Monthly Archives: February 2011

Starboards for Eight!

This eighth series of fleet races will determine the top four teams that advance to the ONE WORLD FINALS!

There are platforms set up all around the racecourse for spectators. Quirky Torok will be doing in-race radio play-by-play and Diamond Merchant will cover the events in text chat! Woots! Don’t miss this!!


And next week the Final Four
will wrap it all up…

WildCat ACJ-35

Yesterday I posted about the new WildWind WildCat catamaran that’s modeled after the Americas Cup AC-45. Let me add a few additional comments about the boat!

courtesy of Orca Flotta

The first is a name change! Although the pre-release docs I have on WildCat are all ‘ACJ-45,’ the final name for the new boat is the  ACJ-35 WildCat. The reasoning is pretty simple. The Wildcat is just the first of a series of boats Wildwind is planning to release inspired by the America’s Cup catamarans.

Confusion over the name didn’t slow down Orca Flotta and her Triumphal race fleet, though.

They were out on the water yesterday in full force, testing the boats on the Farragut race line in Bingo Strait. Their early report was thumbs up! The ACJ-35 WildCat will now be the featured boat for Triumphal’s recurring Saturday Noontime Regatta.

courtesy of Orca Flotta

Not to be outdone, Liv Leigh’s TYC fleet hit the Pacific Start Line yesterday with a fleet of five WidCats!

According to Liv:

“I am still in the process of setting things up at TYC, but my plans with the WildCat include:
– An article to be made about the boat for a number of major SL Sailing news sources
– A weekly series, for which I may wish to attract additional race staff
– Building the class out to a graded racing class and having 2 to 3 weekly events
From that base a large tournament and other exciting happenings are just a small step away.
The boat’s combination of speed, stability on region crossings in SL and relative ease of handling makes it an interesting vehicle for both beginning and more advanced sailors in my opinion. I’d say it has all the qualities needed to become a popular race class in Secondlife. Of course anyone who wishes to take part in this exciting program is welcome to take up contact.”

courtesy of Liv Leigh


ACJ Triple Threat

Don Berithos and Sarah999 Aya yesterday also clarified the plans for Wildwind’s ACJ releases. Sarah sent me a note stating:

“… *At first there was misunderstanding. It is that many people have thought WildCat to be ACJ-45.
ACJ-35 (WildCat) : Released. The ship which there is not in real world. In simple small size, the race is convenient to manage it.
ACJ-45 : corry is producing it now. There is not the beta version. The real ship, higher-speed than WildCat. For a sailor liking real ships.
ACJ-72 : corry is produced after 45 release. There is the prototype. The highest-speed ship. Update of ACJ-90.
That’s all. :) Thanks.”

courtesy of Don Berithos


Don Berithos elaborated on Sarah999’s points. He describes the ACJ-35 as a ‘trainer.’

courtesy of Don Berithos

Don reports that a far more realistic version of the ACJ-45 is still in early stages of development with no projected general beta trial yet and no public release date set.

Once the ACJ-45 hits the water, a third release is planned based on the RL AC-72. That ACJ-72  emulation will replace the ACJ-90 trimaran that’s currently in the Wildwind lineup.

(and if all these numbers are confusing to you, just remember: Wildwind +35 +45 +72 -90. By any math, that puts Wildwind +62 ahead. 🙂 )

critique and response

Although Orca Flotta is about to start a weekly regatta series with new WildCat, she has also been quite critical of the boat.  In her view, the catamaran is overly similar to Wildwind’s RCJ-44 monohull in general performance. I admit I independently came to the same conclusion after looking at the performance plots for both vessels.

However, Don and Sarah’s comments above partly address Orca’s criticism, and explain ACJ-35’s positioning. The WildCat is apparently slotted as a ‘simple, small-size… race convenient boat’ that Don also characterizes as a ‘Trainer.‘ With that background, coupled with the boat’s low price, I think WildCat fits the bill as a great club racer.

Orca and Liv apparently feel the same way, given their stated racing plans.

What about the next releases? Well, Don reports he’s working on a fundraising effort associated with the new releases that will donate to sailors with disabilities. I think that’s a pretty great idea, and one we can all support.

It’s still early though, and I think our best combined assistance might focus on ensuring taht all these efforts produce good boats, great sailing, and maybe also provide support for worthy causes.

I often end my posts with the phase ‘I could be wrong…” but I’m pretty sure I’m not wrong on that last part. 🙂

Wildwind WildCat

I know, I know.

I’ve been so wrapped up in the ONE WORLD Regatta that I’ve fallen way behind showcasing new boats and places, and ranting about everything in general. Well let me try to catch up a little here by giving you a heads-up to the new boat from WildWind: It’s the WILDCAT, and it’s inspired by the AC-45.

What’s the AC 45?

It’s a smaller, one-design version of the Americas Cup AC72 catamaran (I think that means it comes with only five attorneys, not fifty). The first versions were just launched, and they’re intended as training boats for the  Cup contenders, and also slated for a regatta circuit to build enthusiasm for the design and the Americas Cup.

