Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Comes Around

More foil porn.


Despite the fact that it is late July in southern California, I am chilling out on the couch with some virus which I have decided is either Swine Flu or possibly one of those Coxsackie viruses that makes you sick for a week and then completely destroys your heart over the course of a few days. I would not normally invoke either one, but both happen to be running around my neighborhood at the moment. Rather than continue this morose line of thought I decided to watch a little comfort Tube.

Powerboating is pretty boring in the final analysis but people occasionally think of some pretty cool things to do with all those horses. I thought everyone who cared had seen this before but I realized recently I was wrong:

So if you hadn't seen it before, now you have. They put the same foil setup on kiteboards to make them more usable in light air, and on surfboards to tow in on the big/fast waves. Somebody glommed one onto a windsurfer at some point but wasn't fast, so I guess that's on hold for the moment. There is a great paper out there about another foiling windsurfer from San Fran several years back, which apparently WAS faster than a normal board, but it never seemed to catch on, and who knows how it would stack up against today's technology. Anyway that deserves its own post.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guest Stars

Nat and Bobby K were nice enough to take a break from sanding Duratek to show me the rudders they stuck together out of the tooling we made together. Vertical is John Z's Eppler tool and horizontal is from a couple of windsurfer fins I used as a plug for a female tool. Nice to see a finished product come out of all that.

Not long before it's out with the old, in with the new for my boat, minus flaps and such. Looking forward to a bit of added vertical in the bargain as well:

Not much else to report. Tried my new damper today but for technical reasons that only about four people on the planet would understand without me typing for half an hour the mounting bracket for the damper interfered with part of the foil tilt mechanism, preventing me from doing enough foiling to form an opinion. I was a bit frustrated as I had anticipated the problem but had not been aggressive about fixing it before going sailing, but at least now I'm sure it needs to be modified!

I do not think the world is quite ready for photos yet - everything is sort of Terminator-esqe in a Rise of the Machines way, you know, the first one where all Arnold's skin is gone and he is just a skeleton of metal with a glowing red eye lurching toward Linda Hamilton before she drops the 100 ton press on him. Who knows, perhaps the damper will disappear after sea trials like a bad dream. Or will it return as T2, liquid metal? I suppose the fishnet tramps will only add to the confusion when they are installed, which will be soon as the dacron is looking really sketchy these days.

New North sail is looking very full in the top which was nice for today's light breeze, but making me think about growing new muscles to pull on the vang when it gets windy! At any rate the sail is so light the boat won't stay capsized on shore anymore, which is sort of interesting! Exchanged greetings with Richard as he returned to shore looking very stylish on his Bladerider.

Someone in a kayak asked me if my boat was a Laser (!). Of course she asked while I was trying to tack into the basin against a two knot tide in no wind, but I did pause long enough to say "No". Then she said "It's beautiful". Must be the bowsprit. Or maybe the ski, which I almost had to pry some F18 dude away from before launching as he oohhed and ahhhed and poked and prodded to test its little recoil spring. People do so love gadgets!

Enough fun for one day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Riddle: What's the enemy of "good"?

Had the boat working reasonably well today in the fading breeze between five and eight pm. California was doing one of it's epically beautiful Sunday evening things with a nearly full moon high in the east as the sun disappeared below the horizon. The breeze held until just before sunset, allowing me to do more troubleshooting than I had any right to expect getting on the water at 5.

I transmorgrified my wand "paddle" into a larger footprint and found it vastly improved performance; a bit draggy at the top end but nothing a step or two won't fix. The foil return action was giving me fits until I realized a line had slipped so I wasn't getting the proper throw on it. After retying it things were better and I had some nice sailing, even getting foiling pretty quickly after the tacks and lifting off in not too much breeze without having to fiddle very much.

Reaching back and forth to my launching point on the beach I was having so much fun I just had to give it one last run before heading in. Of course once I was out past the oil island I got hit by a puff while trying to gybe, at which point my sail was interrupted by a rather loud crack and some crunching carbon as I stuffed it hard. I thought I might have broken a foil, but it was only the magic box glued to the deck letting go, pulling a bunch of paint off the deck in the process, ricocheting off the back of the trunk breaking a little nomex gusset and putting the foil into full negative. While righting I noticed the police boat watching me carefully from a short distance away; whether out of pity, alarm, disbelief or all three I have no idea. Anyway I sailed back with the foil full negative but it was a great day with perfect conditions for fiddling - plenty of breeze to foil but not nuclear and some chop but not too much.

I have decided my new rudder strut will be fashionably longer than the current one. It should be interesting picking an angle of attack for the new section but I'll aim a bit more positive than the difference between the zero lift angles of attack and see what happens...I'll miss having the twist grip tiller extension but that setting should really be on a line anyway so Lister Lever here I come, or what I am forced to assume is a Lister Lever given the prevailing radio silence from that particular part of the Mothosphere!