Loonetta: small, but beautifully formed

The Loonetta 31
The Loonetta 31

I entered the world of casual SL sailing via the Premium Gift sailboat. I know, I know, there are better offerings around! Well, those of you who have been nudging me to “upgrade” to something more will likely be likely be pleased to read that I have 🙂 .

September saw me hopping around looking at various boats and options, as I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I did know I didn’t want a racing yacht or racing sail boat; not that I have anything against racing, I just wanted something that offered comfort and a degree of style to sailing around SL. Two boats went fairly immediately to the top of my list, the MLCC Oceanic, and the MLCC Loonetta 31, both of which are created by Motor Loon, who has a well-deserved good reputation for his custom bikes and other vehicles (he’s also a regular at SL User Group meetings, which are where I first met him).

The Oceanic is the older of the two designs, and is a sleek sailing cruiser, a little over 25 metres in length which features a very comfortable& furnished cabin – seriously, you have to see the boat for yourself to appreciate the level of detail. The Loonetta 31 is the more recent of the two builds and 100% mesh. Around 9.5 metres in length, it might be thought of as the Oceanic’s chubby little sister.

Both come packed with features and capabilities, making them each very excellent value – I’m not going to spill the beans on everything included, as part of the pleasure with these boats is in the discovery. Suffice it to say check hatches and steps carefully 🙂 . Initially, I was swayed towards getting the Oceanic, but in the end opted for the Loonetta 31. This was for two reasons; firstly, Motor’s excellent video tutorial on customising it via a very smart scripted system and set of texture maps convinced me this would be something even I could manage, and secondly – and more directly – the Oceanic is a tad on the long side when manoeuvring alongside at the jetty in front of my house, and is too long to fit the dock alongside the house whereas the Loonetta 31 sits easily alongside either one.

Loonetta 31: closer look
Loonetta 31: closer look at the default finish

Which is not to say I’ve taken second best – far from it; the Loonetta 31 is an incredible little vessel, featuring a fully fitted cabin, like the Oceanic, and  has plenty of room for friends to enjoy a trip out with you. As I siad, the customising system is quite awesome, and it is packed with some really nice touches.

The boat is delivered unboxed and ready to go – simply move the folder from your Received Items to your inventory, then drag the boat into the water. The default colour is a white finish, but there are six more pre-set finishes you can pick from simply by clicking on the boat (not the wheel or the seats – you’ll end-up sitting! Top of the cabin is the best) then selecting SETUP from the displayed menu, and using the DESIGN + and DESIGN - buttons to page through the different finishes, which will render on the boat as they are selected.

The Loonetta's Cabin
The Loonetta’s Cabin – where you can use the radio to listen to an SL Coastguard weather report for Blake Sea

However, that’s not the end of the customisation options – you can select just about any part of the boat and change its colour / hue using the RGB buttons, you can change the degree of shine applied to various parts of the boat, both via the COLOR/SHINE button, and by following Motor’s very excellent video linked-to above, you can learn how to download the texture maps for the boat and use them to create your own texture finishes – which is pretty much what I did.

The menu is also used to control other options as well – lower / raise the anchor or sails, set the spinnaker, adjust the camera position, deploy / hide the fenders for docking, sound the bell or horn, set the boat to a moored status, adjust each of the 40 poses individually, and more. For those who prefer, text commands can also be used with the boat.

My customised Loonetta 31, "Exotix 2"
My customised Loonetta 31, “Exotix 2”

Customising the Loonetta 31 took me a couple of hours – a fair part of which was me trying to do a half-decent job with a graphics programme; I’m pretty sure that anyone with any reasonable graphics abilities could have done the same as I’ve achieved in half the time or less. Essentially, I used the hull map to create a red hull with a white stripe set on it, did the same with the stern plate, and re-coloured the cabin roof in a matching white. I also added a couple of graphics to the main sail and spinnaker, and created a custom name. I have to say I’m quite pleased with the results.

A point to make here is that the Loonetta 31 and Oceanic are both No Modify, so if you’re going to be engaging in some extensive customisation and are concerned about upload costs, you might want to re-sync your Aditi beta grid inventory with a password change, wait 24 hours, and then work on your boat there; once you’re satisfied with the results, you can then upload your modified textures to the main grid and apply them to the boat.

Sailing-wise, these boats are a real treat; Motor has spent a lot of time optimising them for sailing and region crossings. While it is still early days for me, a trip around the United Sailing Sims presented no problems with multiple region crossings under sail or motor. A nice touch is the smoothness of motion when turning; the boat turns gently and easily in a continuous motion, rather than the more step-by-step turns some vehicles exhibit (love the animation uses when turning the boat as well!). And if you don’t wish to leave the boat moored, you can pull out a stand from its contents and rest it safely on land.

Under sail
My customised Loonetta 31, “Exotix 2”, under sail

To say I’m pleased with the Loonetta 31 would be an understatement. It may not be the sleekest boat available (I can’t help but call it chubby!) nor the fastest, but it has won my affections. Motor has done a magnificent job with it, and despite my clunky flapping around with GIMP, I really enjoyed putting together a personalised look for it, one which keeps to my preferences for red-and-white :).

For anyone interested in seriously trying-out sailing in SL, I have no hesitation in recommending the Loonetta 31 or its big sister.

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21 thoughts on “Loonetta: small, but beautifully formed

  1. it is a lovely cruise and even racing boat (if you use on the so called fun races that had an handicap spreadsheet) but is also to damn OLD!
    There are right now much more modern cruise yachts, like the mesh shop ones, you should see the bandit 55 that is going to be released soon!
    for more info i suggest these links:
    http://www.virtualworldsailing.com/index.php?/topic/129-ns-handicap-table-current/
    Let me be clear, there are amazing paintings for the Loonetas as you could bother to check this:
    http://slsailing.co/magazine/
    And i don’t have any boat that it was not:
    Free
    Made by my soul mate and me or just me.
    And for sure i don’t have any against the Looneta but the fact that is no mod, to expensive and to old compared to other builds, that unfortunately don’t get the marketing tools to reach a blog that is not sailing related.

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    1. “Old” or not, it does the job – and it is still 100% mesh, so it stands up well against many other designs. It may not be Mod, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t customisable, as per the article. As to the price, it leans towards the upper end of the scale – but by the same token, I looked at some that were as or more expensive. At the end of the day, comes down to taste and preference, and I spent a far while over a number of days looking in-world and through the Marketplace, and opted for that boat that fits my needs.

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    1. “For a reason is the most used Cruise boat, cause it delivers all its needed, it delivers it good and flawless.”

      Exactly. As to timing – there are always newer things coming down the pipe. I’m happy with what I have 🙂 .

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  2. I love my Loonetta! A few weeks ago a friend made a custom texture for me, so now she has a proper name ‘Dutchess’ and the Dutch flag too. The animation/poses are wonderful, but mostly I love taking her out in the weekend, across the Blake Sea – without taking pics and just enjoy 🙂

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    1. Most of my time on (and over) the water is spent just sailing / flying and enjoying, So i know what you mean! Photographing flight is actually a challenge as it is nigh-on impossible to get windlight set and sun positioned correctly betfore you’re over a sim boundary & lighting is reset. I’ve had to learn a few quick tricks over the last 18 months :). But boating just encourages relaxation and looking around. The north side of Blake Sea with the new Columbia River passage and regions beyond (now linked back to the mainland sea to the west) together with the New England regions make for some great sailing / exploring.

      Customising this one was fun (I now have two hull colour schemes!), although it did quickly come sharply up against my limitations with graphics tools, so that’s something else I’m going to need to find time to work around :). The dialogue approach to texturing might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it works pretty well. I’m currently flying the red ensign on my boat, but it is possible the cross of St. George may replace it :).

      I’ll keep an eye out for the Duchess on Blake Sea!

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  3. For those of you interested in a FREE forum for SLSailing, for those into fun and not into making money with avatars, we encourage the forum at the link below. 
    (Free = not made by land barons and not administrated/moderated by money makers / boat builders)
    http://forum.slsailing.co/index.php A forum for sl sailors BY sailors.

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    1. yeah guys, if you want to join the forum that hates people who invest lots of money in developing and expanding the sailing areas, and hate the people that build the boats like the Loonetta pictured above, thats the place you want to be, prepare for lots of talk about a boring old freebie boat, and some fugly mainland sims. Because those are obviously really the people who have the best interest of SL Sailing in mind.

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      1. I think it fair to say that there are a good few SL sailing forums and websites around, such as http://www.virtualworldsailing.com, which offer people a chance to discover sailing and directly compare the different forums and structures. Google can be a powerful friend when seeking to join and community.

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  4. I own a Loonetta as well. It is also a social boat and it can be a temporary sailing living room: if you can bring a friend or more with you, it is nice to chat or to have fun. If you join the Leeward Cruising Club group, they organize cruises.
    After about 2 years, it is still looks pretty nice, with a fine crafted model, textures, details etc. I still hardly see any boat with such built quality. Moreover, I didn’t see any another boat so low on the prim and script count (34 prims and 5 scripts): this helps simcrossing even more and with just 31LI it is easier to keep it rezzed somewhere.
    Being no-mod limits the customization, although the scripts allows it partially with the textures. Probably it’s enough anyway for many, as not everyone is really a modder. Instead the presets and the menu might give a degree of customization even to whom lacks any skill. Yet I’d prefer it was mod, giving more freedom and allowing a better customization.

