Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shaping Up

The ol' girl is finally starting to act like a proper moth again, after rather a lot of clowning around. For some reason the wind in the little bay by the club was decent for foiling if a bit up and down, with some good puffs rolling through. After reconsidering my set point issues on my bungee (rather a different bungee than you have most likely) I installed a 2:1 in about 15 minutes and eliminated quite a bit of rubber from the deck. Apart from looking a lot more manageable and less like a bird's nest, this allowed me to set the engagement point a lot more precisely and vary the rate quite easily as well. In the first 30 minutes of sailing I capsized perhaps six times to adjust set point, rate, and wand line length, and in the end I had something which behaved very much like a normal moth, with a couple of exceptions: my wand is hollow and kept injecting air onto my rudder during takeoff before the wand started planing, resulting in some slow takeoffs. The second issue is my trunk which lacks any sort of fairing around the foil at all - I'm sure this would help my lowriding speed and takeoff quite a bit.

Next task is to prime, sand and paint the mainfoil, and design a rudder tool. If things keep going this well I might actually be halfway competitive next month in San Diego or wherever we are racing next. There is a regatta later this month at ABYC also but not sure I am ready for that quite yet, esp. against Graham Biehl in his newish Velociraptor (I think). Those 470 dudes are some good sailors.

Managed to foil for over two hours inside the bay where the speed limit is 5mph so either the Patrol was on a rather long coffee break or they have decided I am not worth the trouble. I try to only foil circles around the boats that cheer first; some guy in an electric picnic boat just couldn't get enough gawking and decided to bear off onto my course just to leeward of me at the very moment my rudder ventilated. So now I am careening directly at him at a high rate of speed from about 20 feet away. I had to completely bail to avoid T-boning him. Not his fault but people seem to assume I am in a lot better control a lot more of the time than I actually am. I suppose that's why they put the speed limit at 5. 

I have the wackiest paddle right now; it is pretty big and a bit concave going forward - this makes for a nice little geyser effect on one tack and something akin to a soda fountain on the other, with lots of splashiness. Probably not fast but today it was holding height really well so I can't complain - paddles are easy to change - just a few minutes with the belt sander or cut it off and glom something else on.

All this effort only to have a Moth that sails like a Moth. Like someone said - it's the journey, not the destination; I am learning so much every time I go out that it is pretty addictive. As I told Nat and Bobby K today it's like making a new paper airplane every time I go out except that instead of throwing it and watching it I get to ride the thing. Sailing a moth you've bought is fun, and it is a lot of work getting any moth set up properly to the point where it is reliable. But refining a new system and figuring out how to sail it when you've built it yourself is a completely different level of satisfaction. Days like today are sort of hard to comprehend - it seems impossible that the boat could be doing precisely what it should in most situations, and yet there it is - just like the Infinite Improbability Drive in the Hitchiker's Guide. To recap:

This is a moment for superb and delicate concentration. Bob and float, float and bob. Ignore all consideration of your own weight simply let yourself waft higher. Do not listen to what anybody says to you at this point because they are unlikely to say anything helpful. They are most likely to say something along the lines of "Good God, you can't possibly be flying!" It is vitally important not to believe them or they will suddenly be right.

Waft higher and higher. Try a few swoops, gentle ones at first, then drift above the treetops breathing regularly.


When you have done this a few times you will find the moment of distraction rapidly easier and easier to achieve.

You will then learn all sorts of things about how to control your flight, your speed, your maneuverability, and the trick usually lies in not thinking too hard about whatever you want to do, but just allowing it to happen as if it were going to anyway.

Girl crewing a 420 yelled "I LOVE YOUR BOAT" which is touching given i've hacked it up and added all sorts of new kit. Either any boat looks really good on foils or having one black and one white foil is somehow more attractive than two white ones. Maybe it's the splashy paddle. 

Watched Mars Attacks again the other night. That movie is a classic.

Sorry no new photos or video from today; left the camera at home. Pity in a way, but sometimes it's more important to make progress on the development side than to document it for the rest of the world. Actually that's probably always true. But it doesn't stop me from typing stuff here anyway.

No comments: