Saturday, January 30, 2016

Seen at the 2015 Annapolis Sailboat Show: The Portland Pudgy dinghy

I spent an interesting fifteen minutes over at the Portland Pudgy stand. The Portland Pudgy is a another variation on the dinghy tender; this one in rotomolded plastic, with an emphasis on dual use as a life-boat if disaster struck. After looking the Portland Pudgy over, one comes away with the impression of a different take on the cruising dinghy; well designed, not too expensive, commodious despite the short length, and buoyant enough to work out as a life boat if needed.

All of my time spent at the stand was in talking with Pam, the wife of the designer, David Hulbert. We mostly discussed the travails of running a Mom and Pop boat production business, particularly how little things can gum production up. The sub-contractor that made the specialty designed inspection ports for the Portland Pudgy went bankrupt, unbeknownst to the Pudgy production team. When they went over to subcontractor's shop, they found it shuttered up with the specialty tooling for the inspection ports locked inside. Once they got it all sorted with a new subcontractor there was a three month hiatus on getting Pudgy's out the door. I detected an undertone in her story of maybe this was too much, too all consuming, particularly for a couple in their senior years. But the Portland Pudgy does offer something unique in the boating world and there appears to be a steady market going forward.

The FAQ page on the Portland Pudgy as a straight up dinghy.

The FAQ page on the Portland Pudgy sailing rig.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bit of Snow

We had a bit of snow and wind over the weekend here in the Mid Atlantic. Damned inconvenient in the modern world... waiting, ... waiting...  house-bound, but the snow plow did finally come through today to free us up. To overcome the ennui of isolation what better than to view a video where life is balmy, even tropical. Ah! shorts, bare feet!

A video of a twilight sail in a traditional day charter boat our of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sailing in St. John, US Virgin Islands from angelo on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

You Want Capsizes? - 12-Foot Skiff

Many knowledgeable pundits, especially those from the Antipodean region, consider the two man 12-foot skiff the most difficult dinghy to sail. I, never having seen one, will concur readily after seeing this video.

4th rig refers to the smallest racing rig for the heaviest air. The 12-foot skiff allows different rigs to be switched in and out depending on the wind strength.

(Those of the older generation might want to turn down the annoying, droning techno-beat sound track.)

Header Photo: Bermuda Fitted Dinghy in the Drink

The previous header photo was of a Bermuda Fitted Dinghy on her side. This is the second time I have put the Bermuda Fitted Dinghy up as a header photo. Even though I consider the Bermuda Fitted Dinghy the most photogenic of all dinghy classes, it is obvious that this photo doesn't do justice to the sweet sheer, rounded lines and huge rig of the Fitted Dinghy. But the possibility of capsize is always lurking for the inattentive or for those who sail extremely over-canvassed dinghies, as is the case here. Just part of the fun and this blog takes a perverse delight (since the blogmeister has certainly spent his fair share swimming alongside a dinghy) in featuring photos of capsizes.

Here is a quadcopter video by Andrew Stevenson of the Bermuda Fitted Dinghies racing. (Light winds so no drama.) I can't embed it but you can follow this link to view the video.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Seen at the 2015 Annapolis Sailboat Show: The Small Cats

Foils, foils and more foils. Foils were the centerpiece of attention for two very interesting small catamarans on display at the 2015 Annapolis Sailboat Show.

The Nacra 15 junior catamaran was the first cat that I stumbled upon as I wandered the show, sitting next to the Melges 14. It had all the bells and whistles of the modern cat, double trapeze, square-top rig, assymetric spinnaker with tube launcher though what stood out were some nifty foils usually not seen on a production catamaran. The problem with the high aspect, tall rigs of the modern cats is that, when married to a short hull, they pitchpole spectacularly. To work around this problem the designers of the Nacra 15 have fitted curved daggerboards and anti-diving winglets on the rudder. The curved daggerboard provides upward lift when fully down. This unweights the leeward hull and keeps the bow out. The anti-diving winglets on the rudder take over when the pitch angle starts to go negative, applying force to hold the stern down. Despite just a couple of production prototypes sailing in the fall of 2015 the Nacra 15 impressed ISAF enough to be named their official junior catamaran in December, 2015.

If I was marketing director over at Nacra I wouldn't keep this platform only for junior sailing. What about offering a second, smaller rig with only a single trapeze and making a detuned Nacra 15 class targeted for couples?

More about the Nacra 15 here.

In this photo is one of the curved daggerboards. Also the entire deck between the beams is covered in SUP anti-slip foam.

The small rudder winglets.

Promotional video of the Nacra 15 at speed.

The second catamaran to catch the eye was the spectacular, all carbon, foiling 5.4 meter/17.7 feet Whisper from England. The platform weighs just 78 kg. The moldings and fine detail work was exquisite. The foils are typical to what is used on the International Moth, T-foils up forward, controlled by a wand, and a T-foil on the rudder. I didn't hang around long enough to get an explanation on how it is all adjusted but I did have a short conversation with Robb White, the builder. He said the foils were designed for early lift-off (more area), and not ultimate speed.

Only $30,000 USD if you have a burning desire to be the fastest one on the river (and if you have the time and crew to learn how to sail her).

More info on Whisper by clicking here.

Yachting World's Matthew Sheehan put out this video on his sail test of the Whisper foiling cat. At the end of the video, Matthew, like many in the media, feel that foiling will take over the sport. I, on the other hand, feel foiling will always remain an enthusiasts niche - not one for the general sailing population.