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

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

  1. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Why would a hardware wing sail work better than the wingsails that have failed in so many mono classes for so many years? Wingmasts and wing sails have been tried in monos for almost 100 years and they have yet to succeed outside of a few small niches. I quite like them, and own three....well, currently own two and two halves - but many smart people have tried hard to get them to work in many mono classes without success.

    Is this class really for people who want out of the box thinking? Limited development classes and one designs have their own appeal. And if you want to build something to go fast for under $600 it probably wouldn't be a small proa either, would it? And what are the restrictions on the modern rig?
     
  2. tdem
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    tdem Senior Member

    I'm saying a hardware store wing sail will probably be much better than a hardware store squaretop main.

    ... and I would totally build the proa!

    Hardware store crab claw sail/oceanic lateen is not a bad choice either.
     
  3. macbeath
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    macbeath Junior Member

    I think Peter is working on a wing sail, so perhaps we'll see. Personally, I'd like to see some experimentation with rigs we don't see sailing much, such as the lug rig or the sprit. I know, I know, I'll have to build my own.
     
  4. tdem
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    tdem Senior Member

    It makes sense to go with as square a rig as possible to get maximum area, and the traditional rigs are more suited to low cost materials.
     
  5. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Why build a proa if it's all about out of the box thinking and speed, when a windsurfer or kite will be faster? Why did all the A Class sailors stick to cats when the Moths started to go faster? Why did the Moth sailors stick to Moths when the windsurfers were faster?

    Surely it's the same simple answer in all cases - because some people like certain boats. In this case those who proposed the class like dinghies. It's not "in" or "out" of any box for them to play by the rules they want, just like it's not "in" or "out" of any box if a group of people decide to play football and not to play rugby.

    I'm unsure why the bermudan rig doesn't work well with low tech materials. The most popular bermudan rig in the world was originally made from drainpipes, and it worked pretty well and still does.

    I've never seen a crab claw or lateen sail perform particularly well, or read of one actually performing well. There have been some test reports, but the proa files note that no one has replicated Marchaj's results. I think I know someone who used to have a crab-claw sail in his New Guinea canoes. In the only reports I can find, they were whopped by much smaller Hobie 16s and even by Fireball dinghies.

    Lateens can't be great performers, or the Sunfish would leave all similar craft in its wake.
     
  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    The sprit rig is used on the most popular current racing sailboat class, so it's something we see a hell of a lot. The Brits used to see many lug rigs.

    I think the world's most popular sailing craft have the following rigs, in order of popularity;

    1- Unstayed lateen (Snark)
    2- Unstayed lateen (Sunfish)
    3- freestanding wishbone bermudan (original Windsurfer)
    4- Unstayed bermudan cat rig; medium aspect/low aspect (Laser/Laser Radial)
    5- Unstayed sprit rig (Opti)

    The first International class dinghy has a standing lug. The first International class yacht went from low-aspect gaff sloop to medium/high-aspect bermudan sloop. What was the most popular cat (Aqua Cat) had a lateen rig on a bipod mast. Incidentally, the greatest gold medal winner started sailing on a sprit rig and the second-greatest started sailing on a lug rigged boat that has now been changed to a bermudan rig.

    The history and the current state of the sport seem to show clearly and undeniably that lugs, sprits, lateens and many other rigs have very definitely been tried - some of them have been tried hundreds of thousands of times. And it also shows that many of the greatest racing sailors started on "unconventional" rigs but despite that experience, most of them choose bermudan rigs for high performance craft.

    It's refreshing to see the list of most popular classes, IMHO, because it shows how (despite claims to the contrary) sailing embraces diversity and what some call (despite clear evidence to the contrary) "unconventional" rigs. Against this background, the fact that stayed bermudan rigs dominate in development classes (despite many experiments with other rigs) proves how well they work. People are extremely aware of alternative rigs like sprit sails, they just know that (for all their strengths) they are not normally as fast as the bermudan rig.
     
  7. DriesLaas
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    DriesLaas Weekend Warrior

    Ah thanks Sharpii, I understand a little better now.
    By the way the 24 panels was not for this class of boat, rather an 18 foot sportfisherman, optimised for flyfishing. I will try to dig up some photo's.

