Posts From Category: Madness

Hull 002.

The stations attached to the strongback.
The stations of Hull #2 attached to the strongback.

I have discussed the hull construction process in earlier posts, which you can find via the above search bar. To recap, you take the hull design and “loft” the shape of each section or bulkhead, from the drawing. You then cut this out of 6mm marine ply (or equivalent), mount each of the stations onto a strongback, and now you have something which forms the shape.

I also need to add a keelson to the picture. A keelson is a long, keel-like piece of wood which runs from stem to stern, connecting the bulkheads. I cut one already but it turned out to be too short due to a miscalculation on my part. Generally I cut a thin (about 2cm wide) outline of the keel of the boat, from a sheet of ply.

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The Reboot.

CAD drawing of the MegaMOOP hull, courtesy of Professor Paul Miller.
CAD drawing of the MegaMOOP hull, courtesy of Professor Paul Miller.

According to the calendar, it is now 963 days since my last blog posting on here. A lot has happened in that thirty month period, but not a lot in terms of the robotic boat.

I’ve worked on a variety of designs of winged sail and I think I have a design which will work really well. More about that, anon.

You may also notice I redesigned the blog, and switched from Wordpress to Jekyll. I had originally planned to code a Ruby on Rails site, and this is mostly why there haven’t been any blog updates for the last couple of years. I wanted to incorporate automatic blog updates from the boat when she’s at sea, but trying to decide on a layout for the new blog was like trying to choose the paint colour for the bike shed. Eventually I just went with Jekyll as it allows me to have boat updates, and doesn’t involve spending months tweaking HTML and CSS.

The big news though is a decision I made last year, to switch away from my own hull design, which you can find here. Chatting with Professor Paul Miller of the US Naval Academy, I came to the conclusion that the design he and his students had perfected, which they call the MaxiMOOP.

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The New Winged Sail

The wing-sail is in two parts, a leading-edge and a hinged 'tail' or trailing edge.
The wing-sail is in two parts, a leading-edge and a hinged "tail" or trailing edge. This is a CAD drawing of the leading edge.

My original plan was to use a traditional mast and mainsail, with Yannick Lemonnier of West Sails volunteering to produce the sail. Yannick is no stranger to mad schemes himself, having competed in far too many Figaro races. These days, he spends his time sailing his Moth winged-beast, or racing his International 14. That is, when he’s not making sails for everyone from Beoga Beag to the Volvo Open 70s.

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Let the fun begin...

A fellow traveller, and an amazing Caribbean sunset.
A fellow traveller, and an amazing Caribbean sunset.

I’m not sure when I first started thinking about entering the Microtransat. I’d love to say it was after much consideration, and the thought that “yes, this can be done.”

The truth is, the first time I heard about the race, my immediate reaction was; “that’ll never work…” The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to enter a boat. I still don’t think it’ll work, but this site is for those people who want to follow along, and find out if I was right or not.

I’ll be joined along the way by some of the other team members, some of whom have sworn off blogging for the foreseeable future…