Monthly Archives: January 2009

Cruisers and Optimists

Originally posted by Jane Fossett at on January 24, 2009

Mowry Bay Cruising Club

I have this theory about Yacht Clubs in SL.

Actually, I have a lot of theories, but you already know that.  Anyway, its Friday so I better stick to a simple, high probability story if I want to get it done in time for drinks on the deck, and  besides, I’m pretty sure I’m right about this one.

I think in the very early days of SLSailing, sim crossing limitations and  poor stability made cruising a frustrating ordeal, and certainly nothing you would ever attempt to do as part of afleet. The term “pleasure cruising” was, perhaps, an oxymoron.

On the other hand, two years ago the Tako was already a stable, well-proven one design dinghy racer. A tradition was already developing, and people were arguing loudly over race rules, regatta standings, and protest calls.
I believe the limitations of ‘sim and sim-side’ made cruising painful, and therefore clubs focused attention on short distance circular racing instead.

Mowry to Caddo

A small number of brave sailors still preferred to use their vessels for exploring, however, and in November 2006 Elisha Paklena started a very popular thread in the forum on Pleasure Cruising.  One of my favorite charts from back then was the Mowry-Caddo run by Suzanne Zeluco, shown above.

Since those early days, the number of places you can visit under sailpower has grown remarkably, and it’s pretty exciting to note that with technical improvements in the grid and the expansion of sailing opportunities, crusing has now become a real sport, not just a death-defying duel with sim crosses and ban lines.

Glida Pilote recognized this a while back, and started a weekly Voyages event at NYC. Instead of racing, the boats would sail from target to target, often visiting spots in USS none of the skippers had ever seenm before. The picture on the left was from the last Voyages “race” just before the USS moved across the grid this week. It was a great opportunity to think back over all the past year’s sailing adventures before the USS sims merge with mainland.

Glida’s cruises are great fun, but the big excitement in cruising class must be the new Mowry Bay Cruising Club! It was started by Tory Micheline and Manul Rotaru to champion the cruising lifestyle and explore new sailing venues under wind power. The club’s been a huge success, with weekly meetings at different locations on the grid and a proliferation of new charts and lists of spots where you can launch your boat and sail off toward some endless horizon.

The picture above is a closeuip from last week’s adventure, showing Chaos Mandelbrot with Tony and Manul waiting on the dock, beverages in hand.

The above picture shows Francois Jacques, Chaos and myself someplace out on the cruising course. totally lost. As usual, we proved the aphorism that you should ”Drink after the race, not during the race.”

I wanted to remind everyone that Mowry Bay Cruising Club is switching to a new day and time this week too! Starting January 27 2009, MBCC willmeet on Tuesdays at 5:00 pm SLT. This week’s cruise will sail the Nautilus Region, so don’t miss it. Check with Tory or Manul, or just join Mowry Bay Cruising Club for the details!



Did you ever sail an Optimist? Schiffsratten Yacht Club sailors did, and they still remember how much fun it was! They’ve recently refashioned the Optimist One Design hull using sculpties, and are in the process of developing the boat as a Beginner/ Training boat. It’s beautiful…


Here’s a size comparison below between the new SRYC boat and RJ Kikuchiyo’s Optimist that uses Tako 2.x scripts. The Ship Rats are still deciding what physics and features will go in their new boat.

The working name for their new boat is the “Pessimist,” but I think thats way to negative. I think “Tigger” is a better name, after their sim Tiga and the A.A. Milne children’s character (“The problem with Tiggers is they bounce a lot.”)

Optimists are used world wide in training and One Design racing programs for kids. After many decades the boat is still extremely popular and in fact my SL teeshirt is a knock off from the Opti Championships a few years back.

Pardon me if I can’t resist reprinting the thoughts I had last year on ORG about my own experience as a 12yo Opti sailor:

Thinking back on Optis, there were only a few rules for the after-school crowd:
1. The Harbor is not a bathroom; go before or after. It is not acceptable to go in, or off of, your vessel.
2. Even if you find yourself in irons with no wind, it is not acceptable to take off your life jacket and bathing suit just to get a better tan.
3. No matter what the racing rule infraction, you are not allowed to use your cell phone to complain to your parents… until you cross the finish line.
(at least that’s what I remember)

The best thing, of course was the lecture from the coach:

“You may not be able to drive a car or vote,
but here on the water you command your boat.
There are Opti fleets around the world, and today you sail with them.
For the next few hours, in your small boat,
if you have the courage and determination,
you can join thousands of years of sailors who have ventured out to sea to compete.
Today, you and your Opti have a chance to rule the world!”

Inevitably, at that point one of the kids would then shout out:
“Admiral? I have to go to the bathroom.”
Personally, I swear, I never did that.
I was the kid who said: “Pardon me…could you repeat that?
I was calling my parents to complain about a rules infraction…”