Monthly Archives: March 2010

Trudeau Rozinante: Romance of the Seas

by Blackbird Latte and Jane Fossett

(Note: This article was originally posted on
Blackbird kindly agreed to cross-post it here as well, and allowed me to add some ‘technical’ data on the boat.
Thanks BB!!

Blackbird Latte:

As some of you may know, I do a lot of sailing around the second life waters.  For the longest time I’ve lived on a Trudeau Larinda I customized, and as I have explored Second Life waters the Trudeau Twenty has been one of my favorite boats.  The reason was practicality, and compatibility with tight spots, difficult winds, and shallow waters.

Jacqueline Trudeau has let me test and toy around with quite a few of her boats over time and while others did hard line polars testing and PHRF (which is very important for racing) I’ve done a lot of testing on usability, features, the sailing “experience” and acid testing including seeing what kind of tight spots I could fit her boats through, how I could damage, abuse, or wreck them.

Jacqueline in her ongoing quest to create beautiful boats that will romance their owners and interest a wide range of people has created another boat I fell in love with.  The Rozinante is ketch rigged canoe body with a cabin.  It was indeed love at first sight once I realized what she was.  As I did testing I talked with a lot of people, and did some reading that just re-enforced my respect for this craft.

I can see where some people might not understand the significance immediately so I will explain a few things historically.  This is another Herreshoff  design but an extremely significant one historically.  The reason is that the canoe hull with sails is one of the oldest known configurations of sailing craft known to human history.

Native peoples from around the globe in almost every corner of the world first hit the open seas in these boats with impressive results and accomplishments.  Even in the days of evolved boats the Spanish explorers used this type of boat for sailing up rivers and the Lewis and Clarke expedition used Canoes with sails to explore the western rivers.  Herreshoff was honoring one of the most successful and historical designs in history and seemed to recognize it’s overall value.

What does this mean to you and why have I gone so far as sailing her every day and replacing my Larinda at the dock with one?

First off this boat is big enough to be a medium sized boat and you can get away with using her in a big boat race.  She may be a bit slower than the monsters out there but with her elegant lines and gentle behavior the people in this boat will have an advantage of advanced control.  She has features such as reefing, weight balancing, backing the jib for turning the boat, and raising the mizzen alone for sea anchor configurations these rigs are so well known and loved for.  Wing and wing configuration on this boat is stunningly beautiful, and in spite of all of these features her physical footprint is delightfully cooperative going through more shallow areas, narrow passages, and waiting to tack until you can almost taste the dirt or sand of the bank in front of you.  The details for use while moored in your own rez zone or sailing her include rigging lines, winches, and even a dual color navigation  lamp at the top of the mast!

She’s longer than a knockabout, with a kitchenette and settee as well as the bed in the cabin yet is more friendly in shallow areas and at the dock.  I’ve counted at least fourteen sit positions making her a spectacular addition to any dock.  Since she is a rideable and you can walk around on her (the booms are even phantom to counteract avatar problems walking around at dock or moored at sea) you can enjoy her fully at the dock, or even just stop in the middle of the sea with or without a rez zone and take a nap, enjoy the different places to sit, or just rest from your journey or spend time with someone.  In spite of this increased length true to the real life design she is decidedly more friendly navigating channels, tight bottlenecks, and rivers.  You can even beat directly upwind in a long series of sims with only a half sim width having to control the sails individually with just a little patience.  She works quite well with Gestures and multiple huds including the EZ-sail hud, I sometimes sail boats I test the hard way intentionally to spot problems or what level of realism is possible with a boat.

If you like painting hulls like I do you will find the cradle for this one includes a paint can, paint brush, and painting the keel animation if you rez her on dry land (this just made me grin and giggle in spite of my serious nature).

So far as the sail herself (and most of you know I’m all about the sail) she distinguishes herself as being a more realistic sail than many of the boats we know, love, and race or cruise.  She responds with satisfying speed and wake at lower wind speeds so you can enjoy a good sail without having to blast up the wind to unrealistic levels.  If you do crank that wind up to gale force winds you will find her complaining, keeling over, and behaving more like a real sailboat.  You will have to let your sails out and let them luff to control your heel to keep speed.  So far as the racing community I would say you are going to love this boat because there is more to her than just point and shoot.  Cruising is easy but to win a race you are going to need to pay attention and work the boat a bit depending on the winds!

