Monthly Archives: March 2011

Kenobi Captures Three!

Halfway through the ONE WORLD Finals two races were already up on the scoreboard, and KENOBI and EUREKA each held first place wins. However, two races still remained, and the final score would only consider each team’s top three finishes. The championship was still a toss-up as Race Three began.

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The  F-3 racecourse had some of the same chemistry as the first race’s F-1 course. The fleet would need to beat upwind around Sailors Cove Island to reach the first mark in the Southeast corner of Breakers Point sim. From there it was a two-sim beam reach to the Sugar Reef Orange buoy, followed by a broad reach spinnaker leg to the yellow mark in Flat Hammock. Any boat still under sail would then go back to a beat to round the far mark in Breakers Point, followed by a dead run all the way Home.

KENOBI had arguably won the Start in each of the first two races, and they saw no need to change tactics this time, either. 🙂

If you watch Hawk’s Prestart videos, in each case during the last minute you can see Kenobi sailing West-to-East parallel to the line, until she’s in front of the other three teams. Then with 20-30 seconds to go, Kenobi suddenly throws the tiller over hard, coming about to Starboard. She then uses the boat’s accrued momentum to sprint toward the edge of the raceline near the red buoy. It’s a textbook perfect start.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The first image below (A.) shows Kenobi just after tacking. With that maneuver she stole the lead and had the juice to gain distance (B.), cutting the line eleven seconds ahead of SVC-472, and nearly a half minute ahead of FIYC and EUREKA! Woots!

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However,  Please don’t ever think that what Bunnie pulled off was easy, or just due to random luck. If she placed KENOBI’s final prestart tack a few meters too low or a few seconds off either way, the other three boats could have thrown pretty much the whole Rules Book at her, and her team would likely still be in Plum Gut today making up all the Penalty turns they deserved! 🙂

Luckily, the Star Wars trio of Bunnie, Seraina, and Dunan lived up to their Jedi Master reputations, and pulled it off flawlessly.

Following the Start, in some ways the fleet’s upwind beat through Flat Hammock looked remarkably similar to Race #1. KENOBI was out in front and holding the ‘windward pole position,’  with all the tactical advantages that entailed.

Once again, Momomos was traveling in Bunnie’s wake, a boat-length back. Momomos decided to keep SVC-472 glued to KENOBI; I thought that made good sense. If he could keep within striking range, Momomos might yet well trap Kenobi later in a shadow duel.

The first image above shows that KENOBI was again able to repeat the trick from Race #1. Bunnie set a first tack point so audaciously high that she could flip to a new port course that exactly ‘threaded the needle’  through the narrow passage into Breakers Point. Momomos was also game, and he captained a course that let SVC-472 match that maneuver. However, he couldn’t quite match KENOBI’s speed in the process. 🙂

EUREKA and FIYC were in the 3-4  positions crossing the Start. Even worse, they were considerably leeward of the leaders, and had no chance to make the upcoming narrow channel in two tacks.

However, the images I have show that EUREKA was traveling just windward of FIYC, and Alain was effectively blocking Armano with position and shadow.

I think Alain’s a pretty incredible skipper with supreme tactical awareness (and if time and space permitted, I’d love to tell you about all the past races that prove that opinion). However, this time I couldn’t quite figure out why EUREKA decided to cut to port tack early (see above). I admit that maneuver made sense at some point, but it also unlocked the handcuffs EUREKA had on FIYC… 🙂

Anyway, if you look at the full image I posted earlier, you’ll see that both EUREKA and FIYC were forced to make two extra tacks to fall in line with the leaders, and that put them considerably behind as they fetched the first mark.

The second mark was in Sugar Reef, and the first image above shows the lineup as Kenobi took the turn. The rest of the fleet was more than half a sim behind, and Armano had moved FIYC into a parallel and windward position relative to SVC-472.

It looked like Momomos was suffering ‘lag distress‘ near the sim border, since the second image shows FIYC and EUREKA gaining substantial ground. They both passed and headed for the next mark.

The annotated images above reveal the situation at the third mark. KENOBI held a substantial lead, but evidently planned this all along. When Kentrock designed this course, he knew the next leg held a hidden trap: The fleet would be sailing directly upwind through a half-sim narrow channel to the final mark.

It certainly was nothing anyone could get upset about, since the distance was rather short and the trouble was pretty obvious. However, it’s also one of those things that takes a certain degree of caution and planning (sort of like invading Iraq…).

