Archive for June, 2010

Round the Rugged Rock

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Barry and Hannah with the Fastnet Rock astern this morning about 0800 hours.

fastnet rock astern

Round Ireland Start

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Along with 36 other boats, Dinah started the race at 1200 today off Wicklow.  Ahead: 704 nautical miles around the island.

Round Irerland Race start 1Round Ireland Race start 2

The Last Piece of the Puzzle…

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The last couple of weeks have seen more changes on Dinah. In order to improve her performance dead downwind I wanted to fit her with a longer spinnaker pole. Since we would take a hit on our rating to achieve that we decided we should fit a bowsprit of the same length, to allow more efficient handling of assymetric kites on close reaches and get the tack point much lower than it had been with the old pole. In the photo below you can see the new carbon fibre spinnaker pole and bowsprit finally fitted and ready to be tested.

Yesterday myself and Andy took part in a local coastal race double handed, with the intention of pushing the boat hard as a final opportunity to find any weaknesses prior to the Round Ireland Race next week. Quite fortunately we had every weather condition imaginable during the one race. The pole and sprit were used in everything from 3knt ghosting conditions under the Baily Lighthouse, to a screaming 25knt reach approaching the Kish Lighthouse and a complete white out squall on the way back into Dublin Bay. Everything worked absolutely perfectly, and the bowsprit makes a huge difference to the set of the assymetric. I’m sorry now that I didn’t have this setup last year!

This week is all about Round Ireland prep. Dinah will be lifted out of the water tomorrow to make sure her bottom is fair. We’ll also fit a new propeller, and a few other little things, before loading her up with provisions and safety equipment and heading to Wicklow at the end of the week. Lots to do, but everything is on schedule. More during the week…

New Rudder Bearings

Friday, June 4th, 2010

One of the jobs that had to be completed before the Round Ireland race was to replace Dinah’s rudder bearings. The original bearings consisted of a delrin ball inside an aluminium collar. The original bearings started to seize during the transat last year, and by the end of the season the steering was very stiff with a significant amount of “play” or lateral movement in the rudder itself.

Jefa, a Danish company specialising in bespoke steering solutions, were comissioned to produce a set of self aligning GRP bearings with needle rollers as the bearing surface rather than a simple ball and collar. More technical details of the solution produced by Jefa can be seen on their website.

Over a long weekend in April the old bearings were ground out of the hull, the new bearings were bonded in place, and then the new structure was carefully laminated into the hull to make it part of the hull structure itself and ensure the rudder loads would be spread appropriately.

The photo below was taken from inside the boat on a bright sunny day. With the rudder not yet fitted the sunshine illuminated the inside of the tube containing the lower bearing, and the light projected up to the new upper bearing fitted into the deck above. Bob did such a good job on the laminating it looked like a modern art installation!

The rudder itself now sits much closer to the hull underneath which is great as it reduces drag. Also, the lower bearing is faired perfectly flush with the hull outside, again to reduce drag compared with the original solution. When the rudder was refitted the improvement was immediately obvious. The rudder used to be stiff, and would not move easily. Afterwards, the rudder was swinging freely in the lightest of breezes. The boat now feels very different to sail, requiring only fingertip control in all but the heaviest of conditions. A huge improvement!