Sunday, November 30, 2008

Have you heard the one about the 3 holes in the ground?

...well, well, well.

Bill designed the Hungry Beaver with an over-sized well: 230cm long and 30cm wide. The board is held in position with hard plastic inserts top and bottom. Below is a scan of the bottom insert. The ability of using different inserts allows different foil sections, forward rake and even, to some aspect, fore and aft position.

Between the top and the bottom of the well inserts the board has lots of space all around it. So here's a thought: Does the cantilever arrangement of two points in the HB well allow more flex than a cantilever arrangement with a board in a snug fitting well top to bottom?

My first thought is "no," most wells are strongly braced at the deck and at the hull but have some flex in the middle section. So even in a foil-shaped well the structure is effectively what we're using with the HB. Right now I'm awaiting the foil section and rake position from Amac of my new strut to machine matching new inserts.

Today's musical section is an oldie. One Wiki answer has this trivia: The "John" referred in the title is the reincarnated author of the book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse.) The Dead were influenced by Neal Cassady who had a healthy respect for Edgar Cayce. Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment has a headquarters in Virginia Beach, not more that 15 miles from my house.

Uncle John's Band music and lyrics by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.
Sung by the Grateful Dead

Well the first days are the hardest days,
Don't you worry any more, 'Cause when life looks like easy
Street, there is danger at your door.
Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
Woh - oh, what I want to know, is are you kind?

It's a buck dancer's choice my friend; better take my advice.
You know all the rules by now and the fire from ice.
Will you come with me, won't you come with me?
Woh - oh, what I want to know, will you come with me?

Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like?
Their walls are built of cannonballs, their motto is
Don't tread on me. Come hear Uncle John's Band playing
To the tide, come with me, or go alone.

It's the same story the crow told me;
It's the only one he knows.
Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go.
Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait,
Woh - oh, what I want to know, where does the time go?

I live in a silver mine and I call it Beggar's Tomb;
I got me a violin and I beg you call the tune
Anybody's choice, I can hear your voice.
Woh - oh, what I want to know, how does the song go?

Come hear the Uncle John's Band by the riverside
Got some things to talk about, here beside the risin' tide
Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tide,
Come on along, or go alone,
He's come to take his children home.
Woh - oh, what I want to know, how does the song go?

Come hear Uncle John's Band by the riverside,
Got some things to talk about here beside the risin' tide.
Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tide, come on
Along or go alone, he's come to take his children home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

'09 Worlds - Race and Holiday

A recent query by Nige about next year's worlds at Cascade Locks got me thinking about a vacation my wife and I had in 2004. That summer we rode 4200 miles across the US on a bike (that's a "push-bike" for you Brits,) starting in Oregon and ending 69 days later in Virginia. The journal of our trip is posted on the Crazyguyonabike site here. One thing we remembered is that Oregon was our most favorite state. We were astonished by the state's natural beauty and the varied ecosystems withing short distances. Yes, Oregon itself can be a holiday destination all in and of itself. I'll leave to the West Coast contingent to provide specifics, but Susan and I know that we'll enjoy our trip to Oregon next August, regardless of the sailing results.

The mention of a reduced number of entries also brought to mind the last Moth worlds held in the US - at Ware River, Virginia in 1976. If I recall we only had about 35 competitors, and only two top international mothies - John Claridge, the reigning European Champion (who finished 3rd), and Peter Moor, the Australian Champion (a scow sailor who finished 2nd, in a chartered skiff!). John sold his Magnum2 after the race to Ted Causey, the eventual winner. As Claridge found 33 years ago, I suppose there is some sense in selling a boat after the regatta to avoid shipping costs to get it back. With the strong US dollar (this week, anyway) many international competitors may get a good financial return to enable the purchase of the newest iteration back home. The US fleet benefits with the addition of well setup, competitive boats. Maybe the US as a venue will again find only half the number of this year's Weymouth Worlds. In 1977, the year after Ware River Worlds, we had about 85 competitors at Hayling Island, with only 3 Yanks. As a piece of trivia, I finished 7th at Ware River and 16th at Hayling Island. I was also 32 years younger!

Well, so much for stories. With the boat packed away, I'm headed out on my bike. Enjoy the music.

