Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blue water cruising in a Tetra 35

Blue Water sailing is different. There is day cruising, offshore sailing, and then there is Blue Water cruising. It's the ultimate thing: Living on board for an extended period of time at sea, on a boat built for that. No where to go, no way to get off, no marina in sight, no ice creams. It is catch your own dinner, and hope the watermaker works. If you are out of gin and tonic.
Almost Blue Water Cruising
Technically speaking virtual Blue Water cruising isn't possible. First of all, the virtual oceans aren't big  enough to let us sail for days and not see anything but water. Secondly, it is too easy to leave simply by logging out. Anyway, the water is Blue, and the Tetra 35 sailing yacht is a nice looking boat. Plus, there are dolphins, whales, reefs and other marine life to watch and explore. Fish to catch even.
Looking for dolphins in the sunset
The Tetra is well suited for a weekend cruise. It is about the size of a Hallberg Rassy 352, the (now x) boat of Alex and Taru. Have a coffee and go see. However, the Tetra looks a bit more like modern family cruisers, such as Granada 35 or Hanse 35 to mention a few real ones. Comes with pretty much standard equipment, room for at least four people, and it will make any sailor feel good, just by the looks. Worked for me. Seemed to work for Skip Ravin too.
Yes, it sails too. 
It has a nice hull, and a nice set of sails. That includes a spinnaker, and it is pretty easy to sail for one person. Nice animations, nice sounds and all in all it almost felt like sailing. I was just enjoying the cruise, keeping a lookout for dolphins and coconut islands, but I did notice the lack of telltales and compass. Oh, and on a real Blue Water cruiser you'd have scuba gear. Yes, there are at least a couple of really nice scuba areas in the virtual oceans.
Motoring about looking for a mooring spot.
Sound like a dream? It is. Regretfully, the Tetra does not come with a modern sailing engine, and the boat is constructed way too complicated. Loads of technical problems. Halts at sim borders, sails in weird positions, numerous crashes. All this might be due to technical imperfections of SL, but the fact remains: If you want a sailing experience, then you are probably better off with a Q-2m, a Flying Fizz or maybe ReneMarines Cutter.
Sailing into the blue horizon
Nevertheless, looking at the picture above the Tetra supports the dream of sailing into the sunset. I just hope the boat will be updated. Then I am gonna get me one.

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