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Mini-Transat

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by Richard Knol

Deciding on which boat type to add to Sailaway was not very difficult. It had to be a solo racer and it had to be spectacular. The first thing that came to mind was a very famous solo race in which most of the big names in sailing have started out: The Mini-Transat. Talented sailors compete to show what they are capable of and hopefully make a name for themselves. Sort of like what Sailaway tries to do as well.

The Mini-Transat is a solo race from France to Brazil with a stop on the Canary Islands. That's challenging in itself, but the boats are only 6.5 meters (22 ft) long! For comparison: The waves on the Atlantic can easily become higher than that.

The light weight boats are rigged with massive gennakers, a canting keel, foils, all for maximum performance. Whereas the comfort can be compared to a small dog kennel in your garden. Everything is packed and cramped, there is no place to sleep stretched out. The most important piece of equipment is the alarm clock. Set to sound every 20 minutes as loud as possible and not to stop until the sailor gets up.

Adding this boat to Sailaway almost makes me feel guilty towards the real sailors who don't have the convenience of sitting in a warm room behind a computer with a hot cup of tea or coffee next to them.

Still, it is the most awesome boat to add to a sailing simulator I can think of. It is light, fast, rigged to the max, and it responds immediately to everything you do. It is unforgiving, hard to control and gives you a tremendous kick when you do control it.

This is also why it is taking so much time to implement it. We could have taken the previous boat, changed the polar diagram a little and tweak a few things. But we want to do it correctly. And that means altering parts of the code, adding the behaviour of the new Gennaker and Code 0 sails. And it also means changing the user interface. With the previous boat the sailor would be behind the wheel and move to the cockpit to control the trim lines, whereas with this new boat the sailor is in the middle of everything at the same time. Steering, pulling the sheets, controlling the trim lines. In the meantime water splashes over and the boat is surfing over the waves at great speed.

Whether or not we succeeded in translating this behaviour into the game is not up to us to decide. But if I may speak for myself: I love it! I can easily see how I could get hooked on sailing this tiny beast.

The new Mini-Transat boat will be available in the upcoming beta version 0.7.

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