First Sailor, Fifty Years Later

kennedy-sailing-Manitou

“ A man may die,
nations may rise and fall,
but an idea lives on.”
- JFK, 1963

(Note: I want to acknowledge the websites and resources of Sailing Anarchy, YachtPals, the JFK Library, and several document databases. I found wonderful images and numerous docs that let me cross-validate fact details.)

This past November we observed the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States.

A half-century ago, Kennedy’s administration was often termed “Camelot.” That nickname referred to JFK’s lofty aspirations for change, but it also stood for the dream team he recruited to Washington to help achieve his goals. (In contrast, it may be worth noting that the nickname for George W. Bush’s executive team was…  “The Vulcans.”).

In any event, JFK’s aspirations for a new global understanding in the early 1960′s  came to an abrupt and violent end by an assassin’s bullet on November 22 1963.

Since that time the image of JFK’s unfulfilled potential has grown to legendary myth, and today JFK remains an icon of a distant, pivotal decade. Our present, collective view of JFK is certainly clouded by time. Nonetheless, one theme resonates true for me, since it speaks much to JFK’s character: The 35th president was a life-long, serious sailor.

victura

JFK’s first boat was a gift from his parents on his 15th birthday. The boat was a Wianno Senior  and it was named “Victura.” JFos Oct 2008 KnockaboutIt was a gaff rigged, 26ft wooden knockabout design; a humble, multipurpose boat that also served as a local inter-club racer. To my eye the boat looks a hell of a lot like the 2008 SL Trudeau Knockabout sloop (although the Trudeau boat had a modern Bermuda rig). :-)

JFK fell in love with his Victura ‘knock‘ and he kept it close in the family. Years later Victura was the boat he used to teach his wife and children to sail.  

In fact, Victura still lives today. If you ever make it to Boston, Victura is up dry-docked and safe in a boat frame at the JFK Library. The wooden mast is stepped and the boat is fully rigged, waiting to launch.

JFK and his brothers were also avid sail-racers, primarily in Star class and Big-boat events. As a Harvard undergraduate, JFK and his older brother Joe Kennedy won the prestigious McMillan Cup, the oldest intercollegiate yacht racing competition in America. :-) After JFK became the U.S. President, the Harvard Crimson announced the 1962 McMillan Cup with typical dry humor:

“The Harvard Yacht Club opens its spring season by participating in the Annual McMillan Cup Regatta, held at the Naval Academy. Two races are scheduled for Saturday on the Chesapeake Bay and one on Sunday. … “This event has been won in the past for Harvard by such well-knowns as George O’Day, gold-medal Olympic winner in the 5.5 class, and one John F. Kennedy, better known for his touch football prowess. …”

As President, JFK was never far from sailing. Although he inherited a 92 ft presidential power yacht from the Eisenhower administration, it’s no surprise that Kennedy preferred a sailboat.JFK and Peter Lawford Soon after he came to Washington, JFK worked with the Coast Guard Academy to fit out a Marconi-rigged Sparkman and Stephans yawl named Manitou (62ft LOA, 44ft LWL) that served as the “Floating White House”  for the remainder of his tenure in office.  :-)

JFK’s presidency managed a series of epic issues that helped define the 20th century. Perhaps the most serious was the Cuban Missile Crisis, a confrontation that could have easily escalated into global nuclear war. (Perhaps it goes without saying that a nuclear war would have been bad for sailing.) :-(

Remarkably, Kennedy and Khrushchev had the wisdom to reject  much of the “expert” advice of their own military leaders who promoted the conflict. The details are well-described by Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara in Errol MorrisFog of War. Here’s an exerpt:

JFK and Khrushchev were on opposite sides of the world physically and  philosophically, but they were able to reach a joint consensus in the midst of crisis. They stepped back from the widening abyss that emerged before them. jfk-sailing-doodleFifty years after that apocalyptic moment, many are now commenting on these past events, and honoring JFK’s legacy. Pundits keep trying to distill in prose the special qualities that defined JFK’s greatness and leadership.

For me, it’s not that hard. After all, JFK was a sailor. :-) Sailors are used to responsibility at the helm, and they know the need for courage and clear thinking in the face of stormy seas. JFK’s personal doodles perhaps reveal how important sailing was to him. Sailing was more than a physical challenge; it was also a guiding metaphor for his life. Take a look at the thoughtless sketch in the figure above-right. Kennedy scribbled the  note while in conference during the nuclear crisis in 1962. At the bottom of the drawing, JFK included a picture of his knockabout, Victura. To me, the sketch shows Kennedy’s animus at the helm as he tries to beat windward through a sea of truly horrific obstructions.

Several years later,Senator Ted Kennedy expressed the same view, confirming this thought. In December 1969 Ted Kennedy hand-wrote a personal holiday note to McNamara, saying:

ted Kennedy not to RSM

Dear Bob,
The Victura sails well in gentle breezes and stormy seas, and it meant so much to the President and Bob to have you there.
With Christmas love
 Ted

As we all know, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a sniper’s bullet in Dallas, TX on November 22 1963, a year after the Cuban crisis.

