As regulars to these pages know, I enjoy sailing, motor boating, cruising and flying in SL, and I sometimes review the vehicles I obtain. As a result, I often get asked for a recommendation from people curious about vehicles in SL.
Answering such questions isn’t easy, in part because we all like different things, but mostly because – in all honesty – my experience is not that wide-ranging; I don’t have a huge stockpile of craft, and I tend to restrict myself to just a handful of creators on a regular basis, so there is potentially a lot out there that I’m missing.
However, my preview of the Bandit 170, which will be on general release soon, has resulted in people asking me about what I would recommend as a versatile, fun boat motor boat that looks good and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. There are potentially hundreds of such craft to be had in Second Life – and the Bandit 170 is definitely a good place to start, in my opinion, allowing for the final details (including cost) on it to be settled.
The Little Bee is the oldest of the two in terms of its time on the market, having been around since August 2015. It is based on a classic tender style speedboat design, giving it classic, clean lines. The cockpit offers plenty of space and seating, with three forward seats (including the driver) and a large rear seating area behind, with floor section that can be raised to form a bed. Two novel items with the main cockpit are the hand basin and the espresso machine with hotplate – which will deliver a brew!
The SRV-210 has been around since 2018, and is built along the lines of the deep v-hulled fibreglass sports boats of the 1970s / 80s. The cockpit is smaller but broader than the Little Bee, and provides seating for up to 6, including the driver. The boat is equipped with a Bimini sun screen and a full tent, both of which are chat-enabled (as are many of the command with the boat, and some of the commands with the Little Bee). Two versions are offered – one with an enclosed forward cabin, and the other with an open forward cockpit (and which may have additional poses as a result – as I don’t have that version, I’m not familiar with its capabilities).
The two boats handle remarkably well and similarly, providing a good ride experience, although the SRV 210’s ride is a little more physical, in that the boat (and camera smoothness) respond to speed and wave force, which adds to the realism of driving it. The overall controls are pretty much the same, within the exception that the Little Bee has a hydrofoil capability; this is both novel for a speedboat and makes it exceptionally fast with the foils deployed.
Each boat comes with a range of options some of which are common to both – paint files, media system, towing trailer, a towable floating tube other avatars can ride on, etc.. The SRV 210 is supplied with a full paint finish and a set of textures for the flag. The Little Bee is supplied with a basic paint finish, but comes with far more options, including a car to tow the boat and trailer (called the TugBee and resembling a VW Beetle), a float tube together with a wakeboard and a parasail (a wakeboard for the SRV 210 can be purchased separately), while paint options can either be applied manually or via scripted means. Rez it on land, and it will automatically rez a land cradle under it that it will sit on.