board it is a little better.
Downwind is a blast
However, it seems singlehanded sailing in strong winds is popular. Ofcourse we all want to go fast, but sailing in those windspeeds is quite unrealistic. For most sailors trouble starts around 25 knots. Dinghies will capsize again and again. Keelers will simply break stuff. In SL those strong winds will not break stuff, but the Fizz will capsize. Other boats will continue to sail in ridiculously strong winds at ridiculously high speeds making sim crossing a real challenge.
Reaching is a blast too
What's worse is the math. The apparent wind calculations and the polar diagrams aren't really meant to handle those high speeds, so we end up sailing at weird speeds - in weird angles. Sailing a keeler so fast you need to gybe like an AC72 may be a fun and outworldly experience, but it has little to do with sailing as we know it in the real world. To me that's when it stops making sense.
Hey! Is that another Fizz over there?
Now, the Fizz may look complicated because it has three sails. That's where the other important thing to remember about the Fizz comes into play. It has several modes. There is expert mode. You don't wanna go there for your first time on the water. Then there's competition mode. Save that for later. There's novice mode, where you need to steer and trim the sails and finally... there's absolute beginners mode. It's point and sail. No trimming, no balancing, no hoisting sails. Just steer and everything else is handled automatically.
While I was cruising around the Blake I met these two guys. We sat there for a few moments enjoying the sunset. Talked a bit about the Fizz Cup. Then we sailed on. I had things to to, and that guy there in the other Fizz was training. The jetski-dude was just out cruising, but he kinda stayed with me for a while. Perhaps he secretly wanted to switch from stinkpotter to real sailing. Dunno.
Catching up
The boatspeed thing, the realism, was obvious a couple of minutes later. I had left the sunset rendezvous and was heading north-east on a beat. That usually means going just a little over five knots. So, the jetski was actually able to catch up with me. Had I been been going 22 knots in a crazy high speed keeler, he would have had a hard time catching me. Not to mention the fact that he would have been thrown off his jetski when he hit my 3 meter high wake, hehe.
Beating is a breeze
Anyway, here's me beating upcoast heading north to get back to Tradewinds. Going upwind in the Fizz requires a little training. Usually you'd go for those perfect telltails, but sailing the Fizz singlehandedly you often need to sheet out just a bit, - or point a bit too high, in order to keep the boat leveled. The speed penalty for not doing so can be more than a knot. There's something for you to work with - preferably before the Fizz Cup.
Me in the drink
Finally, should you decide to go for the Fizz Cup, be aware that you'd be sailing in competition mode as mentioned in the Notice Of Race. That means the capsizing feature is active. Too much heel and you're in the drink. Too tight sheets while gybing and the same thing happens. Not a big problem. Happens to me all the time. Well, not all the time, but still... You just crawl back on board and carry on; Hope the other ones capsize at the next mark.

Have fun Fizzin...

Here's more about those virtual telltails.
Here's a couple of sailing shots from the Fizz Cup 2011.
More cruising with the Fizz here: Destination Paradise.


  1. Hi Noodle,

    I think, that the help from FizzSailors to each other is much more now. They do help each other where they can. Concerning the sailing mode: I recommend everyone to start in competition mode. I for myself do capsize when I sail in fun or novice mode; I remember the FizzBall event when we "old salts" asked Bea to please have it in competition mode and not in Fun or Novice Mode ;)

    The Flying Fizz is still the most realistic sailing boat in SL I think and also the most difficult one. But once You got "warm" with her, it will be a love for all times ;)

    There are "old Fizz sailors" willing to help in every question. Just dare to ask!

    1. I always feel like recommending competition mode or expert mode even. Expert mode is so much more fun, and it allows you to sail better in a variety of wind speeds. However, if you have never sailed before, those modes may be a bit overwhelming. So many ppl say "the Fizz is too difficult", so I usually end up recommending a soft start using novice mode; Naturally, I hope the get bitten by the sailbug and explore those other modes.

  2. To a true noob in sailing, I'd also recommend to start with novice mode (auto gybing), for few hours, time to understand sails handling, the on-board hud, and the telltales. In low wind, say about 14-15 knots. But the aim is to switch asap to competition mode, with the same range of wind, where the telltales works perfectly. Then, they may try increasing wind, but also they can try sailing in low wind (8-12), which is another challenge. It will help understanding the importance of the current for instance. Lower winds make racing about tactics and good understanding of wwc settings, when with higher winds it is more about fizz handling skills. Good to practice both aspects.


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