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Tetra 35

Tetra 35 - Cruising/Racing Sloop

Below the feature list, I've included the user guide. I realize this amount of text may be excessive for an SLX description, but I prefer giving people the option to really know what the boat is about before considering. Tako-scripted boats have a bit of a learning curve, and there's a little more to sailing one than hopping in and mashing movement keys. If you've never sailed a Tako-style boat in SL before and you consider this manual too long to read, this may not be the boat for you.

Shop smart, have fun, and let me know if you have any questions. :)

Tetra 35

A modern sport sloop based on the Tako 3.2 engine. v1.0 - September 20, 2007 v1.2 - January 14ish, 2008 (Info and screenshots about 1.2 are at the bottom.) by Seawolf Marine

Verkin Raven - Modeling, Texturing Kanker Greenachre - Scripting, Advice Stickman Ingmann - Scripting, Animation Solar Ixtab - Modeling, Scripting

Basic Info

COPY/MOD/notrans + drag & drop texturing + PSD templates
Automatic updates: Yes
Seats: 6
Guesting: No

Length: 35' 10.6m
Beam: 13' 3.8m
Visual Draft: 8' 2.3m
Collision Draft: 4' 1.2m

Prim Use

Sailing: 25+255 prims
Moored: 255 prims
Moored with optional detail: 255+33 prims
Fenders: 3 prims each
Mooring buoy: 7 prims
Drydocking stand: 13 prims


  • Tako 3.2 base scripting.
  • Spinnaker operation.
  • Practice and race wind compatible.
  • Four character race ID located above the mast.
  • Maintains Tako commands, is compatible with Tako gestures, and ships with the Tako HUDs (with permission from Kanker, a project coder for this specific boat.)
  • SLSF's standard set of gestures is included with this boat, as gesture operation is preferable for precision sailing. However, sail control via keyboard has been preserved for those who prefer that method.
  • The Tetra's behavior has been adjusted with Kanker's advice to operate according to the boat's physical design. In a nutshell, this means it will operate slower than the Tako, although the turning circle is still pretty tight.
  • Throttled inboard motor. The screw spins and emits a particle churn. The screw also spins freely when the motor is deactivated.

Layered PSD files available for modifying the mainsail, jib, spinnaker, hull, transom, and boom. A set of alternate hull textures have been included in the package.

  • Seats six. Passengers automatically hike to the upper side on heeling. Passenger boarding can be locked and passengers can be kicked by partial name. The sit arrows can be shown and hidden by command and automatically disappear after a small period of time. Passengers have unique sitting poses developed for this boat.
  • The helmsman is animated to turn the wheel. The wheel turns at the same speed as the rudder.
  • Water effects include bow cutting splash and wake.
  • The compass always points north and will tilt to match the horizon as the boat heels. The compass works both when the boat is moored and in use.
  • The boat pitches when in motion, and pitch intensity increases with speed.
  • Sounds include moored water lapping, bow cutting splash, sail raising, sail luffing in irons, inboard motor start/idle/revving, hatch operation, and lighting rocker switches.
  • Animated rocker switches control four sets of lights: navigation, cabin lamps, cockpit flood, and boat flood.
  • Phantom is available in non-race mode, which allows the boat to clip through obstructions.
  • The physical aspect of the boat will seek water level when it's rezzed over water, at or below 10m above water level.
  • Documentation includes operation, quick start, sailing technique, and sailing location guide.
  • Extra equipment includes dry docking stand, boat fenders in four colorations, and a mooring buoy.
  • When moored, the boat has menu-driven options for water shine, water lapping sound, and sail configuration, which have matching optional reflections.
  • The keel is intangible, meaning draft collision only occurs against the main hull. This is convenient for sailing smoothly over SL's chaotic underwater geography. Hull collision is otherwise accurate.
  • Automatic updates.

Tetra Operations Guide

A. Quick Start
B. Sailing
C. Mooring
D. Modding
E. Extras

A. Quick Start

Please note that even basic use of this boat requires basic knowledge of sailing. If you don't know how sailboats work, I'd recommend reading section B, "Casual Use", which explains how it all works.

