Friday, January 03, 2014

Finishing up 2013

Whoops - another long delay between posts.

How can it have been that long? Then I saw my last post was in May 2013, and remembered rather vividly why I haven't had much of an online presence.  We've been in a bit of a bubble here since that tragic month.

I cannot express quite so eloquently as many have done online my thoughts of Bart, but he was a good friend and will be greatly missed.



While it was hard to think about 72 sailing for a while after that, there was an amazing effort by the team to regroup and get back on the water. It was sad for the event that we were not ready to compete, but our battle was to just make it back out onto that race course. We gave Luna Rossa a run for their money, getting closer by each race. The final was great to watch. ETNZ with an early advantage that was ground down by Oracle as they learnt their boat. Foiling wingsailed catamarans match racing at over 40 knots - who would ever have thought we'd get an AC final like that?!



During the AC final I went back to the UK to watch the C Class cats battle it out at a smaller scale. I'd wanted to do a foiling one for a while so it was great to see Groupama and Hydros looking so impressive up on foils against the conventional fleet. Lake Geneva in 2015 should be interesting.




From Falmouth it was on to Hawaii for the Moth Worlds. Once again I hadn't done much training time, but it was a venue not to be missed, and nice to see what the state of the fleet was.

The standard continues to improve, and this year was hard with 80 boats on one light wind startline. Having not raced for several years was a slight weakness for my starting!



While the Mach 2's dominated the numbers, and took out the podium, the Exocet was a worthy opponent in the conditions we saw. Those high aspect ratio foils had them foiling really early, and tacking looked so easy. Bora was confident in his kit before the Worlds and it showed in his racing as he pulled off an impressive series. After chatting to him before the event and seeing that he wasn't worrying about what rig to use as has often been the case I predicted he might win. Nathan had done hardly any Moth sailing in San Fran, and reminded the fleet of how good a standard large standard set of Mach 2 foils can be in the more marginal stuff. Nathan was long gone in some of the abandoned races. (We had more abandoned races than I have ever experienced!)

As far as tech shown at the Worlds:

Canting rigs: Rob Gough and Amac both ran canting rigs. Amac had most of his controls linked to one another and I'm still trying to go through the photos to figure out the system! Rob used some very neat tiny hydraulics, and a larger than normal spreader set. I heard he had a great high mode, and he seemed happy with the canting, but others who had tried it decided it wasn't worth the hassle and extra weight.

Double rudder foils: Something else that both Rob and Amac were using before the event was an extra small horizontal on the rudder vertical just under the static waterline. This helped in light wind take-offs, and marginal foiling tacks. Rob broke his off in training though, and neither of them used them in racing.



Fairings: As the boats get quicker and quicker, the aero of the platform is getting more attention. Bora had fairings on his rear wing bars, compression struts and boom end. Rob Gough and Simon Hiscocks had looked into the kingpost and foredeck area more.

New boats: I was great to meet Int Canoe World Champion Chris Maas at the event, and take his new Moth out for a spin after racing one day. It is a well built interesting boat, filled with new ideas. Although diving straight into a highly competitive Worlds was a big leap for Chris, he learnt loads, and I look forward to his next developments.

Macita mainfoil (Designed by Lister & Damic). Bora obviously used it to great effect, and that got a lot more people looking at it. Several people even started adding downward tips to their small Mach2 foils and fixing the flap at the end. I don't think anybody really got this to work for them though as each one was quite last minute. The foil looked to be a nice blend of aspect ratio, nice sections, and appropriate area.


Right time to get on with a few other things on the job list. I'm more of a blog fan than facebook so I'll endeavour to keep this more up to date. Plenty of interesting projects going on to talk about coming up...

Monday, May 06, 2013

Seaplane Lagoon

Seaplane Lagoon here in Alameda is currently the host to one of the most impressive fleets of foilers on the planet. We've got two America's Cup teams based here now that our new neighbours Luna Rossa Racing have arrived. In a boatyard just round the corner is Hydroptere having a refit, and then we've got the Kiteboat Project guys in the video below playing with kites and foils here.

I got a tour around their workshop recently and they have got a great collection of cool foilers in there.




