martin.langhoff

Whisper Foiling Catamaran Sailors

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We are lucky enough that we have a small band of Whisper Sailors playing around and posting videos and rigging / tuning notes. 

@Flying Tiger Whisper is publishing his videos, including some how to rig it, at
 
- @flyinggorilla is publishing... 
 
  videos at
 
  amazing docs and anecdotes at
  

~ ~ ~ 

Happy to answer questions, discuss Whisper topics here. Now that summer is here, I expect you'll see more videos as we sail, play, capsize and fly...

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Hi Martin!   Love the videos.  It seems that we all go through the same learning curve:  early spectacular crashes and splashes, then some marginally stable flights, then many sails with good speed, with better angles, and much less physical effort.  

That's when the videos become boring and routine,  but the sailors are certainly not bored, but thrilled - and flying is anything but routine.

I think the lesson to anyone considering foiling is: you will suck the first time, but you will be screaming with joy as early as your second session.

At our local Club we have to check in on starboard behind the committee boat before racing.  

At the last race I foiled into the start area behind the committee boat, hardened up to an upwind foil, and announced "sail number 08 checking in".

Awesome.  RC and the other competitors are still talking about it.  I hope this will soon be a routine happening.  Great fun to be at the leading edge of this.

Charlie

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At the risk of repeating myself, it really is great to see and her the stories of others in different boats. It is clear to me that we are all going through the same learning cycles and I remain convinced that technique is very similar across a range of different foil types because the rig and crew weight have such a significant impact on the loading of the foils in smaller beach cats.

The comment about less physical effort is really important. First time out, I thought an old fool like me would never be fit enough and I was exhausted in a short period of time, with numerous capsizes making matters worse. Slowly but surely, the energy needed has become less, as I learn to stop fighting the boat and what I should be doing. I can now sail foil with little more energy than I used to use before. There does seem to be a "next level" because I know I am 2-3 knots slower than the top guys are achieving and I suspect that is them pushing the boat harder. For now, I am happy to simply be foiling reasonably well. It might look in control from outside the boat, but my top speeds feel like anything but in control and I would imagine another 2-3 knots would just be scary. this is all downwind, because I cannot get foiling upwind without being way too low. I hear that on the A, beneficial upwind foiling is very physical.

One question. I have never been videoed foiling. How much do you guys actually learn from watching the video. Should I be buying a Go Pro? Is it a good spend of money for learning? What would you recommend?

 

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Thanks for the feedback! And yes, there seems to be a lot in common, I'm definitely learning from the S9 videos. And agreed on the physical effort. It goes down each outing, as we polish our handling.

@A Class Sailor I find that the GoPro/VIRB cameras are fantastic. Make sure it has GPS. Things happen so fast that in later discussion/analysis we can't figure out cause-effect reliably. With the camera we can go back and see what actually happened. And the visualization of maneuver with speed is the kind of feedback you need. Price in a good "rollbar" mount, one that has no detachable/loose pieces -- I just lost a piece of mine in a bad maneuver. 

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Hi Whisper sailors,

for coming in/out of shore in shallow waters, I needed a simple solution for keeping the rudder in middle position. One of the issues with my previous solution was that it failed when a wave or simply the foil-lift at speed pushed the rudder up. So the solution needed to keep the rudder in place - up and downwards. Also it should be easily adjustable on the water, without needing to change knots or using tools. So I came up with this simple solution that everyone can 3D print. You need a 3mm rope, a simple plastic carabiner, a 5mm bungee and one or two pieces of those "rope twisters" as I call those 3d printed parts - per rudder you want to equip with this. 

Here is the link to the rudder holder 3D print piece https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2426782.

Hope you find it useful.

Best,
Flyinggorilla

whisperrudderholder.jpg

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@flyinggorilla that setup is fantastic. At first I didn't understand it. The bungees described in the manual are a bit awkward compared to this, it's hard to get their tension right so that it controls the rudder without making it hard to push it fully down into position.

 

I have friends with 3-D printers, I have to pay them a friendly visit and print a couple of those, plus the speed-puck holder. Then I have to buy a speed puck :-)

 

 

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A Class Sailor: what you said: yep.

VIRB or GoPro:  highly beneficial to watch experienced people (John) go through maneuvers so you learn what to do or what not to do.

Bow or pole  mounted angle is most beneficial - head mounts are too "busy".  They also give away the over-excitement of the skipper ;).

If your Club has a stake boat monitoring the marks, perhaps you can set them up with a good video camera.  I am still working on this at my Club.

Charlie

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Very nice Martin, I'd say you are doing pretty darn well! Boat looks nice and stable but those are some solid speed numbers!

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Nice to see the single handed sailing. How much wind? It looks very manageable. The speed units are different in each video. Can you confirm whether KPH is kilometres or knots as i am interested in the differences between single handed and 2 up. How do you see it? Does the extra weight slow because of increased drag or does it go faster because of extra RM.

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I flubbed the editor and had it in km/h this time. Apologies. Winds were soft -- 8~10Kt. I sailed (and foiled) more, and faster, but didn't get video of it all.