1. Rez "Tetra 35 v1.0 Vehicle" out on the water from inventory.

2. Right click and sit on the red arrow. (The green arrows are for sitting passengers and will disappear shortly.)

3. From your inventory, wear "Tetra 35 v1.0 Attach"

4. Type "hud" without the quotes in chat and accept both inventory prompts.

5. Push the button marked "raise"

6. IMPORTANT - If you're not near a sailboat start line, press the button marked "practice"

7. Use the left and right movement keys to steer the boat, and up and down to control the sail angle. The quick and dirty way to sail is to keep the sail angle approximately half of the wind angle. For instance, if WIND DIR reads 90, you'll want the sails at 45. You don't have to be precise for casual sailing. You can also glance at the sailing instrument to quickly see approximate wind and sail angle. The only other thing to know for basic sailing is to not sail with the wind direction smaller than 35 degrees (or the blue needle in the white arc).

For more detailed instructions and advanced use of the boat, continue on to section B.

B. Regular Use

On Attachment Vehicles

The Tetra 35 as it sails consists of two pieces which are assembled when the helmsman sits on the vehicle half and wears the attachment half. The reason behind this system is that full physics SL vehicles are limited to 31 prims minus one per passenger, and the boat is nearly 300 prims. The way many vehicle developers have found a way around this limitation is to have the helmsman wear most of the vehicle as a piece of clothing. Clothing doesn't count towards prim count on a vehicle sat upon. While this solution may sound strange, it's been adapted and used very often in the SL vehicle communities. This requires only an extra step on the part of the owner when using the vehicle, with the advantage of having a vehicle up to and beyond 8 times the detail. You can find popular examples of this system in use with Cubey Terra's biplanes and Trudeau's larger yachts.


This section covers the basics on SL sailing.

Those of you who are familiar with the Tako probably won't learn much here, but should be glad to know that the Tetra uses the same commands for every feature they share. Older Tako gestures will work just as well as the set I've provided (and vice versa). The behavior difference between the Tako and the Tetra is that the Tetra is heavier, has a somewhat slower high end speed, takes a little more time to reach that speed, and carries more inertia. The rudder is pretty big and will turn the thing in a pretty tight circle as long as you have water flow across it.

Those of you who haven't sailed before shouldn't think about those gestures just yet. Let's figure out what's going on after we set the boat up in the water.

Find a nice open expanse of water. A good spot would be a water sim near Hollywood (search "Hollywood" on the SL map). Lots of open water is a good place to practice on. Preferably if there are no other boats around. The best sailing experiences are to be had in dedicated sailing community areas, rather than the chaotic main grid. We've provided a notecard which has information and links to these communities.

1. Rez "Tetra 35 v1.0 Vehicle" out on the water from inventory.
2. Right click and sit on the red arrow.
3. From your inventory, wear "Tetra 35 v1.0 Attach"
4. Type "hud" without the quotes in chat and accept both attachment prompts.
5. Press the button marked "raise", then press the button marked "practice".

You're going to start moving. Look up at the text below the sailing instrument on the upper left of your screen. You'll see WIND DIR and SHEET ANGLE. Chances are this is riding at around 45-50 degrees, and creeping up past 50. Tap the up arrow until the sheet angle is roughly 25 degrees. Without being too precise, you've set the sheet angle which gives your boat the most amount of boost for the relative wind angle. Try turning until WIND DIR reads 90 (the minus sign doesn't matter at the moment) and set the sheet angle to roughly 45 degrees.

The general rule of thumb is to keep the sheet angle half of the wind angle. Don't worry about negative wind direction numbers. You'd want the sheet at 45 whether the wind direction reads 90 or -90.

Avoid sailing with a wind angle below 35 degrees. At this angle, the sails are unable to generate any amount of thrust relative to the wind angle, and will in fact luff and brake the boat quickly. You'll only want to bring the boat's bow across the wind when you're tacking into it. Sailing with the wind at 35 degrees is the fastest way to sail into the wind. If your desired direction requires you to go directly into the wind, you can tack the boat back and forth from 35 degrees to -35 degrees, using the boat's momentum to carry the bow across the wind.

Spinnaker Use

The spinnaker is used only for wind angles greater than 90 degrees, essentially when the wind is behind you. If you put the spinnaker up and don't trim it, it will fly always directly opposite the wind, but you're not going to be the maximum benefit of boost. A properly trimmed spinnaker is an incredible boon to downwind sailing and is well worth the practice and risk.

