Category Archives: Quest

October 11 Leeward Cruise

click to enlarge

I’ve posted about Leeward Cruising Club on many occasions, but let me give LCC another shout-out today. Their mixed fleet cruises are loads of fun, and usually draw a truly huge crowd of sailors. Months ago I wrote about  a regular Sunday LCC cruise from Danshire that seemed nothing special… but wow, fifty-two boats rezzed! Yikes! 🙂

Oct 11 LCC chart; click to enlarge

Probably the best thing about Leeward is the attitude. It’s is all about sailing together. It’s true that SL’s best racers often show up, but the cruises are about fun sailing, and there’s no competition involved. Each cruise strongly welcomes any new sailor who wants to take part; you don’t need a boat, and you don’t even need to know anything about sailing.

As Woody Allen said: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” That comment surely applies to LCC’s cruises; if you can make it to the launch point, a skipper will gladly make room for you aboard their boat. LCC’s motto is “No one left on the dock!” 🙂

Sailors en route from Scar; click image!

Cate Foulesbane, Kittensusie Landar, and Chaos Mandelbrot are the Holy Trinity in charge of Leeward Cruising, continuing the great legacy of the group’s original founders, Tory Micheline and Manul Rotaru.

Yesterday’s cruise kept the faith and stuck to LCC’s tradition. It was particularly great, since the sim conditions were the best in a very long time.

Chaos Mandelbot serves as Admiral-on-deck for most Tuesday cruises. Yesterday he charted a course that sailed the newly opened coastal waters of Northwest Satori, bringing the fleet to landfall at Diamond Marchant‘s marina in Poob (26, 37, 21).

The cruise began at the Coastal Waterway rez point in Scar (22, 230, 21), a small island dock in Linden waters on Satori’s West edge (see the picture at the top of this post). The fleet then progressed along the continental rim of Satori to enter Bingo Strait, the body of water that separates Satori from Nautilus.

I posted a close-up view of the map below. As you can see, once the cruise fleet entered Bingo Strait, they sailed Northeast, cutting through “Brenda’s Channel” (blue arrow below) to reach the destination dock in Poob. Brenda’s Channel was created by Elbag Gable several months ago to give sailors more cruising options; it’s absolutely great. Thank you Elbag and Brenda!

The destination in Poob (yellow arrow below) is Diamond Marchant’s marina. As most SL skippers know, Diamond’s a great sailor, and she was one of the original marina developers in Bingo Strait. Big thanks to Diamond for hosting the cruise finish!

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about yesterday’s cruise was the sim stability. Despite a very large fleet and a long voyage, nearly every boat arrived at the destination in Poob intact.

Click me!

Francois Jacques and I crewed for Admiral Chaos, who sailed the new Razor. I thought three of us aboard a new vessel in the middle of a large flotilla would spell disaster… but not last night! The new Razor held true, and so did the several Trudeau Epicurus that joined in… as well as the numerous Quest, BBK, Rotaru and Balduin builds!

For at least one evening sail, the grid had game, and functioned perfectly. It was pretty wondrous, and it’s how sailing should always be… 🙂

To celebrate the point, the the post-cruise party at Diamond’s place was DJ’d by Jakespeed Northman; his playlist was, as usual, pretty super!

So thank you LCC, Chaos, Cate, Kitten… and Diamond, Jake, and Elbag too; it was a great cruise! And omg, thanks to LL for… at least once… lifting the fog so cruisers could see what SL Sailing is really capable of. 🙂

Click me!

Fruit Islands Launches North Sea!

North Sea

Elbag Gable recently announced an extensive, truly remarkable open-water addition to Fruit Islands Estate. It’s named North Sea, and here’s Elbag’s post:

Gable and Hawker watch for a sim crash

“The Owners, Officers and Residents of The Fruit Islands and Eden Estates announce the opening of The North Sea, a privately funded block of 20 sea sims with access to over 100 more navigable sims throughout the Fruit Islands estate.
The North Sea is dedicated to the pursuance and promotion of, and training in all aspects of competitive and leisure sailing and boating. A schedule of multi-class events will be available and promulgated shortly.
There will of course be a suitably extravagant opening ceremony in a few weeks plus accompanying  party with entertainment and boatsy sorts of stuff in due course for you all to enjoy  but in the meantime we have a long course in place right now that hawk has quickly put together so people can use the water whilst we continue to tweak things – you are all welcome to come over and play!
Any boat will do as always.
Enjoy your sailing!”

