Jump to content

Recommended Posts

This is a general sailing aesthetic question.

 

I have been watching a local pro rigger completely cherry out a J100 for the last few months.  He has optimized this boat to minimize and electrify the handling of it.  He has reduced the deck clutter to the bare minimum installed multiple remote controlled electric winches below decks.  The boat can do many basic setting and trimming tasks using an electric remote.  All of the sheets and the traveler are controlled remotely by at least one hand held remote maybe more.  There is no spaghetti of lines in the cockpit and even the traveler and main sheet which has no visible sheet blocks just a single dyneema line is adjusted by remote.  The foresail is furled, reefed , and trimmed by remote.

The other day we happened to be going for a solo sail at the same time and exited harbor together.  Talking back and forth as we began to get our boats ready for sailing in the channel, I was like a school kid envious of the other kid's toys.  While I hoisted the main, dealt with the rope spaghetti  and unfurled my jib, I watched him calmly sit in the cockpit, raise and set his sails without moving around at all.  In less than a minute his sails were set and off he went. He could have had a cocktail in his hand and not spilled a drop.  Impressive!

I am not going to post pictures or get into the how, because he uses the boat for R and D and I think it is generally his proprietary knowledge and ideas going into the boat.

After awhile I started to think about what I enjoy about the sailing experience, I like messing with and pulling lines, I enjoy the activity and physicality of sailing a boat.  Even though I can appreciate the technology of the set up I am not sure I would want it and I think it would change my relation with sailing.  I am curious to find out how other sailors would view this type of set up and is it the future of sailing? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, B dock said:

This is a general sailing aesthetic question.

 

I have been watching a local pro rigger completely cherry out a J100 for the last few months.  He has optimized this boat to minimize and electrify the handling of it.  He has reduced the deck clutter to the bare minimum installed multiple remote controlled electric winches below decks.  The boat can do many basic setting and trimming tasks using an electric remote.  All of the sheets and the traveler are controlled remotely by at least one hand held remote maybe more.  There is no spaghetti of lines in the cockpit and even the traveler and main sheet which has no visible sheet blocks just a single dyneema line is adjusted by remote.  The foresail is furled, reefed , and trimmed by remote.

The other day we happened to be going for a solo sail at the same time and exited harbor together.  Talking back and forth as we began to get our boats ready for sailing in the channel, I was like a school kid envious of the other kid's toys.  While I hoisted the main, dealt with the rope spaghetti  and unfurled my jib, I watched him calmly sit in the cockpit, raise and set his sails without moving around at all.  In less than a minute his sails were set and off he went. He could have had a cocktail in his hand and not spilled a drop.  Impressive!

I am not going to post pictures or get into the how, because he uses the boat for R and D and I think it is generally his proprietary knowledge and ideas going into the boat.

After awhile I started to think about what I enjoy about the sailing experience, I like messing with and pulling lines, I enjoy the activity and physicality of sailing a boat.  Even though I can appreciate the technology of the set up I am not sure I would want it and I think it would change my relation with sailing.  I am curious to find out how other sailors would view this type of set up and is it the future of sailing? 

That's a tough debate, practicality vs sailability...

Surely there's huge pluses to running some automated systems, but they all have negatives.

Hidden lines = problems below deck. We have one line run below deck on a boat I am on regularly and it is the most problematic by miles and it's not even automated.

It also is nice sailing without motors or electrics.

But... I won't lie, still part of me thinks about powering a winch to take the halyards and other high load items. But then again, how many things do you automate? Main, Jib, Kite halyards? Main Sheet, Jib Sheets, Kite sheets? pole-up/down, vang, cunningham, outhall, back-stay, runners, traveller, jib sheeting positions?

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, B dock said:

This is a general sailing aesthetic question.

 

I have been watching a local pro rigger completely cherry out a J100 for the last few months.  He has optimized this boat to minimize and electrify the handling of it.  He has reduced the deck clutter to the bare minimum installed multiple remote controlled electric winches below decks.  The boat can do many basic setting and trimming tasks using an electric remote.  All of the sheets and the traveler are controlled remotely by at least one hand held remote maybe more.  There is no spaghetti of lines in the cockpit and even the traveler and main sheet which has no visible sheet blocks just a single dyneema line is adjusted by remote.  The foresail is furled, reefed , and trimmed by remote.

