C-Class Little Cup news

Hello everyone,

I hope I'm stepping on anyone's toe here, but it's been some time I haven't found any news from C-Class teams and the LittleCup. Last time I checked it was supposed to take place in 2017, somewhere in Germany, organized by Hydros again.

Does someone know something about that? Maybe Steve Clark or someone else who's familiar with it? 

 

Steve Clark

Super Anarchist
It is a long tale,  but nothing much is happening.

Two of the best European teams, Groupama and Hydros,  disbanded and sold their assets to an owner in the UAE.

Rumor has it that some of the stuff has been broken.

Fred Eaton is inactive for various reasons, and reassembling his team will present challenges.

The Sentient Blue Team has moved, had babies and spent a few years building a very nice A like catamaran, but hasn't done anything to improve Alpha.

Airbus ( Norman Wijker &al) have no money time or energy.

PLVI was given to a university team which, I guess has figured out how to rig the boat but not much more.

I am one old guy with a pile of broken stuff and no team.  I have ideas, but not enough time and little encouragement do test them.

The ETS Rafele  team has built a new platform and will be at foiling week in Miami testing with straight foils. They are the only group that has made any effort at all.

Further, until May 2017 it seemed that the America's Cup was doing everything that we would or could do.  So whatever talent existed to execute a C Class effort was employed or committed to those efforts.  It could be argued that we had won. The America's cup was being sailed in "our" boats ( ie Wing Sail Catamarans) and they were fighting the foil development wars with many times more assets than we could muster.  Perhaps it was time to release the hostages and declare victory.

That changed with the New Zealand win, and we are trying to understand if there is a course forward for the C Class. 

I wish it was better news, but we seem to be right back where we were in the 1990s.

SHC

 
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Steve, thanks a lot for your answer and all those details.

I've been following closely the Little Cup for more than 25 years now. You are one of my childhood heroes winning it back in 96 in such a fashion. I've even did a summer internship with Rémi Laval Jeantet, an hydrodynamicist  at the time heavily involved with the OTIP challenge and the America's Cup, working on a small speed foiling project in the south of France.

I feel very fortunate you took time, here!

I do agree that somehow, you C Class guys won in the 2010s, having winged catamarans in the America's Cup. It was a blast to follow them. I had hoped it would make the C Class a laboratory for those team and Groupama didn't make me wrong. That said and even though the NZ win changed it somehow, that's not all about the Little Cup.

For me that trophy represented 3 very special things:

-first, with its box design rule you can do absolutely everything, which can and and has been crazy!

-then and equally important, it requires a team effort with a human scale. For instance, you don't need hundreds of millions of $/€ to compete (I am not saying it is cheap, of course). In a sense it is probably far more sustainable than the America's Cup, in the long run.

-finally the gentleman spirit and fellow feeling associated with that competition.

You're bringing sad news for the state of the C-Class indeed, but I like the comparison you're making with the 90s. We had a huge gat with a bright revival!

Now I'm an economist working in academics and racing Solings and Stars on the Seine at the very Old CVP in Paris. I used to own and race a A cat but not anymore. That said I'm more passionate about the LittleCup than ever, even though I'm no naval architect or engineer.

Do you know if, as you did with Fred Eaton, the groupama team has been open to share their design ? That would be a great step toward another bright future, for instance.

Pierre-Jean

 

Erwankerauzen

Member
409
90
Pierre Jean,

Do you know if, as you did with Fred Eaton, the groupama team has been open to share their design ? That would be a great step toward another bright future, for instance.

When I was at Falmouth in september 2013, the only team which locked its door to maintain confidentiality on their boat, was GroupamaC,

So they did not meet exactly the "Open Source" spirit which was among the traditional values of the Little Cup.

For sure Cammas brought the cup to a new level, but as he had to comply with his sponsor requirements, he was managing a business more than attending to a sailing competition.