On top of all that we've got a growing fleet of Moths and other small boat foilers.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Foiling 45 Racing

The foiling 45 is proving to be a pretty cool boat. Although originally only a bit of a test platform, this week we took on Oracle Racing in their foiling 45. It was great to watch both boats foil into the prestart and straight into a dial-up bows in the air. Should be fun racing the 72's!





Saturday, April 20, 2013

AC45 Video

Fun and interesting times with the foiling 45 at the moment.


Sunday, April 07, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hydroptere

Okay, another slight delay in news but it is time for a post I've been meaning to do for a while.

So in ‘Foilborne’ news I had the privilege of sailing on Hydroptere at the end of last year, upping my personal best speed to 43 knots! It was an awesome afternoon cruising round San Francisco Bay with Alain Thebault and his team.





They were the fastest sailboat in the world, before Paul Larson smashed the outright record in such impressive style.

Back in 2010 I got to sail on Mirabaud during Weymouth speed week, so my collection of cool foilers sailed on is getting impressive.


2013 is looking good to improve on that list...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back Online


Oops, It’s been a bit longer than planned between blog posts!

Bumping into some old F18 friends in Plymouth reminded me that some people do actually read this stuff, and are interested in what I’m up to, so I’d better make an effort to update it.

So what’s been going on? Well I’d made my Moth wing, but unfortunately a hernia operation prevented me from going to the Worlds. Although disappointing to not be able to go to Belmont, I was fortunate enough to be able to dive into a new job at Artemis Racing. Carrying on where I’d left off after TeamOrigin stopped rather abruptly.

I’ll play safe by not going into detail about what we are up to within Artemis at the moment, but it is fair to say it is always pretty busy and has been eventful recently! In the World of wings I’ve managed to upscale rather quickly over the last two years with Moth, Tornado, AC45, and then an AC72 wing on a lengthened Orma 60 trimaran. So all very interesting.

Now we are into a catamaran AC, my personal fleet has expanded to include an A Class to get back into some catamaran sailing. Great fun to learn a new class even if it feels quite slow compared to the Moth. It has had a few mods undertaken already, with plenty more little tweaks planned.


Best of luck to all the Mothies who go to Garda, unfortunately I won't be able to make that one, but plan on Hawaii after the Cup.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sadly not this time...

I've been a bit too busy to post recently, for a number of reasons. But I thought I'd better post and mention that sadly I'm unable to attend the Worlds. I've got a slightly unscheduled hospital appointment, nothing serious, but it will unfortunately keep me off the water at a rather inconvenient time. My wing debut will have to wait for another time.

Best of luck to all out there, and it is great to see so many entries. I'm sad to be missing it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wing Walking

It has been a busy time in the World of wings. The 34th America's Cup will now be raced with wing sailed cats - making the Moth the perfect feeder class!

It has been a bit of a hectic period recently, but I managing to get my boat back off Katherine for a few minutes on Sunday and went out crash testing the wing! Before I do a few mods I've got planned, I thought I'd to take the opportunity to really learn about the weak spots in a structure like this, and find out what bits need reinforcing, and which bits are fine. I'd start with some basic capsizes, and work my way up to some bigger moves! The skin is coming off, and some ribs being replaced anyway so I might as well learn about the survivability beforehand.


The initial test was to let Katherine have a go.... It survived that, so I had to work a bit harder. (See her blog http://www.foilingboatadventures.blogspot.com/ for the more colourful (pink) version of events soon)


I capsized, and stayed there for 5 minutes to see how much water would get inside. Hardly any was the result. More in the trailing element actually, and that should be sealed, so my control line entry points obviously worked okay on the front.


The C Class guys actually punch holes in the skin to drain the water out when they capsize as otherwise the water rushing down inside the wing can take out numerous ribs on its way down! Fortunately a well sealed wing laying flat in the water prevented the need for this, and stage one was passed.


Whilst capsized, I did the walk to the transom and flipped the boat over the transom. This is a nice way to load up the leach element! Five of those and still no cracking noises!


Okay time for a little party trick.. I thought early on that with a fully sealed leading edge structure, I'd have a nice buoyancy tank in the rig! Actually the volume of it would probably hold my weight quite well, and it was pretty bulletproof...


