Sailing Sci-Fi

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by DFV, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. ron17571
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    ron17571 Junior Member

    My first thought was leeboards also,an easier way of keeping the boat more level is less sail.if your in that bigga hurry get a stink pot,err motor boat.
  2. DFV
    Joined: Dec 2006
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    DFV Junior Member

    Eric W. S.,
    The idea I had was not a way to go faster but just to use the power of the passing water, and the orientation of a heeling hull, to counteract the heel (so maybe somewhere down the road the length of keel could be shortened, or it could be lightened, or on a small sailboat one wouldn't have to hike out). You seem to have used it for both.
    It's not always a negative to see someone else use an idea first, when you thought you had stumbled upon it. Sometimes its satisfying.

    Well done!


  3. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member


    Thanks for the compliment. I wrote and lectured a lot on Project Amazon in the past, and one of the results was the SNAME article that I mentioned, which I am happy to provide free in a pdf file to anyone who writes in. Send me your email address and I will send you a copy. It covers all the hull design and construction and has more photos. I don't have it as an automatic download on my website yet--something I want to do.

    I wrote another article for Professional Boatbuilder magazine called "Project Amazon and the Unstayed Rig" which appeared in the Oct/Nov 1998 issue, released that September, the same month as the start of the 1998-'99 Around Alone race that Project Amazon was in. This article focuses mostly on the rig. I have that available, too, in pdf format, so anyone who would like a copy for free, just let me know and I will email it to you.

    The latest news on Project Amazon, as is generally known, the current owner did manage to break the forward mast in a freakish accident, in my opinion, and lost the top half of the mast to the inky depths. The mast has never been repaired. Now called Tin Can, she sits in Charleston, SC. The owner has not been able to sell her, and she does not comply with the current IMOCA rule. She would have to be gutted and perform a stability test, and she would be required to have positive flotation to prevent sinking which is very hard to do in an aluminum boat. Many people from around the world have inquired about converting Project Amazon to a cruising boat, but this would be very expensive. The deck would have to be cut off and raised, and the keel would have to be removed and changed for a fixed keel of shallower draft. One option is twin asymmetric keels. Then, of course, a suitable interior would have to be designed and built. So far, no one has had the stomach or the money to go through such a conversion. As a result, the owner is approaching the decision to cut her up for scrap and salvage.

    I would love the opportunity to design a composite 50' version of Project Amazon (carbon fiber hull, cat-ketch wingmast rig) for someone to campaign in the 5-Oceans race (current incarnation of the Around Alone/BOC that is taking place right now), the Vendee Globe which is next slated for 2008, I believe, or the Global Ocean Challenge that is being run by Brian Hancock and Josh Hall and slated to begin in Sept 2007. Right now there is no time to meet that deadline, but in a future event perhaps. The reason I propose a 50'er is that I think such a boat (composite wingmasted cat-ketch) would give the 60'er a real run for the money--it would be miles ahead of any other 50'er and really snapping at the heels of the 60'ers, but at a much lower cost to build. I'd do a 60'er, too, if anyone is interested and has the money.

    The Europeans and the Down-unders seem to dominate these races whereas we Americans as a people have practically no interest in these races. Those few souls who do have an inclination to participate never have any money, and American corporations have no interest in subsidizing round the world sailboats or the races themselves. Our most famous and successful skippers in these races in the past fell on exceedingly hard luck in trying to mount future campaigns. They all gave up. The result is that Americans (ironically, from the richest country in the world) cannot raise the funds to mount round-the-world campaigns. Also, as a sport, ocean racing (which takes place way, way out of sight) has to compete with the more immediate and hero-laced sports of baseball, football, basketball, golf, NASCAR, tennis, and extreme sports. But if someone wants to ante up a design fee, I am here, ready and willing to design the appropriate boat.

    Well, enough of that.

    DFV, I once had an acquaintance who had a little R&D boat, about 12'-14' long that had a rather unusual hull form with very pronounced chines and no keel or daggerboard whatsoever. The rig was a Sunfish type of rig. The idea was that the shape of the hull bottom and the chines were supposed to create enough sideways drag and/or windward lift to keep the boat on track and sail to windward. It did not work at all. That boat slid to leeward like a Dixie cup in a gale.

    The Hobie 14 catamaran had more success. Its asymmetric hulls are shaped so that you don't need a daggerboard. It's a very successful design.

    In my opinion, lifting strakes on a sailboat serve a significant purpose in giving the hull more speed, but they cannot produce enough force to eliminate the need for the keel--you still need one of those.

    Again, I offer my articles on Project Amazon to anyone--just send me an email and I get either or both off to you.

    Thanks for your interest.

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