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:
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.