Anyway, you can see above why the KENOBI clan deserve the big bucks they get paid; Bunnie intentionally overshoots the mark Big-Time, setting KENOBI up to traverse the tight channel in two tiny tacks.

WOOTS! Philip the Navigator never did it any better! 🙂

ONE WORLD Race Three Results!

There was no stopping the K-Team; Race Three went hands down to the Kenobi Trio, with a finish time a full forty seconds over FIYC’s Armano and Cait.

But please… if you were paying attention, you also saw Armano claw FIYC’s way back from a bad start against wondrous skippers with better positioning. Against all odds, FIYC fought back to take the #2-Spot against the infamous Mills Gang. Wowzers.

FIYC was psyched, and Ready to Rock-and-Roll in Race FOUR!

Welcome to Island Yacht Club -SL!

Commodore Dale Irata just launched Island Yacht Club -SL; it’s the Second Life counterpart to Island Yacht Club in Almeda, California (USA).

Here’s the brief background detailed on their website:

“This idea started as Commodore Dave was talking with people in-world in preparation for his “virtual sailing” demonstration at the March 19 2011 Membership Dinner. Dave (or rather, avatar Dale Irata) had been a long-time but inactive member of the inworld Tradewinds Yacht Club; he went there several times and met several of the officers and active members.
“Dale (using the avatar name, since this happened inworld) soon connected with Don Berithos, a former commercial captain and now owner/Webmaster of , an amazing site for fans of worldwide racing at the level of the Louis Vuitton Trophy and America’s Cup. Don is also Commodore at Golden Gate Yacht Club in SL, home of the inworld projects from those two international racing organizations.
“Don gave Dale a tour of GGYC-SL’s facilities, including the detailed scale models of the LV Trophy and America’s Cup. During their conversation, he made a mention that he had space for our Club as well.
“A few weeks went by, and March 19 came around. Dave set up the laptop in the clubhouse dining room, logged in, and Dale soon received a message from Don that that he had a “surprise” waiting.  Dale received and followed a teleport request from Don, and landed on the front deck of what looked like a very familiar building.
“It’s yours,” said Don.  Dale was standing on the deck of IYC’s new virtual clubhouse! A brief tour showed the layout and the building’s location, just down the docks from GGYC-SL (and their amazing collection of AC, Vuitton, and other world-class racers).  And later that evening, Dave was able to show the real-world IYC members the new building.”
It is 3 days later as I write this, and IYC-SL has several new members from inside Second Life.  But last night (Monday), our own John Ratto met Dale at the club, and he is our first IYC RL/SL member!
“That brings our History right up to date, March 22 2011. Stay tuned!”

Island Yacht Club is located in Balista (20, 103, 27), on the East shore of Dire Strait’s great sailing waters. The IYC clubhouse is just a quick walk down the dock from Golden Gate YC, too!

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If you’re interested in IYC, talk to Dale Irata. If you’d like to join Island YC -SL, here’s the in-world link to the group:


And thank you to Don Berithos and Tasha Kostolany for their efforts to help make this happen. Woots!

Eureka Takes Two!

A few days ago I had the chance to tell you about the first race of the ONE WORLD Finals. Bunnie, Seraina, and Dunan proved awesomely fast and tactically flawless in that first test; they roared around the course to an impressive initial win. However, everyone knew the game wasn’t up yet, and there were still three more races to go.

So let’s rejoin that fearless finalist foursome from the fifth of March, and I’ll tell you a bit about the Second Race. 🙂

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For that test, Kentrock designed a chart based on a classic Olympic-style course, with upwind, downwind, and reach legs. (Of course, he threw in a few nuances. 🙂 )

It began with beat to the yellow mark in Flat Hammock, then fell off to a close reach to fetch the orange buoy in Sugar Reef. From there, the fleet made a beam reach to Race Rock sim, where they looped around two marks before starting home on a broad reach. The final turn in Sugar Reef put the fleet on a near dead run to the Finish.

This course was intentionally nothing fancy and there were no tricks, but over the short distance it was a great test of a team’s sailing skills. All four skippers knew this too, and were smiling on the raceline, full of caffeine and ready for fun.

As the final seconds ticked away before the Start, all four boats once again clustered to cut the East end of the line on Starboard tack. Here’s Hawk’s video that shows the prestart:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As you can also see in the first image below, Bunnie Mills sprinted for the line a few seconds too soon; she was forced to pull up a bit and lose momentum to avoid an ‘over early.‘ Armano and Cait were sailing FIYC New Experiment; they had better timing and used it to good advantage, coming up on KENOBI’s lee side.

