Foiler vulnerability to trash in the water

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Chris Ostlind, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    It's interesting that our resident foil guru hasn't had a single comment about the recent Moth World's where one of the big stories unfolding is the amount of trash in the water and how it has had an effect on the racing.

    Two days ago, I wrote this on the "Moth on Foils" thread...

    So, instead of looking at a real problem for foilers, the guru went hunting for Bora Gulari's head, pinning his current 6th place in the Dubai Worlds as a function of his weight. It's no secret that weight has more than a bit to do with getting the boat up and flying as early as possible and in light air racing, that can be problematic.

    Truth be told, any guy in the top of World rankings has a solid shot at winning on any given day. Andrew McDougal, at 50 something years old, has turned in Three Bullets in nine races. The current lead is held by 46 year old, Simon Payne, with Two Bullets of his own and consistent finishes in the top four... then you know it's about a whole lot more than being a little guy - or not.

    Just today, on the front page of Sailing Anarchy another comment came forth about the stuff in the water. Yesterday, (Thursday) was a lay day for the fleet and SA had this to say... "In a development class like the Moth, a lay day means not only fixing what broke and resting your body a bit - it also means perfecting some of the experiments that might be rolling around in the average engineer/sailors brain, and the sight of dozens of foils laying around the grassy field at DOSC made it clear that there was plenty of shaping, sanding, and painting to do. Unfortunately for the foils, there's not much you can do about the two main obstacles on the course: Plastic bags and fully grown manta rays."

    Manta Rays?!?! Let's see, would that qualify as a Marine Biology class when a 20+ knot Moth slices open a Manta for a viscera exam and dissection? Or, do the other cruising Mantas gather for a beat down on the fallen Mothie before he can get his steed back up and foiling? ;-) There will be no such class credit for attracting plastic bags, unless the sailor has already enrolled with an accredited marine environmental sensitivity option for his curricula.

    What I'm waiting for now, is for the guru to tell us all, once again, that plastic bags and junk in the water are not a concern for foilers. I guess that I'm probably going to have to reach back in the archives and dredge-up one of the guru's famous quotes on the topic. That, or the guru will simply dispatch one of his apologists to refute the rather well-supported observation. Either way, it should make for some really great reading... ;-)
  2. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Chris, stop picking on Doug.

    As to the garbage- evidently it's a problem, certainly more so in some areas than in others. Getting rope and nets caught in props and rudders is nothing new to boats of any type, and getting a plastic bag wrapped around the lower unit is certainly no fun for the outboard engine that finds its cooling water suddenly cut off. I can see how Moth foilers- being light, fast and finicky- might be more sensitive to this sort of thing than some other boats. The manta rays- well, hitting anything half your vessel's size at twenty knots is going to hurt, no matter what you're piloting- freighter, car, train....

    Now, how to teach the world's landlubbers the difference between a trash can and a beach......
  3. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Not picking on the guy, Matt. More like addressing his ideas on the topic. There's a difference. Strangely enough, the guy is still holding to the thought that plastic bags wrapped around lifting foils are not worth discussing. Moth Worlds competitors are experiencing the matter differently. Saying that it happens to any appendage does not address the issue at all, more like deflects it into avoidance.

    Other than a higher cost to field a foiling boat, having the primary lifting surface altered through junk, or collison, is the one huge vulnerability for these quick little boats. You'd think that a certain someone would want to look at the issue and work on that solution.

    I happen to like the boat, as well as how it can rip. Still, like any design out there, it has it's soft spots. This is especially true when the design has taken a serious and very committed turn to lifting foils.
  4. Obsession
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Obsession Junior Member

    If there are so many plastic bags in the waters they're sailing in that it's an issue, all that junk in the water is my concern. I'm glad the waters I boat in don't have such a high concentration of plastic bags yet.
  5. Timothy
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Timothy Senior Member

    I windsurf in Thailand and The waters are strewn with plastic bags and assorted dunage. On a formula board with its long vertical fin this can be a real problem. At 25 knts if the fin encounters even a 6" plastic bag a dramatic catapult is usually the result ,often resulting in expensive equipment damage.
  6. peterraymond
    Joined: May 2009
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    peterraymond Junior Member


    It's not just trash that's a problem. Some lakes get covered with algae every summer and I don't think anything can sail. I think I have heard that Volvo Ocean racers have hit and injured whales. Similar to a Manta ray and a moth, but is the problem the hydrofoil, or just that sailboats are getting so dam fast?

    When a cat averages 37.84 knots for 24 hours, well I don't want to get in the way.
  7. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    More BS from Mr Ostlind. Surprise me. If there's a lot of junk in the water is a problem no matter what you sail: it affects things.
  8. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    High-performance foils of any kind- whether they are rudders, daggers or lifters- are always going to be vulnerable to debris and impacts. Higher speed means a greater chance of damage when you hit something.

