I’ve also posted a few frame captures below. In the first image (A), TEAM WYC2 approaches the Finish on a Run, with EUREKA slightly astern. Image B was captured slightly later, when WYC2‘s bow touched the line. You might think the race was over at that moment, but you’d be wrong. As shown in Image C, WYC2‘s boat suddenly jumped backwards a considerable distance; you can even see the boat’s wake in front of the bow. Image D shows the boat retracing it’s path, cutting the line a second time.
If you play the above video again, you’ll notice that Eureka also shows the same, strange behavior. As it nears the line, the boat sudddenly jumps back roughly 20m.
This is a significant effect that could easily disrupt a close race. Did WYC2 actually finish in Image B, or did it finish several seconds later in Image D? So… what’s going on here?
I’m pretty sure the problem above has nothing to do with the race line in Breadnut; I think it happens because the boats cross a sim boundary just before they finish.
Sailing across a sim boundary optimally involves a seamless hand-off of data from one simulator to the next, and that process requires efficient communication between server and client. This sounds straightforward but in practice it’s often imperfect, particularly when several vehicles are trying to cross the same border together. I sailed my first SL boat race back in 2006, and on that day every single boat crashed on the sim edge. 🙂 Although many things have improved in SL since then, sim crossings sadly remain a near death-defying challenge for many virtual skippers.
I’ve been sailing the Trudeau 12 Meterquite a bit recently, and it turns out to have very funny behavior at sim borders. Let me show you.
In the figure below, I’m sailing a boat on a beam reach in 15 kn wind. I sailed West in Linkous while taking a snapshot of the display every second. As the boat moves west within the sim, the X- position coordinate on the interface correspondingly decreases.
click to enlarge
In the first image above, the boat is at Linkous (+19). A few seconds later it should enter Van Daemo sim, but instead the interface reads Linkous (-2) and next reading is Linkous (-8). I assume these negative numbers mean the boat is already moving into the next sim, but the asset “handover” is not yet complete. Proof of this comes one second later, when the interface reads Van Daemo (+241), implying the boat is already 15 m into the sim.
This all makes a certain amount of sense, and is hardly worth talking about; however, what happens next totally confuses me. (Okay okay, I admit that’s not hard to do)
Anyway, as my boat sails further west In Van Daemo, the horizontal position coordinates should continue to decline. The first two frames shown below demonstrate exactly that, with X-positions of (+235) then (+230). However, the third frame below is one second later, and it registers (+251)! In other words, the boat suddenly jumped back a full 21 m !! The boat continues from that point on it’s original heading and with most of the previous momentum. At average rates of speed, I’d guess that will cost a racer roughly 4 to 8 seconds overall every time it happens.
This is the same problem shown in the video at the top of this page.
click to enlarge
This sudden “jump back” effect is consistent across many grid locations, and I don’t think it is unique to any specific group of sim server candidates. So far I’ve only looked for it in 12 m boats, but I think the problem is likely far more widespread and server-related.
Having said that, let me also add a few more observations:
The effect is present in Trudeau 12 m traveling under engine only.
I don’t see the effect when walking across a sim border.
I don’t see the effect when driving a small outboard across a sim boundary.
I don’t see the effect when sailing Wildwind OP60.
I do think I’ve seen the effect in some Qwest boats, but I haven’t looked carefully yet.
Chaos Mandelbrot (LCC Admiral and SL-Pundit-In-Residence) tells me this issue of ‘bounce back’ after sim crossing is already widely known and it’s been prevalent across the grid for several months. Nonetheless, I can’t find any good discussion of the problem, and I’d love to hear from someone who can explain what’s going on here. 🙂
This month I’m reviewing three popular, contemporary cruising boats in Second Life. I’ve already posted about Analyse Dean‘s Bandit 50 and Kain Xenobuilder‘s Café del Mar 75. Both are large and fast cruisers that use the new BWind 2.5 wind engine.Bandit and Café also come with many on-board accommodations, including rather extensive cabin space and over two dozen animations. The boats compare favorably with my previous, ultimate 2012 favorite cruiser: Motor Loon‘s remarkable Loonetta 31.
Today I want to talk about the third cruiser on my personal short-list; it’s Rene Underby‘s RM12 Tofinou, and it’s available at the Rene Marine boatyard in Thalipolli. The boat is modeled after the French Tofinou 12, a 40ft Joubert/Nivelt sloop design. SteveLL Resident (aka Justin) likes this boat a great deal, and his enthusiasm got me interested (thank you SteveLL !!!).
Having said that, let me also add that the RM12 is the first Rene Marine boat I’ve put under the Metaverse microscope, so please bear with me; I might not get everything right. Nonetheless, I’ve spent five months testing this boat, and think I have a reasonably good feel for it. 🙂 if I get something wrong, hopefully SteveLL will correct me here!! With those provisos on the record, let’s talk about the boat. 🙂
The RM12 is substantially smaller than the cruisers I’ve recently reviewed; RM12 might be best classified as a daysailor rather than a Coastal Cruiser.
Compared to Bandit and Cafe, RM12 has fewer animations and less “jazz” throughout, but actually that’s quite intentional. The contrast between the different design styles is present in real life, and nicely summarized by Peter Nielsen in Sail:
“The aesthetic differences between American and European boats are nowhere more pronounced than in the daysailer niche. The average modern U.S. daysailer has a refined, gentlemanly air; it’s a boat your granddad would have been proud to own. A typical sporty Euro-daysailer, on the other hand, is a dashing rogue of a boat; Grandma might send it coy glances, but Granddad would eye it with suspicion.
“If there is a boat that straddles this divide with hardly a wince, it is the Tofinou range from France. Tofinou was building pretty little daysailers long before the idea caught on in the United States. Its hulls have the sweetest of lines, and on its bigger boats, the 8, the 9.5 and the 12, gleaming varnished teak and mahogany woodwork is integrated seamlessly with expanses of black carbon fiber and subtly contoured fiberglass. …
“The 40-foot Tofinou 12 is… moderate of beam, lean and low-slung, and drawing almost 8 feet—which would be a drawback in many areas of the U.S. East Coast, but makes for an impressively stiff and precise ride to weather. Hull and bulkheads are lightweight fiberglass/foam composites, and the bare minimum of interior furniture and systems—along with a carbon fiber spar—help keep weight down to a svelte 10,500 pounds—about 40 percent less than a typical 40-foot production boat. …”
And here’s a clip of the Tofinou 12 in action:
The Rene Marine 12 “Tofinou”
Rene Marine. Rene Underby and Jethro2112 Sands are Rene Marine. They have worked together for several years now, building boats with clean scripts and thoughtful designs; you can see the whole ReneMarine fleet over at their main location in Thalipolli. You can also hear about their philosophy of yacht building by watching the Treet.tv documentary on SL Sailing; René and Jethro are prominently featured.
René builds sailing vessels that genuinely emulate classic boat designs, and the RM12 is just one vessel in her long line of authentic sail craft that you can see at her marina.
Her RM12 is a skillful mesh build. The boat weighs in at a trim 57 prim with a Land Impact of 37. For comparison:
Bandit 50 41 prim 32 Land Impact Rene Marine 12 57 prim 37 Land Impact Cafe del Mar 67 prim 48 Land Impact
Loonetta 31 32 prim 32 Land Impact
Sailors will find the RM12 mesh design to be clean, simple, and true to the real boat, and it has multiple features that should make any seasoned skipper smile.
The Hull and Topside
The cockpit is nicely arranged with an ample number of port and starboard self-tailing winches within reach of the dual helm. The detailing and finish is quite thoughtfully executed, and full of fun; there’s even a winch handle already loaded, ready to crank!