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As you can see in the above pictures, FIYC was a little over-excited and cut this maneuver a bit too tight, slamming into KENOBI’s stern as the two boats crossed the line. For several seconds, there was a worrisome overlap that suggested an exchange of genetic material rarely seen outside the continental waters of Zindra.

FIYC protested KENOBI under Rule 11 (‘Leeward boats have Right-of-Way over Windward Boats’). KENOBI accepted that protest.

Whether the protest was valid or not is an interesting discussion; many thought Bunnie might have a potential counter-protest too. Hawk had much to comment about this protest, and I’m hoping he will offer his wisdom and let me link to his words or comment about it here. 🙂

Anyway, Armano was luckily able to get his nose out of Bunnie’s posterior, and the fleet of four all began the upwind beat in Starboard formation. As shown above, KENOBI was ahead and had FIYC trapped in her windshadow. Although Eureka crossed the line third, she actually had the height on this tack and was sailing unobstructed in clean air. Not a bad position to be in!

SVC-472 was trailing EUREKA, and that theme would play out for much of the race that followed. In fact, in the upcoming windy conflict, Momomos came closest to knocking the Race Two crown from Alain’s head. 🙂

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The image above proves my point about EUREKA’s advantage. 🙂

At the bottom of the picture you can see KENOBI taking a penalty turn, while all three competitors are on port tack, aiming for the first mark (shown by “*”).  FIYC tacked early to get out of KENOBI’s shadow, placing her lowest and furthest from the buoy. Eureka played her advantages well however, and was now in the lead, just two boat lengths ahead of SVC-472.

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Armano then played a skillful tactical move, flipping to a Starboard tack ( green arrow) that passed in front of SVC-472 on port ( red arrow). Momomos was forced to  take evasive action, ducking below FIYC’s transom while losing precious seconds as EUREKA barreled ahead.

The other amazing story documented in the above pictures was about KENOBI’s comeback! While Armano and Momomos were deciding who would round the mark first, Kenobi bounded across the sim width at incredible speed to rejoin the group. Look at KENOBI’s position between the first and second pictures above; I guess The Force was with that OBI KENOBI team!

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Of course, all four of the finalist teams were the best of the best. Each had made it to the Finals with a perfect score of four First Place qualifying victories. These were not sailors who made mistakes or missed any opportunity, and EUREKA was demonstrating that here.

The first image above shows EUREKA rounding the Orange mark with a substantial lead over the rest of the fleet. KENOBI’s passed SVC-472, and has FIYC in her gunsights. FIYC played the turn well however, beating KENOBI at the mark and beginning the reach leg in second place with a two-boat length lead.

As FIYC and KENOBI roared across Breakers Point, they were parallel and overlapped, and trading inside punches. However, suddenly without warning  a White Squall blew up, and both boats were damaged beyond repair. These teams are pros of course,  so without a whimper in seconds they were back on the water, rezzing new boats.

Momomos Netizen also took full advantage of the weather change, lashing himself to the tiller and steering through the storm, undaunted. The second image above shows SVC-472 far in the distance, past the trouble and right on EUREKA’s heels!

Although Momomos made a thrilling challenge with skill and speed, there was no denying the facts already in evidence. This race belonged to EUREKA.

Alain and Suzi successfully fended-off Momomos’ late-game, SVC-472 juggernaut, and on the return spinnaker reach EUREKA re-established a dominant lead.

While the crowd roared, Alain Gloster and Suzi Siemens gave the spectator sailors a master’s lesson in sail-racing; they turned a poor, third-place Start position into a Commanding First-Place Win, crossing the line a full twenty-four seconds ahead of the fleet! 


Buy a Floral Tribute for Epi!

Reposted with permission from Surfwidows Web:

Wear your ‘The Last Rose’ Lilly’ $25L (with silver anchor and Bling) .
This is for the late great sailor teacher and in world mentor Epicurus Emmons –
wear it with pride – All proceeds go to the Real Life floral tribute from SL Sailors for Pippa.

Thanks to Patrick and Fanci
Get it here

or from the following marinas and Yacht clubs

Fruit Islands thanks to Lizzo

Danshire YC thanks to Jane

My Mall here thanks to Weston

Marktwain White proudly wearing his - you should too!

