Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The only logical decision

Dear IMCA Members,

Thank you for the prompt responses to your own national Presidents on the vote to amend the 2011 World Championships NOR and thus allow wingsails to be measured and compete; or not to amend the NOR.

The Presidents of all national associations have responded with the vote being 30 in favour of option 1 and 6 in favour of option 2.

We will therefore be proceeding with issuing an amendment to the NOR under the guidance of and with approval from ISAF. Chief Measurer Adam May is currently working with ISAF on the final text and I expect this to be released shortly.

Mark Robinson
International Moth Class Association

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Coach Matt

Matt Knowles has a new blog that hasn't found itself on Doug's IMCA BlogRoll yet so I thought I'd post a link.  Some neat pics of the wings and of Matt's coach boat.


Also, the report from Chris Rast, including a somewhat skewed video of Bora on the water.


Lastly, a link to Bear's ride onboard Ichi Ban in the Sydney-Hobart race:


Go team USA!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Travel costs

The "travel box" rule, i.e., requiring all rigs (including mast, sail, boom, wing sails etc) to be able to be dismantled and packed away in a box of similar dimensions to the current hull travel boxes seems to be a proposal specifically aimed at barring the current generation of solid sails. But it also bars one piece masts (which can't fit into a hull box) and one piece foils (the older Fastacraft foils) which require a separate box for shipping. The rationale could only be one that correlates the cost of travel with the size of the equipment. But that seems to me to be a non-starter. The cost to ship my boat to Weymouth and back (to the east coast of the US) was over $4500 and that was piggy backing on Bora's and Bear's group deal with Seko. And that was with a two piece mast and separable foils.

No, those wanting to travel to international events will always have to bite the bullet with respect to costs. If you're relying on shipping firms, be it trucking companies, air freight, or even shipboard containers, you are at the mercy of their timetables, security requirements and rates. I found it interesting in trying to become vetted as a non-terrorist to enable me to ship my boat even within the US (I trucked Try-Foil to Portland and back for the Gorge worlds.) Overseas airfreight was even more problematic in 2008. I could not ship my boat to England without going through the Newport Hood sailloft, a connection I got through George Peet.

On a related note, I notice from Alan's recent post that the Belmont PRO is Peter Moor. I wonder if it's the same Peter Moor that participated in the '76 Ware River Worlds.  That Peter Moor was the reigning Australian Champion at the time and finished 2nd in the '76 worlds in a borrowed skiff (he did use his own rig.) Why didn't he bring his scow (which also can't fit into a current hull travel box)? No doubtedly because of travel costs.

Peter Moor sailing at Ware River in 1976 in a skiff (I think it was a Poacher or a Stockholm Sprite) that he borowed from Ted Causey, the eventual winner. Note Moor even bolted a tube extension onto the box wings to make the beam the full 7'4".

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another trip around the sun

A re-run from a couple of years ago:

But with wings, water, seafood, and bike riding, the video seems to fit. And, yes, I ratcheted up my age on my profile on the Yahoo! Groups site by one more notch.

So to celebrate my 215th post and my 56th year I'll crank up Jimmy B. and have another cold one.

Again, from Buffett's album License to Chill (2004).

Trip around the Sun, lyrics by Sharon Vaughn, Al Anderson, and Stephen Bruton
Sung by Jimmy Buffett (with Martina McBride)

Hear 'em singing Happy Birthday
Better think about the wish I made
This year gone by ain't been a piece of cake
Every day's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun

I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go

No, you never see it coming
Always wind up wondering where it went
Only time will tell if it was time well spent
It's another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun


Yes, I'll make a resolution

That I'll never make another one
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun
Just enjoy this ride ...
Until it's done

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wither the Wing?