Wow, after many visits to the new waterways, I totally agree with Elbag. North Sea will expand Fruit Island’s navigable water in remarkable ways. The new water sims provide unique options for sailing, cruising, racing, teaching… and just plain, sail-powered fun. 🙂

I’m pretty sure that North Sea will also prove a game-changer for SL Sailing. The new, open water infrastructure will shape the evolution of virtual sailing in ways that benefit all members of Second Life.

Fruit Islands Estate

OK, let me back up a bit, in case you are not familiar with Fruit Islands Estate.

Here’s  a video from March 2009 to get you started. It gives a sense of Fruit Estate’s early excitement, and announces their initial vision. However, please remember: In March 2009, the Estate was less than half it’s current size, and Fruit was still getting its sea legs. 🙂 But even then, Fruit had a consistent tropical island theme and the entire estate was united by navigable waterways. Fruit was loaded with sailing opportunities.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Since that video in 2009, Fruit’s sixty sims prospered and blossomed under the strong leadership of co-owners Equinox Pinion and Dennis Lagan.They know and love sailing, but more important, they have a long-standing, visionary commitment to build a multipurpose, maritime community online. If you’ve visited Fruit Islands and watched it grow, you understand what I mean.

Equi and Dennis made a major financial investment to develop Fruit Islands, but “money” was not the key factor in their success. Truth be told, they succeeded in SL the old-fashioned way. They invested their personal time, God-given talent, and gut-driven effort and devotion to make Fruit Islands a true success.

So… next time you see them, give Equi and Dennis a big hug! 

But wait, let me also make sure I give a shout-out to Lizzo Dreamscape, Fruit Island’s Estate Manager.

Through various projects, I’ve known Lizzo for over two years in SL. Even after such a long time, I remain pretty amazed at Lizzo’s knowledge, energy, and skill coordinating everything she does. She truly has her finger on the pulse of Fruit Islands, and she never misses a beat while debugging all the events, the individual interests, and the deluge of personal resident concerns that unify such a huge estate. 🙂

Fruit Sailing History

During it’s early growth, it’s no surprise that Fruit ‘fell below the radar‘ for most SLSailors. Two years ago though, Fruit sailing started to really heat up. 🙂

In summer 2009 I got a call from RJ Kikuchiyo; he was helping Dennis and Equi build a sailing marina in Fruit Island’s Mango sim. RJ said he was impressed with Fruit, and suggested it was worth a look.

Cough.  I don’t know about you, but When RJ recommends something, I usually jump to attention and run over to look. (I respond the same way when Warren Buffett calls with a stock tip.)

Anyway, I flew over to Mango for a visit, and of course RJ was correct: Fruit Estate was a truly great place for sailors! It had interconnected waterways, but there was much more. Fruit had a spirit of excitement, organization and coordination that was both infectious and exciting. The estate was a Mega-Regatta in the Making, just waiting for warning flags and race horns! 🙂

In September 2009, Fruit demonstrated that by kindly hosting the Second Round of the 2009 J-Classic.  It was a true test of endurance that involved a huge number of skilled sailors, and the race course was arguably the most difficult of the entire nine-week Regatta cycle.

Fruit Islands made a big effort, and the Round Two J-Classic turned out pretty wondrous.

Amy wins Fruit Islands SL-VT

That was just the beginning for Fruit Sailing, however. 🙂 Over the next two years, Fruit Islands went on to sponsor many racing, cruising, and teaching  initiatives that established their reputation for dedication and commitment to the SLSailing community. Isis Rexie, Elbag Gable, and LDewell Hawker joined in to build a Fruit-based Learn to Sail program that flourished in Strawberry and Muskmelon sims. Hawk unquestionably proved the value of this program during the recent match training sessions for the ACA Cup.  If you have any doubts about that, just ask any of the contestants! 🙂

In fact, over the past two years Fruit’s hosted a prodigious number of grid-wide sailing events, includingt the Mango Yacht Club Patchogue Regatta, Round Two of the SL One World Cup, the SL Vuiton Regatta, and the 2011 ACA Cup! As Elbag emaphasized in his North Sea announcement, Fruit Islands has never cared what boat you sail, or which home club you hail… The goal is to have fun, and maybe learn some real sailing skill in the process.

