(This article was first posted by Jane Fossett on Feb 1, ’09 at SLSailing.com)
After sailing with the Mowry Bay Cruising Club this past week on their inspection tour of waters around Nautilus City, Chaos Mandelbrot was still in his “intrepid explorer mode.”
Rather than return to the safe confines of his dock and moorage (which he made doubly secure by adding a personal breakwater), Chaos decided to turn his vessel Northward and venture into unknown territory, setting out on a mission to explore the northern waterways of Nautilus and determine how far a sailboat from Blake Sea could progress before coming up against an impassible obstruction.
He chose the Trudeau 20 as the vessel to make this trip for several reasons. The boat’s small size is useful when negotiating the tight passages so characteristic of Mainland, and it sports a choice of HUDS to help the skipper deal with severe lag encountered along the way.The T20 is also rather beamy, providing lots of room for two people in its open cockpit for the long voyage.
There are a few downsides to the T20 in this situation. First, the boat is comparatively slow, making the long trip potentially even more arduous. Second, the T20 has a full keel which reduces the maneuverability and increases the chances the boat may go aground in shallow areas.By contrast, the Leetle Cat is often the boat of choice for coastal cruising in mainland waterways. It is substantially faster than the T20, slightly more forgiving on upwind points of sail, and it has a centerboard, which allows it to pivot more sharply in tight passages and successfully negotiate shallow waterways. If you’re considering such a boat, there is one more factor: the Leetle Cat is much less expensive than any of the other three boats on that branch of the Trudeau family.
On the particular day in question, however, Chaos chose to sail his T20, probably based on his long experience that began when he helped beta test the T20 prior to it’s launch. The T20 is rock-solid, and he knew a voyage to unexplored northern latitudes would be no time to cut corners. Besides, the T20 has a backup system we almost never talk about and hardly ever use in normal cruising: It has an engine. In fact, it has the same powerful Trudeau diesel that comes as standard equipment on much larger, prim-heavy Trudeau boats like the Trucordia Yawl and even the Tradewind. You may not ever need it, but on a voyage into the unknown an “iron spinnaker” is a nice thing to have along.
Chaos would be relentlessly moving toward polar latitudes, and could anticipate an extreme weather shift. He thought of Otto Sverdup, who skippered the Trudeau Tradewind Fran in 1893. It also bravely sailed to extreme northern limits, and spent 18 months trapped in polar ice as payback for the effort. Otto grew an impressive moustache. The vessel finally escaped wnen it dauntlessly crashed through 180 miles of pack ice. Chaos knew the history and the dangers, and he wisely came prepared for the journey by suiting up in his personalized fowl weather gear for the arctic clime.
I offerred to come along. I wore my new hat.
I’ve included a recently updated overview image of the region for orientation (above left). You can see the continental masses of Nautilus and Satori, with the island of Nautilus City sandwiched in between. The size and location of the new USS addition is also shown, just east of Nautilus City. The colored rectangle is the area sailed by Chaos’ vessel Fractal, and the image to the right details the full course.
When I initially caught up with Chaos that evening, he was already under way and heading Northward with full sails, keeny focused on the mission that lay before him. He had departed from the MBCC fleet at the East end of Nautilus City, and, as the illustration shows, he proceeded in a northeast direction along the inside of Pslande sim. From there, he continued to rhe Edge of the World (EOW) and followed it North into a cul-de-sac at elHaddad. This wasn’t a surprise. I had reported this dead end a few weeks ago, and Chaos nicely confirmed it.
ElHaddad slowed us down only a bit, however. We reversed direction and sailed around the southern tip of Dex peninsula to find another route North. (Speaking of Dex, the Nautilus City Yacht Club officially landmarks its location as the public dock in Dex. It’s a fact for which I have no explanation, since Dex is nowhere near Nautilus City).
My earlier, very limited explorations suggested Bertaggia sim was a narrow bottleneck, but a passable gateway to Northern waters. We therefore decided to take that gambit, and found once again there was a clear but narrow open channel there bordered decorative tropical prim islands.
We then sustained two near-disasters. The first occurred in Elijah, the full water sim which we judged to be the safest approach to the Bertaggia bottleneck. Elijah was a prophet mentioned in the Bible and Qur’an, and he might be best known for making his earthly exit by being swooped up in a firey charriot. Elijah is an apt name for the sim, since something pretty similar happened to us when we suddenly crashed out of SL while sailing through. Chaos rebooted and had a tremendous stroke of good luck. Motoko Nagy from Waypoint Yacht Club turned out to have a marina in Dingercat, the adjacent sim! Chaos rezzed a new boat, wrote a thank you note to Waypoint, and very soon we were on our way again.
As we settled down once again to continue our journey, disaster struck a second time . While running the Bertaggia bottleneck, we crossed a sim line and Chaos was abruptly and violently thrown from the boat.
