Thursday, December 31, 2009


Aftermath, a MK I ShMc designed by Shelley and built by McCutcheon on New Road, Wootton, I-O-W (complete boats available from 140 pounds) was the first British boat to win a race in the IMCA World Championship Regatta. Aftermath, #2814, was helmed by R.C.(Charlie) Reeves from Medway Yacht Club who won the first race of the series on August 21, 1966 sailed at Lausanne, Switzerland. Charlie went on to finish 6th overall, with the World Cup Championship going to Jean Pierre Roggo for the second consecutive year.

All the above information is from the IMCA British '66-'67 yearbook available on the world site. The cover also shows a Shelley, recognizable by the concave topside panel at the stern.

So even though Susan's boat #2681 is also a McCutcheon Shelley, and is also named Aftermath, she predates Charlie's boat by a year or two (and by 133 numbers, but they weren't necessarily assigned consecutively.) Pure coincidence - go figure!

The conversion to foils is moving along. I've fabricated carbon brackets for the stern to accept my gantry. The lifting points for the well and the mainfoil are under construction. I'll have to cut into the deck near the well to fit the straps, so I may re-deck the boat since the Okume ply is showing its age (10 years.) Pics to follow tomorrow. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The oldest foiling moth?

After reading Adam and Katherine's stories about the Opti project, I got to thinking about adapting my wife's boat to foils. Susan has been sailing Aftermath for about ten years and is interested in trying a foiler. So over the next few weeks I'll be modifying moth #2681 so Susan could try the foils at the Classic Moth Mid-winters over Super Bowl weekend.

According to George Albaugh, the historian of the Classic Moth Boat Association, John Shelley's Mk I design was built on the Isle of Wight by William McCutcheon and imported to the States in 1964 by Al Menz for his son Chipper. Chipper sailed out of the Greater Wildwood Yacht Club in South Jersey and competed for a few years, including in the '65 Worlds held at Cape May, NJ, where he finished 14th out of 35 boats (his best finish was a 2nd in the 6th race of the regatta.) George recalls that Shelley's design created a stir among the moth fleet since it was one of the first boats that, in the right hands and conditions, could plane to weather. After a few successful years, like many boats of her era, #2681 eventually was stored in a garage and neglected. When George found her in 1998 and turned the boat over to me for a rehab, I got just the hull. The rig and blades had somehow disappeared over the previous 30 years.

My intention was to not restore the boat to the original condition, but to make it user-friendly for Susan to sail. The overall vision was to keep the hull panels and shape intact, but to remove the bulkheads and daggerboard well to allow a complete re-decking with roll tanks and a small footwell, making the boat self-rescuing. I also wanted to raise the boom height so I needed to install a foredeck with a good bit of camber (the classic moth rules at the time had a 12" maximum height of boom above the deck.) Since the Shelley also had a rather blunt bow, I decided to remove the bow piece, pull the hull panels together at the stem and raise the sheer forward by seven inches.

The project was fun, even if it looks rather strange. I decided to paint the original hull panels white with the raised sheer black. The deck and tanks are finished bright. The new name "Aftermath" is a play on words in my job as a math teacher and the result of the rather extensive conversion. Susan, while rather non-competitive, enjoys the result claiming her boat is the dryest in the fleet. While Susan usually finishes mid-fleet, Aftermath has proved sucessful in competition - I sailed the Shelley to a second place in the 2008 national championship.

So, how will the conversion to a foiler go? Stay tuned over the next few weeks and see. Our midwinters are going to be held in Gulfport, Florida on February 6 and 7. I plan on sailing my mistral Try-Umph in regular floating mode and Susan hopes to fly Aftermath. If successful not only will she become the oldest "bird" to fly (having turned 52 this December,) she will also have the world's oldest foiling moth (the Shelley will be 45 years old.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My take on the "One Equipment Rule"

Agreeing with most of the comments floating around the mothosphere, I think the idea of a "one equipment rule" is a solution looking for a problem. I would argue that the more equipment around the better, even if that means that a few people might bring a larger kit to regattas. I know I measured two sails at the worlds, and I also used two mainfoils, albeit one a borrowed replacement after the new foil collapsed. More bits will certainly accelerate development and the older, less efficient foils, masts, etc, will filter down to the sailors that are less well off financially to be able to afford the latest and greatest. That benefits home builders, juniors, and generally any newcomers to the class. Why buy an older lowrider when there might be an older foiler available?

On the topic of replacing my wand cable with a pushrod, I'm still looking for a dimension that will give me the vertical offset from pivot point to rod axis. The diagram above is from the Bladerider Support website and I've marked the discrepancy in red. All the lengths are spot on with their marked dimensions except for this one. So is it 19mm or 14 mm? Any comments would be appreciated.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts on the Gantry

The posting of Adam's picture of me swimming in at the Gorge (above), recent blog posts by Nat and by MARKLA, and last week's sailing at the HHPDO in Rye, have all got me thinking about gantry forces.

