Category Archives: Mowry Bay Yacht Club

Griefing, Then and Now

Mowry Bay Mayhem

Two months ago the Mowry Bay region was hit by a griefer attack. It was not alone; several other popular spots were also inundated by a flood of flying posters that announced:

“BAD LAB OPEN CARTEL
VR6 KABOUL”

On behalf of SL Sailors, let me offer Kudos to the SL Coast Guard for their response. They stayed on top of the griefing problem everywhere it impacted open waterways. That wasn’t so easy: the attack lasted several hours, and it took considerable Linden support to suppress the multicentric mayhem that ensued.

VR6 KABOUL seems to be the source of this terrorist sim-spam shutdown. I don’t know who VR6 is, but its notable that Emilly Orr posted similar pics of a griefer attack in the Neko-Zone. Her logos were somewhat different, but they were all labeled VR6 KABOUL. The spammed textures in Mowry kept changing design in a similar fashion to Emilly’s griefer, too.

I’m guessing VR6 is the latest in a series of grid-wide terrorist groups, whatever that means.

Sixty Second Global-Griefer History

Griefing has a long, multifaceted history in Second Life.

Way back in December 2006, CNET sponsored a conference honoring Anshe Chung, SL’s first inworld-enterprise millionaire.  It was a pretty significant milestone; it revealed SL had a future and showed SL was more than a fun web platform. SL was actually a capitalist tool (I use that phrase with all kindness); it deserved our respect and admiration. 🙂

The CNET  2006 extravaganza celebrated SL’s “Coming of Age.” People could live and work in SL, and some could do quite nicely at it!

However, the story didn’t stop there. SL was still a diverse, creative, and unruly community, and so I guess its no surprise SL users were unready to accept a uniform code of creativity and marketing progress. Many were still stretching their wings… many still finding the limits of possibility in such a novel, virtual environment.

key: FP=Flying Penis

Anyway, that’s sort of my understanding, and it explains what happened next. The stage for the  CNET event was deluged by a Flood of Flying Penises. (Cough)

I guess it’s no surprise that happened, given the enthusiasm and creativity of SL residents. Lindens were certainly at blame also, since the communication between individuals and community groups had fallen to serious, dysfunctional levels.

What might have seemed silly turned somewhat- semi- super- serious several months later, when Chessmaster Vladimir Karpov held an important press conference to advocate for political rights in the nascent Russian democracy. His real-life event was — incredulously — grief-attacked by a platoon of penises in flying formation. (OK, I apologize. That comment was inappropriate; I mixed military metaphors.)

Anyone online at the time was left gasping in wonderment. After all, what was real, what was Web?
Which was Worth keeping?

I admit that some of the comments attributed to the SL Room 101 griefers at the time of the CNET attack were among the funniest, most intelligent commentary on SL from that era.  I won’t give you the links because I’m not sure which ones are truly legit, but I’m sure you can easily find them posted and reposted from back then.

I’m writing this short article because I now think things are different. SL has moved on, and griefing is neither humorous nor productive. It’s simply no joke, and it halts the trust need to allow solid, creative users to invest in Second Life.

I think many old icons of Second Life would probably agree with my sentiment here. Griefing was once a common part of a growing-up process in SL… but now it’s time to genuinely grow, and make sure griefing stops.
Permanently.
But that’s just my view.


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! 🙂


New Sansara Coastal Waterway

Click to enlarge

Coastal Waterways

Last November I wrote about the Linden Department of Public Works’ waterway upgrades in Nautilus. Overbuilding and residential ban lines in some Nautilus spots made long distance cruising difficult and often pretty frustrating.  It was also hard to argue about it. After all, property owners invest considerable money in their parcels, and the owners have a right to build and manage their land as they see fit. The Open Seas Project started as a way for sailors to work cooperatively with such landowners in a positive effort to keep navigation channels clear.

Last September in public Office Hours, Michael Linden discussed a plan that might fix the waterways problem. He thought it made sense to add Linden coastal water sims at congested choke points along the continental edges.  That way, sailors could bypass blocked passages, and travel around high density residential and commercial zones.

The idea for new coastal waterways was pretty universally supported, but I think all sailors understood the problem couldn’t be fixed overnight. Adding additional water sims would take time and effort… and no surprise, those extra sims cost money.

I doubted the new water would actually happen. Nonetheless, I thought Michael’s comments showed that LL was listening to user concerns and seriously considering meaningful fixes. (Sometimes that isn’t completely obvious 🙂 )

However, despite my pessimism, A month later a bumper crop of new coastal waterway sims showed up in Nautilus! Sailors gave out a pretty massive “WOOT!” that was loud enough to shake the grid!  Many sail clubs immediately jumped in to take advantage of the changes, organizing rather massive sailing events that linked Corsica and Nautilus. 🙂

Sansara Goes Coastal

Sansara and Heterocera 2010

The issues about coastal waterways and navigation routes also came up in public discussions of the Sansara upgrades last summer. Bay City is a great, vibrant Sansara-based community in Second Life, with a nascent yacht club (New Port) and a sizable patch of dedicated Linden water (Gulf of Lauren and the surrounding channels).

However, there was no water route connecting Bay City with the the large seas and multiple sailing groups located in Fables, Ice Bay, Mare Secundus, Mowry, ANWR Conntector, and Heterocera Atoll.

A few ‘coastal waterway’ options were discussed as possible fixes for this problem, but again I think most sailors felt the changes might not materialize. I strongly supported new coastal waters, and I admit “I’ve never seen a water sim I didn’t like.” However, I also knew SL was going through major staff cuts at the time. I didn’t want additional water sims if that meant DPW might lose staffing, or their precious Moles… 

(Don’t worry; no one ever asked my opinion on that topic. 🙂 )

Well, Kudos to Blondin and Michael Linden, and the absolutely great Bay City group for working this out! As Marianne McCann announced last week, a sizeable string of coastal waterway sims were just added to the Northwest corner of Sansara, linking Bay City to the ANWR connector and thence to the entire subcontinent of Heterocera Atoll! Woots!

Click here for full-size chart

Wowzers! The new passage lets you start anywhere around Bay City; if you are new to the area, you might try the Linden dock and rez point in Shamwari (see the pic at the top of this post 🙂 ) Otherwise, you can rez anywhere you want in Gulf of Lauren/ Straits of Shermerville waters, and then just sail Northeast…

If you look at the map, you’ll see that course brings you to a new quartet of sims just North of Shamwari: Hiltrude, Landres, Auda and Pepin. They take you to a wide channel that cuts through Fuschia and Swanhild. That passage will then bring you to open water in the brand-new Coastal Waterway sim of Grifo… but that’s just the beginning.

