Should I go for famous real life sailors I admire like Robin Knox-Johnston and Ben Ainslie, or should I sail off into the lands of myth and legend and invite Ulysses and Erik the Red? Should I get together with some of my real life sailing pals like That Guy and The Other Guy, or should I invite some of the friends I have made through blogging?
None of the above.
Here is my guest list...
Never heard of them? Let me enlighten you. The sailors on my list are some of the leading lights in the online multi-player sailing tactical simulator known as Sailx.
I've never met any of these guys in the flesh. (At least as far as I know. You never know who the people you are sailing against really are in Sailx. And I'm assuming they are all guys, not gals. They sound like guys.) But I have "interacted" with them all in various ways within the Sailx universe and so, although I only know them as little groups of pixels looking like toy sailboats, I do feel I have learned something about their personalities.
Sailing_Rugger is currently leading the Sailx rankings so I'd want to pick his brains about how he manages to sail so well. We "met" quite a while ago during the wild and woolly early days of the game when it was still known as Tacticat so he feels like an old friend.
CAN_2809 is a pretty fine sailor too, and I'm inviting him because he's also a software engineer and, judging by what he's written in the Sailx forum, he's super smart at working out ways to "hack" Sailx like finding ways to see the start line or the wind over the course better. Hey, a duffer like me who is as bad at virtual sailing as he is at real-life sailing needs all the help he can get.
LaserManDan is one of the Sailx regulars, and founder member of one of the top teams on Sailx. I'm inviting him because we discovered while chatting in between races that he is the son of one of the guys I used to sail with at my first (real-life) sailing club, the one I wrote about in Where It All Started. Hey Dan, bring your Dad to the party too.
And then we have Dogwatch and Enterprise. I'm inviting them because they were the main players in a couple of virtual protest hearings I recently got involved in on the Sailx protest forum. Yeah, I know I complained before about how the "sea lawyers" have ruined the game. But Dogwatch took the trouble to protest me in a couple of races, so I entered into the spirit of the game by doing a bit of sea-lawyering to defend myself.
Neither of the protests were clear cut so I argued my case with every technique I could devise. When the facts were against me I argued the rules. When the rules were against me I argued the facts. I introduced various side-issues to muddy the waters. I pounced on the slightest mistake made my opponent and used his own words against him. Emotions ran high. The arguments raged on and on as Dogwatch turned out to be as fierce and as devious an advocate as myself.
Enterprise was the "moderator" who effectively volunteered to be the protest committee chairman for us, to hear all the arguments from the protagonists and any other players or moderators who wanted to express an opinion, and then to make a decision. I probably drove him crazy with my persistence and verbal diarrhea. In the end he exercised the wisdom of Solomon and decided to leave one protest "unresolved" (effectively a win for me in its scoring impact) and decided the other one in Dogwatch's favor.
So I'm inviting Enterprise and Dogwatch to the party to show there are no hard feelings and because they both sound like chaps who are extremely knowledgeable about sailing and the racing rules. I'm sure we'd probably all be enjoying another heated argument after a couple of beers.
Last but not least, we couldn't have a Sailx party without aestela. Aestela is the founder, creator, chief programmer, chief moderator, chief "everything" behind Sailx, a.k.a as "god" within the game. Sailx wouldn't exist without his drive and vision. I'm sure the rest of us would raise a toast (or three) in his honor at the party.