    Unfortunately my interest in this thread will only ever be academic, because I will never be able to actually sail against any of you guys.
    Come to think of it, my previous dinghy probably complies to all the rules of this thread, and beat the cost restriction hands down. 11 foot dinghy with hollow wooden mast and sliding gunter rig, self made sails.
    I will take some photo's and post sometime.
     
  8. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    For this reason, I still reckon it would be good to have a class ranking that uses Lasers as a comparison. The concept is that people would have to compete against a Laser sailor (or sailors) who was in the top 25-50% of their countries' national championship. The elapsed time difference over a regatta between the Laser sailor(s) and the "Hardware Class" boat could then be calculated. The sailor who can get their Hardware Class boat going best against a good Laser sailor could then be recognised.

    The assumption is that in most countries, there's not a huge amount of difference between the performance of people in the top half or quarter of the Laser national title fleet. When you get big fleets on the line at championships the difference may appear to be fairly wide, but much of that is because the mid-pack guys are losing out in dirty wind etc. In smaller fleets such as the ones they are likely to meet when racing a Hardware Class boat, that won't be an issue, therefore the Laser sailors will provide a reasonable benchmark for comparing the performance of different Hardware Class boats in different areas.

    Obviously one would have to provide plenty of information to allow the class to assess the relative performance, but that's certainly not impossible. Something vaguely similar happens with GPS windsurfing. While that uses GPS speeds (which aren't really relevant in a dinghy) the idea is that people who may never been in the same country as each other can compete.

    So for example, if you are in Cape Town, you could just head down to Zeikoe Vlei and do a few races against their Laser fleet and send in your elapsed times and that of the Laser fleet. I assume the guys based in the North West USA area could find some regatta where they could do the same course as the Laser fleet, and send in their results. Comparison of the two would give some idea of what boat/skipper combination was doing best - certainly better than just about any other way of working out what design works best from half a world away.
     
  9. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    The Lateen rigs in question are usually cut absolutely flat. The sail on my Super Snark certainly was. Boomed Lateen sails can be made with lens cut spar edges and have bendy spars, just like the best of the Bermuda Rigs do. But the BR is likely to prevail because it's taller.

    I can't help but notice that all three boats in this class fleet have Bermuda rigs. I'm not surprised.

    It would be interesting is some future contestant were to show up with a Gaff rig, A Sprit rig, or a Balanced Lug rig, and win by being faster down wind, as down wind sails, such as spinnakers, are not allowed in this fleet. And at least some of the races are not simply upwind down wind.

    I've heard stories of gaff rigged sloops beating Bermuda rigged ones of roughly the same size, when the BR ones weren't allowed spinnakers.
     
  10. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    AIUI the first Laser prototype used spars made from ordinary commercial aluminium tube. I think Chris is overstating the case just a tad though, since AIUI the rig was *considerably* developed in the pre production stage, with one of the best sailmakers of the era involved. I *think* the production spars were and are heat treated.
     
  11. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    They have to be, I'd guess the alloy and temper too....and be surprised if I'm wrong. Does not prevent the fact that about four years ago 40 odd Laser top masts broke in a single day at Hayling Island at a big event...;)

    The temper alone can almost double the tensile strength of an aluminium alloy, so it is important. I once had a crew seriously bend a Lark c/board when he was only about 150mm out on it and weighed about 65Kg, all because of wrong heat treatment. Whole sheet had not been treated, it turned out.

    You can buy, here in the UK, good quality ie correct alloy and temper straight round (hollow) tube suitable for masts though.
     
  12. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Yes, it was the Laser standard prototype and then the Radial prototype that used irrigation pipe. In fact the way Ian Bruce said it, the prototype section for the Radial seems to have been the same spar that had been used for the prototype standard rig; " I went back to the original section on the original Weekender which sailed in the original Teacup regatta, which happened to be the original section of 4 metre 2 3/8” outside diameter irrigation tube.”

    Yes, the class spars are from specialist moulds and undergo specialist heat treatment but to quote a guy who has been in charge of building lots of Lasers and some rather speccy C Class wing masts (Steve Clark) the reason for that is to keep tolerances close enough for tight one design racing and "if someone wants to build a mast for their Laser should look at the pieces, an aluminum catalogue and figure it out. You will not get "the same" bend but if all you are going to splash around it really isn't that critical, almost anything that fits in the hole will do."

