Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Every Day is Earth Day

It's Earth Day fellow consumers and hopefully people everywhere will take the time to think about what they might do to better the planet. I'm happy to be a part of an earth friendly sport like sailing and am proud of the world sailing community for it's devotion to environmental issues. Sailing isn't merely a sport, it's a mindset and a lifestyle that requires an interest in the mechanisms of the natural world. Because of this mindset we see sailors at the forefront of many environmental efforts, but there's always more that we can do as individuals and as a community.

Today is also the 40th anniversary of the first non-stop single-handed circumnavigation by Sir Robin Knox Johnson. He finished the Sunday Times Golden Globe race on April 22 1969 to worldwide acclaim. As one of the worlds most prominent and accomplished sailors he has also been an advocate for the marine environment.

Happy Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A New Bow for Thumper????

The weird weather has given me time to Photoshop a modification that I've been thinking about since the boat first landed in our driveway. I bought it specifically for Utah Lake where the average depth is under 10'. The swing keel is perfect for the water depth but the short waterline length and light weight will be a big disadvantage upwind when the wind cranks up. In a fresh breeze the chop turns into steep breaking rollers that are very difficult for a small boat to make headway against. Because of that, I've been obsessed with the idea of putting a new bow on Thumper (here's where boat design professionals should begin rolling their eyes). A Naval Architect would prabably say that a new bow would add wetted surface area without a means of compensating - since we can't change the keel shape.

I don't understand boat design on the level that would guarantee a specific result but, for the sake of what if, let's say that I'm going to wing it. It would take the process back to the days before Pierre Bouguer (no Jerry it's not pronounced booger) when boat building was an intuitive seat of the pants thing. I could template the hull, enter the info into my CAD system, and produce the geometry for fairing the new bow into the existing hull. I read about a construction technique where template plates were attached to an existing hull and low density foam was used to fill between them. This created a faired surface that could be fiberglassed over. I'm comfortable working with the materials but as far as the design goes - complex hydrodynamics and characteristic equations are over my head. In other words, there would be a lot of guessing and probably a little trial and error. Of course, I can always rebuild it or even restore it to it's original shape if I really screw it up.

This is the existing bow shape.
Bow option with a slight rake to the stem.
Bow option with a plumb stem.
Bow option with a tumblehome stem. This one could be even more radical and extend the water line by 3 or 4 feet.
The reality is that this will most likely remain a Photoshop modification only - but it's interesting to think about.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Name

We've been kicking around possible names for the boat. One idea, for example, was Pidowit. That's how my daughter pronounced piglet when she was two years old. Why piglet? Well - they look like little boats and they're fast and slippery. Friends have also made suggestions that include the inevitable "Viagra" as well as several things that can't be put on the transom of a family boat. Although this - @#&!%*#! - might be graphically interesting.

At one point I thought about messing with the ultra conservative locals by calling it "Fewer Guns - More Gay Marriages". It's catchy - but maybe a tad wordy. And, radio communications might be a little confusing. An emergency broadcast might go something like this, "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, this is Fewer Guns - More Gay Marriages two miles southeast of Pelican point.......blah, blah. Not likely to get the desired response - although it might send a fleet of bass boats screaming my way. No, we needed something else.

One day my son Cort was working in the boat with me when he noticed that it made a cool drum sound. We talked about calling it Drum - but - that was the name of a Whitbread maxi (big sailboat) in the mid 80s that dropped it's keel during a Fastnet race. It was also owned by Simon LaBon of the pop band Duran Duran............so there's that. Plus, Drum seemed too weighty for our little boat. To put it in movie industry terms, DRUM would be a great name for a Major Motion Picture. What we needed was a title for an Animated Short. As I continued to over think potential names Cort said, "How about Thumper"? I liked it! Not too pretentious, looks good graphically, and it fits the personality of our boat. And, if we decide to be really obnoxious and cocky during a race start sequence, we can yell "YOUR'RE GONNA GET THUMPED SUCKA" at all the other boats.

Thumper it is.