When I built my first rudder/gantry system I was most influenced by Bill's comment that the back of his rudder cassette had blown out during a heavy air day. To prevent the same thing from happening to my boat I made a cassette that was probably overbuilt, but didn't fail. That first rudder and horizontal were serviceable (they're what I'm using in the photo on the right sidebar) but I was sure that the whole sytem was less than optimal, due to the size of the horizontal; and to the thickness of the strut.

In building a second rudder for the Worlds, I wanted to accomplish four things: (1) reduce drag by using John Z's thinner strut section and a much smaller horizontal (eventually a Beiker section built by Bora,) (2) reduce weight by eliminating the rudder cassette concept and instead pin the rudder directly to the gantry (and using a rudder with a hollow tube head and removable tiller/hiking stick to make the system managable,) (3) improve the worm gear set-up to make the adjustments more positive and easier to accomplish, and (4) incorporate a five degree forward cant similar to the Mach2 design to help prevent ventilation.

After an unfortunate sail/break/repair cycle the current product can be seen in the above photo of me sailing in the Heineken regatta last weekend. I'm generally pleased with the rudder, tiller, and forward cant, but am still worried about the strength of the lower gudgeon and the gantry attachment points. Looking at pictures of the rudder when sailing in heavy air, it became obvious to me that there is a huge amount force applied to the lower gudgeon, and that at speed, while the amount of force decreases linearly with the ride height, it increases quadratically (not exponentially, Karl) with the speed through the water. The best way to reduce straight line drag would be to fly higher and to incorporate thinner strut and foil sections, with very fine surface finishes (maybe even with a SLIP coating?) all of which I'm well on to way to accomplishing. The dynamic drag force is high with erratic steering, something that I may have to deal with for a while until I get my helmsmanship skills up to par. All of these drag forces are trying to rip the gantry off the boat, or the rudder out of the back of the cassette, if so equipped, or the lower gudgeon off the leading edge of the rudder.

When I went to the Gorge Worlds I brought my new rudder and gantry, neither of which had ever been used before (BIG MISTAKE!) Adam's photo was taken after the gantry lower tension tube separated. The plug that attached the bottle screw to the carbon tube came out causing a cascade of failures (how appropriate?) with the gantry's upper attachment points ripping off at the hull connection. It's too bad that I didn't get seamanship points for nursing the boat back to the beach without the rudder. Additional style points could have been awarded for allowing the rudder's horizontal to appear as a shark's fin cutting the surface behind me! I repaired these failures with a rather agricultural-looking aluminum plate and through bolts for all the tube plugs and eventually managed to get in some racing, even recording a 20.3 knot 10 second average speed on the afternoon of the speed challenge. On the second-to-last day of racing, however, I again had a rudder failure, this time with the lower gudgeon popping off the rudder.

In preparation for last weekend's regatta I replaced the lower gudgeon, reinforced it with ten layers of carbon cloth, and bolted the fitting through the rudder, in addition to the glued attachment. Things held up for the racing (the only failure that occured was not rudder related, but at the other end of the boat at the wand pivot.) But close inspection of the joint reveals stress that caused the primer paint to crack. Obviously, I need to re-engineer this lower rudder fitting! Again. Stay tuned for the winter project that will include a whole new gantry with different hull attachment points the will reduce play in the whole system. The work of the home builder is never completely "sorted."

Sailing photos by Allen and Daniela Clark from The

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Heineken HPDO

I'm almost recovered from the long weekend. It's about a 7 hour drive from Norfolk, VA to Rye, NY not counting the needed stops for gas, food, stretch the legs, and the always present traffic on I-95 around the NYC area's George Washington bridge and Cross-Bronx expressway. Leaving after work on Friday resulted in an 11:30 p.m. arrival at Peter Becker's house, just a mile or so from the American Yacht Club. Susan and I crashed in a soft bed then woke early Saturday morning to the smell of coffee and eggs whipped up by our excellent hosts Peter and Adrianne.

Saturday consisted of finishing the registration process, picking up the nice polo shirt and freebie packet, confirming the dinner buffet reservations then rigging up for the planned 10:00 a.m. gun. Besides Peter and me, there was Chris Williams (the eventual winner,) Matt Knowles, Jamie Gilman, and Ethan Brown. We had a nice floating dock to rig on and launch from, so no need to wade out and get wet (yeah, right.) The forecast called for about 10-12 knots with slightly overcast skies. I hit the water first and sailed out. Not more than 5 minutes from the club my wand plate popped off the hull and I had to return to the dock. Obviously I was out of commission until the afternoon races. Peter provided me with the his basement workshop and necessary repair materials and I got to work gluing and screwing. So I had no first-hand knowledge of the first couple of races, but the score sheet shows Chris, Matt, and Peter finishing 1-2-3 respectively in both races.