The skipper and crew have a choice of multiple sit options that can be accessed through a simple hierarchical menu system that automatically pops up. A few of the poses are shown in the image sequence to the right. (click to enlarge)
Is your avatar is an odd size? Don’t worry! The sit positions are easily adjustable. 🙂
Although this boat is a solid cruiser that will carry several crew, remember when you go below that RM12 is designed for performance, and matches the real life Tofinou 12. Don’t be disappointed because there’s no shower or Cuisinart. This boat is built to sail, and any extra features are installed to help a skipper take true command of the boat’s multiple sailing options. The RM12 is a cruiser intended for sailors. 🙂
Even sailors need to drop anchor occasionally, so Rene Underby has also included a set of animations for couples to use during those off-hours. 🙂
RM12 Sails. The RM12 is fitted out with a fractional sloop rig with a Genoa and mainsail, but there’s no spinnaker.
If you’re worried about overhead clearance, please note that the fore and aft stays are physical, and so is the keel. This adds considerably to the boat’s realism, but watch out for shallow water and low bridges! 🙂
The RM12 comes with a headstay furler for the Genny, and an in-mast furler for the Main. Both have nice animations that deploy the sails when you say “Raise.”
A skipper can raise, lower, trim or reef each sail independently. That’s a truly useful feature that is also present on Trudeau Classic boats, although it’s missing on most others.
Having said that, let me add that I’m not aware of any SL boat that optimizes differences between the jib and main trim depending on sailing conditions. My guess is that’s on the laundry list for the “next step” in improvements to sailing algorithms.
While we wait, let me add that the RM12 sails are quite nicely constructed and scripted. When they fall out of tune they let you know with a realistic visible and audible “flap.”
To adjust the sheets and bring them back into optimal position, a skipper uses the up/down arrow keys. That changes the sail angle in small (three degree) increments until the settings are correct. I’m not aware of any chat-command control for the sheet settings on this boat. It’s also notable that only the skipper can adjust the sails. There is option to share sail control with the crew, and crew location on board (hiking) has no impact on boat heel or boat speed.
In my last cruising article, I commented that there was an apparent mismatch in some boats between the sheet angle setting and the visible angle of the boom and mainsail. That’s not a problem with the RM 12, however. The image to the right shows a vertex view of my RM 12 sailing a dead run with the sails full out. The maximum angle you can set for the boom on RM12 is 70° (it’s probably limited by the stays). That angle agrees quite nicely with what you can directly measure from your screen, as shown above.
One more thing about sails on the RM 12: Since the boat has dual furlers, Reefing the sails is a snap. You can let out any percentage of either the main or the Genoa with a simple chat command, and the power of the reefed sail adjusts accordingly.
The boat even has an adjustable traveler for the mainsheet, located aft of the helm station; I’ll talk more about that in the next section.
Sailing the RM12
RM scripts. The RM12 is powered by Rene Underby’s wind engine. If I recall correctly, René originally adapted her algorithm from Kanker Greenacre’s Tako 2.x. However, over time Rene’s scripts have evolved to meet the needs and expectations of a whole generation of new sail designs and skippers in SL. At the present time, my guess is that sailors would be hard-pressed to find any Tako genes still actively expressed in the René Marine family of boats. 🙂
Wind for Two. If you like to use the wind that’s broadcast by raceline WWC windsetters in Second Life, that’s easy for RM12. All you need to do is “ID” your boat so it’s recognized by the raceline (the chat command is “ID 0000” , where “0000” is any number combination). Once you do that, the boat will search for the WWC’s broadcast.
The boat uses the WWC Cruise Wind settings (not Race Wind), and it makes use of the Wave and Current WWC features as well.
However, if you prefer to sail on your own the boat also has built-in boat wind. Just type “wind spd xx” to set the wind speed in knots, and type “wind dir xxx” to pick a wind angle. You’re not restricted to the small number of values that come with BWind boats.
RM12 HUD.The RM12 comes with a vertical stack of five multi-purpose data screens that give you all the sailing information you could ever hope for.
The panel on the right below shows this info-display stack coupled with a quick guide that explains their function.
The first two instruments are analog indicators.The top one shows Real Wind Angle, but you can switch it to Apparent Wind Angle with the push of a button; and if you want numerical values, that’s shown as an inset on the gauge.
The second instrument in the RM 12 stack is unique; it shows rudder angle. As you can imagine, the rudder angle determines how acutely the boat will carve a turn. I’ll talk more about this below.
The third instrument has a screen with four different command functions that can each be activated by clicking buttons next to the display. Two are pretty straightforward: “Raise” raises both sails, and “Motor” powers up the diesel.
Two other button commands are less common. One turns on ‘Autotrim,’ a utility that optimally adjusts the sails to match the AWA. The other is an ‘Autopilot‘ that locks the boat to a particular heading. If you are new sailor, these options can make sailing the RM 12 extremely easy; you just point-and-shoot. 🙂 If you’re an Old Salt in SL, you’ll also find these tools pretty great. They let you put the boat through test trials with heading and sails fixed, while you tinker with all the other options that enhance performance. 🙂
The last three HUD instruments are digital displays; a skipper can flip the info shown on the HUD screen to display any of 10 different panels. I know many sailors may feel differently, but I like the option to see a lot of numbers while underway, and the RM HUD fills that bill nicely. 🙂
Rudder Reality. The RM12 has a distinctive steering system. In nearly every other sailboat in Second Life, a skipper steers by pressing an Arrow key, and the boat actively turns until the key is released. The effect is a bit more like a ‘bow-thruster’ than a rudder.
The RM12 is more realistic. Pressing an arrow key will cause a rudder deflection that you can monitor on the HUD gauge. The boat will turn toward the side of the rudder until the skipper centers the wheel again. However, if there’s no breeze or the boat is nose to windward and not moving (“in Irons”), the RM12 will do what any self-respecting sailboat does in real life. It just sits there, waiting for the breeze to shift. 🙂
Once you get the hang of the steering, you’ll find that the RM12 also has rather realistic polar performance under sail.
The chart to the right shows a plot in blue of Boat Speed vs Real Wind Angle for the RM12 using a RWS of 15 kts. The boat is fastest on a beam reach, and it maxes out with a top speed that’s roughly 70% of RWS.
That corresponds to a Hotlaps Handicap of 0.69, a number that’s in line with the majority of midsized cruisers in Second Life.
Since each sail is independent on the RM 12, I’ve also plotted the boat speed for the Genoa (green) and the main (purple) alone. As you can see from the above chart, the boat gets most of its thrust from the main at all points of sail.
The RM12 doesn’t have a Spin and you can’t wing the main; it makes sense that the performance declines downwind with RWA>120.
The next chart on the right shows RM12 performance with both sails flying under three different wind speeds: 8 kn, 15 kn, and 25 kn.
On a beam reach in light air (8 kn), the boat can do 75% RWS. That performance efficiency decreases a bit to 72% RWS with the wind of 15 kn, and it falls much more to 62% RWS in a strong blow of 25 kn. As shown below, at those high wind speeds the boat heels far to lee and it is hard to hold it on course, even with the Autopilot engaged.
I’d recommend a windspeed around 15 kn for routine sailing. If you’re hit by a sudden squall with big gusts, you might think about reefing or dropping the Genoa. 🙂
This boat has one other trick in its sail adjustment toolkit: it comes with a Traveler for the mainsheet. A traveler has an adjustable car that determines where the sheet connects to the boat; it helps set the sail shape by holding the boom down.
The pictures below show the traveler in action (pink arrows) on RM12. In the left frame, the traveler is located far windward. That makes the sheet angle with the boom suboptimal, since the sheet can’t pull down to hold the sail flat. However, in the right frame the traveler is all the way lee. In that location the sheet is much better able to control sail shape. If you look at the speed gauge (blue arrows), you can see there’s a modest increase in boat speed as the traveler goes into action.
A Good Turn
RM12 takes a turn
Five months ago I wrote about sailboat turns in SL. As I said back then, I think a boat’s ability to make a realistic turn is an important part of any authentic sailing emulation. The RM12 was the first boat in SL where I could take a serious look at this issue, since it couples realistic helm control with a flood of numerical data any skipper can monitor while making a turn. I won’t repeat all the discussion about turn-testing here; you can go read it someday when your boat’s in drydock. 🙂
I just wanted to emphasize that the RM12 is the boat I used to help set the standard for all the other sailboat turn-tests. It’s a tribute to René Marine that most boats I’ve looked at have independent turning parameters that fall within the same test range defined by RM12.
