New York State Of Mind

Trudeau launches New York Thirty

Over a century ago, on October 6, 1904 the New York Yacht Club passed a resolution to develop a new one design class for club races. They wanted …a wholesome, seaworthy craft free from freak features.” 🙂

The charge was given to Nathaniel Herreshoff, who in short order came up with a design that met NYYC’s specifications for a 30ft LOW keel sloop. An original set of 18 “Thirties” was delivered a few months later, and the boats were an instant hit.

There were 51 recorded races for the NY30 fleet in that first season!

The boats proved very well-balanced, and gained a reputation for “no-reefing” even in high wind conditions. Affection for the class continued to grow, and even 30 years after its introduction, Gerhardi Davis gushed that the NY30 was:

“…without question the most successful,
as well as the most famous one design class
of yachts ever created.”

Now the NY30 class is more than a century old, but the respect still remains, and the passion of those that sail her burns bright.

How passionate? Well, in 2007 Amorita (NY30 #9) suffered catastrophic damage in a race collision and sank dead away in the ocean under her crew. Amorita’s sailors refused to give her up though, and the story of the accident, recovery, and restoration is recounted in a documentary that will premiere in Newport on June 26.

However, if you can’t make it to Newport this summer, or if your club-racing dancecard is already filled up, no worries. This weekend Second Life’s Trudeau Yachts launched the New York 30 for grid sailors, and to quote Jacqueline Trudeau, it’s “A Helluva Boat!” 🙂 Let me give you some details below.

Body by Trudeau

OK, if you sail in SL, you already know that Trudeau boats are renowned for their real-world accuracy, detail and innovation. The New York 30 continues that long-standing tradition.

Like prior Trudeau builds, this one is not intended to precisely re-create the physical dimensions of the real-life boat. Instead, the goal was to convey the perception of a New York 30, whether you’re sitting on a mooring or under sail in high wind.

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In SL, the boat is good-sized, measuring 47ft (14.3m) LWL. In addition to the skipper, it can carry four crew, and three of those crewmembers can help balance the boat by hiking. As usual, all crew can help trim the sails through shared HUDs, and the owner can share the boat with an unlimited number of friends by listing them on the Settings note card.

Although it only weighs 32 prim, the build is remarkably detailed and full-featured. For example, just take a look at simple fixtures, such as the turnbuckles, stays, and even the mast boot. This vessel was built by someone who knows and loves old boats!

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But don’t stop there; make sure you also check out the jaw on the gaff. It’s a great reproduction of the original NY30 design, as shown in the inset below.

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The NY30 has another, trademark Herreshoff feature: a cabin-top hatch with raised and angled glass panes that catch the light. As you can see in the comparison below, Trudeau got this feature dead-on right as well. Old Nate would be proud!

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NY30 Cabin

For such a low-prim, high performance boat, the large cabin is a real surprise. It contains multiple berths plus ample bench-space.

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The non-sailing animations are all quite nicely done, too. This is a boat you can live aboard!  In fact, compared to the last Trudeau with a non-attachment cabin (the venerable Knockabout), the New York 30 seems rather luxurious. 🙂

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Bump Tests

Okok, let’s get back to the boat-build and kick the tires a bit. 🙂

Since there’s often a mismatch in SL between the visible boat you can see and the underlying shape of the sculpted prims that make it up, I usually do ‘bump tests’ to check the collision boundary for a boat. This usually just entails banging the boat into things, and I admit I’m pretty good at that. 🙂

As you can see above, the bow hits a prim wall when the hull contacts it. The bowsprint is phantom and goes through.

A phantom bowsprint is a feature on a number of other sailboats in SL, and it’s a reasonable compromise.

The NY30 has a huge boom, so you’ll be happy to know it’s also phantom while sailing. In the image to the right, the boom quietly passed straight through the Linden buoy to port.

The bump story gets a bit more complicated when you consider the undersurface of the hull, however. As shown below, the boat hits objects 1-2 meters deep at a point noticeably in front of the visible boat.

The explanation for this is simple. The sculptie hull is based on an underlying spheroid prim, as shown below, and the boat’s collision cage corresponds to that spheroid shape. This should not present any problem when racing or cruising.