    The 15' Sea Spray catamaran also often uses 3" irrigation tube for racing masts, and they must generate a fair bit of load with their size and sloop rig.

    The main point is that (as far as I can make out) the claims that the loads created by bermudan rigs are significantly higher and/or problematic have not been proven, all else being equal. If we go back a century we see an enormous number of boats retiring from races due to significant rig damage to their rigs, so it's not as if "alternative" rigs don't fail when pushed under racing loads.

    SS, I don't know if you guys had a production issue but I don't think we've ever blown that many Laser sections here in Oz. They do have a limited lifespan, though, and personally I wish they'd gone to carbon by now. I have some ancient carbon OD spars from the old Olympic Mistral IMCO windsurfer and they are just unbreakable, so you don't have to jury rig to get to the finish line!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Nice shot CT - the original prototype Laser heavy weather (ie reefed) rig?...
    Like on small ponds when you see a boat (Laser) completely upsidedown you KNOW the mast has broken (or gone through the bottom) - with water less than 2.5m deep! Usually kicker area and old age/corrosion, but even on Radials.

    It may well have been a production issue re 40 odd breaks, I doubt that not being in the inner sanctum I'll ever find out. However I have designed and had made over 100 real extrusions for various uses, so am familiar with some of the real world problems...

    I would have thought that the fatigue life on a carbon spar would be shorter than an alloy one. Not seen specific data, or that carbon would reach more of a cliff edge earlier than aluminim alloy. I note many other classes with stayed aluminium masts don't suffer a fatigue life....

    For the purposes of the low cost hardware, a stiff alloy tube of reasonable dimension should make a good mast. Even better second hand...;)
     
  14. Dunnage
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    Dunnage Junior Member

    Possibly Lowest Cost Mast Material

    (Apologies for the rotated pictures... they were right way up when I attached them but the upload put them the way it wanted...)

    The mast for Naiad is made from inexpensive hardware store / lumber yard 2X6's. (In the Antipodes, that would be 6X2 boards.) Our lumber is generally poor quality for the cheap stuff, but there is available poor quality boards cut from Douglas Fir at only a few percent higher price. I selected flat grain boards. No one wants them since they 'cup' as they dry, so the picked over pile of boards usually contains a few of these that are almost knot free. The cutting plan for the mast has me ripping the boards into 5/8" strips,; so the usable strips are clear and have vertical grain. The strips are then run through the table saw again, twice each, to put a 22.5 deg. bevel onto the 'sides'. This makes the strips trapezoidal with a 1.25 inch base and a 5/8 inch thickness with 67.5 deg. angled sides. These fit together to make an octagon that is 2.25 inches diameter. (First Picture) I made the mast from eight strips cut from a 14 ft. board and eight strips cut from a 12 ft. board. There is one splice for each strip. Four strips are spliced with an internal plug at the 12 ft. height and the other four at the 14 ft. height. The strips are interleaved so that the lap splices take every other strip. (Pictures 2 and 3)

    The final glue-up is a 22 ft. long octagonal mast. I shortened it to 21 ft. and sanded it round. it weighs just under 15 lbs. (Picture 4)

    Gluing the octagon from the eight strips required laying them out on lengths of duct tape, applying a lot of glue to the edges, rolling the strips up like a sushi roll mat and taping in place, and then putting a bucket full of 2"-3" screw type hose clamps on, one every eight inches (about)... and clamping it down tightly.

    Rounding the finished assembly involved knocking down the corners with a block plane to get it approximately round and then sanding it round with the tool shown in the pictures (Pictures 5 and 6) ... the abrasive is six inch round adhesive backed 80 grit sandpaper. Fine sanding can easily follow since the sort-of-Velcro backed sandpaper rounds stick pretty well to the 80 grit paper in the tool... or you can use fine grit adhesive paper.

    Finished mast (and boom, and the rest of Naiad) in Picture 7.

    If you want to be pretentious you could call it a Linear Cellulose-Lignin Composite Mast ;-)

    Total cost: Under $20 U.S.D. (but it did require a few hours... at least.)
     

    Attached Files:


  15. Dunnage
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    Dunnage Junior Member

    Magic...

    Ha! The pictures were all wonky in the preview, but when actually posted they came out right way up. Just magic...
     
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