In an apparent tribute to the Octo-mom of contemporary culture, Grifo is the gateway to an identical linear octet of conjoined coastal sims that run all the way to Cyclops, a venerable sim that forms the southern root of the ANWR channel.

Grin, in case you’re new, or if you’ve been working too hard… or if you’re in complicated divorce proceedings 🙂 … let me remind you that the ANWR channel links the continent of Sansara to the subcontinent of Heterocera Atoll.

Is that important? Well, to many it is. The ANWR region sims have near biblical import for sailors. ANWR provided the Holy Waters that gave rise to the legendary Flying Tako. It was the test-track, the proving ground for the Kazenojin, the  legendary Illuminati of SL Sailing… back in the Ancient Times. 🙂

I wont expand on that, since many sailors in SL know the waters of Heterocera and their history better than I do. I’m excited to hear their comments and suggestions about the new linkage. The “Northern Route” coastal waterway now opens a major passageway that’s full of options and new opportunity for sailors, landowners, and maritime businesses.

This is Sansara’s story too, and Kudos go to all the wonderful people who patiently built communities on the shores of Sansara’s Seas. They deserve all the credit for the great changes across the continent this past year. I’ve listed their names in posts several times before, but today let me give a special shout-out to Bay City and East River Community. They kept the faith in Sansara over several years, and built much of the community we all value there.

GRIN; in that context, on May 14, Bay City will celebrate the great new changes in their corner of Sansara. I’m hoping the local sailors and the massive Leeward Cruising Fleet can join in for that event. It would truly demonstrate how much the new waterways are appreciated, and how much we all depend on each other.

Linden Kudos

Behind the scenes a huge THANK YOU also goes to Blondin and Michael Linden, as well as the whole DPW mole team who worked on the content changes.

Sometimes users (like Jane Fossett) get frustrated over in-world problems and whine a lot. In my case, I wrote several blistering articles a couple years ago on the “Open Sim Crisis” and related issues. I’m sure I’ll complain again, too.

However, let me today give credit where it’s due. From my perspective, the efforts by Lindens to improve communication with sailors over the past several months, in addition to the above-mentioned maritime upgrades, the coastal waterway sim expansions, and the innumerable small fixes they did for individual sailors are all noteworthy. In fact, they are pretty impressive.

So if you’re a sailor, although it may get you a TOS violation, I’d suggest you go hug a Linden next chance you get.
I mean, hey, it’s worth the risk. 🙂 LL isn’t perfect by any means… but their recent track record with sailors shows they are trying hard.
It’s difficult to fault that. 🙂

Sansara Shines

Several months ago I talked about Sansara Sailing and Sansara Racing, following up on prior Forum posts. I complained that sailboat racing had nearly died across the Sansara continent, partly due to ‘aging raceline infrastructure.’

Since that time a good deal has happened, and I wanted to give a shout-out today to all the sailors who got involved over the issues, voiced their opinions, and advocated for the Sansara changes they preferred.

In that context, please stand up and give Elisha Paklena, Indigo Mertel, and Saxxon Domela a long, loud, standing ovation. They kept the faith for years and set the foundation for many of the changes that will finally go in this summer.

A BIG thanks also goes to Michael and Blondin Linden, in addition to the GREAT LL Department of Public Works Mole Team that is responsible for the new content. I know the work is not all finished yet and DPW is stretched by staff cuts, but wow it’s looking very nice.

Sansara is out of the doldrums, and it’s truly becoming a great place to sail again!

SaNSARA Changes

As I discussed in earlier posts, Sansara is the original Second Life continent and it’s arguably where SLSailing first began. Sansara was the location of Kanker Greenacre’s sailing club and the ‘test track’ for the Tako sailboat. Sansara is also the home of Saxxon Domela’s Mowry Bay Yacht Club which, as far as I know, remains the oldest and largest continuously active sailing community on all SL Mainland. Sansara was additionally the central focus for qualifying rounds in the 2006 SLSF Cup, the original SLSailing regatta series. It helped set the stage for much that followed.

However, as other sailing venues emerged and SL opportunities expanded, Sansara seemed to lose it’s glitter and it’s grove; it was the meatloaf-and-mashed-potatoes of sailing; pretty comfortable, but not too exciting. 🙂

The three primordial Linden racelines were left unattended and never upgraded. They eventually became unusable. The continent was due for a ‘refit.’

The graphic on the right is from the SL Wiki. It shows a 2008 grid of the different Sansara sims and regions, and it may help sailors see what’s old and appreciate the new changes.  Actually, if you’d like to see how the Mainland map has changed over many years, go visit slmaps. It’s a pretty great site for SL-history buffs :-).

In March and again in May 2010 I posted maps that focused on Sansara’s waterways and nautical features. Today, however, I’m quite happy to announce those maps quickly went out of date.

Here’s a new map that I think is correct as of August 29 2010.  If the map is hard to read, please click on it and you’ll get a 5,199×3,614px  detailed image that includes Sim and Region names, Waterways, and Raceline locations. 🙂 There’s a lot of new stuff!

Click to enlarge (you may need to double-click!)

sansara aug 29 2010 no annotations

I appreciate some sailors may want a template to use for race courses, cruising, or regatta planning, so here’s another copy of the large chart without  the labels; just click the image on the right. The original graphic is large enough so sailors should be able to download it and crop out their own area of interest without losing any resolution.

So OK What’s New?

Actually, a lot! Much more than I have time to cover here. 🙂

RACELINES

As I discussed in the prior articles a few months ago, Sansara’s three Linden racelines dated from 2006 and were pretty much unusable. Saxxon Domela organized meetings that engaged a large group of concerned Sansara sailors to advocate for an upgrade. The group pleaded for simple upgrades of the three existing racelines and requested networkable Hay Ah lines.

Over thirty sailors and Sansara residents supported the jira and endorsed the ‘tickets’ submitted to LL.

Yuu Nakamichi offerred a contrarian view, initially arguing against any Sansara upgrades, and then proposing his own start line instead of one the group requested. Yuu’s comments actually ended up very helpful; they drew attention to the problem and brought many more sailors to the table.

The end result is actually pretty great! Although the original request was for a simple upgrade-in-place for three existing racelines, Sansara will now get at least five new racelines, new race marks, and improved sailing waterways.

HEPURN: MBYC has sailed from the Linden Hepurn raceline since the Pleistocene era. It now has a brand-new Hay Ah 80m raceline that’s positioned 30m North of the old spot, and DPW has also re-installed the traditional Mowry Race bouys. Woots! The new line puts Mow-Mows back on the water!

The Hepurn line is networkable and has a WWC windsetter included. It’s parcelled so it will always get current updates and never ‘fall-behind’ again. The new Rez area is a large rectangle set slightly south of the line and it extends all the way back to the clubhouse.

