New Racing Website Offers Interesting Capabilities

Thanks to Jim Heumann who crews on THATUNA for sending this in. Have a post idea? Send it in to webmaster@ptsa.org.

I’m a member and I sail with John Lynes on THATUNA. I’ve recently discovered a smartphone app that in combination with a web site lets you record a race, upload it to the internet, and replay it overlaid on Google Earth. If more than one boat in a race records their track the site figures that out and shows them all. We have been recording races for a while now and are finding it really helpful.

I think others PTSA member might be interested too (Josh on BOREAS is using it already). So I’d like to suggest that you publicize it on the PTSA web site. The site is raceQs.com. It is a relatively new site and and does still have some kinks to work out. But on the whole it is pretty impressive. And it is free (at least for now).

If we can get a bunch of boats using it I think it would help us all to sail better.

Thanks, and let me know if I can help.

Jim Heumann

By |2014-07-23T11:08:15-07:00July 23rd, 2014|On the Water, Racing Skills|0 Comments

Future Sailing – Wind Assisted Ferries

It seems like the technology of sailing continues to evolve at a faster rate. From Kimball Livingston’s Blue Planet Times.

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By Kimball Livingston Posted April 21, 2014

Eventually, someone is going to get “wind assisted” transport right.

Don’t bet against Richard Jenkins.

The same Richard Jenkins who spent his first ten adult years figuring out how to set a wing-powered landsailing speed record of 126.2 mph.

The same Richard Jenkins who recently, remotely, sailed a 19-foot, wing-and-solar-powered prototype drone from San Francisco Bay to Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, then to the South Pacific, and back, and who is now neck deep in developing his next generation Saildrone, capable of carrying a complete array of oceanographic research instrumentation to any coordinates on the blue reaches of the Blue Planet. Never putting humans in harm’s way. With none of the fuel burn or
accumulated costs of, say, a 200-foot diesel-powered research vessel. And there just might be a circumnavigation . . .

droneAnd— all of this is tied together by the control mechanism that Jenkins developed when he realized that his landsailer was hitting speeds too fast to be controlled by pulling on stuff, the way people sail a boat. Even a “stable” breeze had too much fluctuation for human response. But, a tiny trim tab, trailing behind the wing, set to maintain a constant angle of attack, could turn the trick.

Jenkins projects an impish enthusiasm, an infectious enthusiasm and a raw, boyish enthusiasm from beneath a halo of curly hair that shifts in the breeze. He sails. He flies. He innovates. He hits his marks. It’s easy to understand how, given the success of the prototype Saildrone, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, would say yes to a proposal to fund a fleet. With his wife, Wendy, Schmidt funds the 11th Hour Project, putting juice into many environmental, climate, and oceans-related undertakings. But for Jenkins, it’s been a long road to get to this point. He will tell you, when he was building his fourth record-hunting landsailer, which turned out to be the right one, “I had no idea there was any practical application. I spent years thinking I would eventually take the speed record, and beyond that, what I had on my hands was a totally useless technology. It’s funny how one thing leads to another.”

Or he might quip about how he has turned an engineering career into an adventure in “double-down or quits.” Jenkins was a student in England, earning some money on the side at Green Marine, when he inquired about a curious contraption abandoned in a dark corner. It was, he was told, one of those record-hunter dreams, never finished, and in a flash he said something like, “Can I have it?”

So innocently did this begin.

the story continues here

By |2014-04-21T18:21:19-07:00April 21st, 2014|On the Water|0 Comments

2014 Pittman Innovation Awards

Sail Magazine’s annual innovation awards with some interesting new products.

The BG-Zeus MFD can show laylines.

The BG-Zeus MFD can show laylines.

Sailing has always been a technology-driven activity, and the spirit of innovation that prompted the first Stone Age sailor to cast off and let the wind do the work remains as vibrant today as ever. Of course, many of today’s innovations harness the now commonplace “miracles” that are part and parcel of the modern era. Nonetheless, a surprising number are the product of good-old common sense, the kind of thing that prompt you to wonder, “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

Named after Freeman K. Pittman, SAIL’s long-time technical editor who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1996, the Pittman Innovation awards recognize outstanding new products created by a sailing industry that remains forever fresh in its thinking. As in years past, our team of judges—executive editor Adam Cort, cruising editor Charles J. DoaneJay Paris is a veteran naval architect and SAIL‘s long-time technical editor, Ben Ellison is SAIL‘s electronics editor and owns the marine electronics web site, www.panbo.com and editor-at-large David Schmidt—roamed many boat shows, both in the United States and abroad, to uncover the best of the best in the realm of sailing gear. We think Freeman, once again, would have been impressed by what his fellow sailors have come up with.

story continues here

 

By |2014-02-27T12:43:26-07:00February 27th, 2014|In the Yard|0 Comments

Return of the Riblets

It’s almost bottom paint time, how smooth are you going to sand and burnish? Could super smooth be slower? From Scuttlebutt.