The night before his collision with history in the city of Dallas, JFK landed in Houston. Kennedy slept at the Rice Hotel, and left early the next day for the short plane flight to Dallas.

The hotel staff discovered another doodle that JFK absentmindedly left on his bedside night-table.

JFK-Rice HotelThat last pencil sketch was a again a small sloop; some think the sloop is Victura. I’m not so sure on that point, though; the drawing lacks sufficient detail to tell.

However it hardly matters, since the doodle clearly show2s that JFK’s last thoughts were once again focused on sailing.

Kennedy faced a difficult reelection campaign that year, and he was en-route to tour a contentious state that held many electoral votes. It’s therefore perhaps no surprise JFK took a personal moment to inhale strength from his experience as a sailor.

JFK was the U.S. captain, and all the responsibility rested on his shoulders. In a short, highly contentious interval of history, he was one of the rare few with the knowledge and experience to confidently take his nation’s helm. He was a sailor; that’s what sailors do.

2013 Kennedy_Cup

It’s no surprise the U.S. Intercollegiate Offshore Big-Boat trophy became the John F. Kennedy cup in 1965. I guess it’s also appropriate that Fair Harvard sailed to win the first Kennedy Cup, and that NAVY won the second. Since then, however, it’s all been up for grabs, and Cal Maritime is the recent offshore powerhouse team!

Let me end this short tribute with Kennedy’s comments from the 1962 Americas Cup regatta. His words were genuine, inspirational, and fifty years later, they still ring true:

I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.

- John F. Kennedy- 1962 America’s Cup
jfk-americas-cup
harpoon

Ragnarok Redux

LCC Ragnarok

Thank you to Admiral Chaos and all the sailors in the Leeward Cruise Group for the great ride on February 25! The cruise celebrated Ragnarok, the Viking apocalypse (aka the Gotterdammerung). A grand fleet rezzed in Seychelles Isles, and proceeded across  a 45-minute course to land at Second Norway in United Sailing Sims. Kudos go to IrishGent Resident and Mialinn Telling for their help orchestrating the event!

ZZ Bottom posted a number of great pictures of the fleet, and I’ll include several of her images below. :-)

Feb 25 LCC launch

Seychelles launch (Courtesy of ZZ Bottom)

To sail Ragnarok, the LCC Sailors chose a wide variety of boats made by different builders, and that diversity was (and is) a strong testament to the strength of the Second Life Sailing community. Sailors across the grid now have a remarkably broad choice of wind engines, hull and rig designs, as well as optional gear enhancements to chose from!

To illustrate this point, in ZZ’s image above, Diamond took off in a speedy Mesh Shop Nacra catamaran while other sailors skippered cruise boats built by René MarineWildwindKtaba and Trudeau yacht yards (see below).

Feb25 launch

Fleet sets sail! (Courtesy of ZZ Bottom)

Here’s Don sailing at top speed in his OP-60 during the last leg of the sail,

last leg

and here’s Om and Jilly taking their time on a Classic Ktaba J-class.

OandJ 2

The Tuesday sailing conditions were impressive and it’s notable that most of the boats in the flotilla reached the cruise destination without undo duress.

However, no surprise, things weren’t perfect: there was a long lag in the LCC chat thread, and even the Admiral crashed once while sailing a trusty Trudeau Fran Jacques! :-)

FJ1 Feb 25

Having said all that, let me add that the post-cruise landfall party was rather fantastic (thank you Mialinn!), and many of the sailors arrived in Viking cruisewear. Here’s a picture of Charlz Price that I shot from over Fiona’s right helmet-horn. :-)

Charlz Price seen from Fiona

However, the prize for Contemporary Viking Cruise Attire undoubtedly must go to Om and Jilly. Their Ragnarok cruisewear incorporated Viking, Dali, Ansell Adams and Joro Bee-Team tones. :-) Wooots!

O and J Landfall

And now let me also add that special cruise-creds must go out to Benny and Runa too!

Benny

Benny spun a rather amazing two hour playlist full of of “End-of-the-World” themed tunes that set a perfect mood for the Ragnarock-minded cruise-crowd. :-)

As usual, Benny’s apocalyptic ear was pitch-perfect; he even included Mose Allison’s take on the topic-du-jour: :-)

After logging out Tuesday night, I kept smiling and thinking about the cruise, and I couldn’t help digging up mor’ Mose to play that fit in Benny’s stream-style :

What a nice event, Leeward Cruisers! Woots!

harpoon

Leeward Cruise Goes Raganok on February 25

Leeward Feb 18

February 18

Woots! The Tuesday Leeward Cruise on  February 18 was pretty fantastic!; Kudos go to Diamond Merchant who hosted the fun event. Diamond subbed forAdmiral Chaos Mandelbrot (who came a bit late), and as usual Bennythe Boozehound provided a stellar LCC soundtrack.

The weather was great, and nearly all in the flotilla made it to landfall on Diamond’s docks.

LCC Feb 18 at Diamonds

February 25

Well, Admiral  Chaos is doing it again on February 25. This week the cruise is from Seychelles Isles to Second Norway, and it’s a celebration of Ragnarok, the Viking Apocalypse. Big thanks to IrishGent Resident and Mialinn Telling for their help setting up this week’s LCC event!

