Return to Fastnet

Return to Fastnet

Last evening I caught up with Chaos Mandelbrot, and we sailed around Bingo Strait mostly in silence as we remembered our lost friend, Fanci Beebe.

Chaos mentioned that he and David Wetherby are coordinating with Kittensusie Lander to dedicate the Sunday Leeward Cruise on October 13 as a cruise of remembrance for Fanci. Kittensusie will have the details as the day approaches; please contact her if you have suggestions.

While Chaos and I were sailing, David dropped me a note saying that many sailors were leaving flowers and other mementos in the Fanci’s Deep simset, the new area dedicated to her in USS. That might be a good spot for sailors to pay their respects this week; there’s a long autoreturn, so your flowers and notes will persist.

Inevitably, last night we ended up sailing over to Fastnet Light in Crow’s Nest. For four years now, Fastnet has been a resolute beacon in the center of Blake Sea and a central icon of our community. It stands for the unity, determination and persistence of sailors across the globe and across the grid, for all time.

Fastnet Oct 6 2013

Fastnet Light is also the location of the sailor’s memorial in SL. The simple design incorporates the textures of the 1979 Fastnet Race memorial, extending the sailor list to include those fellow SL sailors who have passed away while part of our community.

God Bless RJ Kikuchiyo, who designed Fastnet Light -SL and the memorial stone in place there; when we stopped by to pay our respects, RJ had already appended Fanci Beebe to the list of dear friends who are now gone, but never forgotten.

I thought this might be a good moment to repost a few past articles on the origin and significance of Fastnet Light in SL. There are many grid-sailors who were not present back in 2009 when Blake Sea and Fastnet Light came into being.

(Note: I’m made some small editorial corrections to the reposted articles, and I’ve added a few images. If any of the original authors are concerned I’m infringing their copyright, please contact me and I’ll correct the problem.)


Fastnet Rock Light in SL™

Posted Feb 4th, 2009 on Kiku*Craft by RJ Kikuchiyo

Fastnet has a wonderfully rich history.  The light itself is memorialized as “The Tear of Ireland” for it is the last thing you see when travelling by ship west toward America.  It has been an example of technological innovation in lighthouse design, and will be remembered for its role as the far mark in the Fastnet Race, a legendary test of sailing and seamanship leaving Cowes and returning.  The 1979 Race was marked with tragedy as a storm approached 20 people died during the event. The details of the race and its impact on ocean racing was documented in many fine texts, including “Fastnet: Force 10″ by John Rousmaniere.

Without a doubt, the Rock is an imposing figure on the Irish Coast.  The area is rarely without bad weather, and the wrecks that litter the sea bottom in the area attest to the dangers involved with traversing this area of the North Atlantic Ocean.

More than a year ago a visitor to the SL Boat Show in Sailor’s Cove Sim had struck up a conversation about this place.  It was at the time, a passing thought that this light should and could be built for Second Life™ residents and sailors. As I recall, I asked the visitor (JeanCarlo Kepler) to be patient if he did not want to spend outrageous fortunes on the construction according to his schedule.  Pleasantly enough, JeanCarlo had been patient, and when the time was available, construction began.  Below is a scattered collection of photos of the real and virtual version of this venerable monument to man’s devotion, and respect for, the sea: (Ed.: You can find the images here.)


Two Big Improvments: The Lighthouse and the Platform

Posted  May 21, 2009 on by MarkTwain White


From day one of the discussions with LL on the creation of the Blake Sea it was proposed that RJ Kikuchiyo’s Fastnet Lighthouse should be included in the Blake Sea. Jack was initially resistant. There were lots of reasons in the early days of discussing Fastnet as to why it could not be done. “We generally dont put resident builds in Linden sims”, “RJ woud have to become a Mole”, Mega primes are evil (this quote is paraphrased), and so forth. Our argument was that the Fastnet Lighthouse would be the PERFECT centerpiece for a sailing area. If there is such a thing as holy ground in sailing, Fastnet Lighthouse has to be amonst the holiest of sailing’s shrines.

It took a long time but in the end the build was approved.

As it turns out Jack has sailed around the lighthouse in RL and if I remember correctly nearly ended up on the rocks. Funny thing is the Jack did not tell me that story until AFTER he approved the addition of the lighthouse to the Blake Sea.

The Spectator Platform in its new position in Haggerty with Fastnet in the background in Crow's Nest

The Spectator Platform in its new position in Haggerty with Fastnet in the background in Crow’s Nest

However the move didn’t happen exactly as planned. The lighthouse was put in slightly the wrong location and the orange mark, a critical mark in more than one course, was too close to the lighthouse. You can read about this here.

Additionally a part of the grand strategy during this period was to move the Spectator Platform to Blake Sea Haggerty. When the Blake Sea was created the Spectator Platform was placed in Crow’s Nest where we wanted it but it was rotated to the south looking at the orange mark. The fleet would come from behind the spectators, pass below the platform, then come into view as they rounded the orange mark. Not optimal.

We requested that be fixed by rotating the platform 180 degrees and moving to the southern side of the sim facing north so that spectators could see the fleet start and sail to them.  They told us that it would be a lot of work and it would not be a high priority fix. Thus the Spectator Platform had not been used much.

