Reviews

(c)Detroit Free Press Inc. All rts. reserv. 08023818 FORGET THE BOOKS, VIDEOS; LEARN TO SAIL WITH A PC Detroit Free Press (FP) - FRIDAY June 30, 1995 By: WYLIE GERDES Edition: METRO FINAL Section: SPT Page: 9D Word Count: 800

MEMO: Boating

Learning to sail is a tricky business. Most adults want an intellectual base to build on before they try it, and much about sailing is not easy to grasp intuitively. We want to know what we are getting into before we get our feet wet, yet books cannot do sailing justice and videos might not start where we want to start and get us where we want to go. Enter the PC, the genie that (usually) obeys every wish. And a CD-ROM that is graphic enough to show instead of tell, and interactive enough to let the would-be skipper navigate on his own. Learn to Sail! with Multimedia! the CD-ROM, has the basics, the definitions of boat parts and rigs that seem to be included in every sailing text -- like beginners' need to know the difference between a schooner and a barkentine, or a jib and genoa. But it does a great job with other important topics, enhancing the information with graphics. The knots and weather sections are terrific, for example. Most of all, the computer format allows the learner to absorb at his or her own pace. Any topic is available at a click of the mouse; you can watch a bowline being tied over and over until you get it right. A Massachusetts sailor, Linda Cullum, put together the Learn to Sail! with Multimedia! CD-ROM. A musician, she composed the original music on the disc and also sings it.

"Without learning about weather, you can't sail the boat. You can't sail without knowing knots. You can't sail without knowing navigation, what the buoys and markers mean. The disc gives you an overview of each of these areas, and then goes into depth..."

Two of the finest sailing instruction books have been written by Detroit area sailors; neither book has the impact of Learn to Sail! with Multimedia!

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Up to the Minute CD-ROM Rating: No Pain, Some Gain?

If you want to take up a new sport this summer but you can’t stand the heat, how about a Cyberspace workout? New CD-ROMs will show you how to play or sport if you are a beginner or how to play better if you are a little more advanced. In this week’s segment of “UTTM CD-ROM RATING,” Fred Fishkin, a reporter at WCBS Radio in New York and the host of the CBS RADIO NETWORK'S daily computer and technology report “BOOT CAMP,” joined CBS News Correspondent Rick Jackson to show us that “no pain” does not necessarily mean “no gain.”

There are quite a few sports CD-ROMs to choose from. Fred pointed out that the CD-ROMs have some advantages over instructional videotapes because they let you skip around to different topics easily and almost instantly. That’s right, no rewinding required in the digital age.

The first CD-ROM we looked at was Learn to Sail! with Multimedia! Some of the subjects on the CD-ROM deal with different kinds of common sailboats, knot tying, piloting, navigation, and weather. This CD-ROM will show you how to tie a knot, tack, or jibe with real audio/video demonstrations. It also has a glossary of sailing terms. . We gave Learn to Sail! with Multimedia! a -7- for sound and graphics, an -8- for ease of use, and an -8- on the worth the time scale. Its total cumulative score was a -7.6-.

The CBS News Broadcast Up to the Minute airs Monday through Friday mornings between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. The "UTTM CD-ROM Rating" can be seen every Tuesday morning. Check your local listings for actual broadcast times in your market.

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The Star-Ledger  Newwark, NJ

Sailing Charles Zusman

 

Making wintertime funtime…while soaking up know-how about sailing

So much to know, so little time. The new sailor may well be daunted by what seems an ocean of information connected with the sport-knots, weather, and rules of the road, navigation…
    There are plenty of books that cover the subject, and the winter is a good time for the beginner to buckle down and study. It will soon be spring and time to take to the water with that newfound knowledge.
    Sailing, however, is such a tactile, colorful sport; the mere printed page is somehow, well, too dry. For those inclined to do their book-learning with the help of a mouse, keyboard and screen, a computer multimedia approach can speed the learning process and help the winter months fly by.
   One product that does the job nicely is Learn to Sail, from Little Pines Multimedia of Dennis Mass., on Cape Cod. It is a single CD package that encompasses a complete sailing textbook. But it’s more than a textbook-it talks, shows videos, makes its points via animation, and with the point-and-click attribute of the computer, lets the reader freely move back and forth from page to page, chapter to chapter.
    Ever try to learn to tie a knot from a book? You can do it, but how much better to combine the sequential drawings with spoken instructions and a video of a person actually tying the knot. Using this program, you can take a piece of rope and play along, step by step, with the voice and the video, which you can replay as often as needed. Enough times and tying the knot becomes second nature. I tried it with an anchor bend, a new one for me. It was effortless, fun, and now I’m a whiz at tying it.
    It’s a great accompaniment to sailing lessons, said Linda Cullum of Little Pines, who put the program together. She stressed the package is not a simulator, in which you control a computer model of a boat, but rather a digital textbook that delivers information in an entertaining, interactive way.
   The program is divided into chapters: Small boat handling, knots and cordage, rules of the road, weather, navigation and piloting. One Chapter, "Advanced Topics", explains the technical theory of sailing, how wind and balance make the boat go. This chapter also covers jib and spinnaker handling, and reefing.
    The reader moves through the topics with mouse clicks, and in many instances can choose to run a short video. The video material is from Sail Magazine, by the way. Material is presented by voice, which is played concurrently with displayed text. And there are quizzes along the way to test your knowledge.
    Most instructional books contain a glossary, and Learn to Sail! is no different. It’s just that the computer makes it so much easier and faster to use. Forgot what a cringle is? Call up the glossary, click on the word and there it is: "A ring sewn into the sail through which a line or shackle can be passed." It’s that quick.
    The program is billed for beginner to intermediate. I take pride in possessing a certain body of knowledge on the subject of sailing. After a few sessions with this basic program, however, I know some things and understand others I didn’t know before. I’m embarrassed to say what they are.
    How much material does the CD contain? The label says 500 megabytes, which includes narration and animation. Cullum said in terms of text, there are 150,000 words. The program took two years to put together, Cullum said, and the material was compiled by a team of sailing experts.

Learn to Sail! sells for $59.95. 

Charles Zusman appears regularly in The Sunday Star-Ledger