OK, I know Ragnarok symbolizes the end of the world, and its perhaps not intended to be a happy event. Nonetheless, many online pundits predicted (with considerable dubiosity) that this final Norse conflict was set to go off on Saturday, February 22. :-)

I’m happy to announce we all made it through that date. Given the legendary sailing skills of  the Norse over two millennia, the passing of Ragnarok last weekend seems a damn good excuse for a Leeward Cruise!! :-)

Adm. Chaos think so too! Here’s his Cruise Manifest:

February 25, 2014
Leeward Cruising Club 5pm

It’s the end of the world (again) and we sail to the fabulous Second Norway to celebrate.

Good news, though: after the world is annihilated by a bunch of ornery ancient gods, it’s supposed to be restored as an idyllic paradise. So we got that going for us. So don’t expect any more crashing!

http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/19/the-apocalypse-starts-saturday-at-least-according-to-the-vikings/

Tunes courtesy of the Bennythe Boozehound !!

Here’s the Chart:
LCC Feb 25 chart

Here’s the landmark for the start:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Anse%20Etoile%20Isle/223/210/21

The destination landfall:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Second%20Norway/127/133/22

Wind:
SW at 15 knots
on a Trudeau this is /x set wind 225 7.5
On a bwind this is SW then 15
On a Quest this is wind dir 270 and wind speed 15

No one left on the dock!

— Chaos Mandelbrot

Ut mare quod ut ventus.

No one left at the dock

harpoon

Leeward Cruise Feb 11: DYC to Allie’s Alley!!

LCC Jan 7 2014 05

Cruising conditions have been pretty great recently!

Come join the Leeward Cruise fleet on Tuesday for a great tour of Nautilus waters, followed by an apres cruise party hosted by Allie!

Here are the sailing orders from LCC’s Admiral Chaos Mandelbrot:

February 11, 2014
Leeward Cruising Club 5pm

Allie’s Alley is not your ordinary art gallery. There is no door at the entrance because she didn’t know how to put one in, so she made the whole wall phantom. Just walk through it.. To return to the beach, walk back through the sunken ship with the brown hull. The TP unit is between the rabbi and the snow.

Tunes courtesy of the Bennythe Boozehound !!

Here’s the Chart:

LCC 11 Feb 2014

Here’s the landmark for the start: Danshire Yacht Club.

and Here is the landfall destination: Allie’s Place.

Wind:
SW at 15 knots
on a Trudeau this is /x set wind 225 7.5
On a bwind this is SW then 15
On a Quest this is wind dir 270 and wind speed 15

No one left on the dock!
Ut mare quod ut ventus.

– Chaos Mandelbrot

LCC Jan 7 2014 01

harpoon

White on Blake

blakeseachartrev7 2009

(JFos, Feb 10 — On February 9, MarkTwain White posted a lengthy opinion on several Blake Sea sailing issues in Second Life. I thought it was worth reposting his comments here on MetaverseSailing as well, for discussion and future reference.)

___

IMPORTANT BLAKE SEA INFO

by MarkTwain White, February 9 2014

What is the Blake Sea and Who is Responsible for Administering it?

The Blake Sea is a body of water that was created by Linden Lab as part of the deal they made with the owners of the United Sailing Sims.

download

It exists because the LL offered to create it if owners of the USS sims agreed to administer the Blake Sea for the enjoyment of all. There is a group called the Blake Sea Group. It is made up of Lindens and some forty SL residents drawn from the USS yacht clubs to administer racing and boating in the Blake Sea. There are three SL residents that LL has made their primary administrative liaisons with LL and lead administrators in the relationship between LL, the USS, and SL residents. Sudane Erato is the lead administrator between the nine USS owners and LL. MarkTwain White and Nber Medici are the lead administrators of the Blake Sea (our titles in that combined group are “Blake Sea Captain”). Therefore part of the payback to the USS leaders and yacht clubs was and is the existence of the Blake Sea next to their sims which connected the whole operation to the Mainland. To read a more detailed history of how the Blake Sea came to be check out the History of the Blake Sea on the Blake Sea Journal blog (links below).

Why Clubs That Organize Races in the Blake Sea Should Use the Blake Sea Combined Calendar

The Blake Sea grows in popularity every month. When individual boaters follow accepted maritime protocols there is rarely a problem. And for a long time the Clubs of the USS had little problems racing together since we each tended to use the Blake Sea startlines set up close to each club. We have had the Blake Sea combined Calendar (BSCC) for a long time that helped the USS clubs get their various programs scheduled.

However times are changing. Clubs outside the USS are wanting to schedule events in the Blake Sea. This is seen most keenly in the two Interclub Racing programs that have just gotten started over the past month or so. (I will have more to say on Interclub racing later). So it is even more important that these clubs refer to the BSCC and follow the procedures to post race events there as they work in tandem with USS clubs. Last night I sent some protocols that I have asked Gemma Vuckovic add to the BSCC so all clubs can see how to get involved in the BSCC and schedule events that do not compete for time and space in the Blake Sea. I will also post those protocols on the Blake Sea Journal today.

