Daily Archives: March 3, 2011

Quest Q-2M

Last week Quest Marine launched its new Q-2M sailboat, tailored for small-boat club-racing fans. the boat was inspired by the Two-Meter Class monohulls, a popular strain of spare, single-handed one design vessels.

You can learn more about 2 meter class here, but if you don’t have much time, you can just watch the video below!

Vodpod videos no longer available..

The SL emulation is designed by Qyv Inshan.  The boat is small and sleek, and it holds few distractions that might take your mind off winning the particular race du jour.

Although it’s brand new, the Q-2M’s already quite popular in the sailing community. Fruit Islands is planning to use the boat to teach racing skills, and Triumphal Yacht Club just announced a regular, weekly one design race regatta featuring the Q-2M.

Noodleqt Exonar’s posted two highly positive reviews of the vessel as well!

The excitement over this compact racer is justified; it’s a very pretty, inexpensive and highly stable BWind-based boat that holds good potential as a Match Racing standard. Here’s Hawk’s video introducing the boat:

Given the many recent comments about the Q-2M, I’ll try to focus this initial look on a few issues not yet covered by other sailors.

The Boat

Q-2m has a simple, but nicely detailed hull and rig. The boat is mod, so a skipper can easily personalize it. Qyv Inshan plans to make the textures available soon; that should make pimping your Q-2m even easier! 🙂

None of the sculpties in the hull or rig are phantom. That adds to the realism, but also introduces a few typical ‘sculptie problems.’

The figure below shows a couple “bump tests.” In the top image I gently drove the bow into a 1 prim barrier wall. As you can see, even with the sails down the boat hits the barrier nearly 1 meter before the visible bow actually touches it. The lower picture shows that the hull itself isn’t at fault here; with a water-level barrier, the bow comes all the way up to the wall before bouncing back.

I’m pretty sure the Q-2m’s  ‘bump problem’ is due to the sculptie used for the boom. Sculpties often have a ‘collision mesh mismatch’ between the visible shape and where it actually makes contact with other prim. This is a common problem with many boats, and was an issue with the first version of the Shelly.

My guess is that the boom in Q-2m has a collision mesh that extends the same distance on the opposite side of the mast, and it’s that ‘anti-boom‘ that actually hits the wall. An easy fix might be to make the boom phantom when sailing.

Speaking of bump tests, the boat has a non-phantom keel too. As far as I can tell, you’ll need a minimum water depth of 2.0 m to keep from running your Q-2m aground in shallow places.

Sailing the Q-2m

The Q-2m was designed as a solo racer, but it also has room for one guest onboard. The boat’s powered by a BWIND sail engine, and responds to both arrow keys and chat commands. Qyv’s kindly provided a set of gestures with the boat, to make your life easier. 🙂

This boat has a very nice feature: It can use either the built-in, standard BWIND wind or it can pick up settings from a raceline WWC setter. In fact, the boat is fully WWC compatible; that means it can also make use of the wave and current settings programmed into a WWC. The potential options for Race Directors just got a lot more interesting! 🙂

As shown above, the boat has two Info-HUD display modes. One tells you a lot, and the other gives you just the bare minimum. The verbose HUD misses one useful guage: it doesn’t show water depth. If you race around buoys in Blake Sea, that may be ok; but if you prefer places with more complicated geography like Fruit Islands, you may end up running aground a lot on the shoals and shallows!

Adjusting the sails to maximize boat performance is pretty easy in the Q-2m. The main and jib are controlled together by key clicks or chat commands, and over AWA 120° a skipper can optionally wing the jib to enhance downwind drag. If the sails fall out of tune, they let you know with audible and visible luffing effects that seem to work nicely.

Q-2m’s HUD also includes numerical info to help a racer set the optimal sail angles. It displays the real and apparent wind angle as well as the sheet setting, and tells you if you are on port or starboard.  It even reports the “sail efficiency” of your settings! It’s interesting to note that the HUD includes Real Wind Speed, but not Apparent Wind Speed. That probably makes sense however, since AWS is only critical if there’s a reefing option or a risk of capsizing. 🙂

I’m still looking at this boat under different wind speeds and sail settings, but let me give you a crude ‘polar’ using the baseline 15 knot BWIND breeze. The chart above is a graph of boat speed versus apparent wind angle from 10° to 160° (note: the boat wont set a sail angle > 80). Between AWA 40° and 110° the boat will do in excess of 60% RWS, which seems pretty reasonable. It also has a forgiving upwind end; even at AWA 20°, the boat will do better than 30% RWS. On downwind points of sail there is a progressive drop-off of performance with increasing wind angle, which is partially compensated by winging the jib, as shown by the blue curve above.

But why talk numbers and obsess over details of performance graphs?

Go grab a Quest Q-2m and try it for yourself! 🙂