Monday, December 22, 2014

Have you seen me ?

- Well, it has been 42 years since that picture was taken. Now, it is common to see large boats, Imoca; VOR; Maxis leaping out of the water like scalding cats. Sure the 128' x 69,000Lbs., probably the lightest fiberglass structure for a monohull  does not compare in size and purpose of the others. She was designed for Jean-Yves Terlain for the 1972 single-handed Transatlantic race.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Tall order.

The new Rambler 90'.
I understand that Rambler is designed to be competitive on handicap and given the right condition in light air and downwind (and luck) to address the heavier, bigger 100 footers with lighter weight, and a test of patience and skill to show them one thing or two.
 RamblerGroupama 70  Bow view. For comparison I drew the bow section of Groupama, the 70' winner in the last V.O.R. Similar for sure but subtle differences due mainly to the increase in displacement of the much larger boat indicating more volume but also a more obtuse end at the stem.

To be noted: the soft shape of the mid section located aft of the keel. Turned into sharp chines fore and aft towards the bow and stern.
I had seen this type of daggerboards before on Abu Dhabi, the VOR 70. They appear on Comanche as well. I suppose the intent is to close the gap of the slot into the hull, keeping an optimal shape of the board to the bottom.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Down East Boats.

I have had the opportunity over a period of 10 years to design many so called "Lobster Yachts".  In size range from 36 to 40 feet. About one every year; they are good boats and people liked them.
Then all of sudden in 2008 the market dropped under us. The final draw happened when we had to cancel an operation due to start in China. It was a wise decision considering than since then not one non-commercial boat has been sold. So what went wrong ? And why such good boats are not taking of again with a slightly better economic climate?
To give you an idea of what the Lobster yacht is all about, here are condensed words from the brochure.
"Good classic looks with flare and tumblehome. Seaworthy and stable. Smooth and comfortable. Very efficient S-bilged hull with no speed bump that needs extra horsepower. Fast and economical with a single engine and no box over the cockpit sole. Protected propeller and rudder."
 All combined in designs evolved from 100 years of working the sea all day long and transformed into exceptional versatile yachts. What is there not to like about it?

A little side story.
The above rendering is by Stephen L. Davis who passed away not too long ago. He was the best of the best illustrators and over the years did a lot of brushing for Tyd. Some  examples.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Volvo Ocean Race. Cargados Carajos ?

- Vesta aground. The dramatic Video catching the moment where Vesta, the VOR competitor hit the Cargados Carajos Shoals. This cannot leave us without feeling horribly bad about the crew, the boat, and for the Race.

- The sequence of events must have been creeping for some time before, probably by compounding small errors to end up on an island. I am not to analyze the issue of responsibility but simply know that actions have consequences and that there must be a reason. Once, I have been in that situation of ending on a sand bar. Thank God without the complete disaster as depicted above.
A little side story.
- S.O.R.C 1979. We had a good clip on Desperado, an early 57' U.L.D.B capable of going 25 knots with very little help. That night, closing on the finish line we had to negotiate a channel. The navigator was down below at the chart table. Probably sensing something was not quite right, the owner asked me to check on the navigation. That is when we hit. Bone crushing, we were dragged on the bank and heeled well over. We took the appropriate precaution for the crew with a life vest, life raft overboard, and calling the Coast Guard. They were not long to arrive, we were not the only ones in this predicament. They towed us sideways out of the beach and out of danger and onto the nearest lift. If we did not sink on the way.
- Well, this Series may as well be over before even starting. But maybe not.

- On the spot, as you can imagine it was difficult to assess the amount of destruction and the amount of water ingress that could sink us. But going inside again just after the C.G dragged us to open water, I did not see any problem with the hull itself from where I was standing. Water was sloshing around the keel area, the vertical floor system inside the sump having been crushed. This fiberglass sump build over the entire length of the lead keel probably saved the boat of major rebuilding. As Desperado was battered by the swells, this space between the hull proper and the lead keel took the brunt of the crashes and slowly crumbling acted like a shock absorber. We rebuilt the floor and the spacer and went on missing only the next race.
- This drawing out of the accommodation plan does not show the construction details, only the sump.