Friday, January 30, 2009

Building 'The Weapon'

I must apologise to everybody, it appears I could have warned you all about the financial situation that seems to have covered the globe...

A few years back whilst working at Airbus I chose to invest. I used up my ISA allowance, so I was advised by my local bank that an investment in their stocks and shares savings account thingy would be a good idea. All looked good on the graphs and things, with lots of things invested in across the board, perfect I'll do it. Only one problem, this was September the 10th 2001. Oddly enough my shares plummeted in value over the next few days..

The odd thing is that whenever I get the paperwork through to show that I'm almost back to what I initially invested there seems to be another worldwide financial issue. I checked it again the other day – it is still down by quite a way…

Oh well I'll continue to invest in Moths instead.

Being a sophisticated bit of kit current Moths are quite expensive. My route into the fleet has always to build / finish my own boats. You don't have to build from scratch, as this is a long process, but buying the key elements and finishing it off is a viable option for many people.

Doug Culnane and I had chatted during the Denmark Worlds about designing an easy to build boat, and the Flasheart was born. (Woof Woof) Flat panels, joined over a simple mould was the order of the day. Doug was keen to press fwd and we pressed print on the design after only the first iteration, mindful of the benefits of getting on the water. I think a Flasheart 2 could be made even easier to build, and its something I’d like to work on. I especially like the flat pack design of the Slino moth on the Perverted Moth Blog. It is great to see many other Moth build projects out there.

The other version of this is of course the Carbon Footprint project, using an old boat for the key components and giving it a new lease of life. She is all finished and on the trailer outside, just waiting for a weather window to launch in, but that is a post for another day.


Building the Weapon

With the Weapon on the market it seemed like a good time to publish some photos of her being built as she had a rather interesting build. Several different locations, and a lot of miles on the road, for a very last minute Garda Worlds campaign.

I purchased a Mistress 3 hull and deck from Full Force in shiny new prepreg carbon, collecting it just before Christmas 06. It went back to my parents house with me for Christmas and I pondered the changes I'd been considering.

I was keen to have some aerofoil wingbars and through my Tornado links with Marstrom I managed to get hold of a test A class cat mast, and set about hacksawing it up into Moth wingbars.

I was also keen to make the bow a bit finer and smaller than the original m3, so I jigsawed down the bow, opened it up a bit, and stuck in some foam.

This enabled me to reprofile the bow, and cut off some excess off the transom as I was also keen to have a slightly higher volume transom.

The original transom was removed from the deck, and a new angled one made to match the angled forward rear wingbars. Freeboard was also dropped slightly.
Then I went out to Miami coaching, and on my return I went straight out to Valencia to work for Victory Challenge through AC32.

The new shell went on the roof and Nemesis was on the road trailer ( just in case I had some spare time to get some sailing in - yeah big mistake - the only time I had time to get the boat on the water was during our final end of event party when it was all over!)
While many would suspect a Moth built within the midst of an America’s Cup would enable you access to an awesome build facility with a whole host of tools, gadgets and people. The reality isn’t quite like that! Victory Challenge was a relatively small team, that was pushed for time, so we don’t have much time for exciting little projects like the Moth. Sure I’ve picked the brains of some smart people in the know, made many useful contacts, but I was never going to see the benefit whist in the thick of it.
An America’s Cup base is purely the domain of AC yachts and the associated kit and support vessels that go with them. There isn’t actually much spare space on site for the construction of something even as small as a Moth. So construction took place under the tarpaulin covers of the Swedish Match 40’s the team used to use for Match racing, and are now in storage amongst a pile of containers behind the base!
Here is Nemesis tucked in under the 40's with AC Television kit now blocking us in. The photo below shows the rear wing bars being mocked up to check angles before bonding.

You can just see the Gill sticker on Nemesis showing through the gap.

After early small parts production, the new boat lived on the lifting framework just out in front of the 40's.

The security guards were friendly, although they were baffled by what I was building! I needed to show accreditation to get into the container area that was Moth central! After a long day on the base and out on the water, I'd try to get a few hours in my mini workshop late at night to do a few key jobs, operating out of my trailer!
While in Valencia, the centreboard case went in, the transom in, wingbars on, and foredeck. Then Victory Challenge were knocked out of the event, and after a week of wrap up meetings and final reports, I was back on the road with a half finished boat and less than a month to the Worlds...
Just before going to Valencia, I'd bought my house in Weymouth, or rather I'd bought a workshop with a nice house attached! So it was straight back into there.

Deck on and gantry nearing completion.

Ready for paint.

An attack with a spray can later...
I went to Garda via Kiel, as I was coaching the Paralympic team out there. I finished putting the fittings on in Kiel, then drove on to Garda to launch her! Perfect regatta prep, but I had less isssues at the regatta than mos. And if only I knew then what I now know about wands, the downwinds might not have been so sketchy.