I arrived back to the club with my repair completed (but not fully cured) around 11:30 to see Jamie sailing in. The breeze had built to around 15 knts and he was having problems controlling the boat. He offered me the chance to sail his boat (a new BR RX and so I jumped at the opportunity.) When I headed out for the third race, I passed Ethan who was heading in, also with control problems. I managed a flyby of the Photoboat in Jamie's RX.

This was the first time I had ever sailed a production foiler and I quickly was impressed with the firm steering (I love the aluminum gantry) but found my height control to be problematic. I quickly discovered why Jamie was having problems. His set-up was less than optimum: even with full lift on the rudder and me sitting on the front wing bar, in some of the bigger waves I couldn't keep the mainfoil in the water off the wind, resulting in some spectacular crashes. His gearing was not providing sufficient down lift to prevent ventilation. I managed to start the third race with Peter but couldn't finish due to handling problems off the wind. After the start of the fourth race the sky cleared with the frontal passage and the breeze really started to pick up.

I decided then and there to head in, basically upwind about a couple of miles. So I bailed out at the weather mark and struggled to make it in. The breeze had some monster gusts and also some pretty violent shifts. I chatted with a J-109 sailor later in the day who was sailing on an adjacent course. He claimed one monster puff showed 39 on their wind gauge and caused four J-109s to broach simultaneously. I can't say I ever saw that much, but I'm pretty sure there were some gusts to 30. With the added waves, the sail in was interesting to say the least. The best picture of the day is Chris sailing ealier. Believe me, the wind was much higher than this around 2:00 p.m.

Saturday dinner featured a buffet and a talk by Mark Lindsay. I left with a full draughtkeg of Heineken to take home (a 5 liter mini-keg,) and some nice memories of 5o5 sailing back in the day. Back at Peter's house Susan and I hit the pillow around 10:00 p.m and slept the sleep of the dead.

Sunday had three more races, sailed in breezes of about 5-15. I heard the infamous phrase "the race committee has established your position," a couple of times but did enjoy some close racing at times. My speed was impressive in spurts, but I still need to work on boat-handling. Being tired from the day before didn't help.

All-in-all it was a great experience. The venue, the hospitality of Peter and Adrianne, the take home goodies, and the opportunity to get some professionial on-the-water pictures all will encourage me to come back next year. Even with the loooooooooong drive home.

Sailing photos by Allen and Daniela Clark from The

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Cost of Development

All mothists are privileged to enjoy the thrill and excitement of the modern foiler. Most have no idea of the cost in time and $$$ that a small number of developers have spent to make it all possible. Preeminent among those is John Ilett. As the first to realize the concept of a wand-controlled flap, he has seen his idea blossom with first the ubiquitous Bladerider and now the Mach2, while his Fastacraft Prowlers have been relegated to the small minority of active race boats. Recently John attempted to regain the cutting edge with a new generation of foils that featured a 48” (122 cm) wide mainfoil and a nearly seamless flap mechanism. This was also his first attempt at the two-piece foil, having seen the writing on the wall with the predominance of the BR and M2 bulbed foils. I was the recipient of one of the first of these “gen3” foils, as described in this post, having received it shortly before the Gorge Worlds. The story was not a happy one. On the first outing, the foil collapsed and repeated attempts at repairing it failed. If it wasn’t for Andy Mills loaning me his spare foil, an older one-piece FC daggerboard, I would have spent a couple of weeks at the Gorge watching from the beach.

As it was, I also had problems with a never before tested gantry, so all of the time on the beach (and in the rescue boat) can not be laid at John’s feet. But the one thing that I thought would bring me close to the front of the fleet ended up being a complete failure. John has since attempted to make the gen3 design work, and has temporarily given up with it, and has gone back to his 2nd generation design, albeit with a bulbed attachment. I just got the new “gen2b” mainfoil, at no cost to me other than shipping, as a “warranty replacement.” Such after-the-sale-service is remarkable. I can’t imagine John’s cost of the design and creation of the steel mold that he used for the gen3 foil, that now is but a bucket of $$$ out of the bank account with nothing to show for it except the lessons learned.

Not all development moves forward. Surely the advances are what we all look for, but it takes those with the guts to try something new to make anything happen at all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Classic Moth Nationals

Last weekend I competed in the Classic Moth National championship sailed in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I sailed my wife's boat, Aftermath, a mid-'60s Shelley that I modified by raising the sheer and building a huge foredeck. Last year I finished second in the same boat to Jeff Linton. This year Jeff was tied up with the Lightning Worlds so didn't compete. This year's winner was Mike Parsons from the Philly area. Second was Annapolis's John Zseleczky. I finished third.

