Monthly Archives: December 2010

Reefing the Cat

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A few days ago I talked about the newly-launched Leetle Cat II, and mentioned that ‘reefing was back‘ as one of the sail-control options. Well, since then I’ve had a chance to take a closer look at the Cat, and I’m ready to change my opinion. Reefing “isn’t back;” it’s totally redone in this boat!

Reefing” is a common sailing technique that helps a skipper control a vessel in strong winds. Reefing reduces the boat heel, helps balance the helm, and makes the sail more efficient. Probably most important, shortening sail on a blustery day can also keep a boat from capsizing. There’s a great, short article on Reefing the RL Beetle Cat by Jennifer Kano over on the Beetle Cat website. Go take a look!

SL Reefing was first introduced in the Trudeau Twenty that launched during the summer of 2008. A series of rather wonderful Classic boats with reef points quickly followed, including the Knockabout, Leetle Cat, Tahiti Ketch II, J-Class, Rozinante, Columbia and Patchogue (did I miss any? 🙂 ). In each of these boats, setting a reef point produced a substantial upwind speed boost against a stiff breeze .

The Trudeau Columbia is a good example of this “old Reef effect.” The chart below plots Columbia’s speed as a function of Apparent Wind Angle (AWA) in a boat sailing with a constant Real Wind of 11.0 m/s. The red curve shows Columbia’s performance unreefed (Reef 0). In contrast, the green curve shows the Reef 1 effect, and the blue curve shows what happens with Reef 2. With an AWA 40 heading, Colombia’s boat speed is actually four times greater with Reef 2. That’s over 30% faster than the Real Wind setting (yikes!).

One year ago I posted a discussion on why that’s maybe a bad thing…  

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I’m bringing this issue up today to announce the Reefing in Leetle Cat II is now totally different (WOOTS!). In fact, LCat II’s Reefing is pretty fantastic, and let me show you why! 🙂

As I mentioned above and in prior posts, in RL reefing does not make a boat go any faster, but reefing does something just as important. It helps balance the helm, makes the sails more efficient, and helps prevent capsizing. Reefing actually slows the boat.

The chart below shows the effect of reefing on boat speed in the Leetle Cat II. Four different curves are displayed, so it may seem confusing. Let’s walk through it.

All the measurements shown below are from the current LCat II, not a beta.  The test boat had a single sailor aboard (me, with no crew), and the hiking position and sail sheet settings were adjusted to maximize boat speed. I used a single apparent wind heading (AWA 40), and the centerboard was down throughout.

Under those conditions, the x-axis below displays increasing real wind speed (‘boatwind‘) from 5.0m/s to 12.0m/s. The y-axis shows the resulting boat speed in m/s as a function of boatwind intensity.

Now, just look at the red curve below. It shows the boat speed that results from each stepwise increase in Real Wind with the sails unreefed (Reef 0). For example, a real wind speed of 8.0m/s results in a boat speed of 3.3m/s. I previously noted that LCat II had a baseline upwind performance that was approximately 40% Real wind. The red curve below is consistent with that finding.

You can also see that the red curve “flattens out” as the real wind increases to the 9.0-11.0m/s range. That happens in RL too. I talked about why that happens for the ACA3.0 a few months ago.:-)

Today however, take a look at what happens to the red curve below with a real wind speed of 12.0m/s and an unreefed boat! The yellow arrow below indicates where the boat suddenly comes to a abrupt stop.

Of course it suddenly stops in high wind! With that strong RWS and full sails, a single skipper can’t counterbalance the boat. LCat II capsizes!!

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OK; now take a look at the orange, dashed line in the chart above. It shows the same speed curve as before, but this time the sail is reefed. Since there is less sail driving the boat, maybe it’s no surprise the boat goes slower for all wind speeds between 5.0 – 11.0m/s.

So… what’s the advantage to reefing?

GRIN. Look at that final true wind speed of 12m/s on the right end of the chart, and that yellow arrow too. Without reefing, a 12.0m/s gust can knock over your cat boat, and dump you in the water. Setting a reef point lets you keep going!