Thank you to Saxxon Domela and David Wetherby for pushing this issue over the past few months; thank you also to Aleister Biondetti and Armano Xaris, who each provided extensive written commentary on the issues involved and what MBYC needed. Thank you also to all the 30+ sailors who attended meetings, supported tickets, did posts, and sent e-mail expressing their concerns over Mowry’s sailing future; LL listened and Mowry got what it needed. 🙂

ARAFURA: Arafura now contains a 100m Hay Ah raceline with several nearby rez areas. Arafura is located just South of GGYC-Borden, and it’s a small handful of sims from Free Adriatic too. The location was picked by Yuu Nakamichi, and after some adjustments with don Berthios’ input, it seems a rather perfect racing venue for both local sailing clubs.

don Berthios also worked with DPW on sim depth issues and buoy placements relative to the Arafura and Adriatic lines, and its my understanding he, Roan, and elMegro Magic are all quite happy with the results. Free Adriatic held an SLVT qualifying regatta from Arafura three weeks ago, and GGYC-Borden is currently running several weekly races from Arafura in varied boat classes!

ADRIATIC: Adriatic’s old line is now replaced by a Yuu Nakamichi raceline coupled with a series of buoys suitable for gates and small boat match races. With DPW’s help, the nearby sims were dredged so bigger boats can race or cruise the nearby waters as well.

Bea Wo0dget and Liv Leigh have both expressed interest to use the new facilities for the upcoming 2010 Fizz Cup. Woots!

When you visit, don’t forget to stop by the new islands that dot the Sea of Fables; the Moles have worked hard to adorn the region with a host of new, attractive and theme-appropriate builds! Here’s a view of the new “Celebes” Island (and yes, Virginia, the old Star Wars memorabilia is finally gone.)

Here’s another map with a series of red arrows indicating the locations of new islands throughout Fables.  These are big changes, so it’s worth a visit!

MARGERY: In a previous post I told you about Mare Secundus, a new maritime region set up by DPW. The construction is quite nice, and it’s centrally located with readily accessible waterway access to Mowry Bay, Sea of Fables (via Mallard Channel), and the rather extensive waters lying West in Sansara.

Mare Secundus gets its own raceline too. There’s a new Yuu line located in Margery that’s angled to facilitate race starts along the the long axis of the Secundus waterway. There are multiple rez zones and small boat/match race buoys in place as well!

ANWR: The short, four-sim waterway connecting Sansara with Heterocera Atoll has considerable historic significance for SLSailing. The ANWR raceline was the test track for Kazenojin Seiringu and spawned the Flying Tako.

Naeve Rossini, Yuu Nakamichi, LDewell Hawker and Arrekusu Miromachi now propose to replace the old ANWR line with a new Rezzer that will let sailors chose either the Yuu or Hay line for a particular race.  They are also adjusting the buoy locations to optimize the rather narrow, obstacle ridden space for Matches. On the right I’ve copied the latest map of proposed changes, and you can read the transcript of the discussion here.

ANWR will hopefully open for racing soon!

Sansara non stop

Woots, I apologize for the narrow focus above, since Sansara’s ‘fashion makeover’ is not just about racelines! There are new islands, and many new builds… and proposals for new sims as well.

Look under your boat at the new content in Ionian!

In that context, I’ll admit that many sailors, myself included, felt a bit uneasy when multiple new islands emerged in Fables… the builds are great, but it’s also true that each new island in Fables potentially restricted the navigable waterway options for the sailing community.

Saxxon Domela’s Sansara Sailing Group discussed this issue at some length back in May, and endorsed a few broad  objectives, including:

(1) To advocate for essential navigable waterways (such as Sansara’s Mallard Channel).  Such passages are truly critical to sailors and the entire maritime community.
(2) To advocate for new navigation channels or water sims needed to link sailing communities together.

I’m pretty strongly convinced DPW is aware of these issues too, and is trying to appropriately prioritize them. In the past two weeks, during office hours Michael Linden emphasized that DPW would help sailors maintain key navigation channels (like Mallard). He also supported the Bay City proposal for a waterway link that could join their region with Sansara’s open sailing waters lying East… 🙂
What a great idea that is!!!

Michael also listed several possible locations for new water sims that might fix critical navigation problems. His list was neither final nor approved, so there is no guarantee that any of the sim upgrades he cited will occur in the near future, if ever.

However, given the remarkable changes for Sansara Sailing in recent months and the obvious efforts Lindens and DPW are making to improve sailing and address our needs… maybe they deserve our patience, our support and our help.

Working Mallard Channel

Racing Sansara

 
The opportunities for sailing in Sansara and Heterocera are pretty widespread and wonderous, and the new sim-changes seem designed to enhance sailing excitement. The Lindens and the DPW Moles have done a pretty great job and deserve a big thanks from the sailing community. With that preface and mindset, now let me complain a bit, since any good sailing area needs options and opportunities for both cruising and racing. Unfortunately, Sansara’s three racelines in Hepurn, Adriatic, and ANWR are old, buggy and inadequate, and the recent Linden changes have actually made things worse there. Let me explain, and begin with Mowry Bay.
 
Mowry Bay Yacht Club, headed by it’s Resident Janitor Saxxon Domela, was founded nearly five years ago.  It’s the oldest, continuous mainland sailing group in all Second Life, and frankly, if you don’t know Mowry you don’t know SL-Sailing.  Check back in the history of many sailors and nautical estate owners in SL and you’ll find quite a few Old Salts who cut their teeth at Mowry, and still express their rather primordial Mow-mow genes. 🙂 Mowry has always been a focus for sailing innovation and simple good fun, from the days of the 2006  SLSF Cup to last year’s pretty incredible Mowry Sprints Regatta that came down to an epic duel between Gemma Vuckovic and Epicurus Emmons.
 
However, in the opinion of many, after nearly five years of continuous dedication to the SL sailing community Mowry’s sailing program is now dying. Here’s why: 
 
MBYC races off the Linden Hepurn raceline.  That raceline is only 40m long, and the line scripts date to Kanker Greenacre and Myrrh Massiel from the the summer of 2006 and the  SLSF Cup. The raceline is buggy, difficult to use, and exploitable; but wait!!! it gets worse!
  
As part of the Sansara upgrade, DPW recently pulled out MBYC’s race buoys and replaced them with daymarkers.
 HELP!!  The daymarkers may look authentic, but they are truly useless as SL race marks. The daymarkers are phantom, the colors cannot be seen from a distance, and they do NOT show up on mini-maps or the World Map. Last week this supposed ‘upgrade‘ brought Mowry racing and solo laps to a screeching halt.
 
