Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cruising in Style: The Loonetta 31

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Motor Loon’s Oceanic Mk 1 was the buzz of the SL Cruising Crowd this past month. Although it was Loon’s first official sailboat release, Oceanic received uniform praise from cruising captains who were impressed with the accuracy of the build and the humor and innovation incorporated in the vessel’s design.

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As I mentioned before, none of this was surprising. Loon’s land vehicles are well-known and highly respected; it was about time he put on sailing gloves and hit the water. 🙂

Anyway, Motor Loon is back with a new cruiser!  It’s the L00netta 31, and it debuted as a hot Sail4Life auction item during RFL Weekend.

Well, if you were not lucky enough to win a Loonetta at S4L, it’s now available at your local boat dealer. Go take a look and give it a test drive; as a contemporary midsized cruising sloop, I think Loonetta sets a new standard for features and quality of construction.

Built by Loon

The Loonetta is “100% Mesh.” Mesh construction offers a series of advantages over traditional prim or sculpties. Loonetta shows what this can mean for sailboats; it packs a huge amount of content into the 32 prim limit for SL vehicles.

Fire Broono’s pimped-out Looneta

The boat weighs in at 32 prim, and it has a ‘land impact’ of 32 PE (That’s good). Despite that tiny number, Motor Loon describes the boat as “chubby;” Loonetta is loaded with features that simply didn’t fit within a smaller hull footprint. 🙂

The image below shows what you’ll find in the cockpit. The helm includes a central binnacle with an adjustable wheel for the skipper. A bench extends around the transom, providing lots of space for crew and friends. In fact, the boat has sit positions and appropriate poses for over thirty passengers!

There’s a flip-up gate built into the transom that opens a swim platform on the stern, and a two-piece gangway hatch forward that leads into the cabin. The detailing for the winches, blocks, lifelines and railing is all pretty remarkable considering the boat’s 32-prim throw-weight.

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An owner can modify the boat’s colors and textures easily using a pop-up menu, as shown below. It took me less than 5 min. to change the stern flag, the hull hue, and the boat name. On many other boats I usually end up spending that much time just trying to isolate the correct transparency layer to place a new graphic!

The hull is solid, and mesh construction means there are none of the typical sculptie-mismatch troubles frequently seen with other boats.

There are a few notable exceptions. The rudder and keel are apparently phantom. As you can see in the images below, the keel passes through submerged barriers, and the boat only grounds out when the hull itself hits something. That means Loonetta can successfully manage nearly all of SL’s shallow waterways without concern. 🙂

The fenders are also phantom, so be careful. Even with the bumpers deployed, you’re going to scratch the gelcoat if you hit something. 🙂

A more interesting ‘mismatch’ occurs at the waterline.  Loonetta’s hull has a graceful convex curve, but the actual ‘collision mesh’ for the hull appears to extend straight down from the deck to the water. In the image below I’ve turned my boat on it’s side, and I’m standing on a physical platform that’s resting against the hull at waterline level. You can see there’s a significant gap between the visible hull build and it’s effective collision zone. This should only be noticeable when the boats in drydock; I can’t think of any way it might impact sailing.

Speaking of drydock, if you rez Loonetta on land it automatically sets up a jack stand cradle, and it shuts off sailing scripts in the boat. 🙂  Be sure to check out the cradle and folding propeller; they are things most sailors never look at, but in this case they are extraordinarily well crafted, and evidence the care Loon put into all the details for this boat.

Cabin Comforts

Ok, Loonetta is a cruiser, so let’s look at what the boat offers below deck.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s a working, two-piece hatch that opens the gangway from the cockpit to the cabin. Sailors (including the skipper) use an easy pop-up menu to go from topside to a large host of sit-positions and poses down below.

If you’re detail-oriented like me, be sure to look closely at the yellow arrows in ‘B” in the picture below and smile. Those are the philips’ head screws connecting the cockpit trim to the bulkhead. 🙂

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Below deck you’ll find a spacious cabin with a center, folding table surrounding the mast.