    In the case of the Moth, where you have lifting foils, hitting something or catching a piece of debris might mean tripping the boat and crashing it. A bit more dramatic, perhaps, than wrapping a line around the rudder or knocking a submerged container in a bigger boat (both of which can be pretty serious), but on a small, ultra-fast boat like this, such vulnerability is to be expected. The alternative is to make the Moth bigger and slower, and, well, nobody wants that, right?
  9. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    More BS from Mr. Guest. Surprise me, too. If there's lots of junk in the water and that junk gets wrapped on the lifting surface, it shuts down the foil from lifting a Moth cleanly and at optimal efficiency... end of high ride until cleared. Affects things dramatically.

    If you get junk on any other boat, it only slows it. Well, unless it's a veritable floating condo of a weed patch. Simple to fix for most boats that have moving boards, or weed cutters. Affects things minimally.

    Junk, in this case, is the example mentioned: plastic bags

    So, Mr. Guest... which would you rather have a foiler that doesn't foil, or a cat that just slows until you lift the daggerboard? For a World Championship Foiling Moth event, it can be catastrophic. Just ask Rohan Veal.
  10. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Trash in the water is a sad thing for all of us but you go further, ostlind, and try to imply that it specifically affects the Moth(or any foiler) more than any other boat. Hogwash, as Jim and Timothy have pointed out. You further try to portray it as a big disaster at a previous Worlds and the Dubai Worlds-hogwash again-just watch the videos of the boats hauling ***! You've tried to portray trash as affecting only one competitor in both worlds-Veal earlier and gulari now-hogwash again:if there is trash in the water it affects EVERYBODY. gulari's problem in this worlds is far more substantial than a couple of pieces of trash in NINE races.
    Your recounting of the Veal incident is NOT CORRECT-according to Veal himself a lot of people had trash problems but the killer for him was his bum knee. He personally told me that....
  11. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    I don't have the time now, my friend, but I do have this question for you; When you learn to read as written rather than as you think was written, will you finally say you are sorry on bended knee?
  12. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    OK, guys. After this post, I'm not going to go through this song and dance about getting crap on the lifting foils of a Moth again. As our friend, Peter, would say, it's becoming redundant. I agree with that and if it weren't for the fact that hundreds of folks new to the sport are reading these posts, silently, I wouldn't bother. Because they are, they deserve the correct story as has been reported several other times on these pages, but not recently. There's no place for mythology, other than the bar, when you are trying hard to learn about boating.

    Answered in order from Doug's last post.

    Quite simply and to the point... it does affect lifting foils more than any other conventional boat. Weed is far easier to dislodge from vertically oriented foil surfaces than from a combination of vertical and horizontal, especially when the vertical/horizontal foil has a mid span joining point. Most folks can figure this one out for themselves if they have been on a few boats that caught weed or plastic crap and found themselves slowed as a result.

    The foiling Moth is especially susceptible to anything in the water that can disrupt the lifting surface as virtually the entire experience, the draw, if you will, is about getting airborne and hitting the gas. No lift equals no gas pedal equals an ordinary sea hugger boat tooling around with a big set of inconveniently draggy foils.

    Real simple stuff if you pay attention to facts and not mythology

    As to the previous comments on this thread, I'll save you trouble of scrolling up to check them out:


    Timothy, I'm not big on Formula boards myself, but I've seen lots of guys in SoCal encountering weed. They have exhibited all sorts of tactics to deal with it, as any sailor learns. I've also seen them switch to weed specific foils. In any event, you still get to sail in the same attitude with a plastic bag wrapped on your foil. You may be slower until you clear it, however you do that, but you do not lose the fundamental reason for having the ride.

    A Moth, or any other boat with T-foils loses vertical lift. What other reason is there for having a foiler, than to get the lift and the associated speed? I wonder how many Mothies with foils will list, "I love to ride around in seahugger mode with my foils fully deployed", as one of their hot buttons?

    I guess you like the word hogwash, Doug. It's looking more and more like you want to get booted here, just as you did at Sailing Anarchy and that Model Boat site you used to visit. From my experience with you, this sort of escalation is the first sign that you are about to erupt in a full scale flame-out. Good luck with that.

    If you go back and read my postings, you'll see that I did not say it was a big disaster. I said it was unfolding as a big story. I further backed that up with a couple of quotes directly from Sailing Anarchy, made by observers who are on site in Dubai. If you have a problem with the reportage, then take it up with the folks who made the direct and immediate observation... on site.

    Since you are not on site and you have no quotes to counter the ones presented, it is incumbent upon you to either present your own, on-site quotes, OR, if you are a decent fellow, hold your tongue until such time as you do. You have not presented the first option, so please observe the second.

