Friday, January 25, 2013

Nick's Nationals Wrap-Up

Well, with goals being the flavour of the bloog month I guess posting my nationals goals is the thing to do.

I didn't achieve my one goal, finishing higher than mid fleet. There are no real excuses, I just wasn't good enough to get there. Don't get me wrong though, I was quite happy with the regatta, it was a great venue, good competition, good new friends and strengthened old friendships...but I didn't get my goal.

Let's break it down, starting with the good points.

  • Boat handling, mainly gybing (relative to the others around me)
  • Downwind speed (relative)
  • Downwind tactics (relative)
    • Was picking my way down the gusts quite well, which is surprising for an ex river heron sailor.
  • Finishing all laps in a few races
  • Finished all races I started
I consistently picked up places downwind because of the above good points. This was a revelation because in the few group races we did in Queensland I always felt slow and couldn't maintain depth downwind.

  • Starts
    • Cannot be on second row and expect to finish well without exceptional speed, tactics and a bit of luck. The few races I got away reasonably well off the start line the better the result.
  • Upwind VMG
    • Can't point, can't keep pace
    • This was atrocious and I can't pinpoint any one solution that will fix it.
      • Lee helm was present at suitable heel angles.
      • Sail is probably flogged and mast is soft (low leach tension)
      • Mainfoil is "ok" but probably needs to be replaced and/or shifted forward
      • I need to hike harder, longer. (Although was much better than at Mornington, I could atleast walk properly the day after a big day on the water.)
  • Fitness
    • 4 races a day was a killer (Definitely improved since Mornington though.)
  • Strength
    • Arms and hip flexors were flogged after the first race each day.
    • Had been doing gym and pilates to improve these for most of the year. Definite improvements but still not good enough.
  • Boat prep (minor issue)
    • Dyform side stay had busted a couple of wires at the chain plate and I noticed it just prior to launching on day 3. Probably would've been fine but decided to jury rig a Pearson spare to fit my boat and got on the water for the last 2 races of the day. Once I made it to the start line the wind and waves were fairly big. There was a bit of carnage amongst the fleet and I didn't really want to risk the rest of the regatta for 2 races, so headed back in to replace the stay properly (fine, I got the wimpies). Shout-out to Toowoomba Tom for the materials and help with the new stay.
    • Generally my boat has stuck together quite well. I haven't really broken much on the boat since purchase, except for a ripped out gantry pintle tube which was easy to repair. I'll take the stay issue as a general maintenance lesson.
Next year Queensland is hosting the nationals at Yeppoon so I want to put in a good performance on "home waters". Items to improve in some sort of order:

  1. Strength (arms, hiking)
  2. Fitness
  3. Starts (just fucking get in there!)
  1. Fix minor issues
    • New stays
    • New tramps
  2. Improve upwind performance
    • Polish foils
    • Stiffen mast and/or new mast
    • New sail
    • Move cb case forward after exhausting all other avenues
  3. Improve downwind speed
    • Hopefully the foil and rig mods take care of this.
  4. Pimpin' once above items are improved (not till after Yeppoon nats)
    • New main foil and control system
    • Pimp existing hull
    • Consider new hull with existing bolt-ons.
 Also got to fit in work, getting married and whatever other surprises get thrown my way sometime this year. Looks like it is going to be hectic!

Congratulations to the homebuilders, tinkerers and oddballs, I think you make the moth class.

Top Reach

Scary Bear-Away

Ahead of Markla

Shit Start (9364)


Pushin' it to the limit!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flight Deck - GPS Sail Data Over Video

I took a borrowed gopro out for a quick sail on sunday. Afterwards I thought it would be cool to overlay a GPS speed. That was a rather bad idea.

I have been fighting with every night this week and final got a workable process:

1. Open GPX file in excel and calculate speed, heading, VMG etc. There is a local weather tower which I have used for calculating/displaying TWA, AWA, AWS. I think these calculations are wrong in this video.  Speed and heading were calculated with Vincenty formula for distance between two Latitude/Longitude points. Other calculations are discussed elsewhere. 

2. Model a dashboard with text etc in rhino. I used text objects for everything that looks like text. The needles are blocks that can be transformed up and down or around the circle. 

