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

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

  1. macbeath
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    macbeath Junior Member

    I love the Windmill, but it's about 10% too long. As for sails, you might look here: http://www.intensitysails.com/

    Some of their practice sails are quite cheap.
     
  2. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I thought Windmills were 16 foot minus boats. They were designed to be built from two 8 ft sheets of plywood butted together. This would limit their lengths to less than 16 ft.
     
  3. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I would say this fleet is off to a good start.

    Compared to pdracers these boats are much more complicated and substantial. Building one is a major commitment of part time labor, let alone designing and building one.

    I expect this fleet to do well over time as the boats are designed to be reasonably inexpensive to build and are more than capable of competing in other events, outside their own fleet, such as the Texas 200 and the Everglades 300.
     
  4. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    --------------------
    Windmills are 15'6"-I raced one for several years......Great boat!
     
  5. Aubigny
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    Aubigny Junior Member

    Windmill specs and they were fairly quick boats. Handled 15+ knts easily. I remember sailing in a few squalls with my two brothers. A really good boat. If done in epoxy and some Perfection one could expect a long life out of it if you keep it covered etc.. No frames cheap plywood construction, wood mast. Perfect! Makes me want to build one as a single handler... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windmill_(sailing_dinghy)
     

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  6. Aubigny
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    Aubigny Junior Member

    Windmill. I see sone have Al rigging also. You could add a slight sq top main and move the board back a tad for an advanced Willmill 2.
     

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  7. Aubigny
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    Aubigny Junior Member

  8. macbeath
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    macbeath Junior Member

    From the rules listed on the previous page:

    III Box rule:

    A. Monohull. (hollows or concavity in hull not to exceed 1”, below gunwale, aft of mid point)

    1. Max hull length 14' from bow to transom, max rigged overall length 16’

    2. Max beam 5' (including all appendages, hiking benches, etc)

    3. Max height measured from lowest point of any sail, to highest point any part of sails or rigging: 20'. Note: there is no overall height limit, but mast or other rigging is not to extent more than 20 ft above the lowest point of any portion of the sail.
     
  9. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    seasquirt In the beginning there were waters.

    Rules stifle imagination and inhibit development.
    How about just 1 rule: all boats are in, and race against classes of waterline length within 1 foot / 30 cm of each other, in nominal 1 foot increments. Scrutineers do a floating fully rigged but empty boat water line length measure.

    Nothing else except the local legislative requirements and yachting competition rules.
    10 foot cats against 20 ft monos. If your rig is suicidally overpowered when it blows up, you lose. If your underpowered submarine is there on the worst days, it might win the day. If your radical hull / foil / sail / deck design is a consistent winner despite its unclassifiable ridiculousness, you are a hero. If a foot class has become too competitive in cost etc., for you, then change your boat to another length and get it re-measured, or up/down grade to another less effluent boat class. [sic.]
    Maximum affordability, maximum fun, maximum inclusivity, minimum rules = most members? Sounds like fun to me. True unfettered racing development. Not sheep, but Goat racing, consuming anything, ignoring boundaries. But maybe you prefer structure and boundaries, legal - military style. - No you can't do that because . . . or else . . . It has not been written in the . . .
    If you look at a ruler edgeways, it almost disappears, and you can bend it.
     
  10. Sailor Alan
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    Sailor Alan Senior Member


    Clearly influenced by 18' skiff rules. Acceptable as long as the total cost is still <$600US, and the full panoply of races as described in the aforesaid rules are used, i.e., round the cans single and double handed, full day raids with 200lb refreshments and two crew, beach launch races (with the beach launch gear aboard), etc. Remember these boats a for general usage, not just racing, and these boats are supposed to be able to be compared across countries and continents, not just local conditions.

    These ideas for modified windmills are of course options, but currently 5 new distinct boats are nearing readiness. Richards hull at least is complete, to his design and construction, see video. Segler's boat is finished, but not launched. Inclement weather, including snow in the last few days, limits this activity. Petros's boat has a launched hull, but no deck according to the pics. Dunnage's boat has the hull basically finished, and he has started on the rigging. My boat is in frame, some skins, and the mast made too. Dunnage and I were both slowed by nasty building accidents.

