Friday, May 27, 2011

Self-Steering - Phonix III Video

It is generally thought that single-masted boats can't be made to self-steer. But there are plenty of examples of people who have made it happen - the best known being Joshua Slocum.

Here is a video showing Phoenix III doing the job, sailing to windward in mild conditions. I guess that many of you may have already seen this video, but I post it for those who have missed the action.

In the clip, owner/builder Paul Hernes is lying in the bilge of the boat, but he is not touching the tiller, nor in any other way cheating. The tiller has been lightly lashed and the boat is sailing herself. The rig is the balance lug, which sets on the standard mast which is used also for the sprit-sloop rig. Have a look at the tell-tales to see how well the rig has been trimmed.

With all of my designs, I try to use a single mast location and a common mast with the various rig options. This requires careful design and manipulation of sail size, shape, and location - but the net result is that it is possible to have different rigs without having to make a new mast, and more importantly, it is not necessary to change the mast step and the mast partner.

Paul frequently goes to the boat ramp with both the sprit-sloop rig and the balance lug rig. He makes the decision about which rig to set after he gets to the launch site. Sometimes he starts the day with one rig, and finishes the day with the other.

I promise that I will get an entry written dealing with Micro part 2 as soon as possible. Trust me, I have been really busy!

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