3. Create a rhino script that reads the excel data and modifies the text and blocks. You also need to decide on a frame rate. As the gps data logs at around 1 second and you need to render at a higher frame rate, you need to interpolate between the recorded times. Interpolating headings is irritating around 360 degrees. 

4. Render each frame in sequence. The rhino script rendered and named the images for the sequence. Some important settings - make a green background so it can be green-screened over the sailing video. Make sure the text is added to render. Set the render size to the same as the sailing video size (my case, 1280x720). This finishes with thousands of renders labled 0.jpg to 1500.jpg (or whatever)

5. Virtual Dub can be used to render all of these frames to a single AVI file. Remember to set the frame rate. While my video was shot at 30FPS, I rendered the dashboard at 5 FPS to save on rendering time. At this stage set virtual dub to 5 FPS.

6. Open the gopro video and the dashboard video in Wax 2.0 and use the Chroma Key filter as described by this annoying kid. I needed to convert my gopro video to AVI in Virtual Dub also as Wax appears to be limited in the formats it can open. The gopro and dashboard need to by synced manually at this stage.

7. Final edits, music and text were done in Windows Live Movie Maker, because Wax is very clunky. 

I say it was a bad idea cause I have had a horrible time with the video softwares. To get to this point I have downloaded 20 programs/codecs and learnt Lightworks only to find it wouldn't encode my video. Struggles with formats etc and colossal files (like a 5min blank with that was 12 gig!). Virtual Dub is gold, and it looks like a good idea to keep everything as an AVI file as early and as long as possible. 

Syncing the boat video with the dash video was tricky and inaccurate. Next time I will walk between some known points holding the camera close to the GPS. Like up and down a few marina fingers.

If anyone else is interested leave a comment below and I'll tidy up the excel and rhinoscript files then provide links. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Australian Nationals 2013 - Day 3, 4, 5, 6

All done, I accomplished my goal - boat and I finish every race and i beat a pleasing number of M2s and BRs. I can say I have doubled my pace around the course relative to the front runners since last year, now finishing two laps in the time the leaders are doing three. My final result was 53rd out of 69 winning me the prize of 'lowest place who finishing every heat'. This won me a zhik shirt and gloves. 

Goals for next year - get onto the third lap sailing on my own design/build foils.
Immediate boat work - bin the tension system, service the tiller mechanism, carbon spreaders and new tramps. 

Nick finished 50th consistently beating me by up to 3-7 places but was dragged back down after suffering a bout of the whimpies on day 3. I'll let him pick his own goals and put his photos in a separate post. 

Some photos below. More photos here. Full results here

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Australian Nationals 2013 - Day 01 / 02

sensational conditions for day 1 - flat and 10-15kts. don't know who won - there was too much rum and if you are reading this, it's probably not for the results.

as the n4rks mentioned, i spent the evening of day 0 rebuilding both foils but managed to get onto the course on time. In the middle of the first of three races i tore thru the middle of my stbd tramp making a great big diagonal chasm between the 380mm wide hull and the wing bar. then one air bag deflated and the other escaped - tacking became really dicey and gybing worse. rerighting after a capsize was not pleasant as there was nowhere to put your bodyweight to keep the boat upright and no air bags to help keep it stable. it was fine once i managed to get onto the wing and get the ship up to speed tho, and i persisted and logged finishes in all races even beating a few more boats than usual. 

nick had a better day. we just had a look at his gps tracks. nice angles upwind and down. he was picking up boats all over the place downwind as he gybed to stay in the gusts while others feared the gybe. a bit of extra gearing may have also helped downwind but the waves weren't much of a test. 

i did the ring around after the race to find a local sail maker and he did a wicked repair overnight. the tramps are looking better than ever. i was looking forward to an early night but helped Robla glue his tiller back onto his BR rudder box.

day 2 saw some 'not usually like this' conditions -and the locals probably had a point. a 40deg heatwave with 10-30kt westerlies that with the direction warbling all over the place. So the race organisers decided to have the layday early and scheduled the 'dash for cash' and AGM and no other racing. we lined the shore in the shade of some of the trees and watched 12 elite sailors sail a short course close to the bank, progressively eliminating sailors until Peter Burling, Scott Babbagge, Nathan and Joe Turner were left. The wind went bonkers - huge lulls surrounded by 20kt bullets that took its toll on all but Peter who took it out.