The Rene Marine 12 is René Underby’s virtual re-creation of the French Tofinou 12 daysailor; it’s a very nicely done emulation that should appeal to many SL cruisers that want a midsized boat with realistic sailing features.
The RM12 mesh build is clean and accurate, with an economical Land Impact of 37. Once aboard, a solo skipper controls all the sailing functions when underway, but the owner can also delegate the skipper role to one other sailor through chat commands. 🙂
In addition to the skipper, RM12 can carry three crew, and there’s a wealth of animations topside and below to keep everyone entertained.
The RM12 has a Mainsail and a Genoa that are powered by the Rene Marine sail engine; the sails can be independently controlled by key click or chat command. To help guide the skipper, the RM12 comes equipped with a highly detailed info HUD. It has five vertically-stacked gauges that continuously report a huge amount of sailing information. 🙂
The performance polar for this boat is realistic, and falls in the range of several other cruisers in Second Life. Consistent with the polar results, RM 12 rates a respectable (and credible)Hotlaps Handicap of 0.69.
The boat comes with a few very interesting sail adjustment tools that enhance performance. They include an active roller reefing system for the main and Genoa, and a main sheet traveler to adjust sail shape.
The combination of realistic performance, detailed numerical sail data, and multiple sail adjustment options make this boat a good choice for skippers looking for an SL daysailer that authentically reflects RL.
If you’re in the market for a cruiser, you should also know the RM12 is missing a few features that are standard equipment on several other boats. Most notably:
— RM12 has neither a Crew-HUD nor hiking scripts. The RM12 skipper is in charge, and the crew is just along for the ride. (The same thing is true for most other contemporary cruiser emulations.) — The boat lacks a spinnaker and there is no ‘wing’ effect, so the boat may seem slow on downwind points of sail. (Nonetheless, the Hotlaps Handicap is a respectable 0.69.) — RM12 does not have wind shadow, limiting its potential as a racer. (However this boat is primarily a cruiser. The lack of wind shadow could actually be a lag-reducing advantage.)
I’ve been sailing the RM12 off-and-on for five months, and I now understand SteveLL‘s enthusiasm over this boat. I particularly like the boat’s ease of sail with autopilot and autotrim functions, and the detailed information provided by the info-HUD screens.
Go stop by at Rene Marine, and take the RM12 for your own test drive!
I saw Thorvald Larsen online today; he has not been in SL recently, and so it was a real treat to chat with him and update for a few minutes.
courtesy of Dil Spitz
I met Thorvald in January 2007, I’m not sure where. It was either on the docks of the old SL Nantucket sim, or in an online Wooden Boat discussion thread. I don’t remember which, but it hardly makes a difference. 🙂
Thorvald is a life-long sailor. The Tahiti Ketch he owns was built by his father, and the boat became a major inspiration for Jacqueline Trudeau’s virtual Tahiti Ketch I & II designs.
If I’m not mistaken, Thorvald also lobbied for “reefing” as a sail trim feature in SL boats. That idea first came to life in the (rather legendary) Trudeau Twenty, but it quickly became a standard cruising and racing feature in sailboats from many builders. The recent Patchogue II has two reef points!
Thorvald is a great example of the way SL provides a platform where real sailors can work with talented digital designers and scripters. When that happens, sometimes wondrous creations emerge, and everyone smiles.
Let me close this little note with a recent clip of Thorvald’s Tahiti Ketch on a day cruise, sailing the waters of Long Island Sound:
A few days ago I talked about the Bandit 50, a BWind 2.5 cruising boat by Analyse Dean that’s available through The Mesh Shop. However, shortly after Bandit 50 launched Kain Xenobuilder released his own Mesh Shop cruiser design. It’s called the Café del Mar 75.
“Dutch” Xenobuilder is a true mesh-master, and he usually shows his nautical talents off with detailed and accurate emulations of contemporary race boats. I’ve written several articles about his Volvo Ocean -70, One Design -65, Nacra -17, and Laser One.
However, the new Café del Mar 75 reflects a different approach that might appeal to a wider audience. This boat is designed primarily as a cruiser, not a racer, and it has enough room and features to convey a skipper and three friends across the grid in both style and comfort. 🙂
The CM75 is not designed to match the specs of any particular boat class. This is more a ‘concept boat‘ that reflect’s Dutch’s personal preference and creative talents. The boat is actually named after Café del Mar, a legendary bar in Ibiza that’s a must-visit waypoint for the high-end sailing crowd (… and what bar isn’t?) 🙂 . Café del Mar also has a great restaurant and wonderful sunsets, but it’s probably best known for it’s in-house techno-trance Café del Marelectronic music mix.
With that inspiration, Dutch has produced a fun and somewhat fantasy cruiser that’s quite different from the Bandit 50 I talked about last time. 🙂
Café del Mar 75 Build
As you can see above, the CM75 is a rather sizable boat. It also has sharper design features in its hull and topside construction compared to the Bandit 50 or the Loonetta 31 (or even the Tetra 35, for that matter). This of course is a matter of personal taste, and several avid cruisers have spontaneously told me how much they love the CM 75‘s looks.
The cockpit is spacious with helm stations both port and starboard, and the skipper automatically bounces to the windward side when the boat tacks. The helm animation has a unique feature too: When the boat heels, the skipper will lean in the opposite direction to stay upright. 🙂
There’s another rather novel feature to the helm in this boat: just in front of the wheel are two analog gauges that display the real-time Boat Speed and Apparent Wind Angle. There’s no separate Heads Up Display, so if you want more information you need to go to the boat’s center Control Station. (more on that below).
Since this is primarily a cruise boat, the cockpit is fitted out with two reclining deck chairs with cushions to let guests nap and tan while aboard. Each has an attached side table large enough to hold a Margarita and some snacks, and maybe even a Kindle e-book too.
It’s all designed for a quiet night in Ibiza. If the boat heeled five degrees in RL all that stuff (plus your guests) would likely slide onto the cockpit floor, and if you head up into the waves, you may quickly find your crew washed astern from the boat’s open-aft, racing-style cockpit. 🙂
click for bigness
Animations. The CM75 is full of poses suited for either skipper or crew. Buttons on the ‘crewhud‘ let a sailor find a suitable location and animation by scrolling the avatar through a sequence of positions; there is no hierarchical menu. In other words, to go from the cockpit helm to sit on a bench down below, you’ll need to transit through several poses in the shower. That’s no big deal, but I admit it’s a tad inconvenient. 🙂
As you flip through the poses, you may find another interesting glitch: two avatars on CM75 can simultaneously occupy the same sit position (don’t ask me how this happens). That can lead to images of inadvertent – and possibly disturbing – excess intimacy, as shown in the second photo above.
(But hey, it’s SL– get over it!) 🙂
The contrast between cruising features and ocean racer design in CM75 continues as one moves into the cabin; take a look below.
In most ocean-going cruisers, going below deck is like entering a military bunker. The space is relatively cramped and multipurpose, and the windows are narrow slits or even worse: portholes.
That’s not true in Café Del Mar. The cabin is quite expansive, with a wall of translucent, impact resistant Glass/Plexiglas at the front end of the cockpit with full-sized sliding doors. These open into a combination Pilot House/Central Cabin with plenty of headroom that includes a large centrally-located Control Panel. There’s a wrap-around panoramic window view from the cabin level, although I admit it’s constrained vertically and gives something of a letterbox impression.
The Control Panel has many analog gauges that document critical info about sailing status. A smart skipper might do well to direct the boat from this enclosed command station, but it will take some thinking to get the camera views right, so a skipper can easy flip between views of the surrounding water and closeups of the guages on the panel. This boat might be best sailed with Mouselook, or a third party cam and info Hud. New owners will need to experiment and find out what works best for them.
This is a concept boat, remember!
