An open 8 Footer for adults?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by WhiteDwarf, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. WhiteDwarf
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    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    The world’s population is urbanising, and the accommodation for these new city dwellers, as well as many established residents typically takes the form of apartments (otherwise Flats, Units…). In such accommodation storage is at a premium. How does sailing offer opportunities to apartment dwellers? Why is this important?

    Following Australia’s success in the 2012 Olympics, my sailing club experienced a massive surge in demand for training, but as trainees graduated, those living in apartments dropped out, while people with houses had the space to store boats and many progressed to owning their own competitive craft.

    Sailing cannot afford to turn its back on the fastest growing sector of our population. If you doubt that, look at the immense resources that other sports throw at engaging their participants; even if their agenda is cynically to convert those participants into mere “fans” to be exploited later. The competition for new participants, juniors and adults, is getting more intense every year, and I write that as an administrator/statistician in a different sport.

    We, as a sailing community need a class of boat that can be stored within the restrictions of an apartment’s car space (with the car) yet appeal to adults, and no a junior training boat won’t cut it, for adults they are too lightly constructed, have too little buoyancy and pathetic little rigs.

    My club, Concord Ryde Sailing Club in Sydney (Australia) is experiencing this problem. We offer the Firebug as a solution, this time. Could we do better? Inevitably, 8 footers have limitations, but what design is not a compromise. Racing against similar sized boats on appropriate courses, they can still provide a lot of fun, and retain sailors who may later have the opportunity to move on to larger craft. At the same time the small size and therefore lower cost will allow experimentation.

    In March 2014, we will hold an open 2 day regatta for 8 footers. So here is the challenge, can the forum come up a set of rules for such an open class, maybe even a design or designs to be entered in the event?

    If a suitable design emerges (wooden) by October 2013, I will attempt to build the hull, if the designer will provide the rig and sail.
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  2. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready


    Boy would I love to do this but I've already got a project list-my test model and then the Crossbow fl. Sounds very interesting-hope it goes well. Just out of curiosity why go for another boat when you have such good one?
  3. WhiteDwarf
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    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Reply to Doug Lord


    Thank you for that.

    The 'Bugs provide excellent racing for a wide range of weights, and Spencer was a great designer, but nothing is perfect and 'Bugs were designed 20 years ago as a challenge to and step up from the P Class. So there was a constraint in the design to provide for Juniors.

    I am thinking, keep the Firebug's scow format, widen the bottom of the hull by 6 inches, move the mast forward by the same amount and put a large roach on a sail with two full length battens.

    More than 6 inches wider, and she would float too high to reach the centreboard to recover from a capsize, unless I can think of an ingenious solution...
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

  5. WhiteDwarf
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    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf


    We had a PDR at Concord Ryde briefly. It was the most dangerous boat I have ever seen, no visibility among 20 kt ferries, not to mention a racing fleet of over 50 boats! A bluff bow that couldn't handle the chop in our river, and a rudder arrangement "per plans" we were told, but it always fell to pieces.

    That one had the original rig with the luff down to the deck and a solid wooden mast, I know they have lugsails too, but I don't know how they perform.

    if you believe in them, come and try it at the regatta.
  6. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Yes Gonzo, go try it out if you're such an advocate.
  7. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    A better performing boat needs to be a bit longer. Storage is a problem that can be conquered. One solution is to build a ten or twelve footer in two sections. The forward section 8 feet long and the aft section 4 feet long.

    I have machined and anodized a considerable number of cup and cone joiner parts that align the two boat sections perfectly. Assembly takes about 90 seconds. An obvious advantage of such a scheme is that a van or pickup truck can transport the boat sections. No trailer needed. Either of the boat parts are light enough so that a single person can handle and launch the boat alone. Storage, on end, in the garage is straight forward. Absent a garage,such a boat could be stored on a covered porch or in a utility shed if that is what is available.
  8. WhiteDwarf
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    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Reply to Messabout


    Respectfully, our Firebugs have demonstrated that 8 footers can provide excellent adult racing, our club is throwing out the challenge to improve on that, and provide an environment where new designs and experimentation can thrive at an affordable price. That is why, if a suitable prototype appears in this forum, I am prepared to build the hull of one craft at no cost to the designer to promote this competition (the designer to provide the crew, sail and rig).

    Without doubt, a boat of the kind you suggest will be faster, the froude number guarantees it; but we race in quite tough conditions. Folding tenders and trainers there are aplenty, Netaway do some nice designs, for example, but would you take a folding boat out in 20 kts + with the wind over the tide throwing up a sharp chop? I know I wouldn't, but thank you for your suggestion.
  9. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I could write you some proposed rules, but I need to know what limitations you want to put on it. length, beam, mast height, sail area, etc. are these boats intended to be home built like the PDR, or factory made, or both?

    I would think a sail area, or perhaps even type, and a max empty weight would also be desirable if it is intended to be protable (maybe even a max and min weight, so costly materials will not have an advantage.

    There are no "per plan" PDR as I understand it, by the way, only the lower shape of the hull is defined in the rules. There are no limitations on rudders as I recall, so it if was too weak there is nothing that prevents you from redesigning the rudder.
  10. WhiteDwarf
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    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf


    Absolutely! The purpose of this thread is to shape rules for the proposed class; nurture designs, one of which I would hope to build, for the designer and lead to a competitive fleet that engages those with constrained by storage space.