Overall for the lone sailor or couple I would say this is the most full featured easy to enjoy craft Jacqueline has produced.  She will appeal to the SL newcomer interested in the romance of sailing, the couple out on a lovely cruise or date sail, the small land owners who want a reasonably sized boat for a home, the serious SL sailor, and just about every class of people who I’ve seen fall in love with historical or classic boats in second life.  The reason is simple:  After years of experience building boats Jacqueline has listened to feedback on what people think about boats, what might improve them, paid attention to what boats were most popular and included all of the features she could to make this the most satisfying boat to date.

Out of all of the boat testing I have done on new boats and betas this has been my most pleasurable experience and I’ve felt privileged to be a tester for this boat.  She’s so sweet sailing her in the mornings while waking up and testing features and reactions has been more of a joy than a job!

I’ll see you on the waters, fair winds!

More information can be found at the Trudeau site:[/quote]

Jane Fossett:

Rozinante is undeniably Trudeau; it’s meticulous in construction and historically accurate to Herreshoff’s 1956 design. BB’s already told you about that, so let me just add some details and performance numbers, in case you get the urge to race this boat (which should occur within a few moments of your purchase, unless of course you lack a pulse).
The boat is yawl-rigged, with three independently sheeted sails (Jib, Main, and Mizzen) that are controlled by an updated version of the Trudeau 3-Sail HUD. Like other Trudeau boats, Rozinante is full of optional features and adjustments; you can set the channel, adjust the sheet steps, and change how the information is displayed. A whole crew can help sail the boat, and a skipper can even share the helm with her friends.

I’ve charted below the Roz’s boat speed as a function of wind angle, using a constant 5.0m/s breeze. The blue curve below shows the “Real Wind” headings, and the red curve charts the same data as “Apparent Wind.” Over 40° AWA the boat quickly accelerates, and reaches a maximum boatspeed at approximately 50° AWA (which translates to 80-90° RWA). As the boat moves further downwind, there’s a progressive, near-linear decay in performance.

The shape of the curve is similar to other recent Trudeau boats, and most sailors should have very little trouble “getting up to speed” with Rozinante (pun intended 🙂 ). Compared to six other boats in the current Trudeau stable, Rozinante is pretty speedy; it falls somewhere between Leetle Cat and Columbia in performance.

The boat lacks a spinnaker, but don’t worry, because Winging is Back! Winging sails is a common real-life sailing technique that increases the sail area on a broad reach or run. It’s also pretty effective in Trudeau Twenty and Knockabout, but not in either J-Class or Columbia. Winging gets a reprise in Rozinate though! The green curve in the above chart shows Roz’s boatspeed at downwind angles with the mainsail flipped to the ‘wrong’ side. As you can see, the crossover point (where winging increases boat speed) is approximately 140° AWA, a result similar to prior vessels in the Trudeau fleet.

Rozinante has one Reef setting that strongly enhances upwind performance with Apparent Wind Speeds over 11 m/s. I’m still working on that reefed polar, but so far I’m getting a 36-40% reefed speed boost at 40-50° AWA. I’ll post that chart when I’m done!

And thanks again Blackbird for a great review of a beautiful boat!


BBK 137 and Nemo: Two Free Tako Trainers

BBK Keelboat and Nemo Nantucket: Two Free Tako Trainers

If you are new to Second Life sailing, the initial learning curve before you feel comfortable skippering a sailboat can prove a bit tough and sometimes frustrating.

Well, two new, free boats were released in the past few weeks, both based on the original Tako engine designed by Kanker Greenacre; suddenly there are more options for old and new sailors alike! Let me tell you about Nemo and the BBK Keelboat!


I guess I first need to talk about the Tako. It was the original Second Life sailboat designed byKanker Greenacre, and it sparked a virtual explosion of sailing over the past four years. Even though Kanker Greenacre left SL at the end of 2007, his landmark creation remains incredibly popular, and remains the starting point for many new sailors. You can still buy a Tako 3.3 in Grey for $250L, and although there’s no product support and it hasn’t been upgraded in a very long time, it still lives up to its logo; Tako is “The Essence of Sailing.”

It has a single mainsail plus a separately sheeted spinnaker that can add a powerful boost on downwind points of sail. The Tako uses a simple ‘Real Wind’ algorithm with wind shadowing to power the boat rather than a more realistic Apparent Wind engine, and it can use both racewind and boatwind.

