Quest Marine’s Qyv Ishram has the knowledge, experience, and tenacity to design and build high performance racing vessels that meet the challenge of Second Life’s waters. Her new marina in Fruit Islands includes a diversity of well thought-out, nicely detailed sail craft.
Several weeks ago I wrote about one of Qyv’s boats, the Quest Q-2m. It’s a pocket racer that grabbed instant popularity on race courses grid-wide. 🙂 Well, today I’m back to tell you about the latest Quest launch; this time it’s an IACC raceboat, and it’s launch party is Sunday, May 15!
IACC stands for International Americas Cup Class. IACC is what most people on this planet dream about when the words ‘sail racing‘ get mentioned. It’s therefore no surprise I guess that there are several IACC designs built by different SL boatwrights.
The image above shows just a few of the popular SL America’s Cup monohulls. The Trudeau J-Class is not strictly based on IACC-spec, but I included it above since it shares many design features that were incorporated in later SL- America’s Cup race builds. I admit there are several other boats however, including the ACA33 Light that I forgot to add to the image above; the Wildwind ACJ2 is also missing in the above dock line-up, but you can get a great video of ACJ2 v ACA here. 🙂
At some point I guess it makes sense for me or somebody else to sit down and compare all the various IACC emulations. However, I believe they each reflect a different artisan’s view, and each emphasizes a set of particular performance features or regatta tools. I see them as personal visions of each builder; in most cases they are simply not comparable.
In that context, this week’s New Kid on the Block is the Quest IACC, and wow, it’s pretty impressive. Elbag Gable’s sent the launch notices and invitations already: 🙂
OK kids, now let me tell you why I’m now pretty psyched about this Quest creation!
Sailing The Quest IACC
Let me begin by saying that the Quest- IACC is pretty gorgeous. The detailed appearance of Quest’s IACC testifies to the time and care that went into it’s construction. As evidence of all Qyv’s efforts and the time spent in preparation, I received the first betas for this boat five months ago. It’s gone through many changes, and a skipper will be hard-pressed to find bugs on this build! In testimony to that view, the launch hull and sails are skillfully detailed, and the SL-dimensions nicely match the contours of similar IACC builds, as shown in the images above.
It’s worth mentioning one significant design difference compared to other AC boats. The Quest mast is taller than any other America’s Cup build I know, so please be careful when you sail under bridges! (of course, that wont be a big issue if you are a race skipper on defined courses). 🙂
Here’s a big positive issue, though: This boat features many adjustable options. For example, you can change the communication channel, adjust the camera angle, and also fine tune the avatar position. Texture templates are downloadable, so it’s pretty easy to personalize your boat’s appearance. These are substantial new features since my last Quest review, and I love the changes!
Please understand, however, that the Quest IACC has a limited purpose; it’s primarily designed as a solo, match race boat. It may not come with all the bells and whistles you want for group cruising… although I admit it comes with plenty of options. For one example, the skipper/ owner controls the helm, and there is no option to transfer to a new skipper or to share sail control with the crew. However, the IACC does have room for your friends to sail along; there are animated sit positions for two crewmembers that can join-in for the ride!
The boat adds novel options useful for match racing; for example, it can raise flags that identify the IACC as the Port or Starboard boat in a Match Racing pair, or signal a protest!
Quest IACC Performance
Well let me start from the top. The Quest IACC is powered by a Bwind engine, and it comes with many standard Bwind features most sailors will recognize. The single most important feature in that pack might go unnoticed by many, though; it’s stability.
I test lots of boats, and I admit that I’m often intentionally sloppy. I sail with huge draw distances and my Avatar often has a major server drain, so I crash a lot. I’m usually happy to get 30 min and a dozen sim-lenths out of SL before a PTSD-enhancing nautical trauma ensues. Well, that doesn’t happen in this boat. Simply stated, I don’t crash in Quest IACC.
This week I’ve been sailing an old IACC beta from six months ago, alternating with the new-launch version. In many hours of sailing (several hours accompanied by crew), I only crashed three times. I checked in with Hawk on this issue as well, and he agreed: The Q-IACC doesn’t crash… my heavy Avatar just gets left behind on a sim border when I hit a four-corner hand-off. 🙂
Personally, when the SL grid is behaving very badly, I admit I usually whimper and regress to a few boats that I know from grit-experience are rock-stable for me: that list includes T-One and T-12; now, I’m adding the Quest IACC. 🙂
HUD. The boat has a spare, central text HUD display that conveniently announces a wealth of numerical details about the boat’s performance, including heading, real/apparent wind speed and angle, and separate readouts of sail “efficiency” for the main and spinnaker. It may offer more info than you need to know, but personally I take everything I can get. I appreciate the sleek, no-nonsense, quick-updated reporting.
Let me add that the sail-luffing graphic is nicely done and quite accurate. Oh, and the Quest IACC sails don’t just change texture, they actually flap. 🙂
Polar Position. The figure to the right below shows a simple chart of boat speed plotted against wind angle, using just the main and jib.
Typical of many AC builds, too, the boat strongly accelerates between Apparent Angles of 20-30, corresponding to real wind angles of 30-50. Powered by a constant 15 kn breeze, the boat will do a reasonable 10-11kn over a generous expanse of upwind and reach headings, without the aid of a spinnaker.
Did I Mention a Spinnaker? Well, this boat has two of them.
Adapting a spinnaker to boats in SL is no easy matter, particularly if you want to maintain some of the standard conventions from real-life sailing. Different boats in second life use a variety of compromises that date all the way back to the settings for spinnakers on the original Takos. The J-Classic introduced its own set of spinnaker standards a few years ago, and those quickly matured (and simplified) based on the experience of many racers. Many other boat builders adapted the J-Classic standard or alteratively sidestepped the issue by adding a “gennaker” headsail (a cross between a Genoa jib and a spinnaker) that frequently acted like a downsail jib on steroids. 🙂
Quest is working this out in their own way, and deserve huge kudos for that effort; it’s not easy! Qyv’s fitted out the new IACC with two separate spinnakers that parallel the RL sailing options. There’s an Asymmetric Spin that’s adjustable on a broad reach, and there’s a fixed, Full Spin with a fixed setting for use on a dead, downwind run!
Please take a look at the curves I’ve posted above on the right. They show the explosive power enhancement that kicks in when IACC adds it’s Asymmetic Spin. At AWA90° there’s more than a 30% propulsion boost that suddenly kicks in when the sail fills. Since it’s an asymmetric, the “collapse penalty” is less than you might experience in other AC vessels.
So when do you put up the Full Spinnaker? 🙂 Well, at the last possible moment. If you’re sailing the Asym, you can’t trim better than sheet= 80°, which corresponds to a downwind heading of AWA 160°. At least in my hands, with a Full Spinnaker flying, the sheet is fixed at 85°. That could grab you a few hard-won fractions of a knot as you try to inch over the finish line on a dead run! Woots!
Conclusion. This boat is a pretty remarkable boat that holds its own among a fleet of rather fantastic racing vessels, and it comes armed with unique features that give it the potential to “stand out from the crowd.” So go over to Quest, give the boat a test run, and see what you think!
But wait… Did I mention it has its own shadow? And did I say it uses BWind or full WCC wind controls at your choice? 🙂
I’m running into posting limits for this article, so I’ll need to add those features to a later discussion; there’s a lot more to talk about with the Quest IACC!
This is is a nice boat! 🙂