Posts From Category: Thoughts

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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Latest on the hull

Here’s a quick sneak picture of the hull with the wiring harness complete and the decks sealed in place.


The keel is still only temporarily installed so the main compartment is again flooding with sea water. The bow is still slightly down in comparison to the stern, but this is mostly due to the flooded compartment. Also, the keel still hasn’t been moved back, yet. That will happen this week.

The solar power connector and the masthead connector are visible just in front of the main compartment. The ugly brown tape is to seal up the deck fittings for the rudder and sail servo motors. The deck plates are taped to the hull using polyester resin and fibreglass tape. They need to be sanded smooth, ready for another final coat of epoxy and then a generous layer of antifoul. The antifoul coating will be one of the very last steps prior to the Microtransat. If you look at the previous blog posting on the SGS, the alu plate which supports the electronics will be mounted over the main compartment and secured in place.

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The First Sea Trial

On September 1st, we launched the hull in Aughinish bay, without sails, rudder or electronics. The purpose was to see how the hull performed in open water, with the keel attached. As the keel wasn’t properly attached or sealed in place, the main compartment flooded with water, but as the compartments are individually water-tight, this wasn’t an issue. It did lower the boat in the water somewhat, but not to any significant degree.

As the compartment wiring wasn’t completed, and the deck panels weren’t glassed in place, they were attached to the hull using duct tape. Not pretty, but it works.

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The new rudder

Thanks go to Colman Corrigan for designing and building the keel and rudder. The keel follows the traditional NACA shape, with a rounded leading-edge, tapering off to a narrow trailing edge. It is approximately a 6318 shape, with the maximum width being about 36% of the length of the cross-section. Overall, the keel is coming in at about 750mm from hull to the end of the bulb, and about 240mm from front to back. That’s a 3:1 aspect ratio.

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Mission 001 - Galway Bay

As the hull is now watertight, and we’re mere weeks away from having a sealed hull with keel and rig, it’s OK to start looking at actually getting this thing to sail.

Up until now, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with getting the physical aspects of the boat to a certain juncture. The reasoning is simple; until there’s a boat, all of this other stuff is just a waste of time. Well, now there’s a boat…

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Bon Voyage, Snoopy!

The 'Team Joker' entry in the Microtransat race, with Snoopy on the foredeck, keeping the boat safe from marauders.
The "Team Joker" entry in the Microtransat race, with Snoopy on the foredeck, keeping the boat safe from marauders.

Today, March 23rd, Team Joker are planning to launch their ninth boat, Snoopy Sloop. This has been an educational (and obviously fun!) experience for Robin Lovelock and his fleet of robotic warrior boats. Here in Beoga Beag land, we wish them well.

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Why Antigua...?

Looking down on English Harbour from Shirley Heights in Antigua
Looking down on English Harbour from Shirley Heights in Antigua.

A first pass over the route and the finish line suggests Antigua could be a good destination. We last visited in 2009 and this is as good an excuse as any, to go back.

The finish line is from latitude 10 degrees to latitude 25 degrees North, which is all of 900nm long. However, according to the rules, we must declare a 50km (27nm) segment of that finish line. Although the finish line is pointing True North, when you consider the race is from Northern Europe, that means that the line is heavily biased towards the starboard end. The Northern tip, in other words. Finishing on this end of the line shortens the final leg.

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