Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Beast

There's been so much talk about these boats. They've been massively promoted in RL. I've watched them sail on TV and on the website. I've talked to people sailing these things. I have also met people sailing them in SL, and now... I finally tried one.
The Beast at Tradewinds
I am talking about the AC45 cats. A few days back I was at Tradewinds YC messing with the Babysloop. As I stood there, Wendy Ohare landed one of these things right next to me, - on the beach. I probably stared, and Wendy probably noticed, and so she offered me a ride.
Set sails - uhm and wings
Didn't think twice, so here we are waiting for lift off. Wingsail and everything. Me very excited. So, she pulls the sheet and wrooom... it took off like nothing I've ever experienced. I mean really... the Hepcat was fast but this...
Wrooooom...
Within seconds we were at the starting line south of Dex, barely missing the mark, as we approached it so fast it simply popped out of nowhere. I can almost understand why Larry and his boyz choose to look like Bob the Builder, whenever they're at sea. It's a scary machine.
The unidentified flying object
Speed is obviously everything with these boats. No wonder they can't cover each other. No wonder there is hardly any boat to boat infight except at the marks. It is simply impossible to do a safe leeward tack. Besides, the course is so narrow, they can barely accellerate to max speed before they need to tack to avoid the hitting the boundary.
At full speed
In fact most of the close race as we know it from fleet race is non existant. These boats race so differently they even use different rules. So maybe they get a lot of attention from average Joe, but to a seasoned sailor the AC just isn't interesting anymore. It is not sailing. It is something else. It is sailing redesigned to compete with NASCAR. What a strange idea.
The wing
Here's a closeup of the wing as seen from my position. Pretty well made with the sections and the see through and all. The details are generally very good. Hull, mast, wing and everything looks great. The instruments are somewhat disappointing though. Dunno if they plan to make it better, but green text flowing mid-air on a super racer like this? That's not really up to par. Below is another shot taken from where I sat.
The onboard view
The most amazing thing however, is how well it handles sim crossing. When we sailed, I didn't once think about lag or anything. It was only afterwards it struck me... I didn't notice the sim crossing. At all. That's really something, as most other builders struggle with that at much lower speeds.
Helicopter view
I wonder what Corry did. Corry Kamachi, the builder. Is there a trick. Hmm. She probably knows stuff after building the WildWind boats for years. Too bad she stopped doing that. I haven't tried any of the other WildWinds, but if they are anything like this one...
Yeah!
But for now, - let's have another go round the sea south of Tradewinds. I know, they look weird and they're slow at turning. True, the AC circus is becoming just that, - a spectacular show which faintly resembles boat racing. Still, - for an afternoon cruise it is a refreshing, exhillerating and tickling experience. There is only one other boat that has this effect on me...

Update: Don tells me this is really a 35' cat built to wet our appetites. I thought it looked a little small for a 45'. Also, I understand the work on the AC45 goes on. I am very excited to hear that. The AC game might not resemble classic sailing much, but it sure is spectacular and it looks like fun.

More on the AC circus...

4 comments:

  1. ... and that boat is the moth, right?
    LOL
    Okay, WildWinds were always known for effortless smooth sailing (some called them even boring) and super smooth sim crossings. Those good sim crossings come for a price tho; as you've already mentioned the instrumentation is rather primitive, BWind-ish, there are no animations for skipper and crew and the boats usually move as if they are on rails and not on water. So sailing becomes more of an academic experience rather than a feeled one.

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  2. Orcs, you're fast... and you're so right. About it all :-)

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  3. The boat you tested is a custom ACj 35 .
    It has new custom hulls installed at 45 designs shop At the GGYC.
    The Ac45 version is still in beat testing that was built from Scratch. With Corry becoming ill just before the realease of the ACJ 45 we lost the most complex and efferent boat Built .
    It had a capsize animation as well as pitch pole . live recorded sound off a Real Ac45 I recorded in Plymouth. On a few of these final boats were given to true testers.

    Same is it will never be released . One thing this is the first boat ever built in secondlife with the direct help of Americas Cup As well to its protiocal .

    Core Builders as well as north Sails doyle Sails Team Oracle
    Team energy . providing wind polars . As well we been given on board Data direct from Stan Honey of Acrm . The black box data . So its more than a fast cat . The ACJ 35 was designed as a trainer for the AC45 And AC72 . Both in alpha and beat testing Now . At 45 designs . GGYC napoli Marina ,

    Try match racing one you get a feeling the feeling i better start thing about my next move before type woot or lolo
    I need to pay attention . Sailors who race these have learned respect at marks as well as respect at the line . Three new engines are under developmental for new Ac45 a fizz based and a Bwind version . The third based on true wing dynamics and not soft sail of lore . Ac 45 Update to come this week , on
    slacworldseries.blogspot.com

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  4. That's very interesting. I thought it looked a bit small for a 45. If this is the hors d'oeuvre, it is really too bad the main dish will never be served. Thanx Don... it is Don, right? Please use a name...

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