Real Sailing

So, - what does real sailing imply?

Standard ISAF rules, a realistic racing course, a full featured boat, sailgeeks and a yachtclub. That's about it.

It is not like you need to read the whole rulesbook. No way. Part two will do for the most part. The rest is special stuff dedicated to judges, jurys, kiteboarders, surfers, RC boats and what nuts. Never mind that. Know part two: When boats meet, and you're in pretty good shape.
Looks real enough for real rules, right?
Naturally it means using the full ISAF ROW ruleset and possibly other parts of the ISAF rules that can be applied to sailing in SL. I discuss the use of ISAF rules in SL on a separate page.

Then we need a "field", the course. It must meet certain standards. Floating bouys, starting line, finish line  and no unworldly anomalies such as edges where you can fall off, get squeezed or bump off. Automatically displayed countdown is nice, but I use my race timer rigth here on my RL arm anyway. Flags, shots and sound signals as in RL would be nice, but in SL the RD can radio all boats and tell them, what they did wrong. This does in fact change the game a bit, because in RL the RD must not, - as in never, help the crews out there. An RD must - for obvious reasons - not be involved in helping any team. So flags and shots and sounds will enhance the "real live experience".

We also need a boat, a boat for humans. By that I mean to say, that I am not a number cruncher. I do not want to look at degrees of the boat, degrees of the sails, degrees of the apparent wind. I want mouselook sailing and realistic feedback from the sails and the boat. I want a wind vane, ticklers, a compass and sounds indicating speed.

This means several things. A good simulation of wind, waves, currents are ofcourse needed. The wind must have cyclic windshifts, local windshifts, gusts and lulls with the typical lifts and headers. The waves must have a direction, speed, height and more and - just like the current - it must have local variations. Add to that the physics of boatwind such as shadowing and windbending.

Finally we need the people. Sailors and RDs ready to learn, teach, share and care in a friendly, non ego-promoting way.

Besides all of the above, you need shades, bikini, Coke and docksides... I can't find orangina in the SL stores, so Coke it is.
Absolutely neccessary gear...
Here is a brief list of things, features of boats and of the world, that makes sailing in SL realistic. Now realism can be many things. To me, sailing is all about the feel, so focus will be on that. The features listed below might not exist in SL today, but it seems we have come a long way since the beginning of SL time. No single boat has all the features mentioned below. Some are close; Among those are the Shelly Fizz and the Flying Fizz.

Hull and water physics related features:
  1. Bowsplash.
  2. Wake.
  3. Waves: Boats sail up and down the waves.
  4. Speed dependent sounds.
  5. Wavesize dependant on wind, depth and geography in general.
  6. Currents 
  7. Tides (cyclic currents).
  8. Capsize (dingys).
  9. Bailers and a speed degrade when the boat is full of water.
  10. Speed correlated turning ability.
Wind and sail physics related features:
  1. Wind and windshifts
  2. Day / night cycle windbends superimposed on top of race winds. 
  3. Drift, wind based (Needed for dialups in MR).
  4. Apparent wind.
  5. Polars (realistic VMG).
  6. Heeling.
  7. Windvane.
  8. Telltales.
  9. Flapping sails when sheets are too loose.
  10. Compas (To see windshifts).
  11. Realistic sailshapes.
  12. Wind shadows.
  13. Jib and main not having the excact same angle.
Skipper and crew interface:
  1. Adjustable sails, sheet
  2. Adjustable centerboard
  3. Adjustable saildepth
  4. Adjustable mastrake
  5. Animations
  6. Balancing 
  7. Crewed sailing
  8. Mouselook sailing
ElMegro and me racing
And another thing... Timing. In a real boat you can not shout spin and voila you have the jib down and the spin up. I've wished for that many times, but in reality it will typically take between 10 and 30 seconds to hoist the spin. Ok, in an Yngling it is about three seconds because it's so small. Timing this when rounding a mark is an essential part of the game too.

There are also a few things we do not like. Autogybing is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Why? Because on a run you need to have control of your tack. In a close race the tack means the difference between ROW and not. Gybing should therefore be a command. Of course there are limits. You can go under 180, but somewhere around 195 there is a practical limit, where the forces of wind will slam the sail over. (Duck).

This is just me enjoying the realism of the Flying Fizz.
Something about speed
Speed is limited by something called max theoretical hull speed. For all practical purposes the max hull speed in knots is the square root of the waterline length in feet times 1.34,  - or Vmax = sqrt(LWL) * 1.34. So a 36foot boat has a max hull speed around 8 knots.

Upwind this speed limit cannot be broken. It is approached on a logarithmic basis. Plot windspeed on the x axis, boatspeed on the y axis, and then you have a logarithmic graph. That's why the build longer boats.

Going downwind the same rule apply unless the boat has a shape that allows it to plane; That can happen  when wind is above certain levels. The shape is finn-keel, rather flat bottom, rather wide aft. Then the downwind speed might reach approximately1.5 or even 2 times the max hull speed, sometimes even more. Lightweight dingies might be able to plane from 60 degrees apparent wind at windspeeds above 5m/s. I know the 14 footer does. Sailboats will typically plane from 100 degrees true wind or so at windspeeds above 10m/s.
Few boats are faster than this one
Enough boattalk for now. If you don't know a thing about sailing, fear not; Most sailors will be happy to show you the joys of the sea. That's what we're like. Sharing, caring and seafaring.

In pursuit of realism...