Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Everything in Moderation...

especially moderation. That's my old motto. The jury's still out on whether I require a new one.

Lately I have observed that for a town with as many insanely beautiful people as LA, we have more than our share of unhappy ones. You spot some woman who looks for all the world like she just stepped out of a photo shoot for Vogue, work your way up past the amazing shoes, yoga-sculpted calves and thighs, revealing short skirt, silicon rack/lips and sophisticated dye job shouting "money money money" only to find that despite cornering the market on botox her brow is knit and there is no trace of a smile in that face. I mean, if being beautiful means you have to look like you're on some sort of unpleasant tranquilizer trip, is it really worth it?

I don't know what they put in MDF that makes it vaporize like oil in a diffusion pump when you hit it with a router, but there is nothing that comes close for turning the shop into a Day After scenario (though cutting G10 with a table saw runs a strong second). When St. Helens blew up the ash was four inches thick on my grandfather's car and if he tried to wash it off with a hose it just congealed. The lake where I had my first sailing experiences was completely obliterated that day, but I was reminded of it this afternoon, looking around at all my tools buried in brown powder: small yellow daysailers bobbing around my brain to the Darth Vader sounds of my respirator. It is a lot like scuba diving actually, including the poor visibility. I may have to invest in some more aggressive dust control technology than a roof vent fan.

I have not done much sailing lately. I have done various things in the garage. Somewhere along the way I decided to make a new rudder tool; partly to experiment with geometry and partly because the CCZ boys need rudders so it was a good chance to make some tooling cooperatively. BobbyK and I laid up some strut skins last Sunday on a low-drag tool and I should be able to get a female lifting tool completed by next week. After that we can all start figuring out what to do with the delrin acme allthread that has been sitting around my shop for aeons. I am tempted to go power barring ala Mr. Lister but the Engineers are into screws so some assortment of solutions is likely to emerge.

I went with some windsurfer fins. Glommed them together on centerline and ended up with about a nice span and 11:1 AR. The tool effort is to duplicate the shape for the Nilla Zillas; this particular adventure in formica-coated MDF flangemaking has so far claimed only one guide bearing but the fit is strictly white on rice.

Other projects on the list include improved surface feeler technology, adjustable wand phase, and off in the distance, a refined version of my mainfoil. But no need for that just yet.

Back to squishing airfoils. I am trying to convince XFOIL to accept my modified versions of various shapes but so far it seems to look only disdainfully upon .txt files, preferring DAT exclusively. It is like dreaming you are in a country where you can't speak the language, but somehow you understand everything anyway. Only you are the country and your computer is the one dreaming, like in Blade Runner. It understands perfectly, but remains impassive, as though waiting for some magic word. Which, of course, it is.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

4.75, Baby

Despite having somehow procured the lowest interest rate on a home loan I have ever encountered, GUI is too lazy to get his own bloog, which is fine as it is far easier for me to bloog vicariously about his boat than make any real progress on my own. Somehow he has managed to finish a PhD, switch jobs twice, move three times, buy a house and have a baby during the past two years, during which time he has designed and built two foilers from scratch (though the Guitine has yet to fly) - not including the converted lowrider Skippy2. As nearly as I can tell, he is able to accomplish this because while most builders ponder how many layers of uni to put in their foils, Gui has assembled various components from Home Depot and NAPA auto parts and is already at the lake learning how to gybe! "Flap? I need a flap? What for - the wind is blowing - let's go sailing!" And yes his wife is a saint, or in the run-offs at any rate.

The new Guitine is clearly a step up in terms of cosmesis as there is no irrigation pipe or mild steel throttle cable in evidence and no carbon death needles as suggested by the baby on board. In any event it looks good on screen and the foils should be nice also which in G's hands could be a formidable combo... Secondary bonds on the strut attachments GUI? What were you thinking! Who are you trying to impress anyway?