The Mary Celeste by Bandit
When I started sailing nine years ago, I acquired a couple of "tall ships", the multi-masted and multi-sail early maritime voyagers. It is hard not to find how the history of these ships is attractive when a great example is found in SL. There aren't many at all. Analyse Dean has released her second "tall ship", a brigantine called the Mary Celeste and with comes a rich and storied history.
Recently, I was flying over the Blake Sea when I saw Analyse Dean's name pop up on the radar. As I flew over, I looked down to see what this master shipbuilder was sailing and it was one I had not seen before. Now Bandit has a tall ship called the HMS Bandit which I have not tested though it is on my list, seeing another option was exciting but it wasn't the HMS Bandit. No, it was something else entirely.
There are just a few great sailboat builders in SL and I have tried most if not all of them. Each one was a joy to sail and most were different from brand to brand. When I launched my first Bandit, the 50, I was in tall cotton. Other sailing vessels in SL placed some reliance on SL's variable and light winds. Not so with the Bandits. They were always fun to sail from the big yachts to the small sailboats. A captain could take friends out on the high seas for hours, exploring new locations and getting lost in the experience.
Sailing in RL isn't something where I have a great deal of experience, in fact, I don't have any experience with sailboats . I have been on a Dolphin sailboat my father owned which is now owned by my brother. For those devotees of sailing, forgive my lack of knowledge about sailing vessels. I live very inland with waist deep lakes. If I lived near suitable water, sailing is something I would like to do in RL and being able to do so inworld is part of the virtual experience. Sailing a tall ship, sparks many different thoughts.
Early in my SL sailing adventures, I sailed the Larinda and Tradewinds which were both challenging and fun to sail. They weren't your typical sailboats, these were ships. I gave sailing more combat oriented sailing vessels a shot, maybe with a little pun intended, and they were as much fun and if not a little more challenging. These ships tended to rely on SL's own winds which are largely variable. Seeing from "on high" the Mary Celeste got me interested once more.
As advertised, the Mary Celeste is an older build, probably resting in the back of the shipyard and waiting for a time when it could be launched. Bandit has another tall ship called The HMS Bandit and adding the Mary Celeste to the fleet was an excellent decision. Bandit is more known for its sailing and motor yachts. Each time one is released, the marinas fill up with the latest and newest. There's a reason why, they don't have many close competitors.
While the Bandit 60 article remains my most read review, I have also reviewed the Bandit IF under two different articles one involving the Fruit Island Bandit IF races. I'm not sure I would want to race the Mary Celeste against other sailors though I would certainly watch such a race.
As an older build, the Mary Celeste is a hefty 372 prims. One would think something this large couldn't transition sim borders. It does so flawlessly and slowly. Being true to history, it doesn't have a motor, requiring a savvy captain to carefully navigate around islands yet we were able to negotiate the bridges of Second Norway with only the sheets for propulsion. Once unencumbered by little islands which are splattered around the map, sailing is a dream.
A HUD, which can be shared with your lone crewmate, controls the sails and chat commands can direct the crew to do other things such as running the bilge pumps. Animations are fun as they emulate raising and lowering of sails. This is "old school" sailing and sails are not raised or lowered automatically. I did notice when I was raising or lowering a sail, I did not have control of the helm.
At the helm is where you'll get a better feel the size and mass of this ship. Rudder control "feels" slow and not as responsive compared to the Mary Celeste's smaller sisters. I felt I had to coax the ship as I navigated. This meant navigating narrow passages needed to be taken slowly and deliberatively. As nothing happens fast with this ship, everything can go wrong quickly if you aren't prepared or thinking ahead. I was still amazed, how easily the ship handled.
As described and experienced, if you have sailed a Bandit before, the commands are all very similar as are the wind direction and wind speed controls. The one variation is the wind direction control which is different from more contemporary Bandits. If the captain wants to change the wind direction, have knowledge of the numerical points on a compass is required as opposed to typing in local NW or S, you would instead type 325 or 180. Sail control uses the same inputs as any other Bandit.
When it comes to sailing in SL, speed is where the pastime has been, at least for us. The Mary Celeste isn't fast which is okay by us. There is something magical about a leisurely sail...a leisurely journey when the destination matters far less than the time it takes to get there and with the best company in your First Mate, or in my case, The Admiral.
Visit the Mesh Shop and you can try out all of the boats, especially the Mary Celeste. 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.
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