Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Corsica Rising, part 1

This post details my first attempt at a peripheral exploration of Corsica by boat. I actually made this trip a couple of days ago, but the postcard feature wasn't working and as a result, it took about half a day before they showed up in Snapzilla and Flickr. I was afraid that they might be lost, but had a feeling that the queue was just gummed up by yet another brilliant move by Linden Lab.

I chose the Larinda, for its speed - it was faster than all of the boats in my little fleet, except maybe the new WildWind DG-470. I don't know about the new J-Class, though... I suspect that the J-Class is potentially much faster. I haven't taken the time to learn the WildWind just yet, and I was anxious to take a look at Corsica, so here I am.

I started out at Watchman, where I stopped last time from my trip to Corsica from Nautilus. Gabriele Graves is a fellow sailing aficionado and has a friendly port there in Watchman, so I figured it was an ideal place to start. That's Gabriele's Tradewind and another tall ship in the background of the above picture.

I sailed east, picking up from where I left off last time. I didn't get quite as far as I'd like to, because I didn't have the time and the ugly crash that ended my trip came at an opportune moment. Basically, I made it from Watchman to Majistral, but it's a decent trip... there is still much to see in this short trip and I'm happy I made it.

I love seeing mainland shoreline, because it reaffirms the diversity of Second Life sailing. It's all over the place. Water is such a valuable property, and access to large bodies of unobstructed open water is a monumental boon to any property.

I think that some people think of the SL sailing community as that relatively small group that is often the somewhat insular and yet vocal folks that populate the USS regattas and associated yacht clubs. In truth, it's much bigger than that, as evidenced by all of the countless heretofore nameless harbors, marinas, yacht clubs and general sailing geeks that dot the shores of the mainland continents. And let's not forget the other private sims that boast open waters for sailing.

But I digress.

I found a Linden infohub, Degrand Infohub. I found it highly ironic that the parcel in the sim was called "Water Activities" and yet there was no place to actually rez a boat or jetski, or whatever. I mean, duh, Lindens, come on. I need to remind myself to put in a LDPW ticket to address that situation.

At first I didn't know what Degrand was, so I circled the island a bit to see who was on it. A few people were there, although I couldn't really see them as they were clouds to me. I hope that they found the place enjoyable. I wonder what they thought of me circling and hanging out nearby in my schooner?

I took a photo of Degrand from an aerial viewpoint. It's a very small island, complete with a nigh-ubiquitous shipwreck. Think of it as Half-Hitch's Mini-Me.

I opened up the map and saw that I would be passing the sim called Oryx. I had to stop, because my friend Oryx Tempel shares the sim's name and I wondered if it would in any way happen to reflect her personality. Ehh, not really. It was rather bland in general.

I was grateful for the little harbor that someone set up at Oryx, though. I couldn't help but feel contempt for the idiots two doors down who were super-aggressive about access and security in the description of their property, and the dreamer selling his 1024 for 90k. As for the aggressive couple... I sincerely hope your neighbors banned the crud out of you.

The only thing of note is a friendly little sail-up bar on the edge of Oryx, some place called Scoundrels. They over-used these prims for a mountain backdrop, though. It hides the water slide they've got from certain angles.

I think just a scultpy or two would suffice...

But what was really interesting was not Oryx but what was next to it, a sunken city with "lost treasures" - I have GOT to go back with scuba gear. I just need to avoid the shark. ;)

I had almost passed it by without looking under the water, but I circled back to find it. At first it wasn't terribly interesting, as I was on the edge, but I'm glad I did, as the view got a lot better.

I thought that was pretty neat. While sailing over the city, I saw some things glowing that appeared to be possible treasure. Must, must get there and scuba... but I don't know if I will be able to moor my boat for too long, need to check autoreturn time.

One cool thing I did see while circling around was this whirlpool. My first thought? Charybdis!! lol.

One disappointing thing about cruising mainland is seeing the repetitive nature of the housing. I am pretty sure this is a rental community, because of the ever so familiar housing by Ace's Spaces/Park Life.

Yes, their work is beautiful - this is by no means criticism of them. But it's getting to the point where it's not distinctive. I see the houses and I'm like, ho hum. Big deal... their houses are everywhere. I'm not saying it because I would like more people to buy my houses, but because it really does get boring after a while. I would love to see more property developers exercise independent thought and do something different.

