Monthly Archives: February 2010

Oceanis 160: A Star Is Born

Thursday night Svar Beckersted and Sallysue Cahill showed up in Farragut for a surprise visit at racetime. They haven’t been around much in SL for the past few months, so it was a true delight to see them. My first reaction was to give them a ride on a more modern race boat than what they remembered or, perhaps, were used to… I rezzed an Oceanis 160!
The Oceanis 160 is a modern-design, double-masted 48 m schooner crafted by  Metkenan Metty and Emmanuelle Loire of Star Bay Yachts.
The boat is truly majestic in size, remarkably detailed, and it has an expansive, furnished cabin below. With the boat fully rezzed at dockside Oceanis weighs in at 517 prim, but don’t be afraid of that number; this boat has everything. A skipper can live and sail through Second Life aboard Oceanis without compromise… and take their best half-dozen friends along for the ride.
If 517 prim seems like a lot, let me mention that you can get by with fewer than half that total number of prim options, and at that smaller size, Oceanis has the same resource footprint as a Trudeau Larinda. But why cut back on the prim? Oceanis is not just another pretty face, and beneath its sleek exterior this boat is a tough, practical workhorse fueled by a Becca Moulliez engine. With Becca’s BWind under the floorboards, Metkenan Metty’s design is uncompromising, and built to survive rough ocean passages full of treacherous sim crossings. Even with a half-dozen crew aboard, this boat proved dauntless on the high seas and was virtually bulletproof in pre-release trials.  


As I mentioned above, on first view the Oceanis 160 is a knock-out. My biggest problem sailing this boat is the crowd that forms every time I launch it. I was even hit by two airplanes last week as they swooped low to catch a better glimpse! Oceanis is one the largest and most detailed sailing vessels in Second Life, measuring 48 m in length and nearly 10 m on beam. The two masts soar 52 m above the water line, towering high above every other wind-powered vessel. The keel is thankfully a bit more modest, drawing 3.6m, a depth that’s comparable to J-Class and Columbia.
The hull, topsides and sails are all ‘no-mod,’ but the color pattern is easily adjusted by use of a HUD. However, the boat is so thoughtfully crafted, it’s rather hard to imagine what an owner might want to add to the exterior or rigging.

 Living aboard Oceanis 

Fully rezzed, Oceanis takes up 517 prim, but that amount of ballast is carefully distributed over three components.
 The first is the boat’s vehicle component, the part that actually drives the boat. It accounts for a spare 24 prim of the total size. That anorexic number makes room available for multiple crewmembers. Last week we sailed a test boat with a crew of six, and I regularly (and easily) sail this boat with three or four aboard.  You have the friends? Oceanis has the room.
As shown below,  the Oceanis also uses two “attachment” components that are worn by the skipper.  The first attachment includes the hull and essential rigging, and it adds an additional 242 prim to the boat total. The second attachment consists of the inside cabin space and furnishings. That part is modifiable, allowing each owner to personalize the boat  according to their needs and interests.
Since we are on the topic, Let me say a word about attachments… 
Before this boat and the Trudeau Columbia, I admit I never liked “attachable” boats. I mean, enveloping yourself in a phantom hull often seemed more like a Hollywood stunt than a serious sailing emulation, and, frankly… having a house-sized boat attached to your pelvis can often prove “socially awkward” in SL.
If you share some of those attachable concerns, don’t worry!  The most recent SL boats like Oceanis integrate sculpties, attachments, and scripted vehicles in ways that  prove seamless, realistic, and quite remarkable. I’ll tell you more about that in the next section, but let me first give you a “walk through” down below… I think you’ll get the idea. 🙂
 Geez, the simple act of walking around a boat supposedly “attached to your pelvis” probably makes my point, so go ahead, stand up on this boat!  You’ll find a gangway with swinging doors behind the aft mast;  it leads down to the cabin quarters below.  In the main compartment, you’ll find a rather incredible amount of space unmatched by any sailing vessel I know of.  The furnishings are appropriate and impressive, and the living space is complimented by wide seascape windows on either side. The living space is so well done, you might forget the most key feature:   “This boat actually SAILS.” 

If you’re hunting for a live-aboard schooner (and who isn’t?) , Oceanis has so much room below you may never want to live ashore again! 


 As you move further forward in the cabin space, you’ll find bunk beds, a shower, and a computer station.  (Just keep repeating the mantra :” This boat sails.”) 