    What is surprising, given that we are building to the same rules, is the differences. Richards is a derivative of one of his current sport dinghies, with wings. Probably intended to shine with one crew, it may drag a bit with 2 up, and 200lb refreshments. Dunnage's design has a shallow 'V' bottom, and with buoyancy in the moderate flared sides. Segler's design is heavily influenced by Merlin Rocket (as is mine), and features a laterally flat narrow bottom with heavily flared sides, and a central buoyancy chamber. Mine is also a laterally flat narrow bottom, and heavily flared sides, but with double bottom flotation, and twin 'toed in' dagger board trunks.

    These 4 boats are all owner/builder designed, and intended to come in under the the $600US cost target, in the case of Dunnage's, probably way under as much of his material is repurposed.

    This is done primarily by building everything, not by compromising materials. For example, my mast is built up "D" section, from clear Douglas Fir, 20' long, with PVC conduit as the mast track. Complete it weighs 18lb, and cost $22.00. It could have been cheaper, but I didn't care to mill the wood myself. My blocks, including a double and a ratchet block, are built up from plywood scraps for cheeks, and the waste from circular lightning holes as pulleys. Total cost about $2.00 each for the stainless bolt and lock nut. The concept came from Segler. Though bulky, I suspect my blocks might be very competitive in weight with modern commercial items, certainly far cheaper.

    In spite of this, Segler and Dunnage's boats are virtual works of art, mine is not. Pics later.
     
  11. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Actually, historically most development has come from classes with significant rules - either a whole lot of different rules, or a smaller number of very significant ones. The classes with very few rules, or without some very significant ones, created comparatively few breakthroughs.

    Centreboarder racing pretty much started in classes determined only by overall length, and they created very few innovations. They all quickly became stereotyped into a shape that created the maximum waterline length, maximum effective beam and maximum sail area, which is an exceptionally expensive way to create a boat. They were also quite slow in terms of speed for cost, speed for hassle, speed for safety, and speed for sail area, compared to the boats that developed when more restrictive rules were created.

    As soon as classes with more restrictions were created, almost all of the small yacht and centreboarder classes that were run on the model you want died - because boats that limit sail area are faster and better by most measures. Look at the way that the Solent Length Classes were replaced by Raters, the way the sandbaggers were replaced by L X SA classes, and the way the unlimited Canoes were replaced by 16 x 30s and canoe yawls.

    The classes that put the emphasis on waterline length, as you advocate, became damn silly very quickly. Look at the example of Outlook, for example. How sensible is it to have a boat that has a LWL of less than half of its overall length? Look at the problems involved in physically measuring waterline length in such a class - have you researched that issue?

    If you actually look at what happens with classes it's apparent that you don't get maximum inclusivity when length is your only rule. Look at the example of the sudden boom in women sailors when the British waterline-length classes were replaced by Raters. Look at the almost complete lack of women or beginners in the Australian Skiff classes when they were under rules that pretty much just limited length. Look at the lack of inclusivity in many ways in the sandbagger days - the reason the Seawanhaka and other clubs started to restrict them was because they weren't inclusive boats. It was a similar story with the unrestricted sailing canoes - there are many, many accounts of the fact that they were EX-clusive because only those who trained to race all summer and had four or five rigs ready to go had a chance.

    And nope, for most of us it's not actually fun to race in a class where the guys with the most bucks, who are prepared to spend the most time rigging and fiddling with expensive bits and doing repairs, can sail away from those with equal skill but less desire or ability to spend. It's not that much fun to have to turn up with three or four masts, five kites, four mains and a few jibs, two or three sets of centreboards, three booms, etc to be competitive, if you stick to conventional dinghy types. Do you really think that something like an unrestricted 18 Foot Skiff is "inclusive"? Do you have $100,000+ to spend on a racing dinghy? Do you have $300,000 to spend on a wing-masted cat? Is that your definition of "inclusive" sailing?

    If you don't have rules we pretty much know who is going to win your classes - a kite, if the conditions are right. OK, so why not just go and race your kites with the other kites?

    If the conditions aren't suitable for kites, a Moth development will probably win from about 10'. Depending on the area and wind, a Formula windsurfer will win underneath that length. Considering that a 7' Formula board can pretty much pace it with an A Class or 18' Skiff, no 7' dinghy will have a chance.

    If you think this is coming from someone who hasn't tried racing under open rules, think again - I spent years racing in a discipline that had just one rule about equipment, and I was on a committee that created a class that had just three class rules. It all fell apart - the fleets crashed, the sailors stopped racing, the sponsors walked away, just as they did from just about every similar attempt at such open rules. It's a pattern that has been repeated for about 165 years now. The people who drafted most of the rules sailors race under are not ****** or suffering from some psychological hangups as you appear to think and it's insulting that you assume that is the case.

