Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gill Advert

Just heard today that GILL are using this shot of me as one of their dinghy adverts this year. It is one of Oskar's shots from Garda.
(One of the most photographed boats around is still for sale!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Over 50 knots

Just as I write about one speed record, it turns out that Macquarie Innovations has gone over the 50 knot mark!

Impressive stuff.

126.1 mph

Congratulations to Richard Kenkins for breaking the World Land Speed Record for wind powered vehicles. The 'Greenbird' driven by British engineer, Jenkins clocked 126.1 mph (202.9 km/h) , eclipsing the old, American held, record of 116 mph, set by Bob Schumacher in the Iron Duck in March 1999 at the same location.
More info on his website: http://www.greenbird.co.uk (He's trying to go for the Land, Ice and Water records!)
An interesting time for speed under sail! It is great to hear that Paul Larson is well after his last crash at high speed, and is about to enter into another period of attempts on the World Sailing Speed Record.
And it could be any day that we hear if the next AC will be in Multihulls or not....
Oh and the Formula One circuit begins again this weekend, so I'll be looking forward to watching that. Looks like the smaller teams have got a march on the bigger teams early in the season, so could be interesting to follow.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Moth sailors around the World know our boats are quick, and also very efficient, but try and explain a foiling gybe to some other sailors and you are met with blank looks. Nobody seems to believe you that the apparent blows from the bow mid gybe. Hopefully these diagrams should be of interest to some Mothies and a few other sailors out there.

I’ve got quite a list of things to look at while testing the PI Garda box, but a diagram I saw in Seahorse has been in the back of my mind and I wanted to do a Moth version. In the Jan 2008 edition there was a great article by Steve Killing on the 2007 International C-Class Catamaran Championship, and there was a diagram that accompanied the text showing the anatomy of a C-Class gybe. I thought this was quite interesting, and following my own observations during the event I thought a foilborne gybe would be nice to try and show in this format. I’ll try and get some screen grabs from the video to go with it soon.

These gybes were selected for the consistency of the trace before and after the gybe. I got a bit carried away with having the box on, that I did quite a few gybes in quick succession and so the track wasn’t very smooth between them, with the exit from one gybe blending into the entry to the next. The gybes shown here are gybes 2, and 5 of the day, and probably not my best, but representative of good foiling gybes (I hope!). Both plots show the point of lowest speed, and when I was heading directly downwind. I got a bit more organised for the second plot, and all the points except the lowest speed one are separated by 2 seconds. So the average gybe takes about 10 seconds if you think of it terms of time taken from average reaching speed on one tack to getting back up to that speed on the other tack. This seems like a long time, but then you watch the video and it doesn’t seem that long. Now consider that your average VMG downwind through the whole manoeuvre is only just less than your standard VMG numbers…. Good gybes in these conditions have minimal loss, and open up a host of tactical options.

This was from my first day out sailing with the PI Garda box. There was an average windspeed of just over 9 knots for the period I was on the water. (Measured from my onboard weather station – which is a bit low at 1m above the sheerline on the bow, but more accurate than me guessing the windspeed or checking the harbour wall data afterwards.)

Top speed measured on the day was 19.1 knots in 10.0 knots of breeze.

Plenty more data coming as I learn more about the software and what it can do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Performance Analysis

I was approached recently by the guys at Cosworth about testing their new PI Garda GPS sailing system, and providing them with some data they can use. I’ve come across the PI kit before in my work with Skandia Team GBR, and Victory Challenge, but I’ve not seen it used on anything quite as small as a Moth. I’ve now had it on the boat a few times and should be able to publish the data here soon.

The Pi Garda system from Cosworth Electronics, is a sophisticated GPS linked to wind gear that records and analyses a lot of interesting factors such as wind speed and direction to produce key performance measures such as VMG and polars along with standard tracking data. On top of this the analysis software used can do a variety of analysis tasks such as; automatic tacking and gybing analysis and layline & startline tools, all synchronised with relevant video. I’m still learning about all the different features that can be done, analysed or added on in the way of sensors or custom fittings. Strain gauges, rudder sensors and inertial measurement tools have all been mentioned, but to start with I’m sailing with a system that has the ‘black box’ GPS, with an IMU giving me heel and pitch angles, all linked to some Raymarine wind gear mounted on the bow.

