Monthly Archives: July 2009

Style, Substance, and a few Classy Moves: The 2009 J-Classic

2009 J-Classic 5

Eighty years ago a  small handful of truly wonderous boats competed for the America’s Cup under the “J-rule.” Only 10 J-Class were ever built and their brief reign on the seas lasted only a decade. However the majesty, substance and style of the J-Class fleet captured the imagination of the entire world, and images of J-Class still live on in the dreams of the generations of sailors that followed.

This year the dream comes alive again, as a new fleet of incredible J-Class boats hits the water in Second Life. Within the next few weeks, Trudeau Yachts will launch the latest version of this classic racer, and this boat’s just aching to hit the startline. SL Sailors are ready… to make history once more. So here we go, announcing the:

—- 2009 JCLASSIC

The 2009 J-Classic will be an open, multi-site, One Design race series for Trudeau J-Class boats.


Each boat competing in the regatta will be registered to a “Sailing Team” of 2-6 individuals who sponsor the boat and work together during the series to help that boat win.

The competition will begin with a series of distance races. Each race will span 60-80 sims and take approximately 60-90 min to complete. Individual Yacht Clubs and sailing groups will be involved in the planning and hosting of distance events at their ‘home’ raceline. Depending on the number of boats in the competition fleet and the number of destination clubs involved, a total of six-eight distance races will be held, one each week. Two time slots will be offerred for each race, for the convience of sailors in different time zones.

J-Class logo2

The final scoring of the competition fleet will be decided by a point-based rank comparison of each boat’s best four race results (out of 6-8 total). The four fastest boats (and their associated Sailing Teams) will then go on to compete in a one-day J-Classic Finals Regatta, sailing four heats on an Olympic-style short course designed to challenge the sailors’ tactical sailing ability.

The 2009 J-Classic competition is designed in the true tradition of ocean yacht racing from years past, with an emphasis on fun, excitement, and a team sailing effort. The open-team approach and the large number of ‘throw-outs’ means a sailor can be part of the competition with minimal stress and without a major disruption to his/her RL schedule. Miss a couple weeks’ races? No worries; your team is still on the water.

I’ll announce the regatta dates for the competition soon after the new J-Class is launched, and post all the race information and details at that time, both online and in world!


Note: Thank you to Surfwidow Beaumont for a truly incredible job on the “J-Classic promo video” above!
And thank you to the sailors who patiently worked with Surf to make it possible:
Massy Johin, Kei Cioc, Silber Sands, Chad Sawson, and Liv Leigh.


WildWind JMO-60 Quick Look

by Jane Fossett and Naeve Rossini 


This weekend Corry Kamachi released the new WildWind Open 60 sailboat, the JMO-60.

So what’s an “Open 60?”

The new JMO-60 is a high-performance ocean racer, inspired by the RL Open 60 Class boats. The International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA) sets the specs for the Open 60 (“60″ refers to it’s 60 ft length) describing it as “The most successful ocean racing class” currently on the water. IMOCA also sets rules for competiitions and helps organize many high-profile, long-distance ocean races world-wide. These are the cutting edge thoroughbreds of extreme sailing; lightening fast, carbon-fiber tough, and an inspiration to behold. This boat belongs in SL.


Kudos WildWind!

And Corry got it right! Here’s a diagram of the RL Open 60, above.Frankly, I like the SL version more 🙂 !!

The JMO-60’s form faithfully follows the speed-craving sleek shape of the Open 60 wedge, down to the details of its swing bulb keel, its carbon-fiber spars, and even it’s satellite communications dome (I assume that’s so a global skipper can stay logged in to SL while rounding Cape Horn). ww_011The hull comes in two flavors: one is stripped down to the essentials needed for 100+ region ocean races and arduous sim crossings. The other is more nuanced, prim-laden and contemplative. It’s the fancy version for those late nights when your ocean passage is done, and you decide to grab a mooring at some tropical marina in an exotic estate along the race route… and perhaps invite the natives aboard.

True to RL form, however, I admit the JMO-60’s cabin is pretty spare. You’ll find inside an uncomfortable bench to lie on and a compact nav station, just like the RL racer’s accommodations. Sorry ( 🙂 ): The Open 60 Class specifications don’t include options for a hot tub or sexgen animations. If you want those things, you can (a) Buy another boat, or (b) Wait till the race is over.

Your decision will depend, I suspect, on how much you really want to win that next SL Global Challenge Race

JMO60 dockside

Sailing the JMO-60

The JMO-60 comes with a blizzard of adjustable settings and sailing options that allow the skipper to customize the vessel to their preferences, and it shares many features in common with two other WildWind ocean racers, the larger VOJ-70 (modeled after the Volvo VOR-70 standard) and the small but speedy RCJ-44 that was previously discussed in these pages. I’ve posted copieds of the Information Notecards that come with the boat to a webpage here, for sailors’ ease of reference.

