Aside of the odd occasion, I’ve never really tried my hand at Second Life sailing. Sure, I’ve played around on the water, zapping about on my Neuspa, or riding a jet ski, or out on a motorboat, and I’ve taken my Premium sailing boat out a couple of times; but on the whole, I’ve left sailing alone.
That changed when, on a whim, I called Spikey and asked if she’d like to accompany me out on the waters of Blake Sea. We started out at Blake Sea – Half Hitch, which is rezzing-enabled, climbed aboard my boat and set off.
We headed due West to start with, letting the wind carry us across the first of many sim boundaries without a hitch, then turned north. I immediately appreciated the open waters of Blake Sea because, o long as you keep your eye on the horizon around you, there is little need to focus on “driving” a sailboat, leaving you with time enough to chat with any friends who are with you and enjoy their company.
Which is not to say that Blake Sea is simply lots of empty water sims – there are islands to sail around, ports to visit, and quite a lot of things to see as you go. The open regions of the Sea are popular among pilots as well, and we saw several taking advantage of the freedom offered by these (comparatively) low-lag sims, with light aircraft, helicopters, transport planes routinely passing overhead (and rather un-routinely, in one case, ditching into the sea about 30 metres away from us).
Our progress was a little cumbersome, with me swapping between sail and motor as I initially couldn’t get the hang of tacking back and forth in order to make progress when the prevailing wind wasn’t favourable, and I frequently managed to turn the boat entirely out of the wind, and then having to switch over to the motor.
There can be a lot going on in and around Blake Sea; there are sailing races, and some areas are given over to sea combat, and so on. Not every parcel is necessarily open to public access, either. Therefore, you do need to be aware as to what is going on and where you are going; however, the Map is generally enough to keep you informed of any activity near you (although it won’t stop you bumping into the occasional “cannot enter” pop-up warnings when you reach a parcel which has object entry blocked – I was a little surprised to encounter one of these outside the entrance to a harbour. Oh, and be wary of sand bars if your boat has a deep keel!
The Premium sailing boat offers a variety of sitting / sunbathing pose points in the cockpit and on deck which means you can share your time out on the water with friends, and Spikey took advantage of the deck-top poses to catch some sun as well sailed.
All-in-all, sailing on Blake Sea can be a very pleasant experience – although admittedly, we happened to pick a time when there were no races scheduled, so things might get a trifle more frenetic when races are being held. It was certainly a great way to get out with a friend and simply chat, rather than sitting around indoors or IMing one another.
I’m not ready to take to the ocean blue full-time, but as a pleasant afternoon spent with a friend or two, sailing the waters of Blake Sea could become a very relaxing way to spend an hour or three.