The build and textures for New York 30 and other Trudeau boats are fully modifiable. It’s particularly nice for sailors who want to live aboard the boat or personalize its appearance.

A good starting place is the Trudeau website, where you can get PSD templates for the NY30 sails, hull, and nameplate.


The boat comes with two sails, a large gaff-rigged main and a standard-size jib. Each sail can be independently controlled by the skipper or crewmembers using chat commands or the Trudeau HUD.

True to the RL NY30, the boat lacks a spinnaker. However, when sailing a downwind run the jib can be ‘winged’ to add a substantial power boost.

Here’s a chart showing NY30’s boat speed with a 10 m/s breeze at various real wind angles. The results are for a solo sailor sitting on the windward side with both sails trimmed to 1/2 the wind angle. The Red and Black data points are from Jane Fossett, and the Green results are from Bunnie Mills, who independently ran the same tests. The two curves almost perfectly overlap!

The chart shows that NY30’s fastest point of sail is a beam reach with a boat speed that’s 65-70% of real wind speed. Performance falls off as the boats’ heading moves progressively downwind however; at RWA 140° the boat only does 40% of RWS.

Winging the jib (shifting it to the side opposite the main) is a particularly effective way to boost performance on a downwind run (RWA 160° to 180°), increasing boat speed by 25- 50%.


The above boat speed predictions are just guidelines, and are likely only valid for specific wind and crew conditions. There are many other factors that affect boat performance. Probably the biggest of these is boat heel.

As wind intensity picks up, a sailboat tends to go faster. At the same time, the force of the wind against the sail torques the boat leeward,  and the sails become less efficient. As the wind increases further, the combination of hydrodynamic and heeling effects prevents the boat from going any faster, and extreme gusts can even stop the boat cold by swamping or capsizing it.

A similar thing happens in NY30 with increasing wind speed. The blue line in the chart below shows boat speed as a function of increasing wind speed while sailing a fixed RWA. Between RWS= 1.0 m/s to 8.0 m/s there’s a near linear correlation. However, with a skipper sailing solo, beyond that point a stronger wind will just cause increased boat heel but no acceleration. If you add even more wind, the boat will heel so far it essentially “swamps.” Even though the sails are optimally adjusted, the boat stops dead in the water at an extreme angle.

In most new Trudeau boats including NY30 a skipper can counteract this effect to some extent by shifting weight Windward and trying to bring the boat back into neutral balance, as shown in the blue line below. The red line in that chart shows what happens when the skipper sits on the wrong side, the leeward side. Because the heel is more excessive, it reaches a maximum speed sooner and swamps earlier. 🙂

NY30 sails fastest when heel= 0°. With increasing wind however, a solo skipper can’t keep the boat balanced, and in my hands the boat starts to swamp at an angle of 19° to 26°. It should take a real wind speed of 11-14 m/s to see that effect, depending on the relative wind angle.

The graphic on the right shows my point: with RWS= 12 and the skipper sitting lee, NYC30 heels 25° and the boat stalls in the water!! (BS=0.5 m/s).

In prior Trudeau boats you could adjust for excess heel by shortening sail (Reefing). However, in real life the New York 30 is rather notorious for its ability to handle strong weather without a reef, so J. Trudeau removed that option in the SL version of the boat too. 🙂

Trim Tactics

So how do you handle strong winds in NY30?
You luff and spill wind!

The boat stalls when a strong gust causes it to heel sharply, so the best tactic is to keep an eye on the heel angle, and luff your sails to spill wind whenever the heel is excessive. If you spill wind, the boat will upright and you’ll get going again!

Here’s an example below with a strong 14 m/s wind. In the left image the sails are correctly trimmed, but the boat is heeling badly and stalled in the water (BS 0.2 m/s). In the right image, I’ve let out the sheet 20° and the sails are luffing. Despite that, the boat is righting itself and starting to accelerate back on course!

What’s the optimum balance between Luff and Trim? Well, you’ll have to figure that out yourself based on conditions, but I’m guessing the key thing is to watch that heel angle.


Talking about heel is a great segue for the final topic here about hiking the NY30. As any sailor knows, hiking is the cure for a bad heel. 🙂

The skipper at the helm has limited hike options; they can sit on the Leeward or Windward side of the cockpit. Nonetheless, Skipper position has a big influence. In the example below,when sailing a beam reach with RWS 10, the best boat speed (5.3 m/s) occurs when the skipper sits windward and counterbalances the heel. When the skipper sits leeward the heel exacerbates and boat speed drops by more than a third.