Since most races, cruises… and real life situations involve changing wind directions and rather unpredictable gusts, deciding when to reef a boat can prove rather tricky. 🙂

I have no apology for that, but I do have a huge shout-out for J Trudeau’s new reefing in LCat II. It’s a major difference from past reefing you may be used to… and it’s spot-on accurate in style and substance to reefing in Real Life. This change came with no fanfare I’m aware of… but, well.. “wow.”

In my opinion LCat’s Reefing brings us all a step closer to a true, real-life sailing emulation in SL!

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ONE WORLD REGATTA Ready To Roll

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In ten days, the ONE WORLD Regatta will hit the water. There are already eighteen teams signed up to compete; there are also nine events scheduled from January 7 to March 5. Each race is hosted by a different sailing club or maritime estate, and they all represent truly wondrous communities scattered across the Second Life grid.

Are you a wind-beaten, weather-tough skipper willing to take on SL Sailing’s best? GRIN… Well, we can chisel out a few open slots to accommodate you and your crew if you want to prove your stuff.

Maybe you are you brand new to SL Sailing and just want to learn? Well… BIG GRIN… That’s no problem either! This Regatta is for you too! Just join one of the race teams, and you’ll learn SL Sailing is damn near close to the real thing! (and besides, you’ll learn a ton of new jokes and make some GREAT friends world-wide along the way.)

How do you learn more, what about signing up?

Glad you asked! Just click here,
or ask any other sailor that’s signed up! 🙂

See you on the water!

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Cat Tracks

 

Last week Jacqueline Trudeau launched the Leetle Cat II. It’s a total re-do of the popular Leetle Cat sailing dinghy, and you can test-drive one in Second Life over at Trudeau Yacht Yard.

Beetle Cat beginnings

As I discussed two years ago (that’s Fourteen in Dog Years), the Trudeau Leetle Cat was inspired by the RL Beetle Cat, a sturdy little cat-boat made by the Beetle family nearly a century ago. Beetle boats were initially designed as whaling dinghys; a Cat-rigged version was adapted as a training boat for children.  However, that family sail-trainer soon was a big hit with the broad sailing community, and to this day Beetle Cats remain remarkably popular boats in many New England harbors.

Given the Beetlecat’s humble origins, it’s probably a little embarrassing to add that several A-List Divas were also avid B-Cat sailors,  notably Jacqueline Onassis, Calvin Klein, John Kerry, JFK jr, Steven Spielberg, and Caroline Kennedy. I have it on good information that the Beetle Company will also sell the boats to Republicans, but I haven’t actually verified that yet. 🙂

It’s probably no surprise that in Second Life the original Trudeau Leetle Cat also took off as a popular One Design racer and teaching boat. LCat #1 was cherished and strongly promoted by Epicurus Emmons, Taku Raymaker, Isis Rexie and many, many others. Several Yacht Clubs held weekly races, and initiated aggressive Cat competitions, while many others helped organize cooperative learn-to-sail classes that introduced new users to the LCat fleet.

Fruit Island's Strawberry Sailing Center

How popular was the first LCat? (Glad you asked!)

Well, when the ten-dozen United Sailing Sims left their far-offshore island home to help form Blake Sea two years ago, Taku Raymaker organized the Final USS Regatta; he made it an homage that passed through all the USS estates for one, last time.

Commodore Raymaker’s boat of choice for that occasion was the Leetle Cat. No surprise, a near sim-crushing fleet enthusiastically showed up to sail.

The event was so popular that Waypoint Yacht Club repeated the Leetle Cat Distance Race in the new USS sims in 2009, and… while I was writing this article this week… Taku Raymaker announced the LCDR 2010!

Woot! It’s this month! Contact Taku if you want to race!!

Leetle Cat II

Well, with that RL and SL history, let me suggest LCat sailors grab their seats and put down the catnip, because Leetle Cat II is here!

The name may be a bit deceptive, but let me tell you: The new LCat II is no mere upgrade. It’s a total re-work of the original boat, and it’s full of remarkable features and enhanced performance. It’s the boat many LCat sailors have longed for… and it’s a whole lot more.