Testing has begun – so technical minds out there – what data would you be interested in? Data I’ve got so far to be posted soon.

About Cosworth Electronics: Cosworth Electronics’ pioneering technologies heralded a turning point in racecar innovation, helping to create champions in Formula 1, IndyCar, and many more. Now their marine division are looking into the world of performance sailing, including Americas Cup Syndicates, speed record challengers and Olympic sailors.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Poole Open Day 2

A slight reversal on the wind fortunes today. We got keen and went out, but it was light - very light. A few who'd come out of the marina the other way got foiling briefly, so I drifted over to sample a bit of the breeze they had. I got foiling twice, but it soon died off and we drifted back down to where the committee boat was.

It always amazes me how often you sail in really light conditions, but you manage to foil at least once in the day, and it all seems worth it. What was satisfying was that I was about to be overtaken by a Laser sailor who shouted over 'Not so fast today are you!', just as I got a little puff and popped up onto the foils and off into the distance before I thought of a smart reply.

Zero wind tricks soon became the order of the day:
  • Stern sinking - how far can you go without doing the full spin over backwards. - (The going over the front option was attempted but aborted early on!)

  • The transom sink spin whilst capsized - but climbing over the board to stay dry during the operation.

  • Bow sink spin whilst capsized - again going over the board and staying dry.

Eventually we canned it and went in for tea and cakes!

Cheers to Parkstone YC and Rod Harris for organising - A good start to the season, and congratulations to Mike Lennon for the win.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Poole Open Day 1

A good turnout of about 15 boats today I think at Poole for the first open of the year. There were a few nervous people who hadn't sailed much over the winter as the breeze was certainly up while we rigged and sailed out to the course area.

Mike Lennon won the day with a 1,1,1,ocs scoreline, to my 2,2,2,rtd. It was good close racing though, with the lead changing about 4 times in the first race, and Mike just getting through underneath me on the final beat in the first race to win by about a boatlength. Race two he lead initially but I crossed ahead up one of the beats only for him to hook into a nice shift on the right to get me back. A silly capsize mid tack on the first beat in the third race left me with a bit to do, but I had a good run to be third at the leeward mark, and slowly ground down Rod Harris to pass him on the final run for another 2nd. A few big nosedives before the next race resulted in my little wand nipple attachment parting company with my wand bracket just before the start of the fourth race, and unable to fix it on the water, I headed home downwind in lowrider mode - which was rather wet!

A few suffered gear failure in the breeze, with unfortunately Simon Payne in his new UK Mach 2 on its second outing being amongst them. Simon was out early, and looking very fast in the early big breeze. He was high upwind, and looked very solid downwind, but his forestay attachment didn't want to stay out for the races and the mast took on a little bit more rake than intended. An issue with the first prototype boats only, so no big deal, but a shame we didn't get to properly line up against him. First impressions though - that boat is quick.

Light winds forecast for tomorrow...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Figaro Sailing

I got to do a bit of Figaro sailing today. Nigel King is based out of the new Dean & Reddyhoff marina in Portland, and I joined him for a quick shake down sail before he sets off for the Solo Les Sables from Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

I'd met Nigel years ago on the J145 Jazz, where I did a number of the RORC races with them, and the Middle Sea Race. I bumped into him again recently at an RYA coaching meeting, and offered any help while he was Weymouth based. Hopefully I'll be able to help out a bit more when he's back in town.

Its been a while since I sailed anything much bigger than the Moth, so it was good fun to sail a new boat, and learn about the demands of solo sailing.

Back in the country

I've been offline for a little while as we've been away snowboarding and skiing in the resorts around Lake Tahoe, USA. Very cool - with loads of snow, and great fun off-piste in the powder!

Now just trying to catch up with stuff. Poole open this weekend, so better get ready for that.
Posts to come shortly:
  • Figaro sailing in Weymouth
  • A new foiler in town.
  • Full GPS instrumentation inc wind gear on a Moth - eagle eyed readers will have noticed a new supporter of mine, or seen some footage at the dinghy show.... More in full soon.