Monday, January 5, 2009

Twelfth Night

Today is the 11th day of Christmas - the Eve of Epiphany or the "Twelfth Night" of Shakespearean fame. Epiphanies or revelations occur when you least expect them, most often due to new-found knowledge or insight. As in, "the more you know, the more you realize you don't know."

The recent video posting (f-logging?) of Bora the Explorer repeatedly crashing and Karl's post of flying flapless and using longer rudders makes it obvious that if they are still experimenting then I don't really have a clue what's going to work and make the boat go fast. Yes, practice always helps, and those that can sail frequently have a leg up on the rest of us, but the ultimate combination of design, set-up and application is still an unknown. Perhaps the physics of foilers is so far in the non-linear dynamic range of outcomes that we're all chasing chaotic behavior. You know, the "butterfly effect," where small initial changes can result in big differences over time. Maybe we should rename the dependence on initial conditions as the "moth effect?" At any rate, with our boats the time dependent changes can come in a flash. Even those with mega-bucks and foilers with large masses and correspondingly large moments of inertia can find speeds going from 60 to zero in less time than you can say "Oh-Sh--!)

Just a couple of days left in the buck nekkid weight poll so if you haven't chimed in yet, now's the time to do so. For today's musical selection, enjoy some jazz from The Yellowjackets with a piece called Revelation. As Bill S. wrote, "If music be the food of love, play on,..."

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