    A comparable alternative may be the Bandit 50, that is 100% mesh and a “social boat” as well. It has the same price and it comes closer with the prims and scripts count too, just slightly more; and they both use a modified BWind engine. On the pros side, the Bandit 50 has a more realistic design, it is mod and features more kinds of poses (fishing, swimming… even adult poses for who cares). The movements of the pieces aren’t as smooth as with the Loonetta, though, and the built is not nearly as fine either (even the wheel looks like a polygon). Maybe at a lower price, it would be better appealing. More recent works from The Mesh Shop / Bandit are better made now. Bandit 25 is quite good, but it is a different kind of boat. The Pacha is getting popular, but it is not my kind of boat (and it is 4500 L$). The upcoming Bandit 55 and 60 look promising, instead, although (as well as the Pacha) they seem a lot higher on the prim/LI count compared to the Loonetta, but I’m looking forward for them anyway.

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    1. The Loonetta’s LI is impressive – as is the Oceanic’s. I’m one of those happy with the scripted engine for mods; I rarely do extensive modding of other people’s work (although it has happened on occasion!); and like you, I was after a boat for social occasions and – as Caitlin said – simply for getting away on my own.

      I did look at Analyse’s Bandit 55 and Bandit 60, but they were both a little big for what I was looking for, although the 60 still holds interest.

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  5. The Loonetta is one of (if not) the most sold boats in SL – certainly not without reason. No harbour, no marina without at least one. The success reminds me of the old german VW Beetle – running and running and running over decades only with slight modifications of the old fashioned concept. Loonetta’s concept may be old but it is still in competition with new boats.

    Being a resident of SL since more than 7 years I just discovered sailing in the beginning of this year. After several testrides with other models I decided for a Loonetta and I do not regret it to this very day. I’m not into racing or competitions, I’m an explorer. Because of the size and the smooth steering she is a perfect boat for narrow marinas and waterways but does perform as well in open waters.
    And the texturing … – You’ll know when you see my “Louisa” 😉
    See you on the water, Lica (Licmetis Schnabel)

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    1. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Louisa! And as one old-timer (SL-wise) recently come to sailing to another, goes to show that no matter how long we remain engaged in the platform, we’re never without something new to learn or discover. That’s perhaps the greatest magic of this digital domain.

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  6. Just a note: You can race with the Loonetas on the fun regattas, as it has a handicap already.
    A few where you can use it are the Seychelles Isles Yacht Club Short Offshore Races, hosted at Fridays at 2.30 pm slt, Saturday’s 5.pm slt and Monday’s 1 pm slt.
    Another great races hosted on Wednesday’s at 1 pm slt is the Blue Lagoon Marina Open Regattas.
    http://www.virtualworldsailing.com/index.php?/forum/8-racing/
    And of course the Blake Road Trophy.
    http://forum.slsailing.co/index.php/topic,3269.0.html

    And id you are not into racing, even for fun, there are the amazing cruises hosted on Sundays at 1 pm slt and Thursdays at 5 pm slt by the Leeward Cruising group.
    The Topless Cruises hosted on monday’s at 1 pm slt
    The Cnf Cruises hosted on Friday’s at 1 pm slt.
    The Rainbow cruises hosted at 5am slt on Saturday and 10 am slt on Sunday.
    You can know more about these by joining their groups (free) as they will send notices with the maps, cruising huds and other useful info.
    Lcc Cruise group, Topless Sailors group, Le bar est la marine group, rainbow cruise group.
    Besides these, there are for sure more that im not aware.
    So there is no excuse to sail alone, some of the cruises can reach up to (yes they did ) more then 40 boats:)

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  7. @ zzpearlbottom
    I often join the sunday cruises of the LCC – that is a comfortable time for me as a german resident, and really it is fun. I especially like the usual trouble at the start or watch the boats crashing in at the party point. Some of the cruises are nifty and that is where Loonettas can show their performance.
    There also is a blue old style boat crashing very often – is that you? 😉
    Greetings, Lica (Licmetis Schnabel)

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  8. Lol, sadly i did crashed a lot on latest lcc cruise, so it was me in fact (to be more precise i did crashed 4 times on a row) but that was due to some regions being down at the time:)
    The SC Marlin uses the same scripts as the Looneta for sailing (bbk 1.37.1) and its very reliable upon crossing sims as it has being shown in a few long races or a lot of cruises, but we can not do any when entering a region that is down as it was the case:)
    And i still have another issue, i zoom so far out and in to catch other boats and take pics while sailing my own that i risk sometimes that the server does not know where im so when i return the camera to my boat im already at the end of the ocean and the boat 1 sim ahead or even more, on those times if i manage to double click and teleport to the boat, i still can stand up and sail back, if not ill have to relog!
    But overall i can say with property that i never quit a cruise i started and always manage to end it, same with my soulmate and those that use to sail the sc marlin in all the variations i made and offered or the one that is being sold:)

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  9. The one thing that sold me on the Bandit sail boats was the “Autopilot” mode :D. I have no clue how to sail and that was a huge key factor for me. Autopilot handles the sails for you and all you do is steer the boat. Huge plus in my book. 😀 I did try to find MLCC in world but I think his store is gone (or moved) I’m a little late to the whole sailing/flying stuff…

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