As I’ll briefly describe below, LCat II incorporates innovative features from Trudeau One, including sail luffing and crew hiking, but it then takes another big step. LCat II adds innovative features that make this new boat truly unique.

LCAT HULL, Sails and Rig

Let me back up a bit here, and talk about prim and textures first; after all, this a Trudeau. Tradition, detail, and accuracy are paramount.

The image above shows the new LCat II rafted with my old, weathered Riker’s Island Yacht Club LCat. The New Cat is a tad smaller than before. It also introduces a fiberglass hull and has a far more detailed rig. I doubt anyone will mistake this boat; it has the style, accuracy, and full-on panache that’s long been a Trudeau trademark.

In case you have lingering doubts… Bunnie Mills did the gaf-rigged sails. They are detailed, realistic, and an integral part of the revolutionary Trudeau Tru-Sail feature. An LCat crew can now ignore numbers and HUDs… all they need to do is watch the sail shape and listen for the Luff and Snap.

GRIN. In case you haven’t sailed T-ONE or tried out a new LCat II yet, let me ask: How did you adjust sheet and heading in the last RL dinghy you sailed? Take a moment and recall… Then forget about reading any of the LCat II directions. You already know this boat well!  If that sounds intuitive and sailor-friendly… well, we’re just getting started here. 🙂

I Love You the Way You Are; Now Change…
If you know Trudeau boats, you’re aware they come with full-mod textures. That makes it easy to warp the object of your affection to a version that meets your personal passion. 🙂

You can download the LCAT II PSD files from the Trudeau website. If you want new sails, you can also contact Bunnie Mills directly inworld! Recrafting sails can be fun, and J Trudeau and Bunnie will give you all the help you need to make your own, but frankly I’d politely suggest maybe Bunnie and a small number of other SL Sailing design experts are better at it than the rest of us are! 🙂

(Note: In RL, Beetle Cats often have rather flamboyant sail designs. I’m happy to showcase SL design samples here on Metaverse, or add hyperlinks to SL Sail Lofts that offer Trudeau (or any other) sails.

If it’s easier, sail designers can of course add their links as ‘comments’ to this or any other topic-appropriate articles.)

‘Chat Tu’ Performance

No surprise, I’m still running around trying to figure out the details of this marvelous boat, but let me give you a few highlights. However, before I do that, let me offer… a disclaimer:

My comments below are based on multiple beta releases. Like all Trudeau boats, this one went through extensive tinkering. 🙂 The beta-Crash Test Crew included Bunnie Mills, Isis Rexie, Taku Raymaker, Francois Jacques, Naeve Rossini, Chaos Mandelbrot, and JoyofRLC Acker. Final changes were made the evening before launch, and I’m still wet-testing the released version! So talk to one of the other beta testers, or maybe just stop reading this and go test drive the boat yourself! I’ll update my info once I get smarter!

With that denial of responsibility under my belt, let me talk a bit on what I know about LCat II’s performance!

The chart below shows a very basic Boat Speed v. Apparent Wind Angle graph for the LCat II crewed by a solo sailor, using Real Wind= 5.0 m/s. That slow wind setting reduces the effects of heel or skipper hiking, so its a useful starting point. However, please note that the LCat II boat speed is not linearly related to Real Wind (like RL), so the graph below is just a baseline and may not accurately reflect what happens with faster wind.

The Blue Curve on the graph below shows the boat speed result using optimum sail settings, with the skipper sitting windward, and the centerboard down. Under those conditions the boat has a rather broad, ‘forgiving’ thrust-response curve. From 50°-110° AWA, it generates a speed over ground that is roughly 40% of true wind.

If you look at old charts of the original Cat using similar conditions, the new boat may actually seem slow at first glance, but please don’t be fooled. LCat II has several options designed to strongly boost performance; it needs a modest start point. This boat is actually a ‘pocket-rocket.’ Take a few laps and you’ll see: A swift sailing speed will surely be the sign of a skilled skipper.

