Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

This is just a holiday post to all sailors, SLers, friends, family, bloggers and any combination thereof...
Merry Christmas
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with lots of sailing.

PS: Don't miss the Christmas Hunt at Tradewinds.

Friday, December 13, 2013


What's the story with those telltails anyway? Put simply, the telltails are the racers primary window into the inner workings of the engine. How so? Telltails don't say anything about the speed. What they do is they give you, the helmsman, and very precise indication of how well the engine is running. The engine being the airflow over the sails. Why is that better than a hud / instruments? Because - at a glance - the helmsman is able to determine if the windangle is right for the current trim. Upwind that translates into speed. The telltails will also - at a glance - indicate what course adjustment is needed to get to the optimum windangle. Looking at a hud, you only get a number. You'll need to compare that number to something else in order to make it usefull.
Jib with telltails and leechtails
Here's a picture of a jib with telltails and leechtails. Note the position and the colour coding. Starboard telltail is higher up to avoid confusing matters when colours can't be seen. Position? Right behind the headstay, so that the helmsman can see them and so that the telltails show the airflow over the front of the sail. Optimum speed is found when the airflow is good, and that means the telltails are horizontal on both sides. If the windward telltail flutters, you are too close to the wind. If the leeward telltail flutters, you are too far away from the wind.

The sail work as a wing. If there is one sail, it is pretty easy to imagine. Air flows over the sail and creates a pressure difference that pulls the boat forward. It's just like the wing on a plane, except the plane is pulled upwards. However, the pressure will not pull the boat forward in the sailing direction. That's where the keel comes into play. More on that in a later post.

Telltails show the airflow coming on to the sail. Leechtails show the air coming off the sail. If there are two sails, they work almost as a single wing. The main being a sort of trimflap for the jib. When there's a jib and a main, the end of the wing is effectively the leech of the main, so that's where the leechtails go;
Main with leechtails
The leech tails are important too, but not for the steering. Leechtails are more of a tool for the trimmer. The leechtails should point aft as if the sail continued some 10 inches in that direction. If they bend to the backside of the sail, the sail is stalling and the leech is too tight. If they flutter, the leech is too loose, and that's pretty much all you need to know in order to trim your sails and sail max speed. When the basic trim is in place, the leechtails take over and become the most important second by second "device" for the trimmer to make sure the boat is well balanced and runs at maximum speed. The helmsman stays with the telltails.

This is ofcourse a very short version of the truth. Of course there are other factors such as the fullness of the sails, the leech tension, the twist, halyard tension, headstay tension and what nuts. These trimfunctions are mostly about adjusting the sailshape to the current windstrength. Now, it should be pretty obvious why telltails are key to a good sail simulator. That's why we love the Flying Fizz. It not only behaves pretty much like a boat, it also has those telltails working almost like real ones.

Thanx to Mikko from WB sails for letting me use these pictures. Go there and read more great articles about saildesign.

The fastest Fizzers

The results of the Fizz Cup Finals already well known. So just for completeness and for reference: The fastest Fizzers are: Ralf80 Titanium, Ronin Zane, Ayahoshi, Jeremia Spotter, Yumiko Sideways and Iteke - in that order. Woots! The full results are available on the Fizz Cup site. Interesting to see the Master Fizz Magician Jeremia beaten by his apprentice.
Just sailing
Sadly, I was not able to watch the finals, but Orca covered the finals with a really nice post with loads of great pictures. It looks like a great day on the water, and that's what I hear too. The sailors did great, and lets not forget the RD and all her officials; They did a fantastic job making this event run so smooth. So here's a "Woots" for the RD and her team.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fizz Cup Finals

Don't miss the Fizz Cup Finals. They're about to happen this very weekend. Silver-final on friday. Gold final on saturday. The precise schedule is available on the official Fizz Cup website. Here's a link. If you don't know what a Flying Fizz is, then look at the picture:
A Flying Fizz
Not enough for you, then check some of the features of the Flying Fizz here, here and here. The Flying Fizz is not the easiest boat to sail, nor is it easy to sail fast. However, it has unmatched sailing characteristics and trimming options. That's probably why it stays popular among keen sailors and racers.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


This is not a commercial sponsored by a certain phone company. Instead it is mostly about the virtual sailing and a little bit about me. An old friend reminded me that I totally forgot my three years blogoversary. So here it is. A little late...
Munch, munch, munch
So what's happened? What's going on? Long story short? It's mostly more of the same. See my two year blogoversary post. We've seen a couple of new boats though. Very nice ones. Most of the new boats are now mesh boats, so we're getting used to boats with an extreme attention to detail. The Laser is one such boat. Beautifully built and fun to sail.
Munch, munch, munch
The Laser is definately a normal boat, but "boat" may be too big a word for the Laser. When it comes to real boats, there's the Bandit 50. It looks so much like a real boat. I still need to give it a test ride though, so I haven't got a good picture. Yet. It's been quite a busy year on the other side of the mirror, aka the RL. There's also the Cafe Del Mar. 75 feet of luxury sailing. Very nice too.
Munch. munch, munch
However, not everything is meshed up. Manul finally decided to release his beautiful Ten. An amazing and original piece of work. It's been updated a bit so it has a more recent sail engine, but that's not the important thing. The Ten is all about classic beauty. Lots of it. Also from the Rotary Bootshaus we saw the inflatable sailing canoe. Back in the mesh department, there's also new things cooking in Craigs Kitchen. All about beauty too. The Ktaba was updated and there's a new J underway.
Mega munch
The J-Class is so big it won't fint into one picture. Huge actually... and super classic. I can't wait to see a bunch of J's on a short up down course. That surely would be a challenge... the virtual J-Challenge would be somewhat easier to take on, as this huge boat can be sailed by one person. Easily.
Munch, munch, munch
ReneMarine has been a bit quiet this past year, but that's mainly because Rene has been busy building the Clever. I am not at all done writing about that lil boat. Perhaps not a classic beauty, but it has that touch of realism that makes it so much more fun to sail. 

There's also the mesh Ernestina, the Francois Jacques, the VO65, the Nacra17 and possibly more that I either forgot or never heard of. One thing strikes me as odd. Qyv and her Quest Marine has been kinda quiet, but I know there is something going on... It's around 28 feet and superdelicious... so stay tuned. Oh, and let's not forget Charlz Price and his beautiful boats at TRYC. On this next picture there's also Ana's new RC boat. It's been disguised as Ahab's harbour master boat, but under the disguise it has all kinds of interesting features for the RD to play with.
Munch, munch and a windmill
I took a few steps too. I built a boat, hehe. It's a beginning, but I have a long way to go. Currently I am messing with a windmill. It's perfect for learning about rotation. Think about it! Tower, prop, windmeter and windvane... all with individual and coupled rotation. It's a mess. I need to learn about rotation for other projects. Boatly projects. Fizzkit for mesh and stuff. Live wind import maybe. More on that in future posts. It's been an interesting year allright. Still the boat builders of SL are - in so many ways - playing catchup with the Flying Fizz...

Any conclusions after that lengthy read? I'd say the virtual sailing of SL and the SL sailing community, is more interesting and more vibrant than ever before. There's way more boats to choose from, and the quality of the builds are rising... better graphics and better sailing characteristics. I think I'll stick around a bit longer...

PS: Don't miss the Christmas Show at Tradewinds. It's fabulous.