Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Foiling Optimist

Excerpt from Adam May -

Well it had been joked about in the Moth fleet for quite a while, but when I mentioned it to Katherine she was determined to try and be the first to do it. Would it really be possible to get an Optimist dinghy up onto foils? How fast can you get one to go? A Moth takes off at around 7/8 knots. Could you get an Oppie up to that speed? It can get to ~5 easily enough, would the foil assist make the difference for that last nudge towards folborne flight? It hardly has the streamlined shape like a Moth, its a bit heavier, and the rig slightly smaller! It does measure as a Moth though - with only the addition of a Moth logo you'd be fine.

Oh well you'll never know if you don't try. We saw an old wooden Oppie for sale locally going very cheap so we got hold of it, and it sat in the workshop for some time. It needed a bit of work to even get it back on the water. The rowlocks and seat are not essential foiling equipment! Katherine was let loose with a power sander, and various pots of paint and varnish while I pondered how to fit the foils from 'Carbon Footprint' into this vintage wooden Oppie.

Aside from the renovation work required, the actual conversion to foils only took a weekend of bimbling. The aim was to use as much as possible from the Moth, so the foils, gantry, and wand could just plug on. In order to use the same cable from the Moth, and get the wand out in front of the boat and main foil, we made up a little bowsprit. A bit of glass fibre fishing rod, and some carbon supports from the scrap bin and we were there. The gantry was bolted to the transom with some little carbon brackets I laminated up. The main foil fitted through the existing centreboard case (just!) and a cover plate to mount over the open case on the underside of the hull was made up. The exact profile of the board was then cut out of this. (The 'speedfish' as
dubbed by Katherine) The whole boat was assembled in the workshop. (great when you can actually get the mast up inside!) foil angles checked, and then all loaded into the back of Katherine's Transporter van. A useful travel feature of the Foiling Oppie concept! We then had to cope with Katherine getting rather excited by the whole idea of this test pilot lark while we waited for a weather window...

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