    May I ask what unrestricted classes you have raced?
     
  12. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    At 600 USD it would be OK. I can't build a relatively cheap competitive ply 12'er here in the UK for that, it would barely or not even cover the cost of the ply...;)
    Whilst I could make a decent mast (wood or carbon) and sails I'd still be way over budget. The fittings alone on a relatively conventional singlehander are way over 600 USD even if obtained at significant discount, and not all can be fabricated for peanuts unless you have significant workshop facilities.

    CT has it right, I've sailed mainly in restricted (some restrictions but not totally open, including Int Moths) and one design classes. Both are interesting, there is almost no true one design but quite a few are are relatively even, so people can compete at reasonable cost. My own preference is to tinker with things a bit and try ideas out. It still has to be done within reason in financial terms. For example my current boat is competitive and cost me about a third of what I would have to pay for equivalent performance in that class. In a free for all type environment I would struggle, not for lack of ideas or even build time,but just to finance, and I think I would have fewer competitors

    Good luck to the guys building in this Low Cost Class, an excellent ambition and several of the boats are very, very, promising. They'll be around a while too being all rounders...;)
     
  13. seasquirt
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    seasquirt In the beginning there were waters.

    I've never sailed or followed skiff racing, seen plenty fly past, trip over, be passed, get up and fly past, then trip over again - continuously, (Milang - Goolwa classic, etc.), not my idea of fun. No I just dislike rules and prefer minimal restrictions in everything in life. So- forget waterline length if you disagree with its use alone, use another limiting factor rule like mast height, or length overall, or weight, or number of crew, or some other single performance related measurable factor. Everyone can have fun, and if you don't like not coming first, make changes. I can see how with very few rules, the variabilities can be daunting, - what to fiddle with and how much - first, and with everyone trying their own thing against each other, assessing what worked and what didn't against changing benchmarks (competitors), could be difficult. Whereas fixed rules give you certain parameters to focus on, pushing exploration and development in particular areas and loopholes. But nothing radically new is allowed to happen, mainly tinkering.
    But then what is new in an occupation / pastime thousands of years old, with mega billions of dollars poured into it ? Only materials it seems; metal alloys, synthetic fibres, new adhesives and coatings; and new techniques allowed by the new technologies. It's still a floating log with a sail on it, that you can steer and ride on.
    At least, rules create a group you can belong to and socialise in, have things in common to talk about; and annoy by pushing the rules to their limit, finding a new sweet spot, and beating them.
    I haven't raced in a club for years because like to do my own thing my way, any way I want to. I think we all know that despite classes, when racing we are racing against everybody out there, no matter what size or skill or class; and racing against other boats not even in a race (that they know about).
    It's so satisfying to ghost past a becalmed big $$ TS with poor skills, in a cheap S/H sailing dinghy, not worried about dropping crumbs, spilling drinks, scratching the gell coat, needing a ramp - winch and big vehicle, and all their other worries and expenses.
    P.S. have you seen the 'milk carton regatta', bath tub races, and 'beer can regatta'; they pretty cheap to build, (if you don't have to buy the beer). Just whack a sail on.
     
  14. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    We'll have to differ. When I'm racing, I'm certainly not racing everyone who is out there. There's no way I'm racing an Optimist or TS16 on my 20' cat, my very fast singlehanded dinghy, or my fast (or slow) windsurfers. I'd think any sportsboat, skiff or cat sailor who is racing me when I'm out there Lasering really needs psychiatric help. One may as well say you are racing a runner when you are on a bicycle. The evidence around is that almost everyone shares my point of view. I have yet to hear a Laser sailor wistfully complain about being passed by a cat, Moth or windsurfer. May as well complain about someone getting a higher score in basketball than someone does in soccer.

    The variables aren't really daunting with no rules. It's pretty simple - among sailors of fairly equal ability overall (ie in all types of craft), the one who can handle the fastest gear wins - so if conditions are right, the one who can handle a foiling kite wins, and if the conditions are wrong they don't even start. Simple.