Not a typical load case, but a good example of the fact that these structures can be made quite tough!

It survived that fine, so with the wind picking up a bit, I tried for some pitchpoles! Of course this is quite hard to do when you actually want to do it! But I managed one eventually, and although it made a good splat noise as the leading edge hit at pace, all was fine, and we came away from that one unscathed.

So back to the workshop for a few mods, although I think pondering over 44m versions will be taking up a fair bit of my time soon.

Oh well exciting times.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wingless


Updated: It is a little weird logging onto a webcam and seeing your car and boat in another country! Katherine called to say she'd made it to Silvaplana okay, so I did a quick check of the webcam, and I see the car and trailer!
I hope the weather clears up okay, and wish everybody a great event.


----------------

Unfortunately due to TEAMORIGIN commitments I shall be unable to attend the Europeans. I'm at an interesting time in a new team, with growing responsibilities, so it would be silly for me to miss up on opportunities as they arise.

A great shame as I was looking forward to going back out to Silvaplana, especially with such a good reception to the wing. So we'll have to wait for another time to unveil it in competition.

I've done a brief bit more testing. Lining up against Nathan the other day. I had height upwind, he had pace downwind. I came away with a long list of improvements in my head, pleased with the potential I know it has.

Katherine is still going out to the Euros, and will now be taking my Mach 2 which she has been getting a sneaky bit of practice in this week. (and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it back off her!) With me not now able to help with the drive we are looking for help from the Moth fleet. She can drive out with Nathan, but needs a possible lift back, and car to tow a trailer? Or she'll be driving out and back on her own.

Any UK mothies able to help out?

A go with the wing open to best offer!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Wing