i know we should be taking more photos but we did get this one:

when you fall asleep at the AGM, the next nationals venue ends up being 2000km away - queensland will be hosting it at keppel bay, yeppoon.

markla and narkla keeping the bloog alive!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Australian Moth Nationals - Day 0

Practice race today with a forecasted 5-10 knots being a passing fad (much like solid wing sails). Competitors were greeted with a beautiful sunny day, a few puffy clouds and a perfect 10-15 knots. By the time the race rolled around it had built to the high teens and the waves were getting the better of plenty of ppl. Lucky it was a practice race though because there were a few competitors with some wrinkles to iron out of their boats and themselves, Markla and I included.

My boat held together but after one lap, numerous capsizes downwind and a bit of carnage about the place I decided to head back in. I was quite happy with my upwind pace but after some Welcome Dinner discussions, have decided to try increasing the gearing a bit to try and make downwinds a bit easier.

Markla on the other hand has found some lights to repair his foils after todays shenanigans. The flap nut ripped its thread and the rudder lifter tried to rip itself off the bolts. They're both relatively minor repairs, however rigging lawn repairs come with their own set of difficulties. All the parts are ready to go, and he's setup in a lighted corner beside the clubhouse. Good luck Markla!

Markla is not alone, there was a number of resin pots being mixed, grinders getting grinding and sika flex mending going on. Robla busted his bladerider rudder gantry, but it looks like he's found someone with a spare already so should be good to go again tomorrow. Tomla enjoyed the fresh breeze and open waters of the lake (compared to Cooby Dam), until his pushrod gave up. We spent a while trying to remove it from the flap nut but it was broken just too short.

As usual, the tops guys were carving it up without too much drama. Hard to tell at this stage who will take the title, bar talk was that there were plenty of lead changes today.

Tomorrow are the first races. Wind predictions range from light to 25 knots, we'll see how that goes...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Australian Nationals 2013 - Day -2 / -1

Nick and I got down to the nationals venue (Wangi Wangi Amateur Sailing Club on Lake Macquarie) yesterday and a little update from our end of the fleet.

I am sailing same old SLINO with MSL10B, Fastacraft centreboard and , Goddard/Doinka rudder and some recent modifications - a single skin carbon plate gantry and the assassin wingset from Rob's deceased. Photos and designs for the latter to follow. I am also running a tension system for centreboard control (rather than a pushrod) - a concept which I am now told has never ever worked in waves and today the boat tried to tear me a new one. I am so sore and my wetsuit is now full of holes. I started getting it going through the chop before attempting a gybe now my right arm doesn't work. 

Nick is sailing 'Silver Shadow' an older Rocket Surgeon Composites carbon nomex machine with a foil set from the same and MSL10C. It may end up with a cam control system later in the regatta, but a test sail after crimbo was messy and it is currently running a typical pushrod system. 

The regatta will be an interesting one. Looks like their will be over 70 boats on the start list making this the second largest moth nationals in history (the only bigger one was just before the belmont worlds - bolstered with internationals who were there for the worlds). And even more interesting is the range of boats - much more than the wall to wall M2s we had last year.

Oddball List
   - SLINO
   - Silver Shaddow
   - Bob Pearson custom M2-a-like
   - Luka's scalpel
   - Nick Flutters ex Blue Meanie
   - 2x Dave Lister Monstros (one sailed by Nathan Outridge)
   - 4ish Fastacrafts including Alan's old one
   - 3ish BRs of various flavours
   - Ian Sim's scow

A couple of other interestings:
   - 4x aftermarket M2 lifters with folded down tips and flap pinned at the foil tips (so section doesn't distort)
   - A spreaderless rig for some of the western australians
   - The Advanced Wing Systems moth rig

So many sailors went out for a practise today, Nick and I inclusive. Nice 12kts in the morning. Nasty 20kts and chop in the afternoon. Luka is smoking in the light. AMac, Scott and Josh very fast in the blow. RobG incredible smooth sailing and height control (from what we saw yesterday - not sure if he sailed today). 

Lot's of boat work happening in the park on all kinds of boats. Wet'n'drying of foils and even some painting. A bit of fine tuning of the new MSL16 rigs.

Tomorrow is an official practice race and looks like it will be lightening off till wednesday.