I mentioned the chart here is just a “baseline” contrasted with LCat 1… Let me restate that. LCat II is so different, it’s very misleading to compare the numbers with its namesake feline LCat 1 at all. 🙂

I have no idea which boat might finish an Olympic course first… but I guarantee you: The LCat II teams will be the RL sailors laughing and clapping as they cross the line.

The new LCat II  borrows a lot from the recently-launched Trudeau ONE; the sails actively luff, the heel angle strongly impacts boat acceleration, and both the skipper and crew can hike to keep the boat in balance.

I think Kentrock was on his cellphone when we passed by...

However, this boat is no ‘poor sister‘ to T-ONE! If you look a bit further you’ll see it has truly great and rather unique options, largely based on TCY’s original intention to use LCat as a training boat. LCat  was designed to give new skippers experience with common sailing skills, like dropping a centerboard and setting a reef point, so this boat was loaded with good stuff!

Now LCat II sailors will get the new versions of those features, plus much, much more!

Centerboard

On smallish sailing dinghies, a retractable centerboard (CB) takes the place of a keel. The CB allows a boat to hold a course on an upwind heading without side-slipping due to wind pressure. However, on downwind points of sail, the CB  becomes unnecessary and just slows the boat due to drag effects. A CB is therefore pretty important in RL. It was also essential equipment on the original LCat.

Well, LCat II continues that tradition;  The HUD uses a toggle button to raise and lower the CB, as shown below!

If you look again at the Boat Speed performance chart above, you’ll get a rough idea about the CB’s effect. The Blue Line indicates boat speed with the CB down, and the Green Line shows boat speed on the same AWA headings with the CB up.

If you compare the two curves, you’ll see that a down centerboard increases boat speed by over 25% when the boat is traveling Upwind. On Downwind headings over 120° however, an up centerboard proves faster, resulting in an 100% speed boost (roughly) on a near Dead-Run. The ‘crossover point’  (the point where you should change the CB settings) in the new boat is around 110° AWA, similar to the old LCat 1.

Although the speed change I just mentioned probably seems huge, I admit it’s also misleading and actually underestimates the CB effect! The centerboard’s most important function is to maintain the boat’s heading. It helps a boat reliably keep on course despite the variable forces of wind and wave all around.

For example, , if you raise sail in LCat II with a wind heading of 40° and forget to lower the CB, you’ll rapidly slip sideways, and your boat heading will strongly push to the Lee. So if you’re racing, please remember to drop your CB first! Otherwise there’s an excellent chance you’ll sideslip off the course and end up on the rocks; you’ll never even cross the startline!

Despite that warning, let me also comment the same thing happens in real life. However, after a little practice with the CB in SL (or RL!) you’ll love this boat, and find it can hold a tight course under pretty treacherous conditions. The image below shows one such instance, with Chaos shooting the tight Fastnet channel on a beam reach despite a strong, variable winds!

Piece of cake! (OK OK OK, no one was racing… 🙂 )

Lee Helm. In the beta boats, Even with the CB Down the LCat II had a small “Lee helm.” In other words, if you set a certain heading, the boat would gradually turn away from the wind on its own; a skipper would need to keep adjusting the tiller, coaxing the boat back upwind. The figure below illustrates this effect in the final Beta. If you set an optimal heading and let the boat continue on its own with 5.0m/s RWS, after roughly a minute the boat turned Leeward by a good amount.

In the figure below, the heading rotates from 55° to 62°. Real life Cat Boats have a single sail (by definition) 🙂 , and a helm deviation is pretty common depending on the rig adjustment. Having said that, since Trudeau adjusted the rig just prior to launch, my guess is the ‘Lee Helm’ effect is less in the final release than what I found in the beta test below. Even if it’s unchanged, such an effect is realistic, and if you can’t handle a 7° correction over sixty seconds racing… perhaps you need more sports psychology counseling or a medication increase. (please: that was a joke 🙂 )

(Note #2: The last time I discussed lee helm in SL boats, Mothgirl Dibou offered an interesting explanation that might be relevant here as well; it’s worth a look at her opinion.)

