White on Blake

blakeseachartrev7 2009

(JFos, Feb 10 — On February 9, MarkTwain White posted a lengthy opinion on several Blake Sea sailing issues in Second Life. I thought it was worth reposting his comments here on MetaverseSailing as well, for discussion and future reference.)



by MarkTwain White, February 9 2014

What is the Blake Sea and Who is Responsible for Administering it?

The Blake Sea is a body of water that was created by Linden Lab as part of the deal they made with the owners of the United Sailing Sims.


It exists because the LL offered to create it if owners of the USS sims agreed to administer the Blake Sea for the enjoyment of all. There is a group called the Blake Sea Group. It is made up of Lindens and some forty SL residents drawn from the USS yacht clubs to administer racing and boating in the Blake Sea. There are three SL residents that LL has made their primary administrative liaisons with LL and lead administrators in the relationship between LL, the USS, and SL residents. Sudane Erato is the lead administrator between the nine USS owners and LL. MarkTwain White and Nber Medici are the lead administrators of the Blake Sea (our titles in that combined group are “Blake Sea Captain”). Therefore part of the payback to the USS leaders and yacht clubs was and is the existence of the Blake Sea next to their sims which connected the whole operation to the Mainland. To read a more detailed history of how the Blake Sea came to be check out the History of the Blake Sea on the Blake Sea Journal blog (links below).

Why Clubs That Organize Races in the Blake Sea Should Use the Blake Sea Combined Calendar

The Blake Sea grows in popularity every month. When individual boaters follow accepted maritime protocols there is rarely a problem. And for a long time the Clubs of the USS had little problems racing together since we each tended to use the Blake Sea startlines set up close to each club. We have had the Blake Sea combined Calendar (BSCC) for a long time that helped the USS clubs get their various programs scheduled.

However times are changing. Clubs outside the USS are wanting to schedule events in the Blake Sea. This is seen most keenly in the two Interclub Racing programs that have just gotten started over the past month or so. (I will have more to say on Interclub racing later). So it is even more important that these clubs refer to the BSCC and follow the procedures to post race events there as they work in tandem with USS clubs. Last night I sent some protocols that I have asked Gemma Vuckovic add to the BSCC so all clubs can see how to get involved in the BSCC and schedule events that do not compete for time and space in the Blake Sea. I will also post those protocols on the Blake Sea Journal today.

For the sake of easy reading I include those protocols here.

Steps to Post to a Calendar that Appears on the Blake Sea Combined Calendar (BSCC).

1. Create a Google Calendar
2. Contact Gemma Vuckovic to get your calendar added to the BSCC

3. Check the BSCC to make sure there is no other event using the same time and space in the Blake Sea.
4. Arrange use of the line with the yacht clubs nearest the startline to be used so that there is no conflict.
5. Once arrangements are agreed upon to you can post the event in your Google Calendar.
6. Click CREATE
7. Enter name of event in “Untitled Event” window
8.. If ALL DAY box is selected, unselect it.
9. Enter start and end time of event. (Use Pacific Time which equals SL time)
10. In the WHERE window enter the name of the sim with the startline to be used (e.g. Blake Sea – Pacific)
11. In the description window add any additional info that will help people understand the race. (e.g. race start and ends at Arabian line but covers a significant portion of the Blake Sea. SLCG will be providing racecourse security)

Although the BSCC on the surface appears to be just like the SL Sailing Calendar which covered/covers the entire grid, the BSCC is very different. The SL Sailing Calendar sought to inform of sailors across the grid primarily of the TIMES of races. Yes the location was included however almost never was there a need in that calendar to deal with the reservation of SPACE. Nearly every club had at least one race line and some had more than one. There was no need to make sure the line in question would not be used by another club in terms of TIME and SPACE. Obviously both time and space are very important in the BSCC. When Starboards Yacht Club wants to have a race in the Blake Sea the Pacific Line is the natural place to hold the race. You can see that similarity of connection for most USS yacht clubs. Not surprisingly a club will host its races on its “home field” whether that be in the Blake Sea or somewhere out on the Mainland.

In the case of the Blake Sea the USS clubs have had their well established times and places working for some time now. So now that clubs from other places who normally race elsewhere at their established time come into the Blake Sea and wish to make use of the facilities they have the civil responsibility to find a time and place not occupied by a long established race event by clubs for whom the Blake Sea is home. Just because Club D ran their races at Noon on Saturday does not mean they can necessarily run races in the Blake at the same time. They need to come in as fellow clubs who want to fit in in civilized fashion and do some inter club action. This is covered in the above mentioned protocols.

It is true that until the beginning of the this year Starboards Yacht Club had been inactive for about two years. After we got the Fanci Deep project started late last year (which helped end the WWII fighting in the Blake Sea) we turned our attention to reviving SYC. We updated the Blake Sea Combined Calendar to reflect the new programs that we have been working on launching in our traditional time periods. Note that no club came in to use the startline at Blake Sea – Pacific during our traditional times. Waypoint Yacht Club uses the Pacific line from time to time but only during their traditional times and they worked with us to get that time and space reserved.

