A long-awaited foiling ocean racer is now available at the Mesh Shop in Dutch Harbor.
Once again, Dutch has designed a very nice looking sailboat. Fully mesh with every little details you would expect from this vendor, true to form. Sporting a famous British sailor dark colors, the TMS I-Mocca really is pleasing to the eyes.
The novelty here are the foils: They extend from the sides of the boat hull and provide extra speed as they lift the hull above the water, mostly the front of the boat.
Other nicely done details are the articulated twin rudders and the cantilever keel. All are manually commanded and need adjusting so you get the maximum performance from the boat, as in real life!
Now, what about her sailing abilities?
Well, everyone can run a test on the demo boat and make her/his own mind about it.
Be prepared to struggle a bit at first as the boat is an extreme racer in reality and is a bit finicky in SL.
First of all, the straight tiller works as in the real world: push to turn upwind, pull to bear away. More simply put, press left arrow key to go right, and vice versa. That is the reverse of driving a car. Since Dutch thinks about everything (almost), you can change the settings by a simple chat command if you feel more at ease with a regular steering.
That being settled, let’s look at the engine of the boat, i.e. her sails (and wind engine). The I-Mocca is well suited with a big main and three head sails: a jib, a genaker and a spinaker. Depending on the point of sail, you will have to switch sails to get the best of the boat’s performance.
However, as in reality, changing sails takes time and efforts. First, as on the Bandit 22LTE, you need to drop a sail before hoisting the next one. So to switch from jib to genaker as you bear away after a mark, you will have to drop the jib then hoist the genaker: as both maneuvers come with locking animations, be sure to anticipate long in advance, or hire a crew to do the job while you keep steering the boat.
Similarly, and like many others TMS/Bandit boats of the latest generation (BOSS 4 wind engine), adjusting the foresails also triggers an animation which prevent steering for a brief moment. There is a work-around this: Using locked sails, where foresails are adjusted in sync with the main, doesn’t trigger the animation.
The real drawback for me is that, if you happen to touch the steering as you initiate the change of sails or adjust the foresails, the boat will tend to go the opposite direction of what is wanted! This is annoying when cruising, and really a big issue when racing! Again, delegating tasks to a crew solves this issue.
Now what about the sailing impressions? What about the foiling capacity? Well, don’t expect the same impressions as in the Flying Shadow, this is not a swift cat! Overall, she feels much like an OD65 crossed with a Bandit 50/3. Lots of details and more complex scripts necessarily add to the “weight” of the boat. So first contact at the helm was a bit disappointing. There is a lot to think about (the foils, the rudders, the keel…) so i expect a rather steep learning curve before mastering her.
This is only a first look at a promising boat, and I have yet to explore all her performance capacity and will come back after more thorough testing and more extended sailing. Cheers & Bon vent!