new low cost design competion

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by sawmaster, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. sawmaster
    Joined: May 2010
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    some time back someone posted a thread suggesting a design competition using common lumberstore plywood (such as may be found at home depot) and tyvek or polysails.Someone shot down the idea,suggesting some well heeled competitor could simply stockpile a large quantity of sheets,and separate and use only the best veneers,thereby gaining the upper hand.I would like to revive the idea with a slight modification.What I would like to see is a" knot per dollar"dinghy design competition.I visualize a time around the course race using the portsmouth number of one of the hot new dinghys( such as an rs something or divoti d1) as a target speed.Before each run,each competitor would submit his bill of matierial showing what was spent on the build.The winning design would be the one that achieved the highest percentage of target speed at the lowest cost,i.e.best performance per dollar spent.Ibelieve a competition of this type would put high performance sailing in the hands of more people and reduce the tendency of sailing to become more and more an elitist pursuit.P.S.-in the U.K. they have something called the A.Y.R.S (amatuer yacht research society) Does anyone know if there is anything comparable in the U.S.?
     
  2. peter radclyffe
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

  3. sawmaster
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    re:design competion

    thanks for responding, but what I'm really looking for is a response from other backyard/garage boat designer/builders interested in participating in a lowest cost per knot design competition.The thing about the A.Y.R.S probably should have been in a separate post-its just something else im interested in.
     
  4. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    More parameters would be needed, as low cost materials like building center plywood can be elevated tremendously through usage of modern epoxies and saturation techniques.

    Next, you would have to specify the intended longevity of the hull. You can keep things light with paint over plywood and Bondo fairing, but it isn't going to last long. One scratch on the launch ramp and a paint-only ply hull would be headed down the road to trouble.

    You would also have to specify basics like rig, sail area, hull configuration and how righting moment is to be obtained / optimized. A plywood catamaran with a doorskin/shrink wrap wingsail and trapeze isn't going to be beaten by any monohull designed to be like a D-1 or RS-100. I doubt a RS-100 could keep up to a 8-10" ABS sewer pipe catamaran with a decent polytarp rig on some points of sail.

    Ugly is easy. Cheap is easy. Fast takes more effort, but as long as it only has to work a couple times, it can be cheap as long as ugly is okay.

    If the target is a good looking, reliable, skiff-like performance hull that can be homebuilt using MOSTLY home center materials, it can be done, but not dirt cheap. Some type of E-glass or S-glass will be needed, as will modern adhesives, fairing compound and paint of at least two-part polyurethane quality. You are basically talking about a Dudley Dix Paperjet type of boat which hits pretty close to your stated mark out of the box. Another that fits is Michael Storer's Goat Island Skiff (GIS).

    I've been playing with this type of design concept for a while - I'm kind of interested in building a multi-purpose cartopper for family outings, RAID-type camping and the like. The GIS is close but the slab sided hull gives away too much performance potential with little concession to hiking and things like asymmetrical kites downwind. B&B's Core Sound series is a little big for cartopping but pretty close - the cat-ketch rig seems a little complex and gives away high end performance.

    I'd certainly follow the idea further as I'm going there anyway personally.

    --
    CutOnce
     
  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    Sawmaster,

    I love the idea, I have been thinking about something similar for years. I would formulate it differently since there is just too many ways to "cheat" using salvaged materials, those with better souses of cast off stuff end up with better boats for less money. I think that is too hard to make that fair either locally or in a nationally run contest series. It was the Puddle Duck racers that gave me the idea, the hulls are just so ugly and badly designed, why not a similar idea but with more design flexibility? I have entered several $50 sailboat contests, and they were fun, but not a lot of opportunity to use it again. So something a little more competitive and with multiple events would be great cheap sailing fun.

    What I was thinking is getting one of the big box stores to sponsor it. Lets say Home Depot (but Lowes or any other national chain would work too, or even have several chains "compete" against each other). You simply place a max limit of say $300 for materials (you can even have a $100, $200, $500, etc "class" too), that you have to buy at Home Depot (or any of a number of "approved" sponsoring stores), and must show your receipts at each registration. You might also have a time limit (since prices change so much), perhaps 2 or 3 years old max (than you have build another boat). And you have a simple "box" rule: max length 16', max total width 6', max sail height off the water surface 20 ft. (keep it small to be easy to build, and still fast to sail). You can even have a mono hull and multi-hull division (with clear rules to separate them). Primary structural material would be wood for hull and mast. Than it is up to the designer/inventor to build it from only what he can buy at those stores.