It's interesting that the three of us also have built foilers. Maybe we just like building stuff, but probably it's that we want to try new stuff, even if we aren't very good at it. In the Classics, Mike pulled off the win after many years of plugging away. The boat he sailed was his third home build, a mistral that he built with an unstayed rig that cants forward quite a bit off the wind. (Both John and I use conventional stayed rigs.) One ingredient of Mike's success is that he has consistently campaigned his boat up and down the east coast, proving once again that time in the boat can make a huge difference. My klutzy boat handling included falling off the boat one race when rounding the leeward mark in the lead, and completely blowing the start of another race.

My foiler is yet to be put together, but I have registered for the Heineken High Performance Dinghy Open to be sailed in a couple of weeks in Rye, NY (about a 9 hour drive.) John Ilett says he's shipping me a replacement main foil so I should be set-up okay if I can repair my rudder gantry. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime I'm really busy at work (and can hardly justify writing the post) but am lurking in the Mothosphere. Pictures above by Ingrid and Elisabeth Albaugh.


Saturday, August 29, 2009


RE: Bruce's latest Mothcast.

As the "winner" of the 2009 Moth Blog Worlds, I can attest that success in blogging is inversely proportional to success on the water.

Phillippe, be forewarned. Back away from the keyboard....

Here's my interview:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm Going Home

You’re reading the last post for a while. After this gets uploaded I’m hopping on the bike for the 45 mile ride into Portland, where I will drop off my steed at a bike shop to get it boxed and shipped back to Norfolk. Then I’ll jump on the Trimet transit for the ride to PDX, then a seven hour flight back home, arriving in Virginia at 9:00 a.m. Tomorrow I’ll report to work to prepare for the new school year.

My crated boat should leave West Coast Sailing on Wednesday and arrive in Norfolk five days later. I plan on unpacking it and putting it away in the garage. Obviously I have some boat (and foil) work to attend to, but that will wait for the winter. The Classic Moth Nationals are the third weekend in September, and I’ll probably make a short post following that effort, assuming I even sail there. I don‘t think I’ll make the eight hour drive up to October’s HPOD regatta. At any rate, for me it’s back to the real world.

Thanks for all who have followed the 160 different posts over the past eleven months, from my first post on July 25th of last year, until this one today. Thanks to the Moth World Blog Championship Committee (Andrew, Mat, and Glenn) on choosing my blog as the winner. I hope you’ve had some enjoyment reading and listening; I know that I’ve enjoyed thinking about mothing for the past year, and I trust the mothosphere will be fine without me.

Thanks, again. Enjoy Daughtry.

Home, by Chris Daughtry (2007)

I'm staring out into the night,
Trying to hide the pain.
I'm going to the place where love
And feeling good don't ever cost a thing.
And the pain you feel's a different kind of pain.

Well I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,
So I'm going home.
Well I'm going home.

The miles are getting longer, it seems,
The closer I get to you.
I've not always been the best man or friend for you.
But your love remains true.
And I don't know why.
You always seem to give me another try.

So I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,

Be careful what you wish for,
'Cause you just might get it all.
You just might get it all,
And then some you don't want.
Be careful what you wish for,
'Cause you just might get it all.
You just might get it all, yeah.

Oh, well I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old.
I said these places and these faces are getting old,
So I'm going home.
I'm going home.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Worlds Wrap-up

A US sailor has again claimed the Moth World Championship title, breaking a 33 year absence. Bora Gulari from Detroit, Michigan will now the third American to claim the Carling Trophy, joining Blair Fletcher (1967) and Ted Causey (1976). Bora credits his training partner, George Peet, his boat mechanic, Matt Pistay, and the West Coast class organizer, Charlie McKee for his success. Certainly his dedication to sailing as often as possible has resulted in optimized equipment, polished boat handling, and blazing speed off the wind. Bora bested Nathan Outteridge from Australia (who finished 2nd) and Arnaud Psarofaghis from Switzerland (in 3rd). Rounding out the top five are Dalton Bergan from the US and Simon Payne from the UK. The complete results are here and on the event site.

Andrew McDougall's Mach2 is now established as the fastest production moth in the world. The Dubai Worlds is a scant eight months away and it will be interesting to see if the top helms move en masse to from the BR to the M2. It will also be interesting to see the Ninja in the mix. The Assassin still has teething problems but perhaps they will be sorted on the coming year. Home builds are not necessarily uncompetitive, my result notwithstanding – Bruce reminds me that the fastest moth in Australia is Dave Lister’s home build.

As far as sailors are concerned, the US fleet is strong, with five of the top fifteen finishers. The program that Bora used to win included lots of sailing – he was on the water 6 days a week. It seemed to me that the first twenty finishers were sailing at the top of their game. It's just that the top has gotten consistently better. Perhaps for large regattas we will move to a two-tier fleet: pros and the amateurs.

I have to congratulate Nige and Charlie on their organization and Bill Symes and the CGRA for their committee work. Marilyn and her crew organized great shoreside activities. The media coverage was great, and Rohan's emcee duties definitely added to the crowd's pleasure. Well done all!

For Bora, representing the US Moth Class, I had to include Queen. Enjoy!