Bruce turned off the comments in his latest post showing Bora winging it Down Under. So even if you can't comment on Burce's Teknologika blog, feel free to add in here.   I do note the aft section seems a bit ragged. Maybe it's the way the light is reflected, but perhaps the film itself has gone slack.  Of course, Bora maybe sandbagging it and trying to get the most out of a subpar surface, only to pull out a fresh wing in time for the races.

At any rate whatever heat he's generating would be much more comfortable than what's happening back home -- Detroit is getting ready to be hit with a big winter storm tomorrow. I would think that weathering the coming storm of wing legality would be a whole lot more fun than shoveling snow and ice half way around the world.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Obvious Poll needed

Cookie's statement of "I have yet to speak to someone who thinks they are good for the future of the class" begs to be addressed in some sort of poll. So, the question is thrown out to the readers (certainly not scientific, but intriguing none the less.) Only two choices:

(1) I think wings are good for the future of the class.
(2) I think wings are not good for the future of the class.

Cast your vote!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gantry thoughts

Following John's HHPDO report of his gantry failure (and the subsequent pix posted carnage album) and after reading Dave's thoughts on pre-designing a gantry failure point:

             "So how can I design a design failure location into my         gantry? Add a Shear pin to would release the bottom gudgeon at the pin? The strut and cassette assembly would fly up. 8^( Would this still break nearly everything? Add a SS pivot at the top? Release the bottom gudgeon at the stern? The whole gantry would fly up......."

...and re-reading Dan's report on two exploding gantries at the Gorge, I thought I'd chime in on my experience and observations.  When I built my first rudder system I was following Bill's lead with his added admonition to beef up the cassette since he had experienced the rudder ripping out the back wall of his cassette. My resulting system was successful in that in occurred no failures (even at the heavy air of the Weymouth Worlds.) The pictures below and to the right was taken in the spring of '08 during the second or third time out. Obviously the boat is flying fine, albeit a little low. This was with both the mainfoil and rudder foil as non-production elements, built by me with lots of assistance from Gui and Bill (using their molds and employing their expertise on laminate schedules, etc.)

Clicking on the image above will bring up the original image size and the gantry can be seen more clearly. This gantry and rudder have since retired to the spare parts bin.

During the winter of '08/'09 I re-designed the rudder system to lose some of the mass and play (no cassette, just a vertical with gudgeons), incorporate an improved worm gear, and to feature a forward cant angle similar to the M2's geometry. I built a new strut using John Z.'s skinny vertical section (the low drag winner in Bill's tank tests) and fitted a much smaller Beiker-designed/Bora-built horizontal (that I got just a few days before packing up for the '09 Worlds.) The horizontal and vertical sections seem to work well, and in fact the horizontal is near the size that's currently in vogue - the span is only 775mm, approaching that of the new M2 "small rudder." So with an improved adjustment system and a new, but not tested rudder and gantry, I went to the Worlds in Oregon. Unfortunately, the gantry decided to come apart not once, but twice. The culprit was the G10 plugs I inserted into the tube structure. Either due to poor surface preparation or insufficient contact area, or both, one of the inserts came out (probably the lower tension member) and caused a cascade of failures. Adam snapped a pic of me swimming back in and I commented about the fiasco in this post.

I did repair the gantry and sailed the rest of the season with the "agricultural" - thanks Bear- setup without incident. This spring, in preparation for the NAs I decided to replace the gantry with a third version, keeping the geometry but losing the massive turnbuckle, the fairing (which never seemed to work as well as I hoped), and incorporating a different pin adjustment system as suggested by Phil Stevenson in this post. The tiller and swivel system was completed and works way better than the old set-up, but I wasn't quite able to finish the gantry. Nevertheless, the rudder system was in the best shape since the boat was built. So, of course this season's failure wasn't the rudder but the mainfoil, occurring during the first race of the NA series (why didn't it happen during the almost four weeks of daily practice leading up to the trip to Harbor Springs?)