There’s also a full galley on the port side, with three cooking animations! The Loonetta frying pan and spoon I’m holding are courtesy of Blackbird Latte; when you get your own Loonetta, ask BB for the cookware! 🙂

On the starboard side of the cabin, there’s a traditional nav station and electrical panel. Click on the radio and you get SL Coast Guard updates! I should also mention that the cabin is quite bright, with multiple windows and a working forward hatch. As shown below, you can close each window with a single click, and a click on the door next to the nav station opens the head. The bathroom is fully stocked as well, and comes with three personal hygiene poses. 🙂

Cruising isn’t always fun; there are lots of chores, including engine maintenance. Luckily, Loonetta’s engine is easy to access. As shown below, you just need to lift the gangway stairs. 🙂

Want more evidence for the level of detail Loon’s added to this boat? Take a look at the switches next to the gangway (red arrows below). There are two, allowing you to separately control the lights in the forward and aft cabins. (Nice touch!)

Speaking of illumination, of course Loonetta comes equipped with the standard set of running lights you’ll need for safe night passages.

And yes, there’s an aft sleeping cabin under the cockpit that’s spacious enough for two. Once again, Loon’s packed in multiple poses and sit positions for those overnight sailing trips. 🙂

Did I mention this boat is 32 prim? I think Loon’s build within that tight limit is pretty miraculous. 🙂


Loonetta is powered by a main and jib with a modern Bermuda rig; There’s also a self-adjusting optional spinnaker that can provide an extra power boost on downwind points of sail.

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Underneath it all is a basic, no-frills BWind engine, and the heads-up display shows only essential info about heading, wind speed, and boat speed. The boat is very easy to sail, and there are few details any sailor needs to learn before taking the helm.

This simple design seems appropriate, since Motor Loon intended Loonetta for cruising, not racing. The boat doesn’t use a WWC raceline windsetter, and there’s no “Race ID” command. These omissions are intentional, since Loonetta is all about fun within a realistic sailing emulation; this boat accomplishes that goal quite nicely.

The boat shares a great feature with Loon’s earlier Oceanic. A skipper can easily transfer the helm to another sailor aboard. Since Loonetta has so many live-aboard features, it’s easy to imagine that most skippers will be happy to pass the wheel to another crew member. 🙂

Here’s a chart showing boat speed as a function of real wind angle, with a fixed wind speed of 15kt. The green dotted line is Oceanic, and the solid blue line is Loonetta. As you can see, both boats have nearly identical performance, and a skipper can anticipate a boat speed that’s more than half RWS over a wide range of headings. Adding a spinnaker gives an appropriate downwind boost of about 10%.


The Loonetta 31 is Motor Loon’s latest interpretation of a modern, mid-sized cruising sloop. The mesh build is quite remarkable, with content and craftsmanship that set a new standard for contemporary boat design in SL. The boat is easy to sail and modify, and it’s loaded with fun features and animations.

The sail engine is BWind, and Loon’s intentionally kept the handling simple, with the needs of a casual cruiser in mind; that seems a wise decision. However, let me emphasize there’s nothing ‘casual’ about the care and quality that went into this vessel. Congratulations Loon, and thank you for a remarkable boat!

Sail4Life Raises $2.34M Lindens For Cancer Research

click to enlarge – Taku and Jane sail in the marathon

After several months of clamor, commotion, and kiosks, on Sunday July 15, SL’s Relay for Life closed its doors for 2012 and ran the final totals.

The Sailing team has always been a strong supporter of RFL, and this year was no different. At the time I’m writing this, Sailing4Life raised an unofficial total of $2.34M Linden, placing it near the top in the list of SL fundraiser teams. Click on this and take a look:

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During the final two days, a large part of the sailing contributions came from proceeds of the S4L auction. Many great items were on the auction docket, but the highest winning bids went for a series of very hot new sailboats. Several were so hot, they were still in beta-release on Auction Day.  Here are a few highlights:

 Although he Ktaba Teleri MX hit the water just a few days ago, the S4L Edition caused a spirited bidding competition that turned into a real show-stealer. 🙂 Equinox Pinion, the co-owner of Fruit Islands, won it with an incredibly generous bid of  L$58,580.  Please give her a standing ovation, but then keep standing; several other great sailors made similar auction contributions and deserve your Woots!

The VO-70 Ocean Racer by Kain Xenobuilder is still in beta, but it’s mesh build  looks pretty wonderful. Charlz Price, the owner of Triumphal Yacht Club clearly agreed. He won the beta with a winning bid of L$58,205 !! Thank you Charlz!! (Now when can we all get a ride on that boat?) 🙂

Loonetta 31

Ronin Zane bellied-up to the beta-boat bidding board next. 🙂 He picked up two pretty fantastic beta boats that were launch-ready on auction day. Ronin won the Quest Melges-24 for a bid of L$20,150 and stayed around to get a Loonetta 31 for L$32,000. Nice work, Ronin!