Reefing

“Reefing” is a common real-life sailing technique that helps a skipper control a boat by shortening the size of the deployed sail. Reefing reduces the heel, in a single-sail boat changes the ‘lee helm slip,’ and it makes the wind-sail more efficient. Probably most important, cutting the sails in high, gusty winds also keeps the boat from capsizing.

LCat II has a single Reef setting, and it it works rather well (although I don’t have final numbers on it yet)!

Reefing was introduced in Trudeau Twenty nearly two-and-a-half years ago, as a realistic option that mimicked RL. However, as later boats in the ‘Twenty branch’ of the Trudeau fleet increased in speed and expanded in features, some of the reefing issues got a bit complicated, partly due to original Tako conventions. I discussed this issue several months ago here. I’m mentioning it again just to emphasize that the practical problems were exclusively about “Reef 2” settings, and their effect under ‘default’ SL windsetter settings.

If that last sentence made no sense to you, never mind, because I’m quite delighted to say that LCat II’s Reefing is a rather wondrous compromise!

The RL/SL Beetle/Leetle Cat has only one sail, hence few adjustment options. That makes simple reefing an important tool.

Shaq

Occasionally it’s absolutely critical; ask Shackleton. Shackleton’s dinghy voyage ranks next to and maybe even surpasses Bligh’s epic mini-boat tour in my personal Guinness ranking of Death Defying Duress Dinghy Long-Distance Sailing Records… Anyone disagree? 🙂

After a few more SL hours sailing solo and crewed in LCat II under Reef, I’ll post graphs showing some practical tests of Reef effects in this boat, but so far I’m pretty comfortable that the Reef benefits seem well- integrated and rather natural. (I haven’t asked Shackleton yet.)

Hiking

Trudeau introduced crew effects in the J-Class, and skipper hiking soon followed in Patchogue and T-ONE. LCat II holds a skipper and one crew-person, but both can hike, and hike position has a major impact on sailing performance, bringing the boat into balance.

In the past I guesstimated the hike effect was a 10-15% upwind boost in J-Class. I need new numbers on the final LCat II release, but I’m pretty sure the effect is more intense than J-Class, and closer to the recent T-ONE (as it should be!).

Please note: Trudeau ONE is a larger boat, modeled after the mythic International One Design racer. ONE holds a larger crew and has more hike positions, and I’m having fun comparing all the hike configurations between the vessels. Given all the options, this could take a few weeks… or a Defense Department Grant… to resolve. 🙂
Don’t hold your breath!

Capsize

This article is running long in text and low on data, so let me cut to the chase here and just say: WOOTS!!! I’ve saved the best for last. LCat II introduces TRUDEAU CAPSIZE!!

OK OK; I immediately need to qualify that statement; LCat II is, of course, not the first Trudeau to capsize. In fact, after four years in SL I’m still sailing here, partly due to an incredible boat that launched shortly after I first logged into SL: The Trudeau Beach-Cat.

I do not have time nor space to relate that history here (go ask Tasha, Bea, M1sha, Hay, Liv, Glida, Moontears, Svar, Cory, Vin, Kanker…), but I admit I’m jumping up and down over the fact that capsizing is now back in the Trudeau algorithm!

With Capsize, suddenly Trudeau Reefing makes sense. It matches the RL need to shorten sail in strong wind. The animations that accompany dumping your boat are also simply great, and make losing a race almost worthwhile!

I have tons to say about capsize and hiking in this wondrous little craft, but… in RL it’s snowing like crazy here and and I need to get warm. I’m going sailing in my LCat II in some great tropical sea-spot where they offer free pina coladas

Go grab a tropical drink too, then test drive the new Leetle Cat II!

Oh, then don’t forget to IM Taku Raymaker to register for the upcoming LCDR 2010 !!!!

ONE WORLD REGATTA LINKS

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Networked Info Posters

This week I’ll send out ONE WORLD announcement posters to the SLSA Community. The posters are connected to a simple network server, and the information will be continuously update prior to (and during) the race series.

