Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Leveling Up

Last week's flop has yielded so much fruit, I declare that I have officially "leveled up" in my sailing.

It's amazing, really.  So much so that I decided to take a chance and abandon the traditional HUD and only run with the infoHUD.  The impetus for using the infoHUD was the hot crashy mess that I was during Monday's Topless Sailing cruise.  I got thrown so many times, my head is still spinning... 

So, yeah, that made me reeeeally wish that I could sail with the stripped down HUD to reduce lag, and ya know what, I did it!  I took the time to fix up some old sailing gestures I had languishing in a folder to fix the winds and boat commands so that they were quick and easy, some of the commands being similar to the commands in BWind based boats like the Loonetta.  I also added a bunch of gestures.  I had to compensate for the loss of a quick click means of hiking, and for certain boats, reefing.  Also for gybing / goosewinging the jib or spinnaker.  There is more, of course, and some of it is boat specific, but I'm not going to bore you!  

I do miss the wind/boat speed/direction meter, though.  If there was a slightly scaled up infoHUD that had that visual info on it it would be wonderful.  But I'll do well even without it, I think I have the hang of it now.  Besides, the luffing feature helps me to know when I'm too far out of trim anyhow.  For the most part, I'm sailing by the senses and not the numbers, and that's an amazing thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Going Topless

Topless Sailing
I joined the Topless Sailing group.  It's a pretty diverse and fun group, they sail topless cruises and in most cases, bottomless is also allowed.  It's not a sexual thing, it's more of a naturist thing.  Men and women can join, and everyone I've met has been very nice so far.  Especially considering my lag disasters.  I managed to make the cruise today and for crying out loud, I think I got thrown off my boat at least 7 times.  Fortunately I had a nice crewmate who was able to teleport me back to the boat!

The cruises are nice, long courses that can be a little challenging sometimes.  After the cruises they have a nice dance party with a DJ.  They do this twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays at 1pm SLT.

It seems it's very Euro-centric, as many of the people I've seen on the cruises are European.  That's not a bad thing, but it would be nice to have some American-primetime-friendly cruises.  I suppose I'll have to volunteer or some shiz like that, lol.  In the meanwhile, I hope I can make it more often.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


I have, thankfully, no pictures of today's debacle where I totally embarrassed myself. I will spare myself the pain of recounting all the details. What I will say, is that I ultimately learned a lot more about sailing one of my boats - Frivolity, my Francois Jacques.

In a way, it's a very good thing that this shameful thing happened because I don't think I'd have learned otherwise just how much power I was dealing with and how much restraint is needed sometimes in controlling it. Normally when I sail, I don't bother to change the SL wind. My approach has been to deal with it as it comes, and just tack and tack as necessary to go upwind. What I never normally experience is a gale force wind.

Well, stupid me didn't realize that the recommended wind for the day's event was a gale force wind. And the FJ loves to heel, something else I'd forgotten in almost three years of hardly sailing because of getting deep into medieval roleplay. Well, disaster first came when I couldn't even get started. I chose the wrong boat for the recommended wind; I probably should have stuck with Twinkle, my T12. I didn't want to use Twister, the 12 Metre, because I already saw several of them being used. And I wanted one of the big pretty boats, just not the same as everyone else. Vanity... so, out came Frivolity. But -sploosh- I went as soon as the sails went up. I was capsizing, something that has never happened to me before, and I had no idea why. I managed to right myself, but then I hit a horrible spot and I was capsizing again. I didn't know why, until I went back later at night to try the FJ out again, and also consulted dear Jane Fossett's invaluable blog for the scoop on the FJ.

Herp derp, I had a sense that I needed to do the counter-intuitive thing and let the sail out, but it felt like the HUD wasn't responding and I couldn't let it out enough. Well, that's intentional. Had I known my boat better, I'd have known that the recommended 18m/s wind speed was too much for the FJ with the mainsails up. As it was, I'd have needed a crew of burly musclemen to stop the heeling, and even then it might not have been enough to keep from tipping over.

What I should have done was drop the mainsails and just sail with the jib/stay/jib topsail, or vice versa and drop the jib/stay/jib topsail and sailed with just the mainsails. There is just too much sheet open to the wind with both sets of sails up at that speed, and it will blow you over unless you can start running downwind. My instinct was right in letting the wind spill, but with the pressure to try to keep up with other cruisers, who remembers these things? People with more experience, that's who.

So, lesson learned - stop being a permanoob, and know what the hell it is you're actually driving.  I know that my instincts are underdeveloped, partly because I don't sail in real life and partly because I hadn't done it enough in Second Life.

Although I am still ashamed at the flop, I am proud that I actually learned something from this, and I am already a more confident sailor.

eta: it wasn't a gale force wind but Trudeau doesn't use knots... oops.