New low-cost "hardware store" racing class; input on proposed rules

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Petros, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    My Duo dinghy uses a st steel serving spoon handle on the skeg, works really well, we drag the boat everywhere. No damage

    I had assumed a "Hardware Store" class also meant "home garage". Having facilities to vacuum bag a curved aluminium wing mast doesn't meet that description to me. So maybe those of us without such facilities and skills will be allowed to buy a used mast??

    3in steel tube seems rather heavy for a 20ft mast!!

    One interesting design avenue to explore is - one sail or 2? cost of blocks/ropes/cleats versus a shorter, but heavier, mast. Or three sails if you include offwind

    My boat will start with one sail, partly because I want to build the hull in 2 days,as I have said, and thus won't have time to make a selfdraining floor and bowsprit for an asymmetric. And it will only have a kicker and cunningham. No outhaul or halyard

    Henerys, the "Hardware" store in Port Townsend carries a big range of boat parts - can I shop there? I remember Uffa Fox once racing his keel boat and steering sitting on a saddle and stirrups, is that why you mentioned the equestrian accoutrements??

    Richard Woods
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  2. Sailor Alan
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    Sailor Alan Senior Member

    OK, i take the bet, though i expect to loose, as i doubt all of your requirements will be met in toto. i expect boats to be built, boats raced, and points to be awarded, but a ‘club’ might be stretching it a bit.

    What better way to start a class, an international one at that, than on a forum such as this. Input from all interested parties, no matter what the level of interest or participation, and even simultaneous development in several places at once. Publishing the designs after the races will be of benefit as well.

    Richard; I didn't know Uffa Fox sailed using an equestrian saddle, but i wouldn't be surprised.

    The equestrian equipment was mentioned because it shows the diversity of ‘hardware stores’ generally. I live about as far ‘West’ in the USA as is possible, between Puget Sound and the Pacific, surrounded by forests, with little or no connection to ranching at all, yet there must be a large market for horse equipment.

    I didn't say a curved aluminum mast, it would be straight, and possibly tapered, and i have not committed to it either, wood (anisotropic fiber orientation) is still my best option.

    Yes, of course you can use a used mast. Of course you can buy your bits from Henrey’s, but you still have a $600 spending limit.

    The ‘pipe’ i was suggesting, was roof gutter ‘down spout’ very thin gauge sheet steel (or aluminum in some places) with a sheet metal seam along one edge. The steel version has adequate compression limits, but poor column stability. Hence the foam filling. Ill weight some, but they run about 10lb a (10’?) length.

    When bonding, one goal is to have an absolutely even thickness ‘bond line’. Clamps, screws, bolts, rivets, etc tend to clamp to the point of excluding any adhesive under their position, whilst surrounding areas have much thicker bond lines. Vacuum bagging tends to even out the pressure, and therefor bond line thickness, a huge benefit as long as the clamps, bolts, screws, are not too overwhelming.

    Some clarification. We, most of you, have access to ‘vacuum bagging’ techniques, and indeed you personally might use them to effect on some of your boats.

    Method one;

    I prefer to do this when it is very cold outside, so less suitable in Australia, or Americas South. Make up your part in metal, or wood, or even ‘stitch and glue’ wood (or ‘stitch and glue’ metal) using the minimum possible catalyst, or accelerator, in an environment (cold) where the adhesive cannot start to ‘set up’ (outside?).

    Move the mast spar, or even complete ‘stitch and glue’ boat into the garage. Cover the object to be bonded both sides (wrapped completely) with plastic film; dry cleaning bags, painters sheets, etc are all suitable. Use duct tape to seal any holes or tears, and bag one end into a tube, taping in a 1.5”-2” plastic tube. Lead this tube (i prefer outside) to a shop vac, or, much better, a $10 vacuum cleaner from Goodwill/Oxfam. Sometimes the vacuum dies in this service, and i would rather keep my shop vac.
    Make sure there is plenty of 'sacrificial' cloth, porus paper, paper filters, etc in this vacume line to absorb any gasious adhesive sucked through the vacuum system.
    Now, hire a propane or kerosine fan heater, the sort used for large halls, or outside and after closing the doors, and starting the ‘vacuum’ system, heat the garage to 100’+F for a few hours. This needs to be long enough for the heat to ‘soak’ through the structure to be bonded. i usually hang the object high under the ceiling, but this is a detail.

    Though you can take some trouble to smooth out the plastic bag over surface finish areas, especially on “Stitch and Glue” fillets, this is generally not necessary.

