The term “sailing” is a bit of a misnomer, given that it encompasses everything to do with boats, regardless of whether they have sails or not.
It's a little difficult to think about sailing as a whole, without thinking of millionaires in luxury yachts or retired folks in their narrow-boats. But then again, there's the freedom of the high seas and the ability to speak like a pirate without getting taken away by men in white coats. I have had a keen interest in sailing since a friend of mine invited me onto her friend’s boat. We pointed the boat in the right direction and just kept going. As soon as she let me have a go at being skipper, I was hooked. I bought my boat the next day and never looked back. So which boat should you buy? Where do you moor the thing once you've bought it? How much does it cost a month? I decided to find out.
Where Do I Start?
If your sailing knowledge equates to knowing who Popeye is, then you're not alone. Nobody is born an expert at anything; we all need pointing in the right direction and, thankfully, there are yacht and boat clubs all over Second Life. If you just want a boat you can jump into and get going with, there are freebie boats in the Marketplace and at Yacht clubs. One such club is the Trade Winds Yacht Club (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dex/139/48/25).
They have a few freebie boats for beginners as well as free clothes (including the absolutely necessary Captain's Hat). However, if you want something a bit more flash than a 2 seater wooden dinghy, then you're going to need some lindens sailor! However, depending on what you want, and where you look, you may not have to part with that much to a decent little craft.
What Boat Would Suit Me Best?
Which boat you go for is down to you. Unless you are really into the whole schematics of life on the open seas, ideally you should go for a boat that has the best of both worlds; wind and horse power.
My personal boat of choice is the Loonetta 31 from Motor Loon ($3500 from https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/MLCC-Loonetta-31/4442444) as it has a simple control system (page up and page down to accelerate and decelerate the engine in steps of 20%) and several ready to use paintjobs as well as the ability to repaint the boat in whatever color or texture suits you. It also has an animated cabin and crew quarters. Plus it's copyable so, in theory, you're buying a whole fleet for one reasonable price. You can even call your boat whatever you like thanks to the retexture feature. If you get fed up of diesel power you can simple click the deck and raise the sails and spinnaker and you, my friend, are ready to set sail. On the Loonetta, you can also change the wind direction by typing the direction abbreviation into local chat, although this feature may be available on other boats too.
If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, there are many and varied boat dealers spread out around Second Life. One of the best I found was JP Collections in Montliard (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Montliard/232/135/25).
They have everything from narrow-boats that seat 16 ($500) to a fully furnished, 3 story yacht with 2 swimming pools, numerous bedrooms and wall to wall luxury (a mind bogglingly reasonable price of just $5000) as well a few freebies and 2 mooring areas.
All the boats on sale can be viewed using the shop's boat rezzer and you have about 5 minutes to look around before the boat de-rezzes. All the boats come in various sizes and types; from the slow chugging fishing boat to a full sized oil rig, via police boats, car ferries and even aircraft carriers. All in different sizes, colours and prim counts, this brings me to my next point...
Where Do I Keep The Damn Thing?
Now you have your shiny new boat, you're going to need somewhere to keep it. Again, thankfully, there are a few mooring spots around the sims (providing you don't have your own stretch of water). Most, if not all, will have moorings of different sizes and prim counts. “Wait minute, prim counts?” I hear you cry. Yes indeed, boats, like houses and other objects in Second Life, are subject to prim counts too. So when you look to berth your boat, you need to find a marina that will accommodate the size of your boat and the amount of prims therein. For example, my Loonetta is 32 prims fully rezzed, therefore all marinas will be able to accommodate it with ease. Prices vary depending on location and owner, as well as boat size and prim count. Tsurington Harbour (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Tsurington/136/213/22) and Vik Marina (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vik/202/137/22), where prices start from $100 per week for a standard 32 prim mooring for the Loonetta, are two of the best locations. Tsurington allows for long distance sailing to many different sims, including the Trade Winds Yacht Club mentioned earlier which can be reached in a relaxing 30 minutes. Obviously, the bigger the boat, the more prims it will have and therefore need a bigger berth so only consider a mega luxury yacht or aircraft carrier if you either have the room to berth it on your own water sim or can buy/rent a large enough area to house it. If in doubt, start small and then get bigger.
But I Know Nothing About Sailing!
Don't panic, you're not alone. That's why there are sailing clubs and instructors throughout the sims to show you the ropes (so to speak).
Once such club is Rainbow Sails (http://rainbowsailsyc.tumblr.com/ and http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vindar/57/37/24 ), a sailing club aimed at the LGBT community but where anyone is welcome. They offer free sailing lessons on application and will show you all you need to know to get your sea legs. No question is too silly or stupid and the staff there are very patient when it comes to explaining different terminology or nautical terms. “There's nothing official for lessons”, says Rainbow Sails member Uggo Vieria, “but we would gladly like to help people who are starting out”. And for free, who can argue with that?
Sailing isn't rocket science here in Second Life. In most cases it's a case of “Click here, raise the anchor and off you go” but at some point you will get stuck with something and end up searching for help or asking in groups. For example, begin a man, I never read instructions. So imagine the language in my house as I spent 30 minutes trying to get my boat to move. The sails went up , the sails went down, as did the spinnaker. Could I get it to move? No! Then my wife had a look at the instructions. As it turned out, I hadn't raised the anchor and the wind was blowing against us so we were being pushed back into the harbour. And I never knew I could speak Anglo-Saxon...
So to summarize sailing is fun, fairly easy to do and relatively cheap compared to buying land and building houses all over the place. With so much choice of water-craft and places to dock, at prices to suit every budget, your inner pirate will be satisfied knowing that you can sail the seven seas and explore at your own leisure.
So, what be ye waitin' for land lubber? There be distant lands to explore!