Possibly the ultimate demonstration of beta-boat bidding belief came from Blackbird Latte, though. He contributed a whopping L$25,200 for the first production release of the Trudeau Glorianna, a boat that wont launch until 2013! Woots, Blackbird, welcome to the Gloriana Beta Team!!! 🙂

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Of course, there were many, many more wonderful donors over the weekend. To make sure I don’t miss anyone, here’s the official tally of winning bids from Chad Sawson:

don Berithos sailing marathon

Chaos reaches for VO70 wheel

Item – Winner
ACA 33 Racer – Drake India
ACA 33  Light – Equinox Pinion
ACA 33 Micro – Greythistle Twine
ACA 33 Tiny – Neill McCullough
Beach Song Powerboat – Laycee Deed
Cigar NP40 Yacht – Dudebar Scorpio
Epi Sailboat Decals – Lyr Lobo
Euro Helecopter – Zack Vedrina
Hardcore Offshore – Francois Jacques
Jangars – Ronin Zane
Ktaba 20 – Equinox Pinion
Loonetta 31 – #1 Smuth Resident
Loonetta 31 – #2 Ronin Zane
Loonetta 31 – #3 Francois Jacques
Miss T Offshore Powerboat – Kain Xenobuilder
NY 30 #1 – Shadow McConach
NY 30 #2 – Greythistle Twine
NY 30 #3 – Michaelz Market
Peggys Point Light House – Chaos Mendelbrot
Quest Melges 24 – Ronin Zane
Schokker Dagger – Corie Charisma
Silverstorm Car v1 – Giini Starfall
Silverstorm Car v2 – Fancy Beorn
Silverstorm Car v3 – Ronin Zane
Trinidad Bay Light House Chaos Mendelbrot
Trudeau Beta Team – Blackbird Latte
Turbo Beaver Airplane – Sunshine Zhangsun
VO70 – Charlz Price
Water Falls – Equinox Pinion

In total, the auction brought in an additional  L$418,700 in donations, advancing Sail4Life into the top handful of fundraising teams for 2012!

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Nice Work, SL Sailors!

And Super Job, Francois Jacques!!
You pulled together an auction list the SL sailing-world drooled over!

Wolsey Raceline

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For well over two years, el Megro (emmanuelmara) and Marina Sport Racer Sailing Club have actively promoted sailing in Corsica. One of elMegro’s long-standing requests has been for Linden racelines in Corsica’s continental waterways.

Well, persistence often pays off, and the Linden Department of Public Works came through! Come sail the new raceline in Wolsey!

Kudos for this new addition also go to Armano Xaris; he noticed that Wolsey sim had been re-parceled to permit a raceline, and agitated that we should do something about it.  El Megro was off-line at the time, but that didn’t stop us. 🙂 In under five minutes we had a raceline running in North Corsica; Chaos Mandelbrot even changed his Leeward plans to route the Tuesday Cruise fleet through Wolsey to show it off!

El Megro has a host of ideas for Wolsey, so you can expect map dispensers and new races there pretty soon. The last time we chatted, he was deciding on a committee boat!

Sail Corsica!

2012 Relay For Life Weekend

For each of the past eight summers sailors have joined together to support Relay For Life, Linden Lab’s major charity initiative to fund cancer research.

As part of Relay, different user groups across the grid divide into community teams. The teams each hold fundraiser events, and it all leads up to a blow-out weekend in July, held on a set of Linden sims designed for the purpose. This year RFL weekend falls on July 14-15. (That’s right, it starts tomorrow!)

SLSailing’s team is named Sail4Life, and this year it’s leaders are Chad Sawson, Aislyn Keynes, and Fancie Beebee.

With their agreement, this year several sailing clubs “jumped the gun” on RFL weekend and held early S4L events in May and June to build up enthusiasm for RFL.

In these pages, I’ve recently talked about the FIYC Poker Race, the NY30 Solstice Challenge, and Benny’s Woodstock, but actually there were many more events; I’m sorry I could not cover them all. However, it made no difference whether a fundraiser was large or small; after all, $20L is $20L, whether it comes from a loud, mega-event or from a late-night personal donation in memory of a loved one, dropped into a distant kiosk in a solitary, waterside sim.