At any rate, the third gantry is just about complete. The geometry has a slightly wider top base, with the top attachments fitting around some beefed up G10 tangs instead of employing any inserts. The lower tension member has just a threaded barrel that accepts the male clevis for gross adjustment. The female barrel is embedded such that it can't come out. I've retained the triangulation joints and I believe that they are way beefier than required. The bushings for the 1/4" ss rod are made of 1.25" long delrin, turned so that they require a press fit into the vertical tube (and definitely not capable of vibrating out.)

So what do I think would happen if I ran aground at speed? My rudder vertical is about a long as the mainfoil strut so any forces should be taken by the mainfoil and centerboard well. If for some reason I hit a log that missed the mainfoil I would expect the boat to stop suddenly and damage would be taken by either the lower gudgeon on the rudder (it happened once at the Gorge on the 2nd to last day) or to the aluminum plate on the hull, perhaps ripping out through the transom (unlikely.)  The point of this whole post is that I think one should not design a failure point, but just build the whole kit and kaboddle sufficiently strong so it won't break. Wishful thinking, I know, but why anticipate failure when anticipating a perfect build is so much more rewarding?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Winging it, part 2

From Sailworld.com
Picture by Thierry Martinez
Interview at Sail Anarchy
And a comment from John Z: "I got to speak at length with Steve Clark after his talk at dinner (last weekend at the HHPDO).  The wing doesn’t look all that complicated; Steve was happy to discuss all of the details.  I don’t know that an average sailor could gain anything from sailing with a wing but is certainly is cool and I think about it all the time.  Transportation will be a bitch.  I’m a model airplane enthusiast … I want to build one; looks easier than building a sail.  Happy to share sketches with you once I make some up."  – John Z

My homebuilder itch needs scratching. Right now I need to sort the foil and continue to drool over the wing...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Addiction Withdrawal

I'm just miserable reading the temporary results of the HHPDO being sailed in Rye.

According to the event scoresheet the winds yesterday for the four Saturday races were 7, 12, 15, and 17 knots. Compared to last year's 25 knots that is very pleasant sailing! The other surprise is John taking a 2-1 in his Hungry Beaver. There seems to have been some attrition yesterday, and today's results haven't been posted yet, but I'm hoping to hear some tales from John or Peter. Why, oh why, couldn't I be there???

My plan for the winter is to again sort out a competitive mainfoil for my boat. The plan is to buy and fit a M2 strut and foil (my well is a little further aft that the M2's well, but has plenty of room to fit a cassette to house the centerboard.)  Now, this isn't cheap to say the least (around $3K) but I'm convinced that will get be back sailing and out of the back of the fleet.  To support this habit I'm in the process of selling some stuff, including my 10 year old Miata.

First up, though, is the set of carbon shrouds and rear wing bar support by Southern Spars that I won last year at the Gorge. These have never been used or installed, only taken out of the bag to inspect them. Retail price is now AU$530 on the Sailing Bits website.   Current currency conversion say that's about US$520. Highest bid over $350 takes 'em.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Wing

I might as well chime in on my take about solid wings. I think they should be allowed to develop. My expectation is that they would be neither popular nor harmful to the growth of the class. Even if Bora or Adam would win the Belmont worlds using a wing in some races, my bet is that they would use a traditional soft sail and mast combo for some or most of their races. And I doubt that spending lots of money for a custom wing would earn anybody a trip to the podium. No, winning requires a more expensive commodity: time on the water. 

Wings would allow tinkerers to continue to experiment. Whether it's Karl's fully articulated mainfoil, Gui's dihedral rudder foils, or Adam's solid wing, diversity is good. One idea may sooner or later prove to be the next best thing for the class. But we'll never know unless we let the tinkerers play.