The ANWR raceline is even worse!
The ANWR Oil Rig is a Second Life Start Landmark, and it exemplifies the subtle (and mildly perverse) humor that makes SL a fun place to be. ANWR also has a venerable, and historically important Linden raceline that was the old Kazenojin Seiringu test track and proving ground for the Tako. If you sail a boat in SL, it most likely owes it’s legacy to countless sailors who did windward/ leeward laps in ANWR in years gone by. 
 
Well, that ANWR raceline is still there, and its accessible from Sansara, but the raceline is not usable. 
As you can see below, the ANWR raceline has an old SLSF windsetter that’s set to Linden Maintenance Group, so only Lindens can race there! 🙂 Given the grand enhancements in Sansara I mentioned in my prior post, the loss of the ANWR raceline could bring one close to tears… but don’t start crying yet.
 
 
Sadly, the third Sansara raceline in Adriatic raceline fairs little better.
It’s another 2006 leftover from the SLSF Cup, and until a few days ago there was a four-year-old banner overhead with a fixed windsetter locked to Linden maintenance. Elisha Paklena filed a JIRA complaining about the Adriatic raceline on January 8, 2007 (yes, kids, three and a half years ago). The JIRA is now closed, but the ‘problem’ was never really fixed. At the moment there is no wind setter, but the 2006 raceline is still nearly unusable given its 40m length.
Sometimes “Size Matters,” at least with race lines.  The top image above shows a Trudeau J-Class crossing the Adriatic line. The second image shows a  J-Class lying parallel to the line.  A 40m race line may have been great for Takos in 2006, and it may even be sufficient for a Fizz  race today. However, it doesn’t work for the large majority of current racing boats in SL that want to use the line. At the time I’m writing this article, don Berthios is planning to use Adriatic for the SL-Vuitton Cup, with external cooperation from the WYTC and Golden Gate Yacht Club. The ACA-33 boats for that contest are 23m long, over half the length of the present line. By comparison, the Blake Sea-Atlantic raceline is more than three times longer than Adriatic!
 
Size isn’t everything, however. Sansara is a large sailing area, with rather vast interconnected waterways that span much of the continent and extend into Heterocera. It would be a great place to hold ‘distance’ races that travel from one raceline to the next, and there are multiple sailing groups in Sansara that would jump at that opportunity. To make it possible, the three Linden racelines need an upgrade. Let’s hope it happens.
 ____________________

Sailing Sansara

   

Sansara is Second Life’s original continent. The name for this huge region refers to a Sanskrit term for a Hindu concept of continuous motion in the physical world, and according to Linden Lab, the name Sansara was assigned to the original landmass  “in order to resolve… ambiguity.” 

(Cough; maybe that’s a stretch… When was the last time you pulled out a Sanskrit dictionary and an old copy of the Bhagavad Gita to ‘resolve ambiguity?‘ 🙂 ).

Anyway, don’t let that name stop you; Sansara has a venerable history that’s closely entwined with the development of SL Sailing, and DPW is busy adding new sailing features!

SANSARA AND HETEROCERA   

Sansara is honeycombed with interconnected waterways, and it’s linked by a one-sim corridor to the smaller, Northern land mass called Heterocera Atoll. 

If you click on the chart below, you’ll get a 2048×2613 pixel map of the Sansara waters that includes the sim names for much of the area; it reveals the large number of navigable waterways that adorn the continent.  Actually, you can sail for many hours exploring the wide open lakes and seas linked by narrow channels that extend across Sansara, and if you want even more, you can continue cruising Northward and enter the inner seas of Heterocera!

 Perhaps its no surprise, there are many sailing groups located in Sansara; here’s a chart template below showing the locations of a few of the clubs, groups, and communities around Adriatic Sea. It also shows the locations of race buoys, Linden racelines (in red) and private racelines (in pink).

 I wanted to talk about Sansara here because the Linden Department of Public Works is currently busy upgrading a number of nautical features across the continent, and it may be a good time for sailors to make suggestions regarding the features they might like to see.

For example, while I was writing this article, Mirtoon sim sprouted a new set of islands. Thanks to Naughty Mole, who was busy at work there adding content yesterday!

Changes are also planned for Icy Bay. Southwest Sansara has an extensive ‘Snowland Region‘ made from a large collection of ice-encrusted sims as shown in the figures below. Although Snowland is one of the largest SL regions without a major waterway, it’s eastern edge drops into Icy Bay, a region composed of a half-dozen arctic-themed water sims. Icy Bay presents a nice change of pace for skippers familiar with SL’s traditionally warmer sailing themes. DPW is planning more content features there, including snow and ice on the water.

  

Probably the biggest content change, however, is Mare Secundus, a newly-defined region of a dozen maritime sims located in the waters west of Mowry Bay. It’s still in progress, but you can’t miss the four-sim, serpentine string of islands that form a “2” on the map shown below. Go visit the region and see for yourself; it’s very nicely done, and it’s hardly secundus class!
[If you do go take a look, a bunch of us are having a debate over the origin of the term “Mare Secundus.” I have three or four suggestions, but my guess is they are all wrong 🙂 ]
   
   
 
 
 
 

Sprints II: Gemma’s Got Game

Originally posted March 19, 2009 on SLSailing.com.

MBYC-1

Mowry Sprints

I started telling you about Mowry Sprints a few days ago; let’s pick up the story where we left off!

As I mentioned, there was a good deal of interest and excitement in the sailing community over the Regatta. The few week build up to the event saw a crescendo of practice sessions, qualifying races and the usual pre-race sailor trash-talk at the start lines. When race day finally arrived on March 7, skippers from eight clubs converged on Mowry Bay to join their friends, rez their boats, and compete for bragging rights.

I’ve also already discussed one of the most fascinating twists about Sprints. Although it was organized from the outset as a regatta that would return interclub racing to SLSailing, the head-to-head battle on the water between different yacht clubs never emerged. Everyone knew it was really a celebration of the sailing community and the diversity of clubs. The sailors proved that by readily flipping their affiliations around to accommodate the schedule and make the race a fun competition. Pippa Rexen made a major effort to keep things straight and identify which skipper was sailing under what colors; she finally gave up. The sailors knew who they were and why they were sailing, that was enough! And Commodore Saxxon? He just kept smiling. I’d like to say he was the calm eye in the storm, but actually it was a hurricane that never happened, an event that held much humor but little hubris.

The race skippers were: Epicurus Emmons, Taku Raymaker, Glorfindel Arrow, Tasha Kostolany, Maamon Kitaj, Jamey Sismondi, Nuggy Negulesco, Cory Copeland, Colin Nemeth, Max Starostin, Miwha Masala, Gemma Vuckovic, Bea Woodget, Julia Ceres, Aislin Keynes, nobuko Criss, and Alizia Baxton. Gashlycrumb TiniesIn keeping with the tone the skippers set and the 1960s politics espoused by the tunes on the MBYC jukebox, I’ve listed them in a totally random fashion, without regard to club, gender, or sail preference, and in complete defiance of the hegemony of alphabetical order.