(You remember the Americas Cup, right? It’s like NASCAR without wheels, or gas engines… or Cars…) 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Corry puts the J in ACJ-45

You all know Wildwind. They make a great line of boats created by Corry Kamachi, and each one reflects her unique vision as well as her attention to detail and design. Orca Flotta, Aleister Biondetti, and Tig Spijkers are great fans of Corry’s boats (along with a few hundred other sailors), and over the past two years they’ve organized a host of pretty fantastic races.

Naeve Rossini and I reviewed Corry’s RCJ-44 and JMO-60 here, and I’ve charted the PHRF performance numbers for many other boats in  the Wildwind fleet. They are very fast, easy to sail, and quite beautifully detailed.

After she loaded Wildwind’s dock with a full line of gorgeous sailcraft, Corry took a well-deserved break many months ago. I was therefore pretty thrilled to get a note recently from her and Sarah999, asking me to look at a late beta of Wildwind’s new ACJ-45 clone, the WildCat!

Reap the Wild Wind

As usual, let me offer a disclaimer upfront. My opinions are mostly based on late betas, and I usually sail boats “as they come out of the box.” I can miss a lot of good things, and I am thrilled if anyone wants to add comments below or tell me what features I forgot to list here.

Having said that, I think the new Wildcat has the unmistakable features of a Wildwind through and through. If you know and love Wildwind, then the WildCat is your boat.

WildCat Features

The Wildcat is a two-person catamaran with very nice detailing.

The owner is also the skipper, and controls all sail functions. The crew comes along for the ride.

The hull is carefully crafted, and it closely matches the AC-45’s RL appearance. Don Berithos tells me that more boats may come from Wildwind’s ACJ-45 line, but I think this one is already pretty accurate.

As the ‘bump test’ pictures below show, the boat’s collision mesh carefully lines up with the visible ends of the sculptie pontoons, so you shouldn’t have any awkward accidents in tight corners with this boat; what you see is what you get, and it shows genuine, skilled craftmanship.

Speaking of what you see, however, the boat comes with a box of textures that the owner can download and modify. That makes it easy to reconfigure WildCat’s appearance, and a skipper can quickly personalize their vessel.

However, no matter what your boat looks like, the major features will always remain unmistakably Wildwind.

WildCat uses a standard Wildwind HUD that most experienced sailors will recognize. It discreetly sits on the left side of your screen, giving the skipper an uncluttered view of the ocean ahead. When you get comfortable with the controls, you can always bypass even that minimal HUD, and switch to chat commands for racing.

Once under sail, the boat boasts a fairly typical info-HUD text display. It has a huge amount of information about compass headings, wind, rigging, sail angle, and a lot more.

I admit I found it confusing when I first began sailing the WildCat; there’s a lot of information and it’s not adjustable. Having said that, however, it’s not really an issue, since it only takes a few minutes to get comfortable with the Info Display and focus on the numbers you need.

And speaking of the “learning curve,” like most other Wildwind sailboats, this one comes equipped with multiple options for different user styles. A beginner may want to let the boat adjust the rig automatically. With more experience, a sailor can reconfigure the WildCat so the skipper has personal control of the ACJ-45’s many features.

This boat comes with a stiff wing instead of a main sail. However, similar to other Wildwinds, it has two headsail options: a standard jib or a gennaker. The optimal choice of headsail will depend on wind speed and apparent wind angle.


So let’s talk about sailing performance!

I admit I can only give you an introduction to this boat, since I haven’t tested it under all conditions or with the boat configured to expert settings; it only came off the launch ramp a few days ago. 🙂 However, even with that short experience I’m impressed that WildCat’s sailing performance a close match to prior boats in the Wildwind line.

Apparent Wind.

As everyone knows, sailboats are powered by the pressure of wind against sails. When a boat picks up speed however, things get a bit complicated. The boat’s movement generates it’s own wind, a headwind, and the actual driving force that propels the boat is the sum of both the Real Wind and Headwind vectors. That’s known as  ‘Apparent Wind.’ Last year I wrote about this issue, and how it’s applied to different sailboats in SL. Kanker Greenacre’s Flying Tako sailboat uses a simple wind power algorithm based on the Real Wind, while most new sailboats use a more realistic Apparent Wind engine. The Flying Fizz, BWind boats, and the Trudeau fleet all use Apparent Wind algorithms.

Wildwind boats are different. They use a ‘weighted’ adjustment headwind that is about one-third the real life Apparent Wind correction (the Nemo does something similar). Mothgirl Dibou provided a nice summary a while back about the issues that go into this kind of design decision. There is no “good” or “bad” choice when a boat designer models apparent wind in virtual sailing. The real goal, as Nomad Zamani pointed out for Nemo, is to come up with a perceptually realistic emulation of sailing within the constraints of SL’s 3D world.

Anyway,  I’m bringing this issue up because Wildwind’s reduced apparent wind effect allows their boats to sail faster and to point higher on a windward beat than nearly any other SL race boat, for the reasons I discussed here.