For the sake of easy reading I include those protocols here.

Steps to Post to a Calendar that Appears on the Blake Sea Combined Calendar (BSCC).

1. Create a Google Calendar
2. Contact Gemma Vuckovic to get your calendar added to the BSCC

3. Check the BSCC to make sure there is no other event using the same time and space in the Blake Sea.
4. Arrange use of the line with the yacht clubs nearest the startline to be used so that there is no conflict.
5. Once arrangements are agreed upon to you can post the event in your Google Calendar.
6. Click CREATE
7. Enter name of event in “Untitled Event” window
8.. If ALL DAY box is selected, unselect it.
9. Enter start and end time of event. (Use Pacific Time which equals SL time)
10. In the WHERE window enter the name of the sim with the startline to be used (e.g. Blake Sea – Pacific)
11. In the description window add any additional info that will help people understand the race. (e.g. race start and ends at Arabian line but covers a significant portion of the Blake Sea. SLCG will be providing racecourse security)

Although the BSCC on the surface appears to be just like the SL Sailing Calendar which covered/covers the entire grid, the BSCC is very different. The SL Sailing Calendar sought to inform of sailors across the grid primarily of the TIMES of races. Yes the location was included however almost never was there a need in that calendar to deal with the reservation of SPACE. Nearly every club had at least one race line and some had more than one. There was no need to make sure the line in question would not be used by another club in terms of TIME and SPACE. Obviously both time and space are very important in the BSCC. When Starboards Yacht Club wants to have a race in the Blake Sea the Pacific Line is the natural place to hold the race. You can see that similarity of connection for most USS yacht clubs. Not surprisingly a club will host its races on its “home field” whether that be in the Blake Sea or somewhere out on the Mainland.

In the case of the Blake Sea the USS clubs have had their well established times and places working for some time now. So now that clubs from other places who normally race elsewhere at their established time come into the Blake Sea and wish to make use of the facilities they have the civil responsibility to find a time and place not occupied by a long established race event by clubs for whom the Blake Sea is home. Just because Club D ran their races at Noon on Saturday does not mean they can necessarily run races in the Blake at the same time. They need to come in as fellow clubs who want to fit in in civilized fashion and do some inter club action. This is covered in the above mentioned protocols.

It is true that until the beginning of the this year Starboards Yacht Club had been inactive for about two years. After we got the Fanci Deep project started late last year (which helped end the WWII fighting in the Blake Sea) we turned our attention to reviving SYC. We updated the Blake Sea Combined Calendar to reflect the new programs that we have been working on launching in our traditional time periods. Note that no club came in to use the startline at Blake Sea – Pacific during our traditional times. Waypoint Yacht Club uses the Pacific line from time to time but only during their traditional times and they worked with us to get that time and space reserved.

Why is Starboards Yacht Club Hosting Powerboat Races in the Blake Sea?

If you read the Blake Sea Code of Conduct (see at the SYC web site or the Blake Sea Journal, links are below) you will see that while sailing was and is the backbone of the Blake Sea concept, the Blake Sea was created “for the enjoyment of all”. This has always been a difficult role for those of us that administer the Blake Sea. Sailors often read the “sailing first” part of that role but what they hear in their minds is “sailing only”. On the other hand for a long time we had the WWII people come in and disrupt boating in the Blake Sea by conducting warfare and making the case that the Blake Sea was “for the enjoyment of all” while ignoring the “sailing first” part of the Blake Sea mission

Now we have a new group that is making its presence felt in the Blake Sea, the powerboaters. We at SYC quickly saw that this development would likely grow significantly over the months ahead. However the potential problems were easy to see. First there would very likely be a proliferation of unrealistically fast powerboats that would not do well given SL poor performance with sim crossings. The specter of a group of rocket-fast powerboats plowing thru a sailboat race because they traveled so fast they never saw the sailboats rezz was a real fear on our part. Unless steps were taken to change the lay of the land regarding the scripting we were in for some very unhappy times. And LL would not have stepped in to stop this rapid growth. Second there were a sizable number of these newly empowered power boaters that ould have no clue that in both RL and SL SAILBOATS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY OVER POWERBOATS.

We could have stood by and done nothing knowing that the “for the enjoyment of all” clause in the Blake Sea Code of Conduct gave them the right to be in the Blake Sea OR we could try to face reality and try to work with it instead of just sitting on the sidelines and complain about changes we could not stop.

It is these two challenges that we at Starboards Yacht Club wanted to and are addressing in ways that can help reduce the issues of unrealistic speed and lack of understanding of boating protocol and maritime rules. Towards that end we have developed at SYC a series of test and rules for power boat designers to follow in order to create safe and sane powerboats that perform and realistic and controllable speeds and the education of their customers about the RL and SL rules on right of way on the water. It is those realistically scaled speed boats we race at SYC. And along side using boats that have realistic speeds we preach the gospel at every meeting, in every document and from the roof tops that SL SAILBOATS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY OVER POWERBOATS.