Moving right along here, let’s talk sailing (for a change).

The racecourse

MBYC uses the Linden raceline in Hepurn. The line runs East – West, parallel to the SL grid lines and is set perpendicular to the racewind, which blows from dir=90 (using the SL angle system) or dir=0 (Using the RL compass angles). This means that nearly all MBYC races begin with an upwind beat to a race buoy located in one of the two sims immediately North.

MBYC-1
That’s the classic start for the well-known MBYC1 course used for all the races in the Mowry Sprints. MBYC1 is a short, Olympic triangle that begins with a beat to the first mark in Jasckle followed by a proportionate, starboard-tack broad-reach leg to the buoy in Hahne. Race boats then make a hairpin, counterclockwise turn and fall on a beam reach coming back, running parallel to the sim edge with Mare. Once the boats reach Jasckle again, they pass the green buoy and fall off to a near dead-run all the way home.

It’s a deceptively easy course that has few strategic options, particularly in a Tako. The Tako uses a simple “real wind” lift algorithm to power the boat, and the Tako’s sheet/ sail control options are similarly limited.  In fact, the combination of a short, bare-bones race course like MBYC1 and a classically simple Tako dinghy rig in my opinion turned the Mowry competition into a duel that emphasized fundamental sailing skills over complex race strategy. The Sprints challenge skippers were certainly up to the task.

Life in the Fast Lane

Every Sprint contestant launching a boat on March 7 was a Tako sailing expert, but sailors reading this article know how inadequate the term ‘expert” can be, how it misses the toil and skill racing often entails. The relationship between an SL Race skipper and a Tako sailboat extends way beyond memorized gestures, the clatter of keystrokes or the flashing images of polar plots… It’s not even reflected in those jumbled images of crashing rigging that force you bolt upright awake from a deep slumber at 2 a.m. each night, the ones that leave you clammy with sweat, plaintively screaming “Starboard!” Into the blackness.

Tako sailors know this.

Other people may think of sailing as a romance full of storybook experience, but Tako racers know the real truth. Yes, they were once young, naive, green… and in love. The fresh gleam of new gelcoat was all that mattered. Wind-powered Dharma Bums, they lived on the road, going from raceline to raceline, sleeping on their boats and Greenaching for more. Time passes though, and a life of windy salt spray takes its toll; a sim crashes once too often, you make a sincere Gesture by hitting an F-key but your boat ignores you, and then — the final straw – you sicken when three other boats, new boats with flashy scripts, show up at the raceline flaunting your ID number.

Sprints!You loved your Tako once, no one can ever take that away. You’ll always have Paris; but now…

Now all you know is that your forestay is slack and your aft grows more beamy with each passing day. Romance changed to responsibility, and you face that gritty truth without remorse. You fought the good fight, and you gave this relationship all you had to give. This past year you dragged your Tako out of bed to attend every regatta, hoping things might change. You did your best but it was to no avail. You shudder to recall that fateful night when in desperation you called Tako product support pleading for couples therapy, only to discover the line had been disconnected months ago.

You know it’s not all bad, you have just grown apart; you and your Tako will always be friends. You know there is much to look forward to; tomorrow you have a date with that Fizz 3 everyone’s talking about. And who knows? Maybe you’ll go back and finish your degree; after all, next month you’re signed up for a J-Class…

The warning horn sounds, and your thoughts come back to the moment, the task at hand. You turn your face to the wind, glancing port and starboard at the gaggle of familiar skippers joining you from disparate points across the tiny world we all share. For this one day, this moment, you are at peace.

Your mind clears and your muscles limber as your gaze fixes on the horizon. You are a sailor. You are one with all the start line skippers from all the countries and cultures and classes that surround you now. It’s no accident, mystery, or mistake; a million years of evolution on a water-covered world has brought you to this point. Now, like so many generations of sailors before you, you realize there is only one idea, one small word that has value or meaning. That single word holds the power to unlock the future beyond the horizon, and nothing else matters. A faint, familiar gun goes off, and with pride and determination, and the steely confidence you can handle whatever happens next, you join with your fellow sailors and chant: RAISE!

Starts and Finishes

Given the razor-skill of the challenge fleet and the simple, in-your-face design of the MBYC-1 racecourse, one can confidently predict the skippers would push the limits, sailing at or near the theoretical performance max of the boat.In practical terms, that means on March 7 a Sprints skipper had no margin for error, and a sailor’s slightest slip could cause Sprints to slide away. In a fleet so equally matched, a boat that fell astern would have little opportunity to build sufficient momentum to pass the leaders, and the tactical options are minimal. This is a common problem in SL and RL races actually, and there’s only one good solution: Get out in front and stay there.

There are lots of things to worry about in a race, and it’s easy to lose some perspective. however, looking at the “facts on the ground” in Mowry, I thought it was hard to deny the importance of the Start. It wasn’t the only thing to worry about, on a list of the top 10 ways to win, start line tactics was 1-8 inclusive, at least in my opinion.

The usual start line duels have a few nuances at Mowry that are worth mentioning.The first problem is that the milling area during the two minute pre-start is fairly small; there is relatively little open water to maneuver in. Thankfully, the Tako is small and carves sharp turns. Nonetheless, Mowry’s a place where extra practice sessions at the start line could pay off big.

Cory Copeland loses hair overboard

You want proof?  Straight out of the blocks in the men’s division’s first race Epicurus Emmons and Cory Copeland both crossed the raceline with matching, valid -00:01sec start times. These days, thanks to Cynthia Centaur most of the race lines in use will not give you a valid negative start.  However, the Hepurn race line at MBYC is on Linden water, and dates back to the Pleistocene era. It is perfectly serviceable, but has a few historical quirks that become obvious to a skipper willing to spend the time coddling it in pre-regatta practice. If you go back two years on the forum, you’ll find long discussions about negative start times and a whole fleet of skippers who were relentlessly doing hotlaps on different courses, hammering the start line again and again to gain a fraction of a second advantage. if you were a skipper with ice water running in your veins and an all-or-nothing mentality, you knew you could stare down the line, take your chances and get a -00:01 valid start. No tricks were involved, just guts and adrenaline.  Was Cory Copeland in that hot laps crowd?  (Insert ‘grin’ here) Actually, along with Cybrid Keats, Cory invented hotlaps. It was fun to go over the numbers and see that all the time Cory spent in cold storage hadn’t dented his nerve for negative Mowry starts.