Please don’t stop there,  however;  keep going, because next in line, you enter the Master Cabin at the bow.  It contains a large scripted bed, and…

OK, I admit I’m having an anxiety attack here… in three years of writing about boats, discussing detailed features, and arguing for serious sailing emulations… I have never used the following words, but now I’m facing the undeniable truth before me and I can’t hold back.
So stop, go get a Valium, and get me one too please, because…
Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore,
and you can put that Tako away now… because…. the Master cabin has a hot tub!”      

 Well; there, I said it…  🙂
But it’s okay, calm down. Remember: THIS BOAT SAILS

 Sailing Oceanis.  

Frankly, if anyone wrote an article about a new sailing boat and mentioned it was 517 prim with a hot tub, I would probably laugh at the painful joke and I’d go read something else.
I know Metkenan Metty’s  boats well; they are absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful,  but they they usually cannot leave the dock,  they are  so full of artisanship and complexity. I expected Oceanis would be similar, and I didn’t take a project like the ‘sailable Oceanis’ seriously. I thought something as big and detailed as this boat could never survive the usual treacherous sim crossings we all deal with in SL.
I think nearly all the SL skippers reading this know what I’m talking about. I was pretty sure when Oceanis hit it’s first sim crossing the skipper would lose control, most of the prim would end up 50m astern, and all the crew would fall so far overboard they’d re-rez on OS-Grid and never come back.
Well, I was wrong.

Oceanis gets BWind Brain

Undaunted over these issues, Emmanuelle Loire made Blackbird Latte a chief beta tester on Oceanis. If you know BB, you know he is obsessive, relentless, and pretty uncompromising ( 🙂 Hey, those are compliments, BB!). 

As you might anticipate, BB badly trashed the first Oceanis sailing betas… but that’s what betas are for, and Star Bay listened. Star Bay made a bold move, transplanting the BWind engine into Oceanis, and suddenly the fog cleared and the sun came out.
Becca Moulliez’s BWind engine is a tako-based, low-lag wonder. It  is easy to sail, adroitly juggles limited resources, and holds true to real life apparent wind force conversions. Major features of Becca’s design are rapidly appearing in a series of racing and cruising vessels from boatwrights across the grid. 
Oceanis is pretty unique, however. BWind and Star Bay together combine brilliance in scripting with a relentless attention to design detail, and that combo is a perfect match-up in Oceanis. It is sort of  like roast beef and rye,  Bacall and Bogart, or Bush and Cheney  (well… cough… scratch that last  analogy).

The attention to detail in Oceanis and its sailing performance are notable from the initial Rez: although the boat is very large and made of three sections, a single command is enough to drop the entire vessel in the water.  There is no need to go through a ritual where you rez a vehicle and then wear different parts.  It’s more like launching a RL boat, and the perception may be entirely different from what you are used to in SL. When you stand up, once again the ‘attachments’ automatically fall away and the whole boat rerezzes as a stand-alone structure.
Let’s take that one step further, OK?
With attachments and sculpties, it’s common to have phantom hulls and a ‘mismatch’ between what you see and the actual ‘collision mesh’  framework of your boat.  That can prove pretty frustrating for a skilled sailor who is trying to cut corners on a racetrack.  Oceanis gets these details right, however. Take a look at the picture below; I just stood up from the helm and my sneakers are standing on the aft deck; the boat’s solid. Even more remarkable, look at the Linden navigation buoy. It’s tilted on its side, resting against the hull’s starboard fore quarter.
Woots; the alignment is pretty exact. Although I will spare you the images, let me comment that I have slammed the bow and stern of this boat into many docks, boats, and even the linden ferry while testing it out.  This is as good as it gets, and it’s amazingly close to the real thing. “The boat you see is the boat that sails,”  and any serious sailor in SL knows that is no easy accomplishment.


Instrument displays and Trim Control. 

