Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sailors Cove Halloween #5 !!

Fanci  Beebe writes:

Join us for a FIYC Halloween tradition!


Friday October 26th 8pm slt.
Sunday October 28th 3pm
FIYC Clubhouse

The War of The Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds that caused a nationwide panic in 1938 as unwitting listeners believed that hostile Martians had really landed in New Jersey.

(Jane adds: These are ‘intelligent aliens,”
but they landed in Jersey?)


Saturday October 27th 2012 7pm slt

Held on the grounds of Nightmare Manor.
If you dare to explore
the grounds and house of this very interactive haunt,
be sure to touch, click and sit on all you see…
ya neva know what you may find!!!

Prizes and Surprises!!!
$1,000 Linden each for Best Male and Female Costume

Tunes of the season and more
Spun by DJ TheBrat from BWoR Radio

This is always a fun Party soooo
Bring your ghoulfriend and invite your fiends
The occupants of the mansion are dying to meet you…


Movies to Chill you to the Core, 2012

Wednesday October 24
Thursday October 25th
Friday October 26th
Saturday October 27th
Sunday October 28th
Monday October 29th
Tuesday October 30
Wednesday October 31

pumpkin djoez theatre 2012

Once again, the irrepressible  Beejee Boucher is hosting a horror film festival in Sailors Cove! The theatre’s set up in Schooner Run, and you can stop by any time. Here’s what Beejee wrote:

This year i am proud that Pumkin Djoezz Theatre is 5 years old, and on its way to become the most evil cinema theatre in the world.
Because of our bone marrow jubilee we have 9 movies instead of the usual 5 but to celebrate the occasion we will show the first 5 Halloween movies.

Line up:
The Omen
The Crow
The Ring (USA version)
Halloween 2
Halloween 3: season of the witch
Halloween 4: the return of Michael Meyers
Halloween 5: the revenge of Michael Meyers

The movies will run 24 hours and between 8-7 am SLT a new movie sill start. All this bloody fun will take place in schooners runcourtesy of head zombi Fanci. Missed a movie, no problem i will run a second screen in Slooters where the movies will continue to run.

In honor of Beejee’s fifth Horror anniversary and Sailors Cove’s wonderful Halloween parties, I thought to repost an article I wrote four years ago about a Halloween sail. Actually, this was just the unpublished draft. 🙂


Fossett Unedited

This article was originally posted to on November 25, 2008


Since I’m away this week, I thought it might be fun to cheat and put up the unpublished first draft of an article I revised and finally posted November 10.
I was about to delete this draft, but thought it was remarkable how different this version was from what I finally posted. That final article was eight short sentances – the “FANCI HALLOWEEN 2008″  section at the end of  the “NEW GUNS“  post.
Literally everything in this draft got deleted when I went back to edit it. Thank god for editing! Since this post is sort of ‘insider baseball,’ I’ll only leave it up for a week while I’m gone. See you soon!


Early last evening I got a call from Vin Mariani, who was munching popcorn over in Quoddy Head sim while watching Night of the Living Dead as part of the horror movie marathon put on by Surf and Beejee. The grit and graininess of that George Romero movie coupled with it’s screenplay full of classic cult lines make NLD a So-bad-it’s-great must-see each year him around Halloween. I admit it, however: this is the first time I have ever seen it in Second Life.

It turned out Chaos was already sailing his Knockabout en route towards the dockside cinema, and I caught up with him in Osprey Reef.  He suggested we take a little detour on the way to get a look at the furthest West points in the chain of 10 sims (see below). He was right; it is right around the corner, but we almost never sail through those sims. Well, we did on Halloween!

We had a great sail that only took a few extra minutes (well,  actually 20 minutes, but it was worth it). It proved easy to tack through the multiple islands that adorned the sims as we moved Westward.  There are shallow spots over there, so pay attention when you cruise through. The Sims were planned with sailboats in mind however, so it’s no problem: the shallow areas are where you’d expect them to be.

I known I’m being redundant, but let me say again that the sims in this region were very attractive at night, even though we sailed through far too quickly to fully appreciate all the region has to offer.   Go back and take a look for yourself!

Points of Interest for the Accidental Tourist: Memories of Bulia

As you move from East to West at this latitude, take a look at the map above. You pass a series of rather diverse landmarks. For example, just before you reach the border that defines the entry into USS-West you’ll see an impressive island with notable vertical bluffs off to starboard. That’s the Medici/ White Residential Compound located in Union Passage Sim (where it sits under the watchful eye of the Osprey Coast Guard Station immediately to the South). Give a loud WOOT! to SYC’s Rear Commodores as you pass bye!

Right beyond that you’ll see the USS Bulia Historical Sim-Site, commemorating the day the Lawson Landing/Sailors Cove Estate linked waters with USS this past summer, freeing sailors from the oppression of arbitrary and capricious sailing barriers that emerged following the Great East-West Schism.

Great Wall dividing East and West

I recall the events of that Great Day with crystal clarity… Marktwain White, his jaw set and his eyes resolute, standing confident and tall at the helm of the SYC Committee Boat. Nothing unusual; just another routine day in USS-South. However, a bare heartbeat later the lazy harbor mood flipped upside down and burst electric when MTW spun the wheel with deliberate force, bringing the nose of the SYC command boat sharply around to a new bearing that pointed dead West.  Even before the boat completed its pivot to the new course, Mark’s left hand found the engine controls, and pushed them to the limit,  locking both throttles wide open. Suddenly unleashed, the dual outboards responded with a ferocious roar and the props dug in. For a tiny fraction of a second the boat seemed motionless, and I could see it pitching aft as the props torqued, looking for all the world like a lion on its haunches prepared to spring. During that instant, Mark’s right arm stretched forward, index finger calling out his target: The Bulia WallEnough was enough; no more discussion. Today that wall was coming down.