    If we don't count kites, then it's down to the condition as to whether the fastest expensive foiling dinghy, fastest windsurfer, or fastest enormously expensive skiff or cat (among those who can sail them) wins. The typical dinghy sailor isn't daunted because they know they may as well not start - and they don't. If we restrict it more it's largely about cash among those with similar ability. Guys who can beat me at the moment on a Laser have no chance if I bring out my cat or Int Canoe. Guys who are of the same ability as me but have a newer cat or Int Canoe will beat me. It's not daunting, it's simple physics.

    For $600, for example, the no-rules winner seems to be pretty easy. A plywood version of a "Dart" 15-14' long windsurfer with a Tyvek or cheap mylar sailing would go around a typical course over the typical range of wind about as fast as a 505 or FD, or quicker; faster than a carbon International Canoe or carbon seahugging Moth. So it's not a daunting challenge, but a boringly easy one to people who can sail a board of that type well, and an almost impossible challenge to those who can't (unless they have say three years of full time training available).

    It'd be similar if you did actually bring in rules, and ban windsurfers. The fastest dinghy for the cash would almost certainly be a version of Phil Stevo's plywood International Canoe without the carbon reinforcement and with a cheaper rig - but while an experienced Mothie or Canoe sailor can sail it around with the course as fast as a 505 or 29er, most dinghy sailors will spend so much time falling in that they will struggle to beat a Laser. The US Canoe sailors went down pretty much that whole road 125 years ago, and there are truckloads of reports out there from that time that explicitly state that it all but destroyed what had been the most popular sailing class in the world. The rich guy who can train because he doesn't have to work and has a servant standing by with five different rigs will race against some guys in the same sort of position, and everyone else will be so daunted they'll stay at home. Around that time the Brits brought in restrictions and they created breakthrough designs that influenced dinghy sailing far more than the unrestricted US boats did.

    The Canoe and the C Class are the most open and radical boats around (foilers and maybe 12s apart) and as the guy who has been world #1 in both said, for that very reason they can actually be pretty poor vehicles for developing design, because it often becomes simply a matter of who can build one that stays in one piece (often at enormous cost in complexity and dollars) and then keeps it right way up. Any design lessons are therefore easily obscured by the sailor, and they are normally impossible to transfer to the boats that normal people can sail.

    Planing hulls, wings, foils, lightweight hulls, chine hulls, bendy spars, full battens, self draining cockpits, foam sandwich, carbon, mylar, dacron, self bailers, womens' sailing, junior sailing and an enormous number of other vital facets of the sport were developed in restricted classes and one designs. Open rule classes (depending on how you define them) created a lot less. Maybe the rule that says "restrictions are bad" is the most restrictive rule of all?

    The basic issue is that we have had 165 years of experience that shows us that racing sailboat classes are actually extremely difficult things to operate. The successful rule sets are those that learn from that 165 years of experience across a few thousand classes, rather than just ignoring them.

    Having no rules in dinghy racing is like having no rules in brain surgery. It's fine to a point and then it's death.
     

  15. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    seasquirt In the beginning there were waters.

    Messing about in boats is exactly that "It's fine to a point and then it's death.". Yes, in most cases a consistent winning boat is sparse inside and not much use to comfortable stress free family outings, just like race cars aren't commonly used to commute or camp in. It's horses for courses, and racing gear of any discipline is usually more complex, strong, and expensive than its utilitarian counterparts. So racing any financially regulated equipment will be a compromise, somewhere or other, to keep accounts within budget. I get that. Thinner shrouds and shackles, or cheaper paint, or lesser known sailmaker, etc.; they are all things I have endured, and still enjoyed myself. As long as there are no safety restrictions, it's all good.
    Even though I don't do loops and triangles anymore, In my travels I try to go as fast as possible catching other boats, just to try; racing past scenery and wildlife is very nice, but just isn't the same as passing a nice yacht in an old cheapie with ancient rigging and blown out sails. My non-competitive, competitive streak.

    As far as frugality goes, use external packing or construction plywood, not expensive marine ply. Use top quality adhesives; but water based exterior house paint is cheaper than marine and 2 pack paints, and lasts quite well. Look for old boats the same as yours for salvageable spare parts, and pick the best bits, including trailers, lights, spars, wires, anything. Use the best bits now, keep the second best for spare, donate the leftovers to another frugal sailor.
    How about: not a sailfish, or moth, but just a bent and painted single sheet of plywood, screw on lee boards and rudder, rigging tension and mast foot forms hull, get wet ?
     
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