For pretty much as long as I’ve sailed I’ve had a fascination with the futuristic looking C Class cats, and their wing sails. I’ve always wanted to do a wing, but had imagined it would be as part of a C Class team one day. But what about building a nice scale version to get to know about them that bit better? Good plan – unless your own boat is already one of the most extreme sailing boats out there.... Oh well, got to be a bit bold sometimes. I’ve got a whole bunch of cool stuff in my little black book of design ideas, and was getting frustrated at seeing other people do things that I’d been pondering long ago. Rigs had received much thought, regarding what the next step might be. Rigging configs, wing masts and a variety of things have been sketched, but a wing was always at the end of the list as an end game solution. So why not give it a go, and miss out those intermediate steps? I knew there was interest in doing wings in USA, Switzerland, and Australia, so the race was on – who would be the first to do one? A covert race began, wondering each day if you would just go online to see somebody else had got there first. Bora and I joked at the Worlds that the code word for completion of a wing should be ‘The Eagle has landed’ A simple skype status update would be understood to mean only one thing. The wing had long been discussed with regard to the Moth, and I’d always thought you couldn’t do it, we capsize the boat just to launch – a wing wouldn’t like that. It would probably be heavier, and sailing a heavy rigged Moth would not be that nice in terms of handling. But what if it did work? 
I'd been considering it for ages, and my weighs spreadsheet kept me honest for a while, until I simplified it enough, and had gone into some depth with thinking about the structure. It is an interesting problem, because the design and structure are so linked. Post launch, I’d say I worried about the weight too much. Launching and capsize recovery was easy enough, and the effect in tacks and gybes wasn’t noticeable. The added weight up high is probably a performance gain upwind for those of us with less righting moment anyway! Design wise it is a very simple two element wing, with camber and rear element twist control (although I probably went too far in making it capsize safe, and the rear element is quite stiff!). Being quite weight conscious I played safe on the sizing, going a bit under area. Slightly less span because I was concerned over the cg height, and slightly smaller on chord because I wanted to fit it onto a standard Mach 2 Moth, and the mainsheet location imposed a few size restrictions on me. I could have done a transom mainsheet system like some use, but having used that system and capsized on the first tack, I thought it was a little punchy given how little sailing time I had available to me. It was never intended to be a fully finished product straight away. Most people thought it couldn’t be done on a Moth, (or at least was a stupid idea!), so this was a little step into the unknown slightly. Rules wise many people have been in touch about how you measure it. We have an ISAF sail measurement document that describes the procedure for wing sails, and I’ve chatted to the C Class guys about how they measure theirs. The Moth class measurement manual is being updated to include these documents. Ultimately whether something like this remains within the class is up to the class, as we have a philosophy of retrospective legislation. I’m not fussed either way, somebody was going to do it one day, so I just fancied being the first. It is a cool project I wanted to do, and has been worth every penny already. 
Performance. A question a lot of people have been asking is how was the performance? Well I was only out for 30 mins, and that was really more of a structural test than anything else! Would it destroy itself in a shower of carbon splinters? Could you launch it? Would it survive a capsize? These where the more pressing points in my mind, but there was another boat out, and there is something in all Moth sailors – a pressing need to buzz the tower Top Gun style! It was Simon Hiscocks out in his 49er (new rig). I lined up with him briefly downwind. I was faster, and at times was lower as well, but this was still inside the first 5mins from launch, and I was still playing with camber settings, and getting to grips with the fine line of wing trimming downwind at 19 knots. When I was in the groove, I was faster and lower at times, but occasionally I’d stall it, and have to head up to re-attach. VMG wise, about the same as my normal rig I’d say, but with plenty of potential to go better with a bit more time. Upwind was a nice case of higher and faster. I’ve lined up against most of the GBR 49er squad, and have generally had an edge, but this felt like a fair bit more... Hard to judge though for sure, so we’ll see next week when I get to go up against some other Moths. Data logging with my PI Garda box starts on the next sail as well. Many people have asked about how practical it is – well it is obviously not as practical as a standard rig, but this one fits on my current road trailer, and I plan to make the top section above the hounds come off after the Euros, and then it will pack into a box about the size of our current Moth travel boxes, so that then isn’t too bad. 
Cost? – I had the initial mould costs, but if you forget that, the wing probably cost me only a little more than going out and getting a new mast, boom and sail together. Having done one – the time to build another would be a lot less. Interestingly a home builder could buy the component bits and get a rig for cheaper than currently. With less than a weeks sailing time before I head off to the Euros – it is unfortunately my standard championship preparation again! But faced with the choice of sailing around just outside the top bunch regretting not doing enough sailing, or go radical and put up the wing – it was an easy call, the wing is going. Chatting to Nathan the other day – he’s done almost as much sailing in one month as I’ve done in my Mach 2 in total! Ironically a good reason for me to do it was the lack of time I had. I was set up for another season of minimal training time in my boat due to coaching commitments. My schedule only got more hectic with TeamOrigin work as well, and I saw a careful build and sailing timeline get smaller and smaller! But the project lent itself well to me designing it, and having it going as a project in the background whilst busy with other things. The most work is in the thinking time on a project like this, and I had thinking time – whether it be in the evenings at events, or on a plane travelling to and from a variety of events around the globe, but I didn’t have sailing time available to me until much later in the year, so it fitted in well. 
Successful projects are often about the people behind them, and I was fortunate enough to have had some great help with this.Kevin Driver: Originally I’d planned to get somebody to build me some leading edge moulds and do the big laminating jobs, then I’d do the rest in my workshop. I approached Kevin Driver over at the boatyard at Beer about my idea, and he was really keen to be involved. Kev was my National 12 helm many many years ago, and had a huge influence on my sailing. He made the moulds and leading edges, and got really into the project. With me snowed under with work, Kev undertook the full build project, and I concentrated on design, and small part production. I’d pop over every month or so with a programme of work, and a pile of parts of materials, explain the next stage and leave him to it. In the end Kev overtook me, building parts quicker than I could produce drawings. Working with Kev again was really cool. It was nice to be able to thrash ideas around, solve problems, and then he’d just get on with it. He kept me on track when I was pondering ways of doing it that were a little too complex or time consuming for version one. It was a shame he couldn’t be there for the launch, but hopefully he’ll get over to Weymouth in a weeks time when I sail it next, or I’ll do some showboating off Beer beach soon. Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson – working for these guys has been great, a real privilege, and I’ve learnt a lot working with them. They were early fans of the project, and their ‘just do it’ attitude was an important encouragement early on. With my extra work coaching for them recently, I’ve looked on them in part as sponsors of the project, for without them it probably wouldn’t have happened. Katherine – She’s put up with me being away a lot recently, and then when I was home, I’d be doing a late night trip over to Beer, building another random part, or had my head stuck in my design notes. She’s now a master of the ‘clean room’ skills such as splicing and wing skinning but went above and beyond the call of duty, swimming out with the wing to support it on the first launch! (She’ll be glad it passed the launch/capsize test later on, so we won’t be doing that again) 