Then the image vanished as the boat lept forward with the force of a rocket sled, the cavitating props Rumors implicate young MTW in the Kong wall-breach incidentcovering the scene in an envelope of exploding salt-spray. I heard Chad mutter to himself  ”Dang… He must have tuned up those engines last night… Did he buy that script in Texas?” Heads bobbed in silent agreement with Chad, as we watched the SYC boat lunge forward with all the force MTW could coax out of his pre-mono SL vehicle algorithm.

Let me tell you, Mark never wavered from that due West course, and he slammed that boat straight dead center against the rocks at the base of the Bulia Wall, riding the shattered remains of the boat’s cockpit a full quarter of the distance up the incline of the much hated, but heretofore impenetrable, Barrier separating USS from the world to the West.

The deafening noise that erupted from MTW’s audacious assault immediately resounded across the entire grid, and sailors everywhere turned their attention to Bulia, their facial expressions betraying a shared sense of wide-eyed shock and awe.

no animals were injured while writing this post.What those sailors next witnessed will, without doubt, go down in the annals of SL Sailing folklore and legend. Mirabile dictu, high over the West horizon the crowd suddenly saw Patrick Leavitt’s seaplane descend from the clouds, haloed in the reflection of the morning sun. The crowd gave out an involuntary gasp as Patrick pitched the plane’s nose into a near vertical dive aimed  at the West side of that despised Bulia Wall, and as he picked up speed he calmy selected an impact point precisely opposite the place where MTW was now comfortably standing, waiting for him.

Legend has it that Patrick used his estate-owner superpowers to channel the combined force of Sailors Cove’s more than two dozen sims in an attempt to reach a theoretical critical CPU temperature threshold needed to melt wall prims off the server. Patrick never acknowledged that rumor; his spokesperson offerred a writen statement saying only that each of us must be willing to take those steps necessary to confront and end divisive tyranny wherever it occurs.

However he impelled that vehicle, Patrick adjusted his angle of impact with precision; the high velocity collision that resulted put a really bad scratch mark on the west wall prims, while bouncing Patrick out of the plane’s cockpit to safety on dry land at the base of the wall. You may ask where Patrick acquired the skill to pull off such a hazardous trick? Well, background research at reveals incontrovertible video evidence that Patrick had  practiced this precise suicidal collision maneuver in the Big Cat Cup Races, where he repeatedly bashed his Z-40 catamaran into the EOW. On more than one occasion he sustained a concussion and was knocked totally out of SL!  When I saw him do this again and again, I admit I thought Patrick was just clumsy or had a slow learning curve. Now we finally know the real story. He was practicing a secret mission to help rid sailors of despotic navigational tyranny!

So you may wonder what happened next; MTW was on the East side, Patrick was on the West. I have it on very good authority they both clambered up to the top of that awful wall, the wall that divided sailors against their will, and Patrick and MTW announced Never Again in barbershop harmony. In a message of hope and determination that still rings loud and clear to this day, they together pledged an end to the wall and they vowed to fight any future effort to obstruct open waterways or free communication in the sailing community.

I know that sounds like a tall order, but have some faith. As soon as they put the bullhorns down, I’m pretty sure they noticed it was getting late, so they turned around and asked Fanci and Nber to call the concierge to get LL to haul away the pile of broken toys littering the passage way. Then, arm in arm, they trundled off to lunch, another job well done.

[Please Note: If your recollection of the above events is different than what I just described, please DO NOT e-mail me. We all know that eye-witness testimony concerning long past events is notoriously unreliable, and after painstaking personal reflection, I’m absolutely certain my version is at least 31% accurate.
Anyway, if it did not happen as I reported, then it should have. Beside, it’s my version, and I’m sticking to it!
If you want objective proof, you’ll have to wait for the movie version.]

Points of Interest for the Accidental Tourist: Further West

Meanwhile, back at our sailing tour of Southern USS-West, the next point of interest is the German language Schiffsratten Yacht Club, located in Tiga sim.  Going fairly quickly, it took us about 20 minutes to cross through all of the Sims to the West as shown in the diagram above and then make it back to Tiga so we could start heading North. If you decide to cruise through this region I’d suggest leaving 40 – 60 minutes for the tour, since there are so many places to dally along the way.

Well,anyway, remember Vin? He was still at the movies watching the original NLD. Chaos and I actually made pretty good time sailing, and arrived someplace in the middle of the film when the blonde girl from the graveyard (a.k.a.”Johnny’s sister“) has an acute delusional anxiety episode. That actually happens a lot in the movie, and her character is so useless it’s hard to generate much compassion for her sorry plight.  Actually, the thing that has always bothered me most about her over the years (and yes, I have thought about this) is the fact she never takes off her raincoat through the movie.  It makes sense that she is wearing it in the graveyard when they get attacked, but when they go into the farmhouse she never takes it off. I know, I know, you think that’s a pretty small item… well, after you see the movie 20 times you notice those things. (To paraphrase John Waters: “Let’s watch that move again, but this time let’s just look at everybody’s elbows!”).

I mention this issue here because after 10 minutes Vin, Chaos and I had settled into the chairs and flipped from skipper-mode to movie fan-mode well enough that we all suddenly shouted “Take off the raincoat!!!” in unison.  🙂 Actually, I guess that’s no real surprise. A race crew lives for that kind of teamwork!!