    Next, I did not try to portray trash as effecting only one competitor... in either circumstance. Here's my posted comment, as supplied by and attributed to, Sailing Anarchy... "2009 Moth World Champ and US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Bora Gulari, had a tough go of it in the last race when he managed to pick up two plastic bags. From what I’ve heard, there is no short supply of foil draggers off the Dubai coast with quite a few competitors hooking up garbage. Class president Mark Robinson picked up one, and one racer actually picked up the same blue bag on two different laps! "

    References to the 2006 event in which Veal and others encountered crap in the water are listed below.

    It would be really good if you came to the place where you actually read and comprehend what is posted, rather than what your fury dictates through some magical filter in your head.

    Lastly, Doug... when there is a lot of trash in the water, it does not necessarily effect every competitor. There's lots of water out there and not everyone is following the same line like robots. I'm sure it could be possible to create a formula that would show the probability of encountering junk based on samples taken, but that's not my department. I'm simply reporting what has been observed. Your solo extension of facts into mythology is alarming.

    It's just great that you have the impression that you and Rohan were once tied at the hip, Doug. But once again, documented facts, directly from his now defunct website, say otherwise. Take the time to read, once again, if you did so at all way back in '06, and comprehend that which has been written on these pages. I dug-up the germane post for you in case you found it too tedious.

    From this link: Look to post # 5 made on 07-31-2006, at 07:24 PM There's more to the argument there if you care to read it.

    Now, Doug… please put these incorrect and unsubstantiated observations of yours to final rest… will ya’?
  13. peterraymond
    Joined: May 2009
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    peterraymond Junior Member

    not trash

    My most memorable encounter with stuff in the water wasn't trash. It was on a 36 lead mine on Long Island Sound. It must have been memorable too, since this was around 1971. We were sailing along in a race, under spinnaker I think, when all of a sudden we started braking to a stop. We ended up stationary with all sails drawing.

    I guess I was considered most expendable, because I was the one selected to swim down and unhook the lobster pot buoy from the prop. At least they took the sails down first.

    You might think that Lobster pots would be a particular problem with Moths, but Long Island Sound, also known as the dead sea, doesn't have enough wind most of the time to make the boats even interesting. Even then, at least you can dodge a Lobster pot if you're looking where you're going.
  14. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Chris, like many others I have to say you seem to be way overstating the case.

    You've completely missed what Timothy said when you wrote "In any event, you still get to sail in the same attitude with a plastic bag wrapped on your foil. You may be slower until you clear it, however you do that, but you do not lose the fundamental reason for having the ride."

    Tim say "at 25 knts if the fin encounters even a 6" plastic bag a dramatic catapult is usually the result ,often resulting in expensive equipment damage." A crash that "usually results in expensive equipment damage" is not allowing anyone to just sail slower.

    I can empathise with Tim here, having hit something in the water when my Raceboard was fully powered up in a recent race - exit one fin and one carbon boom (replacement cost, around $2,000 Aus) in the resulting noisy and spectacular crash. Many fast craft suffer severely from crashes when they hit flotsam. In boards, the 'saving' grace is that the bag or stick normally comes off in the ensuing crash.

    If you read other blogs, you'll also see a top US Laser sailor bemoaning a problem with bags around his Laser foils, which shows that even slower boats with swept foils are far from immune from this issue. Weed is a regular problem in some Laser regattas.

    We've done cat regattas where jellyfish strikes caused major transom and rudder damage, yet you don't criticise cats for that issue.

    Sure, Moths may be slightly more susceptible to garbage in the water than most boats, but it's not that huge an issue from all accounts.

    Yes, I agree that Doug overstates the revolution (look at the Moth class reports to ISAF and one sees no sign of spectacular growth) but the bags are not such a major issue.

  15. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    As a mere unwashed kayaker even I have the occasional close encounter of the tird kind with junk.

    Springtime is approaching, with its uprouted trees and other fun bits. The worst are the picnic tables that seem to end up in the water. They mostly have steel frames these days and tend to float along at the surface until they fetch up on the bottom, in the fall, and freeze in place. By the time it thaws they are saturated and embedded in the mud so they just stay in place, submerged maybe an inch or so.

    Then they just lay in wait for me to come barrelling downstream. A couple of years back one got me but good, just the right slope so the boat slid up almost out of the water. It was really slick so the boat came to a gentle stop and tipped over slowly, like animated movie. I was laughing so hard I could hardly stay in the boat. Getting off the thing without taking a bath in Spring meltoff wasn't easy, I had to kind of shimmy off sideways, because a kayak with one end suspended out of the water will flip in a heartbeat.

    Then there was the bucket that grabbed the paddle blade; full of mud and just deep enough to make it impossible to reach from the boat. The handle acted like a kind of vice grip on the paddle blade. It's amazing what gets into the water: fences, toilet seats; the biggest scare was a Halloween skull! Thought it was real for a moment.
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