Oceanis has three separate info displays for racing or cruising ( that’s right, I said “three”).
It has a numerical HUD that indicates sail angle and wind heading.  This is visible to all crew members. By typing “HUD” a sailor can  toggle between a simple and more complete list of details.
The second HUD is indicated on the lower left of the figure below. It gives a skipper a host of options concerning camera angle and boat appearance; it also includes a very nice ‘compass graphic’ and an in-your-face display of the boat speed.
If you use the optional ‘driving’ camera position, it puts you in front of the numerical display, but no worries! As shown below, there are working instrument displays at each wheel, and a traditional compass and horn centrally located (yellow arrow below).
The boat uses apparent wind, and trimming the sails with the BWind system is simple and precise with the “UP” and “DOWN” keyboard arrows. The HUD changes color to warn the skipper when the sails fall out of tune.
The chart below shows a graph of Oceanis boatspeed (SOG) as a function of the real wind angle (RWA), using the boat’s default 15 knot wind.
  The boat luffs at 30°RWA, but as the heading falls off the sails fill and the boat does 40% of real wind speed at 40°RWA.  Peak boat speed is nearly equal to the real wind, and occurs around 60° RWA; after that there is a slow, linear decay with progressive downwind angles, and a sharper drop when the boat’s on a dead run.
The shape of the Oceanis performance curve  is less ‘boxy’ than other BWind and Wildwind boats I’ve recently tested. It actually looks quite similar to the wind response of Trudeau boats, so many sailors will find it familiar and easy to handle.     

Experienced sailors already know that the interconnected waterways in Second Life are expanding at a fairly breathtaking rate, and the opportunities for extended cruises, explorations of exotic far-off continents, and even flat-out extreme, global grid-challenges grow daily. Oceanis 160 is ready. 

It is a unique and truly remarkable vessel that sets a new high standard for features, quality, and sailing performance. Oceanis will boldly bring you across SL’s distance sailing competitions in 2010… and you’ll be grinning the entire way, and leading the pack when you make landfall.



Becca Moulliez: An Interview by Liv Leigh

Becca Moulliez: “I dont think the Tako will ever end..”

by Liv Leigh

The America’s Cup in SL had just ended a week before, the real life America’s Cup was won and lost yesterday. It was time for smaller boats, for something that we ordinary people could actually have fun with. Monday February 17th 2010 was a perfect day to present a new sailing engine for aspiring boat builders. Liv Leigh set out to interview it’s proud maker: Becca Mouliez. A talk with a Second Life workaholic who spends most of her time with her ‘baby’.

Liv Leigh: Becca, you are one of the newer boat builders in SL. And as such I may say, one of the rising stars. How would you regard yourself? A Sailboat builder or a scripter?
Becca Moulliez: I regard myself as a scripter. I’m not that good as a builder.

Liv Leigh: I remember when I first met you, you were rebuilding a tako from scratch, is that the kind of thing I should consider a sign of your ambition as scripter in the sailing community?

Becca Moulliez: Well… to tell the mere truth I was curious about exploring SL using a boat. I built a small powerboat first and then a Sailboat… but I could not find any good sailboat script around.Then I found those Tako 2.1 scripts in SL Wiki and found it logical to clone a boat similar to the Tako.

Liv Leigh: So you just wanted to make your own boat, to use it..

Becca Moulliez: Thats right. I had tremendous Lag problems at the time, since my laptop had poor graphics. I got a Tetra that was really beautiful… but could not afford sailing it well…
Too much load due to the attachment.

Liv Leigh: When did you first start to think about scripting your own sailing engine?
Becca Moulliez: As soon as I realized I could not sail a Tetra.
I knew the Tetra was a Tako.

Liv Leigh: And I guess you figured out pretty soon that the tako scripts were getting a bit old..
Becca Moulliez: Well I realized that they had a few bugs and I wasn’t satisfied with the load on SL. Plus most boats arounds had many more features
So I bought a Fizz 2.
And realized that there were many more features available… But once again due to my poor configuration even the Fizz was laggy.

Liv Leigh: I understand. The Fizz 2.0 used to be one of my all-time favourite boats, it could get quite heavy though, also for me.Your first boat, that you actually brought to the public, was Becky’s Baby Sloop, a small boat that got very popular within no-time. What were the ideas that brough you to creating this boat and why did you decide to release it for free?
Becca Moulliez: Well the boat I would like to release at the time was the Laser actually… but I wasn’t ready due to the tight Boat Show schedule.
So that Sloop was ready
🙂Balduin Aabye's new boat uses the BWind engine too
I released it for free because I want the sailing community to have a working platform for builders.
I could not find something comparable when I started scripting.