    This would also mean that if someone was not interested in building it, he can get a building partner, or even pay someone else to build it, and still be able to race it. To "normalize" any advantage, plans must be made available to free at the end of the first season (giving only one season advantage to someone with a cleaver design).

    This would keep the cost low, bring out the inventiveness of people who like sailboats, and make available great boat plans for any one to build from $300 worth of hardware store materials. If it was popular enough, the sponsoring stores would of course benefit from a regular stream of customers to buying materials to build their racing boats.

    How would one get something like this going? Where can we generate interest in it? Should we write up a proposal and submit it to the big box stores marking department? They could advertise the series in their stores (and perhaps even sell "starter" boat plans, with a materials list) and sponsor the events, this would hardly cost them anything to do (entrants would pay a reasonable entrance fee, say $15). Consider that each entrant would be buying everything from their store, and lots of tools too!

    How can we refine the idea further?
     
  6. sawmaster
    Joined: May 2010
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    re: low cost design competion

    Thanks,Petros,I think I like your idea better.The only change I would make would be to stipulate that the designer must also be the builder-otherwise we might end up with 400 dollars worth of material resulting in a 2000 dollar boat due to the hiring of professional boat builders.I can draw boats that I lack the skill to build myself.Fortunately, some of the fastest monohulls are flat bottomed skiffs-a configureation with which I am comfortable.Speaking of comfort,how about a trapeeze and non trapeeze class (Iam extreemly impressed with the divoti D1 and would love to develope a less expensive version) I cant under stand why lowes or Home depot wouldnt jump at this opportunity to sell a whole bunch of 1/4 in plywood and 1x4x16.I think we should proceed with a proposal.
     
  7. sawmaster
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    Thanks,CutOnce

    for taking the time to respond.I agree that low cost plywood can be improved by the use of epoxies but I see that as more of a durability advantage than a performance advantage.But since the competition is speed per dollar expended each individual designer would have to decide whether e glass,s glass,or even epoxy itself is worth it.Keep in mind ,it is not ultimate speed that wins this competition,it is speed in knots per dollar expended.If you get a 10% increase in speed with 60percent increase in expenditure,your likely to lose,and lose big.As to intended longevity of the hull,if it holds together for a best 3 out of 5 series,that should be sufficient.The intention is to maximise the use of matierials and explore the parameters of shape, weight distribution,sail area etc. Once the most efficient design is found ,it can then be" tweaked" by carefull application of more durabule materials.I believe the final product would still be considerably less than a comparable production boat.It could then be marketed in kit form.One last note-This design competition,as I stated in my post,is a DINGHY competition.The catamaran folks would have to run a separate dollar per knot.If it was open to all configurations a sailboard would win hands down.P.S.-I am familiar with the Goat Island skiff.IT was designed as a daysailer and speed was not the designers main priority.That being said,Icould run rings around it for 600 dollars.DO I HEAR 5? (See how this works?)
     
  8. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    Let them use epoxy if they want, if you put a $ limit on how much you can spend, than it is up to the builder/designer how they use the materials. You can only keep it cheap if you limit how much you can spend.

    I see no way to enforce the Designer/builder/sailor rule. So just leave it out. Some can build, some can not, some can design but not sail, some can build but not sail well. It means, if you had no cheating, you would exclude those that can not build, and they would cheat anyway. So let them pay for a built boat if they want, this way there is no way to cheat. You can also have designer/builder/sailor teams, they would co-own and co-enter their boats. You could create a class of one person designer/builder/sailor, but by allowing teams you get better sailing, better built and designed boats. And everyone benefits too. We will advance the art of building fast, low cost sail boats. There is not reason to limit it.