We Are The Champions, by Freddie Mercury (1977)
I've paid my dues -
Time after time -
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime -
And bad mistakes
I've made a few
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face -
But I've come through

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end -
We are the champions -
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions - of the world -

I've taken my bows
And my curtain calls -
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I thank you all -

But it's been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise -
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race -
And I ain't gonna lose -

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end -
We are the champions -
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions - of the world -

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 4 Results - It's a Young Man's Game

Bora increases his lead.

As shown on the event site, after three races today, Bora has lengthened his lead over Nathan. Two more bullets with wins coming on the downwind legs. There were more breakdowns today, including me on the way to the start line.

Shortly after I was dragged in, Naomi, Gerold, and Giovanni also came in. When I asked "What broke," the response from all three was "the body." I know I'm battered and bruised. The breeze seemed to be about 15 with puffs into the low twenties. The W course in the relatively narrow river, requires lots of tacks and gybes. No banging a corner at this venue! I have to give major props to Amac and to Simon, who continue to soldier on, both with physical injuries - Amac's shoulder from Weymouth and Si's knee from yesterday.

Tonight it's the Bar-B-Que. I have to decide if I can affect another repair and attempt the two races tomorrow. If not I'll probably pack up the boat so I can get an early start on my bike ride into Portland on Sunday.

Here's the Village People

YMCA, by Henri Belolo, Jacques Morali, Victor Willis (1978)

Young man, there's no need to feel down
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground
I said, young man, 'cause your in a new town
There's no need to be unhappy

Young man, there's a place you can go
I said, young man, when you're short on your dough
You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
They have everything For young men to enjoy.
You can hang out with all the boys.

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
You can get yourself clean
You can have a good meal
You can do whatever you feel.

Young man, Are you listening to me
I said, young man, what do you want to be
I said, young man, you can make real your dreams,
but you've got to know this one thing.

No man, does it all by himself
I said, young man, put your pride on the shelf
And just go there, to the Y.M.C.A.
I'm sure they can help you today

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
They have everything for young men to enjoy.
You can hang out with all the boys.

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
You can get yourself clean
You can have a good meal
You can do whatever you feel.

Young Man, I was once in your shoes,
I said, I was down and out with the blues
I felt, no man cared if I were alive
I felt the whole world was so jive

That's when someone came up to me
and said young man take a walk up the street
There's a place there called the Y.M.C.A.
They can start you back on your way.

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
They have everything For young men to enjoy.
You can hang out with all the boys.

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
Young man, Young man, there's no need to feel down
Young man, Young man, pick yourself off the ground

just go to the Y.M.C.A.
Young Man, Young Man, I was once in your shoes,
Young Man, Young Man, I was out with the blues


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day Three Results

After a short postponement the RC got off three races back to back. The results as posted on the event site have Bora in the lead, just two points ahead of Nathan. The net scores are now meaningful as both throwouts are taken into consideration. Nine points back is Arnaud with Dalton three points behind him. Si is another ten points back.

I managed to muddle around the course for all three races, but the committee only noticed my last start. Maybe I should more sail more conspicuously, but I would think my wild oscillations off the wind would attract lots of attention. At any rate it seemed the story today was to keep things together and avoid breakage. The waves were pretty big and the shifts were large and sudden and I saw lots of folks sticking it both upwind and down. After winning the first race of the day, Scott returned with a broken wing strut. Rough since the two DNCs and his one DNF means he has to carry a lettered score.

My min-rig needed more rake, and my repaired gantry needed more AoA, so tweaking each tomorrow should help. Thanks to all those who are following along. Yesterday's post was picked up by Scuttlebutt and I got an e-mail from Mike Worrell, a name from the past (way past!) I had sailed in three Worrell 1000s (aka the Coastwise Race in Hobie 16s) in the late 1970s. As to my take on Doug's comments about boat colors, how about boat names? My (blue) Try-Foil may be the one hull displaying something that doesn't end in ".com."

To remind me to keep the rightside up, I decided to go back to the well, and include some Queen. Enjoy.

Another One Bites the Dust, by John Deacon (1980)

Steve walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low
Aint no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go
Are you ready, are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, Im gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

How do you think Im going to get along,
Without you, when youre gone
You took me for everything that I had,
And kicked me out on my own

Are you happy, are you satisfied
How long can you stand the heat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat


Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
There are plenty of ways you can hurt a man
And bring him to the ground
You can beat him
You can cheat him
You can treat him bad and leave him
When hes down
But Im ready, yes Im ready for you
Im standing on my own two feet
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
Repeating the sound of the beat

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fortuitous Scheduling

Day Three of the Worlds was scheduled as a lay day, reserved to catch up in the number of races if need be. As it is, we're one race up (having sailed four instead of the planned three on Monday,) so there's no need to use the lay day. It's just as well - a cool rain in the form of a steady drizzle is coming down, making any racing that might have taken place today far less enjoyable. So for me today, it's finish the epoxy work on my gantry, glad that I have a heated hotel room to help things kick.