Eventually, of course, we knew it was time for us to move on, since we were already late for the Halloween party Fanci Beebe and Patrick Leavitt  were throwing a on the sim just South of where we were currently eating popcorn.  I guess I should also mention that Chaos was all set for the party. he left his foul weather sailing gear at home, and  has sailed all evening wrapped up as a mummy, “Tiny Version.”  I have to admit it.  When it comes to the “undead,” Chaos Mandelbrot was pretty impressive.

Haunted Mansion in USS-West

The only thing that really bothered me was the fact he continued to decompose all evening long.

Anyway, we made a dramatic appearance at the sim. I took the helm for the first time that evening and made a perfect hockey-stop right at the center of the dock.  Of course nobody paid any attention, so we climbed out of the boat and walked up the winding path to the dance floor.

NOTE: Draft #1 abruptly ended here when I reread the post and realized it totally fell off the tracks around the second paragraph…. 🙂

Two bit reality

Today I spent more time than I had time free; I was trying to track down a sailing promo. I didn’t have much info, but the promo graphics were great.
I got frustrated, and kept thinking:

“Dammit, is this regatta RL or SL?”

Wow. I then realized that was the point. 🙂
Last week I finished six years of virtual sailing here, and frankly that realization was the best birthday present I could have imagined.

“Is this regatta RL or SL?”

Well… we are not there yet, but if the grid ever actually works, I’d love to reply:

“Hey, What’s the difference?”

Sansara Raceline Redux

Click to enlarge

Here’s an updated map of the major Sansara waterways showing the locations of Linden racelines across the continent, including the new Sulu line. I’ve also added a 5814×3614 version of the map here.

There are now three Linden racelines in Sea of Fables, and three more lines on Linden water in Sansara’s Mare Secundus (Margery sim), Mowry Bay (Hepurn sim) and the ANWR connector (Suduffco sim). There’s an additional, privately funded raceline operated by Free Adriatic in Grant. It’s open to the sailing community, and I need to write more about it soon.  Rikki Reichmann is in charge there; she took over from Joepie Korobase and Francois Jacques, and she’s kept the faith. Talk to Liv, or actually talk to Rikki if you want to know the story. 🙂

Anyway, two years ago there were numerous discussions, JIRAs, and open meetings with Lindens concerning Sansara sailing issues. The end result was very nice; it actually far exceeded what sailors originally asked for. In fact, all of the racelines I just mentioned above were either installed or upgraded as part of that Sansara Sailing Refurb two years ago. The racelines were only a tiny part of the many additions and content enhancements that benefited sailing.

Legacy Lines

Two years is a long time however, and the new Sulu raceline was a good opportunity to take another look at the Sansara racing hardware. 🙂 Today I just want to talk about the racelines, but I’m sure people have other issues as well. 🙂

The image sequence to the right shows three racelines I want to focus on; they date back to May 10, 2010. Two and a half years is a long time in SL, but I’m pretty sure the lines have aged gracefully. Yuu Nakamichi did the scripting and he was pretty good at it. 🙂

However, here’s the problem. When I showed up to try out each of these race lines this week, I dropped a boat on the line and had it thrown back to me. The error message said: “Parcel is full.”

Actually, this is a known raceline issue. Lines are usually placed on their own parcel so they can be endowed with unique permissions. No surprise, those parcels are pretty small and tend to be rather long and narrow. That means the default prim allotment for the raceline is meager. In principle that’s not such a bad idea, since it saves resources and limits potential for exploits and griefing.

Here’s the parcel detail for the Margery raceline in Sansara; the other two I noted above are similar. The Margery parcel can accommodate 105 prim but it turns out the line installation eats up nearly all of them, leaving only nine prim free for sailboats crossing the line! It’s no surprise I couldn’t rez a boat on that plot!

The Fix is In

There might be many solutions to this issue, but I think there’s only one obvious, best fix. Today the Adriatic and Margery lines got “update therapy” with a dose of Hay Ah’s current raceline remedy. The new installations weigh in at a mere 25 prim. In Margery that leaves eighty prim free for crossing boats. 🙂

There are more advantages, of course. For example, the two upgraded lines can now network with all the other lines in Fables and Mowry Bay; that will increase the options for a variety of distance races and point-to-point cruises. 🙂

As of the moment, ANWR‘s raceline is the only line not upgraded to the system. The parcels are more complicated there, which is, maybe, appropriate.

ANWR is where SL Sail-Racing was born; it’s the old Tako test track. The spirits of Kanker Greenacre and the Kazenojin still inhabit those waters, and it could well take a few more days of meditation to encourage those parcels to update. 🙂

In the meantime, go try out the upgraded lines in Adriatic and Margery, and then stop by and visit all the great sailing sites in Sansara! 🙂

Sailor’s Cove Does Halloween 2012 !!

In the immortal words of Fanci Beebe:

 They’re baaaaaaaaackkkkkkkk!!!!!!

From ghoulies and ghosties,
Long-leggety beasties,
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us.


Please keep the following dates on your calendar open;
the Gorey Details for each event will follow soon!

*** Friday October 12
(but please feel free to come by and watch us moving in.. more added daily)

FIYC Halloween 2008

*** Saturday October 13th 1pm slt

*** Friday October 26th 8pm slt & Sunday October 28th 3pm slt

*** Saturday October 27th 7pm slt.
Prizes for best costumes and more

EVERYONE WELCOME!!! Bring your friends!!