Hollywood thanks to Nber and Mark and at the Tugby field

Triumphal – thanks to Orca

Golden Gate YC thanls to Don Berithos

Trudeau Twelve

Two years ago Trudeau Classic Yachts launched the Twenty, a pretty wondrous little boat inspired by the Herreshoff 12 1/2. The love and care that went into the Twenty subsequently spawned a whole line of Trudeau Yachts, including the Knockabout, Leetle Cat I, Tahiti Ketch IIRozinante, and even the J-Class.

Chaos in Explorer Mode

For many sailors however, Twenty remained their all-time favorite for coastal cruising. In that context, some may recall I wrote that  Twenty was Chaos Mandelbrot’s boat of choice when he set out to explore the wild, uncharted waters of Nautilus back in those ancient days of February 2009. Chaos opined that Twenty was indeed particularly well-suited for fowl weather. 🙂

Two months later, Liv Leigh concurred with that assessment; Twenty was her  favorite cruiser back then, too. 🙂 Actually I guess that’s not surprising, since in real life the 12 1/2 was the all-time most popular boat Nat Herreshoff ever designed.

However, I also admit that two years is a very long time in Second Life. Despite loving care and multiple upgrades, it was inevitable that Twenty‘s brightwork would begin to fade, it’s sails would sag, and the slats on Twenty‘s wooden hull would start to leak.

In 2011 it was therefore time for TCY to go back to the drawing board, to re-think, and to do justice to the memory of Herreshoff’s little gaff-rigged wonder. That effort now gives rise to a great, new boat that launched yesterday: Trudeau Twelve.

Trudeau Twelve

If you know Trudeau boats, you know Jacqueline Trudeau rarely does anything by half-measures. Months of planning, redesigns, and beta trials were involved before she let T-12 get anywhere close to a launch ramp.

Kudos to Kip

No surprise, Bunnie Mills was there in the planning, busily crafting the Tru-Sail canvases that give life and performance to the latest vessels in the TCY fleet. 🙂
However, this time Kip Zabaleta also came aboard to assist. Kip knows the Herreshoff 12 1/2 very well, and shared his detailed, critical eye throughout Trudeau Twelve‘s development.

How helpful was that? 🙂 Well, here’s a random snippet from one of Kip’s critiques of an early version of T-12:

“…The cleat on the afterdeck should come forward a bit and should be smaller. The foredeck extends aft under the coaming as you have it, but assuming the mast is stepped in the right place it should come only just to the mast. On the rudder there is one pintle & gudgeon below the tiller as you have it and another near the bottom of the rudder, not three. If you put a boot-top on the rudder, it should be on the hull as well. …”

There were many revisions… and Kip’s comments breathed the soul of H12 into the spirit of Trudeau Twelve. Woots!

However, recreating a classic boat in SL is no easy matter. A shipwright can’t just copy the RL dimensions and resize it all. That never works. A good boatbuilder must always provide the perception, the unquantifiable ‘feel’ of a particular sail craft.

I’ve talked a lot about this before; I actually think I got hooked on SLSailing one night in December 2006 when racing Trudeau Defenders. Cory Copeland was sitting right on my stern trying to pass, and I suddenly heard this huge WHOMP! as his boom swung over in a downwind gybe.

I recognized that sound and ducked reflexively, nearly falling off my chair in the process…  I got up laughing, and decided SL Sailing might have a future. 🙂

Each Trudeau release since that time carries a sense of realism and emotional authenticity that’s very hard to define. Trudeau Twelve is not a “copy of some real boat;” rather, Twelve is an homage, an emulation of a great piece of sailing tradition that’s intended to make you smell the sea and feel the splash. It’s intended to make you smile, too.

[So Fair Warning: Do Not Sail This Boat if you are prone to sea-sickness 🙂 ]

Sailing Trudeau Twelve

Bunnie gives Kent and Jane a ride

Trudeau Twelve may seem compact and rather unassuming at first glance, but wow, it comes full of goodies.

It carries a skipper and crew of three comfortably, and has different hiking animations for the port and starboard positions. It’s a Trudeau, so all the crew can work together and help sail. You can let your friends take the helm, or even let them borrow your T-12 when you are not around!

Of course you can change the colors and the sail alpha, but the settings notecard lets you do far more; you can adjust the avatar sit positions, the tiller action, the primary camera angle, the communication channel, and how the boat uses racewind.

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Do you want more? OK, the boat is fully mod, so you can personalize the hull and sails. Texture templates are available to make that pretty easy. The boat also comes with several HUD options, so you can sail T-12 the way you want. (Oh, and don’t forget to give a copy of that HUD to all your friends!)

