Sailor's Delight

Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning,
Red sky at night, sailors' delight.

Sailors' Delight - a beautiful sunset, a fresh breeze, a bit of green water
over the lee rail to make things interesting.

We are seated on the weather side of the cockpit, our feet braced against
the leeward seat, ready to trim sheets as needed, while the only other
member of the crew steers. We hear only the hum of the rigging, an
occasional clank from the spare halliard against the mast, and the bubble
of water rushing past the hull.

We are thinking about...nothing!
Sailboats do that to you.


The sailboat is entirely CSG. I had decided to design an ideal weekender,
based on the 7+ years we owned a 22 footer. This one is about 27 feet,
rather beamy, with a narrow cabin to allow wide decks. You don't spend much
time below anyway. She's fiberglass, with aluminum masts for easy maintenance,
and with just a bit of wood and brass.

Wood decks are a maintenance headache, but they are used here to show
perspective via the plank lines. It should be noted that on wooden decks
of this type, there are no gaps between planks. Instead, contrasting colors
of wood are used. A step gradient with 2 wood textures was used.

The wooden handrails were an "interesting" bit of CSG to build!

There are no lifelines, as they would clutter the scene, and we never
trusted them, figuring they would break or tear off the boat.
There is always something to grab hold of on a boat this small.

Sails are sPatch. Reef points, reinforcements, and grommets were added
separately in CSG, meaning they had to be positioned empirically onto
the curved sails. In fact, the reef points are too low and too close
together, a bit of artistic license to get a good composition.

Sails are semi-transparent, with a crackle texture to simulate wrinkles.
The wrinkles mostly flatten out under wind pressure, but the discoloration
from storage remains. Seams are a gradient.

Lines (ropes) are the PIPE macro I developed for all such applications.
Texture is "checker", rotated <45,45,45> to simulate "yacht braid".

Although I usually build complete models, to allow using them in various
positions, this boat is incomplete, consisting of just what is visible
in the scene. I had too much else going on this summer.

The sky is a photo I took a month ago, actually taken from the top of a
small mountain. It was projected as an orthogonal image_map onto the

The "sun" light source for the scene was then aligned with the hot spot
in the sunset, and the light color matched, resulting in a backlit scene
that feels pretty real to me.

Water is a glass heightfield in the foreground area, using a custom texture
based on the standard Glass textures. Distant water is opaque, to allow
adding whitecaps. I wanted to make whitecaps in the foreground transparent
area, but rendering time got into the 5 day range, so I settled for
whitecaps on the opaque waves in the background only.

The water is picking up the reflected sky, resulting in the yellowish highlights.

I tried a slight variation of the water, by adding a gradient to create
whitecaps on the foreground transparent water. The render time on a P400
went up a bit:

0 hours 0 minutes 13.0 seconds (13 seconds)parse
131 hours 39 minutes 14.0 seconds (473954 seconds)trace
131 hours 39 minutes 27.0 seconds (473967 seconds)total
5 days 11 hours 39 minutes 28 secondstotal

...I didn't use that version, it didn't even look very good!

I originally had a headland in the scene, but took it out, to make it
ambiguous whether we are a mile offshore, or in the middle of the ocean.
This is one of the common sensations of sailing, of being isolated from
the land, even if it is nearby.

Copyright 2002, 2003 North East Systems