In the early days of Second Life® (SL) it was very common to recreate Real Life (RL) activities and experiences. Simulating sexual behaviors is the most notorious but almost all aspects of RL have a SL analog. Sports have been recreated a lot and one remarkable activity in this category is sailing.
Sailing depends on the powers of nature in RL: wind, waves and currents. One of the components in the SL world is SL Wind, a simulation that behaves like RL wind. It is based on a stable fluids simulation, which is used for generating realistic animations of water, smoke, explosions, and related phenomena.
For serious sailing, a single sim is not large enough. SL offer a designated area for watersport: the Blake Sea. Connecting to the Blake Sea are many island based sims which are home to yacht clubs with wonderful marinas. The Blake Sea is free to use for any water based activity.
A remarkable expert on sailing in SL is Sammie (Samlara Vintner), the Race Director of Truimphal Yacht Club (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Triumphal/11/159/22) and captain of the Blue Marlins. Sammie was sailing in RL before she joined SL so it is not a surprise to hear her say “Nothing compares to the [real] wind in your face and the salt spray.” Then, she quickly adds that sailing in SL is a very realistic simulation of the real thing.
When asked what was needed to join a race she explains, “The only requirement to join any regatta in SL is to have a boat and to be at the race location.
She continues “We actively encourage new sailors to come and race with us. In fact, there are many novice races held as well and there are seven wonderful ‘Come Sail with Us’ locations where free boats are available. They offer sailing lessons and anyone can come and use the facilities. For example, I manage one called Three Pines Sailing Resource Center on the Owasco sim.” (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Owasco/76/200/23)
As mentioned earlier, one requirement for any sailing is wind. Sammie was kind enough to give us a brief explanation about the topic. “The first one, SL Wind is really impossible to sail on.”
Better simulations were developed and these are Race Wind and Cruise Wind. “These were developed by individuals to make an accurate simulation of RL wind, and use algorithms to talk to the boats themselves ensuring all boats in a race have the same wind.”
Then she adds “And a third one is B Wind [Skipper Wind] allowing any B Wind boat to set its own wind. Most people that cruise around SL’s many seas use a form of B Wind.”
And she closes: “That of course is a very simplistic overview. However, no matter what wind system you use, it does ensure very realistic simulations including waves, sea currents, gusts and variable winds being used to make sailing as realistic as possible.”
Of course Sammie has a recommendation on how to get started with this adventure: “I would STRONGLY suggest joining the SL Sailing Association group. Most of the races and the twice a week organized cruises, are all advertised in that group. Twice a week, there is a big organized cruise (they are not races), which is a VERY popular way to sail, and meet new people. The cruises always finish at a nice location with a big sailing party. In summary, there is a boat, a yacht club, a race or a cruise that is perfect for anyone.”
Written and photographed by Sammie Audlion