Use C or Page Down to trim the trim the spinnaker, and E or Page Up to let it out. You'll notice that if you trim the spinnaker too much, it will collapse and quickly brake the boat. In Second Life, this has the effect of slowing the boat down, but in real life this also carries the danger of broaching, which can snap the mast off and capsize the boat if the wind is strong enough.

The following are excripts from Kanker's guide to spinnaker use:

  • If the wind angle relative to the spinnaker is less than 90 degrees, the spinnaker will collapse.
  • If the wind speed is less than two meters a second, the spinnaker will collapse.
  • If the wind is more than 10 degrees ahead of the leading edge of the spinnaker, it collapses. The way to measure this is to subtract the spinnaker sheet angle from the wind angle. If the difference is greater than 100 deg (90+10), the wind is too far ahead of the leading edge.
  • If the mainsail is up the optimal spinnaker sheet angle is always: (wind angle - 90 degress)
  • If the wind angle is less than 150 deg, the optimal spinnaker sheet angle is always: (wind angle - 90 degrees)
  • If only the spinnaker is up and the wind angle is greater than 150 degrees, the optimal spinnaker angle is such that the spinnaker is centered 180 deg off the wind.
  • You will almost always benefit from having all the sails up if the wind angle is greater than 90 degrees.
  • The spinnaker pole automatically moves to the proper side of the boat. In real life, this would be done by the crew.

Gesture Use

Gestures aren't necessarily more advanced than regular sailing, but it's important to understand the basic functionality and operation of the sailboat before getting accustomed to gesture use.

Gestures mitigate a lot of the work required to optimally trim the boat at all times and all angles. You can think of gestures as shortcuts and guides, like how a sailor may mark the sheet on their real life sailboat for specific angles. While gestures make things a lot easier to the sailor, it won't magically help you win races. An experienced and skilled racer not using gestures can still beat out a racer using gestures every time.

However, you might have noticed that using the forward and backward keys to trim the sails is very imprecise. It varies quite a bit, depending on how long you hold down the button and how laggy the current sim is. One of the great things about gestures is they can help you control the sails to exacting degrees regardless of the condition of the sim. What gestures also do is point the sails and spinnaker in very specific directions for the boat's most efficient points of sail.

In the Gestures subfolder of the package you received with the Tetra, you'll find ten gestures. Activate them all.

F2 - Wind 35
F3 - Wind 62
F4 - Wind 90
F5 - Wind 120
F6 - Wind 150
F7 - Wind -10 Degrees
F8 - Wind -2 Degrees
F9 - Wind +2 Degrees
F10 - Wind +10 Degrees
F12 - Spinnaker Toggle

The first five gestures are "points of sail" configurations for their marked degrees. These will quickly set the sails to near where you need them. You can use F7 through F10 to fine tune the sails to a degree. These gestures also affect the spinnaker, if it's up.

Wind Types

Sailboats are controlled by wind, which is obvious enough. However, Tako 3.X-based boats, including this one, can read three different types of wind:

Race Wind - by far the easiest type of wind to deal with, this wind simulation is activated by the presence of a windsetter, usually found near sailboat finish lines. The windsetters found at most of the popular sailing locations in SL have consistent, pleasant wind which is perfect for sailing. Other sailboats in the area will be reading the same wind, which makes competition viable and the whole scene realistic. No use having each boat in it's own weather pattern! See our notecard on sailing locations for nice sailing spots which have windsetters. To activate windsetter wind on your boat, you only have to sail in the general area of one. See our notecard on sailing locations for the spots which have these.

Practice Wind - Practice wind is controlled through commands by the helmsman, and is a good way to create a realistic wind pattern for your boat to sail with if you're nowhere near a winsetter. You can control wind direction, speed, as well as the amount and rate of variation on either.

SL Wind - SL has it's own wind simulation, and while Tako-based sailboats will read it, sailing through it is a nightmare which should only be experienced after trying your boat with practice wind or a race windsetter. It rapidly switches directions and wind speed. While this wind type is nearly worthless, we left this capability in as a reminder of what the original sailboats had to deal with.

