Thursday 30 April 2009

Internet Moth activity inversely proportional to sailing activity.

Australia has overtaken the UK in the Internet Mothing league table (on IMCA website at least).

Is this because the AUS season is ending while the GBR season is starting, and that Internet Mothing is inversely proportional to sailing activity?

It also looks like I am not the only Internet Mother in Austria!

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Last weekend etc...

I had a great weekend with little wind but the odd gust where you could fly along at twice the true wind speed on sunny flat water. This meant you could burn up everything on the water like it was standing still. However while I and Niki were drifting around a guy blasts by in his electric motor speed boat. Now this thing was a very beautiful boat and I am sure it is worth more than my flat. The drivers relaxed glance as he passed clearly expressed the obvious conclusion that the Moths where no longer the coolest boats on the lake.

The wind gods do not like me much (mainly because I am an Atheist) but they liked this rich guy even less so in fills the wind and I scramble to the air and am on his tail. I am gaining fast and moving in for I high speed kill. However he turns directly into the wind and I can not. So I loose him and have to peel off. This was a shame because he had not looked round and would have got the shock of his life to see me there. He had blasted passed me about 1 km ago while I was stationary. He must have been doing about 15 knots and thought he was on his own.

One thing about Neuziedler See I can not get used to is how fast the wind can change. When I found myself becalmed and could see a big black cloud at the other end of the 16km long lake I knew it was time to have a coffee and wait. The wind did fill in and I went out. In about 20 mins it had gone from flat calm to Armageddon where I could not tack upwind and was afraid to sheet in downwind. I made it back to the beach a lot more humble and sore than when I left. 30 min later (about how long it takes the hundreds of surfers to scramble out of god knows where rig up small sails and launch) the wind was dropping fast. So out I went again and foiled for 200 meters only to find myself becalmed in a sea of frustrated surfers.

I may not believe in them but the wind gods are having a good laugh.

Niki and I also got some bay watch action in when a Laser 16 tipped over. The couple on board were very cold in the water and had no chance to get the boat up on their own. Still they were in better shape than the yacht that ended up on the bottom of the 1.5m deep lake last year. I did not hang around to help bail the yacht out once I had helped get it upright. They must have managed somehow because it is no longer sitting there.

Turning up at the lake with a Moth is the closest I will ever get to being a rock star. However unfortunately I realize that the boat is the star not me. There is plenty interest in the boats, and it is realistic to think that there will be enough boats here soon to think about forming an Austrian IMCA Association next year. Until then Niki has sorted out a list of Handicap events we will do, and I have added them to the IMCA Calendar. The current (50 year old) official handicap rating for the Moth will mean that in an hour race we should win about about a week. It will be interesting to see if the official rating will be used or a more sensible one. It will also be a close call to see which Moth wins... assuming we can do better than last year and get across the starting line.

So it is all happening on the lake. We just need to start racing...

I got some rope from Adam and have spliced up a set of shrouds, so that Tomahawk can have her metal ones back and I can start to get her rigged too. However I read from Bruce's blog that I have done it all wrong... and I guess I should re-do them since they do hold the mast up and Moths seam to be the only rescue boat cover on the lake!!!... However Bora comments that the what I did was fine.... What to do? Maybe I ask Niki if he wants to test the first set ;-)

No sailing next weekend for me because it is the date of the biggest sporting event of the year: The Vienna Touch Rugby tournament. Hopefully I will get through the day without my legs going into spasms of exhaustion and have to be carried of the field... Luckily I will miss a couple of games midday as I have a Taxi driver shift for Max who is playing in a Hockey tournament. When you become a parent you should not get a cigar from your mates you should get petrol for your car that becomes a Kid Taxi before you know it.

To change subject a bit:

I like this from It is a good example of explaining something complex and making it simple.

So it turns out the Credit Crisis is not a complex international banking and trade problem it is just a bunch of greedy bastards selling bullshit. (Or is it an inevitable result of Capitalism and blind faith in market forces?) I am glad my tax payments are going to bail these guys out of their mess. The good news is that governments are making policies to help average people not just city fat cats. So enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

I cant wait for the weekend to begin!

On Easter Sunday Niki and I got out for a play. The wind Gods tormented my soul with zero wind and Niki enjoyed reminding me that he had just had 2 days of great sailing in 10-15 knots in 25 degrees air temp. I may be an cynical old Bastard but rather embarrassingly when it comes to the first flight of the year I behave like a 10 year old kid at Christmas. So when the wind came in: "The teasing was over and Father Christmas does exist after all!" and I panicked to get out there ASAFP.

We drag raced upwind and downwind and I got my foils nearly set up right. (Still flying too low but could not undo cable adjustment lock nut with teeth on water). Now that I can dial off lift on the rudder Flashheart is much easier to sail downwind and I could almost imagine being able to get downwind in 25 knots. It seams that too much rudder lift results in the main foil and rudder fighting each other until the rudder wins and you nose dive. I have done far to much of that so I am sticking to my no lift on rudder is less traumatic theory for psychological comfort at least.

Flashheart is looking good and you can not see the curtains at 15 plus knots. The wand is no longer as close to the middle so for the first time I notice that Port is lower Starboard is higher. Have to do something about that at some point. The paddle has not been hacksawed off yet so that is not too bad.

I would like to be nice about this but after the: "Die Letzte 2 Tag war perfekte Segeln Doug. Du solte dabei sein. Heute kommt keine wind." The gloves are off, so here is a picture of Niki in one of his better gybes, (or maybe it is a tack it is hard to tell...)

I was facking good. Or at least the lack of ruder lift meant that I did not nose dive mid fack. I still have a lot of work to do to get the out of fack bit right but in light winds it was fun. However I tried to do this is a gust of wind and it reminded me that foiling and tacking normally results in a painful disaster, where if you do not capsize and can sail out of it sitting on a different side of the boat it was a good one.

Ok I feel bad now so here is a picture of Niki in control.

Bloodly great day and a great weekend. On Easter Monday the Pirate School navigated their commandeered Laser all the way to the Island with the one tree in the middle of it. I have never been that far out on the Lake in a Moth since Tomahawks wingbar broke. The lake is amasing you can almost not touch the bottom of it now that there is so much water in it.

Out here in Austria when we go Moth sailing we may not have all the very latest go-faster goodies. But now that I have read that all the fast guys sail with them I have ordered a set of foil bags. What we do have now is Sun and Water and wind gods. So I can't wait for the weekend to begin!

(I would embed the song link because it is well worth watching, but I do not want to develop (or steal, depending on how you want to look at it) other Moth sailors ideas (unless it makes my boat go faster)).

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Nearly News

I nearly posted this as IMCA news while catching up on the the IMCA AU news.

I would have posted it if I have seen it a week earlier, but seeing it a week later nearly caught me off guard.

Sunday 5 April 2009


When I got to the workshop at 9am! (on a Saturday!!!) the bloody paint was still wet and the white paint job looks real bad close up. However with more damage to the soft wet paint I got the gear to the lake and rigged up. But there was no wind all day so we did not bother launching. Today is the same deal of sitting around waiting for wind and I can not be bothered, to drive for 2 hours and rig and de-rig for 1.5, for the hope of 20 min flying. So the wind gods win.

So I should have repressed the youthful enthusiasm to get flying and finished of the boat properly. However it is the youthful enthusiasm to get flying that makes this stuff fun, so I do not want to loose that.

Friday 3 April 2009

Spray them till they drip.

I managed to get a weekends worth of boatbuilding into a heroic friday after work workshop session. This weekend I can hopefully rig up and go sailing. The paint job has more curtains than Schönbrunn Palace but it is done and I am going sailing so sod it. Or at least I am going to try to get the thing rigged at the lake.

It will be 20 plus degrees tomorrow and a nice light wind so I can get the foils set up and make sure everything works. Niki and I have all weekend and he is going to help me rig up becuase he is ready to go, and a bloody good bloke. So it could be a legendary weekend or a furstrating disater but that is Moth sailing.

So I hope to be able to report how fast curtains are on your foils. Maybe you will all be spraying them till they drip next season.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Foiler Performance Calculations from Alan Smith

I did NOT create this program and I am not claiming any credit for it. I got this from Alan Smith and rather than just post it I thought it was worth introducing a bit. Therefore I am posting some info copied from his mails in my Blog because it is the quickest way to get it on-line.

Bill Beaver’s excellent scientific paper, released publically via the international moth web site has prompted me to offer a foiler performance estimating program that I have developed.

The attached program is in excel and that may limit the range of users. Hopefully anyone with access to excel will not have any problem using it. The drag parameters of the computation have the benefit of Bill B’s work. This validation is of comfort but is not actually that important. The important aspect of the program is that it correctly indicates the sign and the order of magnitude of each partial derivative for many of the variables available to the designer. It provides answers to many of the questions the moth guys keep asking and illustrates that selecting the best geometry is more important than selecting foil sections. It does on the other hand provide the designer a knowledge of foil loadings and cL’s hence enables the selection of foil sections best suited to the aspect of sailing where he wishes to perform ahead of the pack.

The reason for developing the program is my long time interest in foilers; a deep interest in the dynamics of aircraft (40 years of UAV development) and now foilers; I have a number of 3DofF foiler simulation model running; have been watching the moth evolution and amazed at many of the misunderstandings that are out here even among the to guys. As I said in my first email, this program provides a lot of answers!

The program has a brief set of "sailing" instruction on the opening page. It also contains a 60 day self destruct algorithm. I will remove this for any serious users on a one on one basis.

Alam Smith
April 2009
alans at aapt dot net dot au

The program can be downloaded here.

In due course I will do a Science | Technical | Boffins |.. Ideas on a postcard please | page on the IMCA site and collect together various papers and programs for the geeks out there.