The Acoustic Motorbike - by Luka Bloom

The day began with a rainbow in the sand
As I cycled into Kerry
Cattle grazing on a steep hillside
Looked well fed, well balanced
Close to the edge

Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

I take a break, I close my eyes
And I'm happy as the dolphin
In a quiet spot talking to myself
Talking about the rain
Talking about the rain
All this rain

Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

You see whenever I'm alone
I tend to brood
But when I'm out on my bike
It's a different mood
I leave my brain at home
Get up on the saddle
No hanging around
I don't diddle-daddle

I work my legs
I pump my thights
Take in the scenery passing me by
The Kerry mountains or the Wicklow hills
The antidote to my emotional ills
A motion built upon human toil
Nuclear free needs no oil
But it makes me hot, makes me hard
I never thought I could have come this far
Through miles of mountains, valleys, streams
This is the right stuff filling my dreams
So come on, get up on your bike
Ah go on, get up on your bike

Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

With my face to that bitter wind
I bombed it into Killarney
Skin raw like a sushi dinner
And an appetite
That would eat the hind leg of the lamb of God
Even though you know
I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing
Then settle down for a quiet night
Think about what I've seen and done
And wonder

There's a reason for this
Now is the time
To speak of the problem troubling my mind
Sick of the traffic choking our towns
Freaking me out, bringing me down
Knock down houses, build more lanes
Once was a problem, now it's insane
My solution it's one that I like
It's motive
The Acoustic Motorbike
So come on, get up on your bike
Ah go on, get up on your bike

Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

Ah go on
Ah go on
Get up on your bike
Get up on your bike

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gantry revolution, evolution or retroversion?

Some thoughts about the rendering of the Mach 2 gantry: Amac seems to have abandoned the molded panel approach that he used on the Bladerider and has gone back to tubes as used on the Prowler, albeit with a small fairing around the bottom tube. Weight and cost were probably considerations, but possibly he saw my minimal fairing and thought “Joe’s a genius!”

All kidding aside, why the retroversion? Since the Mach 2’s hull is cut away to angle the ‘transom,’ as it is, forward, any paneled gantry would necessarily be significantly larger and thus heavier (though still lighter than the hull sections it would replace.) Here’s my guess: I think that the visual profile from abeam had a lot to do with the decision. With a paneled gantry the cutaway look of the Mach 2’s stern would not be evident when photographed from afar and might be mistaken for a BR. The tubular gantry highlights the gap between rudder and deck, making the distinctive stern all the more noticeable. Additionally, the slight fairing and forward canted rudder easily distinguish the Mach 2’s tubular gantry from the Prowler4 gantry. Anybody else have a guess?

Another point mentioned on the Mach 2 website is the lack of a rudder box to “minimize play and reduce complexity.” In my mind that means the tiller is fixed to the rudder. While there may be fewer pieces, I’m trying to figure out how the three mutually perpendicular lengths (tiller, rudder, foil) can easily be transported. Add the hiking stick on and it seems to be quite a gangly contraption. I’m all for reducing slop, but am at a loss to see the benefit of no rudder box. Any ideas?

As you may have noticed, I’ll be adding bits of music with each post. Feel free to click the “pause” icon if you don’t want to draw attention at work ;-)

Boats to Build, Lyrics by Guy Clark
Sung by Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson

It's time for a change
I'm tired of that same ol same
The same ol words the same ol lines
The same ol tricks and the same ol rhymes

Days precious days
Roll in and out like waves
I got boards to bend I got planks to nail
I got charts to make I got seas to sail

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
She’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Sails are just like wings
The wind can make em sing
Songs of life songs of hope
Songs to keep your dreams afloat

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
She’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Shores distant shores
There’s where I'm headed for
I got the stars to guide my way
Sail into the light of day

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
She’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Falling slowly...

...again under the spell of the home-builders' addiction.

The recent computer rendering of the Mach 2's forward raked gantry and a post on Phil's blog about replacing the wand cable with carbon tubes to reduce weight have got me itching to mix resin and play with carbon. Unfortunately the outside temperature has also been falling. Snow flurries last night and with a northwest breeze today, the wind chill is in the teens (that's ~ minus8C for you metric folk.) This time last year, because I don't have a heated shop space, I was gluing rack tubes on the kitchen floor (did I mention that my wife is a saint?) so I may be back to the kitchen for the new bits. But first, I had to drag out the list of suppliers, that with Bill's help, I've managed to find. For those who may want the info, here it is:

Selected Sources for Home Builders:

Euro-Composites (Elkwood, Virginia) Nomex honeycomb core material

Composite Engineering/Ted Van Dusen (Massachusetts) Custom carbon rack tubes

Goodwinds Kites (Washington – Pacific NW) Small diameter carbon tubes.