Liv Leigh: You think there used to be a big gap between the proprietary sailing engines of the big builders and the free scripts, like the Tako 2.1?
Becca Moulliez: Absolutely YES.
Best builders have many features we still miss.
But most of them have been working on their scripts for long… Hopefully we will reach a close-to level soon…

Liv Leigh: At some point in 2009 Mothgirl Dibou’s boat building kit, based on the Fizz scripts, was released. Have you considered to use that as a base?
Becca Moulliez: I did… and I used it ! I was really excited for a number of reasons. First Mothgirl used to build close to me at Adriatic. So, while she wasnt talking much i could see in person the Kit progressing under my eyes.

Liv Leigh: I see..
Becca Moulliez: Second: the Fizz is probably the best engine around, so I was really excited about having the opportunity to use and maybe adapt it to my own needs…
Unfortunately the Fizz Kit wasn’t an open code resource… and this came as a little desillusion actually.

Trudeau BWind Concept Boat

Liv Leigh: I understand.. So this is how you slowly got into scripting BWind, the engine you present this monday.
Can you tell me something about BWind.?
Becca Moulliez: Well Bwind is a sailing engine meant to be as low-lag as possible. Comes from months of scripting for my own use. I stripped the Tako 2.1 scripts a lot to reduce lag.

Liv Leigh: This explains why your boats became an instant hit with the touring community…
Becca Moulliez: Well, the Sloop came as a direct request from Manul Rotaru and Tory Micheline at Mowry Bay Crusing Club. They wanted to have a low-lag cruising boat.

Liv Leigh: Great. I understand that the Schiffsratten Yacht Club has already organised a race series in one of your boats. How do you see the development of BWind when it comes to racing classes?
Becca Moulliez: Well, to race effectively we need a rewrite of current WWC Receiver… I’m not satisfied about the current one. At this point probably the BWind boats could be comparable to a Tako 3 for racing.

Liv Leigh: Few people know that you have a prototype ready with a number of other functions in it, one that I happen to posess now 😛 How would you describe that one.. Or is it classified? 😉
Becca Moulliez: I have a work in progress prototype including independent sails, a spinnaker and a wing/jib function. Plus I’m testing boat dynamics to have a more realistic feeling… And no, it’s not classified 😉 Only in alpha stage 🙂
Liv Leigh: I think there are quite some people around who see the potential of the BWind engine. There is talk about Trudeau Classic Yachts testing a BWind-powered boat, I have heard about others who contacted you for scripting boats for OSGrid. How do you see this yourself? Will we see a whole legion of new sailboat builders? Will this be ‘the end of the tako’, as some people have proclaimed before about new sailing engines? What do you think the future will look like?
Becca Moulliez: I dont think the Tako will ever end actually… the Tako is a nice simple boat and a lot of fun to race. I dont think any Boat or Builder will end actually…
Probably some will be using BWind as an alternative to their current releases. And probably we will see many new builders around… to what extent and quality level we will see…

Liv Leigh: That’s nice. I think we now know something about your work in SL. So how about play? What other things do you like in Second Life?
Becca Moulliez: Oh well 🙂 Apart from spending as much time as possible with my baby, I don’t have much time left to do many things I would like to. When I have time I still love exploring the seas of SL 🙂
On a BWind obviously 🙂

Liv Leigh: Hehe, do I hear the SL-Workaholic here?
Becca Moulliez: hahaha

Liv Leigh: Do you sail in RL?
Becca Moulliez: I have been sailing in RL for a while on small boats… Optimist when a girl and the Lasers and 470.

Liv Leigh: Did you sail competitively? Or as recreation?
Becca Moulliez: Just recreation mostly… I had some sailing experiences on bigger boats (more or less like a Tetra) and I know a number of good RL sailors. One of them won 2 AC and 2 Louis Vuitton Cups 🙂

Liv Leigh: That’s impressive.
Becca Moulliez: (he’s lost yesterday… he’s not happy 🙂 )

Liv Leigh: You mentioned exploring, is there a specific place you found that you like a lot?
Becca Moulliez: Windlass in Blake Sea 🙂 But they are more places. Once there were some wonderful sims called Nanogunk where you could sail. And there are also those Pirates Sims I like so much.

Liv Leigh: Ok, thanks for the interview. I will simply end with my usual question now: what would you advice sailors in SL? (and for you an additional one: and sailboat builders?)
Becca Moulliez: Sail Light ! drop your AO’s and scripts first and your own glamorous flexies ! I know someone who raced at 54 knots and won, wearing a cool greenish outfit ! 🙂
Liv Leigh: That sounds strange, who would that have been…

Arianti with a BWind engine