    Parameters, I’d value your feedback on the following:

    Length - 8 ft/2.4M

    Max Spar Length - 4.3M – Fit in the roof of parking space

    Min hull weight - say 35 kg. - eliminate the high tech/high capital designs, would anybody use carbon fibre – I hope not

    Max Hull weight – 55 kg – its got to be car-topable

    Beam – unrestricted – effectively constrained by weight restrictions

    Sail area – Would 6.5 sq M be too much?

    Those were my first thoughts, but as I said, I would appreciate a conversation to refine the model.


    Thank you.
  11. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Is this the only solution though? Here in the UK I'd say that most club sailor's boats never go near their houses, and those that do mostly only do so outside on the trailer overnight when the owner is making an early start to travel to an event the next day.
    Different places and different problems have different solutions, but I wonder if in many circumstances providing a shared facility at a club where any maintenance can be done, coupled with a minimal maintenance requirement might be a better option. If the craft never has to go anywhere near the owner's apartment then thre's less pressure on space and less pressure on the domestic equilibrium.
  12. WhiteDwarf
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    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf

    Reply to gggGuest


    I well remember the big dinghy parks at Lee on Solent, Tudor SC etc. hundreds of dinghies, but it won't work for us.

    Our club is on tidal river in the heart of a densely populated city. It is on stumps over the water on the river side of a stand of mangroves. We rig in a park, which has to be left clean at the end of every day for other users. We launch and recover 70+ boats over a narrow beach. Our limited storage is for club training boats.

    A small house plot on the river side would easily sell for $3M say £2M. Way beyond the means of a small sailing club. What is more, we are in the epicentre of government promoted unit development.

    I am sure there are clubs in Australia that can manage large dinghy parks like you describe and even have workshops. Lindisfarne in Hobart (Tasmania) used such facilities to build a dozen Firebugs last year, a great job, but other clubs are in the same position as us.

    As I said in opening this thread, the sailing community cannot afford to turn its back on the fastest growing part of the urban community. Graduates of learn to sail courses are not "rusted on" to sailing. Their first boats have to be good to sail, but easy to manage when not in use as well. That is why I started the thread.
  13. cme
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    cme Junior Member

    Granted there is a shortage of storage space for dinghies in Sydney, I had to move to store my boat. The thing is there are a dozen spirals in the clubhouse ready to hire and not all go out every week plus a huge junior fleet

    I think people give up because its a difficult sport and the jump from beginner to racing pm races is huge rather than problems with boat storage

    The spiral fleet at crsc has had an excellent record of keeping people involved in my opinion
  14. WhiteDwarf
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    WhiteDwarf White Dwarf


    The Spiral is a great boat for some. The club boats at any club are seldom competitive and I suspect that applies at CRSC.

    For those unfamiliar with the Spiral, it is very similar to, but slightly more forgiving than a laser.

    One of the benefits envisaged from the proposed 8 footer class, is that it will not be one design, it will allow allow for a range of weights and skill levels, it will also encourage experimentation on an affordable scale.

  15. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    I have given a lot of thought to an entry level sail craft for an urban high mobility market. I too think it is critical to the future of sailing, but it lacks economic incentive. You don't mention women in your brief but I think that their approval is critical to secure the space and time that these designs require.

    Some ideas
    -stacking designs and a trailer based club. If you consider the cost, time, and effort that individuals spend car-topping, teams could pay for a common trailer and it's storage in one year. This would open boat design to larger, better performance designs while improving convenience.

    -kayak style designs. You seem to like the big heavy punt but it has many drawbacks -it's too awkward and heavy for it's single sailor to carry from car top to the water (particularly for children and women). The high resistance requires high wind, and strong force to handle it(when it's windy, big guys win, when it's not windy everybody is bored). Scrambling from side to side in a wooden boat also tends to generate skins and bruises. I also don't understand why you are interested in 'simple home build' designs when your target market has no place to build it.

    Roto-molded or thermoformed hulls are the most cost effective and seaworthy. Reducing and controlling the weight shift can keep the fleet limited to hull speed making for tight packs and more tactical racing. The same hull can add wings and a big rig for high performance when skill progresses. The light narrow hulls can also be paddled when there is no wind so distance adventure races can be scheduled. What I had in mind is a one design 10ft sit in sailboat/kayak for $500 that sails at hull speed 45deg to 5N true wind, less than 23kg all up including paddle.

    -breakdown/skin on frame, for a price there is no reason a 1 man sailboat can't be carried in a trunk, on a bus, on a plane, and into the apartment (or into a bar or restaurant on the way home). I read your dismissal of the 2 piece sailboat above and anticipate the same seaworthy argument -but do me a favor, imagine you are speaking to a Polynesian that sailed the south pacific for thousands of years, or an Inuit that paddled the Aleutian islands in boats made from hide and driftwood.

    Cost will be greater, but clearly there is money around based on your property prices. Money you have, space you have not. I think you will find that appearance is more important and cost is less important than you think. There are more people willing to spend a couple thousand for a boat than there are people willing to be seen sailing a plywood box every weekend.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
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