**** Event Details to follow*****

Chaos Steps Up to Lead Sail4Life 2013

After running the most successful fundraising campaign in Sail4Life history, today Chad Sawson and Aislin Keynes officially announced they are handing over the leadership baton to Chaos Mandelbrot. Chad and Aislin wrote:

Taku Raymaker

Cap’n Chaos

Greetings Sail4life Team!
2012 was another record breaking year. The Sail4Life team came in 4th in the overall team standings and raised just under $10,000. for the American Cancer Society. We should all be extremely proud of the hard work we put in and of the generosity of the sailing community as a whole.
So, it is with reservation and sadness that Chad and I hereby announce that we are retiring as Captain and Co-Captain of the Sail4Life team. We both feel it’s time to turn the helm over to someone else. The great news is that Chaos Mandelbrot has agreed to step forward and take on the captains role. We are sure that he will do a fantastic job.
We have truly enjoyed working with the community over past years, made some remarkable life-long friends and, had tons of fun along the way. We won’t, however, be far away. We have both been in discussions with Nikki Mathieson regarding positions on the main Relay for Life of Second Life committee. So, we’ll still be around to answer any questions and offer any advice as needed.
We would like to thank all the team members, our beloved auction item providers and, everyone that stepped up to assist or support the team. We also encourage those taking team lead to keep the American Cancer Society’s mission in focus and be sure to HAVE FUN!
Fair Winds & Best Regards,
Chad Sawson and Aislin Keynes

Please give a loud woot and a standing ovation for Chad and Aislin, for their years of dedication to SLSailing’s major charity drive! Congratulations to Chaos as well; we all know he’s the Emperor Penguin, but now he’s S4L Team Captain too. 🙂

All kidding aside, running S4L is a big job, and Chaos will need lots of help from sailors, boatwrights, and maritime estates grid-wide. The campaign wont kick-off until Spring 2013, but I know Chaos would like to start planning now to get his ducks in a row (as it were). 🙂

So if you’d like to help organize, or if you have a great idea for a fundraiser, or if you want to coordinate with S4L to host your own major event, drop Chaos Mandelbrot a note!

Oh, and I already have one big announcement about S4L 2013; RJ Kikuchiyo has offered to build next year’s Sail4Life installation for RFL weekend in July! RJ is without question the most outstanding maritime architect in Second Life, and thinking what he can do with a year’s head start gets me so excited it’s hard to type straight. 🙂

I’ll post more details as they develop, but go ahead and talk to Chaos about it yourself too. This is your Sail4Life campaign; become a part of it! 🙂

SULU Raceline

click to enlarge

There’s a new Sulu raceline in Sea of Fables. Samlara Vintner and Slanty Uriza advocated for one near the “Three Pines – Come Sail With Us” resource center in Owasco, and the new line in Sulu seems to fit the bill. 🙂 The line is intentionally short (40m) for small boat races, and it has a 45 degree orientation, facing Southwest.

Sailors can rez boats nearby, either at the Sailing Center or in a Sulu rez zone just West of the line. The rez parcel has a green-yellow buoy in the middle.

One small detail: In order to install the line it was necessary to pull two yellow buoys that formed a race ‘gate.’ This should not be an inconvenience though, since the new raceline can also serve as a gate, and it has roughly the same orientation and dimensions.

Oh, and Kudos to Hay Ah for making sure Sulu got the newest raceline hardware. Hay tells me she even has a solution for the ‘undeletable racewind notecard‘ problem! If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry; Hay’s got it covered! 🙂


Mesh Shop VO-70 Gets Fifth Upgrade

“Dutch” Xenobuilder launched the Mesh Shop VO-70 several weeks ago. The boat’s modeled after the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Racer, and it offers a host of innovative features that include a new, proprietary version of the BWind 2.5 sail engine.

After the VO-70 launch, many skippers gave feedback to Dutch to enhance the boat’s features and performance. Dutch appreciated the input, and he is incorporating several of those ideas into a series of updates for the boat. The articles I wrote about VO-70 were posted just after Update 2. Well, this week Dutch released his VO-70, Update 5. Let me tell you what’s changed over this handful of tweaks!

Immanuel Kant

Here’s the short list of update features since the launch:

1. The sail engine (the boat’s polar) got a steroid injection. Compared to the original release, the new boat is much faster; it more closely matches the performance of the real Volvo Ocean Racer and Corry Kamachi’s earlier VOJ-70.

2. The iPad windsetter was enhanced. A skipper can now adjust the intensity of gusts and shifts, and there’s a control for ‘drift’ as well, although that feature’s not operational yet.
There’s also a new chat command, “give ipad” that makes the controller even easier to use.
Free copies of the iPad are available at The Mesh Shop for RD’s who want to coordinate races but don’t own the boat yet. 🙂

3. Manual CantThe VO-70 has a canting keel that helps counterbalance the boat under strong wind conditions. The update adds a Manual Cant option that lets sailors take charge of the keel angle in eleven steps from port or starboard. There’s a modest gain in boat speed when the cant is optimized.
The daggerboards on either side modulate keel lift and their action is linked to balance the cant angle. In VO-70 the daggerboards are automatically deployed.

4. The HUD display had an upgrade. The HUD now includes Apparent Wind Info, Sheet Angle, Keel Position, and Heel.

5. The Crew HUD has more options. The new extra HUD lets crew members switch between gennaker and jib, adjust the sheeting, and also set the manual cant position. Sailing the boat becomes a real team effort.

6. Another authentic texture set was added to the user kit. In the launch package, Dutch already included textures for each of the 2012 Volvo race teams. As part of the upgrade series, he’s added the designs for the ABN*AMRO team; they have more wins than I have space to list here.

These are all great new updates that all enhance the VO-70’s potential as a fleet racer in SL. Let’s hope there are more to come!

VO-70 Design Contest

Speaking of design textures, The Mesh Shop, Triumphal Yacht Club, and Marbella Nautical Shop have just announced a fun competition for VO-70 sail designs.

Pimp your VO-70 ride for the judges, and you may win:
—a new race boat,
—a $1500L shopping credit, and
—professional texture packs for your boat!

