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Posts Tagged ‘Little AC’

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Team Canada’s Little AC ride Fill Your Hands may have inspired helm Fred Eaton and crew Magnus Clarke to fill something during an early-morning testing session for the International C-Class Cat Championship next week.  In 15 knots of wet Falmouth breeze the boat’s foils ventilated going into a gybe, with the ensuing splashdown sending Eaton into the water and Clarke around the bow. Eaton was fine but the crew not so much; the slender carbon dolphin striker sliced deep into Magnus the Marine Mammal’s calf to the tune of seven big stitches.  We’ll have an update later on his condition (though he’d probably still race if his leg was sliced clean off), and news galore throughout the next 12 days.  Easiest place to keep up with the event: The Multihull Anarchy thread and the Facebook page.  Look for photo galleries, interviews, boat tours, and details on the live schedule beginning tomorrow.  Photos from Meredith Block/C-Class.


September 19th, 2013 by admin

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If the last few weeks has contributed to an obsessive need for you to watch foiling catamarans racing through big wind on your computer screen, we’re happy to inform you that you’ll have a full week of it coming up this Sunday with the Little America’s Cup.  Formally known as the International C-Class Catamaran Championship, the Little Cup will feature 11 teams from all over the world with some of the most advanced racing craft ever developed; in some ways far more advanced than the ‘real’ AC.  

Clean, Mer, Petey and a cast of famous and not-so-famous guests are digging the On-The-Water Anarchy cameras out of the shed to bring you live, hilariously and expertly commentated video action from every race at the 2013 Little Cup, along with our infamous ‘Cocktail Hour’ live talk shows, piles of interviews, and highlight reels put together by some brilliant folks in the UK.  We expect to have trackers, great photography and plenty of updating on Facebook, too.  So keep watching here, and for everything C-Class, hit the 2013 International C-Class Championship thread and bring yourself up to speed. If Facebook is more your speed, Like the Little AC page here.

Like the Minista below, the UK’s Team Invictus have had a tough road to the starting line.  Here’s the update from their skipper and the fastest sailor on the water – Paul Larsen:

SundayThe start line is often the first finish line.

It’s past midday on Sunday here in Bristol. The shed is full of various wing parts in heater inflated bubble tents. To say we are a bit late is a massive understatement.

This is yet another big ol’ mission just to make it to the start line. I didn’t want it, nobody did. I had no idea what I was walking into 13 days ago. Basically, for one reason or another, Helena and I walked in just as things had fallen apart. We had come to hopefully help a little bit to get the last bits together and help the team along. What confronted us was obviously going to require substantially more input. We had a main spar with the ribs attached to it… and that was it! No flaps, no moulds, no leading edge and no control systems/linkages’hinges… just CAD drawings.

My first reaction was to keep walking. This would mean that there would be no British boat at this event. That was unthinkable. We had to have a go. We went to the pub and began hatching plans. As long as there was a chance… we would have a go. We began pushing on.

None of us wanted to stand next to a piece of junk. It’s obviously not going to be as good as it could be… but the old girl might be alright. The platform seems OK and there are some aspects of the wing that I am interested to see. We don’t have the time to re-design everything to fit the schedule so there has to be some shooting from thew hip and acceptance of what we have.

Keep it in mind that this needs to be in Falmouth getting rigged on Tuesday.

We had to come up with a quick way to make a 3D curved leading edge so we used polystyrene blocks, a skilled carver and then Dan (from Independent Composites) did a great job of fairing and skinning. In fact Dan and the boys have been ripping into it. They made the large lower flap and have let us take over the workshop for the weekend.

Thankfully the National Composites Center (NCC) in Bristol did the MDF tooling for the top flap and Helena and I went and built that there with Nick Hewlings. The mould came off the machine last Wednesday afternoon. We used a quick method of sealing surfacing the mould involving putting the whole thing in a ‘envelope’ vacuum bag which we then sucked down onto the mould and used as a surface to actually laminate onto. Unbelievably… for some reason this bag sort of dissolved during the cure and is now structural i.e. part of the laminate. We were so lucky that it held its vacuum and that it didn’t result in the part being permanently stuck in the mould. None of us have ever seen that before . So we’ll be sailing around (hopefully) with a vacuum bag still on the upper flap.

