Monthly Archives: February 2009

Takos Tangle

This article was originally posted to on Feb 22, 2009

Tako Toreadors

Today Saxxon Domela announced the final schedule for the Mowry Sprints Regatta set for March 7, 2009.

Mowry Sprints
March 7 2009

12:00 Live Music: RockPianoman 12-1:00
12:15 Skippers meeting at the Cloud
12:30 Jacqueline Trudeau Introduces her newest creation
12:35 ACC Boat Parade
12:44 Fly Over
12:45 Racers Rez
12:50 Practice Starts
1:00 M-Sprint #1
1:10 F-Sprint #1
1:20 M-Sprint #2
1:30 F-Sprint #2
1:40 M-Sprint #3
1:50 F-Sprint #3
2:00 Finale Participants Announced
2:05 Finale
2:15 Awards in Saxxie’s Shop
2:20 Party on
2:00-3:00 Live Music: Oldwolf Criss

Tako Trouble

A good deal of controversy accompanies the Mowry Sprint Regatta. This will be the first interclub competition since the 2006 SLSF Cup and some have argued pretty strongly that contests that pit club against club are divisive and inappropriate. Frankly, I disagree. I think it’s about time.

SLSF Cup 2006 Challenger Act IIn 2006, The Second Life Sailing Federation announced the SLSF 2006 Cup. The Cup Committee consisted of Course Director Al Kaiser, Event Director Myrrh Massiel, and Race Director Oliphant Ming. It was a remarkably ambitous and carefully detailed event; even the race charts were works of art. The Cup competition was divided into Team Trials, Challenger Acts, and a Final Match series between Challenger and Defender. Each Yacht Club fielded a team, and competing boats were crewed by 2-4 sailors each, with one serving as captain and another as tactician.

The event had high visibility and strong Linden support. Four new, full sims were added to host the Challenger Acts and final Cup Match races.   In tribute, here are the teams that hit the water that summer:

Flappy’s Marina and Yacht Club (FMYC)
Al Kaiser – Sail Number 21
Flapjack Spatula – Sail Number 22
Ali Akami – Sail Number 23
Sally Lemay – Sail Number 24
Kazenojin Seiringu (KS)
Arrekusu Muromachi – Sail Number 31
Cubey Terra – Sail Number 32
Kanker Greenacre – Sail Number 33
Myrrh Massiel – Sail Number 34
Mowry Bay Yacht Club (MBYC)
Jamey Sismondi – Sail Number 41
Sky Seattle – Sail Number 42
Lillie Guildenstern – Sail Number 43
Tasha Kostolany – Sail Number 44
Starboards Yacht Club (SYC)
Faykin Odets – Sail Number 51
Cory Copeland – Sail Number 52
Cutter Rubio – Sail Number 53
Drift Monde – Sail Number 54
Vagabonds Yacht Club (VYC)
Oliphant Ming – Sail Numbers 11
Skippy Spatula – Sail Number 12
Theodore Polonsky – Sail Number 13
Pixeleen Mistral – Sail Number 14
Jamey Sismondi

The names on the above list should be familiar even to casual SL sailors; they were the giants of SL Sailing legend who built this group into a diverse, multifaceted community, something far more than a ‘computer game.’ How giant were they? well, just to give you one example, while jamey Sismondi was the unbeatable king of speed under sail at Mowry that summer, his other fun project was to produce a complete solo recording of Samuel Butler’s translation of Homer’s Iliad ( cough… and which Greek Classic did you work on last night?).

Actually, I don’t think they make Renaissance avatars like Jamey anymore… They’re banned under the new LL Openspace Sim policy, I’m pretty sure.