1987 America's Cup winner Dennis Connor

Washington, DC (January 17, 2014) – From the sleek hulls of racing yachts to Michael Phelps’ shaved legs, most objects that move through the water quickly are also smooth. But researchers from UCLA have found that bumpiness can sometimes be better.

“A properly designed rough surface, contrary to our intuition, can reduce skin-friction drag,” said John Kim, a professor in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at UCLA. Kim and his colleagues modeled the fluid flow between two surfaces covered with tiny ridges. They found that even in turbulent conditions the rough surface reduced the drag created by the friction of flowing water. The researchers report their findings in the journal Physics of Fluids.

The idea of using a rough surface for reduced drag had been explored before, but resulted in limited success. More recently scientists have begun experimenting with rough surfaces that are also extremely difficult to wet, a property called superhydrophobicity. In theory this means that the surfaces can trap air bubbles, creating a hydrodynamic cushion, but in practice they often lose their air cushions in chaotic flows.

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By |2014-01-20T17:09:59-07:00January 20th, 2014|Boat Maintenance|0 Comments

3M Scotchloks, is my Love so Wrong?

Some ideas on dealing with the very small gauge wires that are used on many new electronics. From Ben at Panbo.

3M_Scotchlok_UYbx_connector_test_cPanbo-thumb-465xauto-8486

In October I promised to eventually discuss the 3M Scotchlok IDC connectors I used to tap into Gizmo’s engine gauge wires in order to install an Actisense EMU-1 Engine Monitoring Unit. Given that two experienced commenters already strongly dismissed these connectors for boat use, I did more research and testing. Tentative conclusion: while 3M does indeed state that Scotchloks like those tiny UY butt connectors above are meant only for 22-26 gauge solid copper conducter wires, they still seem like the fastest, surest way I’ve seen to splice the fine gauge stranded wires we often deal with afloat. Could it just be a mistake that’s kept a lot of useful Scotchlok models out of 3M’s limited marine line, or did I miss some major difference?

Let’s start at the beginning. What you need to make a lasting wire splice in the boating environment is sufficient mechanical contact between the conductors, a strong connection between the two wires so the contact isn’t broken by vibration or other physical abuse (probably abetted by some form of strain relief), and some sort of protection so that the contact surfaces don’t corrode and fail.  The classic first class solution is carefully installed crimped heat shrink connectors as deeply detailed by our friend RC Collins of Compass Marine.

article continues here …

In October I promised to eventually discuss the 3M Scotchlok IDC connectors I used to tap into Gizmo’s engine gauge wires in order to install an Actisense EMU-1 Engine Monitoring Unit. Given that two experienced commenters already strongly dismissed these connectors for boat use, I did more research and testing. Tentative conclusion: while 3M does indeed state that Scotchloks like those tiny UY butt connectors above are meant only for 22-26 gauge solid copper conducter wires, they still seem like the fastest, surest way I’ve seen to splice the fine gauge stranded wires we often deal with afloat. Could it just be a mistake that’s kept a lot of useful Scotchlok models out of 3M’s limited marine line, or did I miss some major difference?

Let’s start at the beginning. What you need to make a lasting wire splice in the boating environment is sufficient mechanical contact between the conductors, a strong connection between the two wires so the contact isn’t broken by vibration or other physical abuse (probably abetted by some form of strain relief), and some sort of protection so that the contact surfaces don’t corrode and fail.  The classic first class solution is carefully installed crimped heat shrink connectors as deeply detailed by our friend RC Collins of Compass Marine.

– See more at: http://www.panbo.com/archives/2013/12/3m_scotchloks_is_my_love_so_wrong.html#sthash.wAFwOd59.dpuf

By |2013-12-30T11:18:39-07:00December 30th, 2013|In the Yard, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Foiling In 4 Knots

Post from pressure-drop.us

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The boys at Phillipe Kahn’s Pegasus Racing, not to be confused with the similarly named Port Townsend outfit, have upped their game in the foiling arena, modifying an F-20 Catamaran into a sweet flying machine.

“Flying MotionX Catamaran, Magic carpet, like riding champagne powder on a snowboard or skis. Highly recommended! It’s a carbon F20 expanded to foiling by Pete Melvin. This is a custom project, not a production boat. Far from it. An amazing experience. Not a simple retrofit kit.”

