Monday, May 26, 2008

Dubai, we have a problem...

Just reading FigJam's pre-regatta "what difference does it all make" post and concluded he clearly needs to go on over HERE and have a little fun with the demotivator generator, a la:

Apologies to Oskar but he is at least credited on the photo. I have no idea who the sailor is, but someone is sure to tell me shortly.

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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

One Step Forward

and a step or two back again. That's how this mothing stuff seems to go. You start to feel competent in one aspect of sailing the boat, and then conditions change and suddenly you realize you didn't know quite as much about things as you had hoped.

As usual the forecast was wrong yesterday and a nice southwesterly came up just as I arrived at ABYC. Having never sailed from there before I launched and proceeded to sail out the channel. This was more than a little challenging, as it was basically upwind in this sort of breeze:

made even more interesting by the eddies on the back side of the windward jetty. In any event there was more clowning around than usual just getting to a place where I could foil without running into a pile of rocks in five seconds.

There was some serious lumpiness running; I have never sailed out of a wave going to windward before but definitely ventilated the main foil at least once and I wasn't flying very high. So I pointed up behind the outer sea wall where the water was flatter, practising some tacks. I was just starting to get into a rhythm with this when I noticed the mainsheet was parting; it had about four strands of core left at the block. I guess end-for-ending it the third time was a mistake. Anyway capsize, tie knot, end for end again, and sail home. Downwind.

I have been pretty happy with the gybes lately but I drifted far enough down in the mainsheet fix to get out into the lumps again and I have to say with gusts definitely over 20mph and the newly reknotted mainsheet about a foot too short it was a handful. Downhill speeds are just fantastic in the puffs and combined with lumpiness, choosing the point to gybe is key, along with the usual adjustments to keep the boat in the water when the forces of aerodynamics are trying to launch everything into the sky.

So I capsized more than usual with the mainsheet coming out of my hand on the gybes, but managed to make it back in OK. New mainsheet on order.

Next item of business: new trunk.