Friday, December 3, 2010

foil progress

finally had some racing this week. I've been waiting to see if there was some video that I could scavenge from the pretty decent Sail Brisbane media coverage, but despite having a camera gaffa-taped to my boat I don't feature anywhere except for some brief moments. Always a bit apprehensive watching videos of yourself - its hard to know whether you're going to look like an uncoordinated fool or not. i reckon a bit of column A and a bit of B.

Aside, the foils are going well and both the boat and my technique are improving. Had a top speed of 22.7 in a predominately light to moderate-air and choppy regatta. Still that's the fastest the boat has gone, although I reckon there's a lot left in it. I never really felt like i had it wound up. Anyway hopefully with a new rig and some tweaks here and there I should get away without too much embarrassment at Belmont.

Still cant get the height control perfect through the chop, although i was pleased to see everyone else having occasional problems as well! People keep telling my that my boat goes up and down more than the others, and I'm not entirely sure what to put this down to. Sure the waves are a factor, by why do the affect me more than others? I'm putting a kink and my wand to try and space it further forward of the foil and we'll see what that does. I know the bowsprit is an option but i quite like the bow as it is. Also a lower profile boom will allow the mast to come back further while still giving me enough space to get through the tacks. more rake may help.

I put limiters on the flap down and flap up because I found that too much movement was causing a bit of cavitation around the flap that I could actually hear from on the boat. I suggest to anyone looking at building the foils that they do this too. Mainly down- 15 degrees is too much deflection. I'm not sure what its set at now, but email me if you're interested and ill measure it.

Also worthy of note, the ride height lever was really helping my takeoff. I worked out that i can neutralise the flap, reach off and get the boat speed and apparent wind up then gradually pull the ride height on, and the boat takes off much more easily than it otherwise would have. at the risk of losing what may be a slight edge, i reckon the same technique will work with a dial on your mach 2, prowler assassin or whatever you happen to bring to the potentially marginal foiling conditions at the worlds.

a couple of photos courtesy of the AYF media people, ( who by the way were tops.

So, reckon I should try and paint the boat before the worlds or is it fine as it is? I'm tending toward no, but I could be swayed. I think the rust stains particularly add charm.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

simple harmonic motion

so no results from the foil testing as yet because i cracked the bottom rudder gudgeon before the first race. sometimes when you say 'that probably wont be strong enough' its a bad idea to convince yourself that it will be. anyway its glued back together and tomorrow it will be beefed up and i should make it on the water later in the week.

The reason I loaded up the rudder and snapped the gudgeon was because of the annoying downwind motion the boat exhibits through our short chop. I drew a diagram to help myself understand what was going on- my theory is that the wave motion is wildly changing the angle of attack on the foil as it goes through the water. This can be up to around + - 5 degrees or more, depending on the boat speed and ride height. The boat tries to follow the wave- up the back and down the face - but there is a bit of lag because of Newton. The flap also complicates things a bit because it is reacting to the lag and not the wave.

The calcs suggest the best thing to do is go faster. The more waves per minute you go through, the less time F=ma has to crash the boat. But the faster you go, the greater the lift from that extra AOA and F becomes a bit more significant. also, there will be a sort of no go zone, where dead square is ok, beam reach is ok, and somewhere in between the effective wavelength gets in a problematic range and causes this kind of crap behavior. Probably people who can sail will be saying 'duh' but this has been hurting me for ages!

I still don't get why 2 boats with very similar setups will respond differently to this. Ncik said its all in the shock chord...

PDF here

Friday, October 22, 2010

more tinkering less sailing

I think the 'hours tinkering to hours sailing ratio' this year is about 278:6. Not doing my boat-handling any good at all. I've been thinking i should really just outsource the sailing part and focus all my energy on stuffing around in the shed. Anyway although I'm still not landing most of my maneuvers, my work with CNC and carbon is getting better and I've been busy applying the stuf I learnt building the moth to other products.

