Everyone in Second Life is cheating on First Life (SL) and each other. No, I am not speaking on pixelsexxx. But rather the way SL allows us all to actually cheat life itself - at least the "pleasures" and trials of life anyway. Think on this: we don't have to walk to get anywhere. We can fly and if really impatient: teleport and poof - you're there. Anywhere you want to be. Look about everywhere you go: Gigantic castles and mansions, five-hundred-foot yachts, royal palaces, private helicopters and jets, massive household "estates" and all that.

Nothing wrong with this at all of course. SL empowers us to have and do what we simply cannot have and do in first life and that is the draw to the platform. It's a wonderful thing!

I spent the first-half of my life on Maui, and my family were not all that well-off financially. So I grew-up with a practical mind-set. Perhaps this is why I don't keep a house in SL at all or go for the "dream"...whatever: house, car, any of it. I just don't see the use in it and view it as a waste of money. Growing-up in Hawai'i (quick lesson: pronounced Hah-vai. Eee LOL) exposed me to the ocean all the time. For swimming, not sailing. That kind of thing just wasn't in the budget.

In Lahaina there always was as long as I could remember a tall ship berthed there called the Carthaginian. It was an original restored 18th century tall ship, not a replica. I was nine-years-old the day it ended-up sinking and shrugged it off. They then made a replica and brought it in, calling it Carthaginian II, but nothing was ever the same, even for me, a nine-year-old kid who couldn't really appreciate what had really happened.

Now that I am older and wiser (some may disagree to the latter) I find it kind of saddening that such priceless history was lost. Perhaps it was growing-up around the original Carthaginian without giving it much thought has now, later in life influenced my "fandom" of tall ships.

And SL allows me to own a fleet of them. Though SL sailing (not driving like a car or plane or other vehicle, but real simulated sailing using the SL wind system) has been around and I have known of it a long time, I never really participated. All I ever saw were the modern-looking "yuppy richman toys" that are all technologically advanced to gain the fastest speed and easiest control (replicas of first life sailboats) - which to me are rather ugly and ungainly-looking with 200-foot tall sails over a 30-foot hull (intentional exaggeration). In SL or FL, to me they are rather unsightly and silly-looking.

SB01Allow me to be clear here and now: in this article I am referring my "distaste" specifically to those "modern-day technological marvels" such as those style of boats used to race for the America's Cup (mostly in first life, but Second Life as well,) not the average sail boat you can go out and buy today. But even those to some degree with regard to the technological-ease of sailing these days is kind of a "technology cheat". And yes, it is only my own personal taste.

Technology to allow them to slip through water as though sliding on a greased flat of teflon at the slightest whisper of breeze. Of course the SL replicas do the same.

SB04Technology itself is a cheat. We use technology to replace skill. In first life anyone can quickly learn to sail a modern sail boat. But take the best mariners of today (Americas Cup class) and put them onto a tall ship? Now that would be a sight to see because a tall ship can barely get under way with ten or less people whereas a modern sail boat slides along with as little as 5 people, depending on the boat of course. To set a tall ship to sail, even a small one like a brig or sloop like the Lady Washington (which I've had the extreme pleasure of sailing with for a day)... now that takes skill.

The wonder of SL allows me to not only own a fleet of tall ships, but to be able to sail them all by my little lonesome at the push of a few buttons on my keyboard. Is that a cheat? Well, not really as I am simulating via a computer and the primary interface of a computer is the keyboard. The SL grid is the great equalizer in this regard.

However, in real life: the technology of modern sail boats we use to replace the skill required to make-way in a tall ship... yeah, that's a cheat. It's not a bad cheat. But it's still a cheat. Like bow hunters who use those fancy carbonate teflon composite bows with 30 pulleys on them and titanium arrows to down a deer. Grab a switch from a tree and whittle your own arrows and see what it's really like. The technology is a cheat and it replaces the skill required. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Life moves-on, that's all.

SB02Besides, modern sailboats (and to be clear: I am more referring to the racing boats and those ugly-assed high-tech boats where the sails are twice or three-times as tall as the hull is long) are funny-looking. Though tall ships were built and designed for functionality with the latest technology of the day, today to me they are a work of art. Of course it's more appreciation for the complexity and functionality of those things.

For me, "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies featured Johnny Depp, but the real star was the Black Pearl itself. Though "Master and Commander" wasn't all that great of a movie in it's own right, I ate it up because it was all about the tall ships themselves. I am now reading Michael Crichton's last novel "Pirate Latitudes" which is in preproduction and I am anticipating that movie for it's real star (to me) the sloop called "Cassandra".

Do I wish I lived in the 17th or 18th centuries for such purpose as to be a true sailor? Hell no. I might be stupid but I'm not dumb. Oh, and to me a "sailor" is one of a number of crew as those on such a tall ship or other large navy vessel that can't function in full-form without at least a dozen or more. All you mariners on your cute, yuppy-looking computer-design sail-racers (in the real world I mean) - you are not sailors. You are all wanna-bes. I know it's still hard work and all that. But the skills required are where the differences lay.

So yeah: thanks for SL as it allows me to "cheat" first life by allowing me the enjoyment of sailing (and captaining) a whole fleet of tall ships. Something I couldn't do in first life no matter how financially well-off I were.

Note: these are Second Life pictures above, but they are examples of what I am talking about, so understand I am referring to real counterparts in first life when I say these are techno-yuppy-butt-fugly cheats that require no skill whatsoever compared to a real "sailing" boat, which my SL counterparts follow below (and I hope it is obvious I am referring to the real life counterparts of these.)

Nyuk nyuk.


My new unnamed Schooner. Awaiting a customized refit and naming.


The Calypso's Rage, a Xebec in Corsair configuration.


The Poseidon's Lust, my current favorite: a speedy 10-gun Dhow.


The Calypso's Curse, a reliable and worthy Brig.


The uncreatively-named "Black Swan", who heels wildly in the wind.

And my 16-gun battle fortress the Hades' Strumpet.


And my newest acquisition, a one-gun "gunboat" I have christened the "Black Dream" (which is 17th century vernacular for "death" for those of you who don't contemplate such things.)

This is a ridiculously maneuverable little boat that is actually a bit difficult to control in tight spaces as she just wants to go and go very fast.

The SL model is stunning, loaded with astounding detail and authentic nuance such as a working anchor (animated and all, doesn't really hold the boat in place) a signal (fog) bell and wonderful role-play accouterments such as the supplies loaded-up in the forecastle and such. Okay, not really a forecastle as that cupboard isn't below deck and though you could stuff a human body in there, it's really for storage of supplies. Meh.

I plan to show it off in detail on my next post. (Hey, it's MY blog and so I will show-off whatever I want!)