As a final note: I nearly started with this, but as there are a number of non-mothies reading this I’ll finish with it instead. I’ve been suffering from Babbageitis for a long time. In Dubai, Scott admitted that he often thought about what he would write in his next blog post while sailing along. Well I’ve had a bad dose of it as I’ve been pondering my possible blog posts on the wing far too much!

Thank you for all the nice messages about this. I’ll post more details soon, but I’ve got a busy week with TeamOrigin in Cowes, so I’d better focus on that.





The ribs following me, all predicted I'd play safe, and tack round on the first sail. It felt fine so I rolled straight into a foiling gybe - that got a few cheers!

Many thanks to Ben Rhodes for these photos. (Ace 49er crew, and top photographer as well it now appears!)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Eagle has landed...

A wing, on a Moth - you've got to be mad? Well quite possibly... But I've always wanted to do one, so here it is...

Will do a full blog post tomorrow, but all went well for sea trials. Doing a nice quiet launch in Weymouth the week before the biggest regatta of the year here wasn't going to happen, so it was with quite a crowd gathered that I finally launched.

Upwind felt really good, downwind needs some tuning, but all good for a shake down sail.

Full update shortly - got to pack now for Cowes week with TeamOrigin and the 1851 Cup.







Special thanks to Katherine for wing skinning today, helping with the launch and taking photos!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Busy busy busy

A severe lack of blog posts recently as I've been so busy. Skandia Team GBR 2.4 work and Star work with Percy & Simpson have taken up a lot of time.

So not much time for much Mothing. Finished off a few jobs I wanted to do to the boat on unpacking it from its Dubai trip though. The hinged wand bonnet is now on, and a new style reinforced forestay attachment.




Next week should be interesting though - off out to Marseille to work for Team Origin with their TP52 programme...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Early morning sail...

Ouch - up at 4:30am...

Katherine and Carbon Footprint have gone on a little adventure today. They've entered the Sunrise to Sunset charity event that is going on all around the country. (For more info she blogged about it on her site: http://www.foilingboatadventures.blogspot.com/ - thanks to those who have sponsored her!)

I was shore crew today. Having only just got back from a long period away in Valencia, my boat hasn't been put back together yet, and some last minute workshop time was needed to get Katherine's mainfoil and flap attached again, so I was rigger and photographer. And now home for a cup of tea!

5:20am













Unfortunately not much wind.... Registering about 4 knots for the first three hours sailing, although it looks like is might be building now.
(25 knots forecast for the afternoon - so a shift to a spot of windsurfing might happen!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 4 - Lay day

A pretty average day yesterday. Didn't really start very well, and never got the first beats quite right. Funny chop around as well that I never got figured out on the run, and had a few pop outs. Oh and I hit a fish up one of the first beats! A day of missed opportunities I think.

Today was good though. After a morning of catching up with some work I went for an afternoon sail, and got in some very constructive tuning runs with Mike Lennon. I learnt a lot about my set-up, and how to sail the boat differently downwind, so looking forward to the next load of races.

Dalton made my day on Wednesday when looking over boats to see what tweaks people had done, he said - "I'm disappointed to see that nobody has figured out a tacking velocitek mount". Ha ha I might not have done much sailing, but not being able to see the gps when hiking upwind had bothered me so I created the tacking gps mount for this event! More details soon....

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Day 2

A day of two solid results and then frustration with picking up two plastic bags in the third race. 8th overall after four races. I'm happy enough with that.
The first race started in foiling conditions, but the beat was light - we were sailing some big angles upwind, and it was all about staying foiling. It was light at the windward mark, and I think everybody was lowriding in the area. I rounded the top mark around tenth but felt I was really close to getting up onto the foils again, so carried on upwind a fraction beyond the spectator boats into some pressure. I held my breath and up we went. It was a tricky run, but I kept it up, and made the gybe to be pleasantly surprised to find myself on the layline. Getting close to the target time, the race was finished at the bottom, and I'd got up to 5th. Amac won, having turned around on the run to go upwind a bit to get up onto the foils!
Race two had more breeze, and I was happy to have a good start, round the top in sixth, and stay there for the race. Amac showed great up the beat, but overstood the layline massively, and left himself quite a job to get back.