On the port side of the main cabin there is a rather fancy kitchenette, replete with a cooktop, sink, blender and espresso machine. 🙂 On the starboard side, there’s a full, stand-up shower that will accommodate two people, as long as they know each other really well.
Moving further forward, you’ll find a substantial cabin with plush benches that are more-than-adequate for the crew this boat can accommodate. At the bow end there’s a master cabin, complete with a double bed and two video monitors ready to display your favorite SL-compatible media. 🙂
That foreward berth is a bit of a tight squeeze, and you may need a little cam-practice before you can comfortably watch the watch the television sets located there. One caution, however: don’t plug in the TV while the boat is underway; you could get electrocuted. 🙂 As you can see above, the forward cabin lies low in the bow and bilge washes though the cabin whenever the boat’s on a slight heel.
Some Sail Stuff
Keel. Let me add a few extra items here about the build that I think are relevant to sailing. First and foremost, the bulb keel is physical. As you can see below, I ran this boat fast aground by riding the keel up on a sandbar. There was excellent match between the visible keel and the grounding point. (that’s nice) 🙂
Sails.The boat has a sloop rig, with a few interesting touches. On upwind headings, the boat is powered by a mainsail and a full genoa jib, both nicely meshed out.
As I mentioned earlier, this boat does NOT have a HUD. You need to rely on the onboard analog instruments, and watch for visible and audible sail luff. The CM75 gives you another nice hint: The sails have telltales attached. When the telltales hang loose, you need to adjust the sheeting; when the telltales are streaming horizontal, you are ‘in the zone.’ 🙂
When sailing downwind, you can deploy a gennaker to get an extra boost. When you raise the sail by chat command, it automatically douses the Genoa and raises a staysail in it’s place, so you have three sails flying.
Setting the angles for three sails to get optimal drag effects downwind can be a daunting problem in real life. It’s no less an issue in SL. However, in Second Life most sail engines combine the commands for the main and foresails, and revert to an optimal sheet setting of one-half the Apparent Wind Angle.
The image to the right shows Cafe del Mar on a dead run (AWA 180°) using the optimal sheet settings for the main and gennaker. However, if you actually measure the sail angles it looks like the main is set to around 45°, only half the genn angle (90°) .
This may be a quibble that’s irrelevant for most sailors since it only involves sail appearance, but it’s nonetheless interesting and worth checking on other boats.
Sailing the Café del Mar 75
Dutch tells me that the sailing scripts in this boat are retooled and more efficient than prior Mesh Shop Bwind 2.5 boats. I believe that; I’ve sailed CM75 through many difficult grid situations over the past few months and taken it on quite lengthy leeward cruises, all with good results!
If you have sailed any of the mesh shop boats, you’ll be familiar with the Café del Mar 75 right out of the box. If you type the chat command “cruising,” the boat goes into standard BWind mode. That gives you six different options for wind speed and eight more options for wind direction. You make your selection by a simple chat command, and the boat echoes your choice:
[09:00:31] Jane Fossett: 11 [09:00:31] TMS Radar: Wind blowing at 11 Kts.
You can do the same thing for wind direction, and then finally check your results using the chat command “wind.”
[09:01:19] Jane Fossett: wind [09:01:19] Cafe del Mar 75 whispers: 25 Kts. E BWind
I’m making a point of this, because there’s apparently a glitch in the settings for “15 kts.” If you say “15” in chat, the boat will correctly record that setting but it won’t give you any chat text feedback about the change. This is specific for the “15” command in CM75 (at least in my boat). All the other numbers and directions work as they should, and the “15” works correctly on similar boats, including the Bandit 50.
Once again, this is just a small issue, and you can always use the “wind” command to make sure you get the right settings.
Take two tablets…
If you want to use the boat for racing, the Café Del Mar 75 comes with the Mesh Shop iPad 2 tablet interface wind setter.
The iPad2 has the same set of options for wind speed and direction as the BWind chat commands, and it allows you to broadcast those numbers to the local racing fleet.
Even without a boat, you can get your own copy of the iPad2 for free from the SL Marketplace, and you can download the manual here.
Let me add one important update that’s not yet in the iPad2 docs: The ‘drift‘ function that sets a gradual shift in wind direction is currently disabled. The icon is still there and will change when you click on it, but the wind is not affected. Dutch reports that sailors were not using the option, so he removed it. Meaningful wind fluctuations are an important part of virtual sail-racing, but it’s less of an issue in Café Del Mar since the boat is primarily a cruiser. The race options are mostly an add-on for skippers who want to do timed laps or sail in Big Boat regattas.
Sharing the work
The skipper steers the boat and performs basic sail adjustments with a standard set of arrow keys and chat commands.
The boat also comes with a crewHUD that allows any sailor aboard to trim the sheets or change the foresail. If you want even more control over your rig, there’s an undocumented sheet adjustment command available:
“X” can be a positive or a negative number. For example, the command “/29000 sheet20″ will let the sails out 20°. If you plan to sail this boat a lot, you may want to put the routine sail commands into a gesture set. Actually, Fearless Freenote already has a gesture pack for the Mesh Shop Vo-70 and OD-65, and I bet the same commands will work fine on the Café del Mar. Ask Fearless, Jane, or Hannelore Ballinger if you want a copy of the free gesture pack. 🙂
The crew HUD shown above also contains a nifty “Controls” button that allows a skipper to hand over helm responsibility to one of the crew onboard. It’s a very nice feature that permits you to give ‘demo drives’ to friends who are interested in the boat.
Cruisers usually want a boat that is well-built, reliable, and large enough to carry several friends across a long voyage; they are less concerned about the details of sail selection and sheeting. If that sounds like you, then Café del Mar has a feature you might really like: an Autopilot!
If you turn on the Autopilot, all you have to do is steer the boat. The Autopilot will make the appropriate sail changes and adjust the sheeting to the optimal settings along your route. The only thing you’ll have to do is keep one hand on the wheel while drinking that Margarita. 🙂
The autopilot gadget can actually be a real lifesaver when you’re in a crowded fleet under severe lag at the start of a Leeward Cruise. In that situation a skipper is often just trying to avoid collisions and can’t tinker with the sail adjustments.
I like it!
Cafe del Mar Sprints
The Autopilot makes performance testing relatively easy; the boat sets the sails optimally at each heading. However, Café del Mar does not have a detailed numbers HUD, so to collect polar data I’ve been using a separate Navigation HUD. Those third party Nav HUD numbers closely match the control panel gauge results onboard CM75. It’s a good cross-check.
With that short explanation about methods, let me say that the Café del Mar 75 turns out to be the fastest cruise boat I’ve ever tested in SL waters. With the autopilot settings the boat easily scored a Hotlaps Handicapof 1.12, meaning that it’s 12% faster than the Melges 24 raceboat. In fact, the CM75 is faster than the ACA-33 and even theVO-70.
Two very different Mesh Shop boats, the Nacra-17 and the One Design 65, have lap times that match Café del Mar 75, and the only boats that beat CM75 are the high-end ocean racers built by WildWind.
Yikes! Next time you sail this boat, make sure to bring racing gloves and a lifeline! It’s FAST.
The polar plot below details the boat’s speedy performance. It plots boat speed under autopilot conditions with a Real Wind Speed of 15 knots. The data for Café del Mar is shown in purple, and the Bandit 50 results are shown for comparison in green.
As you can see, on every point of sail the CM 75 is faster than Bandit 50, and on a reach the CM 75 even exceeds Real Wind Speed. This kind of performance in a cruiser may seem unnatural, but please remember that this is a ‘Concept Boat.’ It’s more about what’s possible than what’s present. 🙂
The Café del Mar 75 is the latest release by Mesh Meister Kain Xenobuilder. It’s a 75 foot mesh Cruiser with a modern, angular design and many authentic and innovative sailing features. The boat is suitable for a skipper plus three crew, and there’s extensive space as well as over two dozen animations to accommodate everyone on a long voyage.
TheCafé del Mar 75is powered by the new BWind 2.5 wind engine and it has options to share sailing tasks (sheet adjustment and even steering) between skipper and crew.