As usual, Trudeau is all about the details; half the fun is finding the features you missed on first look… There are dozens, but here are a few:

—  Clicking on the deck cleat will deploy a mooring ball and line.
—  The boat comes with a separate ‘Camera HUD’ that let’s you easily toggle between different views of the boat.
— Typing “/1 real” or “/1 app” switches between RWA and AWA displays
— When under power, the inboard engine emits ‘exhaust fumes.” 🙂
—  Saying “/1 tent” deploys a cover over the cockpit so you can take a nap (Of course the bedding and sleep poses miraculously appear).

—  Clicking the lantern under the tent even turns the light on! 🙂

Trudeau Wind

This point is new, and deserves special mention.

The Trudeau Wind system was based on the original conventions set by Kanker Greenacre for the SLSF Wind Setter and the Flying Tako. Without going into details here, that meant that in past boats the ‘Trudeau boatwind’ direction coordinates were different from the “WWC” wind standardly used by most racelines. That doesn’t mean much for cruisers, but it was a bit problematic for serious SL racers.

Well… that issue is fixed. Trudeau boat wind angles for the latest versions of T-One, LCat II, and the new T-Twelve now match the map compass coordinates; life just got easier for Trudeau racers. Thank you to Joyofrlc Acker, Bunnie Mills and Diamond Marchant for their insight and help on the Trudeau wind adjustments!

(The differences between Trudeau Wind and WWC is actually a complicated topic, and it deserves its own discussion here in a future post.)

Twelve Performance

A good deal of thought, discussion, and trials went into the Trudeau 12 performance adjustments in an effort to faithfully transmit the experience of sailing a multipurpose, full-keeled, beamy little boat. I think T-12 succeeds rather nicely.

The chart below shows curves for boat speed as a function of  apparent wind angle using real wind speeds of 5.0m/s and 8.0m/s. The boat has considerable inertia, and it will take you many seconds to reach a steady-state maximum speed at any given point of sail. However, once you’re underway, if anything, the boat is a bit too speedy. Traveling upwind it reaches maximum velocity at around 50° AWA,  and the speed over ground at that point is nearly 60% Real Wind Speed.

T-Twelve’s peak performance is considerably faster than the old T-20. Although the boats handle very differently, T-Twelve’s performance is more comparable to T-ONE, and both boats are considerably quicker than the nimble Leetle Cat II (well,  at least in my hands 🙂 ).

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The chart also shows points for ‘winged’ sails (jib on the wrong side) when sailing downwind. that curve actually underestimates the effect, since it doesn’t show headings over 160°. Similar to earlier TYC boats like T-20 and the Knockabout, you can anticipate a winged boost of roughly 14% at 150°. That then increases to over 30% at 178°!

The next diagram to the right plots boat speed vs both AWA and RWA, using a constant real wind of 8.0m/s.

As the boat falls off  from head-to-wind, the sails quickly fill and the boat takes off around 40° AWA (which corresponds to 62° RWA).

I suspect with quicker breezes and more adjustments, the best upwind VMG for this boat will turn out to be somewhere between apparent angles of 34-38°. Other skippers are far better than I am at tweaking speed out of their boats though! Let’s see what they find! 🙂

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The next chart shows the effect of skipper hiking position on boat performance at various AWA, using a constant real wind speed of 8.0 m/s.

Hiking can have a big effect in T-Twelve since the boat holds four people, and they can all switch sides to balance! Even with just a skipper aboard however, the diagram above shows that moving to the windward rail can cause a big boost to upwind performance.


Four months ago I wrote an article about changes in Trudeau Reefing. I was critical of the old reefing system in boats like T-20, since it wasn’t realistic and lead to new problems. I praised the new reefing system in Leetle Cat II, however, since it kept the boat from capsizing in strong breezes and excess heel.

But T-Twelve is a very different boat from LCat II. LCat is a spry little cat-rigged centerboard racer.  It’s super-tender, and unless you’re pretty careful, the boat will flip over with even a moderate gust. By contrast, T-Twelve has a full keel, a beamy hull, and considerable ballast. It’s hard to knock it down, and if you do it will spring right back up. So how do you model ‘reefing effects?’

Trudeau came up with a great  answer, that nicely parallels what happens in real life. With excessive wind, T-Twelve won’t capsize. However, when the lee rail dips underwater, the cockpit floods and the boat nearly stops dead; it’s swamped!!