Why is Starboards Yacht Club Hosting Powerboat Races in the Blake Sea?

If you read the Blake Sea Code of Conduct (see at the SYC web site or the Blake Sea Journal, links are below) you will see that while sailing was and is the backbone of the Blake Sea concept, the Blake Sea was created “for the enjoyment of all”. This has always been a difficult role for those of us that administer the Blake Sea. Sailors often read the “sailing first” part of that role but what they hear in their minds is “sailing only”. On the other hand for a long time we had the WWII people come in and disrupt boating in the Blake Sea by conducting warfare and making the case that the Blake Sea was “for the enjoyment of all” while ignoring the “sailing first” part of the Blake Sea mission

Now we have a new group that is making its presence felt in the Blake Sea, the powerboaters. We at SYC quickly saw that this development would likely grow significantly over the months ahead. However the potential problems were easy to see. First there would very likely be a proliferation of unrealistically fast powerboats that would not do well given SL poor performance with sim crossings. The specter of a group of rocket-fast powerboats plowing thru a sailboat race because they traveled so fast they never saw the sailboats rezz was a real fear on our part. Unless steps were taken to change the lay of the land regarding the scripting we were in for some very unhappy times. And LL would not have stepped in to stop this rapid growth. Second there were a sizable number of these newly empowered power boaters that ould have no clue that in both RL and SL SAILBOATS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY OVER POWERBOATS.

We could have stood by and done nothing knowing that the “for the enjoyment of all” clause in the Blake Sea Code of Conduct gave them the right to be in the Blake Sea OR we could try to face reality and try to work with it instead of just sitting on the sidelines and complain about changes we could not stop.

It is these two challenges that we at Starboards Yacht Club wanted to and are addressing in ways that can help reduce the issues of unrealistic speed and lack of understanding of boating protocol and maritime rules. Towards that end we have developed at SYC a series of test and rules for power boat designers to follow in order to create safe and sane powerboats that perform and realistic and controllable speeds and the education of their customers about the RL and SL rules on right of way on the water. It is those realistically scaled speed boats we race at SYC. And along side using boats that have realistic speeds we preach the gospel at every meeting, in every document and from the roof tops that SL SAILBOATS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY OVER POWERBOATS.

Powerboats are here to stay. No one can change that. We did not make it happen. We ARE trying to administer the Blake Sea in such a way that the downside of this change can be modified to reduce the level of negative impact. We are doing all we can to try to protect the Blake Sea as much as we can for its core purpose “sailing first”. One rather silly comment I hear going around is that MTW is supporting powerboating for the money. Anyone with a calculator and a grade school understanding of math can go over to SYC and see that the income SYC gets from powerboat slip rentals is about the same as from ONE luxury yacht mooring.

More on Interclub Racing

I was totally taken by surprise with the way that this Interclub racing conflict came about. I was working closely with our new sail commodore Maiti Yenni planning for our opening day of sailing on February 16 when I learned that Orca was working up an Interclub racing event and since Orca and Maiti are good friends they were developing this together on the side. Unfortunately exuberance took over and Orca moved forward without sitting down with myself and Maiti to plan a logical step by step launch of the idea. I was happy that for the first time since God asked Adam “who told you that you are naked” that Orca was saying nice things about SYC and had this great idea for our two clubs to work together. However as it turned out Orca pressed forward without planning meetings, and she and her plan ran right into Don and his plan. The outcome of that encounter was predictable On top of that there was at least one regrettable conflict that occurred between Don’s race and our regularly scheduled event. It was minor and life went on. There are always problems when you start a new program.

However last week Don announced that his race for February 9 (today) would go to FIYC which was close to the powerboat course. FIYC told Don that they did not want to race that day NOT because of the proximity of the courses, but because they wanted to wait for the return of their main race director. And I was concerned that we could get yet another incident in the Blake Sea because of Don was continuing to push for the event at FIYC and near the powerboat course. After a number of meetings between Don, David Weatherly (FIYC), and Maiti took place I was told that the course Don proposed would take his boats through further to the south than I thought (with a north wind so the sailboats could pass the powerboat course on a reach and not need to tack). I told David that if that is what he wanted to do we could live with that. I said that the course described sounds reasonable. But David was certain that he did not want to do that. Subsequently Maiti played an important role in the ongoing discussions between what Don and David each wanted. In the end the venue was changed, FIYC co-hosted and all went smoothly..

I am hopeful of meeting with Orca and Maiti to rethink some issues about their Interclub race program. I hope it becomes popular. And I have NO ill wishes for Don’s program at all as long as he “plays well with others” and discusses any events in the Blake Sea with the associated USS club he will be working with and honors times and places on the BSCC. As a matter of fact we have already announced that we plan to support both the Interclub programs. Although the two programs have some similarities they are quite different in other respects and I believe most sailors will find it worthwhile to sail in both programs.

