Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Visit to the Age of Sail

It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.

George William Curtis


          Recently, I was approached and friended by a resident of Second Life (SL) who has discovered his Real Life (RL) passion inworld. His name is BrendonPatrick MacRory and his passion is the Age of Sail. 

          After our first contact, we schedule an interview and at the appointed time we meet.  I appear at Milliways, the restaurant at the end of the Galaxy, famous from Douglas Adam's book, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at the appointed time.   (As a writer I love how genres cross and recross inworld!)

          BrendonPatrick is an auburn haired man of mid-height (at least compared to me and I still don’t know how tall I am inworld) with a tanned complexion from years spent at sea.  He is well attired in the costume of his period and greets me warmly as we begin our session. 

          I begin with what brought BrendonPatrick to this time and place.  In RL, he does reenacting, and Regency and Late Georgian being his favorites.  While at a Green Living conference in RL, he attended a session about the use of SL in education.  Returning home, he got on and played. Initially, he found nothing worth coming back to until late in the day he found Caledon University, a Victorian/Steam Punk Sim, part of over fifty which comprise Caledon. 

          In Caledon he started to hear about Antiquity and sea battles and then he finally found them.  All being beautiful builds.  While there one day, he heard of and was invited to a new sim, Dublin Harbor, at the time in Antiquity and set in 1712, and he was hooked. 

          Let me return to BrendonPatrick’s roots in period sailing for he is no amateur here.  He is a member of Historical Maritime Society in the United Kingdom, and the Brigade Napoleon, and the Leader of HMS Pacific Station, a Royal Navy and Royal Marine Group.  I think we can say he knows his way about a sailing ship circa eighteenth century. 

          In Dublin Harbor which is part of the Ocean Realms sim, BrendonPatrick found his passions writ large.  He has pirates, privateers, the Royal Navy and the East India Company.  We're talking Royal Navy life and battles here with all the guns and sailing tactics.  BrendonPatrick explains that sometimes battles are ship on ships, as on Thursday afternoons.  At other times, it’s cruising, and at still other times, there are scenarios, such as the Payroll, where one ship has it, and others are trying to find it, and capture it.  Large scale actions are not played.  (I wonder if that has anything to do with SL lag issues.)  In addition, Ocean Realms lends itself to exploration.  Something not possible in all sims BrendonPatrick adds.  All in all, sounds like a good night’s fun! 

          BrendonPatrick describes how SL can be used for such nautical maneuvers  as tacking, how close one can sail to the wind, how different boats handle and the skills to handle them.  However, he doesn’t believe that he can use the sim for historical research or education, but, it does allow him to live in the style of the time.  In addition to sea battles, there are dances and live concerts in the tavern and the fiddler is purported to be delightful. 

          After thanking BrendonPatrick for his time, I take my leave.  Later, I visit Dublin myself, to see this world from a time gone by. I wander about for a bit when BrendonPatrick IM’s me and invites me to join his partner, Siobbhan Sands, and him in their nearby home.  I TP over and am impressed by the beautiful home they have built together overlooking the sea.  The period furnishings and artwork add a certain atmosphere which can only be created with great care and thought in SL.  (Yes, there are a few anachronisms, but who among us can resist doing that inworld?) 

          Once again I take my leave of BrendonPatrick as well as his lovely partner.  Thanks to both of them, I’ve had a chance to glimpse into a world that I hadn’t seen before in SL.  My previous exposure to period sailing had been Avalon Hill’s Wooden Ships and Iron Men.  (I know it’s not a computer game but, find a copy on eBay and try it.  You won’t regret it.)  The real time appeal of shipboard action is there for me. 

          I know that I have only scratched the surface here and the prospect of doing battle with pirates for treasure and to rescue damsels in distress is too hard for me to resist. I will return to Dublin for some adventure and I’ll bring the stories back for everyone. 

I would like to thank BrendonPatrick MacRory for his time and openness with me.  I would also like to thank him and Siobbhan Sands for their hospitality in receiving me into their home. 

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1   BrendonPatrick MacRory

Photo No. 2   Siobbhan Sands

Photo No. 3   Dublin Arrival Area

Photo No. 4   Dublin Street Scene

Photo No. 5   Dublin Church

Photo No. 6   Overlooking the Waterfront  

No comments: