Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Eastern Front

Apparently I am too stupid to have learned anything from Napoleon and Hitler's mistakes, carrying on in a multiple front war. On the Western Front I am figuring out how to sail a moth, and on the the Eastern Front I am reinventing some critical parts of the boat. As I have observed before in these pages, these activities are to some extent mutually exclusive.

Last week was devoted mostly to sailing, planning for a small weekend regatta. Gybes are OK in most conditions now, but tacks have some catching up to do, as I discovered watching Charlie and Dalton sail away on the upwinds. I would normally have done my best to attribute this to their superior technology, but Charlie then proceeded to switch boats with me and the result was the same: he who tacks fastest wins by quite a bit. I also discovered that I have been sailing a bit too high an angle upwind and that VMG is a lot better going a tad faster. Overall Dalton consistently first to windward mark, then Charlie, then me, then Jack, and the order at the first mark would be the order of finish in a two lap race.

My only moment of glory was in the final race of the first day, which was a two mile screaming reach to the end of the breakwater with a gybe and then a single gybe run up the channel to the club. It was blowing 20-plus and the reach was extremely fast; it was impossible to head up at all as the boat would simply speed up and there was not enough righting moment to cope with the increased speed. So to get around the jetty I had to oversheet, slow down, then sail a bit higher and bear off again. There is nothing spectacular about this apart from the fact that Charlie, Jack and Dalton had not sailed in that sort of condition very much so their boats had serious stacking problems all the way home, despite maxing out rudder cant. Before I learned how to gybe I spent a lot of time blasting around this Bay in much choppier water, so I had the boat set-up pretty well for it. The rudder did vent a time or two but non-fatally. As a result I won the race by about 30 minutes, after stacking once in the serious lumps while trying to gybe, then foiling all the way up the channel going double the speed limit.

There is some interesting rigging creeping into the class from all these skiff sailors, much of which I intend to copy as it is simply better than what my boat came with. But none of it makes any difference if you can't tack reliably.

This week I am focusing more on building stuff in hopes of showing the various people around the world who have helped me with this project that it in fact is moving along. Speed has never been my forte when it comes to building, and this project is a bit problematic in that I am doing things that no one has done to a Moth before. I'm reasonably confident that it will work, but no one can really tell me how to build it because there are no precedents. So I spend a lot of time thinking about the various ways of building things before building them. Bill almost had me talked out of my new trunk design yesterday, but thinking more about it his idea would require quite a bit of fancy designing in CAD that I don't have time for. My current plan will work as proof of concept, at the price of a little convenience in rigging. Next iteration will be a bit more user-friendly.

So the new trunk in process:

Time to figure out how to drill 440c; I'm not terribly optimistic but it has to be done. Might have to wait for the lathe though as I'm not sure I can hold it still enough in the drill press vise. Going to start on the second foil also as I have a few ideas on how to make it stronger and if others' experience is any guide I will need another soon anyway.


G said...


Anonymous said...

Nice to see stuff happening Karl. I had some thoughts for your trunk .. but I'm guessing its a little too late for that now. Best of luck with the second foils.

Ps. Had the baby. Healthy though two weeks early.