JMO-60 will carry a skipper and two crew members. The skipper is responsible for all the sailing, and the helm cannot be shared (or ‘loaned to’) your sailing friends. Sometimes the crew is there just to keep you company, I guess; can’t complain about that!


This is a boat that will keep the skipper busy, too! It comes with a standard mainsail and three different headsails that each optimize performance under different points of sail. There’s  a working jib, a Genoa jib (for lighter air) and a Genniker for a downwind boost. The boat lacks a true spinnaker, but frankly on an ocean racer where only one skipper is in charge of the helm and all sails, putting up a parachute in RL sound pretty suicidal. Although the RL Open 60 spec does include a spinnaker, the IMOCA strongly advocates a limited set of racing sails, for safety as well as design compatibility.  Believe me, there are so many racing adjustable features on the SL version of the boat that three headsails are more than enough!

Like other boats in the WildWind line, JMO-60 has a swing keel and the rigging can be adjusted to optimize acceleration, speed, or turning ability to suit the particular race conditions. OH! Did I mention you can reef the masinsail too? 🙂

JMO-60 comes with an unassuming ‘button HUD’ that attaches to the upper left corner of the viewer and lies along the left side of the screen. Most racers will probably want to switch to chat commands however, since they are generally more reliable under lag conditions in a crowded fleet. A simple, numerical “info HUD display” superimposes all the sail data you would ever need right in the middle of your screen, so you’ll never miss that wind change…



The JMO-60 just hit the water a couple days ago, and there are so many features to this boat it will take several weeks to sort everything out ( actually, the way I do stuff, it could take me years!). Given the excitement about the boat, however, I thought it would be fun to report some basic performance data and compare it to similar boats in the fleet.

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Smart Boat Madaket HUD

tom247 woodgett_026a

Navigating across multi-sim waterways is a common problem, particularly for a new sailor trying to learn a race course. Most sailors refer to race charts and keep a Mini-map open on their screen to monitor their location. That really doesn’t work too well in Blake Sea, however, since there are many submerged objects that clutter up the mini map, making it pretty useless. It’s also very difficult to see Blake race buoys on the World Map!

 In response to sailors’ frequent complaints about this, Chaos Mandelbrot and Joepie Korobase both put together simple HUDs that help sailors identify specific landmarks, such as race buoys. Although these HUDs work quite nicely and many people like them, I never found them very helpful. Any additional gadgets I need to adjust or keep track of during a race just seem to make things more confusing.

For the past few weeks, however, I’ve been using a GREAT, very simple HUD made by Tom247 Woodgett. It does exactly what I want, and it’s so simple to use even I don’t get confused. I think this HUD could be great for teaching, and Tom247’s agreed to offer sailors a version for Blake Sea that shows the Madaket PHRF racecourse for just $1L!

Tom247 hud 01

 The HUD sits in the corner of your screen and shows a tiny image of the Madaket PHRF Racechart. You can see it in the picture at the top of this article. If you click once on that HUD icon it pops up to normal chart size, as shown above. Your boat’s location on the chart is identified by a red dot that’s continuously updated while you sail. With that one click you can instantly see where you are.

If you click the map again, it goes semi-transparent, so your view of other boats and markers won’t be obstructed. If you give it a third click, it goes “poof” back to the corner of your screen. There is nothing to set up, no calculations, no buttons to mis-click.

Tom247 makes interactive charts for use with his powerboats so he’s an old hand at this. He’s offerring the Madaket Map HUD for $1L at his store in Firespire and at the NYC Loft. If people find it useful, he’ll offer a wider range of racemaps and options for sailors.

Give it a try, tell tom247 what you think. For $1L… you may never get lost in Blake Sea again!

NYC Loft


Kei Cioc takes Fizz Gold

Gold Finals_006

The World Fizz Cup 2009 came to a close this past weekend with Sunday morning’s Gold Cup Regatta.  It was the culmination of eight weeks of hard sailing; over that long haul five sailors rose to the top of the qualifying fleet, distinguishing themselves with a truly remarkable show of tenacity and skill, and earning a spot in the Gold Cup Finals.

The top five sailors were: Miwha Marsala, Kie Cioc, Odysseus Yiyuan, reia Setsuko, and joro Aya. On Saturday Tim Warrhol took the Silver Cup; that gave him the ticket for the sixth spot to round out the Gold cup fleet.

Sunday morning’s final contest in Turnbuckle turned out to be a test of the sailor’s skill and force of will. The six races were all in expert mode, and the course conditions were designed to enhance the difficulty. Although the seasoned sailors were up for the challenge, severe lag plagued the regatta and technical issues kept several contenders from showing their true ability under the pressure of this ultimate competition.

expert mode Race6_077

Having said that, however, it’s also true that every sailor knows that race conditions are like poker. You play the hand you’re dealt, and you can’t complain about the cards you get.

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