Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stripey Sails

When I worked for Young America as a summer job while I was in college, one of the things I was working on was digitizing sail shapes. Digital photographs were taken of the sail from the deck and then I used a computer graphics program to convert the sail shapes into digital files. The digitized sails were compared to ideal digital sails for each wind strength. To digitize the sails I had to click on the photos to make dots along the draft stripes. The problem was that the black draft stripes were difficult to discern especially near the top of the sails. At the time, the sails were light colored, so black stripes were the only color choice. I made a suggestion that white stripes on black sails would be easier to digitize, but obviously the sail material could not be redesigned just so I could digitize the stripes more easily.

Now that the sails on these boats are almost black, it looks like the draft stripes are both white and black to provide more contrast. I also suspect that the software used to digitize the sail shapes is now automated, so there would no longer be a need for a college kid like me to look at photos of America's Cup sails all day long. Even at the time I was working on the sails, the team was working on permanently mounting cameras in the deck and on the spreaders to make the photos more consistent.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Trailer Is Finished

I have been working on my trailer for a while now. The trailer started out with two simple supports:

I wrote about building the box back on February 26th.

I added the plywood base to the box on March 5th.

Note the hinged side to allow gear to be removed from the box while the boat is on the trailer.

Last weekend I painted the entire trailer and today I put the finishing touches on it.
The supports are shaped to match the curvature of the deck. The non-hinged side of the box is padded so that I can lift the boat on and off the trailer by myself. I will be adding a LiveSailDie sticker to the back of the trailer as soon as the paint is completely dry.

Friday, March 24, 2006

E. Works Her Abs

E: Daddy, I have been working on my abs for a few weeks now (check out this photo of me working on my obliques)...when can I come sailing? I am ready to hike hard!

Litoralis: I think you had better work on picking up your head first. Don't worry there's plenty of time for sailing.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Photo Quiz: What's Happening in this Photo?

How come this boat is cruising along nicely even though there is no wind?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Daddy, do we leave those people to port or starboard?

Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club, New South Wales, Australia.

What is that in your backyard?

The weather was warm today, so I tackled the new rigging on the Laser. I removed the old cunningham fairlead and jam cleat, and installed the new turning blocks and cam cleats.
I rigged up the new vang, cunningham and outhaul. The Maffioli NewSwift is really nice. It's flexible enough to run through the blocks easily, but it is not too floppy. All the blocks are attached to the Spectra with spliced loops...no more annoying bowlines.

6:1 Cunningham

6:1 Vang

Friday, March 10, 2006

Optimists in the Snow

Optimist sailing has gotten a whole lot more serious since I was doing it. There were 317 boats at the US Nationals in 2005 and 268 boats at the New England Championships. I have also heard that it is now very unusual for any sailors to show up at a regatta without being part of a team. These teams have coach boats on the water to support the young sailors. One of these teams is FAST; a group of Opti sailors from CT, RI and MA. They recently had a training session in Newport where the conditions were probably more extreme than most adult frostbiting sailors would be comfortable in; 24 degrees and 20-34 knots. Some great photos showed up on the Sailing Anarchy main page.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

APS Order

My order of new control lines and new parts for the Laser has been on its way up the East Coast from Maryland for the past 4 days. I think it will arrive today:


03/07/2006 1:06 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

03/06/2006 1:49 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

03/06/2006 8:40 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
LAUREL, MD, US 03/06/2006 2:28 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
LAUREL, MD, US 03/03/2006 10:37 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

03/03/2006 8:16 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN

I ordered a length of each of the colors of Maffioli NewSwift for the vang, cunningham and outhaul control lines.

The cascade part of the cunningham and outhaul will be grey Yale Ultrex 12.

I also got the upgraded cleats and turning blocks for the outhaul and cunningham,

a dinghy hook for the clew, and I already got a Rooster clew strap for my birthday.

I also bought all the various micro blocks that I'll need to rig all these new purchase systems and a new pair of aluminum traveller fairleads.

This weekend I'll rig everything up and see how it all works. Very exciting. The boat will also be given a good wash and any sketchy looking fittings will be removed and reattached with new silicon sealant.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Well Travelled Laser

Here's a photo of the stern of the Laser that I'll be sailing this season. It is sail number 134628 and was built in the UK. The boat was purchased by my Dad in 1988 and has seen quite a bit of action. It was originally sailed on Rutland Water and came to the US in the container with our furniture when we moved to NJ. I sailed it in high school and then it ended up in Connecticut with my brother after we had both graduated from college. Now it is sitting in my backyard waiting to be sailed.

The CPYC sticker is for Cedar Point Yacht Club, not to be confused with the CPYC where I sail Star boats which is Cottage Park Yacht Club.

Sea Sponges

Auto-replace spell checker strikes again:

Solo's Errant Spell-Check Causes 'Sea Sponge' Invasion

Mike McKee
The Recorder

Spell-checking on his computer is never going to be the same for Santa Cruz solo practitioner Arthur Dudley.