The spare time gives me an opportunity to contemplate the racing and my participation in it. I suppose I should also talk about the evolution of the class from the prospective of someone who's built moths in three distinct design eras: the "classic" moths of the early to mid-1960s, the first of the "wedge" designs typical of the mid to late 1970s (my hey-day,) and lastly, the modern foilers of today. First the boats: these aren't your father's (or grandfather's) mothboats. For three decades, from the mid '30s to the mid '60s, the design changes were generally gradual - but the resulting boats were all designs that any competent dinghy sailor would feel comfortable in. When revolutionally gimmicks were tried (multihulls and sliding seats to name a couple) they were quickly outlawed. The resulting type-form was (and is, see the Classic Moth Boat Association) an eleven foot development dinghy that is easy to build, cheaper to own, and more responsive to sail than most any other conventional dinghy. I should know - I've built or re-built about eight hulls in the past ten years and presently sail my Mistral design "Try-umph" in Classic moth regattas. The competition is top-flight: one of our active builders/sailors is Jeff Linton, the 2007 US Sailing Rolex YOTY. Below are a couple of shots of me sailing my classic Try-Umph, built in 1997, to the rules of the CMBA, and one of me racing my wife's modified Shelley at last year's CMBA Nationals (I'm in the black and white boat at the weather end.)

The international moth class changed significantly in the late 1960s & early 1970s with the adoption of the Australian "tall rig." Development underwent a quantum leap as builders and designers adapted to the more powerful rig by increasing beam, narrowing waterlines, and all the while working to minimize weight. I built and campaigned three boats is this era: a Stockholm Sprite with box ply wings (that also sported a double luff sleeve sail, one of the first), a Mistral with tube wings (in which I took 7th place in the 1976 worlds) and a fiberglass Magnum2 that I sailed to 16th place in the 1977 worlds at Hayling Island. The boats were easy to build and fun to sail. I remember with my Sprite "First Try" playing around before the start of multiclass regattas by standing on the wing while planing through the fleet. Good fun! Pictures are hard to come by, but below is a shot of me sailing in 1974.
The moth class died off in the US in the late 1970s, so I missed the whole era of the narrow skiff with t-foil rudders. I did have a go at an ultra-narrow boat around 2001 and was turned off by the constant swimming. For a while a couple of us on the east coast experimented with the addition of an asymmetrical spinnaker on a Magnum2 hull, but the result was also less than satisfying. Below are a couple of shots of me sailing that boat, with the same cloth sail that I used back in the 1970s.In the end, the "US modern moth" experiment didn't pan out. It wasn't until September of 2007 that I had a chance to sail a foiler: Bill Beaver's Hungry Beaver design. I was immediately smitten and decided then and there that I had to build one. You have to remember my history - I had never "bought" a moth before, so the idea, not to mention the price tag of $15K+, of buying a BR was considered, but quickly dismissed. So began my saga of Try-Foil. The boat, with its homemade foils, was completed in the late spring of 2008, sailed enough to get through the initial sail-break-fix-repeat stage (or so I thought,) then packed off to the Weymouth worlds. I should have realized then that something significant was afoot in the class when I was but one of about a half dozen "home builds." The BR factory team support was ever present, and all the top finishers, hell, probably the top 50 finishers, were all sailing production boats.

My result at Weymouth was disappointing to say the least. If the breeze had been no more than 15 knots I probably would have finished all the races, but my overall place of 75/99 may not have been any better. So I came back home, sailed one regatta on the east coast (the AYC HPOD regatta in October) before I blew up my daggerboard. I decided to bite the bullet and buy what I considered to be the biggest component of my slows: the foil. The reception of a new FC gen3 two piece foil didn't result in a final solution; for that I'm still a ways away. But my experiences last week and this have convinced me that class, for better or worse, has changed from what I remembered. If the adoption of the tall rig in the early 70s resulted in a quantum leap for the designers (with home builders still being able to compete with designs a season old,) the universal adoption of foils has been a fundamental shift in type, at least as the home builder is concerned. The forces are now so large and concentrated that except for the cachet one-offs, like Karl and Bruce, or small boutique builders like Cookie, competitive boats need to come from industrial facilities with all the state of the art techniques (huge autoclaves, resin infusion, etc.) An inspection of the M2 shows foils rigidly fitted to the hull - there is not a bit of play in the system. Such tight tolerances are hard to achieve. Amac has given me a few hints and suggestions so when I get home I still have work to do.