I send this to all of you with the hopes that you can get a better understanding of what is happening in the Blake Sea. There has been a lot of misinformation about the Blake Sea those topics discussed above. I hope this has cleared up some of it.

MarkTwain White
February 9, 2014


History of the Blake Sea:
The Blake Sea Journal:
The Blake Sea Combined Calendar:
Starboards Yacht Club:



7 responses to “White on Blake

  1. It might not have been very clever to come out with the proposal of an interclub racing series that exuberantly (as Mark calls it) but then I’m not used to slow work. Neither to be very clever. I have an idea, I publish it and then I do it. Since my dear Maiti had just become SYC commodore a coop was just the next logical step. I don’t see any reason to sit down in a meeting with politicians and landlords, just wanna sail.

    Don and other jealous entities aren’t worth bothering with. Don’s races are on Sundays, I just anticipate they are properly scheduled so there shouldn’t be any conflict with any club participating in the Interclub Racing League. Most clubs are located around Blake so I guess as long as they use their own slots and allow outsider clubs to schedule races to the Blake clubs in the same timeslot, there CAN’T be any conflict.

    SRYC shouldn’t be a problem neither. Our test race from TrYC to SYC (which took place in the slot we share with SRYC) revealed no other racing boats on the course. And more importantly: Blake Sea is public! Nobody can restrict me from using it for whatever reason.
    We all remember what happened on Lake Garda: http://sailinganarchy.com/2013/07/15/no-excuse/
    But stufff like that can’t happen in the Blake, now can it?

  2. Well said and explained, as long as we, just simple residents that have the possibility of living on the blake sea , can use it All at any time!
    Cause i don’t race and for sure i don’t want to have to read some google whatever to know when sail or drive my power boat or fly my plane or heli from my place to any area, be the blake sea or any mainland continents adjacent to it!
    So my question is simple, is in any way the idea to close the sims where the races are being done when they are gong to happen on top of any table? (the reason for that is very easy to understand, we all know that teleports are the major cause of lag and its common practice on racing land sims to close the regions where races are going to happen prior to them, to avoid those pesky teleport that causes spike lag, even if it only works fi races only need a sim to be done, not some i think happens with sailing or racing boats, that require for sure more then sim (to bad there are no mega regions on sl, yet i hope Ll will figure that having 16 sims running without cross sim needs can be a good deal and propose a new type of renting where users could buy mega regions, so well known on open sim)
    if not as i expect, what are the standard rules when a race is being hold and a common traveler, unaware that there is a racing going on,enters on those sims?
    Cause the last thing i wish to do is being sailing and for ignorance, enter on a sim where a race is being hold, as i can imagine how distressful that could be!

  3. It was a great post. If the powerboat community treats the jewel that is the Blake Sea area the way most of the aviation community has, There should be no issue at all. There is certainly room for both motor powered and wind powered boats.

    Usually the power boats (at reasonable speeds) are more maneuverable and can adjust course and speed to avoid a sailboat on a legitimate sail. I say legitimate, because there have been instances of sailboats intentionally trying to place themselves in front of or sail into powerboats so that they could file a complaint. That isn’t sailing folks. That is griefing. I’m sorry, if I’m happily running my trawler with lines out and steering to avoid other boat traffic on the minimap and you come sailing along at double the speed my boat can go, don’t expect that I’ll be able to avoid you if you aim yourself into my path. And no, I’m not de-rezzing or edit lifting mine out of the way.

    As for zzpearlbottom. No you don’t have full access at all times. If there is a race going and you are warned off the course, then go around. The larger races often have the SL Coast Guard helping to direct non-race traffic around the race area. They should remain polite and professional. If you ignore them, expect to have your boat or plane derezzed out from under you by a race director. Scheduled races do have priority. Either accept that or sell your parcel and move. Better yet, join in some races. Even if you aren’t that good at it, it’s pretty neat being out on the water with several other sailboats at the same time.

    • Well said, Crim, but…
      Let me add the fact that Second Life’s waters have broadly expanded in recent years. I agree Blake Sea is pretty good, but it’s also quite crowded. Luckily, Blake is no longer the ‘only game in town’ for racers or cruisers. 🙂
      Sailors should try their skill on the myriad new waterways grid-wide. 🙂

      For example Crim, go talk to Elbag, Hawk, Hay, or Isis about North Sea! It’s pretty wondrous! You should also try racing the (great) Sea of Fables in Sansara, or ply the waters of either Bingo Strait or Dire Strait in Nautilus!

      So, although I respect the need to organize the congested scheduling of Blake Sea, I also believe the great number of alternate waterways makes this issue largely irrelevant. 🙂

  4. Tks for the tips, im glad i never had spoiled or interfered by accident on any regatta!
    Regarding racing, i’ll pass!

  5. Jane said: So, although I respect the need to organize the congested scheduling of Blake Sea, I also believe the great number of alternate waterways makes this issue largely irrelevant. 🙂

    I agree 100%

  6. Pingback: White on Blake – SL SAILING blogroll

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