The other day we happened to be going for a solo sail at the same time and exited harbor together.  Talking back and forth as we began to get our boats ready for sailing in the channel, I was like a school kid envious of the other kid's toys.  While I hoisted the main, dealt with the rope spaghetti  and unfurled my jib, I watched him calmly sit in the cockpit, raise and set his sails without moving around at all.  In less than a minute his sails were set and off he went. He could have had a cocktail in his hand and not spilled a drop.  Impressive!

I am not going to post pictures or get into the how, because he uses the boat for R and D and I think it is generally his proprietary knowledge and ideas going into the boat.

After awhile I started to think about what I enjoy about the sailing experience, I like messing with and pulling lines, I enjoy the activity and physicality of sailing a boat.  Even though I can appreciate the technology of the set up I am not sure I would want it and I think it would change my relation with sailing.  I am curious to find out how other sailors would view this type of set up and is it the future of sailing? 

Anything that gets people on the water more is a good thing.

Would love to know more about this boat

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It is surprising that anyone is amazed by this. The technology is there, just a matter of $ to implement. I see a future of push button MacGregors, Catalinas, Beneteaus, Leopards, Lagoons, and Hunters using this. Point the boat in a direction, press a button on your iPad, computer sails for you. Instantly turns anyone that can operate a jet-ski into a potential sailor. The future is bright :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, airacer said:

Instantly turns anyone that can operate a jet-ski into a potential sailor. The future is bright :-)

Was the smiley face a sarcasm indicator? If so, ignore this comment.

If sailing was the same as operating a jet-ski, I'm not sure why anyone would choose to sail.   Part of the joy of sailing is the "difficulty" - the anger when another boat just a few feet from you seems to be going twice your speed,  the joy when you're slightly faster than that other boat.

If it was just "point and click",  a jet-ski is a lot faster, easier, and cheaper than a sailboat. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Having raced a couple boats with powered winches rigged by the person referenced in the OP, I am a fan of the option. Its not for everyone. But there are some things that I think people miss about powered winches and smart rigging implemented well.  When done correctly, lines below are not an issue. The key is do it right- and that costs money and requires someone with experience that knows where the pitfalls are. 

With powered winches the boat is so much quieter, and that enables the boat to be sailed better.  I have been on both  a 40'er and a 52' er with powered winches on a pressed kite reach- sails in out with every puff, right on the edge of control. With electrics the trimmers don't call out "TRIM", "HOLD" and all the other noises that come with communicating to grinders. Its amazing what that alone does for the vibe on the boat. You can focus on the trim, hearing the other persons calling puffs etc.  It may not sound like a big deal, but once you experience it, you can't ignore it. 

Y

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In an interesting new twist, there seems to be  discussion going on whether power assisted boats should be rated differently, given a different class to compete in, or excluded from single and double handed races.  Is power assisted sailing a distinct competitive advantage in short handed sailing races? How should this be handled?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/8/2020 at 8:12 AM, B dock said:

In an interesting new twist, there seems to be  discussion going on whether power assisted boats should be rated differently, given a different class to compete in, or excluded from single and double handed races.  Is power assisted sailing a distinct competitive advantage in short handed sailing races? How should this be handled?

I kinda get it... but I also don't...

Where do you mark the spot where it's a boost or a handicap?

I mean I get it, auto-pilot yeah that's probably an easy one. Windvane? That can't be a boost.

Sheet winches? Halyard winches? Linear actuators for outhauls, vangs, cunno etc...

It all seems like a lot of added weight in not-movable ballast. Like just sticking 8 fat guys on the rail in heavy air and double handing in light air seems like more of an advantage for me.

Is there a penalty for having an olympic rower on the coffee grinder handles, is there a handicap bonus for sailing with a bunch of under-sized women?

But then do you alter the rules for bigger or smaller boats? It's probably a lot more help powering the winches on Comanche over a Melges 32.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/30/2020 at 1:04 PM, B dock said:

general sailing aesthetic question.