The other significant change to the class is its sailors. This really is "Formula One" on the water with, at least at the World Championship level, professional sailors predominating. I feel like a senior amateur who made his own golf clubs going up against Tiger Woods and the rest of the PGA in the Open tournament. It's a privilege to be here, to start with and to even be lapped by the likes of Nathan, Bora, Arnaud, Si and Rohan (and Scott, and Dalton, and any of the McKees, and...). The pictures of Bill Schill, shown at the top of this post and who won the worlds in '63, and Peter Moor, shown immediately above and who finished 2nd at the Ware River worlds in '76, seem quaint compared to where we are today. Yes, with me and moffing, it's been a long and winding road. Enjoy the Beatles from 1970.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 2 Provisional Results

With Bora sitting 2nd, he's the best hope of the US of A. To help motivate the team I had to include the Kenny Loggins hit Danger Zone. Nothing else to report other than the AGM lasted only 1:05. My boat repairs continue, and it's looking like I'll be able to make the next start (Thursday.) Oh yeah, I suppose I should include the top standings. Again, here's a link from the event site. I'm off to the Indian Salmon Bake, cooked by real Indians, aka Native Americans.

Enjoy Kenny Loggins

Danger Zone, by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock (1986)

Revvin' up your engine
Listen to her howlin' roar
Metal under tension
Beggin' you to touch and go

Highway to the Danger Zone
Ride into the Danger Zone

Headin' into twilight
Spreadin' out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin' off the track
And shovin' into overdrive

Highway to the Danger Zone
I'll take you
Right into the Danger Zone

You'll never say hello to you
Until you get it on the red line overload
You'll never know what you can do
Until you get it up as high as you can go

Out along the edges
Always where I burn to be
The further on the edge
The hotter the intensity

Highway to the Danger Zone
Gonna take you
Right into the Danger Zone

Highway to the Danger Zone

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day One Resultsof Races 1-4

Results for the first four races are above. A link to the official results is here. For the first two races, the conditions were mid teens, with stronger pressure up the left side of the course. Even though the right side has the favorable 2 knot current, it also has bigger waves and seemingly lighter pressure. The best course seems to be staying left of center, but I'll let the leaders give their take on it.

I saw the first weather mark rounding of race 4. Bora had at least a hundred yard lead but got tangled up with the offset mark. By the time he righted the boat and did a circle about 10 folks passed him. He did manage to reel in about seven of them and finished third.

Not to be outdone, Lindsay did the same thing - capsizing on the off set mark (both seemed due to bearing away too quickly at the weather mark, then realizing they were coming in too deep to the offset mark. The resulting luff caused the capsizes.) Above is a pic of Bora's rounding of the weather mark, his subsequent righting and circle, and below is one of Lindsay who got really intimate with the offset mark - when she righted her boat the mark came aboard!) She's currently sitting 31st, just one place out of Bruce's "top thirty" - anyone of which could be considered a good showing, given the talent and depth of the fleet.

During the break between races 2 and 3 I took the shots below. One of a couple of Aussies and a Kiwi being interviewed, and one of three of the British contingent saluting a fallen comrade (yes, I'm down again with a broken gantry.)

For my gantry failure, parts are on order next day air so I may be able to start repairs tomorrow, with hopefully sailing by Thursday. (Wednesday is a lay-day.) My one start wasn't too bad - weather end, just a few seconds late but with speed. I did cross Brad Funk, so maybe I'm not completely klutzy. My finish, however was 45th, and the breakdown occurred before the second start, so I'm currently ahead of only the three folks that didn't sail today. Visions of Weymouth! At any rate, here’s Toby Keith singing about my sailing ability.

As Good as I Once Was, by Toby Keith and Scotty Emerick (2005)

She said, "I've seen you in here before."
I said, "I've been here a time or two."
She said, "Hello, my
Name is Bobby Jo
Meet my twin sister Betty Lou
And we're both feeling kinda wild tonight
And you're the only cowboy in this place
And if you're up for a rodeo
We'll put a big Texas smile on
Your face"
I said, "Girls,"
I ain't as good as I once was
I got a few years on me now
But there was a time back in my prime
When I could really lay it down
And if you need some love tonight
Then I might have just enough
I ain't as good as I once was
But I'm as good once as I ever was
I still hang out with my best friend Dave
Ive known him since we were kids at school
Last night he
Had a few shots
Got in a tight spot hustlin' a game of pool
With a couple of redneck boys
And one great
Big fat biker man
I heard David yell across the room
"Hey buddy, how 'bout a helping hand."
I said, "Dave,"
I ain't as good as I once was
My how the years have flown
But there was a time back in my prime
When I could really hold my own
But if you wanna fight tonight
Guess thouse boys dont look all that
I ain't as good as I once was
But I'm as good once as I ever was
I used to be hell on wheels
Back when I was younger man
Now my body says, "You can't do this boy"
But my pride says, "Oh, yes you can
I ain't as good as I once was
Thats just the cold hard truth
I still throw a few back, talk a little smack
When I'm feelin bullet proof
So don't double dog dare me now
'Cause I'd have to call your bluff
I ain't as good as I once was
But I'm as good once as I ever was
Maybe not be good as I once was
But I'm as good once as I ever was

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sloppy Slop

Today's schedule included two practice races held in breezes of about 12-15 with some stronger gusts of around 20. The first race was a Windward-Leeward, twice around. The second was a "P" course that included a beat, two reaches and a run of half of the beat leg, again twice around. The second race was interesting as it included a barge, the Sternwheeler cruise boat, a photoboat kicking up lots of wake, and a course layout that had the leaders sailing through the bulk of the fleet more so that with the W course. I think Rohan won the first race and I know Bora won the second (by a leg) but both results are misleading as Bora didn't sail the first and Rohan (along with a few of the top Aussies) didn't sail the second.