Powerboats are here to stay. No one can change that. We did not make it happen. We ARE trying to administer the Blake Sea in such a way that the downside of this change can be modified to reduce the level of negative impact. We are doing all we can to try to protect the Blake Sea as much as we can for its core purpose “sailing first”. One rather silly comment I hear going around is that MTW is supporting powerboating for the money. Anyone with a calculator and a grade school understanding of math can go over to SYC and see that the income SYC gets from powerboat slip rentals is about the same as from ONE luxury yacht mooring.

More on Interclub Racing

I was totally taken by surprise with the way that this Interclub racing conflict came about. I was working closely with our new sail commodore Maiti Yenni planning for our opening day of sailing on February 16 when I learned that Orca was working up an Interclub racing event and since Orca and Maiti are good friends they were developing this together on the side. Unfortunately exuberance took over and Orca moved forward without sitting down with myself and Maiti to plan a logical step by step launch of the idea. I was happy that for the first time since God asked Adam “who told you that you are naked” that Orca was saying nice things about SYC and had this great idea for our two clubs to work together. However as it turned out Orca pressed forward without planning meetings, and she and her plan ran right into Don and his plan. The outcome of that encounter was predictable On top of that there was at least one regrettable conflict that occurred between Don’s race and our regularly scheduled event. It was minor and life went on. There are always problems when you start a new program.

However last week Don announced that his race for February 9 (today) would go to FIYC which was close to the powerboat course. FIYC told Don that they did not want to race that day NOT because of the proximity of the courses, but because they wanted to wait for the return of their main race director. And I was concerned that we could get yet another incident in the Blake Sea because of Don was continuing to push for the event at FIYC and near the powerboat course. After a number of meetings between Don, David Weatherly (FIYC), and Maiti took place I was told that the course Don proposed would take his boats through further to the south than I thought (with a north wind so the sailboats could pass the powerboat course on a reach and not need to tack). I told David that if that is what he wanted to do we could live with that. I said that the course described sounds reasonable. But David was certain that he did not want to do that. Subsequently Maiti played an important role in the ongoing discussions between what Don and David each wanted. In the end the venue was changed, FIYC co-hosted and all went smoothly..

I am hopeful of meeting with Orca and Maiti to rethink some issues about their Interclub race program. I hope it becomes popular. And I have NO ill wishes for Don’s program at all as long as he “plays well with others” and discusses any events in the Blake Sea with the associated USS club he will be working with and honors times and places on the BSCC. As a matter of fact we have already announced that we plan to support both the Interclub programs. Although the two programs have some similarities they are quite different in other respects and I believe most sailors will find it worthwhile to sail in both programs.

I send this to all of you with the hopes that you can get a better understanding of what is happening in the Blake Sea. There has been a lot of misinformation about the Blake Sea those topics discussed above. I hope this has cleared up some of it.

MarkTwain White
February 9, 2014

Links

History of the Blake Sea:
http://blakesea.blogspot.com/p/history-of-blake-sea.html
The Blake Sea Journal:
http://blakesea.blogspot.com/
The Blake Sea Combined Calendar:
http://gemmavuckovic.wordpress.com/combined-sailing-calender-2014/
Starboards Yacht Club:
http://starboardsyachtclub.blogspot.com/

MTW at PASSAGES race

harpoon

Seychelles Isles Open House November 3

Lacy Muircastle and Payton Heron
announce the Opening of Seychelle Isles:

Seychelles Isles Invitation -1024

LAUNCH CELEBRATION AT SEYCHELLES ISLES

October 30, 2013 – In celebration of the launch of Seychelles Isles, a day of celebration is planned to introduce the new Estate to Second Life participants. Residents of the Estate are invited to have their friends and families join in this day of entertainment and fun.

The planned activities will take place on Sunday, November 3 from 1:30pm to 4:00pm SLT and will be held in and around the Golden Gate Yacht Club SL at Seychelles Isles.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

All Day Display of Yachts presented by members of the Golden Gate Yacht Club SL at Seychelles Isles. Seychelles IslesThe Oracle Team USA 17 America’s Cup winner will be available for viewing all day, as well as USA AC 45 Spithill and Coutts Stars and Stripes, Oracle USA 76 Version 5 and Emirates Team NZ Vuitton Trophy VCC racer, and Many more.

The America’s cup will be on display as well in the Club and in the New AC park next door. Demos of the Nemo and Fizz available for free to try our new training courses.

1:30pm – 2:30pm Live musical entertainment by Samm Qendra
2:30pm – 4:00pm DJ entertainment & dancing by SL Live Radio
1:30pm – 3:30pm Pose modeling with fashions by Amarelo Manga, Zanze, Baboom and Faster Pussycat. Models provided by MODA Primetime Models.

All Day: Tours of the various attractions and landscaped homes within the Estate

Fashions shown during the day will be available for purchase directly from vendors near the models posing area.

Attendees interested in joining the GGYCSL can contact Don Berithos, the Yacht Club Commodore for applications.

harpoon

Cruisin’ #3: The Rene Marine 12, Tofinou

RM12

This month I’m reviewing three popular, contemporary cruising boats in Second Life. I’ve already posted about Analyse Dean‘s Bandit 50 and Kain Xenobuilder‘s Café del Mar 75. Both are large and fast cruisers that use the new BWind 2.5 wind engine.cruiser trio Bandit and Café also come with many on-board accommodations, including rather extensive cabin space and over two dozen animations. The boats compare favorably with my previous, ultimate 2012 favorite cruiser: Motor Loon‘s remarkable Loonetta 31.