It’s all for a common purpose, we are all together.

I’m mentioning all this because Relay For Life weekend starts tomorrow, and as soon as it opens you’re most welcome to pile in to the RFL sims. There will be things to buy and fun stuff to do, and at the S4L installation you’ll find a host of boats up for auction!

OkOk… I know you’re thinking you probably already own too many boats, or maybe you own the whole fleet… 🙂 You worry this boat auction will be a big yawn.

Well, sportsfans, guess again!

Francois Jacques hand-picked the boats going to auction this year, and that means you won’t be disappointed! In addition to three new Trudeau NY30’s (including one donated by Laycee Deed), you can also bid on the ultra-brand-new, meshy Ktaba 20 Teleri MX I talked about a few days ago, and the latest version of Caf Binder’s ACA (it’s that one with the fresh paint smell). 🙂

And woots! that’s just the beginning…. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Quest’s heatbreak beta, the all-time favorite unlaunched racer touted by Orca and Noodle… their boat-to-die-for … 🙂  

The Quest Melges 24

will be up on the auction block! Kids, this is your chance to own hull #001!

OH… Yikes, I almost forgot… 🙂 There’s another boat I need to shout about, but maybe you can guess. You know the worst-kept secret in the big-boat Ocean racing community? Yup, its Kain Xenobuilder’s VO70 !!!! 

Well, you don’t have to stand in line drooling, wondering when you can get one of those Xeno Builds. Kain kindly donated a beta to Francois for the Auction! Geez, FJ knows what to ask for, and that means some lucky bidder will get to know this incredible boat before it ever launches!

I have a lot more to say about auction stuff, but maybe I’ve said too much already…  See? I told you this Auction was going to be fun. 🙂

Let me turn the microphone over to Chad Sawson at this point, he’ll tell you how to get a mooring rental slip at SFL’s sim! To give you a flavor of what he’s talking about, I’m inserting pics from past SFL installs; click on them for a full view. 🙂

2012 Sail4Life Relay Weekend Boat Slip Rental Donations

As part of the 2012 Sail4Life Team’s efforts to raise funds and help eliminate Cancer, we will be renting slips for boat owners and builders to display their pride and joy(s) and take part in the water sim activities at the 2012 Relay for Life of Second Life event July 14th & 15th.
Boats may be rezzed and housed all weekend long and will be on display for all those circling the track during the relay weekend. You can drop by anytime and take your friends out for a cruise or participate in the 24 hour marathon sail. All funds received will go directly to the American Cancer Society to help their world wide effort to fund ongoing research and eliminate Cancer.

Who Can Participate?
Anyone that owns a boat, power or sail, that is within the size parameters defined below. Those registering for a slip will be accommodated on a first come first served basis and assigned slip numbers sequentially.

Boat Size Limitations
We have set up two different slips for rental. Class A/1 and Class 2/3. Please see dimensions for each type below.

 Class A/1 – Max Length Overall: 20 Meters; Max Beam: 4.5 Meters
Class 2/3 – Max Length Overall: 33 Meters; Max Beam: 6.5 Meters

Slip Rental Minimum Donation Amounts
Class A/1: $1,000 L$
Class 2/3: $1,500 L$

Requirements for Participation
All Scripts MUST be disabled while moored. Scripts should only be enabled when the vessel is in use. When moored at it’s assigned location all scripts must be deactivated.
Centering and Alignment – While moored, the boat should be aligned with the appropriate X or Y coordinate of their assigned slip number plate to insure everyone has ample space between vessels.

How to Register
Just Go Here! (Cut and paste to your browser)

Here’s a candid pic of Jane at the S4L dock bar, back in 2008…
It was great fun! Let’s hope 2012 is better! Woot! 


Havok and Pathfinder Upgrades Go Online

During 2008, I made several posts discussing SL upgrades to its Havok physics engine; one of those articles is reposted here. Well, since that time SL’s gone through several more server upgrades, and they’ve had variable impact on the sailing community.

However, this week a big upgrade was anticipated for both Havok and Pathfinder. Tasha Kostolany and Motor Loon wrote a great summary of this issue and how it could impact sailing. They predicted a ‘Hell Week‘ as the installation progressed sim-by-sim across the grid, beginning Wednesday or Thursday.