In T-Twelve, reefing the main will keep you from swamping in high gusts. 🙂

Take a look at the chart below.  It plots boat speed for a single 60° AWA heading for increasing Real Wind speeds. The blue bars show that between RWS 4.0-9.0 m/s, an increase in wind speed results in a faster boat speed. However, at around RWS 10.0 m/s that relation starts to fail, and wham! With a wind speed of 12.0 m/s the boat speed suddenly collapses,  and the boat is nearly dead in the water.

The same thing happens in real life when you heel so far over that the coaming dips below the surface. You suddenly find yourself sailing a bathtub that’s  full to the brim. 🙂

How do you fix that? Well, by keeping the boat level! If you look at the red bars on the chart, you can see the effect of reefing in T-Twelve. Since reefing shortens the sail, it’s no surprise that the boat goes slower until you’re hit by a truly strong gust. If you’re sailing the boat solo upwind and are trimmed correctly, a gust of 12.0-13.0 m/s could knock you dead (and soak your jeans in the process). If you reef, you can keep going. That’s why you reef in RL too!

If you’re a real sailor and don’t like thinking about ‘wind gust numbers,‘ don’t worry; it’s more fun, and actually more accurate, to just watch the lee rail in your T-Twelve. I swamp the boat when that damn rail dips below the waves… and I love it!

OKOKOK, as usual, although I have lots more to say about this great little full-keel cruiser, I’m talking too much again and not sailing enough!

Go stop by Trudeau Classic Yachts and find out for yourself!! 🙂

bunnie dunan joro chaos jane

Come Sail with Us!

Huge Kudos to Surfwidow Beaumont and Charlz Price for “Come Sail With Us,” the new video to promote sailing in Second Life!

It’s fantastic! 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Sail With Us project is designed to introduce new users to sailing, and to encourage the current large group of crusty, online Old Salts to get out of the bars and back on the water cruising and racing! As Surf describes, the video was produced:

…in association with Charlz Price who supported the video of the J-class with Jane.
We have put together a homage to the history of sailing in Second Life – Sail With Us! – from Takos to Big Cats to protests to Fizz and much much more – to be used to encourage people to sail in Second Life. You can stream it in world using this URL in your media parcel too – this is specifically crushed down to stream at 768kbs mp4 QT format in media parcels (like the BBC iPlayer format so most broadband connections in world can view it without it stuttering and sticking and choking their otherwise already overloaded connections speed just coping with Second Life textures as they move. 😉

Go visit Surf’s blog and Youtube Channel for more!

One World, First Final

After eight weeks of qualifying rounds, four teams converged on Plum Gut sim on March 5th to compete for the Championship of the ONE WORLD Regatta. The tallies for all four boats were tied with perfect ‘4.0’ low scores, based on their four first place wins out of the entire eight-race series.

The name of each Finalist Team is listed below, followed by the starting crew (in red). I’ve also added the names of the backup crew that would substitute in case of a crash (shown in blue). Those team members not racing in the Finals are shown in black.

Alain Gloster, Suzi Siemans

Bunnie Mills, Seraina Benelli, Dunan Wilder, Kentrock Messmer*

Armano Xaris, Viciously Llewellyn, Inge Loening

Momomos Netizen, Bunta Beck, Noodleqt Exonar, nobuko Criss, Liv Leigh

(* note: Kentrock withdrew from KENOBI to host the Finals at FIYC.)

Hay Ah served as Finals Race Director, with support from Kentrock Messmer. Silber Sands lead the Judging Committee, and she was assisted by Amythest Wingtips, Chaos Mandelbrot, LDeWell Hawker, Maryanne O’Hare, and Soro Dagostino. Naeve Rossini and Quirky Torok did the play-by-play commentary in both Group Chat and by Radio Broadcast.

Four races were held, using courses cunningly crafted by Kentrock. Each course was designed with a fleet lap time of approximately 15 minutes. Using a standard low point scoring system with one discard, the boat with the best showing at the conclusion of the Finalist four race series would be declared victorious.

The First Race course was primarily a windward-leeward trial with an additional reach leg that took advantage of the island layout. Although “F1” seems a fairly straightforward, smallish course, the one-sim wide waterway and the cluster of islands in the southeast corner of Sugar Reef turned the race into a real tactical challenge. In practice trials, sailors passed each other from different directions through narrow channels trying to gain room, and hoping to garner advantage. Kentrock built an exciting racetrack! 🙂

Hay Ah and Silber Sands met with the fleet just prior to Race 1, resolving any last minute issues and questions. The sailors were all pros, and knew the drill; the First Finals Race began right on time.