And Epi? How can one explain his equally remarkable -00:01sec start? I wondered a bit whether hitting that remarkable score on the very first race of the regatta was attributed more to brains, skill, experience or audacity… I’m deciding its crew! Epi’s tactician For the sprints was Fanci Beebe, co-owner of the USS Sailor’s Cove / Lawson Landing estate. Fanci rarely has time to sail, so it was absolutely wonderful seeing her riding shotgun for Epi. as a team they pulled off a remarkably good series of laps, winning the first race and then coming in third and second for the races that followed. That certainly proved good enough to capture first place in the Sprints Men’s division.

Mowry Sprints TrophiesMy comments about start time skill  are certainly not just restricted to Epi and Cory; a quick look at the race line results confirms my earlier claim that this is an excellent crowd; in the second men’s race for example, Max Starostin, Tasha Kostolany, and Nuggy Negulesco all simultaneously crossed the start line at 00:00 sec.    The women’s division proved equally to the task. All those flowery words I wrote above about Cory and Epi crossing together at -00:01sec? Well Aislin Keynes and Julia Ceres sailing for SYC and MBYC duplicated that feat in the third race of the women’s division. Woots! Pretty incredible sailing.

Gemma Vuckovic lead the NYC team

In the Women’s Division, however, Gemma Vuckovic proved an undeniable superstar. Gemma and her tactician Quirky Torok sailed against a fleet of remarkable racers that included Miwha Masala, Bea Woodget, Julia Ceres, Aislin Keynes and nobuko Criss. In that tough field, Gemma and Quirky failed to win a single one of the starts. In all three heats Gemma had to fight her way forward and somehow find the strength and momentum not only to claw up alongside each competitor, but to find that extra lift – somewhere – to blow past them in order to challenge the next boat in front. Bea and Julia gave Gemma serious competition; this was far from a cakewalk, but Gemma had the heart and held the day, winning the women’s division decisively. Her win was all the more impressive when one considers she lost the starts… She had to win by outsailing Julia and Bea.  At this point, I feel forced to add a disclaimer:

Warning: To any new SL sailors reading this article, attempting to outsail Bea and Julia can be extremely hazardous, and should only be attempted by trained professionals.

What Gemma and Quirky accomplished demonstrated not only consummate sailing skill, but also a remarkable force of will in each heat of the competition.

Epicurus Emmons discusses last minute strategyFollowing Gemma’s dramatic performance, one more race was held. The two division winners, Epi and Gemma, went head-to-head  to decide the grand winner and take the prize for their club. I have already stated that Epi and Fanci made a remarkable team. They sailed with precision and flashes of brilliance, clearly deserving the first place division prize. Having said that, however, it was obvious on that day, at that time and in that place no mere mortal could match Gemma’s prowess. It might well be different next week or next month, but on March 7 the team of Gemma Vuckovic and Quirky Torok were unstoppable. In that final race they crossed the finish line a full sim ahead of their opponents, another astonishing feat considering the level of skill and the short course distance.

That flawless performance won the Mowry Sprints club prize for Nantucket Yacht Club. At the end of the day, however, when the trophies were handed out by Francois Jacques and MarkTwain White, there was no doubt that the big winner was SL Sailing, and the wonderful community Mowry Sprints celebrated.

Gemma Vuckovic

Mowry Scores with Spring Sprint (Part I)

Originally posted by Jane Fossett at slsailing.com on March 17, 2009

Jane Fossett - Sheep to Shear

I have quite a bit to tell you about what went on, so I decided to break this article into two pieces. Today I’ll tell you about the buildup prior to race day, and then In Part II of this story I’ll tell you what happened on the water. I’ve also posted the Race Results and an Awards Ceremony transcript here.

– JFos

Mowry Scores with Spring Sprint (Part I)

The 2009 Spring Sailing Season got off to an exciting start last Saturday as Saxxon Domela’s Mowry Sprints Regatta hit the water over at Mowry Bay Yacht Club.

Spirit of Mowry Sprints

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Mowry Sprints was more than ”just another boat race.” It was actually the first inter-club SL Sailing challenge in over two years. There was concern whether aggressive competition between the clubs would be the best format to promote SL Sailing.

Saxxon Domela, Resident Janitor of MBYC, wasn’t concerned. He felt a friendly rivalry between the clubs could add to the fun of a regatta, and that energy might fuel more sailing events for the remainder of the racing season. According to the rules he established for the competition, each club could sponsor one Tako  Challenge Team in both Male and Female divisions. A series of racing heats would decide the best male and female team, and those two teams would then compete against each other in a final match for the Regatta championship.

Commodore Domela’s interclub race announcement sparked a good deal of discussion and enthusiasm in the clubs, and probably a little confusion and anxiety as well. Nearly all the seasoned sailors interested in racing were members of multiple clubs; the Sprints’ format made these skippers declare allegiance to one home team over another. Commodore Domela did not see this as a problem, since  in his view most sailors had a particular affinity for one club or another, and the skippers could make their own decisions in order to fill up the slots on their racing dance card. Besides, the ability to mix up sides in a competition and even switch teams is usually considered an important element of good sportsmanship. Mowry Sprints was intended to be a celebration of club sailing, not a showdown.

MBYC

Be that as it may, the Mowry Sprints’ call for each club to certify two challenge boats proved a great excuse to get winter-weary skippers out of the bar and out on the water again. They dusted off their venerable dinghies and dug deep in Inventory, upgrading their old Tako gestures to the “active” Inventory roster. Several clubs then organized practice sessions and qualifying races in an effort to whittle down their fleet to male and female teams that would fly the club pendant on March 7.

The qualifying rounds turned out to hold a surprising surfeit of fun and good humor, where flashes of sailing pyrotechnics alternated with good-natured goof ups. Nantucket Yacht Club actually looked pretty good for a few minutes as the fleet of contenders met the first night for a practice round. A large number of boats converged on the start line to vie for a spot on the NYC team. However, as soon as the start gun fired any lofty expectations NYC’s Race Directors may have had were brought back to reality. The fleet raised sail, charged fearlessly across the line… and never came back. Every one of the skippers that evening apparently got lost on the practice course and ended up wandering around Blake Sea.

To their credit, Starboards Yacht Club projected a more organized public image. Chad Sawson built enthusiasm and recruited sailors, announcing a series of qualifying heats on the same Mowry race course that would be used for the Sprints competition.

Aislin Keynes sailed for SYC

That seemed like an exceptionally wise approach, particularly for a Texan. Sadly, however, uncontrollable forces of nature conspired to trip-up the SYC team too. During one critical qualifying session each and every SYC contender on the course crashed headlong into the linear abyss euphemistically called a ‘sim-crossing’ while their frail boats tried to make it around the notoriously lag-enriched Hepurn waterways. Eventually things worked out  however. The competition fleet began to take shape, with Co-Commodore Aislan Keynes leading Hollywood’s SYC squad, while Chad assumed responsibility as the top Race Official for the event.