O yeah, and Bernoulli said nothing about compressible or non compressible fluids. Only that total energy is conserved and that an increase in kinetic energy must result in a decrease in potential energy. When applied to moths there is a corollary: an increase in moth related expenditures must result in a decrease in expenditures elsewhere (food, clothes, living...).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Handicapping a Moth

Last weekend I sailed my wife's classic in a handicap race, the Hampton Roads Sunfish Challenge and Dinghy Distance Race, a 8 mile point-to-point race in the Norfolk Harbor. The course was just about all to windward, fighting a ebb tide of about a knot, in breezes of 10-15 knots. I finished in a little less than two hours, easily correcting over a Hampton One Design, a 470, a Taser, a 29er, a JY15, a Snipe, and some other assorted dinghies.  The scoring was based on the US Sailing published Portsmouth Yardstick which has the moth (classic rules: 1965 vintage, 72 sq ft, etc.) at 107.1 (comparable to a Penguin at 111.5).  There was no way I could lose. In fact, I beat all but one of the lasers and one of the sunfish in the water and they started 5 and 10 minutes ahead of me respectively. They were scored separately as one design fleets and didn't need the handicap, but it's interesting to note their numbers are 91.1 and 99.6.  I know that US Sailing depends on clubs sending in elapsed time reports to adjust Portsmouth numbers, but for a development class such as a moth, it's almost impossible to get one number that works. The 107.1 rating is probably based on results of sundry moths sailing in pick-up fleets. Probably, the boats are old and worn and the helms are not those actively racing in the Classic Moth Boat Association. The classic moths have gotten faster and faster as hulls, sails, rigs and centerboard shapes and sizes have been put under the development pressure of CMBA competition. The fact that the top sailors racing classics are also very good dinghy sailors (including Jeff Linton, the US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 2008) have really spurred development. We routinely outsail Lasers when head to head.

So how would someone handicap a foiler?  Below is a pic taken by Ed Salva a couple of weeks ago at Elizabeth City after the racing of the classic moth nationals. John Zseleczky is foiling past Mike Parsons (who finished 2nd in the Nationals in his Mistral behind Jeff Linton in his Mousetrap design).  The Mistral seems to be the typeform of the fastest hull: narrow waterline, full beam out to 60". The CMBA bars wings with a concavity rule.

So here's the question for the day:  How should a well sorted foiler be rated? Obviously, different numbers for foiling and non-foiling conditions. The  RYA pegs the moth at 98 (non-foiling) and 69 (foiling.) My guess is the non-foiling is about right but the foiling number should be lower, maybe around 60. Below are some numbers to consider, comparing USSailing and RYA numbers for identical classes. In most cases, the British data indicates that boats sailing in handicap starts are slower than their US counterparts. USSailing fails to list the International Moth at all, only the "classic" moth at a too high 107.1 (the reason I won the race.)

Class  USSailing   RYA
505        79.8        90.2
49er       68.2        74.4
Laser      91.1      108.0
IC          79.1        90.5
Mirror  113.1      138.5
A Cat     64.5        69.0
Moth     -----         98 (non-foiling)
Moth     -----         69  (foiling)

Anybody else want to take a shot?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Classic Moth Nationals

Last weekend was the Classic Moth National Championship in Elizabeth City, NC, "The home of the mothboat." I was racing Aftermath, my wife's modified Shelley and finished 6th. Jeff Linton won the regatta, hosted by the Classic Moth Boat Association, besting Mike Parsons and Mark Saunders.  Elizabeth City is an interesting venue. Fresh water with little to no current, a nice grassy lawn (the home of John and Sarah Pugh) to rig up on, and a floating dock that allows launching into four feet of water.

The town is small and dotes on the itinerate sailor: the municipal marina is a stopover on the intercoastal waterway and the local chamber of commerce has adopted the moniker "the Harbor of Hospitality," complete with a logo of a classic moth on the town's water tank.

The two days of racing was very pleasant even though I was off the pace of the leaders (I only won one race and my average finish position was 5th.) The local newspaper put together a nice slide show linked here.