You can get all the contest details here. The final judging and announcements will kick off on Saturday, October 13 at 1:00pm, hosted by Triumphal Yacht Club!

In Re: Noodle’s Fizz

Fizz 0.9 on the water again! (click to enlarge)

Noodle had a nice post yesterday on her Logbook, talking about the pleasant places a sailor accidentally discovers while cruising. She also observed that sailors find old versions of their favorite boats tied up to docks in those out-of-the way spots.

I admit it; it’s nice to think those past hulls are afloat and still in service.  Those sturdy craft faithfully carried us across innumerable faulty sims, even when the weather report announced Small Craft Warnings, and the Charts showed we were headed straight into the eye of a Dubious Server Upgrade Candidate.

I always hoped the old versions of my boats lived on, sort of the way race horses retire to a bucolic pasture and live out their remaining years in stud service. 🙂

Anyway, Noodle posted a picture of Fizz 1.0. That got me looking for the oldest Fizz I had in invenory, and I came up with a Flying Fizz 0.9 from Early December 2007. I’m pretty sure it was a beta, and I’m guessing other people have even older versions squirreled away someplace. 🙂

Anyway, the discussion to Noodle’s post focused on the history of the Flying Fizz, and the boat’s evolution from modest beginnings to Fizz v3.x, which remains the iconic fleet standard of a modern dinghy racer. I thought that was a good excuse to dredge up an article from 2009 that talked about the innovative Fizz 3, back when the boat still had that fresh-paint smell. 🙂


The following article was originally posted on May 13, 2009:

Fizz Cup 2009 Begins


A Plum Race

This past Friday the curtain went up on Act I of Fizz World Cup 2009.

Bea Woodget’s touch was evident everywhere, and the organization and execution of the first round of races in Plum Gut was flawless in its detail.  Even the sims behaved; the races I attended were low lag, with mercifully quiet border cossings and few crashes within the competition fleet.

This is the second year for the Fizz Cup, and Bea’s goal this year is to develop a World Cup regatta infrastructure that could expand into other one design classes and serve as a template for future, major sailing competitions. It’s a great idea, and you can see the elements of this longer strategy throughout the Cup’s Notice of Race and in Bea’s thread on

The excitement over this year’s Fizz Cup has been pretty electric in recent weeks, and the registration for the competition broke all past records for a sailing event; over the next several weeks 60 sailors will compete  with each other in the  initial series of qualifying races hosted by many of the Second Life yacht clubs. Those skippers that emerge victorious from that grueling ordeal will then face each other in “Silver” or “Gold” final rounds  that will determine which sailors take home the cup for 2009.

The qualifying series will follow a format similar to Fizz Cup 2008. However,  if you think this year’s regatta will be anything like last year, you may want to think again! Friday’s remarkable sailing performance by the fleet in Plum Gut was nothing like last year’s racing for one, huge huge reason: this year’s cup skippers are sailing Mothgirl Dibou’s newly-released Fizz 3.

Fizz Ontology

The Flying Fizz first hit the water in second life in January, 2008. Even before its launch, however, Moth’s little racing dinghy  had captured everyone’s attention.  It was a major advance over the venerable Tako, and one of the first sailboats designed completely independent of Kanker Greenacre’s sailing scripts. The Flying Fizz wasn’t just a “Tako makeover;” it was a qualitative leap forward that gave the sailing community  a glimpse of the future.

That early version of the Fizz changed over time. As with any radical innovation, following it’s initial release the boat went through a blizzard of quick bug fixes and upgrades, and in some ways the boat was still a work-in-progress during the World Cup 2008 race series that took place that Spring. I am not complaining about the Fizz 2.x, however;  that earlier boat captured the heart and imagination of the sailing community, and the 2008 Cup drew us together.

A large fleet of skippers participated in the 2008 qualifying rounds , and they sailed  Fizz 2.x’s with a skill that approached joyous audacity.  The term “Fizz Fanatic” became part of the SL lexicon and was hardly an exaggeration.  Last year’s Cup was was was a roaring success, and the largest and most diverse sailboat competition in Second Life history up to that point. The Fizz 2 was a big part of that achievement.

fizz2008 prestart stallHaving said that,  as I watched the Cup 2008 races and tried to reconstruct the tactics employed by the many skippers, I was impressed that Fizz2 still had a ways to go before it accurately modelled small boat racing. Many of the strategies skippers used in the competition were not RL race strategies. Sailors often chose tactics that played off the unique features of the new boat, or exploited “bugs”  to enhance their performance rather than  focus on sailing skills.  The most obvious demonstration of this point  occurred early in the series, when it became clear that a number of sailors were legally using a design glitch (pumping the tiller) to go faster. Moth fixed the problem and upgraded all the skippers in the middle of the race series.

I think the newness of the boat and it’s many features had a somewhat paradoxical impact.  On one hand there was no question that the Flying Fizz was a major advance over the Tako, with user features and performance designed intended to make the racing experience much more like real life. However,  if you go back and watch the Tako Cup 2007 videos, one can make an argument that the Tako races actually came closer to real-life competition, emphasizing sailing knowledge and strategy.

Boat Handling vs Sailing

In real life sailboat races, the skippers jockey their boats for position with each other, using and often pushing the Rules to gain advantage. It’s not about the boat per se; it’s about sailing.  In that spirit, Tako Cup races involved frequent protest calls, and many of those issues and discussions where pretty identical to what any sailor hears at a  RL regatta. The emphasis on strategy and tactics was clearly present during the Tako Cup pre-starts too, where skippers jockeyed for an advantageous start position so intensely that the Cup committee approved optional real-life start procedures to ensure a fair race.