    One way to keep this from getting out of hand is to have a "buy out" rule. Anyone at any time can buy a competitors boat for (for example) $600. Or whatever you choose. You could make that after the race, or after the end of the season (that would be my preference to prevent someone from buying out the competition before it even starts). So they only have the advantage for that season. If I spend $300 building a fun racing sail boat, I would be happy to take $600 for it, and than build me another one from what I learned with that for the next season. This would keep people from spending too much, and if they choose to pay others to build their boat with HD materials, they risk loosing it all but $600.

    Keep it simple, keep it cheap. Your proposals I think are a bit to complicated to make fair and prevent cheating.
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    How can you control the actual cost? I can give you a bill for only a fraction of the cost and win the competition. Specifying the materials allowed to be used is the only way you can compare boats on an equal basis.
     
  10. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    The object is to control the cost of the materials, and allow creativity to create lots of low cost boat plans available.

    Any rules are subject to cheating in any contest. You limit cheating with a rules committee that investigates protests. The rules committee can weight and measure size of each component, and verify what materials are shown on the receipts. I think that would be an easy thing to verify compared to a lot of different kinds of cheating I have read about in various speed contests.

    Trying to create lowest cost per knot of speed is subject to the same issues.

    Any rules are prone to cheating, you have to depend on sportsmanship and a rules committee to enforce them. keep the rules simple and there are not as many things to police. You also make severe penalties for cheating, like being barred for a year or two from competing. Caught again and bared for life.

    With specific materials you limit creativity. The point is to allow inventiveness to create low cost boat designs. who builds it and who races it are secondary to the main goal, and not relevant. By having rules that allow as much leaway as possible you get more competitors and more great designs.

    What is your goal for the contest? I think it should be to make as many low cost designs available. You could collect the designs up and publish them in a book of plans. It would help future competitors get started, and get a lot more people into boating since it would be made more affordable.
     
  11. rapscallion
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    rapscallion Senior Member

    I think a windsurfer would be the fastest thing someone could build for nothing... aeromarine epoxy, styrofoam, hemp cloth to takr the place of fiberglass, tyveck sails, and you're off!
     
  12. lightkeeper
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    lightkeeper Junior Member

    Hi; New to this site. Love the idea of having the boat for sale at the end of the racing season for a given price. A question though; has anyone given any thought to a skin-on-frame style of sail boat? Materials cost for the same size boat could be considerably less. Not all SOF boats are only kayaks, nor are all designs translatable to the SOF style, but it still looks like a pretty good option if it only has to last a few seasons.... Just a thought, any good reason to get stuck on only plywood designs?
     
  13. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    See this link. Geodesic Airolite Boat Designs.

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    CutOnce
     
  14. Lampy08
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Lampy08 Junior Member

    I’m not sure just dollars spent should be the only guideline. I think time spent on the build should be considered too. Here for e.g. Wood washes up on my beach, I could build (and have) a pretty nice boat for very little outlay of cash. This could be a good format for some design concepts to be turned into working models. Could be as simple as carving out a block of Styrofoam and sitting on it to prove a concept.
    hey lightkeeper, welcome aboard brother of mine

    Dennis
     

  15. sawmaster
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    sawmaster Senior Member

    more than one purpose for design competition

    hey Petros:
    While I support the goal of"advancing the art of building fast,low cost sailboats",if the resulting design requires complex compound curvature,vaccuum bagging,steam bent ribs,or any of the more exotic building techniques employed by professional boat builders,it will no longer be a low cost sailboat,regardless of the cost of material.Who will the resulting designs be for,and how will they obtain a craft built to that design?Not counting theft,there are only 3 ways I can think of to get a sailboat.You can buy it(expensive),Pay someone to build it(maybe even more expensive)or build it yourself(relatively cheap).To me,inherent in the idea of low cost,high performance sailing is ability to be home built,with non-exotic, readily available materials,with a minimum of woodworking skills.Here,Petros,is where I think our approach differs.To me,who builds the boat is not irrelevant-it is one of the talents the competition is meant to showcase.If you can design and build a winning design,despite not being an expert craftsman thats all the more impressive.But you do have to have some ability.Im not sure I would want to build a design intended to be home built by amateur craftsmen
    but designed by someone whos never built anything.
     
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