More interesting was the after race activities on Saturday: both Mike Parsons and John  Zscleczky brought down their homebuilt foilers. John's Hungry Beaver is pretty well sorted - the only obvious glitch was his fixed gantry was not angled enough to provide sufficient rudder lift. Even cranking the worm gear to its maximum extent the ride was still bow up. John says his plan is to remove and shim his rudder horizontal to help get more lift. 

Mike's Stevo is still a work in progress. Sailing it reminded me of my boat two years ago: the hull, rack, and rig are sound but the foils and foil control systems still need lots of work. The obvious problem was high flights often resulting on sudden crashes. We tweaked the morse cable lengths and played with the wand settings but still couldn't get stable flight. The fact that the breeze was around 10 kts didn't help (perhaps in more wind things would have been better.)

John and I will be sailing in a couple of weeks at the  HHPDO in Rye, NY. John in his Hungry Beaver; I will be in a borrowed Bladerider.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


How can a young sailor on his or her own (not living with the 'rents) afford to sail in the upcoming world championships? I know even for me, a fifty something professional, trying to procure a $10 million liability policy would be a challenge. I'm pretty sure it's not something a twenty something sailor in the USA would be able to pick up. What magic in Australia allows such a policy to be written?

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Opening the facebook

I've resisted the facebook/twitter/social media phenomena until now, but with Richard's prompt as a way to increase communication among the US mothies, I've joined. We'll have to see if it's useful or a waste of time. I don't expect to do a lot of "chatting" or otherwise friending and being friended, except for moth related activities.

Now, back to finishing up gantry #3. The Classic moth nationals are next week and I hope to bring Try-Foil as a play/demo toy before and after the racing. It was three years ago next week that I first tried Bill's boat and was smitten, as described here.

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....

Monday, July 26, 2010

What if?

What if you scheduled a holiday weekend around some mothing at a venue a number of hours away from your home? What if the breeze is a steady 6 knots? Do you blow off the sailing adventure or do you rig up and sail? What if the weekend happened to be a regatta weekend and the race committee heads out to set the course? If the forecast calls for a steady breeze with nothing over 8 knots, will you be relegated to lowriding or sailing insane angles upwind and down, trying to pump it up and dreading every drop off the foils?

Thinking about the possible "what ifs," and knowing my skill and experience will mean a certain lowriding event, I threw together an alternate set of blades and some old school rigging (2-1 transom sheeting and a block at the back end of the welll replacing the bridle.) Cost was close to nil - I used a busted strut, just having to clean up the bottom. The rudder is a piece of cedar covered with a couple layers of glass. The needed blocks, line, tiller and hiking stick material were laying in the garage from other boats.  I had a chance to sail today with the old school foils and found things to be just as I remembered them from the 1970s. A Hungry Beaver (similar to a Hungry Tiger) sailing to weather in 6 knots is a beautiful thing. Smooth tacks with a quick speed build. Tacking angles a tad less than 90 degrees.  After about 45 minutes the breeze started to pick up to foilable range and I headed back to the beach to swap out the blades for the foils. It only took a little less than 10 minutes for the change-out followed by a couple of hours in 10-15 knots. A great day. The ride height mechanism is working to perfection.  A couple of new delrin bits have reduced slop and the gybes are actually coming along. The telltales seem to help, especially in the low riding conditions. I leave for Harbor Springs a week from today.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mod 1 - Height may not be everything

I put together the first modification of the ride height adjuster by leading it outboard and including a view port on the bonnet. The short bungee is to keep tension. The test sail today verified that extreme height is possible -- I got the boat to fly reasonably well with the horizontals only 6 inches below the surface. But I seemed to be going slower, so maybe height isn't the end-all and be-all. Of course, it was also the first time I had the wand fully extended and I'm sure that added to the height. The ride height adjuster seemed to work fine, with one glitch. I had put the last threaded rod onto the ball connector with blue medium strength thread lock and found it started to come unwound. So the next trip out will be with the red permanent thread lock.  No clear pics of the attempt, but will try a better shot next time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Weather Guessers

The forecast called for a north breeze, 10-13mph, beginning at noon and lasting until at least 7:00 p.m.   I though this would be a perfect day to sail along the north shore of the Norfolk's Ocean View (the "Big Bay" side.)  If anything broke I could just drift ashore. With the incoming tide, there was no chance of being washed out to sea. I arrived at the ramp around 11:00 with only a slight breeze out of the north. What the heck, I figured. Just rig up and wait for the wind. And sure enough, a half an hour later the breeze started to fill in. I promptly foiled off the beach and headed toward the ship channel and around Fort Wool.

View Wednesday's sail in a larger map

After skirting the OV fishing pier and sailing another mile or two, instead of continuing to build, the wind started to drop out and I couldn't keep the boat foiling. So, I turned around and started low riding back home. Even though I tried the pump, bounce, oooch techniques I just couldn't get the boat back up. I dropped a purchase to 2-1 on the mainsheet but just couldn't get the boat to fly. I also realized that telltales are a good thing in the light stuff (I hadn't really missed them in foiling conditions...)

For the next hour or so I got in some of the old moth balancing techniques from the 70s. My guess is the wind was around 5 kts. SO much for the forecast..... The one thing that's obvious to me is the the bridle makes low riding a pain. Inevitably it's in the way when trying to move to the center or to leeward. At any rate, once I got back to the beach I sat and wondered where the forecast breeze was. I rehydrated and thought about calling it a day, but decided to hold off for a half hour or so. And sure enough, the breeze shifted and started to build. I relaunched and head back out to Willoughby.

And then, despite any predictions, the breeze came in with a vengence. It quickly built to 15 with gusts to 20. I had to capsize and re-tie the mainsheet back to the boom for my 3-1 purchase. I spent another 45 minutes blasting around before I called it quits.  Why didn't the weather guessers foresee this breeze? Maybe it's still a black science...

On the equipment front, the ride height adjuster worked fine, with a few glitches. There is enough slippage on the barrel that I need to create a view port in my bonnet to actually see the amount of threads exposed. I certainly don't want to completely unscrew the final ball joint on the pushrod.  I also found that in marginal foiling conditions a low ride height may be preferred to initiate foiling, then once up and moving the height can be raised. I still haven't gotten to to the height that other have achieved. I read Chris' post about his rudder foil breaking the surface -- I'm nowhere near that height and not sure I want to get there...

Otherwise things are working better. I did manage to saw through the cover of my rooster rope mainsheet where it was against the ratchet. So I end-for-ended it and kept on trucking. I was actually surprised how quickly the cover went. One minute I saw some fraying (it's taken perhaps 50 hours to get to this point) and just a few minutes later the cover parted completely. So here's another question for the mothosphere -- what's the mainsheet of choice???

Today I plan on sewing the kite blocks to the tramp to get the ride height control line led outboard. A doctor's appointment this afternoon so maybe I'll hit the water again tomorrow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ride Height Adjuster, MK 1 Mod 0

I've concocted a shade tree mechanic's version of the elegant Swiss adjuster. It's made of some delrin rod tapped with left hand and right hand threads, 10-32, to fit the ball socket. With it I get about 20 mm of throw and it seems to work well with the boat on its side in the backyard. The whole shebang fits under my bonnet out of the way. Right now it's not led outboard. I want to try it first sailing so that when the Mod 1 (and 2 and 3) come along, as they inevitably do, I'll have a sense of where the leads should go without getting underfoot.

A new trick for me is to use a rope eyestrap. The turning blocks are fastened with some high tech line that's frayed at the ends, wetted out with some epoxy and taped down to the deck. We'll see if the method holds in the heat of battle. Another trick I learned from the latest issue of  Epoxyworks (the Project X fairing technique article) is to mix G5 five minute epoxy with some regular 105/205 mixture at 30% by volume to accelerate the cure. It seemed simple to do; the mixture kicked solid in about 20 minutes.