If you rez the poster and click on it, you’ll get:

  • Scripted links to the Web Articles and Discussion Forum here and on SLSailing.net about the Regatta;
  • A Notecard with basic information about the race (the current notecard text is posted on the ONE World SLSailing.net thread);
  • A scripted link to the “Team Sign-up Form” where sailors can register;
  • A link to the ONE WORLD SAILING REGATTA in-world SL Group; and
  • An additional copy/ mod poster sailors can place to promote the race.

ONE WORLD REGATTA GROUP

The ONE WORLD SAILING REGATTA SL Group will be the ‘Official’ in-world group for announcements, discussions and race-related chat.

___________

Beating the Breeze

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On warm summer evenings at most yacht clubs, you’ll often find small groups of sailors furtively clustered around tables arguing the practical physics of various wind-powered boats.

What’s the optimal sail shape, sheet angle, and ‘wetted surface’
for a given race boat and rig under particular weather conditions?

Long after the sun sets and an impressive collection of empty drink glasses has accumulated on the table, a number of predictable “Holy Grail Sailing Questions” usually come up. Here’s a common one:

Can you really tune that boat’s rig and foils
to sail faster than Real Wind? 🙂

If you dig back far enough in the history of SLSailing here, you’ll find long discussions and more than a few in-world sailing skills classroom talks by M1sha Dallin, Hans Zinnemann, Owen Oyen and others on sailing physics. They made a much-appreciated attempt to help digital sailors understand basic principles, and how they might be realistically translated into a digital sailing emulation online.

The jump from a RL breeze-driven dinghy to a set of equations in a vehicle force algorithm is, well… not too straight forward. 🙂

I’m bringing this issue up just to highlight a year-old, nicely written blog post by Terrance Tao on the RL physics of “Sailing into the wind, or faster than the wind.” For a pretty inscrutable topic with a numbers-laden discussion, it’s impressive that TT’s post prompted 41 thoughtful comments. 🙂

If you are interested in RL sail physics or simulation algorithms, you might go visit terrytao‘s blog.

On the other hand… if I ever post another link here about a dry mathematics discussion blog… you have my permission to come over and just shoot me. 🙂

ONE WORLD Registration Opens!

Woots! Registration is now open for the ONE WORLD Race Regatta !

Red Arrow points to the ONE WORLD Registration link!

If you want to help organize a race team to compete in the ONE WORLD Qualifying Rounds that begin January 8, here is the link to the online Team Entry Form.

(I’ve also added the Entry Form to the right column link-list for this page.)

If you are interested in sailing but you haven’t yet thought about a team, that’s OK! The Form only asks for a ‘Team Name,’ ‘Contact Person,’ and ‘Preferred Racing Timeslot.’ That information can all be changed later. I’ll publish the full spreadsheet late in December and the teams are welcome to edit and upgrade their info details. That way any team can add new sailors, change their race preferences, and/ or correct my posting mistakes. 🙂

Please note: All the Regatta discussion, questions, and race detail issues should be posted to the ONE WORLD thread on SLSailing.net, not here.  🙂

That way everyone involved can easily share the same info, not miss anything, and add their personal input as well!

Name That Continent (please!)

Hi!

Here’s a small post about a personal, confusing issue I think others may share:

“What are the official names of
those large Linden Landmasses
(a.k.a. “Continents”) on
the Second Life grid?”

As more sims and regions come online, I think it’s increasingly confusing to keep SL Grid Geography straight. I’ve been in SL Sailing for four years so far; I imagine  this problem must be far worse for new users.

at the same time, I appreciate this naming issue must prolly seem a rather small item for most people. It’s far from trivial, however, and my guess is that LL sidestepped the continent-naming issue for several years, since the original SL landmass was initially a somewhat  amorphous glump of sim-soil.

The SL Knowledge Base defines “CONTINENT” as “A large landmass usually referred to as the mainland.”That definition is unhelpful, and frankly it’s pretty misleading. I guess it relates to  the primordial origins of Second Life, when the original sims were all fused into one “survival community” with no foreign matrix of external worlds.

