Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back to Boatwork

I've got a few projects on the table before I can get sailing again. With the collapse of my mainfoil in Harbor Springs I need to resurrect my original mainfoil I built in the fall of '07 with Gui's guidance. The foil is a bit fat by today's standards but does work. It will be mated to a strut I built last spring from John Z's mold. The strut is pretty strong (maple core) but a bit shorter than the current trends. I've decided that the pair will not be separable - I'll glue and carbon the tee-joint to try to git it a bit more strength. I'll also have to layup a well section and build a new cassette to fit the boat. My top end adjustable feature is working fine so I should be able to tweak the AoA and find the best position after a few sails. There will undoubtably be some tweaks to the bell crank and pushrod. I'll be using a 2.5 mm FC pushrod that broke at the bottom end but will be long enough for my shorter strut. I'll have to dig out the tapped barrel in the flap and re-tap to the larger size (I had been using 1/8" pushrod.)   The ultimate long term goal after saving lots of pennies will be to fit a new production strut and mainfoil from one of the professional builders.

I'm also finishing off a new gantry (my third.)  My existing gantry is kludged together after failing in the Gorge. The "agricultural repair" (as Bear put it) has held up, but I'd like to loose the aluminum plate and the through bolts. The new gantry keeps the forward cant of the rudder but should be lighter and stronger. It is also cleaner, without the bottle screw and fairing of my existing gantry. 

Lastly, I'm tweaking the rack's front end. To make the rack system able to be taken apart I had included a sleeve and throughbolt on one side. There has developed some wear and play which caused me to lose rig tension during the course of a sail. The beefed up rack should be able to take the rig and hiking loads without shifting.

My goal is to have everything done by mid September. There is a long distance race that weekend that I'd like to sail in and then the HHPDO in October.  Of course, everything will have to be fit in around school since it's back in session now.  Pics to follow in future posts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Internet Mothing - the Bar is Raised

For the past few days I have been mesmerized by the TracTrac link for the Euros. I fire up the computer and while the Java link prompts me to fetch my coffee I eagerly wait while the data is loaded.

The ability to vacariously participate is really cool. What's happening ashore before the RC leaves? Highlight via the selection tab various players and take a look!
By the selection process I can foresee lots of stories to tell with data to back them up. Like when before the gun in race #13 when Amac came screaming down for a dip start:
Or how Chris seemed to consistently nail his starts (here's race #7):
Or when Amac blew over Arnaud at the top mark to beat the whole fleet on the first leg of race #12:
Of course the epic battle between Bora and Nate was the focus of much of my time. The leader line and the distance behind was monitored at each tack, and how in some conditions the speed indicated dropping off the foils for one and executing a fully foiling tack for the other (for example approaching the top mark in race #13 where Nate was 130 meters ahead at 13:19 but after three excruciating slow tacks where his speed dropped below 5 kts each time, Bora needed only two tacks to round and kept foiling the entire time to build a lead of 367 meters.) After this rounding, Bora went on to handlily win the race. These lead changes of 500 meters in just three minutes will be the source of bar tales in years to come.
Now everything wasn't perfect. I suppose the best presentation would be to superimpose the GPS data with a live helicopter feed a la America's Cup coverage. Maybe in Belmont??

Monday, August 16, 2010

Silvaplana from a nice warm computer

The reports of ice and snow melt flowing into the lake make me glad I'm not there. Brrrrr... Cold water just does not sit well with my 56 year old body full of blood thinners.  The TracTrac is interesting, but obviously having some glitches. Maybe only half the fleet launched for the practice race - maybe only half the units were working. One obviously glitch was seeing Arnaud's boat magically appear at the weather mark at 4:58 into the race. Did he just turn the unit on then?  At any rate, it will be interesting to see the real time speeds and angles (or even on the replay.) Exactly how much does the speed drop on the tacks?  Who can get the boat back up to speed quickest?  The Aussie contingent seemed to be the team to beat.

Back to more about the GOOD of the NAs: Lake Michigan was about 74 degrees (23 degrees Celsius). Little Traverse Bay is favored with a reliable sea breeze from 270 around 1200 (or a bit later,) and a choice of sailing close to the shore or south of Harbor Point. The only drawback (though certainly not from the sailor's perspective, but that of the RC)  is the deep water. We were sailing in water about 100 feet (30 meters) deep. The depths at the shorelines are such that there's little chance of running aground; besides, the crystal clear water easily allows you to see the shelving. 

View Larger Map
It was extremely neat to see the foil operating. I normally sail in the turbid Chesapeake Bay and even when I've been able to make out the foil, the silt and salinity combine to obscure the details. At Harbor Springs it was like I was looking through a divers mask. Even when low riding the knckle of the bow was clear and sharp -- really neat.

The grassy park we launched from was adjacent to Irish Boat Shop, a full service marina. When a thunderstorm was possible one evening, we were allowed to roll our boats fully rigged into their bay.  The entire town went out of their way to support the moths. When the kayak ramp had a couple of pipes sticking up at the end of the floating dock, a quick phone call resulting in parks and recreation employees bringing out a sawsall to cut the pipes down. Where else would that happen?

All US and Canada mothies should plan on attending next year !

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In a nutshell, here are my thoughts about the recent NAs:

GOOD- Everything about Harbor Springs: the hospitality, the crystal clear warm fresh water, the rigging area, the racing venue. I WILL be back next year!
BAD- I blew up my mainfoil on the first beat and sailed the rest of the regatta in lowriding mode.
UGLY- on the ride home, in the mountains of West Virginia after about 15miles of 10% grades, the automatic transmission on the minivan gave up. I just arrived home last night after a $2700 repair job to AAMCO.

More later.
Good luck to those in Silvaplana. Stay warm....