The chart below shows a performance plot for Wildcat using a fixed Real Wind Speed of 5.0 m/s. It graphs the boat speed under optimal settings for progressive apparent wind angles; the red line uses the jib as a headsail, and the blue line uses the gennaker. Under the 5.0m/s wind settings, on upward points of sail a jib is the better choice, and boat speed quickly exceeds real wind speed with AWA over 40°. In contrast, the gennaker functions like an asymmetric spinnaker, and it kicks in around around AWA 100° . Over that heading it suddenly inflates and puts the boat into downwind overdrive.

What the chart below really shows is that a smart skipper who adroitly swaps sails can achieve boat speeds well in excess of real wind over roughly 100° of arc.

That makes Wildcat superfast, easy to point, and a great deal of fun. 🙂

The numbers above are probably very familiar to Wildwind sailors.  I’ve copied a chart below that Naeve Rossini and I did two years ago for the RCJ-44.  that boat also has two headsails, and the performance curves look highly similar to what you can expect with WildCat.

That’s not a bad thing!! RCJ-44 is an extremely popular boat, loved by a recent generation of SL racers. They should be able to take the helm of WildCat and feel quickly at home!!

Click (or double click) to enlarge

For comparison, let me also include a chart for JMO-60. I wont go through the details of the graph below, but you can find them here. If you look at the shape of the curves and the range of points where boat speed exceeds the 5.0 wind speed, you’ll see JMO-60 agrees up pretty closely with the RCJ-44 and the new ACJ-45 WildCat catamaran.

first impression:

So, on first impression I admit it; I’m a big fan of Corry’s Wildwind boats.

I also know I’ll prolly need to stand in line to get them, since Wildwind has a huge following in the sailing community. 🙂 Triumphal Yacht Club’s already started WildCat races, Tradewinds is cranking up for a regular regatta, and Golden Gate has Cup Dreams in store too!! 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The new WildCat is a very pretty and very fast, but at heart it’s ultimately a no-frills, bare-bones, take-no-prisoners racer. So don’t look for a beer cooler, sexgen animations, helm sharing or crew hiking on this sleek double-hull.

But hey… if you want a beautiful race sled that’s got years of proven Wildwind scripting and service behind it, and if the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the competition crowd is running in your veins…

Baby, this boat’s for you.

Welcome back, Wildwinds!!!

San Francisco Seven

Click (or double click) to enlarge


After a fantastic weekend of sailing the Tradewinds of Round Six, the next stop on the ONE WORLD pro-sailing circuit is Golden Gate Yacht Club. Don Berithos and Roan Blackburn will host the event, and the race course will showcase the great racing waters of Dire Strait. All heats will take off from the Linden raceline in Fedallah, a spot well-know to racers from this past summer’s SL-VT Cup event.

As shown below, the ONE WORLD Round Seven Course proceeds south-southwest, and seems to form a pentangle around the Leviathan in Ahabs Haunt. There’s no witchcraft involved, however, unless you’re worried about that submerged wreck in Rachel sim! Don Berithos tells me that wont be a problem with the course he’s designed, but hey– be careful anyway. 🙂

There will be two social events linked to Round Seven and hosted by GGYC. The first is on Friday, February 18, 1:00pm SLT at the GGYC Club House in Schilli. That Round Seven opener event will have a “Jersey Shore” Boardwalk theme, and promises to be a great kick-off to some kick-ass racing over the next two days. 🙂

After all the fleets have finished and the last air-horn goes quiet, GGYC will celebrate the Round Seven teams with a Regatta Gala Event on February 20 at 12 Noon SLT in Golden Gate sim. Don’t miss it!

Here’s the chart for the Round Seven races, and the wind settings are listed below it. Fair winds to all the race teams, and remember: Seven’s a lucky number!!

Click (or double click) to enlarge

Here’s the map of rez zones along the course:

Click (or double click) to enlarge

See you in San Francisco for Seven!!

Six in Siracusa

ONE WORLD Round Six will be hosted by Tradewinds Yacht Club in Dex!
Here’s the poster with the schedule:

Click (or double click) to enlarge

Commodore Liv Leigh is in charge, and all the races will take off from the Linden raceline in Siracusa. The race chart is posted below, and the wind settings are:

cruise wind dir 177
cruise wind speed 16
cruise wind gusts 25
cruise wind shifts 30
cruise wind rate 1.0

Click (or double click) to enlarge


In addition to a hot weekend of racing, JakeSpeed Northman’s put together a pretty great set of parties to celebrate the regatta at Tradewinds.

Following the Friday 4:00pm heat, Tradewinds will hold an Opening Party with a Phantom of the Opera theme from 5 to 7 pm in Dex. According to Jakespeed, the event will be:

“A Masquerade Ball, featuring the Musical Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera. Guests are invited to wear masks, close the mini-map and uncheck ‘display avatar names’, making it a memorable (and anonymous) masquerade event.
The party area will feature some gothic accoutrements and lighting, but the emphasis will be on the people and the music though, in keeping with the Tradewinds Tradition.”

The Round Six Closing Party will be at 3:00pm with a “Chess” theme! Jakespeed says the event will feature:

“The Tim Rice Musical “Chess” Soundtrack – Come dressed in black and white; there will be a checkered dance floor, and a chess piece decor, so wear your favourite chess piece!”

See you in Siracusa for SIX !!