The boat is full of features that any sailor will like, including mesh sails with visible and audible luffing effects, working telltales, and realistic analog display gauges. It also has an Autopilot that will automatically take over most of the sailing work for you.
And for those cruisers who always want to sail at the head of the fleet, the performance of this boat will be a pleasant surprise. It is easily one of the fastest cruising boats ever built in SL.
Go try the Cafe del Mar 75 out for yourself; there are demos you can sail of Café and all the other Mesh Shop creations over in Tschotcke sim in Second Life.
The cruising crowd continues to grow in Second Life. Luckily, the options available to SL skippers also continue to expand, and in the past few months several new mid-sized cruising craft hit the water.
Loonetta Quartet at LCC
I admit it; for over a year now, Motor Loon’s Loonetta 31 has been my personal ‘benchmark choice’ for a contemporary cruiser. Loonetta is a remarkably well-detailed and full-featured mesh build, and all the features somehow fit very nicely into a very tiny footprint (Prim 31, LOD 32).
However, time passes, and a sailor’s eyes start to wander… my Loonetta launched 14 months ago, and maybe now is a good time now to check out the marinas for a new cruising companion. 🙂
With that modus operandi, I’d like to highlight three cruisers with contemporary designs; it might assist some sailors seeking a new maritime relationship. The three vessels I’ll discuss are the Bandit 50, the Café Del Mar 75 and the RM 12. They are all well-crafted and nicely detailed; you can see their relative sizes in the header image above. Each boat has its own merits and it’s worth checking them all out to see which might meet your personal and particular sailing interest.
The first boat I want to chime in on is the Bandit 50. It’s a 50 ft, mid-size sloop designed by Analyse Dean and available at the Mesh Shop. It’s a remarkably detailed and gracefully constructed mesh build. The beamy hull has plenty of room for crew topside, and there’s extensive forward cabin space as well.
The Bandit 50 build
Let’s click through some of the details. 🙂 The boat has so many features, it actually comes with two versions in the box. The full-featured cruiser is the Bandit 50B, while the Bandit 50R is a lightweight, stripped-down version more suitable for racing. Since the full-featured boat has a super-low LOD of 32, I nearly always sail that 50B version of the boat; I’ve had very little difficulty getting across sim borders or having parts fail to rez or fragment. I have not tried to race it, but I’ve sailed it on the Leeward Cruise, which can be a pretty big stress test.
As you can see in the above image, the cockpit is generously proportioned, with a single center wheel and binnacle with a working compass. There’s the requisite number of winches and a full set of lines to help you trim the sails, and there are a number of extras too. The most obvious one is a large, removable Bimini top that provides shade and modest weather protection to the aft cockpit and stern. To my knowledge, this is the only sailboat in Second Life that has a Bimini, and it’s a nice touch.
“…a “silly” version with those fuglycake booths that cover the cockpit and give your boat the appearance of a maritime home for the elderly. … “Well, if you’re forced to skipper a boat from underneath a canopy at least you can pretend to like it. …”
To the contrary, I think a Bimini can be pretty useful if you’re sailing in the Caribbean or another subtropical latitude. The sun can be scorchingly intense, and a piece of canvas over your head comes in pretty handy when the wind dies or the boat sits moored. Anyway, whatever you may think, the Bimini is totally removable. 🙂
The boat will accommodate several friends both above and below decks. and there are a rather huge number of poses and animations built-in to accommodate them. The poses are hierarchically organized within a series of pop-up menu pages. That’s nice and orderly, and it takes only a couple seconds to find what you want and take a seat aboard. 🙂
The skipper can actually control the boat from any of these sit positions, but you will probably want to be at the helm for the best visibility while underway. Speaking of which, the boat has a simple ‘Crew Hud‘ system that lets others aboard share sailing responsibilities by adjusting the sheets and controlling the halyards. A skipper can even hand over helm control to one other designated person aboard. That useful option is similar to the helm-switching available on the Loonetta.
One more important point: unlike several other recent mesh boats, the Bandit 50 has a physical keel. That feature adds to the realism, but it means you’ll have to be careful when cruising the shallows.
Bandit 50 has a central gangway that leads below decks from the cockpit.
The main cabin has plenty of space, and a surprising amount of headroom. The layout is traditional, and it follows the design of most cruisers I’m familiar with in real life (see below). The L-shaped galley is on the port side as you enter, with the sink extending to the middle for easy access. The starboard side has space for a nav station, and forward there are curved benches on either side. As with most cruisers this size, the tables in front of the benches are collapsible, to maximize use of the space.
There is a separate, main sleeping compartment in the bow that is large enough for two very friendly people, and there are two more sleep cubbies on either side of the engine compartment below the cockpit.
Sailing the Bandit 50
BWind 2.5. The Bandit 50 Uses a BWind 2.5 sail engine by Becca Moulliez. To set the wind, the skipper uses an iPad tablet that displays familiar BWind options. The current iPad2 can also be operated by an independent race director who can broadcast the wind parameters for a fleet of racers or cruisers that are nearby and listening. (A small glitch with the iPad2: the time display is off by one hour. 🙂 )
I’ve discussed the BWind 2.5 engine before. It’s fine for cruising, but it may have significant limitations for some race applications; I’ll talk more on that in the next article in this series. Let me just emphasize here that Bandit 50 does not work with the standard raceline WWC in use across the grid, and the system for adding wind variance is quite different. Sailors will need to judge for themselves whether this represents a major handicap, depending on how you sail.
HUDs and such.The bandit 50 is controlled by a simple set of chat commands and keyboard combinations that will be very familiar to any user that owns a Mesh Shop boat. In particular, there are chat commands that turn the text HUD on or off, that engage the engine (yes, it has an engine!), and that change the communication channel.
Speaking of the HUD, the Bandit 50B has a full-featured BWind text-HUD that changes color when the sails are out of tune. It even includes text messages warning the skipper to pull in or let out the sail.
If that wasn’t enough, the sails visibly and audibly flap when they are out of tune, and a set of telltales go limp as well. It’s nice to have all that feedback while cruising. 🙂
If you not a big fan of HUDs, you can turn it off and sail by the boat’s instruments; there’s a complete display panel above the gangway full of analog dials that tell you about the wind and boat speed.
(Note: the Bandit 50R does not have a BWind text HUD; you have to race that boat by the seat of your pants. 🙂 )
Bandit 50 Polar
Speaking of racing, let’s talk about Bandit 50’s performance; it’s pretty speedy. As I discussed a few days ago, on the Hotlaps test courses this boat earned a Handicap of 0.89. That’s pretty impressive for a beamy, full-service cruiser; it was one of the fastest boats in its class.
Here is the polar for the Bandit 50B.
The chart to the right shows boat speed for Real Wind Angles (RWA) in response to a 15 kn constant wind speed. As you can see, the performance curve using the Main+Jib looks pretty typical for a sloop, with maximum boat speed on a beam reach with RWA in the 85°–125° range. On that point of sail Bandit 50 will do approximately 80% of RWS.
The spinnaker will only go up when the boat is sailing downwind with an RWA > 135°, and it automatically douses as the boat turns windward. When it’s up, the spinnaker will allow a skipper to sail 80% of RWS to a downwind angle of 150°.
You can see on the chart that there is an interesting, small “divit” in the performance curve around 132°. That happens when the Genoa is losing power, but before the spinnaker will stay up. It’s a pretty realistic feature, but it’s probably best to avoid that heading if you want to get the best out of the boat. 🙂
One more thing; if you look closely, the boat speed actually picks up after the boat’s heading goes over 180°. This is the same “by the Lee” effect incorporated into the Mesh Shop Laser One. It’s nice to see it here too. 🙂
Cruisers are often beamy boats with lots of mass. It can be a real chore to turn them around, and it often takes considerable space. The wheel response can also seem sluggish and sloppy in RL and SL.
Well, that’s not true for Bandit 50. I did a series of 180° Half Circle tests on the boat to see if it could cut a sharp turn, and it came through like a champ.