J-Class

Other clubs took a somewhat more relaxed approach. As the final race day neared, I called up Commodore Epicurus Emmons asking who Fisher’s Island Yacht Club had selected to represent them.   Without skipping a beat,  Epi brightly replied ” Mowry Sprints… What’s that? … Sure we’ll race! You have a landmark? ”

Cory CopelandA couple weeks before the regatta, Saxxon Domela made a surprise announcement: Jamey Sismondi would represent Mowry in the Men’s Tako competition. I’ve mentioned Jamey before, noting he was a sailing legend of Homeric proportions. Given the history and tradition of Mowry sailing, given Jamey’s standing in interclub competitions from the dark past, and given the fact the Tako hadn’t had an upgrade since Jamey sailed for Greece in the Great Trojan Regatta 2,300 Linden-years ago, Saxx’s news was a real eye-opener.

The NYC Steering Committee quickly called an emergency meeting to consider how to respond to this potentially catastrophic development. Exactly what was discussed in that session must remain a secret between the NYC steering committee, The Illuminati, and the Yale Skull and Bones Club. However, when the meeting ended the six members of Steerage descended down the long passageway to the caverns beneath the club, where digital permafrost keeps club treasures in suspended animation. Each member pulled a secret key from the gold chain around their neck and inserted it into the giant freezer chest contained therein, and while saying the Lord’s Prayer backwards, they released the locks and threw open the massive door that sealed the frigid crypt below.

Cynthia Centaur went into action next, throwing a switch to overclock her laptop’s cpu, producing enough heat to melt years of ice and reanimate NYC’s secret weapon: Cory Copeland, the antidote to Jamey Sismondi. The annals of the Second Life Sailing Association were replete with tales of their epic confrontations, and like a chapter out of the comic book version of Rashomon, Mowry Sprints seemed on a course to unleash primordial forces from a dark past to do battle one more time.

To ease the transition from icy blackness to the warm breezes of SL Spring sailing, Cory chose an old friend, Chaos Mandelbrot as tactician, for Chaos had a deep intuitive understanding of not only of the Flying Tako but also the Antarctic clime.

With some gravity I must repeat that the details of these events shall remain secret for all time.

I can’t say what other clubs did, but I assume it was fairly similar to NYC’s approach.

The Teams

My comments above might suggest that the buildup to the sprints increased partisanship in the clubs and magnified the differences across sailing groups, but nope! That did not happen. In fact, during the last two or three days before the Sprints Regatta sailors convened on the water for the ultimate battle, the actions of many sailors gave striking evidence that, above and beyond all else, they considered themselves united together as the community. The clubs were just one aspect of that bigger meaning.

Skipper's meeting

Julia Ceres  was one such example. Julia’s has been a major presence at MBYC and one of their key Race Directors. She is also widely known and respected by sailors at clubs scattered all across the grid. As the Sprints Regatta approached, she offered to come to NYC and  assist Head Race Director Gemma Vuckovic and Commodore François Jacques put together a Challenge team. Julia did a pretty great job running the series of practice sessions and qualifying rounds. Shortly before the Regatta, however she gave the NYC staff a big smile, switch T-shirts and raised the Mowry pennant high. The Race Director who helped get NYC up to speed was now going home to sail for Mowry. It was a great image and a remarkable demonstration of style and substance.

But hey, Julia wasn’t the only one who reached out across the clubs. In fact she was just one example of the community spirit that seemed to emanate from all the clubs and the sailors representing them. Glorfindel Arrow somewhat humorously push this to a far limit in the Mowry Sprints: on the day of the Regatta, his name appeared twice on the challenger list. Glorfindel had qualified to sail in the Men’s Tako division as a Challenge boat not only for Tradewinds Yacht Club, but for NYC as well!

This didn’t bother Glorf… he is a sailor, and a good one. He was proud to fly as many pennants as would fit on that little dinghy.

To his credit, it didn’t bother Saxon Domela one bit either. From Saxx’s vantage point, the important thing was to unite sailors in a celebration of pride, spirit and competition. The messy rules stuff could be figured out later.

Tasha Kostolany would not to be outdone by Glorfindal’s show of communal sailing spirit. If Glorf could sail for two clubs, then Tasha could transcend the arbitrary gender distinctions that split up the divisions in the race. Tasha decided to sail in the Men’s Division. Saxx just shrugged and smiled.

Finally, you remember that frostbite sailor Cory Copeland? The cofounder and first Commodore of the new Nantucket Yacht Club? Well, after many late nights spent in a self-imposed intense crash-course to reactivate those neural circuits wired for SL racing, Cory got the news that Jamey Sismondi was not going to be able to make the race. So what did Cory do? How did he repay the elders of the NYC Coven for graciously releasing him from cold storage? He paid NYC back in the best possible way. He handed the tiller to Chaos and Glorf, and adroitly jumped into the slot reserved for Jamey.  That day Cory sailed for Mowry, for Saxx, for Jamey, and for all SL Sailing.

I told you a couple weeks ago that Jamey and Cory were among that rare breed of SL Sailing Giants. On Saturday Cory proved it once again. His simple selfless gesture showed us what it’s all about, and how it’s done.

It almost made thawing him out worthwhile…

[— to be continued—]

Cruisers and Optimists

Originally posted by Jane Fossett at SLSailing.com on January 24, 2009

Mowry Bay Cruising Club

I have this theory about Yacht Clubs in SL.

Actually, I have a lot of theories, but you already know that.  Anyway, its Friday so I better stick to a simple, high probability story if I want to get it done in time for drinks on the deck, and  besides, I’m pretty sure I’m right about this one.

I think in the very early days of SLSailing, sim crossing limitations and  poor stability made cruising a frustrating ordeal, and certainly nothing you would ever attempt to do as part of afleet. The term “pleasure cruising” was, perhaps, an oxymoron.

On the other hand, two years ago the Tako was already a stable, well-proven one design dinghy racer. A tradition was already developing, and people were arguing loudly over race rules, regatta standings, and protest calls.
I believe the limitations of ‘sim and sim-side’ made cruising painful, and therefore clubs focused attention on short distance circular racing instead.

Mowry to Caddo

A small number of brave sailors still preferred to use their vessels for exploring, however, and in November 2006 Elisha Paklena started a very popular thread in the forum on Pleasure Cruising.  One of my favorite charts from back then was the Mowry-Caddo run by Suzanne Zeluco, shown above.

Since those early days, the number of places you can visit under sailpower has grown remarkably, and it’s pretty exciting to note that with technical improvements in the grid and the expansion of sailing opportunities, crusing has now become a real sport, not just a death-defying duel with sim crosses and ban lines.