Unfortunately, it wouldn't take too much longer before I crashed and crashed hard. I made the mistake of trying to traverse a plot off the protected path, and *whack* I hit a parcel that was full, and it returned Majestad to me and sent me off into the deep blue negative numbers of the sim. I teleported home and I still kept going into negative numbers.

Le sigh, Linden Lab.

PostScript: here is the map of the crazy trip.

Joyeux, J-Class!

I am ever so pleased to report that I have the fortune of having purchased one of the brand new beautiful J-Class yachts from Jacqueline Trudeau. She is a thing of beauty, isn't she?

Getting the hang of the spinnaker and the new HUD info display is a bit of work. Luckily for me, I don't give a rat's tush about racing!

It will be a great pleasure getting to know my lovely new J-Class. I have named her Joyeux, to express my happiness. I have also painted her hull in sleek black.

As an aside, I have also finally decided on a name for my Larinda schooner: Majestad. Yes, Majestad breaks my recent trend for alliteration, but I think it's really fitting. Now I just need to get off my butt and start working on the graphics for naming my lovely boats. The only one with a customized name on the hull is Renaissance, the Ketch. So much work to do...but it will be a labor of love.

Thank you, Jacqueline, for these fantastic yachts.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New Skin

I'm so excited about it I have to put it somewhere... I got this gorgeous new skin from :Genesis: by Ryker Beck. Candace, in Coconut skin tone.

Ryker's work is exquisite, and it is, so far, the best skin for this sailing gal's body. If you want to take pictures, this is definitely one to try. So far it comes in 8 makeups but Ryker has more fun and pretty makeups in the pipeline.

Sailing gives me an excuse to wear all those swimsuits I've bought, and I love that this skin will make the whole image even better.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Fizzy Thoughts

Apparently Mothgirl has resolved her key dilemma and decided to release her scripts full perm for free instead of charging shipbuilders a premium to build with it.

I'm very sorry to hear that. It's good for the community and for modernizing standards, but she should be rewarded for putting about a year of her life into those scripts. I don't see why it was so objectionable to charge a premium for a reseller version. She knows shipbuilders better than I do, maybe she knows that most of them would never pay that kind of money and they would just leech off her stuff. If they were eager to modernize, why wouldn't they pay her a premium for a transferable version?

I should be happy, I suppose, but I'm not. I'm glad she's made her peace with it but I'm very sorry that it came out this way.

Wild is the Wind...

I got a new boat. This time it's a dinghy designed for racing, a WildWind DG-470, upon recommendation from a friend. It was so inexpensive I really didn't have to think twice about buying it.

This is a VERY different sailing experience. On this boat, I have to manually shift my weight, and it has a spinnaker. Oh boy!

Ironically enough, I've never used a Tako, which has a spinnaker. I've got a bit more to learn about sailing! It's all well and good, I guess... that new J-Class coming soon from Jacqueline Trudeau uses a spinnaker, I will need the practice. ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Considering the Shelly and Her Ilk

The Shelly Fizz debuted the other day to much fanfare at the Starboards Yacht Club. It is a free boat, developed by the Schiffsratten Yacht Club and Mothgirl Dibou, the proprietor of the Flying Fizz boat. The Fizz has just been updated to include more realistic features, and she graciously allowed the Ship Rats to make a training boat with the new Fizz engine.

As a teaching boat, it's fine. It only has two modes - fun mode and novice mode. Fun mode is as simple as it gets, just hop on the boat and steer. Novice mode is more of what I'm used to, with adjustment of the sheet versus the wind. The key difference in my experience is that there is no HUD, you have to tell by looking at the sail whether or not you're getting it right.

So far, so good. I also benefited a little bit from going to the beginning sailing class and practiced "beating" - shifting back and forth to sail upwind. This was the thing that really got me about the Leetle Cat, that made it less enjoyable - I wasn't good at sailing upwind and desperately wanted a motor. To dock my boats, I would drop the sails and start up the motor at a low throttle power, to have more control over where the boat went. It felt more finessed than messing with the wind.

So I at least feel better about sailing upwind, and will give the Leetle Cat more use. Like the Leetle Cat, the Shelly has a centerboard that can be raised for going through shallows. It's just a very different experience since there is no HUD. I don't mind it, although I still prefer a HUD telling me the wind speed and direction.

