When did metals lose the high-tech edge?

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by MarkC, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. MarkC
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    MarkC Senior Member

    When (and why)? (seriously - this is not a Friday afternoon troll:) )

    or is it only a perception that they lost that edge?

    I have been trying to search for the last sail-racing winners (both mono / cat / and tri) of aluminium. I'm not having much luck finding any discussion or examples. I have worn the search-function out and Google hasn't been helpful.:confused:

    (In addition - the last sucessful steel sail racer was...? the American J class Ranger? I find more information on successful ferro racers like Helsal).

    Also - I'm not really convinced yet by the obvious arguments - carbon is lighter, tougher?, cheaper? to produce - but, I mean - it is only a matter of thoughtful engineering of a structure - why was ally dumped?

    In another thread (in this section below), we discuss why there are so many alluminium production (mass) made power-boats in Australia (instead of fiberglass, carbon, wood etc).

    and the off-shore power boaters still use alluminium (or so I thought).

    What would stop me/you/us someone going to say - Brian Eiland and Running Tide Yachts and saying 'design and make us a 40 foot racing tri class out of alluminium so that we can set up a class' or his 26' Firefly tri design and knock that up in ally - why must it always be fiberglass or carbon:( ?

    Brian? Anyone?
  2. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Maybe lighter,tougher,cheaper combined with the ability to be made into a more complex shape easier. Sam
  3. MarkC
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    MarkC Senior Member

    Thanks for your reply - but I dissagree.

    Lighter, tougher, cheaper and easier construction is debatable. An engineering challenge perhaps.

    Back to the successful alluminium race boats. I seem to remember the last (really) successful ally monohull raceboat (maxi?) was built by the Derecktor yard? in the US.
  4. Figgy
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    Figgy Senior Member

    MarkC; they don't care anymore. Boats now, with the intention of racing, don't have the lifetime expectancy they did back when. It's cheaper to produce a boat out of carbon when it's only supposed to last untill the next rule change.
  5. yago
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    yago __

    there was Van den Heede's 3615MET in the '89 Vendee Globe Challenge, returned for almost every globe, among others with Isabelle Autissier

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  6. MarkC
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    MarkC Senior Member

    and I will add the Adams design (Australia) 15.2 meter in Aluminium. Used often as a BOC racer - :

    "BUTTERCUP" A15.2M
       Designed 1984 for Don McIntyre for the 
       86/87 BOC Challenge - not ready in time.
       Aluminium construction. Originally with 
       stub keel & dagger c' board it was 
       changed to a deep draft bulb keel before 
       launching in 1990 and subsequently 
       competed in the 1990/91 BOC finishing 
       second in Class II.
       Buttercup sailed twice around the world 
       before making a quick trip to 
       Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica 1992/93.
       Sold to the USA for another 
       Another A15.2M, "SHUTEN-DOHJI II" - 
       Minoru Saito - completed both the 
       1990/91 and 1994/95 BOC Races.
    "LETS GO"
    Designed 1984
    Originally named "VALKYRIE" 
    Aluminium construction, ballasted stub keel & dagger c'board, rudder & skeg.
    Converted in 1991 to lifting bulb keel and spade rudder. The construction was modified to comply with A.B.S. approved plans. An extensive refit. Much improved performance in club races on Lake Macquarie and in offshore races such as Sydney / Hobart & Sydney / Southport. Line Honours Lord Howe 1995.
    A15.2M production yachts have cruised extensively and competed in many long offshore races including :-
          Melbourne / Osaka
          Around Australia 1988
          Sydney / Hobart
          Melbourne / Devonport (Line hnrs)
          BOC Challenge x 3
    One more - the Graham Radford (Australia) 14 meter - Aluminium - from 2003 racing as 'Club Marine'. High Tech? but still a current race boat.

    The first yacht, "The Wizard", was launched in Melbourne December 2002 and competed in the 2003 Melbourne to Osaka two-handed race finishing fourth overall, first in the Cruising A and in front of all Racing B yachts.

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  7. MarkC
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    MarkC Senior Member

    Another Dutch boat - a racer/cruiser. This one is interesting - not small - made from Alustar.


    Length:   152'/ 46.52m 
    Builder:   Holland Jachtbouw 
    Designer:   Gerard Dijkstra & 
    Interior Designer:   Gerard Dijkstra & 
    Stylist:   Gerard Dijkstra 
    Naval Architect:   Gerard Dijkstra & 

    Then in May, Windrose realized her owner's long-held dream, when she and the 58-meter schooner Adix (ex-Jessica, redesigned by Dijkstra) sailed a transatlantic match race to break Atlantic's record passage - New York to the Lizard in 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute, 19 seconds. Windrose, sailed flat-out like a maxi or "round-the-world" racer, logged 281 nau-tical miles more than Atlantic, yet beat her time by 17 ½ hours, averaging 12.0 knots (At-lantic averaged 10.3 knots). It is of interest also that during a bit of weather, while she was consistently pushed to her limit, Windrose lifted her skirts, put beauty and comfort on the back burner, and performed at 26.6 knots. 

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  8. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Totally off subject, thread, etc...How did you do those windows wit the scroll bars???

  9. MarkC
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    MarkC Senior Member

    Lewis - I was putting in a quote - #wrap text in code. I was a bit surprised by them too.

    Ok - where were we? We have the 'high tech' mono-hulls in Aluminium being phased out in the early 1990's. No-one has provided examples of the US or UK top-of-the-line racers yet. Mostly big(ish) boats, round-the-world 50 footers, although one current Australian 14m racer.

    We also have the Dutch and an example of a new really big (over 100foot) 'psuedo classic' racing schooner in Alustar alluminium.