Here’s the three minute video of the Prestart, courtesy of Hawk. Since this was still Race 1, all four teams were getting their sea-legs. They gave each other ample room, and there was little evidence of aggressive maneuvering that might provoke a foul, or push an opponent over the line early.

However, as the clock ticked away the last thirty seconds before the gun, all four boats  converged in the SE quadrant of Plum Gut, preparing to make a Starboard Close Haul dash for the Line. Kenobi was no-nonsense and Ready to Rock. In less time than it took to put SPF 50 on your nose, They broke ahead of all the competition and adroitly set a razor-sharp heading for the starboard end of the Startline. Bunnie cut the line with  jackrabbit speed at 00:05, a full six seconds ahead of Momomos Netizen and his SVC-472 team! Eureka and FIYC were still drinking coffee, apparently, and a tad tardy. 🙂 They crossed the line together, a full 27 seconds behind Kenobi! WOOT! The race was off!

courtesy of Dil Spitz

If you look carefully at the images above, you can see that although Kenobi has the lead, SVC had windward height as they both start beating to the first mark. In fact, Momomos was right on Kenobi’s stern, and he therefore prudently decided to hunt Bunnie’s lead boat, looking for any opening to pass or block. SVC-472 and Kenobi actually stayed glued together for much of the remainder of the race, as discussed below. Although much further back, Eureka also decided initially to continue on starboard. (Well… at least for a while. 🙂 )

Armano Xaris was skipper of FIYC, and bringing up the rear. I imagine he found that a pretty unusual position. 🙂 In most regattas I’ve followed this past year, Armano was leading the pack;  but this time he had to play catch-up! My guess is that Armano thought fast and decided to change tactics: he broke to Port just as he crossed the line. In both the J-Classic Finals and the 2009 Fizz qualifying races, an early port-tack strategy paid off big-time for late starting boats. It looks like Armano did his homework!

In fact, on their way to the top mark the four boats all ended up using different strategies that put them on different courses. It’s a huge tribute to Kentrock’s course design. 🙂

I’ve diagrammed below the routes  the four skippers took to reach the top mark.

As I mentioned above, Momomos was actually hunting Kenobi, so both boats followed a nearly identical path. That route was set by Bunnie, since she was in the lead. I’ve shown their path in Red above.

Bunnie actually set a pretty gutsy course. She decided to hit the top mark on a minimal, three tack approach; she was hoping to ‘shake off’  Momomos from her tail in the process. However, to pull off that kind of juggernaut would take enormous skill, ice-water nerves…  and more than a little luck with wind shifts. Team Kenobi had absolutely zero room for error.

Take a look at the two images above; they mirror the boat positions show in the preceding diagram. As shown in A, in order for Kenobi to thread the needle and make it to open water in Breakers Point sim on the second tack, Bunnie needed to take her first tack to the extreme, aiming as far West and as high to the wind as possible. That meant she couldn’t turn until she was right at the mouth of Bar Harbor Channel, and sitting on top of the Flat Hammock/ Bar Harbor sim edge in a multi-factorial crash zone. 🙂

Watching her do this, at I first thought Kenobi had crashed; the boat was way over a reasonable tack point. I then saw their strategy and grinned… I saw Sean Connery do this before.

Anyone remember the movie Hunt for Red October? The Russian captain with the Scottish accent makes a gutsy, late tack that out-maneuvers the fleet chasing him and also beats a torpedo on his tail!

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Bunnie and Seriana pulled off the Red October late turn too, but in Race 1 they couldn’t shake Momomos. He followed right behind them in lockstep. However, SVC-472 lost a few seconds while adjusting to the audacious Kenobi tactics, and those few seconds cost a good deal on the next leg;

(and besides, both Eureka and FIYC were still planning their moves).

But that story needs to wait until tomorrow! 🙂


Added March 16, 2011:

When we last  left off in this tale of wind-driven derring-do, all four finalist boats were beating toward the top mark. KENOBI was in the lead, with SVC-472 on their stern.

Both boats followed identical courses. In the left image below, you can see they both tacked high enough to set a new course on Port that would take them straight through the narrow channel east of the islands. EUREKA had no such luck; Alain and Suzi crossed the Start line considerably further west of the lead boats; that means EUREKA ran out of water  sooner and were forced to come about to a lower, Port close haul. That course wouldn’t clear the channel, so Alain opted to avoid the channel entirely, and sail to the mark in Breakers Point by setting a course that went clockwise around the lighthouse in Sugar Reef.

