Sunday, November 24, 2013

Micro Dinghy: A 6-Footer Buzzing through a Cruising Anchorage

I chanced upon this video of, what I assume, is a cruiser-built micro dinghy showing her stuff in light wind around an anchorage off Senegal. A flat bottomed skiff with just a hint of a raked bow and a balanced lug rig, the performance of this tiny craft looks more than satisfactory. (Plus I'm a sucker for the African Soukous soundtrack.)

Dimensions given at the end of the video are:
  • Length: 195 cm (6' 4")
  • Beam: 105 cm (3' 5")
  • Mast Height: (6' 6")
  • Sail Area: 2 sq. meters (given, but looking at the rig I'm thinking it has to be bigger than that).

You can view some other Earwigoagin posts about micro dinghies by clicking here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Speed, Speed and More Speed

Two videos came to light recently that showcase the really, really fast side of small boat sailing; done by truly gifted athletes.

The first one is of the foiler Moths. I know there is a gajillion foiler Moth videos out there but this video is interesting in that it is about equal parts in getting it right and equal parts in getting it wrong. With the foilers, if the wand can't stay up with the speed, it's down, down we go...real fast....Stuff City! TOH to these intrepid athletes because it looks as if the wind speed was at the upper limit of control for the foilers.

International Moth Open 2013 from Andy Whitehead on Vimeo.

The second video is of the recent speed record run of kitesurfer Alex Caizergues, probably at that specialty course set off the coast of Africa (Wavedancer has commented that the record was set on a course in France) Sit back and marvel at this guy going 60 mph, inches away from a sandy oblivion). I like how, at the end of this video, his assistant is holding a strap off his back to ensure the fellow doesn't fly away, Mary Poppin style, as he raises his arms in triumph.

Alex Caizergues - New Kitesurfing Record - 11 Nov 2013 from Valencia Sailing on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Music Whenever: Marc Cohn "Silver Thunderbird"

A great song about a man's love affair with a car. At one with a living entity - something more than a machine..... Just the same with our boats.....

"The Man and His Machine would go"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The "D" or "Dammit" Course

I've put more specific instructions on the "D" or "Dammit" Course in a later post on this blog.

Click here to read more about how I think the "D" course should be set up.

As mentioned in a previous post, I was the race officer for the Classic Moth Nationals this past September. With such absolute power, I allowed at the skippers meeting that I might run a different course if the conditions permitted. One of my pet peeves about the normal windward/leewards or triangle course is that they don't provide for a truly fast planing reach for singlehanded dinghies (unless the wind is hitting near to upper teens, close to twenty). I remember running Laser races out of SSA in a good southerly sea breeze, firing off windward/leeward courses as normal, and hearing the comment on shore that the only time the Lasers got to blast reach that day was on the sail home.

Given that the Classic Moth National courses are short and station the race committee halfway up the windward leg, I came up with the "D" course; a course I would use if I deemed the wind was strong enough to get the Mothboats planing. This course is not new; I remember using a variant of this for Europe Dinghies (back when they were an Olympic class) out of West River Sailing Club in the 1980's. It is called the "Reverse P" course (originally the Harry Anderson course - refer to the comments) and essentially shoves a triangle in the upper half of the course and a leeward leg in the lower half of the leg. This allows for close to a beam reach on one leg, the ideal planing angle for conventional singlehanders. As an added benefit, for me (yes, sometimes it is about me), this course would have the competitors round the RC boat, allowing the RC crew to watch and dissect some racing up close.

A rough drawing of this course shows the top heavy configuration of the two reaches, a feature that has prompted some jokesters to nickname this course the "Dolly Parton" course. To acknowledge this moniker, for the Classic Moth Nationals I renamed the "Reverse P" course the "D" course (helped by the fact that the "D" flag is not used for any other RC function and is available to designate a course).

Note: I changed the course layout as shown on the drawing. The leeward mark rounding was changed to a starboard rounding instead of a port rounding to avoid the curlicue.
With the competitors fully briefed, I was itching to try it out. The wind had been strengthening during Race 1 and before Race 2 there was the beginnings of just a hint of whitecaps. The "D" course was subsequently signaled and off they went, unfortunately in a breeze that now looked as if it was softening up. On the first reach the wind continued dropping and then just shortly after Joe Bousquet, the leader, rounded the reach mark, the wind around the RC boat completely dropped away and shifted to the south, making for a beat on the second reach. Joe was able to round the RC boat after putting in one tack but the rest of fleet got caught in a very light, frustrating, fluky beat around the RC boat. At one point, George, the brains behind the blog Mid-Atlantic Musings, loudly opined from his Europe Moth, "I don't know about this "D" course, I'd say this is closer to a "Dammit" course!" Other competitors bitched and moaned as they flopped from one tack to another but the fleet eventually drifted around the RC boat. For the third race, the wind returned to the original direction, although lighter, and I reverted back to the more conventional triangle courses for the rest of the day.

I got some good natured ribbing about the "D" course over the beer cups that night. But the "Dammit" Course is now out there and I'm itching to use it again; somewhere, sometime.

The grizzled old PRO, fiendish schemer of the "Dammit" course, on station at the Classic Moth Nationals with his able assistant Elisabeth (picture stolen from Greg Duncan's Facebook page).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sailing Videos: Ain't Technology Grand!

Forget about strapping a GoPro to the end of your boom, or somewhere up around the bow, or at the masthead. Booooring! Get yourself one of those $600 radio-control helicopters, the four rotor kind designed to hold one of these small video cameras; fly it around and get all these cool shots from 20 to 40 feet above the water. This is the first sailing video I've seen using this new technology. Expect to see a slew of these aerial sailing movies.

Fall DinghyFest 2013 from on Vimeo.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Music Whenever: Maylee Todd and Doctor EW, "I Can't Go for That"

A great basement cover of the boppy Hall and Oates tune "I Can't Go for That". I think these two are based on the West Coast.

MAYLEE TODD & DOCTOR EW - "I Can't Go For That" by Hall & Oates from Southern Souls on Vimeo.

Correction: After more Internet browsing, I determined that Maylee Todd is out of Toronto.