Now seperated from the Lighthouse, the two builds work together instead of "clashing"

Now seperated from the Lighthouse, the two builds work together instead of “clashing”

With Fastnet it became a whole new game. The optimal deployment with the two builds would be to put Fastnet in the center postion in the Blake Sea (Crow’s Nest) and move the Platform to  Haggerty where spectators could view the Atlantic and Pacific startlines. After a could of days to get it worked out the new deployments took place on May 19 and 20.

There was a momentary (one day) bump in the road to correct an altitude problem wiht the Platform and now the platform has a clear passage of 60 meters allowing even Jaqueline’s new J-Boats to pass under it.

These improvements in this part of the Blake Sea are almost finished and are directly the results of hard work by Michael Linden (Fastnet Lighthouse placement and terraforming), Brent Linden (Spectator Platform move), and last but certainly not the least RJ Kikuchiyo (the Fastnet Lighthouse build). Thanks also goes to Jack Linden and the rest of the LL Blake Sea contingent who approved the builds.

“Almost Finished” you ask? Stay tuned.

The view from the platform looking back at the Atlantic and Pacific lines

The view from the platform looking back at the Atlantic and Pacific lines

  1. Jane Fossett says:

    Thank you for the update on such a great build.
    If I may, I would like to put a plug in for one more person who played a key role in Fastnet Light: JeanCarlo Kepler.
    JeanCarlo spent a full year using his gentle humor to pester RJ Kikuchiyo to build Fastnet, but JCK went further, way further. He suggested a mid-sea location for the unbuilt Fastnet, and even offered to pay both the cost of the lighthouse and all ongoing expenses to maintain it. JCK’s offer wasn’t public; he’s a wonderful friend and great sailor, but also humble and shy about his own achievements (Luckily, I don’t have the humble/shy gene, so I have no trouble telling you about this). JCK wanted Fastnet as a quiet gift – and an inspiration – for all his friends and fellow sailors in SL.
    JCK’s persistence won the day. RJ’s busy scheduled opened up slightly, and he took on the project. Understanding JCK’s vision, RJ then refused any payment for Fastnet… SL Sailing is, after all, RJ’s community too.
    Once the massive, wonderous build was completed, MarkTwain White and Jack Linden managed the red tape to get Fastnet in Crows Nest as a permanent fixture, a Linden build. Guess what? Mark’s right; it wasn’t easy.
    Finally last week the intrepid duo of RJ Kikuchiyo and Micheal Linden, the Master Builder and the Mole King, that ‘Romulus-and-Rodent Team’ (GRIN), clicked their secret decoder rings together and performed the usual magic. They brought JCK’s irrepressible dream to life… Fastnet Light went on line.

    So what’s all the commotion over Fastnet anyway?
    Well, maybe RJ Kikuchiyo already said it better than I can: “Fastnet has a wonderfully rich history. The light itself is memorialized as “The Tear of Ireland,” for it is the last thing you see when travelling by ship west toward America. It was a technological innovation in lighthouse design, and will be remembered for its role as the far mark in the Fastnet Race, a legendary test of sailing and seamanship…The 1979 Race was marked with tragedy, however; as a storm approached, 20 people died…”

    As RJ implies, Fastnet Lighthouse is far more than a fixed beacon; it’s a resolute icon, a monument to the spirit, the courage, and the endurance of sailors across the globe over many centuries.
    Like so many other icons of our sailing ancestry, however, Fastnet’s symbolism is mixed. Courage and triumph met tragedy and loss at Fastnet.
    Sailing’s coin has two sides… we all know this… and Fastnet stands in witness of both.
    While MarkTwain was posting this article tonight, Cory, Chaos, RJ, JCK and I were sitting on the widow’s walk in Madaket talking sailing… and Fastnet was on the agenda.

    For the past week I’ve been wondering how to best pay tribute to the courage, determination and pure joy for sailing demonstrated by those who raced and died in the 1979 Fastnet tragedy. I thought about placing flowers at the Linden Memorial Gardens or asking Department of Public Works to place some form of reminder elsewhere at the Memorial… but those things seemed out of place.

    fastnet mem1024Any memorial, any tribute to sailors should be at home, should be here in our community. It’s pretty obvious… any memorial to Fastnet sailors belongs right there in Crows Nest, at Fastnet itself. It is just our suggestion, but tonight the five of us would like to ask for a one prim marker at the Fastnet site in memory of those who died. We suggest a marker with textures to match the simple granite memorial that occurs in real life there; it lists the names of all who died that day in pursuit of the sport they loved.

  2. If a memorial is placed it may be worth adding a sentence or two on a notecard about lessons we can all learn from the tragedy. Many things have been improved for us (stronger lifelines, easier lifejackets, weighted liferafts, beamier boats with improved righting momentum) as a result of the race (and saved many lives on 1998 Sydney-Hobart) but many things remain up to us as sailors. The most obvious decision we must take is to make sure we do not follow the herd into weather we are not comfortable with but I think an important consideration must also be the use of drogues when running. This may be an anathema to racers (and require the use and practice of a new piece of kit) but it may well have saved some of the 15 lives lost.

  3. MarkTwain White says:

    I like that idea Jane and will help make it happen if I can. Don’t see any reason why we couldn’t. I would say go ahead and make up the marker.

  4. Jane Fossett says:

    Thank you.
    RJ and I will copy from the original and have it ready by day’s end.


    (JFos Ed. note: Here are textures for the faces on the current memorial stone.)

    three faces of Fastnet Memorial Oct2013


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