Tuesday 21 December 2010

My personal view.

The views here are my personal views only. They are based on the experiences I have as a Moth sailor that has never seen a wing sail other than on the Internet. Therefore I do not pretend to know the right answer to the wing issues but I do pretend to understand the issues a bit. Therefore I am not trying to influence the debate (too much) but I hope the following will add to it and give food for thought. I think that if the AGM is to be productive a lot of pre-thought needs to go into the issue of where next. The current questionnaire relates to the future of the Moth class only. Therefore this post has nothing to do with the rules as they now stand.

The questionnaire for National Presidents to complete is available on the IMCA website. Each Nation get votes related to number of members allocated as per the IMCA constitution. So your President has to collect views on your behalf so that you are represented. However I did set up a doodle to get a quick unqualified response to the issues and so far most seam to agree that wings are here to stay. So what form should those wings take?

As I see it there are 3 routes. Ban then, restrict them or allow unrestricted development. Banning seams unpopular and I do not think it will happen. So do we restrict them how much and why?

Traditionally the Moth is a one sail one hull one man boat. There are a few rules that try to preserve this but these now seam redundant. Phil Stephenson and some others are in favor of going to a box rule to allow windsurfers kite surfers and catamarans to compete against us as it is clear that we would beat them most of the time if they are restricted to 8sqm sail. Having a box rule is easy to control and measure and allows all sorts of innovation. Going to a box rule means all current equipment is potentially obsolete so the box rule strategy would have to be a gradual one if it is to maintain popular support. This would be my personal preferred strategy, but so that there is not a too disruptive sudden change what are the parameters that relate to wing sails that will kill the soft sails overnight (if they are not already dead).

Extra area.
Wings get more areas but that is a current rule clean up problem it does not really relate to future. What I think is important is that we measure all sail area and restrict it to a fixed number and 8 is a nice one. Current soft sails have a 8.2 meter limit at the moment due to an obsolete historical rule so maybe 8.2 is the right total or we need to clean up the rules and grandfather current equipment.

High aspect ratio.
If you build a high aspect ratio rig then there will be a definite efficiency advantage. However if will make the rigs longer and potentially harder to transport. It will also make the design closely related the build quality. Therefore the better build spec = stronger = taller = faster = more expensive. This I feel will result in a cash for speed race that home builders will find very hard to compete with. OK this is my self interest coming out here but the rigs we have seen so far look practical-ish and robust but I am but sure that will be the case with higher aspect ratios. However to keep the boat in a box the best suggestion I have heard is from Phil that there is a top to bottom limit on the equipment (mast/sail tip to main hydrofoil flap in down position). The luff length may not be that easy to define.

Multiple elements.
The more elements = more complexity = more weight and cost and less reliability. However they will be more dismantleable so I think if this is unrestricted then a happy good design compromise will be found eventually.

Slots / Gaps.
This is a hard one to talk about at this stage and my opinions on the subject are not very popular in some parts. However do we allow wings to take advantage of the slot effect by having gaps between elements? I think that wings will work really well if they are allowed and not so well if they are not. I think for wings to really show their potential and be a sexy as the current rigs then yes we should allow gaps / slots. However this I fell is a step away from the one sail concept but it is definitely a step in the box rule direction. So yes I am for it, but I understand others that are apprehensive about it because it could be the overnight soft rig killer. However I have no data to back this up other than every time I get on a plane it uses flaps, multiple elements and the slot effect to to land at safe slow speeds with wings that are designed to be as small as possible for minimum drag and fuel cost. Therefore I a convinced it is of value. So this is a Yes to slots for me but a hesitant one.

Travel Box.
This is a clever idea and I think a welcome attempt to force the design of the wing rig products to be transportable. However I do not think it is workable and I do not want to have to cut my 4 year old one piece mast in half. Therefore for I think is would lead to more historic redundant rules not less so it is a bad strategy.

So let the debate rage... what do you think?

BTW: after lisstening to the latest Mothcast does anyone know how Joe Turner is getting on with writing the 50 pages of rules he suggests. If he is going to propose that at the AGM then he must be at the first draft stage already. I would be happy to read through then and add comments Joe so please send me your work so far... Catch ;-)


Teknologika said...

Classic re the Joe Turner comments :-)


Teknologika said...

from Joe ...

"I'm only up to page 39.....
The first 30 pages are about how people with new inventions are not allowed to decide whether their invention is legal or not. Also in size 32 font..."

Doug Culnane said...

I am impresses how well Joe can catch and throw. He should play cricket as your team needs the help.

Phil Stevenson said...

Since I got a mention some explanations:
1. The proposed (vertical) box rule does not make existing boats obsolete, development does.
If the vertical box dimension of 6.3m matches existing rules (6.25m mast length + a little for bottom of hull = keel to mast top in keel stepped mast) or existing practice (mast length of about 5.3m + stump + hull) then nothing is obsolete by measurement.
I am favouring this option as the 7.3m foil to head option allows for multi combos, tall rig/short foils for light and flat, and short rig/tall foils for windy and rough. but a policing problem if people choose a tall/tall combo.

2. Total sail area should be used in all rigs. We need to delete the 50mm luff pocket allowance and the 90mm mast width allowance and measure to the ISAF manual. We should increase max to about 8.3sqm so all existing rigs are still on max size.

These two rule changes seem to sort a lot of issues.

Other options about deleting one sail, sheet from hull, air gaps etc are for separate discussion. No one has yet given me a good argument against any of them.

So rather than get Joe to write a 30 page rule we could cut ours down from 4 to 3 pages.

Note: Anyone else old enough to remember when CCats only used one trapeze? I asked Steve Clark when/why they changed. Simple answer: to remove another irrelevant rule. Its our turn now.

scott said...


Our turn to allow trapezes?

Doug Culnane said...

Thanks for the clarification Phil. Maybe a boxes rule is better than a box rule. That way if you swap gear you do not have to re-measure and police the box.