Sail Simulator lists for almost $40, but it is a fairly restricted market. It is primarily aimed at the sailing fraternity as a tool for teaching racing sailing and tactics. It does this amazingly well, with boats ranging from a lazer up to a 2008/9 Volvo Ocean Racer Series. All the sails and sheets are controllable, or can be delegated to an AI crewman. I really appreciated all the "toys" from adjustable backstays, dagger-boards and travellers to something I have never had the opportunity to use in RL, a swing keel....not the common-or-garden up-and-down swinger such as I had on my Beneteau First, but a side-to-side swinger which counteracts "heel" remarkably.
Having done a little racing-sailing in the English channel many moons ago, I was transported right back to those days by the lovely soundtrack of rising and falling wind noise, the sound of flogging mylar, and the excellently rendered seas. That most evocative of all boatyard sounds, halliards rattling against the mast, also raises it ugly head if you drift with bare poles awaiting the start of a race. I also love the behaviour of the vessels which realistically tend to broach on a waveback when sailing at the limit, just like the real thing, calling for a constant attention to the wheel or tiller. The only thing missing is the "feel" of the wheel or tiller in your hand, perhaps I need a force-feedback stick!
While there are no AI boats to race against, perhaps the nicest surprise with this program lies in the "On-Line" racing which is excellent and addictive as hell. It tends to be best at "European" times...ie. fairly early evening, as I don't think many Americans have the program yet. Perhaps now GamersGate is offering the program at a bargain 50% off of $19.97 until May 30th (HERE) this will change and we will see more boats sporting the Stars and Stripes on their mainsails in the online races. But the standard of racing is good, and I'm getting my butt kicked as a total Noob. Trying to sail the lazer or the Dutch Valk reminded me what a bloody awful dingy-sailor I am! I shall shortly be posting a review of this fine sim should you not be immediately convinced by this very attractive discount.