The top image to the right shows the X-Y position of the boat measured each second during a hard turn into the wind from AWA -90° to AWA +90°. The boat has a turning radius of around 15 m, which in Second Life is actually pretty good.
To demonstrate that, in the second figure I superimposed Bandit 50’s turn onto the turn plots of a large number of other boats shown in gray. This boat handles pretty well!
The Bandit 50 is a pretty great build that meets all the criteria a cruising skipper could hope for. The construction is wonderfully detailed and accurate, there’s enough room and sit positions for a crowd of friends, and the performance is realistic for a midsize sloop.
However, the best accolades come from Admiral Chaos Mandelbrot.
He runs the Tuesday evening LCC events, so he’s a veteran cruiser if there ever was one. 🙂 Chaos tells me the Bandit 50 has now replaced Loonetta 31 as his Tuesday cruiser of choice. 🙂
Go give the boat a test drive yourself at the Mesh Shop and see what you think.
Don’t decide too fast, though. I have two more cruise boats to tell you about in upcoming days. 🙂
Hotlaps 2013 is a sailing format that helps skippers practice skills while doing fun, solo laps that are posted online. The Hotlaps database allows skippers to compare their lap time results with others; they can also contrast the relative performance of different boats that sail under the same ‘trial lap’ conditions.
There are six different Hotlaps raceline locations, and each has its own Hotlaps course: PLUMGUT, BREADNUT, KNAPTRACKICON, LINKOUS, SULU, and HEPURN. Sailing a Hotlap takes only ten minutes, and you can do it any time you want, in any boat.
Just go to one of the racelines and click on the ‘Hotlaps 2013′ poster above the green buoy; it will give you all the info you need.
When you finish sailing the lap you can post it online by clicking a poster that’s labeled “Enter your lap time here.” It’s just as easy as that. 🙂
Sailors have been doing Hotlaps and posting their results since early in 2007, but this year we started a new 2013 cycle in deference to the large number of great, boats that have recently hit the water in SL. Since we began it in January, Hotlaps sailors have logged 442 lap scores sailing 45 different boat classes! Let me give a shout-out to that great group of 68 skippers who did all those laps:
All that hotlaps data goes into a public spreadsheet that contains multiple, linked pages that sort the results by race line and boat class, color-coded by skipper. Here’s an example, showing the submitted lap data for Plum Gut from January through September 16:
click to enlarge
You can click the above image to get a larger view, but you can also just go to the live spreadsheet page any time to see the list of entered lap times.
The pool of standardized lap data makes it possible to compare performance of different sailboats and calculate a “Handicap Factor” for each popular boat class. Hotlaps 2013 uses the Melges-24 as it’s arbitrary reference standard. The M-24 is the Hotlaps index boat, and by definition it has a Handicap of 1.00. (You can see that shown in red in the first data row below). All other boats have handicap values expressed relative to that standard.
Here’s the current summary list of Handicaps for all the tested boats at each of the race courses:
Each row in the above matrix represents a different boat class and the columns contain the handicap values for those boats for the six race lines. Slower boats (i.e., those with longer lap times than M-24) have Handicap Factors that are less than 1.00, and faster boats have handicap factors greater than 1.00.
For example, several sailors tested the Mesh Shop Laser One on each of the six Hotlaps courses. The average handicap values were 0.75, 0.73, 0.74, 0.62, 0.69, and 0.79. That’s a pretty tight clustering of results, considering the varied sailors involved and the differences of each course.
The average handicap for all courses was 0.72, suggesting that the Mesh Shop Laser One is 28% slower than the Melges-24 on any typical racecourse (The M-24’s handicap= 1.00).
The figure to the right shows a current list of handicaps for tested boats, averaged over all six lines. The slowest boats in the bunch include the Shelly, the Fizz, and the Galiko NY32 (which has a Fizz engine). All these boats produced handicaps of 0.50-0.60, evidence they are roughly half as fast as the Melges-24.
Of course, a slow boat is not a bad thing; it just reflects the builder’s design and vision. Several other boats had handicaps as slow as the ones named above in the 0.50-0.60range, including the Leetle Cat II, the Patchogue II, the RM Pilot, and the ACA Tiny.
powered by Rotaru
However, that’s the slow end of the spectum; most cruise boats are faster than that. The cruisers in SL tended to generate handicaps that range from 0.60- 0.90. That means they are 10-40% slower than the Melges-24, at least when sailed with a 15 knot wind. Nearly all Trudeau boats fit in this 0.60-0.90 “cruiser”-group. It’s a realistic speed-spot for them, since most Trudeaus are classic designs of earlier, multipurpose vessels; they are not hotrods.
Many other popular boats also fit in that Cruiser 0.60-0.90 speed-niche. For example, Craig Kbata’s Teleri 20 scores 0.70, Manul Rotaru‘s Beach Trimaran rates a 0.82, and Rene Marine‘s RM-12 comes in at 0.69. Quest Marine has two boats in this speed range as well; the2M(0.74) and the Scow (0.85).
Analyse Dean’s recent Bandit 50 is one of the quickest of this whole cruising group. It scored a 0.89, placing it just 10% behind the Melges 24 racer. Kain Xenobuilder also has a new cruiser, the Cafe del Mar 75, that uses the same BWind 2.5 engine as the Bandit 50. You might think Cafe’s sailing performance would be similar to Bandit’s, but you’d be wrong. 🙂 The Hotlaps data shows that the Café 75 is a much faster boat, earning a handicap of 1.12; that beats Bandit 50 by over 20% !!
The Cafe Del Mar is designed to emulate a beamy mid-size cruising boat, but it sails more like an ocean racer. It’s even 12% faster than the lean-and-mean, carbon and glassMelges 24! Wowzers!
I’ll tell you much more about Bandit 50, Cafe 75, and the RM 12 in a separate post soon. 🙂
The third large group of handicaps primarily includes the large, ocean race boats in SL. They all tended to score in the 0.90-1.20 range.
Since Hotlaps 2013 uses the Melges 24 as it’s benchmark standard to set the other handicaps, it’s no surprise that boats that score around 1.00 are also racers. For example, Kanker Greenacre’s Tako 3.3 scored a handicap of 1.03 in this series, almost identical to the M-24. 🙂
The Quest IACC scored a 0.94, a bit behind the ACA33 Racer with 1.03. The Mesh Shop’s two ocean racers are right in that mix as well; The OD65 ranked 1.10, and the VO70 earned a 1.03.
It’s interesting to comment that the Mesh Shop VO70 has a handicap that’s identical to the old Wildwind VO70 (1.03). That makes a lot of sense since both builders were modeling the same boat, but it’s great to see the consistency. 🙂
Speaking of Wildwind boats, the present lap results clearly show that WildWind is continuing its reputation for building the fastest ocean racers in SL sailing. The Wildcat-45 catamaran scored a 1.12, the WW Open-60 rated 1.07, and the (still beta) WW AC-72 came in with a rather incredible 1.54. If WildWind decides to release it, the AC-72 could be the fastest sailboat ever launched in Second Life. More important, it would be a truly remarkable emulation of this year’s RL Americas Cup racer. 🙂
Handicaps for History
There are still many boats to test and extra data laps to run to get accurate numbers across the whole fleet. By December 2013, we should easily exceed 500 new database laps, and that data will be added to a pool of many thousand laps on numerous courses dating back a full seven years.
That’s prolly a good time to sit back with a stiff drink and try to make some conclusions about what Hotlaps can tell us about the diversity of boats we all share and sail in Second Life. 🙂
Some raceboats are shaped sleek and sharp, so they cut their way through the water. Others rely on a flattened hull that lets them rise up and plane across the wavetops.
Well, as most readers know, this year’s Americas Cup boats take sailing to a new extreme. Using curved daggerboards and rudder wings for lift, these huge seven-ton AC-72 catamarans can fly above the water.
The boats top out over 40 knots, and they can do three times the real wind speed! (And none of this involves drugs!)
Well Woots! There’s a WildWinds version of the AC-72 in the works for SL, and it looks like a good model of the real Americas Cup racer!
Corry Kamachi is a true Diva of contemporary, high performance sail racing in Second Life, and over two years ago I posted a few pictures of her ideas for a future AC-72 build. Back then the boat had no engine and the hull and rig were without textures. Corry’s build was just “an idea.” 🙂
After many months and a huge effort, I’m happy to report that idea is now alive, and the beta is in active sea trials.
As you can see above, the boat is proportionate to RL; that means it’s rather huge in comparison to WildWind’s two other recent boats, the Wildcat45 and the Open 60. For reference, I’ve also added a Mesh Shop Nacra 17 to the group. 🙂
It’s too early for me to tell you much about the WildWind AC72 build or it’s performance, but WOW! Even the first betas are incredibly fast, authentically built, and accurately scripted, and the textures are nicely detailed…
Did I also mention…
It Flies! 🙂
I admit I have no idea when the WildWind AC72 will launch (if ever). That decision will be up to Corry and WildWind. The boat’s still in early beta now; I think it looks GREAT. I’ll let you know the details as the boat nears the launch ramp.
But if anyone’s up for planning an AC regatta with these boats once they hit the water… OMG, Count me in! 🙂
Corry Kamachi will soon launch her WildWindOpen 60. The new boat is mesh construction and a total re-design of her 2009 JMO-60 ocean racer. Personally, I think the new Open 60 is rather awesome. 🙂
Although the boat is still technically in beta, many sailors already have ‘final beta‘ copies, and there’s a lot of buzz among racers about this latest Wildwind, so I thought I’d give you a few details about what you can expect. I know I’m “jumping the gun” here by talking about a boat that doesn’t yet exist, but please chalk that up to my youthful exuberanceand enthusiasm about the boat. 🙂
When the Wildwind Open 60 finally launches, I’ll be truly delighted to write another post to emphasize the final changes in this already great sailboat.
So having said all that, here goes…
What’s an “Open 60?”
The International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA) sets the box rule that defines the Open 60 Class (LWL 60 ft or 18.3 meters) and manages the Open 60 race fleet. IMOCA takes that job seriously, describing the Open 60 as “The most successful ocean racing class” in modern sailing.
Actually, they’re right, and the Open 60’s are designed to withstand the most grueling and audacious yacht races ever held. TheVendee Globe is probably the best known of these events; its a nonstop, 24,000 mile, around-the-world, pull-out-all-the-stops race, and each boat has just a solo sailor at the helm. This is the stuff superheroes are made of. 🙂
The boats are built for speed, but ocean racing demands they also emphasize endurance and safety. The real-life Open 60 raceboats are rather incredible examples of cutting-edge, high-tech engineering.
It’s no easy task to re-create the presence, performance, and penache of such a boat for the virtual sailing community, and Corry Kamachi is one of a very few builders in SL who have both the chops and sheer street cred to bring a credible Open 60 emulation to the SL raceline.
In that context, let me remind readers that I’ve also recently reviewed two boats by Kain Xenobuilder that fit in the same ocean racing class: the Mesh ShopVolvo Open 70 andOne Design 65. If you’re in the market for an ocean race boat please keep reading below, but be sure to read about the other two boats as well. I like both the Mesh Shop and the WildWind versions; however they are quite different, and it’s up to individual sailors to determine which boat will suit their needs.
With that caveat, let me introduce the Wildwind Open 60. Better grab your seat though; this could be a fast ride! 🙂
Open 60: Built by Wildwind
The Wildwind Open 60 is a carefully crafted mesh build that faithfully adheres to the RL IMOCA Open 60 specs.
The boat’s water-line length is roughly 18m, and the bowsprit extends that to nearly 20m at deck level. The beam is roughly six meters and the bulb keel is six meters as well.
The mast towers 25m above deck level and it supports both a mainsail and the skipper’s choice of a standard jib or gennaker. The sails are deployed and trimmed together by chat commands or through the HUD.
Before we talk about sail control however, let me mention a few more authentic details you’ll find on the WildWind Open 60 build.
The boat has paired rudders, daggerboards, and deck spreaders that are all automatically deployed while the boat is underway. (Note: Deck spreaders are poles that look like outriggers. They provide increased stability for the mast.)
The figure inserted to the right shows the nice level of accuracy and detail for the dual retractable rudders.
The upper image is the WildWind boat in the moored position, with both rudders up. The lower image is a similar view of the Safran RL Open 60 racer. 🙂 It’s a pretty close match; the Wildwind‘s degree of detail for the rudder linkage, housing and struts is impressive.
Speaking of the those rudders,
in SL when the Open 60 heels, the leeward rudder will deploy and the windward rudder flips up. When the boat is flat in the water, both rudders automatically go down.
OK, let me throw in just one more example to shows the care that went into even the minor features in this boat.
The picture to the right shows a ‘mesh bag’ tagged to the cockpit bulkhead beneath the port winch. It’s a humorous – but authentic – detail. The bag’s there to keep the line stowed and untangled. It prevents a sailor from accidentally stepping on the line while releasing the sail sheet. (That mistake can have rather disastrous consequences if you’re a solo skipper sailing the Roaring 40’s.) 🙂
No one would fault Corry for leaving the bag out… but there it is. 🙂 It’s a nice detail.
Inside the cockpit the boat has two helm stations, and the skipper automatically flips to the windward station while under sail. (The crew flip as well!)
Since real life Open 60‘s are usually raced single-handed, all the sailing functions on a Wildwind Open 60 are controlled by the solo skipper. Despite that, the cockpit has room for one crew member, and two more can fit in the cabin. The boat comes with a crew HUD so your passengers can see what’s happening as you sail.
Races like the Vendee Globe can last for three months under very harsh conditions, so a cabin is pretty essential.
Corry’s 2009 JMO-60 acknowledged that need; it had a little cubby forward of the cockpit where a solo sailor could squeeze if they held their breath. 🙂
By contrast, as shown in the pics to the right, the Open 60 cabin is positively luxurious! 🙂 It accommodates a pair of sailors with ease, and still has lots of space left over! RL sailors never get such good treatment… 🙂
The Wildwind Open 60 boat also has a canting keel that helps it stay balanced and prevents excess heel.
A skipper has the option to set it by hand or let the boat make the adjustments automatically.
Although the bulb keel is quite long, don’t worry about running aground in this boat. The keel, dagger board and rudder are all phantom while sailing; the boat draws less than 1.0 m.
In fact, only the hull and bowsprit are physical. The mast, boom, deck spreader, rigging and sails are all phantom, allowing the boat to sail under very low obstructions. So if you plan to race this boat, be sure to keep your eye on the bowsprit. That frontal protuberance is the one thing that could get you into trouble, either by a collision or by triggering the race line early.
Corry’s come up with a new system to change all the textures in this boat. The owner just preloads a script template with the uuid’s of a new texture design, and drops that on the boat.
Bingo! One click later all the textures change to harmoniously match your request. Corry has a number of wonderful, preloaded texture packages, but the system is wide open and you can easily make your own designs.
In fact, a sailor could easily collect a whole library of templates with various texture settings. It would then take just a few seconds to load a new script and change the boat’s appearance to fit your whim.
The figure to the right shows my current favorite texture set (at least it’s my favorite this week 🙂 ).
The top image is Samantha Davies aboard her SaveolOpen 60 before it dismasted, causing Sam to crash out of the Vendee Globe. The second image shows her textures applied to the Wildwind build, courtesy of Corry. Not a bad match! Here’s a short vid of Sam Davie’s pimped-outSaveol:
[Please also note: If you break your Wildwind boat, I’m pretty sure the repair will be a lot cheaper than a new mast was for Sam’s Saveol after the Vendee Globe!]
Build Bottom Line
The WildWind Open 60 build closely follows the RL Open 60 Rule. On close inspection, the boat shows a masterful balance of features. There are many realistic (and unexpected) touches, including deck spreaders and a surprisingly spacious cabin. All the components work together in a consistent, artistic harmony.
If you’re hard-nosed racer, perhaps the textures and winch details aren’t so important. In that case, let me give you the numerical bottom line: all that gorgeous, accurate mesh build I just mentioned weighs in at a miraculously small 26 prim with an LOD=28.