Elbag Gable and Brenda Hoisin

Gable at the helm

With all the above as set-up, let me now give extra, huge applause to Elbag Gable and Brenda Hoisin. They’ve provided unfailing support for the SLSailing community grid-wide in recent years. Much of their work has gone on behind the scenes, however, and they rarely get the loud praise they deserve.

Elbag’s worked with considerable vigor to promote sailing by adding sims, facilities, and strategic parcels in multiple mainland sites. That’s far from the whole story, however. Elbag’s partner, Brenda Hoisin has an artistic eye and a strong business sense.  Their team approach has turned critical sailing regions into popular landmarks full of visionary beauty and authentic nautical style.

Elbag and Brenda saw a unique potential to grow their dreams in Fruit Islands, and for many months they invested land and effort there to grow their own sailing estate. Eden Naturist Resort is a well-know multi-sim section they developed in the Northwest corner of Fruit Islands, and it’s now merged pretty wonderfully with the North Sea waters that lie below.

North Sea

I’ve already posted an early map of the new North Sea sims above; it’s a multi-sim open ocean area dedicated to sailors and sailing.

I know there are many spots SL users can sail boats, but North Sea is pretty unique. It has a core of roughly twenty water sims for sailing, and all that open water is closely linked to Fruit’s 100+ additional navigable sims.

Yikes! Shortly after North Sea opened, Lothor and I cruised it with a zillion other Leeward Sailors. Here’s what it looked like from our boat with a 512m draw-distance…

Woots… There was open water on all sides for as far as I could see! North Sea is a pretty incredible and unique resource for sailing!

In fact, nearly every other set of sailing sims in SL ends up restricted; they appropriately contain islands, shops, or residential sky- parcels. Those constraints are essential, since they provide revenue to support the navigable water. However, those restrictions inevitably en-mire the waterways with sailing troubles, mostly due to ban lines, obstructive builds, and/ or prim-overloads with excess lag.

North Sea is something different. It’s a large swatch of open water dedicated to sailing, and it compliments and contrasts with Fruit Islands extensive residential maritime theme. North plus Fruit adds up to a pretty perfect mix for any sailing adventure!

Actually, the only similar open-water spot in SL is Blake Sea, the Linden Ocean that connects United Sailing Sims to the Nautilus mainland.

When it opened, Blake Sea had a major impact on SLSailing; it was a crucial nexus for the expansion of new sailing opportunities. With time and Linden support, new sailing initiatives emerged and expanded across the mainland grid, but Blake remained the solitary, large ocean for unfettered sailing.

Hawk and Elbag discuss buoys

Now with the launch of North Sea, the whole game changes once more. Suddenly  there’s a new, vast ocean of opportunities for the sailing community. After all, North Sea is owned by sailors, it’s designed by sailors, and it’s run by sailors. LdeWell Hawker is the Uber Sailing Director in charge of North Sea’s sailing vision– He’ll decide where the racelines and buoys go, and his planning has huge input and support from Elbag Gable, Qyv Inshan, and Hay Ah. How could a wind-weary, salt-encrusted team like that miss? 🙂

(Oh, and did I mention there’s a Great SL Coast Guard Station on the shores of North Sea? 🙂 )

So Go Sail North

As anyone knows, I’m a big fan of many sailing regions in SL. I think where a sailor drops anchor is a personal choice, maybe even a spiritual decision. Each marina and each estate has its own attributes.  However, with the addition of North Sea, I think the opportunities now widen, and sailors have new options. That’s a pretty good thing!

Go visit Fruit Islands and North Sea yourself. If you have questions or suggestions, my guess is you probably already know Elbag, Brenda, Hawk, Qyv, Isis, Lizzo, Equinox or Dennis… so go talk to them about the new changes in Fruit
and then go for a glorious sail in North Sea! 🙂


Quest Q-2M

Last week Quest Marine launched its new Q-2M sailboat, tailored for small-boat club-racing fans. the boat was inspired by the Two-Meter Class monohulls, a popular strain of spare, single-handed one design vessels.

You can learn more about 2 meter class here, but if you don’t have much time, you can just watch the video below!

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The SL emulation is designed by Qyv Inshan.  The boat is small and sleek, and it holds few distractions that might take your mind off winning the particular race du jour.

