Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Independence Day

Whoever said that the first rule of writing is having something to say clearly never had a bloog! People keep reminding me I have one and neglecting it is giving me pangs of guilt!

First, a thought on masts: Why does everyone keep making them lighter? Wouldn't a heavy mast give you more righting moment upwind? I thought the whole point of lighter masts was to increase righting moment on keel boats that heel to leeward, which Moths don't do very much, and to reduce pitching moment, which last time I checked moths don't do much. So skinny and heavy would seem to be the way to go!

Next, a thought on Moth Sailors. I could cook up a bunch of arbitrary but colorful categories, but they would only be a distraction from the truth everyone, on some level, knows: There are only two kinds of moth sailors, professionals and amateurs. Not that anyone is really making a living from the sailing itself, but there are a whole lot of people in the class who sail for a living, or did at one point. If you do not, you are pretty much kidding yourself if you think you are keeping up with them. And if you are keeping up with them, you are kidding yourself about not being a professional. I so love circular logic! If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns! The next rung down are people who sail a lot and are involved with some aspect of the industry with Moth ties - masts/sails/foils/hardware/boats. They are pros but of a less deadly variety. Then there are amateurs, some serious, some not so serious, some more technically inclined than others. But who really cares? Let's go sailing!

Speaking of which, I haven't been doing a whole lot lately, but new rudder foil is coming together gradually, new mast is working OK, new sail arrived yesterday to replace the MSL 12, which never fails to elicit cries of alarm from youth sailors when I hoist it these days. What?? You've never seen battens stitched in with whipping twine instead of batten pockets? Having battens tack independently of the sail is fast! Funny it has never actually come completely apart though I do seem to find new ways to jam the mast through the luff pocket each time I rig it...speed holes.

Congrats to Eelco for 3rd at Euros and a nice blog. Impressive accomplishment and impressive humility about it all. Kind of puts the lie to my professional/amateur theory, but whatever.

I heard recently how towns all across America are suffering because their fireworks displays have been cancelled for economic reasons, and they cannot afford the traditional 90 minute, $45,000 displays which have become customary. Sometime in the 90s fireworks became ubiquitous in the US; not the kind you can buy but the serious electronically programmed and choreographed variety formerly reserved for the President and major metropolises. What? The football team won? Fireworks! Basball game is over? More Fireworks! Big shopping day? How about some Fireworks! Half the time I don't even know what they're for anymore. Guess they'll have to go back to being special, at least for awhile.


Phil Stevenson said...

From one amateur mothie experimenter to another I also see a change in moth demography.

The class is certainly booming with rock stars and olympians but at least in AUS and probably UK and GER at least, there is still a core of weekend sailors who sail all season for the enjoyment, fronting up at convenient championships to have a go but more likely, as you say, fight out the 50 percentile places.

Not bad or good just curent reality.

These types of people have kept the class going for over 75 years and although some might drop out due to an inability to keep up, most hang in there and enjoy the benefits of the technology and developments which the higher level of competition is bringing.

And I am sure there will still be a core of dihard mothies left when the current flavour of the month changes to something else and the transient or part time moth sailors move on.

Alan said...

I think if we can make any part of the boat lighter we should. If you have sailed a narrow boat with an alloy mast then you will appreciate how much easier a boat moth is to sail with a lighter rig. Also you probably don’t notice moths pitching so much because of our foils and control systems. Any reduction in pitching moment of inertia can only be a good thing. If we reduce the pitching forces then we reduce the drag that is generated from the foils having to react the forces.

I agree that it probably doesn’t hurt that much to have a bit more weight up high for righting moment, but only when it’s windy, if its light it does not help. If you want to see what effect it has then tie a bottle of water to the shrouds (I know someone who has done this), or if you seal up your mast and then put a bung in the bottom, you could capsize and fill the mast (however much you liked) and drain it again if the wind dropped.

Karl said...

Yes I was mostly kidding about the mast. But then again I have sailed quite a bit with water in my old mast before it broke and apart from capsize recovery it never seemed to make a notable difference either way. Water ballast does seem a logical way to go though; perhaps some little venturi thingy plumbed from the foil up to the mast...

Alan said...

I’ve had the idea of the venturi running into the hull just to increase total mass (ie more lift to windward). But piping it into the rig or perhaps just the windward wing would perhaps make more sense, the pressure to fill the mast might be a bit hard to attain.