The Open 60 uses a variation of the new Wildwind sail engine that was first introduced with the Wildcat45 AC catamaran.
A skipper can control the boat through chat commands or with any combination of three HUDs (shown on the right).
There is a two column button HUD that fits along the left side of your viewing screen; it includes the major control functions laid out in a logical pattern for easy access.
The buttons make it very simple to switch between boat wind and race wind, to adjust the sails, and to change the keel cant. I particularly like the “view” button that lets you step through four different camera locations behind and above the boat. I also really like the small display screen on the button HUD that constantly announces the channel you’re using, your race ID number, your wind source, and the size of your sheet adjustment steps. Some of us need that kind of reassurance while sailing!
Speaking of sailing data, the boat comes with a separate Info-HUD that graphically displays just about anything you’d ever like to know to race this boat at top speed. It’s all very nicely laid out, and any SL sailor will learn all its features in less than a minute or two.
The third HUD is a full-featured head’s up numerical display that contains a compact list of the boat’s performance numbers.
Skippers have the choice to use all the HUDs, some combination, or to just go commando (no HUDs at all 🙂 ). You’ll probably want a HUD however, because the boat doesn’t give any auditory or visual feedback when the sails go out of tune. You won’t really miss the luffing noises, since so much information is readily available on the HUD display.
Like most boats, the Open 60 defaults to SL wind. To pick your own wind, all you have to do is press the “wind lock” button. That opens a menu box that allows you to set the exact wind speed and direction. Once you’ve done it correctly, the button HUD mini-display tells you that you’re locked, and the info HUD shows the settings.
If you want to race, click the ‘Racing‘ button instead. The boat will then lock the WWC cruise wind broadcast from a raceline. The boat even has an option to use the old SLSF wind format, if that suits your needs.
At least once you’ll need to tell the boat your race ID, so the line can recognize your boat. After that the boat will remember, and your ID will display directly on the hull whenever you’re racing.
The Open 60 is a speedy boat with a Hotlaps Handicap factor of 1.07, which makes it 7% faster than the Melges-24(the Handicap Index boat).
Click on the figure to the right to see a polar plot of the WildwindOpen 60’s boat speed at different wind angles. The red line shows the numbers for Real Wind Angles (RWA) using the Main+Jib, and the blue dashed line shows similar data for Apparent Wind Angles (AWA). The curves show that the boat suddenly springs to life with a heading just over AWA 30. It hits a max boat speed that’s roughly 13% faster than Real Wind Speed, and the response curve is fairly flat from AWA 30-60 (RWA 70-120). Over RWA 120, the jib becomes much less efficient and performance quickly deteriorates.
The green line above shows boat speed for RWA using the Gennaker instead of the Jib. The Gennaker kicks in around RWA 90, and it’s clearly superior to the Jib by RWA 110. However performance again drops off with downwind angles over RWA 150.
Now take a look at the figure to the right. The red curve shows boat speed vs RWA for the Wildwind Open 60 using optimal sails.
On the graph in dark green I’ve also plotted results for the Mesh Shop One Design 65; it’s a very close match. These boats should be compatible with each other in mixed fleet, “big boat” races in SL.
The black dotted line on the chart shows the same numbers for the RL Open 60Neutrogena. The SL boats are both a bit faster, but overall it’s a remarkably nice fit.
The Wildwind Open 60 performs optimally when sailing with a heel angle of 30°. Adjusting the keel cant to hit that angle can give a sailor a performance edge.
The chart to the right plots the heel angle for a boat with an RWA 90° heading at six different wind speeds. The x-axis shows the effect of changing the keel cant from “-3” (leeward cant) to “+3” (windward cant).
The data shows that keel position can have a big impact on boat heel.
The next chart shows what this means for boat speed.
With faster wind speeds, canting the keel to the windward side can speed up the boat by keeping it in the 30° heel sweet-spot.
At much lower wind speeds you can get a modest boost by canting the keel leeward to increase heel to 30°.
The graphic to the right shows a plot of the X, Y position of an Open 60 as it goes through a standard turn. For comparison, I’ve included similar results for the Mesh Shop VO 70 and OD 65.
The three boats end up with very similar turning properties; the Open 60 has a turning curve that nearly exactly overlaps the VO-70. As I commented earlier, although these boats are extremely different from each other I think the performance similarities indicates the builders were each trying to model the real life performance of an ocean racer, and it looks like they both hit the mark.
Summary: The Wildwind Open 60
In my opinion, Wildwind’s done it again. Following up on her fantastic Wildcat45 emulation of the AC45 Catamaran, Corry Kamachi‘s now releasing her Wildwind version of the Open 60 ocean racer.
Corry is one of the most popular and proficient master builders of contemporary, high-performance virtual racing yachts in Second Life, and the new Wildwind Open 60 demonstrates her consumate skill. The boat build is accurate in detail and dimensions, and it showcases many hallmark features of this ocean racing class, including dual dagger boards, deck spreaders, rudders, a surprisingly sumptuous cabin, and a skipper-controlled canting keel. All of this is amazing in a boat that weighs a mere 26 prim with LOD=28.
The boat is powered by the recently-upgraded WildWind sail engine. That means it’s compatible with several other recent boat designs that use real world apparent wind calculations and that report headings using a geographic map compass. It’s also compatible with Hay Ah’s SL raceline system and with WWC cruise wind settings.
A single skipper controls all the sailing functions with help from three different HUDs, but there’s also room for three passengers. The boat controls are low-lag and have many adjustable features.
Under sail the boat performs like a true champ. 🙂 It is quite fast, with a wind polar curve that’s a close match for the RL Open 60. In SL, the boat’s numbers are also comparable to the Mesh Shop One Design 65.
The WildWild Open 60 has a few downsides that are part of the design. These are not real problems, but are worth mentioning:
The Wildwind Open 60 does not have visible or audible sail-luffing effects;
Under sail, the WildWind Open 60 is nearly all phantom except for it’s hull and bowsprit.
The boat does not presently have windshadow.
The boat can only be operated by the owner; there is no system to let crew take over the helm during a long sail or a multi-heat race.
The above points are common issues for many other vessels in SLSailing. In the case of Open 60, most of the points reflect the builder’s effort to optimize performance while reducing lag. It’s hard to fault that explanation, given all else the boat contains. 🙂
Bottom line, if you like contemporary ocean race boats in SL, I’m certain you’re going to love the WildWind Open 60.
Woots! The Second Sol Regatta is still five weeks away, but plans are heating up, and all the details are falling into place.
Second Sol is a Sail4Life fundraising regatta that will cover two weekends, from June 15-June 23; you can read all about it here. I wanted to take a moment today to throw in a couple quick updates!
1. The Regatta was initially designed for a maximum of 16 racing teams divided into four different timeslot groups for the qualifying rounds on June 15 and June 22. Well, as of today there are more than a dozen teamsalready signed up and we still have more than a month to go. At the request of several sailors, I’m increasing the enrollment to 20 race teams, and adding a fifth timeslot. That last timeslot will race on Friday June 14 and 21, at a convenient time to be determined. If you want to switch to Friday, send a message to Jane Fossett in Second Life. 🙂
2. I’m also very happy to announce the Patchogue II raceboat is on the water in beta this week, and it looks pretty great. 🙂 Today KalEl and I tried hard to break it, but the boat proved tough and stable. We sailed back-and-forth across many sims with winds >31 knots this morning. However, with a couple reefs in the sail and the team hiked all the way windward, the boat sailed like a real champ; we hit a speed-over-ground of over 34 knots! (And you thought Trudeaus were slow?) 🙂
Beta testing is slated to end soon, and all the teams signed up for Second Sol will get their own new Patchogue II’s delivered on May 25. That will give the fleet a full three weeks to practice before the Regatta opens!
So if you want to join in and race Second Sol with us in June, welcome aboard! Second Sol will be a great chance to Sail for Fun, Sail with Friends, and Sail4Life.