Today I want to talk about the third cruiser on my personal short-list; it’s Rene Underby‘s RM12 Tofinou, and it’s available at the Rene Marine boatyard in Thalipolli.  The boat is modeled after the French Tofinou 12, a 40ft  Joubert/Nivelt  sloop design.  SteveLL Resident  (aka Justin) likes this boat a great deal, and his enthusiasm got me interested (thank you SteveLL !!!).

Having said that, let me also add that the RM12 is the first Rene Marine boat I’ve put under the Metaverse microscope, so please bear with me; I might not get everything right. Nonetheless, I’ve spent five months testing this boat, and think I have a reasonably good feel for it. :-) if I get something wrong, hopefully SteveLL will correct me here!! With those provisos on the record, let’s talk about the boat:-)

The RM12 is substantially smaller than the cruisers I’ve recently reviewed; RM12 might be best classified as a daysailor rather than a Coastal Cruiser.

Compared to Bandit and Cafe, RM12 has fewer animations and less “jazz” throughout, but actually that’s quite intentional. The contrast between the different design styles is present in real life, and nicely summarized by Peter Nielsen in Sail

“The aesthetic differences between American and European boats are nowhere more pronounced than in the daysailer niche. The average modern U.S. daysailer has a refined, gentlemanly air; it’s a boat your granddad would have been proud to own. A typical sporty Euro-daysailer, on the other hand, is a dashing rogue of a boat; Grandma might send it coy glances, but Granddad would eye it with suspicion.

Tofin12“If there is a boat that straddles this divide with hardly a wince, it is the Tofinou range from France. Tofinou was building pretty little daysailers long before the idea caught on in the United States. Its hulls have the sweetest of lines, and on its bigger boats, the 8, the 9.5 and the 12, gleaming varnished teak and mahogany woodwork is integrated seamlessly with expanses of black carbon fiber and subtly contoured fiberglass. …

“The 40-foot Tofinou 12 is… moderate of beam, lean and low-slung, and drawing almost 8 feet—which would be a drawback in many areas of the U.S. East Coast, but makes for an impressively stiff and precise ride to weather. Hull and bulkheads are lightweight fiberglass/foam composites, and the bare minimum of interior furniture and systems—along with a carbon fiber spar—help keep weight down to a svelte 10,500 pounds—about 40 percent less than a typical 40-foot production boat. …”

And here’s a clip of the Tofinou 12 in action:

The Rene Marine 12 “Tofinou”

Rene Marine.  Rene Underby and Jethro2112 Sands are Rene Marine. They have worked together for several years now, building boats with clean scripts and thoughtful designs; you can see the whole ReneMarine fleet over at their main location in Thalipolli. You can also hear about their philosophy of yacht building by watching the Treet.tv documentary on SL Sailing; René and Jethro are prominently featured.

René builds sailing vessels that genuinely emulate classic boat designs, and the RM12 is just one vessel in her long line of authentic sail craft that you can see at her marina.

Her RM12 is a skillful mesh build. The boat weighs in at a trim 57 prim with a Land Impact of 37. For comparison:

Bandit 50                 41 prim     32 Land Impact
Rene Marine 12     57 prim     37 Land Impact
Cafe del Mar           67 prim     48 Land Impact
Loonetta 31            32 prim    32 Land Impact

Sailors will find the RM12 mesh design to be clean, simple, and true to the real boat, and it has multiple features that should make any seasoned skipper smile.

RM12 cockpit 017

The Hull and Topside

The cockpit is nicely arranged with an ample number of port and starboard self-tailing winches within reach of the dual helm. topsideThe detailing and finish is quite thoughtfully executed, and full of fun; there’s even a winch handle already loaded, ready to crank!

The skipper and crew have a choice of multiple sit options that can be accessed through a simple hierarchical menu system that automatically pops up. A few of the poses are shown in the image sequence to the right. (click to enlarge)

Is your avatar is an odd size? Don’t worry! The sit positions are easily adjustable. :-)

Although this boat is a solid cruiser that will carry several crew, remember when you go below that RM12 is designed for performance, and matches the real life Tofinou 12. Don’t be disappointed because there’s no shower or Cuisinart.  This boat is built to sail, and any extra features are installed to help a skipper take true command of the boat’s multiple sailing options. The RM12 is a cruiser intended for sailors. :-)

below

Even sailors need to drop anchor occasionally, so Rene Underby has also included a set of animations for couples to use during those off-hours. :-)

RM12 sleep cubbies

RM12 Sails.  The RM12 is fitted out with a fractional sloop rig with a Genoa and mainsail, but there’s no spinnaker.

If you’re worried about overhead clearance, please note that the fore and aft stays are physical, and so is the keel. This adds considerably to the boat’s realism, but watch out for shallow water and low bridges!  :-)

RM12 sailsThe RM12 comes with a headstay furler for the Genny, and an in-mast furler for the Main. Both have nice animations that deploy the sails when you say “Raise.”