In contrast, the Fizz Cup 2008  competition often seem to focus more on a skippers ability to handle the complex boat and maximize its performance; it was more about the boat than about sailing. I know many people might disagree with that assessment, but I think that interpretation partially explains why Fizz skippers made far fewer penalty calls in their Cup races last year compared to their Tako counterparts. It may also explain why many Fizz sailors essentially abandoned the usual dueling that typically characterizes the pre-start of a race. During those two minutes, the Fizz skippers frequently sailed a short distace back, neatly lined up their boats and read the newspaper, waiting for the precise moment to turn on the gas and make an all-out run for the startline. I’ve never seen that strategy in RL.

Please, I’m not complaining. The races were exciting, and the competition showcased the zeal, intelligence and ability of a race fleet drawn from all corners of the SL grid, manned by sailors from RL locations that spanned the Globe. The Fizz 2 platform demonstrated its value, and gained wide popularity and acceptance as SL’ s most advanced one-design standard for small boat racing.   However, although Fizz 2.x was a pretty marvelous technical achievement, it still fell short of the goal to construct a progressively more accurate emulation of real-life sailboat racing.  I’m sure that Mothgirl Dibou would phrase it differently, but it’s my understanding she saw this problem too. She took all the feedback and observations fromseveral months of Fizz2 racing… and went back to the drawing board.  Eight months later, Fizz3 was born.

Fizz2009 Plum Gut Racecourse

Now We are Three

Fizz3 is far, far more than a technical upgrade to last year’s boat.  In many ways, it’s another quantal leap ahead. Moth didn’t just make another technical tour de force; she went beyond that, designing a dinghy that responds to the concerns I listed above and incorporates the perception, handling, and the “feel” of a real-life raceboat.  Those issues go way beyond “scripting.”   I don’t know quite how she did it, but I suspect it has something to do with sweat, toil, frustration – and Moth’s love  for the project. The new Fizz3 is another big step in sailboat development, and the boat is so alive and real that many sailors  have flip-flop intense reactions to it, sometimes wanting to hug and kiss the boat…   while at other times in frustration wanting to drive a wooden stake through the boat’s heart. (Grin… just like real life sailing!)

I’m telling you this story because Fizz Cup 2009 is sailing the new Fizz 3. The races promise to be radically different then we witnessed last year, and the comparison will be fascinating. Last Friday in Plum Gut we got a look at the opening act, the Fizz 3’s debut in Cup competition.

That list of whiny compaints I made about the 2.x above? Well, forget ’em. The races on Friday were way beyond a technically sophisticated computer game. On Friday those skippers were sailing. It was pretty wonderful. Let me tell you about it.

FIZZ2009 MAY8 6AM-Start copy

shinobi Woodget gives the fleet a free lesson.

I only have time to tell you about the very first race in any detail, but for me that race tells the whole story about how this competition is shaping up, and why it’s different.

Tim Warrhol, macro Nacht, shinobi Woodget, Odissey Rossini and Alain Gloster all matched wits and sailing ability in that race heat, sailing a simple upwind/downwind sausage-shaped course. The first figure above shows the race start, and from the first moment all those watching could tell this regatta would be very different from 2008. As you can see above, during the countdown the competition fleet actively milled behind the line, aggressively vying for position and advantage over each other. Tim Warrhol got so excited he hit the line several seconds early, and capsized while steering strongly away. He made a rapid recovery, however, and never fell any distance behind the pack.

The second frame above shows shinobi Woodget in the lead a few moments later, followed by macro Nacht and Odissey Rossini. They are all lined upon starboard tack, beating to windward. Shinobi is slightly lee of the other boats, a good strategic position crossing the line but riskier on this first leg if another boat gets close enough to shadow. Luckily that wasn’t the case, and the image below shows the fleet following the first tack, now all on Port. Macro’s in the lead below, but that’s deceptive. Shinobi is following a more windward line and ‘has the height’ to give her better control approaching the yellow mark.

FIZZ2009 MAY8 6AM-055 copy

As shown in the Top Mark figure below, she plays it beautifully, stealing macro’s wind and falling off just enough to kiss the yellow buoy and leave it to port. Her setup is so good she enters the two-boat ‘zone’  alone, but the rest of the fleet is on her tail. The yellow arrow below is Alain Gloster’s  bowsprint!  All five boats were converging on the mark  in very close order!

Good Old Rule Eighteen

In the lower frame a few moments later you can see that Alain has swung wide to the starboard side of the buoy to give the two lead boats room;  they both have right-of-way.   It’s a little messier with the two boats at the back of the pack, however. Odissey and Tim Are neck and neck going into the zone, with Tim in the lee position.   Under Rule 18, Tim must now give Odi room to pass the mark.

FIZZ2009 MAY8 6AM-064 top mark

Since the zone is about to become a busy place, this is probably a good time to remind everybody of Rule 18’s wording, as accepted by the Fizz Cup committee for this regatta:


