Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bandit 60 Sailboat

The Bandit 60

Several years ago, I climbed aboard a 33 foot mid cockpit sailboat. It was so cool even if it was poorly maintained.  The story behind the boat involved a BBQ grill, some infidelity at sea and the US Coast Guard and no I was not a participant in the story.  The framed newspaper article was proof enough.

Let me introduce you to the Bandit 60.  The Mesh Shop located at Dutch Harbor near the Hollywood Airport is a great place to visit even if you're light on the lindens.  There you can test sail all of the boats including high tech racing yachts, sailboats and power boats.  The designs are very realistic and feature a mix of contemporary and classic styles. 

The sailing engine comes from the BWind script.  What's cool is you can build your own boat using this script.  Analyse Dean has taken the script with many others and mated them to a beautiful boat design.  I have four Bandit boats.  The Bandit 50 and 55 are both sailboats.  I'll have to say the 55 is such a beautiful creation for the most part  because I like old motorcycles and cars and I like the old wooden boats.  I also have the Bandit 570 which is a power fishing boat. 

What's special about the BWind script is how easy it is to sail.  Once the sails are raised, you can sail with the default Easterly wind or you can type in local (N, E, W, S, NE, SE, SW, NW) to change wind direction.  Then you can set your preferred wind speed by typing 8,11,15,18,21,or 25 for knots of wind.  There are other chat commands which are pretty intuitive and easily remembered once you read the manual. 

Sailing Bandits is simple even for novice sailors.  All of Analyse Dean's boats are very low prim making sim crossings relatively uneventful.  For any vehicle in SL, I recommend sim crossings at the sides of sim borders rather than corners.  When crossing a sim, let the boat cross and settle into the new sim before you start working the controls again. In my experience, this has made sim crossings least problematic.  It helps to have your mini-map open and the view distance pushed to at least 300m (500m is better). 

The cockpit features all the information you need when at sail.  There isn't a need to wear a HUD or to hold your finger in the air to judge the wind.  The four key instruments measure wind speed, wind direction, water depth and boat speed.  Dials indicate lean angle and wind angle.  It gets easier.  At sail, the digital instruments will change color.  If you see red, start pushing out the sails, yellow means to push the sails out a little more and when you see green, the sails are optimal to the wind angle. If you see blue, pull in the sails.

Okay smart guy, how do you "push" or "pull" the sails or steer or whatever?  Good question and in fact, that's a great question.  First, read the manual.  I know it isn't cool to do so but you'll learn a lot about what the boat can do and it is well written.

For the controls, up and down cursor or arrow keys on your keyboard changes the sheet angle of the sails. Push up and the sails push out from the center line exposing more sail to the wind.  Push down and the reverse happens.  To steer, use the left and right cursor or arrow keys on your keyboard. 

iPad Wind Control and Other Stuff

When you open the shipping crate, you won't just get a boat.  Bandit includes texture packs and an iPad wind setting tool.  Wear the iPad on your avie and you can set the wind direction and speed for racing with others or just for your own purposes. 

Sailing Camera

For most SL sailboats and vehicles, your camera view is often well behind the vehicle.  We get used to this.  Early sailboats I've owned didn't allow for sailing in Mouselook.  Those vehicles which did allow for operation in mouselook, well it wasn't a pleasant experience or intuitive at all.  Sailing the 60 means you can sail in mouselook and you can see your boat, your friends, the sails and it will be just like you're there.  You'll also be able to see the instruments.

The Interior

So you're at sea, it's late and you look at your significant other...or as the story I shared with you earlier...someone else's significant other and this twinkle appears in your eye.  Yep, you can act on the urge and desire even without a blue pill.  Click the side of the boat, a menu appears just like magic!  Select "fun" from the menu and go to town.  Glove up if you're with someone else's significant other. There's no need for body parts to fall off later.

There are other poses too.  More presentable when someone walks by your screen and let's face it, you're here to sail the open seas not those other things but you could if you wanna. 

Raising the Sails

The Bandit 60 has three sails.  There is the "main sail", the Genoa which is forward of the mast toward the bow (if I have to explain nautical terms to you, you're going to be even more confused.  I recommend hitting Wikipedia) and the Spinnaker.  In most conditions, sailing with the main sail and the genoa is more than sufficient.  When the wind is from behind you, lower the Genoa by typing "gen" and raise the Spinnaker by typing "spin" to give you more of a boost from the wind. 
Sailing Chat Commands:
  • raise - raises the genoa only
  • main - raises/lowers the main sail only
  • gen - raises/lowers the genoa
  • spin - raises/lowers the Spinnaker (only available when the wind is from the stern)
  • lower - lowers all of the sails
  • jibe - turns the main sail boom opposite of the spinnaker or genoa
  • moor - brings the boat to a complete stop
  • start - starts the motor
  • stop - stops the motor
  • autopilot - auto control of the sheet angle
  • bimini - adds/removes the bimini top over the cockpit
  • hood - adds/removes the spray hood in front of the cockpit
Sailing Keyboard Controls:
  • Up Arrow - pushes the boom out from from the centerline of the boat
  • Down Arrow - brings in the boom toward the centerline of the boat
  • Left Arrow - turns the boat to the left
  • Right Arrow - turns the boat to the right
  • PgUp - increases engine power
  • PgDn - Decreases engine power
To get underway, type "raise" in local and the Genoa comes up.  Type "main" and the main sail will come up.  To lower the sails you can do one of two things, type "lower" and the sails will come down and the boat will coast to a stop.  Type "moor" and the sails lower as the boat comes to a sudden stop. 
All the sails raised and pushed out.  Normally  you would lower the Genoa with the Spinnaker
 Another chat command you might useful is the autopilot control.  By typing "autopilot" in local, you allow the boat to adjust the sheet angle and you're free to steer and entertain your crew with witty stories about navigating around Help Island. 

Sometimes using sails to propel the boat forward isn't always practical.  Navigating congested marinas or around islands it might be easier to have some diesel power.  Lower your sails and type "start" in local and you'll hear the diesel motor come to life.  Increase and decrease the power by using PageUp and PageDown on your keyboard.  The motor makes it easier on tired skippers.  To turn off the motor, type "stop" or "moor". 

The Mesh Shop

Visit the Mesh Shop and you can try out all of the boats.  There are several choices and types between power boats, sailing yachts to very cool and complex racing yachts. You can visit MarketPlace as well but what fun would that.

Come try out the toys and its fine if you don't have any cash, have fun and play.  Your demo will continue to operate for about 15 or 20 minutes.  After that, you'll go swimming.

Let's go sailing!