A secret to his speed could be his early prep - leaving the boat rigged overnight last night meant he was rigged and ready before anybody this morning!

Race 3 was held in more breeze again, and the usual suspects started to show through. I had an okay first beat to be looking at a 10th ish at the windward mark only to hit a plastic bag, and drop off the foils. I had to capsize to clear it, and was back in the late teens. A good run though saw me back into the mix a bit, but playing the left up the next beat was not a good move and the pack I'd got down the run had go passed me again. I then hit another plastic bag on the stbd layline, and had to capsize again. I clawed passed Alex Adams on the final beat and after a battle down the run beat him to take 16th.

My 6,5,6,16 leaves me in 8th overall after 4 races, but the discard comes in tomorrow, and there are a lot of races to go.

After racing I met up with Shirley and the CNN crew to give Shirley a go in a Moth for their next CNN Mainsail show. (Only fair given that I got to sail her VX40 in Hyeres last year.) Bora had done his bit trying to get her foiling yesterday in very light winds yesterday so I was the reserve today. We got lucky with the breeze though, and she was happily foiling around. Should be a good little piece for the class.

It has made me laugh at this event though that part of the Moth event experience now is the media interviews! I think I've seen everybody from the top 15 being interviewed for some TV show, website, local paper/magazine or online broadcast! Si Payne headed off after racing to do a local TV interview and came back with make-up on!

Oh how the class has changed.

Day 1

Day one of the Puma International Moth Worlds was a light wind affair, but a good race. I didn't get a great start, and was in the teens for the first beat. After a good run I was up near the top ten, and did well out of playing the right hand side up the beat to find myself with not many people in front. I was on the stbd layline with Mike Lennon the final time, but stuck in his dirt, in marginal conditions I lost a fair bit of distance. Si Payne closed up, and soaked inside me a bit on the run. I gybed out, and he dropped off the foils on his gybe. He got up again though and had good pressure down the middle. I came foiling back across but not at a great angle. It was all on at the finish though as I foiled through my final gybe and Simon was coming in lowriding. He pipped me at the line on a beep beep finish. I was happy with my 6th place though, I had no idea on what to expect having done so little sailing since the last Worlds.

I'm pleased with my speed - especially as I'm using a MSL10 in marginal conditions. (Using a 10 in Dubai, and a 13 in the USA might not be the right way round!) A last minute wand change made a world of difference, and suddenly I can gybe and tack again after a week of thinking it was just my lack of sailing time since the last Worlds.

Shirley Robertson is out here with CNN Mainsail, and as they are only here for three days they are trying to squeeze in getting as much coverage as possible for an upcoming feature on speed.
I agreed to help out by putting some cameras on the boat before racing and get some underwater shots of the boat taking off. It was a bit high risk with the camera attached to the gantry and therefore a high speed touchdown was not to be recommended! I eventually got up in the air despite the extra drag. De-misting cameras 30mins before the start and getting some more footage wasn't quite the normal first race of a Worlds prep, but hopefully it'll be good footage. Shirley tried sailing Bora's boat after the finish, but the wind had dropped too much for her to get up. They are now a little nervous today, as shots of Shirley doing 4/5 knots do not make for a good article on speed!



Windward mark rounding. Photo: Suzi Tagg

Sunday, March 07, 2010

More Pics

More pics for those interested in any news to come out of Dubai. I'll be brief though as its been another long day.

Third in my heat in the slalom, so just went for a sail, and played around with the camera. James Phare and I took it in turns to try and get some shots from in the water, and managed to get some okay ones. So here are the alternative shots for those who just went for a sail.




Much interest in Amac's MSL15 onshore


Tuning with Brad.


Dougie Imrie. Boat came out as oversized luggage on the plane! - great work!