A skipper can raise, lower, trim or reef each sail independently. That’s a truly useful feature that is also present on Trudeau Classic boats, although it’s missing on most others.

Having said that, let me add that I’m not aware of any SL boat that optimizes differences between the jib and main trim depending on sailing conditions. My guess is that’s on the laundry list for the “next step” in improvements to sailing algorithms.

While we wait, let me add that the RM12 sails are quite nicely constructed and scripted. When they fall out of tune they let you know with a realistic visible and audible “flap.” 

To adjust the sheets and bring them back into optimal position, a skipper uses the up/down arrow keys. That changes the sail angle in small  (three degree) increments until the settings are correct. I’m not aware of any chat-command control for the sheet settings on this boat.  It’s also notable that only the skipper can adjust the sails. There is option to share sail control with the crew, and crew location on board (hiking) has no impact on boat heel or boat speed.

RM12 boom angleIn my last cruising article, I commented that there was an apparent mismatch in some boats between the sheet angle setting and the visible angle of the boom and mainsail. That’s not a problem with the RM 12, however. The image to the right shows a vertex view of my RM 12 sailing a dead run with the sails full out. The maximum angle you can set for the boom on RM12 is 70° (it’s probably limited by the stays). That angle agrees quite nicely with what you can directly measure from your screen, as shown above.

One more thing about sails on the RM 12: Since the boat has dual furlers, Reefing the sails is a snap. You can let out any percentage of either the main or the Genoa with a simple chat command, and the power of the reefed sail adjusts accordingly.

RM12 reefing

The boat even has an adjustable traveler for the mainsheet, located aft of the helm station; I’ll talk more about that in the next section.

SteveLL RM12

Sailing the RM12

RM scripts. The RM12 is powered by Rene Underby’s wind engine. If I recall correctly, René originally adapted her algorithm from Kanker Greenacre’s Tako 2.x. However, over time Rene’s scripts have evolved to meet the needs and expectations of a whole generation of new sail designs and skippers in SL. At the present time, my guess is that sailors would be hard-pressed to find any Tako genes still actively expressed in the René Marine family of boats. :-)

Wind for Two. If you like to use the wind that’s broadcast by raceline WWC windsetters in Second Life, that’s easy for RM12. All you need to do is “ID” your boat so it’s recognized by the raceline (the chat command is “ID 0000” , where “0000” is any number combination). Once you do that, the boat will search for the WWC’s broadcast.

The boat uses the WWC Cruise Wind settings (not Race Wind), and it makes use of the Wave and Current WWC features as well.

However, if you prefer to sail on your own the boat also has built-in boat wind. Just type “wind spd xx” to set the wind speed in knots, and type “wind dir xxx” to pick a wind angle. You’re not restricted to the small number of values that come with BWind boats.

RM12 HUD. The RM12 comes with a vertical stack of five multi-purpose data screens that give you all the sailing information you could ever hope for.

rm12 hud

The panel on the right below shows this info-display stack coupled with a quick guide that explains their function.

The first two instruments are analog indicators.The top one shows Real Wind Angle, but you can switch it to Apparent Wind Angle with the push of a button; and if you want numerical values, that’s shown as an inset on the gauge.

RM12_HUDThis top display is comparable to the great  info HUD that comes with   WildWind‘s  Wildcat 45 and Open 60.

The second instrument in the RM 12 stack is unique; it shows rudder angle. As you can imagine, the rudder angle determines how acutely the boat will carve a turn. I’ll talk more about this below.

The third instrument has a screen with four different command functions that can each be activated by clicking buttons next to the display. Two are pretty straightforward: “Raise” raises both sails, and “Motor” powers up the diesel.

Two other button commands are less common. One turns on ‘Autotrim,’ a utility that optimally adjusts the sails to match the AWA. The other is an ‘Autopilot‘ that locks the boat to a particular heading. If you are new sailor, these options can make sailing the RM 12 extremely easy; you just point-and-shoot. :-) If you’re an Old Salt in SL, you’ll also find these tools pretty great. They let you put the boat through test trials with heading and sails fixed, while you tinker with all the other options that enhance performance. :-)

The last three HUD instruments are digital displays; a skipper can flip the info shown on the HUD screen to display any of 10 different panels. I know many sailors may feel differently, but I like the option to see a lot of numbers while underway, and the RM HUD fills that bill nicely. :-)

Rudder Reality. The RM12 has a distinctive steering system. In nearly every other sailboat in Second Life, a skipper steers by pressing an Arrow key, and the boat actively turns until the key is released. The effect is a bit more like a ‘bow-thruster’ than a rudder. 

The RM12 is more realistic. Pressing an arrow key will cause a rudder deflection that you can monitor on the HUD gauge. The boat will turn toward the side of the rudder until the skipper centers the wheel again. However, if there’s no breeze or the boat is nose to windward and not moving (“in Irons”),  the RM12 will do what any self-respecting sailboat does in real life. It just sits there, waiting for the breeze to shift. :-)

Polar Explorer

Once you get the hang of the steering, you’ll find that the RM12 also has rather realistic polar performance under sail.