Is this what the Fizz itself is like? I don't know. It can't be too far off. My reaction in light of what I already experienced while cutting my teeth on Trudeau yachts is "meh." But it would take a full demo to find out, and I don't know if I care to do that in light of what I've read about future Fizz-style boats. Just some ugliness since Mothgirl plans to sell a separate key to make Fizz derivatives work. Instead of just licensing the engine to shipbuilders, she is collecting from individuals who want to buy Fizz-powered boats, 500L for a separate key on top of their boat purchase. It is highly inconvenient and raises the relative cost of owning a Fizz-powered boat, even though the cost is a one-time purchase.

I don't think this is a wise business decision, but it's not mine to make. The vast majority of people who sail in SL don't give a rat's tush about the sailing clubs or racing. They just want to have fun and enjoy the water. So far, this is exactly what I've had with the Trudeau boats. Pure fun, with a little bit of a challenge in learning how to control the boat's sheet angles.

If the shipbuilding kit really is all that, and so many people are anxious to build with it, then I feel that she would be better served licensing it at a reasonable rate such that shipbuilders would be able to resell at a rate comparable to the Fizz (L$ 1250) instead of selling us their stuff at L$ 1250ish and then oh-by-the-way, you have to pay Mothgirl an extra 500L, albeit once.

I don't know Mothgirl from Adam, and the things I've read from her and some others - venting her frustration at others, most especially at Jacqueline Trudeau, about the slow adoption of her new engine and her new windsetting scheme - definitely make me cool to the concept of buying a Fizz at all. I know she's done a lot of work to improve upon the work already done by Kanker Greenacre and possibly others, and she deserves to be rewarded for her hard work, but I don't think this is the wisest way. Plenty of people who know a heck of a lot less than I do about her may be disinclined to bother paying for a key. She says it'll go to good causes like Sail for Life, and that's great. But why should anyone who hasn't even heard of the yacht clubs care?

It's not really about the money, since just about everything in Second Life is less than the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee, but it sort of is - it's both money and inconvenience. But relative to other boats? It begs the question if dealing with all this brouhaha is really worth it.

For me, that jury is definitely out.

Reunited, and it feels so good...

I really am dating myself, if you know what the title of this post references.

I am finally reunited with my desktop computer, and its superior graphics card. It's the return of the pretty pictures!

After reading about Orca Flotta's trip to Triumphal Yacht Club on, I had to take a trip out there myself. I am pretty certain that I must have passed it on my forays into Nautilus looking for a feasible path to the interior. But as I commented in Orca's article, there are so many places to look at that if you keep stopping, the trip would take forever. So I'm happy to go back and take a look around.

And what a feast for the eyes it is. It's a mixed rental community and yacht club. It is also the personal home of Charlz Price and his partner Fiona Haworth. That awesome steamer is Charlz' home, which he allows people to explore.

The property spans about a sim and a half and is located in southwestern Nautilus. Nautilus City and the Blake Sea are a godsend for a property such as this. I happened to meet Charlz, and he said that when he bought the land, there were only about 5 sims of open water. That number has exploded with the expansion of navigable water and his club is in a very convenient place. It had nice amenities to begin with, but this is even sweeter now.

Charlz and Fiona have a charming fantasy treehouse that overlooks the protected water adjacent to Triumphal. It doesn't get much better than this!

He and Fiona make furniture, which they sell from a store in Devilbrook, on the eastern side of Triumphal with even more navigable water.

Charlz also has some more fantastic boats in his waters. He's got a beta copy of the upcoming Trudeau J-Class, and a modified Larinda schooner.

He's also got one of those WildWind boats that I keep hearing about, the 44. I have also been recommended to pick up one or two other WildWinds, the 14 and 470. My little fleet might just expand soon...

One other thing to thank Charlz for is the change to Devilbrook. That cityscape used to border a vehicle graveyard. Charlz talked to the land owner, who had no idea that he had banlines up and didn't realize the effect of limiting access. Now, Devilbrook is navigable and Charlz is working on getting a racing course through that section of the water. Thanks, Charlz!

He hasn't gotten to the point of having any events yet; his club is only 3-4 months old and is growing. He's working with Jane Fossett of Nantucket Yacht Club and others and stuff is going to happen. I'd love to join his club but I just don't have the room in my groups for it. He should consider a Subscribe-O-Matic or HippoGroups. More sailing groups should consider it, or some kind of listmaking device. I know I saw one on XStreet. It's really late, though, and I can't be bothered to look it up now.

Anyway, it was a sincere pleasure to meet another kind sailor with his beautiful club.