Soller Composites (New Hampshire) Uni-directional carbon

McMaster-Carr (Chicago) Grade G10 Garolite rod/sheet; general industrial supplies

Applied Vehicle Technology (Indiana) Carbon cloth

Eastern Burlap (Norfolk) WEST epoxy resin/vacuum bagging supplies

West Marine (Annapolis) Starboard cassette material, Corecell foam, other supplies

Annapolis Performance Sailing (Annapolis) UHMW tape, other supplies & hardware

Aircraft Spruce (Georgia) Kevlar fabric

I get the majority of the supplies via the mail, except for the stuff from Eastern Burlap, a local business that I've used since the early '70s when I built my first boat, a Stockholm Sprite. I have found that when I'm in the build thinking mode, most of the time is spent contemplating design and process, and there's relatively little actual shop-time (or kitchen-time as the case may be.) So at this point I'm beginning to visualize, continuing to discuss with Bill, my advisor on all things Beaver, and post to and receive from Phil, Doug, Karl and the rest of the mothosphere blog comments about design and engineering.

The music is on, stay tuned.

Glen Hansard - Falling Slowly Lyrics

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mach2, redux

Wow! So according to the just released website, Si will sail the first boat in January at the Bloody Mary (heat up the hot toddy!) and then Amac and Si will compete in the Australian Nationals a couple of weeks later. So it seems that production must be well under way. Additional boats will be bought for the 2009 season by noted folks (Arnaud Psarofaghis and Ossie Stewart.) I hope this means my new foils are either in the process of being built or at least in the production queue. If great performance gains are to be made my bet is that they will come from the foils and rig and not so much from the hull, regardless of how sexy it looks.

The forward canted rudder seems intriguing. For next season I may go with two different rudder set-ups. One would be my existing rudder and gantry. A second could be a new gantry and rudder to mimic the Mach 2's angle. In addition to the modified gantry such an addition would require a new strut and lifting foil and a new rudder box and tiller, so the material costs aren't insignificant (at least $400.) We'll have to see...

Oh yeah, I did get a mention from Andrew Brown on my standing in the blog competition. Perhaps he saved his last comment for the best???

Monday, November 17, 2008

Everybody in the Pool!

The blog aggregator seems to be pulling everybody into the pool. From the postings since mid-August I count 26 different authors, some with but one entry (Sam) others with bunches (yours truly), some with super interesting content (Bruce and Luka's Mothcast - too bad it's only posted monthly), some with inane content (hey! click here!). It's great reading all the thoughts rumbling throughout the mothosphere. I particularly look forward to the comments from the movers and shakers in the class (Scott, Si, Bruce, Phil, Bora, Karl, Doug, Adam, and others.) I'm sure the World Championship Moth Blog committee of Matt, Andrew, and Glenn have their hands full. It would be interesting to get their up-to-date thoughts of the front runners.

So, here's the take on water temperature, as indicated by those who took the recent poll. It seems that there are some true die-hards among us (9/34 say that only when the water freezes is it "too cold.") Most folks start to complain at around 10C. As Si mentioned in a recent post, even water temperatures of 11C can cause ventilation, freezing feet and control lines that start to erode skin. We in the Northern Hemisphere tend to either shut down this time of year or, if schedule and finances permit (Bora), head Down Under to the upcoming summer. Thanks to the 34 people who submitted input. I'm looking forward to the results of Simon Propper's poll on the UK Website.

The invitation is still open to include YOU, yes YOU, as a "mothie following this blog." Com'on in, the water's fine.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Morning Light and Wacky Weather

This afternoon I took in the movie Morning Light at a 12:30 matinee. Almost all of the Hampton Roads sailing community was there. Ironic because the weather was more like September than November. With the bay water temperature still at 60 degrees F, the air temperature in the upper seventies, and the breeze between 10 and 20 mph, if this was May everybody would have been out sailing. As it was, since it's mid-November, most folks have shut down the sailing urges and are relegated to getting their fix via the cinema or the web.

Oh yeah, the movie. Pretty good for a documentary. You should try to catch it if you can. The official website is overly complicated but there's a reasonable copy of the trailer on You Tube.