Glida Pilote recognized this a while back, and started a weekly Voyages event at NYC. Instead of racing, the boats would sail from target to target, often visiting spots in USS none of the skippers had ever seenm before. The picture on the left was from the last Voyages “race” just before the USS moved across the grid this week. It was a great opportunity to think back over all the past year’s sailing adventures before the USS sims merge with mainland.

Glida’s cruises are great fun, but the big excitement in cruising class must be the new Mowry Bay Cruising Club! It was started by Tory Micheline and Manul Rotaru to champion the cruising lifestyle and explore new sailing venues under wind power. The club’s been a huge success, with weekly meetings at different locations on the grid and a proliferation of new charts and lists of spots where you can launch your boat and sail off toward some endless horizon.

The picture above is a closeuip from last week’s adventure, showing Chaos Mandelbrot with Tony and Manul waiting on the dock, beverages in hand.

The above picture shows Francois Jacques, Chaos and myself someplace out on the cruising course. totally lost. As usual, we proved the aphorism that you should ”Drink after the race, not during the race.”

I wanted to remind everyone that Mowry Bay Cruising Club is switching to a new day and time this week too! Starting January 27 2009, MBCC willmeet on Tuesdays at 5:00 pm SLT. This week’s cruise will sail the Nautilus Region, so don’t miss it. Check with Tory or Manul, or just join Mowry Bay Cruising Club for the details!

__________________________

Tigger

Did you ever sail an Optimist? Schiffsratten Yacht Club sailors did, and they still remember how much fun it was! They’ve recently refashioned the Optimist One Design hull using sculpties, and are in the process of developing the boat as a Beginner/ Training boat. It’s beautiful…

tigger

Here’s a size comparison below between the new SRYC boat and RJ Kikuchiyo’s Optimist that uses Tako 2.x scripts. The Ship Rats are still deciding what physics and features will go in their new boat.

The working name for their new boat is the “Pessimist,” but I think thats way to negative. I think “Tigger” is a better name, after their sim Tiga and the A.A. Milne children’s character (“The problem with Tiggers is they bounce a lot.”)

Optimists are used world wide in training and One Design racing programs for kids. After many decades the boat is still extremely popular and in fact my SL teeshirt is a knock off from the Opti Championships a few years back.

Pardon me if I can’t resist reprinting the thoughts I had last year on ORG about my own experience as a 12yo Opti sailor:

Thinking back on Optis, there were only a few rules for the after-school crowd:
1. The Harbor is not a bathroom; go before or after. It is not acceptable to go in, or off of, your vessel.
2. Even if you find yourself in irons with no wind, it is not acceptable to take off your life jacket and bathing suit just to get a better tan.
3. No matter what the racing rule infraction, you are not allowed to use your cell phone to complain to your parents… until you cross the finish line.
(at least that’s what I remember)

The best thing, of course was the lecture from the coach:

“You may not be able to drive a car or vote,
but here on the water you command your boat.
There are Opti fleets around the world, and today you sail with them.
For the next few hours, in your small boat,
if you have the courage and determination,
you can join thousands of years of sailors who have ventured out to sea to compete.
Today, you and your Opti have a chance to rule the world!”

Inevitably, at that point one of the kids would then shout out:
“Admiral? I have to go to the bathroom.””
Personally, I swear, I never did that.
I was the kid who said: “Pardon me…could you repeat that?
I was calling my parents to complain about a rules infraction…”

________________________________

Wednesdays with Mowry

Originally posted to SLSailing.com on November 1st, 2007

One of the things I most love about sailing is the sense of history and tradition that suffuses all aspects of the sport.

And for many here, a lot of SL sailing history began on the deck of the Mowry Bay Yacht Club & Embalming Society. Ask any sailor who’s been around the SL docks for 18 months or more, and there’s a good chance they’ll get misty-eyed and tell you about the ‘great old days’ at MBYC.

However, over the last several months sailing at Mowry’s been pretty quiet, largely due to treacherous sim crossing problems and mainland lag. Late evenings MBYC was usually empty, except for Owen Oyen, who was frequently sitting at the Hepurn start line toiling away in solitude on his latest AC-class race boat.

Well, after several recent visits, I’m delighted to report that Mowry’s back! Saxxon Domela (Mowry’s ‘resident janitor’) has redone the clubhouse, and the Linden gods have finally fixed the sim crossing problems. Saxx has restarted the sailing program with a weekly series of fun races on Wednesday nights at 6:00pm.

Last night Pensive Mission was Race Director, so after the Beach Cat Races ended, Armchair Binder and I went over to Mowry to lend a hand.

It was a great deal of fun, and the race course worked quite nicely. Here’s a slightly modified version of the new chart for the Mowry “Olympic Course:”

It’s the same as the “Hepurn TPS Course”  many sailors used for hotlaps.  I actually like the old chart more, since it shows the location of the red buoy in Hahne sim more accurately.

Anyway, last night was a lot of fun at Mowry, and a few good races were even completed. Orca Flotta, Rett Gentil, Konradin Kappler, and Halfpint Pennell all skippered their Takos in the competition. Konradin (#62KK) got over the start line first, just ahead of Halfpint (#25HP), with Orca (#69OF) in their wake.

The two lead boats quickly diverged as they beat windward towards the first mark. Konradin chose a port tack, while Halfpint went out on  starboard. They converged again after the turn at the windward mark in Jasckle, and went neck-and-neck, trading punches while parallel overlapped over the long reach into Hahne.

At the red mark in the southwest corner of the sim, Halfpint made a beautiful inside pivot around the buoy to gain the lead and steal the wind from Konradin! Way to go, Halfpint! Here’s the view with Halfpint steaming ahead just after the turn:

The crowd could hear Konradin grinding his teeth as he strained canvas, trying to close the gap separating the boats. Digging deep and using all the skill and experience he’s gained from months of racing with the Starboards fleet in Hollywood, Konradin scraped forward, edging ahead at the next marker and grabbing for clean air.

Once KK broke free, he built on his lead, crossing the finish line a half minute ahead of Halfpint. Konradin’s one of the best sailors in the United Sailing Sims; he demonstrated it again here… but lookout everyone… Halfpint’s a real contender and she’s coming up fast! What a great race!

So gang? Give the Hepurn TPS Course a try, and put the Weds 6pm races on your calendar. And while you’re at Mowry, one other thing… visit Saxxon’s new shop there. Elisha Paklena gave me a quick tour… and WOOT!  Everything I saw I wanted.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned a particular store in these columns, but this one’s worth a shout-out. The display area is physically beautiful, and Saxxon’s artisanship is fun and unique. I mean, where else are you going to find a boat trailer for your Beach Cat or Tako? Go take a look, and visit all the other Mowry Village shops while you’re there!