Daily Archives: September 25, 2013

SL Sailing on Treet.tv

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This week the Designing Worlds series on Treet.TV posted a 90 minute video on sailing in Second Life, hosted by Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin. The piece was very nicely done and well worth watching; it’s something to share with others who want to learn more about virtual sailing in SL.

I can’t embed the video here, so follow the link to watch it on Treet. If you want the ‘skinny,’ here’s a quick summary.

The show began with a lengthy interview of MarkTwain White at Starboards Yacht Club. MTW set the background, discussing the origins of sailing in Second Life and reviewing key points in the history of the sailing community.

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The scene then switches to Mango Yacht Club in Fruit Islands, where Saffia Widdershins interviews David Abbot about his experience racing sailboats in SL.

Screen-2013-09-25_11-00b David then shows off his Mesh Shop VO-70 and takes Saffia for a sail northward through Dire Strait.

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The next segment of the program switches to the dock at Danshire Yacht Club in Knaptrackicon, where Elrik Merlin interviews RJ Kikuchiyo and Tod Marlinspike. RJ discusses his long interest and involvement in virtual re-creation of classical maritime builds, focusing on the Eagle and Ernestina vessels docked at DYC. The discussion then focuses on RJ’s design of the village and marina at DYC, and his long-standing interest in lighthouses. RJ ends this segment with a discussion of Fastnet Light, both in RL and in Blake Sea.


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The show next jumps to the ReneMarine boatyard in Thalipolli for the fourth segment of the program. Saffia Widdershins does a wonderful, wide-ranging interview with Rene Underby and Jethro Sands. Rene and Jethro discuss the design of their marina, and the history of their relationship working together. Rene then briefly talks about the things she tries to emphasize in their boat line, and she and Jethro then take Saffia for a ride on a truly beautiful build.

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That’s the segue to a several minute slideshow by Wildstar Beaumont, showing rather gorgeous images of boats and nautical scenes at several yacht clubs in mainland, Blake Sea, and around Sailors Cove.

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The closing interview is with Wildstar Beaumont himself. He talks about his own experience sailing, and gives passing homage to the memory of Mannie Madonna, an early icon of boatbuilding in SL. Wildstar emphasizes the classic battleships he’s fond of sailing, and then with some enthusiasm details the extensive waterways that interconnect continents in SL. He concludes by describing how skippers can now sail SL courses that literally take days to complete.

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The video is very well done and a nice tribute to the many people who worked hard to build SL Sailing. The video has a polished, professional feel to it that reflects the skill and considerable effort of the producers; I think it’s an excellent introduction to the whole idea of virtual sailing in Second Life, and I’ll probably start handing out the link to every new person that asks. I’ll prolly hand it out to a whole bunch that don’t ask, too. 🙂

The program is not just intended for new sailors, however. I’ve been around SL sailing for seven years now, but I learned a number of new things while listening to the interviews. For example, it was delightful hearing the backstory to ReneMarine from the perspectives of both Jethro and Rene. In many ways, that adds an additional dimension to the experience of sailing their boats.

(On the other hand, I also learned that after spending months designing and rebuilding DYC, RJ Kikuchiyo still can’t pronounce the name ‘Knaptrackicon.’ 🙂 )

Having said all above, I also need to add that even in a 90 minute video, a vast amount of SL Sailing was left out. The most common boats were not discussed, and race regattas and cruises were mentioned only in passing. I was also a bit amazed when David Abbot cast off from the Mango YC dock in the vid and sailed into Dire Strait. What happen to that huge North Sea installation that’s directly linked to Mango? 🙂

However, as I write these comments the reasons for those omissions become apparent. SL Sailing has grown in size, scope, and diversity over the past years. There are so many facets to sailing now, it’s truly impossible to cover them all in a single ninety minute documetary. In fact, I’d guess one can’t even list all the important sailing headlines in that timeframe. Good reporters have to select vignettes that weave an interesting, factual story that also engages the audience.

In that context, I think Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin, as well as all the sailors interviewed,  did a rather great job. Their video is interesting and informative, and it serves as an excellent appetizer that might leave viewers hungry for more. 🙂

When that happens, I’m pretty confident there are marinas and boatyards and clubs and classes and residential estates across the grid, all ready to help new users hit the water in style. 🙂

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