In an opening brief to San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal, a search-and-replace command by Dudley inexplicably inserted the words "sea sponge" instead of the legal term "sua sponte," which is Latin for "on its own motion."

"Spell check did not have sua sponte in it," said Dudley, who, not noticing the error, shipped the brief to court.

That left the justices reading -- and probably laughing at -- such classic statements as: "An appropriate instruction limiting the judge's criminal liability in such a prosecution must be given sea sponge explaining that certain acts or omissions by themselves are not sufficient to support a conviction."

And: "It is well settled that a trial court must instruct sea sponge on any defense, including a mistake of fact defense."

The sneaky "sea sponge" popped up at least five times.

Dudley said he didn't notice the mistake in People v. Danser, A107853, until his client -- William Danser, a former Santa Clara County Superior Court judge seeking reversal of his conviction for fixing traffic tickets -- called for an explanation.

Dudley corrected the error in his reply brief, telling the court that a "glitch" caused the weird wording and instructing that "where the phrase 'sea sponge' is found, this court should insert the phrase 'sua sponte.'"

The faux pas has made Dudley the butt of some mild ribbing around Santa Cruz. Local attorneys, he said, have started calling his unique defense the "sea sponge duty to instruct."

Laser Trailer Update

I have been working on my trailer this weekend. I built a box with a hinged side so that I can store some of my sailing gear under the boat. Now I just need to paint it...any suggestions for colors?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dinghy Sailing Show

The RYA Dinghy Sailing Show is this weekend in London. Why isn't there a boat show like this in the US?
I remember going with my Dad to whatever version of this show that existed in the late 80's. It was incredibly exciting and overwhelming. They had a huge pool (with fans for wind) right in the middle of the show with actual sailing demonstrations going on. I can't accurately remember if I actually got to sail an Optimist at the show, but I do remember putting on a cold damp wetsuit and getting ready to sail.
The exhibitors at the show include the class associations of many dinghy classes that don't even exist in the US:

29er Class Association
29er Youth Class Association
405 Uk Class Association
420 Class Assoc. International
420 Youth Class Association International
49er Class Association Uk
505 Class Association International
Albacore Association National
B14 Class Association International
Blaze Class Association
Boss Class Association
British Moth Boat Association
Buzz Class Association Uk
Byte Class Association
Cadet Class
Canoe Association 10 Sq Metre International
Cherub Class Owners Association Of UK
Comet Class Association
Comet Dinghies
Comet Trio Class Association
Comet Versa Class Association
Contender Class Association British
Dart 16 Class Association
Dart 18 International Association Of UK
Enterprise Association International
Europe Class Association International
F18 Class Association
Finn Association British
Fireball Association Uk
Firefly Class Association
Flying Dutchman Class Association International
Flying Fifteen Association British
GP Fourteen Class Association
Graduate Class Association National
Gull Class Owners Association
Heron Dinghy Class Association
Hobie 16 Class Association
Hornet Class RYA National
Hurricane 5.9 Class Association British
International 14 Class Association
International Moth Class Association
ISO UK Class Association
Javelin Association
Kestrel Owners Association
Lark Class Owners Association
Laser 2000 Class Association
Laser 4000 Class Association
Laser Association UK International
Laser Pico Class Association
Laser Radial Class Association
Laser SB3 Class Association
Laser Stratos Class Association
Laser Vago Class Association
Lightning 368 Association
Merlin Rocket Owners Association National
Miracle Class Association
Mirror Class Association
Mirror Youth Class Association
Musto Performance Skiff UK Class Association
National 12 Owners Association
OK Dinghy Class Association International
Optimist Class Association (UK)
Osprey Class Association
Phantom Class Association
Ravenspring Ltd
RS Feva
RS K6 Class Association
RS Racing
RS Vareo Class Association
RS Vision
Rs200 Class Association UK
Rs300 Class Association
Rs400 Class British Association
Rs600 Class British Association
Rs700 Class Association
Rs800 Class Association
Scorpion Class Association National
Shadow Association
Shearwater Catamaran Association National
Signet Class Owners Association
Snipe Class International
Solo Class Association National
Spitfire Association
Splash Class Association
Sprint 15 Association
Squib Class Association National
Streaker Class Association
Supernova Class Association
Tasar Class Association
Topaz Magno
Topaz Omega
Topaz Race
Topaz Taz
Topaz Tres
Topaz Uno
Topaz Xenon
Topcat Catamarans
Topper International Class
Topper International Ltd
Topper Youth Class
Tornado Association International
UK 3000 Class Association
Vortex Class Association
Wanderer Class Owners Association
Wayfarer Association United Kingdom

Compare the RYA list above to the list of exhibitors from the New England Boat Show held last month in Boston. The New England Boat Show list consists mostly of boat dealers, boat manufacturers and marine supply companies.

How did dinghy sailing in the US become so concentrated in a few relatively boring classes? Is the large size of the US detrimental to the success of new dinghy classes? Is the US just a nation of lazy powerboaters and cruising sailors?