Not Just Another Pretty Face

Originally posted to SLSailing.com on Jan 27 2008

 

When Verkin Ravin’s Tetra 35 v1.0 was released, I was one of the first standing in line to buy it. If you’ve followed Verkin’s efforts in SL, you know he’s a wonderful artisan; his boats are full of highly realistic and often humorous details. My Tetra v1.0 looked just like the real-life 35ft cruisers I’ve sailed, and it is one of the prettiest boats I own.

analog Tetra

Tetra

However… I admit I’ve never sailed my Tetra35 v1.0 much; I thought it was just too slow. When I complained to Verkin about my Tetra’s tardiness, he gave me a long, appraising look and said “Jane? You should switch to decaf…”

That may be true, but it’s somewhat off-point. The v1.0 boat reminded me of it’s namesake, the pretty Tetra fish people put in their home aquarium. Nice to look at, but not enough ‘attitude’ for the racecourse.

Well, that shows you how much Jane knows about Tetras… in the tank or in SL. I recently found out there’s another RL Tetra, Hydrolycus scomberoides; it’s known as the “Sabretooth” or “Vampire” Tetra. That fish comes with six-inch fangs and a borderline personality disorder. It actually eats piranhas for lunch.

Guess what? There’s now a new Verkin Raven Tetra35 upgrade that has just that much attitude.

Taku Raymaker checks sail luff

I first tripped over the The Tetra v1.2 when it was in beta, and Taku Raymaker started logging hotlaps scores that blew away other boats. The picture above shows Taku checking the luff on his T35 main.

Tetra 35 v1.2I got my hands on a T35 v1.2, and Taku was right! According to the current  Handicap Hotlaps race data, the v1.2 is a full ten percent faster than the benchmark Trudeau Defender/ Trucordia Yawl. Verkin’s developed a special ‘Racing Lite’ version of the Tetra as well, so sailors can switch to a reduced-prim load version of the boat for competition racing. The Lite version is a great compromise for a boat that wants to maintain a distinctive high level of detail but then suddenly turn lean and mean on the raceline.

If you pull up the floorboards on the Tetra35, you’ll still find Tako physics, but I’m not complaining. The boat is beautiful, and the Tako genes make it very easy for anyone to sail from day one, Tako gestures and all.

No surprise, I’m not the only person who’s had an eye out for a racing Tetra. Within two or three days of the T35 v1.2 release, skippers were organizing pick-up races with a half-dozen or more boats converging on the start line, eager to put this boat through it’s paces.

Tetra v1.2 pick up race

Taking up that challenge, Race Director Hpathe Boucher’s caught the Tetra 35 race fever. Beginning January 28 he’s starting a regular Monday race series at 4:00pm. Want to race your new Tetra? Want to crew and see what the boat’s like? Join Hpathe on Mondays in Bismarck Sea. That Tetra… it’s not just a pretty face anymore!

Tetra35 v1.2 racing

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