Thursday 7 October 2010

Wings rant.

After my therapeutic rant yesterday on the Mach 2 forum I will try to be a bit more pragmatic and respectful today. I guess that Internet forums are a poor mans shrink.

I think that solid wings are in the spirit of the class that has been around since 1928. They are potentially the next step of the change. A lot of people are tempted to build them and they look awesome. The class has been around since 1928 because it has been open to evolution. The concept of a development boat is far more important to preserve than current commercial interests. Wing sails, like foils, like racks, like carbon, like plywood... are not going to change the world overnight they are all part of an evolution.

What I do not think is in the spirit of the class is the multi element rigs. Does Adam have a 2 sail boat? This is a gray area as each element consists of structural solid bits and soft membrane bits. 2 sleeve luff sails are not OK so why are 2 solid sails. Is Adams rig the same as a wing mast and a soft sail or is it the same as 2 sleeve luff sails? This I think is an interesting issue.

Will solid sails be so much better than soft sails that it is no longer fun to race moths without one? I think it will be more fun to race soft sails because you avoid a lot of hassle. It may reduce numbers if people perversive it as an excuse to exit out of a competition that they are not capable of wining anyway. Look at the current commitment levels of the top sailors, who the hell can I afford to compete at that level (pretty much full time) without making dramatic compromises in their normal life?

The Moth class does not need protection from itself but the concept of choice to innovate is far more fragile. Please think about who is getting hurt if you ban innovation, and who is profiting from status quo. If people want to build solid wings then they should be allowed to choose to do that in the Moth class, where it belongs.

If you like your current boat as it is then go sail it as it is. This is what I plan to do and my huge ego will just have to get over the fact that Bora or Adam have put a lot of hard work in and are potentially faster than me. I was never going to beat them anyway, where you?

Mach 2 do not need to worry about there business model as they have shown that they are capable of producing great quality products that people want. Restricting evolution has nothing to do with the good of the class it has to do with fear of change.


Unknown said...

Excuse my ignorance. What's a 2 sleeve luff sail?

Simon Payne said...

Thanks for your nice remarks but I don't want you to confuse the content of the Mach 2 forum with any commercial interest we have in the class. We are long standing Moth sailors through and through with over 50 years of combined Moth racing experience between us. We care more about the class than any one or anything else.
Logically if you think about it though, if any entity is best positioned to build wing rigs en mass, its probably us...
But the point of the post was to encourage debate. We didn't see that happening credibly anywhere else
Your observation about measurement is a good one and does need to be clarified.

Doug Culnane said...

Take a current mast and sail shrink it to half size and duplicate it. Put both mini sails on the boat and call one a mast and the other a sail. This is clearly wrong but both have structural and soft bits, like a 2 element wing sail.

Doug Culnane said...


I do love a good Internet debate and I just wanted to represent the bearded home builder section of the fleet that may have fun building a wing themselves cheaper than buying a standard soft rig.

You and Andrew make very good points and I do think you both are genuine in your concern for the Moth class, as was Mark Thorpe when hydrofoils evolved.

It is a good debate but it is at best hard to guess what the results of preliminary development and write rules that will stop potential problems. Maybe solid sails will evolve to be cheaper and more robust but I suspect that they will be expensive, time consuming and impractical toys for a few guys. I do not think I will join this club but I like the option and do not think I have the right to stop others.

Doug Culnane said...

PS: If I was Mach 2 I would be very concerned if the numbers participating in the class reduced, as that is my customer base. Therefore I think there is a commercial aspect to this and it is the current equipment suppliers that are most active in the debate so far... However it is true that they do seam to try to protect the best interests of there customers.

Giovanni Galeotti said...

The day we have winning wing sails on the circuit - if we ever see that day - we can start weighing the pros and cons of the final product. Today they hardly look like a threat to the class. Banning wing sails preemptively might mean starting a slide down a slippery slope away from the developmental nature of the class. I don't think wing sails have succeeded in becoming the norm on A class cats I am even more skeptical about their possibilities in I Moths ( see - ) Hower it is fantastic to see what Adam has done it is a huge achievement - perhaps on par with winning a major event. Why take the option to innovate away, it is part of the reason for being in a development class?


Bora Gulari said...

doug and giovanni both get rides for sure.

foiltown said...

Try flying the second element of a wing without the support of the main element.

Just because it doesn't flap doesn't mean it is a load bearing structure.

One mast one sail!
One keeps the whole lot in the air the other is supported by the former

Phil Stevenson said...

Best solution to solve the problem of different interpretations of multi element wing would be for the class to delete the one sail rule altogether. Make the class rules even simpler.
There are probably a few other rules we no longer need which could be disposed of at the same time. Wardi has long advocated that the sailboard and catamaran bans have no relevance any more.

Doug Culnane said...

How about one 5 sqm mast with a 3 sqm jib in front of it. Is OK?

Still a bit gray if you ask me.

foiltown said...

5sqm wing mast with a 3sqm main sail would be legal so why not with a jib?

Doug Culnane said...

It would be cool to go up against Cats and Windsurfers. I think we would win but it would open up development again and make things interesting. We are in danger of become a bit stale as all the boats are even all the same color now.

I think it is better to have no rule than one that that is not enforced so as far as i am concerned I would be fine with a box rule and I am fine with unlimited pumping, and sails.

I am not happy pretending that the pumping rule works and that the one sail rule is totally clear here. It tends to leave the rules open for those that can bend them.

However I do not want to see Adams wing banned and I am not too happy with a human powevered air rowing maching... No easy answer here but it is all worth discussion i think and that discussion needs to go on at all levels of the fleet.

I am very pleased that the wing has made us do a reality check and that there seams strong support for a development class rather than some professional one design circuit run by one dominat supplier. I hope there is room for both culturs.