November 2002 primordial sims

It’s  maybe no surprise that I think our current user geographic needs are more complicated, and perhaps a good deal more urgent. I’m pretty sure that both Lindens and users consider a ‘Continent‘ to be a large and physically separate virtual land mass made of multiple, interconnected sims. Here’s a diagram from Torley Linden from 2008 showing the levels of certain different geographical terms.

(Grin… I admit Tory’s text explanation made me even more confused than before, however 🙂

My point here is actually pretty simple:

Although SL continents are undeniably important, it turns out that there are no consistent, ‘official’ names for many of these large landmasses. That makes it very confusing and difficult to discuss issues that affect broad regions of the Grid. The mere lack of a name makes it difficult to plan multi-sim community activities, or even help new users find their way around the grid.

In case you think I’m overstating my case, let me point out that Carl Metropolitan’s interactive map for SL’s New Citizens Inc nicely illustrates this issue. It includes an annotated chart that details the major grid continents.

Four of the major SL  continent landmasses on that NCI map are identified by at least three names each. Let me emphasize those are just the common names; if you search the Linden threads its easy to find many alternate names for the largest continents.

As I said above, it’s pretty confusing. If you are new to SL, it may be much worse. For example, researching the SL database for a particular location or a business can prove incredibly frustrating if you don’t even know the name of the your continent.

In that context, let me make sure I don’t overstate my case here. 🙂

I know I confuse easily; I also know that many other issues are far, far more important to worry about and hopefully fix. Having said that, I also believe there is legitimate value in a standardized geography nomenclature. That rather small step is crucially important for both user navigation and regional sim development by owners.

To emphasize the common issue and relatively serious nature of this point, let me reference the Linden DPW blog from February 28 2009. Veronica Quackenbush replied to  another user who asked about the “Korean Continent.”
Veronica replied:

… Of the six major mainland continents on the SL grid so far, the third and fourth in chronological order of creation are the ones most difficult to identify simply because they never managed to acquire reasonably well known names. Continents 1, 2, 5, and 6 are named Sansara, Heterocera, Nautilus, and Corsica by fairly general consensus. The last two got their names before they were finished because unnamed regions were designated by these names followed by various serial numbers.
No such consensus exists for continents 3 and 4. Carl Metropolitan’s popular map available from NCI lists the name Jeogeot for continent 3, and others have sometimes referred to it as Meridia. It is also simply called the “southern continent” for obvious reasons. People sometimes refer to it as “the Korean continent” because many of its sims have Korean names (though others have Australian and literary names) and possibly also in part because the first mainland regions south of Sansara were a small group of 4 regions named Korea1 through Korea4, and people just got used to thinking of anything south of Sansara as Korea. …

Veronica was not alone in her frustration; Aquarius Paravane also stressed the ‘name’ problem in that thread, adding ‘Gaeta‘ to the confusion list.
(or is it Gaeta V?)

It’s worth emphasizing that over the past eighteen months this simple problem of continent names has, if anything, gotten worse. A good example might be that huge continent lying south of Nautilus City… (You know the one… But what’s it’s name? 🙂

I usually call it Satori, but it’s ‘real name’ is Mãebaleia, and some refer to it as the Japanese Continent. I’ve actually never heard anyone call it Mãebaleia… but what do I know?

After a brief, humorous discussion in DPW Office Hours today, I brought the issue up as a fun Friday chat topic in the SL Coast Guard Group. Admiral Tig Spijkers was online and of course, she was already familiar with the ‘Continental Naming Problem.’

I was rather relieved 🙂 . I like to sail, race, and explore the SL waterways, but I’d rather defer critical, consensus, cartographic details to others…  Those people who guardian the digital waterways and watch out for sailing safety, both online and in SL.

I actually think it’s somewhat important to come up with consensus names for key grid destinations… but frankly I’m thrilled to trust that job to SLCG and the Linden DPW. Whatever they decide… Just please let me know. 🙂