 

For God's sake, roller furling and 2-speed self-tailing sheet winches already make sailing easy enough that even a moron with toothpick arms like me can do it. Further mechanisation is lazy, overcomplicated, a waste of money and likely inviting a Curse From God.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Anything that gets people on the water more is a good thing.

Would love to know more about this boat

I have seen the boat and been told all about it by the builder.    Large wireless remote with like 10-12 sets of in/out buttons.    No winches are above deck except the two cabin top winches which are remote controlled as well.   Single lines going below deck for mainsheet, main traveler, self-tacking jib sheet, jib traveler, jib boom rotation control, below deck fuller and hydro electric outhaul, vang, backstay.    If anything happens to the system there is no way above deck to ease any sails except release the halyard.

Very slick implementation but doesn't need to be on the course with boat that use manual power to actually sail their boats.   Now if power assisted sailing is going to become a thing, fine.   They can sail in their own division and not be eligible for the overall wins, etc.

There is quite a bit of back and forth going on with this locally with some arguing that since sailing numbers are in decline and competitors aging this will keep more folks racing on the course longer.   So, if I can't keep up with fellow bicycle racers would it be OK if I used an electric motor hub wheel and just point my handlebars and shift?

At least with regular power winches you at least need to wrap the line around the winch and release them manually.   This boat is fully automated.

Rule 52: MANUAL POWER. A boat's standing rigging, running rigging, spars and movable hull appendages shall be adjusted and operated only by the power. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

In an interesting new twist, there seems to be  discussion going on whether power assisted boats should be rated differently, given a different class to compete in, or excluded from single and double handed races.  Is power assisted sailing a distinct competitive advantage in short handed sailing races? How should this be handled?

As I stated above.....   power assisted sailing is NOT allowed under Rule 52.   Boats that use stored energy to operate sails are already excluded from ALL racing unless the SIs void that rule.

Of course it's an advantage, why is that even a question.   After short-tacking my boat up the city front and round the weather mark my arms are already toast when it comes time to hoist the spinnaker.   Is it fair that another competitor presses buttons for all those tacks, doing them quicker, getting up to speed quicker and then has fresh arms for the spinnaker hoist?    Of course not.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like an interesting project that can potentially get physically challenged sailors out on the water - that would be great. 

For me I like KISS, less complicated and less stuff to break.  Boat to boat racing I envision some boatyard repairs and potential hospital visits -- breeze on, trying to duck a starboard tacker, press the main out button and the below deck main sheet drum doesn't release.  Cant press an Emergency Stop button on a sailboat.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, yoyo said:

Sounds like an interesting project that can potentially get physically challenged sailors out on the water - that would be great. 

For me I like KISS, less complicated and less stuff to break.  Boat to boat racing I envision some boatyard repairs and potential hospital visits -- breeze on, trying to duck a starboard tacker, press the main out button and the below deck main sheet drum doesn't release.  Cant press an Emergency Stop button on a sailboat.

Actually, an 'Emergency Stop' would be pretty easy to engineer with this system I think.  If the actuators for the main and jib sheets had electronically controlled clutches on them, simply make a button that opens clutches and boom, at any point other than downwind, pretty much instant depower.

While we're at it, we do a water brake trim-tab on the hull bottom that electromechamically deploys as well, so the boat truly slows down quickly at the same.

Anything to keep you fogies out on the water.  Im game.  I'll be a fogey someday too ;)

Meantime I'll keep managing spaghetti, thank you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I see the appeal in captive reel winches as they keep the spaghetti out of the way. We have them on our Block Island 40 main halyard and mainsheet although they are the older style that are rather dangerous to operate if you do not know what you’re doing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of us race under PHRF.  If PHRF's intent is followed, ratings are based on observed performance.  So far, the subject boat and others with powered winches have not shown better race results than their non-powered sisterships.  Our PHRF committee says they are watching, and I'm sure a couple of our skippers have appeals ready to submit.

I've seen the subject boat.  It's like a 33' Wally, if you're into that sort of thing.

John Pfautz, contact Scott Easom in Pt. Richmond, CA.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...