What I had planned to be a long day in the water (I was saving my camera battery for later) was cut short by a rudder stock breaking (after months of abuse). New rudder stock on order. Meanwhile, I patched up the broken rudder stock with carbon fiber. It was quite a job.At my current abilities... with winds around 8kt, solo is faster and easier to foil.  

Two handed requires spinnaker, and its high center of pressure makes it hard to provide enough RM, even for two; and when you do you have a lot of weight out on the wire, apparent wind shifts forward quickly. On a reach or tight reach, the apparent wind shift is so significant and quick that the spinnaker collapses, and it's a mad scramble to avoid soaking in the water. Sprint, stop, sprint, stop. Working on finding a more stable dynamic.

We have a little club race planned tomorrow Saturday, hopefully more videos to come.

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Sounds like you need to talk to GP about this. He should be able to cut you a new flatter kite that performs better with the boat and actual apparent wind angles. Others have gone through this as well (FP, F20FCS). The other option is to save the 2-up sailing for conditions where the breeze is sufficient to foil downwind without the spinnaker.

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@samc99us I was talking yesterday with a local sailmaker about this exact thing -- a tight flat kite. 

5 hours ago, samc99us said:

s have gone through this as well (FP, F20FCS).

More info...?

5 hours ago, samc99us said:

save the 2-up sailing for conditions where...

ha ha ha, that won't be popular with my crew ... 

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A complete blast yesterday on ~10kt of wind. Was out for 4hs. Had some minor rig/setup issues that resulted in a lot extra mainsheet work, which left me exhausted, and some control issues (lee rudder and foil would come out of the water often). Page-full of notes for next round :-)

(note: updated the video link to a slightly better edit)

 

 

 

Edited by martin.langhoff

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For this weekend, we hope the Whisper in Biscayne Bay does _not_ go foiling. Or flying. Crew is safe and sound, evacuated, boat is tied down inland but still in Miami area. The Irma thread in Sailing Anarchy forum has lots and lots of great info on how this is evolving.

After securing it, we gave the gorgeous red cat a big hug and thank you; see you on the other side.

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Martin how did you ,your family and the Whisper make out in the storm?

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Hi Doug! Thank you for asking! We did great, and we're "back in business". We joined Columbus Day Regatta, but did badly. A combination of equipment failure (spinnaker troubles) and lack of upwind handling. We haven't practiced upwind sailing 'cause it's not so much fun. 

Some highlights of our recent outings below. Wind has picked up so it's all about depowering now. 

Last Saturday - 

 

 

 

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Great video-thanks. Nice to see whats happening with the foils........

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The port rudder stock had broken a couple months ago, after suffering a few groundings when coming to the beach. I rolled up my sleeves and patched it up at home. which lasted until... well, until the last 3 seconds of this video. See for yourself...

 

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Wow-that wasn't anywhere near as violent as I thought it might be--thanks for the vid!

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You're right, it sounds like it'd be quite a bit more dramatic. It's not the first time it happens to me, so I didn't even think about it. 

The boat has 4 foils, so even with 3 going there's quite a bit of stability. The leeward main foil carries most of the load, the rudder aft of it carries a lesser load, and provides pitch stability. When it broke we lost pitch stability, some lift, and got this huge draggy thing dangling at the back...

For a truly violent crash, my favorite is this Flying Phantom which (I think) gets tangled in a fishing net, and turned into a slingshot...  

 

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Both rudder stocks had suffered some not-so-tender groundings. With one cracked completely open, the question was, how long will the other one last. The answer is: until the last few frames of the video below! (Fret not, I have a replacement in hand, literally, as I knew it was on its last legs).

We had a blast, recorded wind was 5kt w gusts of 8kt (we probably had +2 on that, thanks to local effects).The camera rig got a bit jiggly. This is now our borderline windspeed for foiling -- the improvements have a lot to do with better tuning based on the A-Class and Nacra tuning guides I've collected, thanks to @A Class Sailor and @samc99us.

We ran reaches back and forth, exploring our tuning vs speed vs fore-aft balance vs foiling. In light conditions, we don't have a good setup for upwind sailing, at least not yet.

 

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A good run yesterday. What was too little wind not long ago, now I can sustain long stretches of foiling. It's a bit tiring to solo, so my steadiness goes down as the hours tick. Need a 3rd hand for the spinnaker :-) 

 

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Great, Martin-thanks! Did you go after the Weta?

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9 hours ago, Doug Lord said:

Great, Martin-thanks! Did you go after the Weta?

Yes I did :-) he's a friend of mine, we had gone out together. Often crews on the Whisper w me. Was offering him a muesli bar as he sailed past. Camera ran out of battery soon after, so no other shots with the Weta nearby.

Here's a recent outing with both boats - 

 

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More Foiling Week fun! Foiling around with a duo of Whisper cats, wind was marginal for foiling at crew weight so mix of foiling and displacement shots...

 

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Sailing/foiling back to home base after FW I cracked a rib against the spinnaker pole. Healed quick but still a bit sore. Today was my first outing after FW.

It was a very gusty morning, baseline 13kt gusting 18/20kt. Quite a challenge, and I'm still sore, so wanted to keep it simple.