The boat’s appearance is also fully modifiable, and templates are available for the sails.


The Nemo is a brand-new 6 meter keel boat that’s patterned after the popular Laser and earlier Flying Fifteen in Real Life. The SL  one design-creation is a collaboration between Nomad Zamani and Glida Pilote from USS’ Nantucket Yacht Club, and it’s based on Kanker’s original scripts. The boat comes in two flavors; the basic Nemo Nantucket is the one I’m going to talk about today; it’s free and intended to serve as an introductory trainer, to get more new sailors quickly on the water having fun. Once an innocent new person is hooked, they can buy an upgrade for $250L and get a Nemo-R that uses race wind and has modifiable textures.

The free Nemo has a very pretty hull design and simple rig, and the textures loudly advertise “Nantucket Yacht Club.” (Hey, it’s free, so no problem with that!) The boat’s features are intentionally kept simple. Similar to the original Tako, it uses “Real Wind” instead of “Apparent;” but unlike the Tako (or the real-life Laser 2), the Nemo has no centerboard or spinnaker to fuss with. Windshadow has also been stripped out of Nemo, I assume in the interests of simplicity and lag reduction.

The free version of this boat uses fixed wind, set to what was blowing  in Blake Sea-Atlantic when Nemo originally launched; it does not have a ‘race wind option’ unless you upgrade. I tested the boat in Bingo Straight, Big Fish, Zindra, and around Danshire’s waters, and I admit I sorely missed an option to change the wind  to suit the multiple different locations. If you are a new sailor, don’t hassle with that; I’d suggest just trying Nemo out where it was built, at NYC.

The Nemo philosophy of simplification  is also evident in the boat control interface.  Pretty much any sailor with a pulse knows that Kanker’s Tako 3.3 has  multiple control options, including both an “Info- HUD” and a control ‘Button-HUD.”  However, the Tako can also be fully controlled with chat gestures. That lets many experienced sailors use just a spare, free ‘Info-HUD‘ To provide essential data while sailing .

Nemo-N attempts to avoid that kind of’ complex, numbers-oriented sailing interface so a skipper can focus on sailing. There are no ‘chat commands,’ and Nemo’s info display is graphically clean, and bare-bones (see below). The boat has a single, simple prim-based info display that shows numerical boat speed, with analog  indicators of wind angle and sheet setting, but there are no numbers. (If you want to complain about that, just talk to a RL Laser sailor. They’ll tell you God doesn’t deliver the wind with three-point precision, either.. 🙂 )

Speaking of the wind,   I’ve already mentioned this boat uses ‘fixed, real wind.” The free version does not have a race wind option, and the boat is permanently set to 15 knots. You will need to buy an upgrade to use race wind.  Maybe that’s a blessing.

A Nemo skipper uses a Spartan set of simple keyboard commands to raise sail, steer, and adjust sheeting. On any particular heading, a click of an ‘UP/DOWN’ arrow causes a ten degree adjustment in sail angle, and “PAGEUP/DOWN” fine-tunes that in one degree steps.

Since the boat intentionally lacks numerical info feedback, I apologize I can’t give you terribly accurate “numbers” for Nemo’s performance. However,  using the default settings on a fixed Close Reach, I get a 10% reduction in reported boatspeed when I am ‘one big click’ out of tune in either direction.

Having said that, I did spend time measuring the angles on ‘screen-grabs’ of the circular graphical display and factoring in the actual compass headings. Since Nemo uses Real Wind, this actually wasn’t too hard. I counted it off on my fingers, and never once had to take my shoes off. The chart to the left shows the Nemo Nantucket boatspeed plotted as a function of real wind angle, using the default 15 knot windspeed.  The chart has a nice curve to it that peaks at a beam reach, with a maximum boatspeed that’s a bit over half True Wind.

If you look at polar plots for similar RL boats, this isn’t far off;
Nemo? Nicely done!

BBK Keel boat

Maybe a week before Nemo officially launched, another Tako-based boat hit the water. This one was Becca Moulliez‘s new BBK Keelboat (the BBK- 137), and it takes a rather different approach to upgrading the Tako. Becky’s intention was to upgrade and revise the open-source Tako scripts to minimize lag, resolve bugs, and endow the boat with a simple, clean interface that might be accessible to sailors at any skill level. She came up with the BWind engine and decided to release it free and full perm as part of a remarkable ‘Starter Boatbuilding Kit.