My goal was to record two finishes without breaking anything. I used the small Hanson sail (too small in the breeze) but did learn some of its limitations. At the end of the day my finishes were dead last of all the starters (some folks didn't sail at all) so in some respect I achieved my goal. The extra couple of hours in the boat have shown me that the borrowed FC one-piece board, while solid and effective, has too much slop in the well, making the turns downwind very wobbly. Tomorrow I'll wrap some packing tape around the board where it exits the hull to try to tighten it up.

The only picture today is of my boat ready for launching. Note the colors of black and blue, red and grey - sorta what I'm looking like. I'll try to snap some interesting pics tomorrow. In the meanwhile, enjoy Archie Bell and the Drells.

Tighten Up, by Archie Bell and Billy Buttier (1968)

Hi everybody
I'm Archie Bell of the Drells
From Houston, Texas
We don't only sing but we dance
Just as good as we walk
In Houston we just started a new dance
Called the Tighten Up
This is the music
We tighten up with

First tighten up on the drums
Come on now, drummer
I want you to tighten it up for me now
Oh, yeah

Tighten up on that bass now
Tighten it up
Ha, ha, yeah
Now let that guitar fall in
Oh, yeah
Tighten up on that organ now

Yeah, you do the tighten up
Yeah, now
I said, if you can do it now
It sure would be tough
Now look here, come on now
Now make it mellow

Let's tighten it up now
Do the tighten up
Everybody can do it now
So get to it

We're gonna tighten up
Let's do the tighten up
You can do it now
So baby, get to it

Look to your left now
Look to your right
Everybody can do it
But don't you get too tight

Come on and tighten up
Let's tighten it up now
Let's tighten it up now
Tighten it up

Do the tighten up
Come and tighten it up
Tighten it up now

Come on now, Billy
Tighten it up
Oh, yeah
Sock it to me now
Tighten it up

Come on and tighten up that bass
Oh, yeah
Now look here
I want that guitar
To fall in on there
Tighten it up now
Oh, yeah
Now tighten it up, organ
Now everybody tighten it up now

Now look here
We gonna make it mellow for you now
We gonna make it mellow now

Tighten it up
You can get it
Move to your left
Move to your right
Tighten it up now
Everything will be outta sight
Come on and tighten it up
Tighten it up now
You can do it...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fun Day

Today was pretty much a fun day. There was some sail measurement going on, and folks were still making repairs, but most of the attention was on the $1000 Velocitek Speed Trials and the North $1000 Dash for Cash slalom. Bora "$2K richer" Gulari won both, but he had to sail downwind to Hood River to find sufficient pressure to record his 25.3 knot ten second average. In the slalom he finished dead last in his qualifying heat (sailed in non-foiling conditions) but came back through the repechage (losers' bracket) to make, and finally win, the final. Rohan did a great job keeping the crowd of about 100 folks entertained with his emcee job.

I thought I'd include some random pictures of the area, including the crappy geese, the drive thru, the ever-present trains, and the crowded beach.

I guess I'm a little bummed because I discovered my repair of the new foil failed a second time, so I'm at the mercy of borrowing other people's spares. I did use Andy's old FC one-piece foil to record a 20.3 knot ten second average during the speed trials (so I guess I'm officially a member of the 20 knot club.) I'm sure I was going faster yesterday in the blow, but today it seemed almost a matter of chance who got the puffs off the beach. There was stronger winds upriver, but didn't sail any further than Stevenson. A few more head shots, starting with 60 year old Naomi Tachibana from Japan who arrived today.

Here's the band Pensive

Live Fast, by Pensive (2009)

These clouds paper thin sky
Torn from purest wine
And that's all that's real inside
This light shines in my eyes, falsified sunlight
Well these demons stay until we die

And all I know is
When I go I won't forget
Anything, anything at all

Every day I get one step closer to an early grave
A place where I won't fade away
And all this time, I'm living like I'll never die, I'll never die, I'll never

These waves crash against me, reflections nothing more
But they teach us how to hold
While stars shine above me
From world long since dead
Can we remember just to live?

And all I know is
When I go I won't forget
Anything, anything at all


When will you tell me what's going on
Is this goodbye tonight
'Cause I can't believe in anything
Say it's not the end of me, say it's not the end of me

[Chorus x2]