Is this a sailing dinghy or a sailboard ?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by xarax, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Steve Clark
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    Location: Narragansett Bay RI

    Steve Clark Charged Particle

    http://www.sailnet.com/forums/buying-boat-articles/19418-vanguards-volks-boat.html
    We tried to commercialize the idea and it didn't gain acceptance. No luck at all. What was interesting about the project was that you could hike by leaning back and holding onto he steering strut. This gave the little darling quite a bit more stability than you would expect and might have resulted in something pretty unusual and quick. Unfortunately this wasn't in the project brief and we ended up with something that ( quite honestly) was value engineered down to a level of incompetence. It was a very frustrating project where at each step the craft lost performance potential in favor of maintaining a low price point. If allowed to be light enough, have good enough foils and a nifty rig, it might have been a unique and capable craft, as it was it would only have worked in very special environments.
    Not a highlight of my resume. but not an idea devoid of merit.
    SHC
     
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  2. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Very interesting,Steve.
     
  3. xarax

    xarax Previous Member

    Thank you very much Steve,
    I had not the slightest information about this craft...However, at 90 pounds, it was surely a very different animal from the light, cartoppable single handed craft that could fill a place in between sailboards and sailing dinghies.
    Now, that is a weak point in this design, I think. We have to be able to lean outwards as well as backwards, to increase RM, just as we do on board of an ordinary dinghy sailing. That is why I have thought of TWO such "steering struts", set along the longitudinal axis of the craft, from which one could hike by his hands, (holding from two D handles attached at the upper end of each strut).
    Moreover, I have thought that these two steering struts, if ,somehow, they were interconnected with the boom and work in a reciprocating way too, they could also function as steering devices of the boom itself. So you could steer the whole craft, the rudder AND the boom, by your hands, not leaving these safe D handles of the steering struts at any time. And we dispense with the mainsheet, puley and rope system, altogether. Thus, theoretically, you could balance yourself on board more effectively, need a less beamy hull, and at the same time you could avoid too much swimming ...:)
    I would be glad if you could give some advice on this idea, or try a second attempt yourself. Rome was not build in one day !:)
     
  4. Steve Clark
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Narragansett Bay RI

    Steve Clark Charged Particle

    What may not be clear is that the strut was on a universal joint, so you would hike by swinging the whole mess to windward and leaning back against your arms very much like windsurfing, but with the steering gear for support instead of the wishbone boom.
    Most people didn't "get" the idea of moving your feet so both your heels were on the weather gunwale and leaning back. They instead tried to stand on centerline and drive like a tractor.
    Another problem with the inventors drawings is that he misunderstod the troque required for steering input. There was no simple way to provide the necessary mechanical advantage to turn the rudder other than a fairly large steering wheel. The small twist grips he shows were completely inaedequate and burned out even pretty strong wrists if a few minutes.

    SHC

    There was quite a bit of work involved because of the low angle, if one put the steering column on a raised plinth and incorporated a harness it would have been easier to do for a long period. A few of the test rigs went pretty fast and there were definitely signals that if the concept was suitably refined it would have provided "sunfish-like" performance. That is to sy not brilliant but credible and at the same time offer a unique sailing experience.
    The weight was almost entirely due to a cheap and heavy construction method mandated by cost control.
    SHC
     
  5. xarax

    xarax Previous Member

    I dare to suggest that, because of the steering wheel appearence of the strut s end, they were misled to interpret the steering device as a rudder helm or a steering wheel of a car or something. If there were these two D handles on the end of two struts, as I suggest, they would probably interpret them correctly, i.e. like handles from where one is supposed to hike his body weight. ( The stering is achieved by the rotation of the D handles, by the rotation of the wrists or the forarms. )
    Woul;d a more balanced rudder help in this?
    To steer the boom by the reciprocating movement of these struts as I suggest, the rig itself must be quite balanced, like the one described in US pattent 5816180 , or in Aerorig, for example.
    The two struts solution, one behind the mast or the daggerboad case and one in front of the rudder, would have solved this problem too, I guess.
    Do you think that one could cut the weight by 35-50% if advanced construction mathods and materials were used? It would be a very attractive advantage of the craft if its weight could be in the middle of the modern dinghy-sailboard weights.
     
  6. Steve Clark
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Narragansett Bay RI

    Steve Clark Charged Particle

    Did what I thought was the best solution, the rudder was as neutral as I dared make it and still the steering input was significant. You need a pretty long tiller on any rudder, no matter how balanced and in this case the diameter of the wheel and the distance between the axis of rotation and the center of effort of the rudder blade was the critical relationship. I tried the T handle early on, but is never remained horizontal as you would have liked due to the need for rudder AoA and the rotation induced by the actuation of the universal joint. As such was harder to hang off than the wheel.
    Weight can be solved by money spent, if memory serves, we were trying to maintain a sub $2000 retail price point, and the steering mechanism was way more expensive than piece of ash and a piece of aluminum, so there was no budget for anything above the lowest form of GRP. If you built it to Moth specifications, it would be very nice and light but would also retail way out of our understanding of the market.
    SHC
     
  7. xarax

    xarax Previous Member

    You would like the handles to remain horizontal only if you want them to convey the same feeling/handling of a windsurf boom, I guess. I have thought of handles that turn 45 degrees around a vertical middle position, because I thought that this is a more relaxing position for the wrists and the forearms being under tension of the body weight. I am not sure about it, but I suppose that the athletes in men’s still rings gymnastics could help us on this...:)
     
  8. Steve Clark
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Narragansett Bay RI

    Steve Clark Charged Particle

    Once again, best effort I could make. I sailed the boat, made changes and sailed some more.
    It's all compromise and what could be reasonably done within the budget. Try your ideas and find out how well they work, I have no interest or stake in the continuation of this project.
    SHC
     
  9. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Xarax:

    Just to clarify things, since you are not a North American .... Steve Clark is one of our most successful and accomplished performance boat builders and sailors. He built Vanguard Boats into the largest builder and vendor of small boats in the United States, and has many championships to his credit - including the Little America's Cup (although it is called the C-Class Challenge now and world championship level International Canoe competition.

    He sold Vanguard last year to Laser Performance.

    Steve's opinions are generally worth taking to the bank. His knowledge of boat building and boat economics is held in very high esteem worldwide.

    --
    Bill
     
  10. xarax

    xarax Previous Member

    Being a non-North American does not make somebody incapable to tell a lion by his paw, I hope...:)
    THAT saying needs a revision, if by "bank" you mean a North American bank ! :)

    Thank you Bistros. Steve Clark s contribution in the development of the patent and in this discusion is obviously great. In the matter of the best design of a similar experimental steering device, the jury is still out. What is most significant for me, is Steve s motto : " Beatings will continue until morale improves. "
     

  11. chrisian
    Joined: Jun 2016
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    Location: Yeovil

    chrisian New Member

    Tonic sailing skiff.

    I own a Tonic with the windsurfer rig. It is a 3.7 metre sailing dinghy with no boom to clout your head on. You sail this as you would any other sailing dinghy, it has a single mainsail and a main sheet which makes for simple and exciting sailing.
    I would not attempt to stand up and hold onto the boom as some imagine is the way to sail this boat. It is just a nippy dinghy with a windsurfer rig.
     
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