The following commands pertain to practice wind mode.
practice - Activates practice wind with usable default settings.
wind dir X - Changes the wind direction in degrees. wind dir 90 makes the wind come out of the North.
wind spd X - Changes the wind speed. wind spd 10 is usually a realistic number.
dir+- X - Where X controls the variation in degrees of the wind.
spd+- X - Where X controls the variation of wind speed.
rate X - Changes the rate which wind changes. The default is 1, 2 would be twice as fast.

C. Mooring

Mooring this boat gets it's own section because it has several options available.

Please note that if you're renting a dock or slip that the service may have a prim limit for boats. Check with the owner on whether rezzing a 255+ prim 35' sailboat is okay. The Tetra is a prim-expensive model that can usually fit in rental spots meant for 30 prim boats.

I left the fenders and mooring buoy as basic moddable objects. There's so many different and proper ways to dock a boat, and types of docks, that I'm leaving the accessories configuration up to the owners.

Water Mooring

1. Find a patch of water approximately where you want the boat moored. Make sure you have at least 255 prims, 288 if you want the boat to do the fancy special effects, 3 extra prims for each fender if you want those, and 7 extra prims if you want it tied to a mooring buoy.

2. "Rez Tetra 35 v1.0 Attach" out on the water.

3. Ach! It's floating and the nose is pointed up! Let's fix that. Touch the boat and select "seek water" from the menu. Edit the boat, go into the object tab, and set all the ROTATION (degrees) fields to zero. DO NOT edit the POSITION fields! Why does the attachment always have it's nose up when it's rezzed? This is an SL bug which occurs when you attach an object to yourself, detatch it, and rez it in world. The pitch ALWAYS gets off kilter.

4. Slide the boat around to where you want it to sit.

5. Let's play with the options menu. Touch the boat and select "Rez Detail" from the menu. You'll see the hull reflection int he water, and a hull shine effect on the boat's actual hull. Touch the boat again, and select "Show Sail". Repeat the process for the Jib and Spinnaker. You'll notice the reflections match the configuration of the sails. If you don't want reflections to occur at all (or the hull shine), you can toggle those off in the menu. "No Reflect" and "No Shine" accomplishes this respectively. The "No Lapping" button will toggle the water lapping sound on and off. "No Textures" will reset the detail's custom textures if you changed them. For information on modding the Tetra, see section E, "Modding" later on in this document.

6. Remember that if you don't want any of the special effects or sails showing on the moored boat, that you select "No Detail" from the menu, rather than manually shutting each element off. "No Detail" will de-rez the extra effects object and save you some prims.


The difference between drydocking and water mooring the Tetra is that you place the Tetra on a stand. We've provided a simple moddable stand that fits the boat ("Drydocking Stand"). Your best bet is to align the Tetra on the stand before moving both around at the same time, since they both rez facing in the correct direction relevative to one another. Remember to set the Tetra's Y rotation to zero if it rezzes that way.

When you rez the extra detail through the menu, you'll definitely want to shut reflectionss off. Turning shine off is a good idea as well, unless you're drydocking the Tetra in shallow water.

As for placing the drydocking stand, it's meant to clip into the ground so the shadows are just above the ground. The extra geometry you see below is just the effect of being as prim efficient with it as I could.

E. Extras

Passenger Management

When you rez the Tetra vehicle attachment, you'll notice several down-pointing bright green arrows and a single red arrow. The red arrow is for the helmsman (owner) to sit on the boat to control it. The green arrows are for the passengers to sit. Note that the green arrows will disappear by themselves after a short period of time. When a passenger sits on the arrow, it disappears, just like a poseball. The difference is that the passenger will automatically hike to the upper side of the boat as it heels against the wind. Despite that the forward three arrows are positioned on the left side of the boat, the passengers will appear on the right side if the boat is heeling to the left. On most real life sailboats, crew and passengers usually sit on the upper side to offset the balance.

Important commands:
hide - Hides the sitting arrows.
show - Displays the sitting arrows. They will automatically hide after a short period of time.
lock - Locks the boat, preventing more passengers from sitting (won't affect already sat passengers.)
unlock - Unlocks the boat.
kick X - Where X is a full or partial avatar name, this will kick off a passenger. "Kick V" would kick Verkin Raven off the boat. :)


The rocker switches for the lights are located on a panel along the rear wall of the cockpit, behind where the helmsman sits. The switch for the cabin is located on the wall just inside the cabin door. These are toggled by touching, and will rock back and forth. The lights work both while sailing and while moored.