No sailing today as we're under a large high pressure dome and the breeze is pretty light. Maybe tomorrow?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some height, Finally!

Another couple of hours this afternoon in a nice breeze of 10-20 (with some higher gusts.)  The addition of the new wand makes all the difference in the world. No hull slap and some nice height. I had put some marks on the struts at 8 and 16 inches above the horizontal. With the wand adjustment today I was consistently sailing (in flat water) with the top line a couple of inches above the water -- so the horizontals were about 14" below the surface. Not M2 range but a whole lot better than I was able to achieve with the wippy wand. Both the mainfoil and the rudder horizontal were at the same depth, and the boat felt good.  Thanks to Bruce for the suggestion of long and stiff; it seemed to work great. I have another four inches I can extend the wand and I thought about experimenting, but I wanted to get some measurements first. 

I have to agree with Chris' recent post about trying to keep the wand paddle on the surface. Things did feel a little wonky when the wand was completely clear of the water, and often a sudden crash resulted. The breeze was real puffy (there were moments when I wish I had the mini-rig, maybe gusts to 25??)  and I had a couple of instances where the rudder stalled and the boat just wouldn't come up in the slight lull. I'm going have to try sitting inboard a bit off the wind when it's honking.  I also found that what works well in flat water doesn't when it gets bouncy. When I snuck around the tip of the spit there were waves rolling in from the Chesapeake on the order of 2-3 feet.  I'm working on a ride height adjuster and hope to get it installed in the next week or so.

I had tightened up the worm gear as best I could. The addition of the stainless plate below the gudgeon helped remove some slop there. Of course, with everything beefed up the weak link had to appear somewhere else. And sure enough, the rudder horizontal was loose when I came back in. It's a good thing I didn't loose it! So, some more boatwork this evening. I hope to sail in some fresh water on Sunday - the Chowan River where my in-laws have a vacation cabin.  If this breeze holds it will be nice to sail where there's no salt and sand...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Getting Rid of Slop

I've dissassembled the worm gear trying to figure out where the extra play is coming from.  My best guess is that the primary culprit is the kludgy swivel shackle (a Ronstan part.)  Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to reduce the play here. I wonder what other home builders are using for the swivel... any suggestions???

Another problem has been the lower gudgeon. I'm using some G10 glass laminate with about eight layers of carbon cloth on the bottom side. The 1/4" hole drilled through this composite plate just seems to slowly enlarge. To hopefully get a bit more life (and reduced wear) I'm fastening onto the bottom of the laminated gudgeon a stainless steel plate from a old tang that has a machined 1/4" aperture. There seems to be just enough play to accommodate a few degrees of misalignment as the AoA is adjusted.

On a related note, I got some 10mm OD carbon tube from Goodwinds.com and I find that my existing wand from FC is way whippier than it needs to be. I don't know the specifics at to wall thickness and construction  (although the new tube seems just a hair thicker), but using the flex-in-the-hands test, it's appreciably stiffer. So, a new paddle on a new stiffer tube should help immensely. If things kick by this afternoon (perhaps with some heat gun assistance) I'll try it out this evening (the forecast is still calls for 10-15 kts out of the north!)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tight is Right

One memory of the Gorge Worlds was Bora pounding his board into the well with a rubber mallet. Yes, the M2 has tight fitting components, one of the reason they're so fast. Amac gave me some ideas on making the hull opening match the strut and when I returned home I had followed them to create a somewhat tight opening. But after sailing off the beach for the past month (sand is a pain!!!) I found there was increasing slop. So I removed the well cassette and rebuilt it to create a tighter fit. The mallet wasn't required, but the board doesn't slide in and out easily. Even with some McLube, it's a challenge to put in and out. I believe that tight is good.

At any rate I got in another couple of hours of sailing this morning in a healthy breeze.  After diddling around Willoughby Bay for a bit I took a trip across the harbor to Hampton. Interesting with the north breeze and the strong current in the channel. Waves were in the 2 foot range and the board/wand/height adjustment seemed to work fine.

Now the problem is with the rudder system. There's way too much slop, so much that I'm going to have to disassemble the works and try to tighten things up.  Bill made a comment that jibing is next to impossible with a sloppy rudder system And there's so many places that play can crop up, from the pin on the gantry, to the tiller/rudder head connection (I've long discarded the rudder cassette idea), to the internal worm drive.  My rudder problems were exasperated when the gantry exploded at the Gorge last year. Who remembers sailing/swimming the boat in rudderless?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"That Little Boat Hauls Ass"

Today I got in another three hours in a real puffy (6-10, gusts to 15) breeze. Again hot and humid with a heat index of 110. A couple of changes seemed to work well. The inboard leads for the front of the hiking strap worked well. I just carboned on a couple of shackles to the wing bar then wrapped the wetted out epoxy with vinyl tape.

The new wand block was an improvement (less hull slap) but still not quiet. Maybe a different paddle shape at the tip? The wand itself seems standard - it was what John is using with the FC boats. Maybe I need to tweak the pivot bolt angle...

This time of year, especially on the weekends, the tourists and fishermen are out in droves. The parking lot at the ramp was chock-a-block with boat trailers. So I had plenty of flybys with lots of folks looking on. As I was sailing around jetskis, a Hobie 16, an Opti, and some folks swimming off anchored boats I got lots of thumbs up and hoots and hollars. On the way home, about a mile from the ramp, I was stopped at a traffic light an a couple of guys in a pick up truck pulled up besides me. I guess either they were on the water or lived in a beach cottage and saw me sailing. At any rate, they made the title comment.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Jelly Monsters

 Yesterday was a hot one.  With air temps in the mid nineties and high humidity (heat index of 105) we had the typical pre-frontal gusty southwesterlies.  So even though it was hot, I was itching to get some time in the breeze (8-20 kts with big shifts). Launching at 1:00 p.m., I didn't come back to the beach until 7:00. This morning I'm a bit brusied and battered. A couple of items of note:

(1) the new wand pivot needs reworking. I'll have to make a new one since the hole containing the wand was too vertical causing lots of hull slap (so much it was wearing the paint away!)

(2) I'm not convinced that extreme rake (a la Bora) is the way to go. I'm having trouble bearing away after the tack, so the next time out I'll try some slightly longer shroud adjusters.

(3) I'm finding that my hiking straps are just too far outboard at the front end. There's too much chafing on my shin and not enough on the top of my feet. So another change will be to fit a second lead further inboard for the hiking straps.

(4) Three year old gloves lose their protection at the second finger joint. Six hours in gusty winds resulted in a few open blisters. New, longer fingered gloves are on the to-buy list (any recommendations?)  I also now appreciate seeing Amac's mainsheet in Weymouth practically worn to a frazzle at the ratchet. It takes LOTS of sawing the sheet to get the boat upwind effectively in gusty and shifty winds.

(5) The stiffer wand seemed to help, but I can't tell for sure until I tweak the angle to prevent the slapping.  I just glued on a half round tube to the fiberglass batten that John supplied.

(6) Bing translations of blog comments still leave a lot to be desired. So "來幫推 你個blog影d相真係好靚,係我至愛" translates as "To help push you a blog shadow d-nice, really good to love me?"  Go figure....

(7) Running into a Moon Jelly at speed is a strange sensation. Not the plastic bag feel, not the solid object crunch, just a noticible "thud" with a very slight slowing.  With the bay water temp at 82 degrees I'm sailing without a wetsuit (and have the bruises to show it) so am very aware of the plates and stinger nettles that seem to bloom this time of year. All the more encouragement to stay upright!