Hey peeps, your fellow blog reader Becca Logan sent me a second story/report: This one about her first tries to sail races in Second Life. I loved it and invited her to join our little team but received no answer yet. So overly nice me just copypasted the whole material.
Becca’s first story was about Linux!
Have fun following Becca’s first steps into an exciting racing career …
Hiya Orca! I actually wrote up another article about sailing adventures. What you think? Publish it if you want to 🙂
Flailing in the Wind
Here I was, the proud owner of a new Bandit 22LTE. YAY! I have many sailboats in Second Life, some racerish and some not. I’m certainly not a great sailor but I’ve been sailing the Blake sea and all around SL for 11 years. I even tried racing back in the day. Unfortunately my computer was not up to the task then. Sailing is still one of my favorite leisure SL activities but could I ever really be race competitive?
As a fan girl of Thar She Blows I read all of Biancaone’s articles on the many TrYC races. They always look so fun and exciting. My big question was now that I had the boat, could I race the race? First of all I had to do something with the standard 22LTE green color scheme. All the TrYC racers have special designs for their boats and sails. I can’t go over there looking like a silly newbie can I? After much trial and error I managed to come up with something reasonably ok; the Flamingo IV. Looks good to me 🙂
Flamingo IV and Me!
Flamingo History: My first pixel sailboat back in 2009 was a Bolero. I named her the Flamingo and she took me everywhere. One of my fondest SL memories is sailing out at night and sleeping in that tiny cabin with a group of whales all around me making chilling whale noises. Later I bought the Loonetta and immediately named her the Flamingo II. This to me was the perfect sailboat in every way and I still love it six years later. My racing sailboats (M-24, Flying Shadow, Bandit IF, etc) remain un-named because I barely use them. Not so long ago I got the urge for a bigger boat and bought the Bandit 50, naming her the Flamingo III. That one is plenty big enough to cruise with friends but small enough to still be fun. The auto pilot makes it super easy if you don’t want to think very much. Sailing in manual is a bit hard though (for me) without a second person to operate the forward sails.
Bolero and Me in 2010
Loonetta and Me in 2014
Bandit 50 and Me in 2019
So I started out practicing on the 22LTE around my houseboat in Belliseria. The controls are similar to the 50, except steering is backwards? Had to get used to that. Sailing manually with 4 different sails and all the commands is a bit daunting (for me, lol). Riding the wind and finding the best sails and trim to go where you need to go is truly like a real world experience. It does have a nice autopilot that is very relaxing to cruise around if that’s what you prefer, but sailing manually to make the real wind work for you is where the real fun is!
Normally I can play God and change the wind to whatever suits me. Racers aren’t allowed to do that. They receive a set wind speed and direction. As in real life they have to work with what they get, which can be very challenging at times. I have sailed small boats in real life with a limited amount of success. At least I have a feel for what you need to do to get a wind angle and make the boat move. I can even tack the wind without tipping the boat over 🙂 SL sailing seems to match those conditions so well, which is what makes it amazing. As for sailing and racing strategies I am a complete novice. Also don’t start using nautical terms around me or I become totally confused. Which is starboard again?
After getting a bit comfortable on the new boat sailing wherever I wanted, I decided I needed to try out a set course. There is a new thing in SL called Hotlaps, so I thought I would give that a try. It is a sailboat race course set up for everyone, using your choice of many different boats. It moves around to different locations every couple weeks so there is always a new challenge. You get the course map, wear the hud, then click the starter and go round and round to see how you do against everyone else. The first couple of tries I got lost. Imagine that? Finally by comparing the course and the SL Map, I was able to record a time. It was near the bottom, but not last place at least. Going around again I beat that time by a whole minute, so knowledge is King (Queen for me)! Still made a bunch of mistakes, so I hope to do better.
Now it was TrYC race day. Do I dare to test my minimal skills against a group of hardened professionals? Hell Yeah! So off I go into the depths. Everyone at TrYC was so totally nice and welcoming (Thank you everyone). Bianca explained everything I needed to do and I thought I was all set. But then suddenly it was close to start time and I was there at the line too soon. Oh Nooo, where are the brakes? I circled around while everyone took off 😦 By the time I recovered I was a minute behind already. I could barely see them, but followed the green dots on the mini-map. I thought I was making a bit of progress until I First: Hit a motor boat, then Second: Got stuck on the side of a pirate ship. Trying to sail and read maps at the same time is harder than I thought. By now I was hopelessly behind with no one to even follow.
I am not a giver upper though so on I went searching for buoys that i couldn’t see, trying to at least finish the whole course. The second half of the course was mostly upwind and I felt like I was slurping through molasses. I was afraid I would get to the finish line and everyone would have gone home 😦 Eventually I saw sailboats ahead so that was a good sign. I found the last few buoys and turned for home, woohoo. Then inexplicably I got all spun around going the wrong way. Why? That will never be known. I ended up doing another complete circle and losing another minute but finally found the finish line. YAY!
As I banged into the dock in last place, the winners and runners up were all having a party discussing the highs and the lows of the day’s race. I grabbed a beer to drown my sorrows but am determined to try again and do better. Thank You Bianca and TrYC for the wonderful adventure. I will practice some more and come join you another time soon 🙂