    Method two;

    Outside, no garage. Again cold outside is of benefit, and i have little experience doing this in hot weather. After assembly with adhesive using the least possible catalyst or accelerators, lay the part on saw horses or other suitable supports. I lay long spars, masts, etc lengthwise along the length of the sawhorses so it looks like a long “A” frame. Bag the part using Dry Cleaners bagging, or painters plastic sheets, as above. Drape the part, on the sawhorses with sacking, blankets, and any other insulating cloths. Cover all this with a layer of ‘space blanket’, insulating weatherproof sheets, all draping down to the ground. Make sure both ends are open. Again hire a Propane or kerosine fan (blast?) heater and mount at one end. Turn on the vacuum, and the heater, blowing in one end of the “A” frame ‘tent’. Run up to 100’+F, temperature can be regulated by controlling the volume of the exit air. This method can be modified to ‘vacuum’ a complete boat outside as well.

    Note’ check your adhesives methods/process to find out if it is suitable for heat acceleration. Most are, but have different minimum temperature requirements.

    Note; the really cheap epoxies will not set at low temperatures, and this is exactly what you want for this method.

    (CT, this is a joke) Next we will cover casting our own fittings from recycled aluminum cans, though the alloy is usually 3004, and not very strong.
  3. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Maybe check these photos,1259,2,en,f1.html

    story here

    Chimney sweep vac cleaners are better, better still is a modified cow milking machine. If I did it that way I'd make the mast in the living room, its longer than our garage

    How about three 1/2in carbon tubes (fishing rods?) to make a lattice mast. With a sleeved sail the fact that it is a lattice isn't a problem as the sail covers the holes. But - could it survive being flexed?

    On ebay UK right now is a Solo mast with rigging for USD120 and a complete 505 for USD150, a suitable racing mainsail for USD1.00 (no bids yet, no reserve)

  4. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I guess the cost of the vacuum cleaner must be added to the list.

    I think vacuum bagging is a bit out of range for this class. It's bound to start arguments, due to costs, climate availability, and skill level required.

    You could easily end up with only the boats built with best tools and the best craftsmanship winning. Since good tools are a major part of craftsmanship, you nay soon run into a 'Yankee Workshop' championship, where only those with the best equipped shops will win.

    As for the Laser rig, I suppose the cost of a used one can be counted, as long as such is readily available to all contestants. This would mean that such can be 'mail ordered' used, as well as new.

    It seems a shame not to take advantage of readily made parts, such as used Laser rigs, but a stern interpreter of these rules may judge such as being beyond the definition of 'Hardware Store'.
  5. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I mentioned the ebay UK because of this rule

    1. All the materials, fasteners and adhesives purchased for use in the construction of the complete boat, sails and rigging is limited to $600 monohull class, $1000 multihull class (not counting sales tax and shipping costs).

    The relevant bit is the part in brackets

    And then there is this

    B. Construction method is wide open, but should be suitable for building in a home shop without extensive tooling or costly machine tools

    So what is "extensive"? or "costly"? A senior Boeing engineer probably has different definitions of that, compared to a poor, 10 thumbed, yacht designer

  6. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member

    You're on!

    P.S. If I loose, I'll be a very happy man, and will happily buy doughnuts for everyone at the first race.
  7. grob
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Oh great,

    I've been away from this site for about four years and have just been pulled back and found this thread.

    This thread is a perfect example of why I have stayed away from, Its a brilliant idea and is almost certainly going to consume huge amounts of my time over the coming months (just reading it for a start!).


  8. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    You summed up the reasoning behind thicker section streamlined masts for this cost limited class pretty well. There are some great flat sails and gust response is a nice performance improvement -but I don't know of any that fit this class under ~$300 for sail and rig. It would be impressive to do it for three times that amount. Such rigs are available in one design for a price. I don't doubt the skill and effort of their designers. It's an art that to my knowledge needs space age materials. For that reason I doubt that a square head polytrap sail will perform anywhere near the high end rigs it looks like.

    Wood can make beams as stiff as aluminum or even carbon fiber. It just needs a lot more space to do it. A larger section can have as low a drag as a small one if it has a much more aerodynamic shape. This larger but shapely section strikes me as an attractive direction for this class and if it can accomplish simple control (only AOA, camber and twist) it would be a major breakthrough for home builders and beginning sailors.
  9. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Richard, having this thread polluted with his ignorant nay-saying for a box of doughnuts is not worth it. If he expects any response he should have to fill the standard cooler box of each participant at least half full with their choice of refreshment (total not to exceed the $600 entry cost limit) at the first race event.