    What about the cats / tri's? What about anything smaller? Anyone?
  10. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    The changeover from aluminum to composite in Maxi's and Whitbread boats was in 88-89.

    Inshore Maxi's in Aluminum

    Boomerang 80.5', Frers, Derecktor 1984
    Congere VI 77.07', Frers, Merrifield-Roberts 1987
    Il Moro di Venezia III 79.6', Frers, SAI 1987
    Kialoa V 78.7', Frers, Mefasa 1986
    Matador 81.1', Frers, Huisman 1983
    Sovereign 83.25', Pedrick, Lewiac Pty 1986

    Inshore Maxi's in Composite

    Drumbeat 82.22', Pedrick, Milner 1989
    Emeraude 79.6', Frers, Goetz 1989
    Hispania 80.3', Farr, Barracuda 1987
    Longobarda 79.8', Farr, SAI 1989
    Milene V 80.3', Vaton, CMdeNormandie 1985
    Ondine VII 80.38', Frers, Souter 1986
    Windward Passage II 79.9', Frers, McConaghy 1988

    In 85-86 the composite boats in the Whitbread race had lots of problems with delamination. In the 89-90 race there was only one aluminum boat, the Russian entry Fazisi.
  11. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Why did they changeover? Sam
  12. Figgy
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    Figgy Senior Member

    I'm stickin to my original post.

    Think about it, if you have limitless money and want to be competitive year after year, in whatever race, why use aluminium? Why invest in something thats going to last 20+ years when you need to build a new boat in just a few to keep up with the technology/design of the boat next to you? They don't care how long it (carbon) lasts after it's sold, but they know they need a new boat because they got slapped around in the last race. They don't care, I would'nt care, and you guys would'nt either (maby).
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    CORMERAN Junior Member

    Hi MarkC,
    there are many answers to your questions - re: metal and racing.

    I think it helps, to perhaps look at things in a different way, than usual.

    First: every material has a minimum PRACTICAL wall thickness.

    i.e. - Its hard to build in Ferro Cement in much less than 1/2 an inch.
    - So, irrespective of the merits of cement - plus or minus
    - it follows that:
    15 ft. row boats, in concrete, are extremly rare!
    - A 50 ft. vessel starts to make more sense. With 200 ft. looking
    even, mo' better.

    With aluminium - the minimum practical wall thickness for welding
    is around a 1/4 inch. So if; to win - thinner plate is required..........?

    - If memory serves - there WERE - some fast, tunnel hull cats in alum.
    However: they were RIVITED together. For the reasons given.

    In vessels under 100 ft - and certainly under 50 ft, composites give me
    lots more flexibility in design - in terms of wall thickness.

    A good case can still be made for " Old School " wood in composites.
    Check out, just how much ply. goes into the transoms of
    so - called, glass boats.

    Perhaps we need to come up with:

    Just as metals are considered to be more NOBLE or less than others
    - some are difinately more HONEST.

    i.e. Mild steel changes colour dramaticaly, when it decomposes (Rust).
    Whereas, the layman is easily fooled into thinking that alum. doesn't.
    Rust that is. No, but it DOES oxidize !
    Of more concern, is what happens after multiple bending cycles, to alum.
    (Now, please correct me, if I haven't got this precisely - engineers -and I know you will.)
    However, my understanding is this: that at a rather
    unpredicable time - alum. under stress, suddenly changes it's actual
    composition. Resulting in catastrophic failure at the site of this change.

    It's the lack of warning that makes me nervous.

    Wood will groan and moan before it breaks. And often fail in
    progressive manner.

    So on an Honesty Scale :
    Wood will score higher, steel less so and alum. even less.

    Not that composites will test very high - either - on an Honesty Index.
    However, carefull diligence in construction can - I belive - increase
    a given composite's honesty to higher level than I can expect with alum.

    Then there's FAIRING.

    I can more easily build a wood and/or composite boat FAIR - which
    means FAST- than one in metal.
    It takes a lot of heavy bondo: - to get a tin boat smooth.

    Needless to say: A FAIR and HONEST boat tends to win more - and it
    needs to be LIGHT as well.
    - It can never be said to often:
    The 1st three Laws of Multi - Hull design are - Light, Lighter and Lighter.

    So maybe the simple and quick answer is:
    Use the material that requires the least BONDO !

    - Finaly:
    Beware of a material being favoured, over another - in a given area.
    Here in the Pacific N. West - we also have a lot of alum. boats.
    Is it an accident that we also happen to " grow " aluminium here ?
    As well as trees.
    And for a moment that the Alum. lobby had more influence, on our local
    gov.,than the logging or steel guys did ?

    If your request - reflects a serious design concern, re: materials
    - I can give you some very precise data, by E - Mail, if it will help.
    Especialy, when it comes to multi - hulls.

    Cheers !

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    CORMERAN Junior Member

    Further to SamSam and Tad,

    YES badly built / designed composites WILL delaminate.

    However, a well built - well designed composite boat will last more than
    one race season.

    Also, due to the dead weight of the dreeded BONDO - it's virtually,
    IMPOSSIBLE - for even the best designed, best built metal boat to
    come in lighter than a just competant, composite vessel.

    And even with lead mines - lighter, stronger wins the race.

  15. SeaSpark
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    SeaSpark -

    Answer to question from your double thread

    Just look at development of boats in the Ostar (wikipedia has a nice overview of boats competing in all Ostar events)

    As for compostites and reli/dur-ability look at developments in the aircraft industry i guess the Boeing dreamliner in not beeing build for one way flights only. It is almost completely build from composite plastics. In other airplanes composite parts have been used for quite some time. Planes have to fly almost their complete lifetime to earn their money back. No aircraft company can sell planes that fall apart after 10 years.
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