“50% more powerful than a F18 Phantom, longer, and 25% lighter. All carbon. Pete Melvin design. Hulls and mast before foiling setup (which is complex) similar to Nacra 20 Carbon. Top speed to date 30+ knots. Amazingly over-powered machine.”

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By |2013-12-20T16:40:45-07:00December 20th, 2013|On the Water|0 Comments

Millions Spent on Cup Techonology Begins to Trickle Down

Next week, cars that fly.

Next week, cars that fly.

From Wired magazine. Some day, our whole life will be on foils. Maybe.

Frank Rinderknecht never set out to be the Willy Wonka of the automotive world.

The mad scientist of motoring started out importing sunroofs into Europe. Then he tried his hand outfitting cars for handicapped drivers. Then he started modifying Porsches and helping a few German automakers with R&D. It was all normal enough. But then something snapped and he started doing things like building scuba-diving sports cars.

Rinderknecht discovered his penchant for the absurd 40 years ago. In the years since, he and his wild band of builders at Rinspeed have churned out the most daft ideas on four wheels. And sometimes six. And occasionally on — and under — water. The lunacy continues next week at the Geneva Motor Show, where Rinspeed will unveil the MicroMAX. It combines car-sharing and swarm algorithms to re-imagine urban driving. It’s far-fetched, yes, but ahead of its time — a recurring theme with some of Rinspeed’s farcical designs.

continued here, really …

 

By |2013-03-08T15:21:22-07:00March 8th, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

Oracle Racing Resumes Flight Tests

Oracle-back-to-flight-test

click for large image

Meanwhile, back on the other bay (San Francisco), Oracle Racing, after a spectacular crash of their Cup boat #1 that ended with it drifting under the Golden Gate and out into the Pacific, managed to do a six-month repair job in three and one-half months and relaunched.

She’s back out testing with a couple of noticeable differences: beefier cross beams and less twist in the hulls, deeper rudders, cockpits for the the grinders and helmsman, and two bright red wheels. Having to steer the boat with what looked like a very expensive tiller extension has been suggested as one of the possible reasons Spithill was unable to pull off the bear away that resulted in wreckage. The boats are cool, the gossip is entertaining, and the setting is spectacular. It’s just everything else that is problematic.

Click the above image for a way too large version of this pic.

By |2013-02-11T20:11:04-07:00February 13th, 2013|America's Cup|0 Comments

Adding Polars to Your Cell Phone

Thanks to Jak Mang – who has an interesting electronics project of his own in the very early stages – for pointing this out. In this app, modifiable, generic polars are available to match your boat and theoretically help you sail at your optimum VMG. It seems as if the movement of high tech sailing apps from dedicated boxes to inexpensive software on widely available phones, tablets and computers will be one of the big stories of the next several years.

KNDPerformanceSailing3Although it is not strictly rigging, we feel that this is something worth sharing. This is a good step forward in a otherwise fairly bleak landscape of sailing performance ‘Apps’:

In our world of tablets and Smart phones, the likeliness that there will be one on board next time you sail is close to certainty! On these devices, charting, weather forecast and routing applications are now available offering useful information to cruising and racing sailors. Using such tools the cruise can be made faster and more pleasurable, avoiding as much as possible dead calms as well as storms.

Unfortunately, a small piece of information is often missing, blocking the whole process: most sailors do not know precisely their yacht’s polar. A polar is a table describing the boat speed as a function of wind conditions (usually True Wind Angle and True Wind Speed). This is a mandatory input in order to run a routing applicationKNDPerformanceSailing2, in conjunction with a route plan (waypoints) and a wind forecast grib file.

“The generation within a few seconds of routing polars for production yachts is a challenge that Olivier Bouyssou asked us to address. Olivier is the father of the routing software Weather4D Pro, and was looking for reliable routing polars for his users. One has to understand that in the frame of our usual development and optimization of high level racing yachts, such a question requires 1 to 2 days of work and comes with a price tag fairly different from an iPad App…” says Dimitri Nicolopoulos, one of the three KND-SailingPerformance founders. “We sat down to discuss it, liked the idea, and decided to apply our expertise to the development of a solution. Olivier Bouyssou’s support for the user interface development allowed us to speed up iPolar development and for an official release beginning of December during the Paris Boat Show.” adds Cyrille Douillet, co-founder of the company.

 

 

By |2013-01-04T12:37:04-07:00January 3rd, 2013|On the Water|0 Comments