18. When overlapped, inside boats have Right-of-Way at marks, NOT including starting line marks.

In rule 18, room is room for an inside boat to round or pass between an outside boat and a mark or obstruction, including room to tack or gybe when either is a normal part of the manoeuvre.
18.1 When This Rule Applies
Rule 18 applies when boats are about to round or pass a mark they are required to leave on the same side, or an obstruction on the same side, until they have passed it. However, it does not apply
(a) at a starting mark surrounded by navigable water or at its anchor line from the time the boats are approaching them to start until they have passed them, or
(b) while the boats are on opposite tacks, either on a beat to windward or when the proper course for one of them, but not both, to round or pass the mark or obstruction is to tack.
18.2 Giving Room; Keeping Clear
(a) OVERLAPPED – BASIC RULE: When boats are overlapped the outside boat shall give the inside boat room to round or pass the mark or obstruction, and if the inside boat has right of way the outside boat shall also keep clear.
Other parts of rule 18 contain exceptions to this rule.
(b) OVERLAPPED AT THE ZONE: If boats were overlapped before either of them reached the twolength zone and the overlap is broken after one of them has reached it, the boat that was on the outside shall continue to give the other boat room. If the outside boat becomes clear astern or overlapped inside the other boat, she is not entitled to room and shall keep clear.
(c) NOT OVERLAPPED AT THE ZONE: If a boat was clear ahead at the time she reached the two-length zone, the boat clear astern shall thereafter keep clear. If the boat clear astern becomes overlapped outside the other boat, she shall also give the inside boat room. If the boat clear astern becomes overlapped inside the other boat, she is not entitled to room. If the boat that was clear ahead passes head to wind, rule 18.2(c) no longer applies and remains inapplicable.
(d) CHANGING COURSE TO ROUND OR PASS: When after the starting signal rule 18 applies between two boats and the right-of-way boat is changing course to round or pass a mark, rule 16 does not apply between her and the other boat.
(e) OVERLAP RIGHTS: If there is reasonable doubt that a boat obtained or broke an overlap in time, it shall be presumed that she did not. If the outside boat is unable to give room when an overlap begins, rules 18.2(a) and 18.2(b) do not apply.
18.3 Tacking at a Mark
If two boats were approaching a mark on opposite tacks and one of them completes a tack in the two-length zone when the other is fetching the mark, rule 18.2 does not apply. The boat that tacked
(a) shall not cause the other boat to sail above close-hauled to avoid her or prevent the other boat from passing the mark, and
(b) shall give room if the other boat becomes overlapped inside her, in which case rule 15 does not apply.
18.4 Gybing
When an inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe at a mark or obstruction to sail her proper course, until she gybes she shall sail no farther from the mark or obstruction than needed to sail that course.


Scratched Gelcoat

Look what happens next, in the figure below. Odi is inside Tim and heads towards the mark; Tim falls off, giving Odi ample room. However, Shinobi is still completing her tack around the mark, and the boats behind her are momentarily delayed, giving her room. Macro follows Shinobi, But that puts him right in the path of Odi, Who is still barreling ahead, close-hauled to port.

The bottom frame tells the tale, as Odi hits macro and leaves a nasty scrape on his hull. Macro protests and the judges immediately concurred. Odi had inside rights over Tim, but not macro. Macro had ROW over Odi.

FIZZ2009 MAY8 6AM-070 copy

With that exciting moment passed, the boats have sufficient water to negotiate the hairpin turn and raise genniker for the run to the bottom mark.

FIZZ2009 MAY8 6AM-082a

The extra headsail provides a powerful boost and the fleet spreads apart as each boat splits up the downwind leg into two broad reach tacks to optimize the velocity made good towards the mark.

It’s worth commenting here that Mothgirl deliberately chose to make Fizz3 a much slower boat than it’s Fizz2 predecessor. The initial PHRF testing shows the difference is substantial, with the Fizz 2 more than 2 1/2 times faster on a standard course. Personally, I think slowing down the boat was a brilliant idea. Instead of “bumper cars,” the slow speed now turns the races into competitions of strategy and situational awareness, and it lets sailors make full use of the many features and options Fizz 3 puts at  their disposal.

FIZZ2009 MAY8 6AM-096 downwind

The final picture below shows the intrepid fizz fleet beating the short distance back from the bottom mark to the finish line. Shinobi Woodget won this first race and deserved the win. She grabbed the the lead from the very start, and flawlessly maneuvered into dominant positions on each tack. It was no easy task, however, since  macro was on her heels for much of the way, and as I described above, the fleet was so good all five boats converged together on the top mark.


The best thing about Friday’s races was something pretty simple; it looked real. Each heat I watched looked like typical RL one-design boat race. The Fizz3 platform seems to have the right mix of technology, chemistry and attitude. To a considerable degree the skippers on Friday were sailing their boats;  they were making tactical decisions and responding to conditions the way it happens on a RL racecourse. Shinobi won the kick-off qualifying race for Fizz Cup 2009 because she outsailed the competition, and for me, that’s the difference between Fizz 2008 and 2009.

I think Mothgirl Dibou’s Fizz 3 has accomplished something subtle and elusive: it’s given us a new platform that’s closer than ever to a true emulation of sailing, not just a complicated computer game. Fizz 3 makes this year’s Cup something pretty great: a competion of sailing skill among sailors.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the next round this Friday!



  1. Good article Jane, but let me correct a point concerning the “Scratched Gelcoat” chapter:
    Macro didn’t protest. Odissey did.
    Here is the full retranscription of what happened, including Chat and Race Committee group chat:
    Judges anticipates:
    [2009/05/08 6:07] IM: Taku Raymaker: what a wonderful 1st tack here lol
    [2009/05/08 6:08] IM: Bea Woodget: Protest could occur at the yellow buoy
    [2009/05/08 6:08] IM: Taku Raymaker: yeah
    [2009/05/08 6:09] IM: Liv Leigh: watch overlaps
    Odi hits Macro and shouts protest:
    [2009/05/08 6:10] Flying Fizz 3.0 5R #001OR crie : Odissey Rossini: protest
    [2009/05/08 6:10] IM: Liv Leigh: oh my
    [2009/05/08 6:10] IM: Liv Leigh: did anyon protest odissey
    [2009/05/08 6:10] IM: Taku Raymaker: how do you think Yuu
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Bea Woodget: Odissey protested
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Yuu Nakamichi: correct
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Bea Woodget: against Macro, but no overlap with Macro
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Bea Woodget: Macro had ROW
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Liv Leigh: yes
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Bea Woodget: Odi was overlapping Tim, but not Macro
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Taku Raymaker: I do not accept this protest
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Yuu Nakamichi: macro doesn’t accept the protest
    [2009/05/08 6:11] IM: Liv Leigh: and tim gave room
    [2009/05/08 6:12] IM: Liv Leigh: macro should have protested.
    [2009/05/08 6:18] IM: Bea Woodget: Pictures confirmed our analysis
    [2009/05/08 6:18] IM: Liv Leigh: ok but macro never protested
    [2009/05/08 6:18] IM: Yuu Nakamichi: he was protested against