    If you encourage them by replying the thread will be lost to mindless criticism like implying that nothing is accomplished and the thread is too long when it would be shorter and accomplish more faster without uninformed nay-saying.
  10. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Masts and beams can be compared using stiffness to density, or E over rho, (don't know how to write Greek script, sorry)

    Although wood is more flexible than aluminium it is also lighter. By chance their E/rho values are almost identical. Thus a wood mast can be just as stiff as a metal mast for the same external dimensions. The wood mast gains it's stiffness by having thicker walls

    So there is no reason (apart from the time/skill needed) not to make a wood mast

    When I first raced an Enterprise we had a wood mast. We then "upgraded" the boat to a metal one and sailed slower. The metal mast was more flexible (spreaders were not allowed at the time)

    One reason wood masts are out of favour is their vulnerability after a capsize. Another is that a professionally made tapered wood mast with built in sail track etc costs more than a carbon or metal mast. But home builders can take as long as their like to make one

    So it is quite feasible to have a new home made wood mast and boom together with a new professionally made dacron sail for under USD300 and be close to "state of the art"

    Richard Woods
  11. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member

    Got him.

    I'm pleased I've sparked someone into action.

    No one would be happier than I if I have to deliver buckets of doughnuts to the first race. I have a full sized pickup, and I can fill the bed with doughnuts-- they won't even approach the weight limit.

    It doesn't sound to me like you, Skyak, are even willing to bet the price of a doughnut on progress. That implies to me that you, also, are aware that so far, what the thread has generated is a large pile of words.

    Otherwise, take the bet. Then I can include your doughnut in the order I place before I leave for the first race.

    I like maple bars. Not exactly a doughnut, but I've never met an actual doughnut that I didn't like, so anything there will do.
  12. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    There was an excellent article in wooden boat mag about material suitability for masts. He went one step further and said wood had an advantage over aluminum because it's lower density made the walls thicker and less prone to buckling failure. I think there are some good veneers available. Luan 'doorskins' might be laminated at different angles to create specialized plywood structures.

    Despite the name of the class it is legal to buy materials from places other than big box hardware stores. There is sort of an assumption that boat parts are overpriced relative to common hardware, but that is not always true. The big requirement is that everyone has access to the same materials at the same prices. My thought is that anyone should be able to point out a fine deal on materials, and even share an order with other participants. A great example would be braided aramid cord from ebay stores or alibaba. If there is anything questionable I think it would be one and only deals, from anywhere.

    Vacuum bagging using a shop vac does not seem too high tech to me. It's a bit easier than steam bending wood. Making an autoclave out of some big pipes- that's over the line for me.

    It would be terrific if someone could make a nice entry with a complete BOM from national retail chains, but the reason is so other could easily follow. It doesn't make anything better or easier for the participant.
  13. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Sukisolo and I are British, I assumed the intention was an international class. Even if I spend a lot of time in the USA I don't live there. Currently I am in Mexico and my last three small boats were home built in Canada.

    As a designer I like the idea of a class that does not mean people have to buy Harken blocks or a carbon mast to be competitive. Many of my customers are from the developing nations where such things are either unobtainable or import duties are too high.

    A good class will attract people to dinghy racing in the same way as cheap plywood, wood masts and home boatbuilding did in the UK in the 1950/60's (as I have said before). And that's why I don't think this class will work in the UK, it's time has been and gone.

    But it doesn't always work that way. Today I had an email from one of my Philippine customers. He was complaining about the high import duties but then said "I'll get my sails from Hyde Sails, they are just up the road from me".

    Richard Woods
  14. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member

    No bet, huh?

    I don't blame you.

  15. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Well said Richard, these days the UK customer expects it all out the box and it should work perfectly. Just the way all products generally have gone and the Marine industry has graduated over the last 25 years or so. Like you, I suspect the days of home building in the UK have long passed - the fact we have no marine ply manufacturers is one sign...;) Ironically we are still one of the most inventive and productive sailing countries in the world having generated hundreds of different designs.

    Boats like the Mirror were built in thousands by amateurs, today, unless it is as simple assembling a bookshelf from IKEA you will not sell the concept. Only us tinkerer,s who still design build our own boats learn what works better and experiment. I note that many well known UK boat designers/naval architects also learnt and taught themsleves when mass amateur boat building was commonplace.

    On the subject of wooden masts, some classes have reverted from aluminium to timber such as the Folkboat finding improved performance. Years back I used a superb no spreader wooden mast on a Nat 12 which was specifically scarfed with no centre glue line. It was brilliant, until someone ran over it with a car!. Wood is great in beam stiffness and tension, but poor in compression so it may be very suitable, depending on the loads intended.

    As to where things are made, my own feeling is that until the world is a more level distribution of wealth, many western governments will ignore losing manufacturing capability unless it specifically impacts defence. However maybe the recession along with the prod from the poorer countries might spark a new cheap International Class. To many even a Laser is very expensive. It would be good to get those who do not have the opportunity now, to sail on the water.
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