We just don’t have any time to get hung up on one process. It’s all a bit mad. At times I wonder what the hell I am doing here. We shouldn’t still be doing things this way. I guess when it all looked a bit too much I began to wonder if we really could do it. I’m still wondering.

The parts are all coming together. The flaps are a bit heavy but then we haven’t finished cutting them down.

Anyway, here we are. It’s getting warm in here. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. The picture of us cutting out the holes in the lower flap was taken around lunchtime today.

Monday:  All the big pieces are together. The little bits are turning up and the trailer just arrived. The Harken order is on the way direct to Falmouth and the Marlow order is still being chased. The daggerboards are curing under a heater just off camera.

Helena is trying to hook up live tracking. This will all be loaded in the trailer tonight and should be in Falmouth in the morning. It just has to be that way.

Tuesday:   Invictus has once again… left the building. Well, actually there is still quite a bit of building to be done… but she’s out of the shed anyway.  This boat and this team, in one form or another, are why the event will be in the UK this year. We felt that she simply had to be down there mixing it up with her Brethren on home waters.

Goodbye Dan, Leighton Mitch and Nick from the NCC, thanks so much for going the extra mile and helping to get rid of us:)  We still have a lot to do but the overall spirit in the team is good. We turned a corner. Let’s see what happens now.

Next stop, Falmouth and the 2013 ICCCC.

September 17th, 2013 by admin

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We grabbed C-Class firestarter Fred Eaton on his way back to the mainland last week for a little chat on the upcoming C-Class Cat Champs in Falmouth; the super-intense but very quiet helmsman talks about the level of the biggest fleet in Little AC history, his training regime, and a tiny little bit about the Fill Your Hands.  The reveal comes very soon; until then, get to know the decade’s most influential C-Classer.


August 16th, 2013 by admin

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As the world waits for our video exposé on the Little AC defender’s new ride “Fill Your Hands”, her crew and wing trimmer checks in with a definitive answer to the foiling question.  Note too that the C-Class finally has their website rolling along; it’s all coming together for the world’s coolest sailing event…now let’s hear from Magnus:

So basically if you ain’t foiling you’re screwed is what everyone’s saying? Well that was basically what happened at the big AC and it seems to be the case here. It could be that the foiling boats suffer greatly upwind with the rest of the junk they have to carry around, perhaps not. Either way, once you turn the corner, the benefits of foiling to some extent or another are rather obvious.

Even last year with FYH we were doing foil assist and the difference was massive in simply how much easier it was to sail the boat. That and it didn’t slow down in wave troughs, etc. There is a photo of us just cruising along earlier in this thread, Fred and I are just sitting to windward with a relatively high degree of righting moment, sailing decent angles downhill. Canaan in the same conditions, about 13 kn TWS was having a wee bit of trouble for the boys. They had not sailed it in that condition before and she was being a little nosey on them, e.g. risking going down the mine. So they were not exactly at 100% performance. but in those conditions, on Canaan, you would have been limited by pitching moment, not heeling moment. In other words, the boat would go over the handlebars long before it would fall over sideways for lack of righting moment. So really two years ago, our team was basically limited by how far back you could stand in the bus and still sheet on without stuffing it. so FYH was going about 25% faster on a VMG basis, even in those conditions.

Fast forward to even partial foiling. The bow simply doesn’t go down…..all that often. So when you get into waves the boat is basically just sailing straight through the water, through the back of a wave and out the other side with no heave, or change in altitude. The faster you go, them more stable it is because more and more of the weight of the boat is taken on the foils and if they are properly immersed all the time, the lift they provide is not changing all the time with each passing wave, so the boat is not pitching, it’s not heaving it’s just sailing. Now all of a sudden, you can start piling on some wing load. In retrospect that day I was being a pussy, I could have easily gone out on the wire and just hammered it on the sheet and we simply would have gone faster and probably lower.