Anyway here are a few pics of my (almost) finished set of foils. They've been out a few times now and i think they could be on the pace. not that I can judge, of course, because no-one ever comes sailing with me! Thats probably my fault for having the boat in bits every time theres a race on and going out mainly on Tuesday mornings.. mm. The 3D model of the foils is available for download permanently on the right hand side of the page. Ill get back on here with an actual review when I've had a chance to line up against someone.

The top of this has become a bit of a mess. It functions, without any reference to form whatsoever. I like it.

I also chucked a set of spreaders together. So far they work. And they weighed in 300g lighter than my old ones.
Finally, has anyone got a carbon boom they want to sell? My alloy boom is nearly dead, (ugh, corrosion) and probably adds about a kilo or more onto the boat! Luka mentioned there may be Mach 2 owners who have upgraded to CST HM gear and have no use for their flexy Mach 2 boom. Anyway I reckon even the worst carbon boom will vastly improve my boat, so please let me know if you know of anything.

Right, now for some sailing.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

first sail

fist go in a moth for quite a while! needless to say i was a pro and not rusty at all... anyway there wasn't too much skill required, it was just a quick check of the boat to make sure everything was going together well. It was 8-10 knots so perfect for a first go.

almost everything worked and didn't break. even though i hardly sanded the foil and there were pin-holes all through it, the boat lifted off pretty early. you could feel the skin friction so with a bit of bog and paint i reckon it will go well. much, much better already than the last foil. about half the weight too. the second attempt at the horizontal came out lighter again. the sikaflex hinge let go though. i hit the bottom once, and i think the tip got ripped off a bit and after that it started to separate. does anyone know exactly which Sikaflex you're supposed to use? i just used whatever one i had that was open. i might try a hidden hinge system of some sort, even if it means i have to make a new flap.

the 'dial' thing works well. i was a bit skeptical but the lever and rope that i have going is really effective in controlling the ride height. basically the wand pivot fitting is upside down so everything is in tension, and then the lever just slightly adjusts the length of the rope between the wand and bell crank. i have a slight problem with rope stretch/spring, but i think that will improve with use and you can compensate for it with the system.

the wand pivot is strong and declared good. basically its a Harken ball-bearing sheave stolen from an old block glassed into the hull. i modified it a bit so by tensioning the bolt you control the friction/slop on the sheave and hopefully find the happy medium. very direct, straight and very low friction under load.

the AOA adjuster on the centreboard works well except as it it you cant adjust it when the board's in the boat, because of the centreboard case prongs. bit of crap management but ill sort that out. eventually i think it will have a dial too or some other way of moving it on the water.

the weird kingpost i made seems fine but not yet tested in breeze. the cleat attachments are interesting and they seem to work. i did that because i couldn't fit them on otherwise, without buying new cleats. and the small stainless ones were like $80 each. the vang retainer is good as well - i got the angles right so the vang doesn't tighten up as you ease sheet, like it used to. wave peircing bow also a tick - i have the same freeboard as the assassin but heaps more volume because the old girl is a lot fatter, so the boat sits higher in the water and sails quite well lowriding. the water sheds well off the peaked foredeck. i reckon a proper wave piercer with no compression strut is definitely on the cards at some stage. i think it has legs. i dont actually mind the fatter hull when i think about it, because it will keep the freeboard down and thats less windage. i think i could cut another 50mm off the freeboard and 50mm off the rocker of this boat.

the gantry is shit but hasnt broken yet. the product of a vacuum bag that got a hole in it. i chucked it on anyway, but i think ill do something different. i really like the assassin gantry, might do something like that.

the flat wingbars also work. in fact the boat is noticeably easier to sail as a lowrider, really nice to sail as a foiler and much cooler looking. the little wings are good - i cant imagine they need to be bigger, actually could be smaller again.

the rudder is the final thing. i designed one already for Sam Schneider's SR71 foiler. it looks about right, at some point ill scale it back down and pull some moulds off it. i'll make the rudder foil available for download from the blog too at some point.