Click to enlarge

That kit is actually contained inside The BBK- 137 itself. If you look in the “Contents” of the boat you’ll find a detailed, step-by-step  discussion of how to modify the boat, or build your own variation. It’s pretty impressive. I’ve included snapshots here of the “Danshire Yacht Club” hull textures that were whipped-up by Blackbird Latte. A few minutes after rezzing a BBK 137, I’m pretty sure you’ll be on your way to  personalizing your own version.

Unlike the original Tako, the BBK- 137 is powered by a full dose version of Apparent Wind, and so the real-life calculations for headings at different wind velocities and boats speeds all apply. Although this version of the boat kit does not include race wind (that’ll be an option in the near future), the BBK 137 has  easy, on-the-fly adjustments for both boat wind direction and speed using simple chat commands.

If you want that wind information, you can get it easily along with a lot more boat performance data: The BBK- 137 offers two versions of a centrally-located, numerical display hud.

Don’t worry, however, if you’re just cruising for fun,  you won’t need to keep squinting at the display to command the boat since the HUD colors change to alert the skipper and crew whenever sheet settings fall out of tune. The boat sails quite nicely if you just follow the colors.

Since the boat uses simple, intuitive chat commands and has a full numerical display readout, it’s very easy to collect “polar” performance data on the BBK- 137. The graph below shows boatspeed plotted as a function of both real wind angle (RWA) and apparent wind angle (AWA).



The BBK-137 shows a very steep rise in performance over 30°.  At 40° RWA the boat makes approximately 60% maximum velocity, and it peaks at 60° RWA ( 36°- 38° AWA). It then shows an essentially flat, maximum response to correct sheet settings all the way out to a broad reach of approximately 140° RWA. At that point, performance decays appropriately as the boat moves toward a dead run.

If you are looking for a more curvaceous and less boxy response than this, no problem! Please remember this is a “demo boat” for the boat-building kit; it’s just waiting for your personal, creative tinkering! So go for it!


The final figure below shows a simple chart that lists the different features of the Nemo and the BBK 137. For simple comparison, I’ve added the Shelly, Tako 3.3, and the Leetle Cat as well. The Nemo and BBK Tako-based trainers share many similar features, and both are designed for ease of use and decreased lag. They differ in several major details, however, including their wind engine, hud, and overall modifiability.

The Nemo is intended as a club-specific free trainer, and should prove very attractive to a new skipper in SL. The basic boat intentionally has few options or distractions and its simple design will get many sailors going on the water in SL with minimal hassle, at least at NYC. The Nemo upgrade turns the boat into a competition version of the same basic little Nemo keelboat, but adds modifiable textures and race wind capability. The rest of the settings remain locked, ensuring this boat will stay ‘one-design’ for each competitor that ventures to race it. If you race One Design, that’s a key feature.


In contrast, the BBK- 137 Keelboat began with a different philosophy. It was focused on cruising, and minimizing user troubles. It continues true to that path, as demonstrated by its very friendly, open-source approach. However, the boat sticks to its own very high standards of function and usability. BBK-137 upgraded to “apparent wind,” correcting a serious flaw in Tako that Kanker Greenacre didn’t have the time to address before he left. Despite that major change, Becca without apology decided not provide race wind or wind shadow options to her boat… YET.
Go back and read her comments. They are humorous, but also show a remarkable understanding, commitment, and dedication. She’s on a mission, and knows where she is going.
Watch this boat and engine very closely…
I sail the Star Bay Oceanis 160 with Becca’s BWIND engine every day, and wow… I still don’t know how her engine makes that boat fly.
Bottom Line Time.
OK, which boat should you buy?
🙂 Sorry, that’s a trick question! They are both free, but I think the answer is clear:
Get both the Nemo and BBK- 137, then thank the builders please, and sail them ’till you wear out your CPU.
Oh, don’t forget to grab a free Shelly, and if you haven’t taken Isis’s free lessons or nailed your own free set of her extensive fantastic slide series on the LCat, grab those too.
It’s up to you which boat in Second Life meets your needs.
Oh? You’re a new sailor and think you want to pay for a boat?
Grin; relax; You will.
The more any new sailor learns, the more they value the skill and effort that go in to all the boats in Second Life…
and the more they appreciate each and every new vessel that launches from an SL boatyard.
So go ahead, get amazed with the two boats above…
Very soon you’ll be clamoring for more.