If you want to see the lighting effects in full force, set "Nighttime Brightness" to 0 under the Adv. Graphics tab in the Preferences window (under the edit menu). If it's not night out at the moment, you can force midnight by going to World -> Force Sun -> Midnight. You can set the sun back to default with "Revert to Region Default" in the same menu.


This command will start and shut down the inboard motor. This automatically lowers the sails if they are raised. The inboard motor is useful for navigating where wind power is impossible or unrealistic, such as in a tight marina or going up a thin strait directly into the wind with no room to tack.

Motor Movement Keys:
Left or A - Steer Left
Right or D - Steer Right
W or Forward - Increase Throttle
S or Backward - Decrease Throttle
E or Page Up - Max Throttle
C or Page Down - Cut Throttle (This will auto-brake the boat as well.)

Please note that similar to sailing mode, the boat needs water flow for the rudder to be effective, so you need at least a little bit of movement speed to change direction.


Inside "Tetra 35 v1.0 Vehicle" is a script called "Camera". This is a simple script from which you can modify the location and direction of the helmsman's third person camera. The comments within explain the changes.

v1.2 Updates


  • I increased the acceleration and top speed to fall more in line with other SL sailboats. Thanks to Yuukie Onmura and Taku Raymaker for helping me find appropriate performance for this design. Very Happy
  • The Info HUD geometry is now mod.
  • The annoying auto-renaming code in the vehicle objects has been removed. This was an old Tako feature that doesn't have much of a point here. Taking the vehicle back into inventory shouldn't cause it to rename to "Tetra v1.X" without the color suffix.
  • The sound effect for the cabin door has been replaced with a gentler version that's timed for the animation.
  • Fixed some seam issues and cleaned up some small details. There was a gash just above where the radio is now, which got sealed. I went down either side along the edges and made sure everything was as clean as I could get it. A lot of inside-facing prim connections were turned transparent to prevent the "glowing seam" effect with horizontal lighting.
  • Removed that pointless black thing on the deck near the bow to free up a prim for better use (wound up being the curtans).


  • Included in this package are two special racing attachments. You'll find them as "Lite" and "Verylite". Lite is a visual simulation of a conversion from a standard Tetra by gutting the interior and removing unnecessary equipment (like lighting, windows, speakers). This version comes in at 192 prims (the regular Tetra is 255). The ultralite version removes all but essential visual geometry, and comes in at 103 prims.
  • There's a bonus Tetra painted in two-tone blue which has a slanted bow. I don't officially support this one, but I have to note that only the two-tone and white paintjobs looks good with it. I just wanted to see how the Tetra would look with a bow like this. All the rest of the features work well.
  • Four sit targets have been installed belowdecks. Since the prim limit for the vehicle object is maxed out, I had to install these on the attachment itself. This means that you can only go below when the boat is moored, but it's pretty standard for a boat this size that you would not go down there while it's sailing. There are four places to sit: One person per bench seat, and two people on the bed. There aren't any visible "sit balls" down there, you can just click on the furniture prims (easy enough). The bed and bench has been split into two prims to enable this. The attachment is also phantom by default since avatars getting up from the interior sit spots get stuck in the boat otherwise.
  • The five two-prim cleats have been replaced with much nicer one-prim sculpty cleats. I used the extra prims gained from this to add detail elsewhere.
  • Added a sculpted sailcover that appears when the boat is moored (not being worn). This didn't replace the boom, so if you still prefer just having a boom on moor (or you like having the sails up while moored), the sail cover prim can be unlinked and deleted.
  • Replaced the ugly cube icechest with a sculpted version with rounded edges and a much nicer texture.
  • The halyards (did I get that right?) dangle down with flexi on either side of the cabin door.
  • There's a marine radio in the cabin now, for decoration. No mic though, prim use preference went elsewhere.
  • Added a curtan to the interior in front of the bed, for decoration.
  • Added a couple life preservers to the back, similar to the SW-3.

unfinished Tetra 35 Sailboats

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Page last modified on March 01, 2008, at 02:27 PM