Well, thank the Leeward Cruisers for their wisdom planning this week’s cruise for a Tuesday night. There was a great crowd and a long, fast route. Very few boats crashed on the long way from Atanua to Knaptrackicon, and the party at DYC was pretty fantastic. 🙂

However, as Loon and Tasha predicted, Wednesday was another story. I was concerned about the upgrade, so as soon as I logged in Wednesday I went to ANWR where I usually test boats, and I rezzed a mesh Teleri.

Well, Loon and Tasha called it 100% right.  My boat was fine in the rez sim of Suffica, but as soon as I tried to sail south, I slammed into a brick wall on the ANWR border (see below left). After maybe five minutes trying to enter the sim, I sort-of succeeded (below right). However, I lost total control of the boat, the Teleri lauched skyward, and I eventually got bounced back to the prior sim.

Sigh; ok. I understand this primarily effects Mesh boats and it will take time to upgrade the grid, but it wasn’t too healthy for the other sailor in the same sim with me either; she was sailing a Tetra 35 and turned green with nausea. 🙂 Hopefully with some patience we can all make it through this transition as it goes live during the upcoming week.

(Cough… anyone for golf?)

Atanua Marina

Over the past two years, the Linden Department of Public Works has greatly expanded the opportunities for mainland sailors. In Sansara, they upgraded Sea of Fables with new racelines and content, and then added roughly three dozen new coastal waterway sims to provide Bay City with both North and South passages to sailing areas in East Sansara and Heterocera.

The efforts in Nautilus have been equally impressive, with the development of Dire Strait, a new passage to Corsica, and the addition of many coastal waterway sims at strategic points to make extensive cruising possible.

Leeward Cruise July 10 2012

Satori (aka the Southern Continent,  the Japanese Continent, or Mãebaleia) is now getting attention as well. Satori, like Gaeta (and I suppose like Australia too) has few inland waterways, and it’s coastal routes were cluttered with impassable builds. Well, that’s slowly changing as new water sims are added on both the East and West coasts.


Leeward Cruisers applauded this change and made several excursions to Satori in recent months. Well, on Tuesday July 9 LCC’s at it again with a cruise that will start from the Atanua Marina and end at DYC in Knaptrackicon.

Kudos go to Abnor Mole for his very nice Atanua Marina build that will be LCC’s Tuesday launch point. It’s located in the Northwest corner of the sim, and it’s horseshoe-shaped, with a large, protected dock area facing south.

The rez point is thoughtfully done as well. It encloses the entire marina area, but then extends a good distance south over open water. Even a large flotilla should find ample space to stage a start there.

One of the nicest things about the Atanua Marina is the long rez time; autoreturn is set for 30 minutes there, so there’s no need to rush if you need to make last-minute repairs to your boat before you get underway. 🙂

Come cruising with Leeward on Tuesday at 5:00pm SLT, and see if you agree Atanua’s a nice addition for sailors. If you like it, be sure to say thanks to Abnor Mole and Michael Linden next time you see them! 🙂

Takos to the Max

Max Starostin is back!

Max is a founder of Far East Yacht Club, and he’s been away from SL Sailing for far too long. 🙂 Today he announced his first race since he returned to the grid: Takos from the Arafura Raceline. Takos? It hasn’t been THAT long, Max! 🙂 I’m guessing he was just being nostalgic today.

Temi Sirbu, rokuonji Tomorrow, Bunta Beck and Como Canning joined him in Sea of Fables, and just like old times the fleet took off with Max in the lead.

Bunta Beck crossed the line in the #2 spot, and all three boats hung in tight for the beat to the top red mark.

Over the reach leg to Green, Max consolidated his lead and the Sirbu/ Tomorrow team struggled to catch up with Bunta Beck.

Here is Max on the run home; he finished a full minute ahead of the others.

I’m not sure quite what happened to Bunta Beck (the last leg was out of my draw distance), but when the fog cleared it was Temi Sirbu and rokuonji Tomorrow coming across the line in the Runner Up position. Bunta bravely recovered and sailed in 20 seconds later.
Here’s the final damage report:

Winner: Max Starostin ID51 Race time: 00:08:40
– Start: 00:00:04 — Last lap: 00:08:36
Runner up: Temi Sirbu ID13 Race time: 00:09:45
– Start: 00:00:11 — Last lap: 00:09:34
#3: Bunta Beck ID01 00:10:14
– Start: 00:00:08 — Last lap: 00:10:06

In case you were wondering where Como Canning was, I think he slept through the whole thing!

Como Canning

Welcome back Max!