I must admit I am still uncertain how to best handle this type of situation. With attachable boats like the ACA33 or Trucordia Yawl, when the skipper goes over the side it’s a ‘nonrecoverable error’ (to put it in polite terms). That’s not always true for the rideable boats however, since the boat is independent of the person at the helm. If this happened in RL, hopefully the crew has enough presence of mind to jump up, take the wheel and follow a MOB (man overboard) protocol. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in SL, probably because the sailing script still assumes the skipper is in charge and the boat is programmed to prevent mutiny.
In any event, in this case we were exceptionally fortunate. The two sims following Bertaggia are primarily water, and the boat continued to sail on a straight arrow course due West. This gave Chaos time to recover. I teleported him back to the new boat position, and (Mirabile dictu!) he was able to sit in the Captain’s chair and retake the helm. We lost no time due to this episode, although one must admit it was rather anxiety provoking.
Before leaving this topic, I would like to make one additional observation. As far as I can tell, there is no provision in the SLSailing Rules of Racing that handles loss of crewmembers during a race. I would just like to say that I think any racing sailboat should finish a race with the same number of people it had when the race started. If you lose crew during a race and fail to pick them up you should be disqualified. I’m not sure where that is in the real-life rules either, but it certainly comes under the heading of poor sportsmanship if you leave your crew bobbing in the boat’s wake. I know it’s just my opinion, but I think most people would consider that kind of behavior rather ‘rude.’
Once Fractal was reunited with its commander, Chaos changed course from West to North and traversed Loomings sim as seen above. There is a broad expanse of open water beyond that point and the sailing is very pleasant. However, life gets trickier again as you wind your way back toward the east edge of the continental sim grouping, as the waterways narrow and construction and congestion abound.
The diagram to the right shows Chaos’ own chart of the final few sims. There is a narrow passage along the east edge of Listaen, which continues into Thorkell sim. Watch out for ban lines and stay well north as you turn west again to go for the most northerly sims. you’ll find that in Rurik the shortest pathway North is blocked, so you need to swing the long way around the island in Rollo (clockwise) as shown in the diagram. From there it looks like you’ve almost made it, but you still have another surprise coming.
The image above shows the sturdy little boat gliding along as it moved from Rollo into Oleg.
In Oleg you collide with a ban line that extends nearly the entire width of the waterway. The image below shows Fractal stopped cold where it hit the famous Linden red tape.The adjacent building with the stone columns is an Italian public affairs center for Promotion of Internal Areas of Campania Region.
Let me tell you, prior to this experience I held no ill will toward the Campania Region; in fact, days would go by in my life when the subject never came up at all. I am certain that if someone came up to me and said they were interested in the “Internal areas of Campania,” I probably would have assumed they had lustful thoughts about a coworker.
But now all I can think is that Campania supports ban lines across navigable waterways.
The most outrageous thing about such ban lines is they serve no purpose. In this case the obstruction was a few dozen meters tall, so it was trivial to fly over it. It did not provide either privacy or security. In fact, the only thing it did was present a serious hazard to vessels traveling on a sims’ dominant, or in this case exclusive, navigational waterway. Placing hard to see obstructions across major traffic routes amounts to institutionalized mayhem.
In any event, while I was trying to call the Pope to find out what was up with the ban lines, Chaos found the barriers were actually incomplete, and one could squeeze through by going between the barrier and the building. Be careful, you might lose some bottom paint doing this yourself, but we are living proof it works. You can squeeze through, and once past you will find open water leading all the way into Valgerd, the final stop on this long journey.
Valgerd is a delightful sim with a Fiji Island theme and a nice jazz club. As you can imagine from its location at the top of Nautilus, it has expansive ocean views on three sides.
We didn’t realize until we arrived there however… Valgerd is not the end of the road!! A careful reinspection of the recent continental maps shows that Nautilus is actually connected by a two-sim wide water bridge way over on Nautilus’ northwest corner (See below).
We traveled quite some distance, but it looks like the world still waits ahead…
While I was busy publishing the above story, Anu Daviaiu was also posting on the Schiffsratten Blog a very similar story of the expedition North she made sailing her Tetra 35 ! Go read her account as well!
Here is the postcard she left at SYC announcing her voyage:
One place where our experience significantly differs is Knaptrackicon. I had earlier reported the sim was impassable, and recommended Bretaggia instead. Although Anu agrees about Bretaggia, she states she was able to sail across Knaptrackicon as well. She named it Oarsman’s Cove Passage.
This morning I went back to Knaptrackicon and found out Anu is now correct! The potential passage across the southeast corner of that sim is a difficult, zag-zag course through the marina. On my first visit there, I found the marina jammed with oversized boats and hemmed in by inconveniently placed ban lines. On my visit today, however, the marina was largely empty, and I was able to successfully make it through. the west side of Knaptrackicon also has a narrow canal, but Anu and I agree that remains too shallow for passage. if you visit Knaptrackicon and compare it to the pictures I posted, you’ll see that in the past couple weeks it’s undergone major changes in builds, landscaping and possibly even terraforming. It was for sale last time visited, and I wonder if it changed hands. if so, I hope the new owners are respectful of the value and importance of that tenuous waterway through the marina they now control.
Thank you Anu, and please, everyone go read her adventures!
Next stop: CORSICA!