  2. mothgirl dibou | May 18, 2009 at 5:58 am | ReplyEdit

    You have no idea how happy this story makes me. Almost everything I hoped for in Fizz 3 is coming true. And with the new Boat Building Kit it is only a matter of time before a flood of new and exciting boats will arrive.

    But let’s not sit back and relax. The scripts are in no way perfect. I already have a very long wish list.
    After this Cup and after the first experiences from other builders, we need to think about how we can improve things further. We need many more classes, each with its own characteristics, emphasized on sail trim, tactics or boat handling. And each of these aspects of sailing can be improved a lot more.

    But it’s not just the boats that need improving. Also the infrastructure is up for revision. I mean the lines, the buoys, the clock, the communication with websites (for (intermediate) results). And most of all the way spectators can follow the races needs some serious thought.

    With a little help and joined effort I am convinced we can make SL the best Sailing Simulator available.

  3. janefossett | May 18, 2009 at 6:52 am | ReplyEdit

    Bea Woodget said: “…Macro didn’t protest. Odissey did.”
    Thank you Bea for the correction! I was in “camera mode” shooting pictures at the upwind mark and didn’t hear the actual protest call; I assumed it was macro. I only knew the protest occurred. The facts and the application of the rules is the same, but who calls the protest of course has a big impact on the judge’s ruling. In this case, Ody’s protest against macro was dismissed as your transcript shows. However, as Liv comments in that transcript, if macro had been the one protesting it’s likely Ody would have earned himself a penalty turn (grin), and there’s nothing wrong with that. As we all know, if you aren’t getting penalties called against you, you’re just not trying hard enough!

  4. Stuart Choche | May 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm | ReplyEdit

    I don’t want spoil the feast or put watrer in the wine – but this protest situation looks a bit odd to me (probably to Yuu as well as he didn’t judge it):

    True: Ody hadn’t any overlap with Marco, when he entered the 2-lenght-circle. On the other hand it seems to me – according to Janes photos – that Marco has left the circle and dived back into it. If so, I am not sure about the regulation – we should ask Tim about that :)But I think, in this case Ody would be right.


    • Hi Stuart,
      it is very nice of you to show your interest in this kind of situation, especially after having called for a general boycott of the Fizz Cup some weeks ago… I appreciate this more positive attitude…

      Some details on the situation which you consider odd by judging only with help of photos which do not make it possible to analyze the situation correctly:
      – The situation was clearly judged in real-time and as it should be by the Race Committee which was flying above the zone, with a good view on it.
      – Macro (and not Marco) has not left the 2-lenght zone circle as you suppose (Jane has other photos which clearly demonstrate it)
      – This also explains Tim’s behavior, who perfectly analysed and reacted well to the situation, contrary to Odi (and not Ody).

      However, as described in the Notice of Race, the jury proceeded with a protest hearing after the course, here is an extract:
      “Odissey Rossini: Np macro, if i didn’t protest i had to do a 360 ….because i touched the buoy :)
      Liv Leigh: buoy hit is no reround anymore”
      No more comments needed I think …

      Last, but not least, all decisions of the Jury is final, even if judges may be wrong sometimes, as it may happen IRL…

      I hope this additional information will give you satisfaction Stuart.

      This said, thank you for your help, and I suggest you to go you one step further: we still miss some volunteers to help as Race Committee (judges…) for some coming events… What about joining us and be active in real-time? You will be welcome… IM me inworld if interested, I am sure I can find a good job for you :)

  5. janefossett | May 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm | ReplyEdit

    Hi Stuart!
    You make an interesting point.
    Since I was taking photos, I’ll defer to the race judges before chiming in here; xxx

  6. janefossett | May 27, 2009 at 6:10 am | ReplyEdit

    I agree with Bea, Stuart’s knowledge and help judging in this and other regattas would be much appreciated.
    Let me also say we went back and looked at each of the unpublished images (taken about one second apart). Once Macro was ‘in the zone’ he never left it, and his delay turning at the mark seemed appropriate to avoid Shinobi. Here’s the image sequence:

  7. Stuart Choche | May 28, 2009 at 10:48 am | ReplyEdit

    to be precise: I called for the boycott of events held under one specific avatar (and not: “called for a general boycott of the Fizz Cup” like Bea wrote). I had my reasons and have them still.

  8. Just found this little gem here. Very interesting stuff about the history and development of the Flying Fizz. Thanx Jane. Ur site seems to be full of these hidden gems.

    • Thanks!
      There were so many great events, discussions, and ideas over the past several SLSailing years, and the release of Fizz 3 was certainly a major advance that enhanced dinghy racing realism in SL.
      Fizz 3 remains a truly great emulation of competitive, small-boat racing. It’s joined now by several other one-design dinghies that I think serve their own user- preferences and skill-sets, including the Trudeau Leetle Cat II, The Quest Q-2M, and the still-betaNemo II. (Did I miss any boats?)
      The diversity of options, engines, and ideas can only make SL sailing a better, closer emulation of the real thing!