In recent times my foiling settings had drifted to an awkward configuration where I had to bring my weight way back. So today I tested a range of settings, and settled on a new happy place. Ride height adj is set higher, and now I use much less foil rake.

Took a couple of tries to find a spot where I can control "takeoff" with my weight, without having to go too far back. The sweet spot I found let's me foil from a reasonable position, I can still force a takeoff by stepping astern a bit, and I can take it to a landing by walking to the shrouds.

With this, I could slow the boat without a spill even in the gusts. Sometimes it worked, sometimes... well, you can watch the video...

 

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I am puzzled about the low velocity recorded ! It seems a low speed foiler ? I am faster with my 15 ft floating Tri

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On this outing, it's definitely going slow. It's a 2-people-on-the-wire boat, so I only have 1/2 of the RM I'd need to control it, and half the hands! 

I'm also nursing a broken rib. Speed means occasional launches forward, that's how I broke my rib. So I depowered it aggressively. You can see the sails flopping about. I slowed the boat down for tacks, etc. It as a good time... sailing conservatively. 

The forecast was for mellower conditions. Had I known, I'd have taken the Weta out instead.

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I have a whisper based in Greece. My name is James. Nice to read about all your adventures. Went sailing for the first time, yesterday, capsized and the securing pin which is "supposed" to hold  the rudder in place, didn't! Result 1 lost rudder. Wonder what you all use to hold the rudders in place! Cheers James

 

 

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Hi James!

Congrats on your boat! Videos, pictures?

The pin to hold the rudder in place is heldc by a bungee cord. The way I know to set it is to wrap the bungee over the protruding pin on the "other" side. This puts some pressure on the pin so it won't slide out. 

Once the rudder came off, did it float? Did you actually lose it? My main foils float, I haven't tested the rudders but I imagine they would float as well. I don't mean float life a pfd, more like neutral buoyancy. I'm in salt water, maybe that helps.

cheers, martin

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Hi James,

sad to hear you've lost the rudder! As I mentioned, my foils float (neutral buoyancy), any chance it might have landed in a stretch of coast near, somewhere you can recover it?

I'll take a pic of how I set my pin next time I'm at the boat. I just checked, and the manual doesn't show how it goes. I don't know how/where I learned how to do it.

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Dear James,

I'm sorry to hear you lost your rudder!  Can you further describe what you lost?  There is a M8 hex bolt that's about 75-80 mm long and partially threaded.  It fixes through the bottom portion of your rudder stock.  Did this bolt come undone and you lost both the rudder and the rudder stock? 

If not, there should be a rope tied through the very top of your rudder.  This rope is used to pull the rudder up, but it also prevents the rudder from sliding all the way down through the rudder stock due to the stopper knots.

Flying Gorilla has a fantastic 3D printed solution for holding his rudders, but I have a low tech solution: 

 

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@james brown - Flying Tiger Whisper is right, and I had forgotten. Even if the pin isn't held into place by the bungee, the rudder has normally a rope "handle" at the top, preventing its escape. There should be 3 holes top of each rudder -- two are used to set the rope handle, one for the pin.

 

 

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Couple of general rigging notes from personal experience and/or recent email exchanges with other whisper sailors

  • My diamond shrouds are tensioned at around 30 in the loos gauge. Other whisper sailors have similar, or a bit lower.
  • It's not trivial to get enough batten tension; I received my sails rigged right, but had to take the battens out for maintenance. Needed a Hobie Batten tensioner tool to get the battens again to good "pop in light air gybe" tension. 
  • Under the trampoline wire -- I've upgraded the shackles and block, and now I set it to 18-20. Going above 20 has given me trouble. 
  • Roll the jib on a tube or something. Creases damage it badly. High quality Mylar tape can help with the damage.
  • Main foils can be inserted with the boat on the water, at about chest depth. The foils float a bit. Watch out, don't drop nuts/bolts/tools in the water; even better, have spares.
  • Silicone spray (from dupont) is fabulous for a quick lubrication of the ride height adjuster, the mainsail mast track (for a quick hoist), and the rim of the spinnaker chute.
  • Each main foil is (almost?) symmetrical in its wing setup. The boat gets its dihedral stability from the hulls and foil cases being slanted.

Beach launching technique is still something I am playing with.

The beach wheels are very easy to set/remove solo under the bows, placing them as close to the main foils as possible. However, in that position the boat feels heavy when I pick it up (from the aft crossbeam). Taylor uses this technique, he's a good deal stronger than I am.

My preferred technique is to put the beach wheels just aft of the main foils. It's a bit tricky to set/remove, because I need to have someone holding the bow -- or tie the bow somewhere. Otherwise the boat will sail away. The upside is that the boat is perfectly balanced, I can move it around the beach with my fingertips.

...and when we get to the boat's dry dock spot, the perfect balance turns into a liability, as the boat can toggle position with each gust. I tie the boat down securely, but the balanced position is a lot less stable, and works the tie-down setup.

 

 

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After a few tweaks, I seem to have the cat dialled in again. After work outing, with 4-7kts of wind according to the local weather station. Top speed 11kts. Spectacular sunset over Miami.

 

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