Material Information

Virtually learning to sail
Steward, Cody
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
College of Fine Arts; University of Florida
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis


Subjects / Keywords:
Learning ( jstor )
Learning experiences ( jstor )
Railroad bridges ( jstor )
Sailing ( jstor )
Sails ( jstor )
Sports ( jstor )
Teachers ( jstor )
Training devices ( jstor )
Video games ( jstor )
Wind surfing ( jstor )


The aim of my project is to create a virtual trainer for windsurfing. The skill of sailing applies to several individual sports, and once mastered can be applied to all. I have been a US Sailing Windsurfing Instructor for ten years and have seen the positives and negatives of the current instructional methods. I also have worked for several companies developing military training simulators, and have been studying video game theory and design for the past few years. These influences have inspired me to bridge the gap of classroom learning and on the water learning for windsurfing with a virtual trainer (serious game). I propose to teach the Points of Sail through a first person video game experience. Points of sail is a universal sailing theory that applies to all sailing sports. It revolves around reading the direction of the wind and sailing on an angle in reference to that wind. It's works much the same as locating north with a compass and hiking at an angle relative to the compass' readings. I propose to combine elements of the current paper-based instruction on points of sail and the experience of first person simulation to create a single tool that provides both of these teaching tools at once. This tool will be design for windsurfing but the lessons and mechanics will be applicable to all sailing crafts. The user will control a windsurfer in first person view within CE3. The view will be the same as real life, with the user's view free but the body restricted. This will provide a similar “feel” to real life windsurfing. A head's up display (HUD) in the game will display similar graphics to the diagrams that are used in the current instructional book material. A top-down view of the windsurfer will be shown in a compass-like setup that has “north” as the wind direction. The sail will move depending on the user's input for steering, and the board will turn as a reaction to the sail control. This top-down view is the current visual tool for teaching points of sail on paper. HUD's are a common feature in most video games. Users are used to filtering the information given by the HUD while playing the game. Combining this with the realism of a first person experience will help the user to process all of the different information involved in the points of sail. This setup will engage the user in a reading-while-doing method of learning. Windsurfing is a sport that falls into many categories. It is family friendly but also an extreme sport. There is no age, size, or physical ability limits to the sport. It is far more accessible than sailing a boat. Yet unfortunately many people are scared off by its seemingly complex nature. Windsurfing is a niche sport in America due to misconception. In the constant effort to spread the sport and make it more accessible to people there has been little done in the field of instruction. Current instructional methods are certainly adequate and thorough in their presentation and ability to teach, but they are limited by their analogue delivery. Students must either sit on land and read a book, or travel to a location with an experienced professional during ideal conditions. A book can only go so far in a physical sport, and location and conditions may never be ideal or possible in certain areas. Add the need for a trained professional and there is quite a limited supply of learning opportunities. A virtual trainer would not only bridge the gap between these two instruction methods, but also be infinitely available to anyone, anywhere, at any time. A landlocked person in the mountains could process more information than a simple book can deliver, and know everything except the feel of power in the sail, before heading off to vacation at a sailing resort. The current instructional methods are static and not easily adapted to unique situations. A virtual learning space would allow ultimate control on the part of the instructor. This kind of control would allow for much easier adaptation to unusual circumstances.
General Note:
Digital Arts and Sciences terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item is only available as the following downloads: