In April, I wrote about Ape Piaggo’s latest waterborne project: the AD25H “Little Bee” tender speedboat. Since that time, things have progressed, and while the boat is still not quite ready for release, Ape offered me the opportunity to do some further testing on what amounts to the pre-release version – and obviously, I jumped at the chance!
This latest version features just about everything the “full” version will include, other than the car.
Yes, that’s right, the car. As this is a trailer-mountable speedboat which comes complete with its own trailer, Ape has decided to include a car capable of towing both in the release version of the boat as well. Coming on top of everything else packed into the Little Bee – an extensive range of couples and singles poses, a racing mode, the hydrofoils, ACSS, painting options, the ability to let friends drive it, coffee making (yup, really!) plus the wakeboard and parasail, this makes for a pretty comprehensive package.
The parasail system was actually available on the earlier model of the boat I previewed. However, this has since been improved and was one of the things Ape asked me to test. So, one bright Second Life morning, as the Sun came up over the straits, I hopped into the boat and bravely volunteered my Crash Test Alt to give the parasail another go while I tried the wakeboard. The last time my alt took to the air in the parasail, she was fully clothed; I was kinder this time, and furnished her with a swimsuit 🙂 .
Both the wakeboard and the parasail are rezzed from the boat’s Accessories menu. Note that you will have to be on water that allows object entry, and should leave a degree of space behind the boat (don’t rez them when moored with a pier right behind you, for example). Once rezzed, riders simply sit on the wakeboard / parasail (and will receive a wearable handle for the former), and away you go.
During testing, I found it best to keep the boat to around 40% of throttle; any higher, and things began to get decidedly iffy on region crossings. The board is independently steerable from the boat using the
RIGHT arrow keys, and the parasail rider can adjust their height with the
DOWN keys. The wakeboard also includes stunts accessed via the
PAGE DOWN and the
DOWN keys, although I could only get the latter to work, which had me dipping low to run my hand through the water.
PAGE UP key for both the wakeboard and the parasail allows the “CineCApe” camera to work, which provides interesting views of things for the rider of either, and I’ve made use of this in the sneak peek film below. I do recommend using the camera with the wakeboard in particular, as it really adds a further dimension to riding the board.
Slowing the boat will have the obvious effect of dropping both the wakeboard and parasail rider back into the water, and the former will adopt a “waiting” pose, ready for the boat to start moving again, while the latter will see the parasail gently collapse as the air resistance lessens, and the rider drops down to a gentle splashdown.
Given all it has packed into it, the AD25H “Little Bee” is liable to be a “must have” buy for anyone interested in owning / driving a compact speedboat; I’ve yet to come across anything quite so enjoyable to drive and ride it in its class, and given the price is set to be under L$3000 for the boat, trailer and car, it’s going to be an absolute steal when released.
I’ll hopefully be running a full review of the boat once it is available. In the meantime, as noted above, another sneak peek video.