FIYC was headed in that direction too. You’ll recall that Armano immediately made a short Port tack after crossing the line, and then flipped again back to Starboard, setting a long upwind course. That can be a smart option in the race waters of Sailors Cove, as shown in the images above. When Armano converged again with the fleet, FIYC was on Starboard, and the rest of the fleet was on Port. FIYC had right-of-way, and Armano had potential to cause considerable mayhem. 🙂

However, as you can see in the image on the right side of the figure above, the damage was slight. EUREKA was forced to make a momentary course change to stay clear, but FIYC passed well astern of the other two boats.

The figure above shows the different courses used by the boats to reach the yellow mark in Breakers Point. In the far distance you can see KENOBI nearing the turn, with nearly a half-sim lead over SVC-472. FIYC and EUREKA  are coming around the Light, approaching the mark from the Sugar Reef side.

The images above show the boat positions several seconds later. In A, you can see that KENOBI’s already rounded the yellow buoy and is now looping back  toward the second mark, narrowly missing FIYC’s stern in the process. In B, you can see KENOBI’s stern leaving the sim before SVC-472 even makes the turn.

Surrounded by clean air, fast sims, and open water,  there was no stopping Bunnie and Saraina. They threw KENOBI into overdrive and never looked back, building a remarkable lead over their rivals. The image above shows KENOBI two turns later heading for home!

However, the battle for the #2 spot was not over yet; SVC-472, FIYC, and EUREKA were all still in sparring range of each other.

The image to the right shows momomos Netizen and Bunta Beck aboard SVC-472 with spinnaker flying, holding  a commanding lead over both FIYC and EUREKA.

Those large parachutes can throw a serious shadow blanket however, and with each tick of the raceline clock both Armano and Alain used it to close the gap on SVC-472.

Wow! The last two sims proved to be one of the most exciting finishes of any race in the two month series! By the middle of Flat Hammock, FIYC and EUREKA closed the distance separating them from SVC-472.  All three were now fighting for the Runner-Up spot, And there were barely a few boat lengths to go.

It was time for Alain and Armano to make a move and try to push Armano out… As shown below, the boats suddenly split from stern-shadow stations and set anew courses in an effort to pass Momomos and try a Hail Mary dive for the Finish line…

The crowd on the Anchor Cove Blimp gasped in a fury of excited bad-typing and poor-grammar as they watched the ultimate drama play out on the ocean below…

Personally, I had no idea which of this fantastic four group would win Race One, but I was pretty sure of two things:

1: Alain and Armano had the right stuff to beat anybody, anytime… and
2: Nobody  in a sailboat in Second Life was ever going to push Momomos around. 🙂

Grin… Three good friends exploded across that finish line together, and momomos captured the #2 slot by a whisker (within Hisenberg uncertainty, of course 🙂 ).

Actually, Naeve Rossini announced it best to the crowd in Group Chat:

Naeve Rossini: The gap has closed between FIYC and SVC. There could be a place change here.
Hay Ah: oooh exciting !
Naeve Rossini: Overlapped approaching the line.
Naeve Rossini: Looks like SVC still has the lead by a boatlength.
Arabella Luminos: wouuah
Hay Ah: Runner up: momomos Netizen   IDJIRA ! Race time: 00:14:08
Hay Ah: #3: Armano Xaris   IDFI01 ! Race time: 00:14:10
Hay Ah: #4: Alain Gloster   IDAG64 ! Race time: 00:14:17
Naeve Rossini: Oooooh! The difference is less than the height of a fashion model!
Jane Fossett: WOOTS Great Finish!!
Arabella Luminos: ahahha Naeve
Naeve Rossini: Exciting finish! Great sailing all around!

So at the end of Race #1 we all learned two things… that everyone probably already knew.
– The first bit of knowledge was obvious: KENOBI was fast and flawless, and could win this regatta…
-The second was just as clear: SVC-472, EUREKA, and FIYC all had the right stuff to face up to KENOBI, and there were three more races to go.

The judging staff for the Finals under Silber Sands’ direction was pretty excellent (how excellent, you ask? Well, Jane had no vote. That seemed excellent to me! 🙂 ) However, at the end of Race #1, the judges had an inside bet going…

I haven’t looked up the exact words, but it was basically:

Those three boats won’t let KENOBI do that again in Race #2….”

Let’s discuss that next time. 🙂