Wednesday 24 September 2008

Electronic Foil Control Systems.

I was one of the teenagers that used to read about Clive Everest and his Ghoul Moths in sailing magazines. I sailed a UK Moth Nationals against him in one of them once when I was 18 and in a Magnum 5. However this was many moons ago. Anyway Clive has got a Electronic Foil Control Systems working. I found out on this on the Sailing Anarchy Dinghy forum.

Why is this worth blogging about? Well I always thought the idea of electronic control systems would be good because you can easily get the acceleration of the system in to the control and not just a proportional control. I think electronics have the potential to really push the control to the next level. They have the ability to know if the boat is going up or down and how fast. The present systems just know how hight it is now. The cost of such systems is potentially high but the complexity of them is nothing compared to the electronics in everyone's car, video, lift, wrist watch, fridge or electronic toothbrush.

I have done fuck all about developing this but Chris Miller produced a nice paper on it and there has been a few forum posts about it.

It is also not legal in the Moth but who cares, as I think this will be the future. You can configure a easy to control system increase righting moment by moving lift down to leeward, have sport or learner modes....

Anyway watch this space... as I think it will be interesting.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Nature 1 - Moth Sailors 0

Both Niki and I very disappointed with our show down yesterday.

The water level in the lake dropped 20 cm in the last 2 weeks. So that is 16000 * 3000 * 0.2 = nearly 10 million tons of water gone somewhere and no one seams to know where! This meant there was contact with the ground launching, tacking and nosediving.

It did not look that windy with the offshore / cross-shore wind but it was and gusty. It was too windy to tack without capsizing and we were nosediving down wind. It was 10 deg so it was also cold.

So Both Niki and I did not take long to bail out and head for shore. Staying out till something broke or got hurt seamed massachistic. We whimped out and showed that Moths are silly boats to sail. This is the wrong message to send and we should be able to sail round the course and could have had fun doing so. However it was not fun and with the boat hitting the ground regularly it could have been very expensive. If there was 10 knots less wind then it would have been easy with no ground contact, and we could have had a great day racing each other and a fleet of F18 cats.

So that was another year of Moth racing in Austria without starting a single race in Austria (half the races at the worlds and half of them at Ammersee). So next years target is to try and get local racing working. On a positive note the target of less time in the workshop and more on the water is meet this season for the first time since I started Moth sailing again in 2004.

Building a fleet here means building infrastructure too. We have the workshop sorted and nearly got the Moth trailer sorted. We have sorted the training and had a great time doing short races. We have 2 sorted boats that do not break after every sail. The next stage of Moth development in Austira is to get the racing sorted and help a bigger fleet develop.

So maybe that was the end of this season. Now I am starting to focus on the workshop and getting 3 boats in good racing condition for next season. I will then hopefully find a buyer for Tomahawk so that we have 3 boats in the area.

I am not sure if I will do the worlds next year as I think I would rather use my money for travelling locally to do events in Germany, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland and maybe even finish a race in Austria.

Thursday 18 September 2008

The show down.

I guess I should blog about the Mach 2, Prowler, Raptor, Aardvark and the new Bladerider series and builder but I do not know too much about any of them. However I think that each will offer different stuff to different people and the amount of interest in the Moth class at the moment means there is space for all, so the more the merrier. I wish good luck to them all, but there can be only one winner, if you measure the boat on world championship results. However I did not buy an Opal Astra 1.6 Estate because it won the F1 world championships, so I guess people should choose what is good for them. The only problem is working out what is important to you. However right now I feel really good about my Lord Flashheart.

Been hacking away on the IMCA website. I have imported data on 179 boats which members can now search. I am trying to build a replacement 2nd hand boat market which has died. If I get it right it will feed the database with data on boats and provide a real benefit for membership to the IMCA and its paid up members. So I have data structures to worry about and can build something that will be totally logical to me. However I did this with membership and no one gets it... I will write a HowTo at some point but first I want to help provide an answer to why. I am trying to get Phil to present my chaos in a way that users will get so we will see what is the result is...

I managed to fix my flap by cutting up a shackle pin to make a new barrel and going to 4 shops to get a 2.5 mm thread tap. I had no filler and carbon at home so in the attitude of Gui I used cotton wool and a lolly pop stick. The repair worked great but there is a lolly pop stick stuck to my flap which is not too fast. I tested it 2 weeks ago and it was fine. However I was out alone on an offshore wind that built to much so I bailed out and had to carry my boat 200m back through the shallow waters.

This Saturday is the big Austria Moth Saturday. Niki and I are going to do the MultiHull Cup race at Weiden YC. This will hopefully be the first proper foiling Moth Race in Austria that I know about. We both have a hull and so that makes us multihulls if we team up. There will be a few F18 cats to try and beat and a party afterwards. Perfect.

It will be a show down between old Moth experience and new Moth talent. I have never been beaten by Niki in a race that I have finished. However he has finished more races than me due to his determination and because he hides my car keys. Therefore he has beaten me in the 2 Moth regattas that we have done in Germany and the UK. This is my chance to show that the old Moth experience is worth more than the young upstart talent. So I will be taking a spare car key, but I hope this is my last realistic chance at the title of Austria Number one and that the Austrian fleet grows.

Monday 15 September 2008

Alp Dream Team

Albtraum is nightmare in German. So we dressed up as the Dream Team from the Alps for the Sergio Fonseca Touch Rugby Tournament.

We won the important fancy dress competition and all our games so we drew level overall with the Mexican bandits. They also won all their games and won the team spirit award. (So Tequila is a better spirit than schnapps)...

Heidi lost her rag (must be that time of the month) with Kletter Max when he would not sub off, but we managed to make friends again. Heidi was very proud of her son when he hung in there and scored an awesome try against the Mexican bandits.

All and all the tournament can only be described as an amazing sporting spectacle.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Big Moth performance gains are obvious.

One area where there must be a huge drag and potential performance gain is the vortex under the sail. I have not done the maths but ... we twist the sails and so the grunt comes from low down in strong winds. Sails are nice elliptical profiles on the way up but the bottom is definitely not. We use loads of downhaul to flatten and feather the top like a windsurfer, but that does not help the bottom which is doing all the work. So there must be a huge vortex under the sail and around the boom that is pure drag. Our smart windsurfing friends who have similar sails rake the rig back to close this gap.

So we have a 3.3 meter long boat and 2m wide sail so there should be room to cross the boat International Canoe style with the sail on the deck but we need a radical configuration change. Maybe we can do a tramp that goes between the sail and boom from wing bar to wing bar but then how do you tack....?

Also it is a bloody stupid idea to have the centre of lift in the centre of the boat. Why hike so hard when we could double the effective width of the boat. Once we are up we only need a small foil to stay up and why not put that down to leeward as there is plenty of power in the rig?

So while the corporations are working away on the next generation of Moths that will be faster (and bloody good luck to them), I thought it was time to try to see if it was possible to see if an open community discussion could work to get the boats to the next level. Moth performance has always been boosted by bloody obvious ideas like:
- Why not make the boats lighter by using materials with better structural properties.
- Why not make the boat wider with simple hiking racks.
- Why not make hulls lighter and less drag by making them narrower.
- Why not fly above the water on hydrofoils.

So why not move the centre of lift to leeward and reduce the vortex drag under the sail? The only problem is how and how?

Real Moth Sailing,

I have not been blogging about sailing a lot recently manly because I have been too busy doing it. I guess that Moth sailing is like sex. When you have not done it for a long time you can not stop talking and think about it, after you have just done it all weekend you are more relaxed about the topic... ;-)

Niki has posted some pictures of one of your training sessions. We did short courses round a windward and leeward mark.

Having done a lot of sailing (most weekend since the worlds) my maneuvers are no longer embarrassing and now I am moving on to other aspects of my sailing like boat speed. Niki is really fast and hi upwind and I am trying to work out why as he has the edge on me. I think it could be to do with the sail. I get out the water first in low winds but he is faster when up. I have pulled the downhaul hard to flatten the sail but I think the Hyde sail is just more powerful than his KA.

The really cool thing is that we are close and so racing and adjustments are critical, and results are clear, and learning curve very steep. If one of us gets away from the other then the guy behind does a shortcut skipping a mark and then it is back on again. This is so much fun.

My boat is now totally trashed from all the sailing and from ramming it into the bottom of the lake... I even split open the bow by hitting the bottom hard, however it was very windy at the time. So winter will be refurbishment time. For now it is a case of keep the thing on (or above) the water as much as possible as sailing time is where it is at.

Getting to this point has taken me since the 2004 Euros in Garda so it was a long trip but now it seams worth it. With growing interest in our fun and games there will hopefully be more Moths joining in next year. So the other winter job to do is get Tomahawk in a sailable and sellable state, because at the moment I own half the boats in the Austrian fleet.

IMCA News RSS Feed fixed (again) and Google Maps

The IMCA News RSS feed is now working properly. I do not know if anyone is using it apart form me and one Google Reader subscriber but at least the news with relative links on the IMCA site will not be always new now.

I have also added links to Google Map in the events list on the IMCA site so you can look up where the event is.

Joe I have not forgotten your updates and I will get round to it, but the google maps was too cool not to do first.