NB: The original post is on page 4, this is its replacement.
Please ignore it; its there for reference only.
For the shipbuilding section please click here (still needs simplifying and powered hull sections)
Heres a picture showing how to sail in any direction relative to the wind:
http://whitemountain...nts of Sail.bmp
Confused? Too complicated? Don't worry about it, . You don't need to know any of those names and theres a simple pattern to the angle you set youre sails at. The sails angle closer to the centre of the boat the closer it points to the wind, heres some guidelines:
1. When the wind is behind you: your sails are all the way out
2. As you turn "closer" to the wind: you pull them in
3. If you let your sails out too far they will start to flap (protip, a flapping sail is doing nothing)
4. The further you pull them in beyond where they stop flapping, the less speed they give you
So, you're trying to let your sails out to the "sweet spot" where they're out as far as they can go without flapping. Still confused? Follow the golden rules:
These three rules are all anyone needs to know about how to sail in minecraft:
1. Point where you want to go.
2. Let your sails out until they start flapping.
3. Pull them in slightly so they stop.
The only real complication is the fact that a boat can't sail closer to the wind than 45 degrees (close hauled). It the boat turns any closer the wind will start making the sails flap no matter how close you pull them in, so you have to zig zag.
Nothing difficult, just the WASD we all know and love. "A" and "D" steer left and right. "W" lets your sails out and "S" pulls them in.
Originally I wanted wind strength and all kinds of things. Unfortunately its people didn't like the complication. So:
1. Wind can come from any one of eight directions (N NE E SE S SW W NW).
2. You can tell which way the wind is coming from by looking at a little triangular flag at the top of your mast (a "burgee," think windsock)
So what do you think? I don't think it would take a massive amount of coding. I reckon most people should be able to learn it quickly enough and its a nice little challange for crossing open water compared the trials and tribulations of holding down "W" long enough, . I've made this as simple as it can get while still recognisably representing sailing, but if it still confuses people too much I guess thats that.
(PS, if wind changing direction is too much, just make it always blow from the south, it would make sense with the clouds always going north anyway).