so im going overseas now, so the boat will be mothballed for a while. but its all set up for some serious tuning when i get back! really pleased i got it sailing before i left.

this is a good way to do the moulds if you're going to cnc it. helps to keep everything straight because the MDF is so crap with heat. that said, id minimise the use of MDF because it shrunk fairly considerably in the oven. no big deal as long as you let the foil cure before you heat it, as i did because i accidentally didn't turn the oven on! the first time round i used chip board glued to MDF, so the mould surface was still in the MDF but the whole thing had a 18mm chip board backing, and that didn't shrink as much.

below is a comparison of my foil and the assassin foil. area is pretty similar.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Finally the hull is faired and undercoated. wings are re-built, new foil is curing. tramps are re-done. lots of fiddly jobs but the boat is looking a lot closer to hitting the water. Im optimistic as always - we'll see if we can go for a sail this weekend. its not getting a top coat because i cant be bothered fairing the hull right now. done enough sanding lately.

I think the renovation has shaved about 7.5 or 8 kilos off the boat - hull down to 12.5 or so, lost 0.5kg from the wings too at least. anyway it looks strong enough, looks good enough. hope it works.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


having actually bought some web space the other day, i can now host big files! here are a few rhino files that i've promised in the past:

ill get back to you on the progress of the boat! briefly, the hull is done aside from bog, sand paint, wingbar joints to go (they suck!), gantry is done but needs a bake, foil is not CNC-d yet and I still have to afford the materials for it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

new foil

I re-designed the foil with a bigger bulb, so that the socket could be 25mm deep. The bulb looks a bit fat, but in theory it should work. I wish I could use CFD to sort this out propperly, but bloody ANSYS are too on top of their licensing.

anyway that can get cut out tomorrow, if anyone has any comments about the shape please let me know before then!

deck goes on tonight hopefully. making pretty good ground, a good 1/3rd of the list is ticked off.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


well, practically. i stuck the wingbars on with string.

stood back and admired my work. (you'll notice that i stuck them on once before, made holes in the hull, then decided they were too far forward and moved them back. not like me to be that conservative, but i realised that i got my numbers wrong, upon measuring a Mach 2, and i probably should have put the centreboard case about 85mm further forward. im happy with how its sitting now. mast step is 985 from the bow, front of centreboard is 1585.) anyway, standing there planning how i was going to paint it, i realised there were still a few jobs to do. made a list.
The list nearly fitted on the foil alignment template, so thats a good sign. i reckon if i tick a few of these jobs off each day i should be done in like 3 or 4 weeks. start work in a week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Foils and deck done. the laminates came up really nice. the araldite 3600 resin that Ive been using becomes so high modulus when you bake it (80 - 100 deg) that you'd almost say its prepreg. Foil came out at 1.8 kg and the deck at about the same, with a further 250 grams for the bulkheads. so the vacuum did the trick. The only problem is that the socket in the foil looks a bit too shallow, (by like 10mm, massively too shallow!) so if thats the case i might re-do just the horizontal with a much bigger bulb, and cut the tab on the strut a bit longer. Will try and make what ive got work first. I put 2 tubes down the strut this time, in case i want to do a swept horizontal with a split flap at some point. I really should have put some high build primer down in the mould first, as Andrew at CG composites suggested, because im going to have to go over everything with some black bog to patch up all the tiny holes in the weave that the vacuum leaves behind.

Anyway lots to do, tomorrow the bulkheads go in and I need to make some little angles so that the deck can stick to something. I really have no idea how people would normally stick a deck on a moth. If anyone has a suggestion let me know! also the gantry mould is ready for the CNC machine to cut out. opted for a box gantry over tubes because then I could avoid buying tube, and use the materials I have already that are leftover from the deck. quite like the design of it though so it should be fine. function over form!

ps. if anyone would like some free moth bits, i have some now redundant lowriding foils, need some care admittedly, some moulds for a NACA 66014 strut and an old repaired carbon strut that is about 1.3m long. and my old gantry.