Although it’s brand new, the Q-2M’s already quite popular in the sailing community. Fruit Islands is planning to use the boat to teach racing skills, and Triumphal Yacht Club just announced a regular, weekly one design race regatta featuring the Q-2M.

Noodleqt Exonar’s posted two highly positive reviews of the vessel as well!

The excitement over this compact racer is justified; it’s a very pretty, inexpensive and highly stable BWind-based boat that holds good potential as a Match Racing standard. Here’s Hawk’s video introducing the boat:

Given the many recent comments about the Q-2M, I’ll try to focus this initial look on a few issues not yet covered by other sailors.

The Boat

Q-2m has a simple, but nicely detailed hull and rig. The boat is mod, so a skipper can easily personalize it. Qyv Inshan plans to make the textures available soon; that should make pimping your Q-2m even easier! 🙂

None of the sculpties in the hull or rig are phantom. That adds to the realism, but also introduces a few typical ‘sculptie problems.’

The figure below shows a couple “bump tests.” In the top image I gently drove the bow into a 1 prim barrier wall. As you can see, even with the sails down the boat hits the barrier nearly 1 meter before the visible bow actually touches it. The lower picture shows that the hull itself isn’t at fault here; with a water-level barrier, the bow comes all the way up to the wall before bouncing back.

I’m pretty sure the Q-2m’s  ‘bump problem’ is due to the sculptie used for the boom. Sculpties often have a ‘collision mesh mismatch’ between the visible shape and where it actually makes contact with other prim. This is a common problem with many boats, and was an issue with the first version of the Shelly.

My guess is that the boom in Q-2m has a collision mesh that extends the same distance on the opposite side of the mast, and it’s that ‘anti-boom‘ that actually hits the wall. An easy fix might be to make the boom phantom when sailing.

Speaking of bump tests, the boat has a non-phantom keel too. As far as I can tell, you’ll need a minimum water depth of 2.0 m to keep from running your Q-2m aground in shallow places.

Sailing the Q-2m

The Q-2m was designed as a solo racer, but it also has room for one guest onboard. The boat’s powered by a BWIND sail engine, and responds to both arrow keys and chat commands. Qyv’s kindly provided a set of gestures with the boat, to make your life easier. 🙂

This boat has a very nice feature: It can use either the built-in, standard BWIND wind or it can pick up settings from a raceline WWC setter. In fact, the boat is fully WWC compatible; that means it can also make use of the wave and current settings programmed into a WWC. The potential options for Race Directors just got a lot more interesting! 🙂

As shown above, the boat has two Info-HUD display modes. One tells you a lot, and the other gives you just the bare minimum. The verbose HUD misses one useful guage: it doesn’t show water depth. If you race around buoys in Blake Sea, that may be ok; but if you prefer places with more complicated geography like Fruit Islands, you may end up running aground a lot on the shoals and shallows!

Adjusting the sails to maximize boat performance is pretty easy in the Q-2m. The main and jib are controlled together by key clicks or chat commands, and over AWA 120° a skipper can optionally wing the jib to enhance downwind drag. If the sails fall out of tune, they let you know with audible and visible luffing effects that seem to work nicely.

Q-2m’s HUD also includes numerical info to help a racer set the optimal sail angles. It displays the real and apparent wind angle as well as the sheet setting, and tells you if you are on port or starboard.  It even reports the “sail efficiency” of your settings! It’s interesting to note that the HUD includes Real Wind Speed, but not Apparent Wind Speed. That probably makes sense however, since AWS is only critical if there’s a reefing option or a risk of capsizing. 🙂

I’m still looking at this boat under different wind speeds and sail settings, but let me give you a crude ‘polar’ using the baseline 15 knot BWIND breeze. The chart above is a graph of boat speed versus apparent wind angle from 10° to 160° (note: the boat wont set a sail angle > 80). Between AWA 40° and 110° the boat will do in excess of 60% RWS, which seems pretty reasonable. It also has a forgiving upwind end; even at AWA 20°, the boat will do better than 30% RWS. On downwind points of sail there is a progressive drop-off of performance with increasing wind angle, which is partially compensated by winging the jib, as shown by the blue curve above.

But why talk numbers and obsess over details of performance graphs?

Go grab a Quest Q-2m and try it for yourself! 🙂