Anyway, although it was very well planned, the SLSF Cup was disrupted by griefing that became serious with Challenger Act 5. Espresso Saarinen suffers griefPixeleen Mistral published a partial summary of the issues at the time in the Second Life Herald, conveying some of the sense of frustration the sailors and organizers were experiencing. The races were delayed a week, but the full race schedule did go off according to the rules and the cup was enshrined at Kazenojin Seiringu. Arrekusu Muromachi’s winning boat was reverently decommissioned, put up om blocks, and prominently displayed at the Cecropia Annex.  In the months after, I saw her race a few times at NYC, in both Takos and Trudeaus. Each occasion, she blew us all away; there was no question Arrekusu deserved the Cup. I asked Glida Pilote today if the name Arrekusu Moromachi evoked any image for him. As usual, Glida cut to the essence: “A Quick Bugger… Furry, I think.”
With the pressure of the competition and the disruption caused by griefing, apparently harsh words were shared and accusations were made by members of different clubs. After the Regatta concluded, a few individuals remained rather disgruntled, despite the fact the races had completed successfully. Besides, it certainly was not the first time, and unless an asteroid strikes pretty soon, would not be the last time tempers flared or voices were raised over an athletic competition. Nonetheless, many felt that SLSF 2006 indicated that inter-club competition could be destructive, and possibly damage any emerging spirit of community among sailors. So, without a word publicly spoken, the multiple yacht clubs stopped planning any interclub regattas.
I have limited personal insight into any of this, since the SLSF regatta concluded right before I joined SL. I knew there was a problem, but I also knew SLSailing was a great community. I thought the best way to fix any sailing problem was to get all the sailors back out on the water.  Over eighteen months, I tried on three separate occasions, being as silly and nonthreatening as possible, to get interclub races going again. Each time I was told no, and the explanation was some variation of “it would hurt sailing.” I was told interclub competition would feed ill will, and cause all the resentment and anger sailors felt against each other to boil over. The way it was described sounded like some kind of uncontrollable, unsightly eruption…  sort of like a bad case of acne, I guess.  We couldn’t have that.
I actually never understood that explanation, but I did accept it. God knows, I certainly didnt want to hurt sailing.  But let me tell you: I have heard that explanation now repeatedly for nearly 2 years. I’ve considered it with patience, thought, and much accumulated evidence, but now  I am strongly convinced that explanation is simply shallow, sensless and without merit on face value.
Yacht clubs compete the same way any other sports team does.  There is a level playing field and mutual respect. Integrity and sportsmanship are as vital and as important as physical strength or agility. Sailors  in RL or SL don’t compete because they hate the competition or want to hurt their opponents; it’s actually the opposite. They do it because they love the sport, they love the challenge, and they love being together. And yes, they even love their opponents.
Let’s go back to that list of people from 2006 above. Uncontrollable anger and rage boiling over? I appreciate I was not there, but am I really supposed to believe Kanker Greenacre is a violent threat to sailors? Or Myrrh? perhaps Cubie? … I could go through the whole list.
And maybe I wasn’t there in 2006,but I am here now.  We’re supposed to fear inter-club competition because we can’t risk the animosity that could break out between the clubs. Let’s see… Chad Aislin, Saxx, Francois, Taku, Bea, Liv, Epi… Yup;  big danger of a violent destructive outburst in that crowd.  When discussing this last week with Epi I joked: “So, if Chad wins, are you going to punch him out?“   Epi paused for a moment, a little startled, and replied “…do I have to?”
I’m sorry, I don’t buy this ‘angry sailor’ argument.  There have indeed been difficult misunderstandings and angry interactions in the sailing community on occasion over the past 18 months and I may be wrong, but to my memory not a single one of them involved a sailing issue.   Our willingness to share with each other in competition and our mutual love of ships and the sea reflect our communal values and our spirit.
I think we should give Saxxon Domela a rousing round of applause for reminding us who we are. We are sailors, we are one together, of course we want to compete and share with each other.

Mowry Sprints

Originally posted to by Jane Fossett on February 18 2009



Mowry Sprints

Mowry Bay Yacht Club, March 7 2009

March 7 2009 Mowry Spirit

The regatta is open to boats of the TAKO Class whose owners are properly registered with the Race Committee. Registrants must be from a Yacht Club or Sailing Club in Second Life.   One Male and One Female Avatar from each club will be eligible.   All Takos must have a skipper and crew on board during racing. The crew may be of either sex.  The same two sailors must be on board for the duration of the races.  No crew substitutions will be allowed.

March 7th  2009.  Skippers meetings will begin at 12:30 PM  SLT.  Races will begin at 1:00  PM SLT.   No race will start after 2:30 PM SLT.

Racing will be held in the vicinity of the Hepburn and Mowry Region.  Detailed directions to the event will be provided with the Sailing Instructions.

Eligible boats may be entered by having a Club Officer from a Second Life Sailing or Yacht Club send a Note Card to the PRO    [ Principal Race Officer ]  at least 24 hours prior to the race.  Names of the competitors and their TAKO ID Numbers must be provided.  No L$ fee is required to register.

Sailing Instructions:
Sailing instructions will be sent to all competitors at the conclusion of the entry time period.

Racing format:
Racing will be conducted under the Racing Rules of Sailing [RRS] and the RACE WIND provided by the Mowry Wind Setter. The PRO with the Race Committee will determine the number of races for the regatta after considering weather, course, equipment conditions and LAG.  1 [one] race is required to be completed to constitute the regatta.

The regatta will be scored in accordance with the Low Point Scoring system as set forth in Appendix A of the Racing Rules of Sailing. There will be no throw out races.  All races count.

Prizes will be awarded to the top 1 finisher in the regatta, in the following classes: Top Male Avatar, Top Female Avatar and Top Club performance.  For Club performance the combined low point scores for each Club Team will be used.

Tory Micheline
/(Ed: Jane Fossett)

Fractal Follies

(This article was first posted by Jane Fossett on Feb 1, ’09 at

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.

FractalRather 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. gazing indefatiguably NorthwardThe 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.

Nautilus, Nautilus City, SartoriOn 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.

The route North

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.

Rollo to Oleg

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.

Ban Lines!

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…

Nautilus to Corsica



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:

Anu Daviaiu sets sail!

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!