Just a dozen hours left to weight in on the poll about water temperature. My commentary tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From half-way around the world

The bits came Monday from John Harris. Not bad - only eight days from when he dropped them in the post in Sydney until they arrived at my front door in Norfolk, halfway around the world. I've yet to weigh the rings but I suspect they'll be probably one tenth the weight of the blocks they'll replace. Does anyone want to buy a couple of Ronstan high load blocks (pictured below)?

Oh yeah, thanks to the couple of dozen folks who have taken the poll. I'll wait until the weekend for as many mothies as possible to weigh in before I put in my two cents worth.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

When do you stop/start sailing?

I've been following a discussion on the UK Yahoo! Groups list about regatta dates for next season. Four of the proposed events are before the end of May, the traditional beginning of the sailing season on the US East coast. One event, the open meeting at Parkstone, is actually slated to start on Feb 28th. Now, such a proposed date for Chesapeake sailors would be laughed at out loud. Even if you could gather together enough sailors to brave the water temperature (the average water temperature in the winter is 4.3C and in the spring 11.9C) you wouldn't find any club members to run the races. February and early March is still skiing season. Boats come out of storage at the earliest for an April launch. Before that, sailing in confined to "midwinter" event in Florida.

No, sailing on the east coast is at most a three season affair, but in many clubs it is restricted to the months of May-October. When I got to Weymouth I was surprised at the water temperature and ended up buying the "super-warm" skiff suit and top from Gary. With all of my swimming even that wasn't enough. So, I'm wondering when mothies around the would say the water is "too cold."

If you're following this blog, take the poll. The poll will be open for a week and I'll discuss the results next weekend.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Economic Craziness

The pic above shows what I paid for gas today. The dollar is bouncing around. The graph below shows the movement in the past year of the dollar against the Euro. For comparison, the cost of gas (petrol) in my area is the equivalent of .40Euro per liter and that includes taxes! I don't know why is the price dropping, but I've read it's because of the worldwide slowdown that is decreasing the demand for crude.

I suspect that airline ticket prices will also continue to drop. I looked at prices for a round trip in August from Heathrow to Portland and back as if I was a Brit going to attend the Gorge Worlds. Base price is as low as $900 on American Airlines. I haven't looked at the Virgin site, but would if I were going to try to fly with a boat!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hotdogging in Rye

Yesterday in the mail I got the picture cd of the racing at the AYC HPDO regatta. Consistent foiling was really only possible on the first day before the warning, so when I saw the guy in the inflatable with the long lens camera I made a mad dash toward him for a "hot dog" shot. Let's see.... hike out with only one foot under the strap. Whoops! the other foot slips out. Yeah, Peter doesn't have the only boat that can foil by itself...

On Sunday the breeze was so light that I was in low-rider mode only. With the cable disconnected and the wand raised up I felt I was back in the seventies working my plywood boat upwind. Lots of bow-down attitude to keep the stern (and now, gantry) from dragging. My speed made good upwind was as high as anyone else's, except for Chris who just managed to just beat me to the weather mark by lots of pumping and close reaching to get up on the foils.

Photos courtesy of “”.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change in America

After too many years of questionable decisions, both on the part of the electorate and of the present administration, a majority of the voters decided to go with, what Colin Powell called, a man who shows "intellectual vigor." An an educator I'm glad that the United States has chosen someone who might arguably be one of the brightest minds of his generation.

Not moth related, except that we all know moth sailors (and especially designers and builders) have some of the keenest minds on the water.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dollars and Sense

I just purchased the hi-tech vang strops #1 and #2 that include the SRS round thimbles from Sailingbits. The web price was AUD114.30 and according to the Convert website the bits will cost me about US$75. So the weak Australian dollar allows me to get some nice pieces for a smaller cost. Unfortunately, the foil purchase won't go the same route. Amac decided to re-quote the foils from AU$1980 to US$1986 since his cost base is primarily based in our currency. I will still get my new foils (hopefully in about three months) but won't benefit from the currency fluctuation.

The boat has been broken down for the season. I'll be reworking the wand system and will need to build a new cassette for the new board. I also hope to layup another rudder and aft foil before spring. Until then I'll be paying off debts and hopefully saving enough for the trip to Oregon in August. Let's see....Mapquest say it's about a round trip distance of about 5960 miles (9600 km) and with my gas mileage of about 20mpg towing a trailer and gas costing, who knows, maybe $3/gal, the trip will cost about $1000 in fuel alone. Dirt cheap compared to air freight!