Friday, October 9, 2015

Flying Shadow launched

So the Flying Shadow was launched. If you dunno what it is, it's a two-seater foiling cat; The virtual edition of the RL Flying Phantom. Here's a few shots from the launch. This first one is just people waiting for Dutch to start his speach ;-)
The wait
Quite a crowd showed up. In fact there were so many of us that I lost count. Time and opportunity for interesting boat talks. Anyway, when Dutch finally began speaking he didn't say much. It almost sounded like he was tired of boatbuilding; That's understandable. The Flying Shadow is a remarkable boat in several ways. It must have been hard work.
The speach
After a few crude sentences from the builder, there was announcments of a Flying Shadow club, regular races, a possible clubhouse and probably merchandise too, but I crashed out; I guess the sim overloaded or something. Didn't hear the whole thing, and to be honest I'd much rather hear the builder talk about the building process and all the inherent frustrations in building such a boat.
So what's so friggin special about this boat? Since the builder didn't bother to tell us, I'll give you my few cents on the subject. It's not the first cat in this virtual world. It's not the first foiling boat either. It isn't even the first foiling cat; We all saw those crazy boats in the Americas Cup. So what's the deal here... Is the Flying Shadow any different from a Nacra 17? Yes, the Nacra flies too... it just doesn't in our little virtual pond.
Details, details, details
Well, the graphics are superb. Nothing less. It's just so precise and delicious. It started with the Laser or was it the VO70?? Somehow I get the feeling that Dutch has taken the graphics to a new level here. There are sheets and trimlines all over, and the hulls and the sails look very nice; But we're getting used to that quality from the Mesh Shop. This time the real snacks are in the small details such as the working carbon  jib traveller, the super nice mainsheet traveller, the user interface and it's options.
Perfect balance
The boat must be balanced to go at it's fastest. Both sailors take part in that. There are main and jib/genakker to trim. Both sailors can do that, simultanously. Plus you need to handle those daggerboards, keep a lookout and steer precisely. Especially the lookout is important; Going 25 knots makes things approach kinda fast. Things as in other boats and islands. And it's fun. It's like a sailboat on steroids blasting it's way down south and across the Blake Sea in only a couple of minutes. I am pretty sure the polar implementation is good enough to make downwind sailing interesting too, but that remains to be seen.

The sail engine itself is a BOSS 3.0; It is yet another step up from the BWind 2.5. I'd call it a supercharged next-gen BWind of sorts.  It's been morphed from 2.0 into 2.5 and then into something much more advanced than the original BWind. The BOSS 3.0 is a very fast, very capable and very responsive sail engine. It handles sim crossings extremely smooth. Even at crazy 25 knots it seems to blast past those dreaded sim borders without taking much notice. That is truly amazing.
Checkout from the launch party
So there... in reality the Flying Shadow is just a modded Nacra. However, in our virtual waters it is
one of a kind. It sails great, it looks great and it is great fun; It is kinda easy to sail, but I am sure it will turn out to be difficult to sail well. Plus the graphics details are superdelicious. Did I mention it's super fun to sail? I didn't? Ok, here goes: It's super fun to sail... Sounds like the perfect weekend project: Figure out the Flying Shadow... I'm in. Cheers...

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