The next graphic below shows the magnitude of the impact a skipper has on heel angle. With both sails down and no wind effect, a solo skipper can shift the boat angle by 2.6° in either direction. Since you can’t sail without a skipper :-), sitting on the correct side adds up to a 5.2° heel difference.

I guess 5.2° is important, but a solo skipper can only have a limited impact on boat heel when truly strong winds begin to blow.

Thankfully, the New York 30 is built for active crew that can help sail the boat. In addition to the skipper there three crew stations where each sailor can jump across six unique hiking positions to balance the boat. The graphic below shows a skipper and one crew going through all the positions; you can see the changes in the boat angle for each move.

P-0: Skipper port, no crew
P-P3: Skipper port, crew at Port 3
P-P2: Skipper port, crew at Port 2
P-P1: Skipper port, crew at Port 1
P-S1: Skipper port, crew at Starb 1
P-S2: Skipper port, crew at Starb 2 
P-S3: Skipper port, crew at Starb 3
S-S3: Skipper Starb, crew at Starb 3  

The chart below shows the net heel affect of the skipper and one crew at each of the above positions. It turns out that the skipper affect is roughly twice as great as a crew member sitting in the cockpit, but the crew’s influence gets more substantial as they hike further out. Sitting on the rail (P3 or S3), a crew member influences heel as much as the skipper.

Given the fact this boat has three active hiking positions, a full crew could easily work together to keep NY30 balanced and on course, even under virtual Force Ten conditions.


In summary, I think Jacqueline Trudeau’s done it once again. She’s created a sailboat that brings to life the fun, excitement, and sheer beauty of Herreshoff’s 1905 New York 30.

A century ago New York Yacht Club commissioned the initial Thirty fleet as club boats, boats that friends could cruise together on, or sail off to battle for a few hours on a summer evening at a local race line…

For me the Trudeau NY30 embodies that same sense of tradition and friendly community. The cabin is large enough to accommodate a regatta party, with enough space and animations to let your friends sleep over when they miss the last launch ashore.

Under sail, the boat has ‘team’ in mind. It’s a great sailboat, with many wonderful Trudeau features, but the boat truly springs to life when you fill those three crew spots with friends, hand them sail gloves, and together cast off into a stiff breeze and choppy seas for a few hours of fun.

click to enlarge

Click for a map to Trudeau Yachts

10 responses to “New York State Of Mind

  1. I just saw Taku Raymaker’s post on New York 30!
    Go read it here:

  2. jacquelinetrudeau

    >>So how do you handle strong winds in NY30?
    Or my favorite tactic – leave the boat moored and hang out in the clubhouse quaffing dark and stormies 🙂

  3. It is a very nice writeup. Thanx Jane… and thanx Trudeau for building this. It looks beautiful. Two things got me puzzled… I might be able to understand the phantom boom, but maximum speed at zero heel?

    • “NY30 sails fastest when heel= 0°”
      In other words, on any particular heading the boat is quickest when the skipper and crew hike to keep the boat level (heel=0°). That’s true for NY30, but several other boats in RL and SL accelerate more when under a small amount of heel. Trudeau One and the RL International One Design boats are examples of this point, as I talked about here:

  4. Zactly the point. Given the long overhang It is highly unlikely that a NY30 is faster in upright position.

    • I don’t know the optimal heel for the Herreshoff NY30, and I suspect you may be correct. There’s a good discussion of this issue here for those interested.
      For the Trudeau New York 30, here’s a chart of boat speed under different wind speeds, with the skipper sitting windward or leeward. For RWS>2 m/s, the boat travels faster with the skipper sitting windward, balancing the boat. That’s not true for Trudeau ONE, as discussed earlier. I’ve added that figure below as well. 🙂

      Trudeau NY30

      Trudeau ONE

    • In support of Noodle’s point, here’s an image of Amorita racing, with two crew sitting leeward.


  5. Go read Ralf80 Titanium’s review of New York 30 on the Schiffsratten Blog!

  6. Thank you for that great link on the Rules in the Amorita-Sumurun collision!

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