Once you go to fully foiling, things change a lot, everything starts to go backwards as anyone who has sailed a moth will tell you. The puff hits, sheet in and step forward, don’t ease and stand back or you will go into orbit right away. So foiling means a bunch more complication on the boat. I think that’s one reason the C-cat crowd has followed the AC guys in not having “active” controls on the boat. If you can set up the geometry to create dynamic stability in flight, you save a whole lot of complexity on the yacht. Off Yer Rocker was a great execution of a stable foiling platform, but it came at the cost of a lot of bells and whistles. If you can fly with minimal controls and settings to sort out, it’s an elegant solution.

Back in 2011 at an ETNZ meeting, about the third big design meeting, some of the guys put up two intersecting curves showing drag in displacement and drag in foil mode and where they crossed over. Above a certain speed, downhill in particular it was obvious that the next cup was going to be won not with wings but with foils. At the time I was not sure if that would be the case for C-cats because by comparison they have a lot less horsepower. But seeing where we are now and the breeze the venue will hold its obvious that there will be ample power to foil for those that wish to.

The challenges however for foiling are many. One, you go really fast, which simply means you have the opportunity to land really hard, which with a wing can be really bad. kind of hurts the body too.

Stable flight, well it’s not all that easy without active controls like wands. Keep in mind the big boys have no less that one crew member dedicated to adjusting ride height with rake control etc on their main foils. We can adjust pitch and sheet far faster, but main foil angle is a big very important input for good flight. so a boat this size, needs an exceptional base line set up to foil happily.

Loads go way up. Upwind used to be our maximum load condition on foils, now it’s downwind. The foils are longer, way more loaded and so strength is an issue even with fantastic amounts of carbon and very careful build procedures, breakages happen. We have had some failures in shall we say, in very short time frames. It seems sailors are bred to destroy shit quickly. Then the loads on the platform go up too. When you fly a boat on a foil it has a ton of twisting force on the platform, this gets translated into the main beams which also now need to be stronger. everything is more loaded up now all the way around the course.

It’s very difficult to totally strip the system down to something as simple as our bench mark which is Canaan. You need to be able to adjust a bunch of stuff, much of it under load, to get a slippery, strong and controllable yacht. This all adds weight, complexity and cost.

Finally there is only two pairs of hands on the boat. The number of strings has gone way up, and new skill sets are required to operate the gear in a sensible fashion. It gets a bit taxing on the crew at times.

Flip side to all this, SCARY PERFORMANCE!!!! when the boat lights up OMG!!! hang on for dear life.

To answer your second question, how you trim the boat out, wait and watch, when you figure it out let us know too, we’re still learning a fair bit about it…

Meredith Block photos.


August 8th, 2013 by admin

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Yesterday Mr. Clean became one of just a handful of folks to ever helm the 2010 Little America’s Cup winning Canaan, widely believed to be well under 350 lbs. and the lightest C-Class ever built.  And as light and fast as she is, Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke’s ride for the September Little AC is quite a bit faster…we’ve got the no-punches-pulled tour of the fully foiling Fill Your Hands on video but we can’t show it to you for a couple of weeks; we’ll have as detailed a report as we’re allowed on both boats from Clean today. Meredith Block photo and more in the thread.

August 2nd, 2013 by admin

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Multihulls still haven’t figured out how to fly upwind, and that means the optimal foil shape for upwind floating is completely different from the horizontal surfaces required for downwind aerial stunts.  That’s led to complicated S-shapes, C-shapes, L-foils, and all sorts of hybrids like the Swiss Hydros foiling C, but leave it to two-time Little America’s Cup champs Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke (along with ETNZ designer Steve Killing) to take a step back and do it the right way; with double boards per side.  This lets the C-boats keep their traditional close-windedness and uphill efficiency (Jenny Provan shows how it’s done above) while going full flight & fury downwind.

Keep an eye on the already stellar 2013 Little AC thread; every few years, it’s the most interesting discussion in sailing – at least for the techno-obsesssed, like us.

July 6th, 2013 by admin