RM12 15kt single sail polarsThe chart to the right shows a plot in blue of Boat Speed vs Real Wind Angle for the RM12 using a RWS of 15 kts. The boat is fastest on a beam reach, and it maxes out with a top speed that’s roughly 70% of RWS.

That corresponds to a Hotlaps Handicap of 0.69, a number that’s in line with the majority of midsized cruisers in Second Life.

Since each sail is independent on the RM 12, I’ve also plotted the boat speed for the Genoa (green) and the main (purple) alone. As you can see from the above chart, the boat gets most of its thrust from the main at all points of sail.

The RM12 doesn’t have a Spin and you can’t wing the main; it makes sense that the performance declines downwind with RWA>120.

RM12 8-15-25 polarThe next chart on the right shows RM12 performance with both sails flying under three different wind speeds: 8 kn, 15 kn, and 25 kn.

On a beam reach in light air (8 kn), the boat can do 75% RWS. That performance efficiency decreases a bit to 72% RWS with the wind of 15 kn, and it falls much more to 62% RWS in a strong blow of 25 kn. As shown below, at those high wind speeds the boat heels far to lee and it is hard to hold it on course, even with the Autopilot engaged.

RM12 25kn

I’d recommend a windspeed around 15 kn for routine sailing. If you’re hit by a sudden squall with big gusts, you might think about reefing or dropping the Genoa. :-)

Mainsheet Traveler.

This boat has one other trick in its sail adjustment toolkit: it comes with a Traveler for the mainsheet. A traveler has an adjustable car that determines where the sheet connects to the boat; it helps set the sail shape by holding the boom down.

The pictures below show the traveler in action (pink arrows) on RM12. In the left frame, the traveler is located far windward. That makes the sheet angle with the boom suboptimal, since the sheet can’t pull down to hold the sail flat. However, in the right frame the traveler is all the way lee. In that location the sheet is much better able to control sail shape. If you look at the speed gauge (blue arrows), you can see there’s a modest increase in boat speed as the traveler goes into action.

Traveler

A Good Turn

RM12 takes a turn

Five months ago I wrote about sailboat turns in SL. As I said back then, I think a boat’s ability to make a realistic turn is an important part of any authentic sailing emulation. The RM12 was the first boat in SL where I could take a serious look at this issue, since it couples realistic helm control with a flood of numerical data any skipper can monitor while making a turn.
turn radius - manyI won’t repeat all the discussion about turn-testing here; you can go read it someday when your boat’s in drydock. :-)

I just wanted to emphasize that the RM12 is the boat I used to help set the standard for all the other sailboat turn-tests. It’s a tribute to René Marine that most boats I’ve looked at have independent turning parameters that fall within the same test range defined by RM12.

Summary

The  Rene Marine 12 is René Underby’s virtual re-creation of the French Tofinou 12 daysailor; it’s a very nicely done emulation that should appeal to many SL cruisers that want a midsized boat with realistic sailing features.

The RM12 mesh build is clean and accurate, with an economical Land Impact of 37. Once aboard, a solo skipper controls all the sailing functions when underway, but the owner can also delegate the skipper role to one other sailor through chat commands. :-)

In addition to the skipper, RM12 can carry three crew, and there’s a wealth of animations topside and below to keep everyone entertained.

The RM12 has a Mainsail and a Genoa that are powered by the Rene Marine sail engine; the sails can be independently controlled by key click or chat command. To help guide the skipper, the RM12 comes equipped with a highly detailed info HUD. It has five vertically-stacked gauges that continuously report a huge amount of sailing information. :-)

The performance polar for this boat is realistic, and falls in the range of several other cruisers in Second Life. Consistent with the polar results, RM 12 rates a respectable (and credible) Hotlaps Handicap of 0.69.

The boat comes with a few very interesting sail adjustment tools that enhance performance. They include an active roller reefing system for the main and Genoa, and a main sheet traveler to adjust sail shape.

The combination of realistic performance, detailed numerical sail data, and multiple sail adjustment options make this boat a good choice for skippers looking for an SL daysailer that authentically reflects RL.

If you’re in the market for a cruiser, you should also know the RM12 is missing a few features that are standard equipment on several other boats. Most notably:

– RM12 has neither a Crew-HUD nor hiking scripts. The RM12 skipper is in charge, and the crew is just along for the ride. (The same thing is true for most other contemporary cruiser emulations.)
— The boat lacks a spinnaker and there is no ‘wing’ effect, so the boat may seem slow on downwind points of sail. (Nonetheless, the Hotlaps Handicap is a respectable 0.69.)
— RM12 does not have wind shadow, limiting its potential as a racer. (However this boat is primarily a cruiser. The lack of wind shadow could actually be a lag-reducing advantage.)

I’ve been sailing the RM12 off-and-on for five months, and I now understand SteveLL‘s enthusiasm over this boat. I particularly like the boat’s ease of sail with autopilot and autotrim functions, and the detailed information provided by the info-HUD screens.

Go stop by at Rene Marine, and take the RM12 for your own test drive!

Rene Marineharpoon