There you go, a little insight into a silly bit of Moth building against the clock, and a lesson in how not to prepare for a World Championships! Good fun though.. and I was one of the most photographed boats there.
Crazy though thinking back on it now..Sometime soon I'll try not to launch a boat just before the regatta! I just have too many ideas I'd like to try...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mid Week Mothing

Managed to sneak out yesterday for some mid week sailing while the conditions were good. Jonnie Hutchcroft and Phil Oligario were keen for a foilertown visit, so the call was made on Tuesday afternoon.

Early morning was a story of mist, ice and no wind, but once rigged and we'd got Philipe's M1 sorted a bit more with adjustments his mainsheet strops (don't have them too short or you'll never get the boom near centreline, and have big sheet loads..) we were lucky to have around 8 knots building to around 12.

Gybe practise was the order of the day, and Jonnie is just about there now, having digested lessons from day one in foiler town. Phil was still trying to make the mental adjustment of crossing the boat earlier than most find natural.

Jonnie and I did a boat swap which was really interesting. His Raptor had a whole other gear on mine, which was great to experience. Just a few little set up differences had such differences on the feel of the boats. Much was learnt from that, and I'll be doing a few little tweaks in the workshop shortly - interesting stuff...

I got some good onboard video that I'll try and post soon.

Nothing as good as Mike Cooke's latest gantrycam though - check out the Bristol Moth Squadron site for the best camera mounting/footage yet. Nice to see some wider angled shots, which is the typical problem. My last action cam footage had to be from a 3m pole out the front of the boat to get most of the boat in!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Carbon Footprint Project - Just Add Water!

Conversion complete - from old school lowrider to modern generation foiler.

We’ll do a full post with pics next weekend when we launch her, but she's all finished now and sat on her trolley ready to be taken for a sail. This weekend was the fit out and rope out stage (Katherine's favourite bit as there is no carbon dust involved!) Thanks to Mike Cooke for the prompt manufacture of a mast foot. The tramps were the last addition - also converted from the original ones!

We were not quite ready in time to get out over the weekend, but we snuck out for a sail with Katherine taking the Weapon for a spin before we hopefully find her a new home. (Open to part exchange offers now on her for good lowrider conversion possibilities...)

I never thought I’d be painting a boat hot magenta pink but Carbon Footprint actaully looks pretty cool, in a pink/white combo. Essential girly extras such as the star for the end of the wand are also complete!

January Sailing

Gybe practice.

Jonnie Hutchcroft came over to Weymouth the other week to do a bit of training. He’s up to speed in his Velociraptor, and all set up right, but struggling with the maneovres. So after a bit of a sail around, we hit the gybing practice quite hard. He did a fair bit of swimming, but was determined to get it.
He left a broken man though – knackered from a long session on the water, and limping from a rather large pitchpole induced leg bruise!

I downloaded my gps plot from the day, and found out I’d done 108 gybes in the two sessions we did….

(The wiggles in the traces are when I went back to check up on a capsized Jonnie, or stop because I was laughing too much after he'd ejected himself out of the back again!)


I've just seen a new DVD about to be released by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, featuring none other than Rod Harris! - Rod makes a star appearance in his Moth performing numerous flybys past the camera. Don’t panic though Rod there is only one clip of you capsized, and there is no rescue featured! The Moth just gets a mention as a dinghy for the more experienced sailor, and is used as an example of what is out there now. Another good little bit of coverage of the class, as it looks so much better than anything else that features on the dvd.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bloody Mary 09 - To go or not to go?

Early this morning I thought I'd made the right call in not heading up for the Bloody Mary, but now I'm not so sure, so I'd better stop checking the webcam and weather reports! Five hours in the car, -5 deg and 5 knots did little to sell it to me. I might sail here though to try out a new wand setting, and then catch up on loads of jobs from the to do list.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

Firstly Happy New Year!

I bimbled away in the workshop today on Katherine's 'Carbon Footprint'. It is nearing completion now and we'll post a proper update with photos soon.

I've enjoyed doing it, and I think it is an interesting example of reduce, re-use, recycle. In an increasingly more money and resource aware climate I find it quite amusing that we've got a practically new boat, of up to date spec from an old lowrider.

Freeboard reduced considerably
Weight reduced by approx 10kg
Flare size down to a bare minimum for lacing
Smaller foredeck

The hull is original, just a lot smaller now
Original deck - just bonded on the other way round this time for the best match to the wingbars
Transom and mid bulkhead
Kingpost is a broken windsurf mast
Top element of the gantry is from the original spreader set
Bottom panels of gantry cut out of the removed topside panels
Kickbar is a rejected toe rail from the bow of SWE 96 AC yacht from the skip outside Victory Challenge.

I'd say this is a pretty good example of how to recycle a lowrider!

Slow progress on the resin cures at the moment though as it has been so cold. The boat has had to come inside for a few nights. Just compression bars to fit now, and then we get into painting.