If he refused to give his useless wing to ETNZ after the capsize in the cup, it is probably because Groupama has no interest in developing its insurance business in Kiwiland.

So as you can see the LAC has changed a little bit.

I met Remi for the first time in 1986 when he was trying to work for Le Maout and his Formula 40.

Next time you have time for a beer in Paris let me know by PM.

Best Regards

EK

 

WetSnail

Member
96
17
I wish it was better news, but we seem to be right back where we were in the 1990s.
How much difference would it make to take the same approach, spirit, and technology into the B-class?  With M20 and Tornado offering off the shelf platforms, and the Vampire project working on foils, the barrier to entry should be a lot lower.  Though to include Vampire, B-class rules would have to be modified either to allow greater beam or not to count foils, and I think she has greater sail area.

And if you want to open up platforms, you could abandon beam limits to allow in trimarans, or limit cumulative hull length to allow triscaphs, like Loisier 3000 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmwXNJD8yfE), or Trifoilers.  And if you don't want to see a 12 metre long variant of Blue Arrow (http://www.news.johnclaridgeboats.co.uk/2014/11/the-americas-cup-first-foil-assisted.html), you could limit the sum of squares of hull lengths, sail area, and perhaps rig height, and leave everything else open.

Either way, how much difference would going smaller make to the time and money required?

 

Kenny Dumas

Super Anarchist
1,651
12
Oregon
If you're going to propose a new class, how about going back to Little America's Cup and do a small version of the new AC monohull rule?  30 foot water walking lizards would be interesting.

 

F18 Sailor

Super Anarchist
2,675
254
Annapolis, MD
BSnail,

  The B-Class cats are now decidedly foiling- F20FCS, Vampire as you mention.. Wingsails + foiling don't work all that well, Bora proved that with the Moth, Hydros confirmed it at the last LAC. Well, the AC72's, 45F's and 50's showed it was fine with a massive budget and a large enough platform plus pro sailors to react in time to save the boat and rig in most situations.

The other note is cutting 5' off the hull length and 4' off the beam doesn't drastically change logistics as a 10' wide boat is still a big pain to deal with transportation wise.

Finally, at the moment a lot is going on in the A cat class. I think a full wing sail could make an appearance there again at some point as the focus is heavily on aero at the moment. It's also a lot less expensive class to play around in and logistically simpler than boats that require their own shipping container.

All that being said I do hope to see the C class back at it at some point and with the move to monohulls for the next cup cycle maybe it will happen. Groupama C was a sight to behold and I hope for histories sake the platform is intact. From a purely technical standpoint I would LOVE to know the layup schedules and total hull weight of that platform...

 
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Erwankerauzen

Member
409
90
Finally, at the moment a lot is going on in the A cat class. I think a full wing sail could make an appearance there again at some point as the focus is heavily on aero at the moment.
Well said Sam,

You should add, that the main advantage of a wingsail are not only in the aero issue.

 A wing does not need a pulley block on the rear beam so:

1-Foiling tacks and gybes should be easier.

2-No more stress on the rear beam with the pulley block and long leech requiring high load to be flat enought(=little twist) for apparent wind when foiling windward.

3-Moving some area in front of the mast rotation axis, allow to move the foil accordingly and it increases the wheel base and narrow the high load area of the platform between foils / front cross-beam/ shrouds /lateral stays.

It should be reasonnable to expect new generation A-Cat with removeable cross-beams from the hull.

(After all, GroupamaC was not a one piece boat, and she seemed stiff enough to foil with a reasonnable stability in many wind/sea conditions.)

............and a splitted wing in order to be able to pack a bunch of boats in a 20 feet container and minimize carbon footprint for transport, as this issue will come sooner or later.

Overall these new A-Cat generation will be made of a strong main cross-beam which will bear most of the big loads of the (foils + mast foot + lateral stays) so the use of the best technology will be concentrated on a "little" part of the platform instead on the whole platform, while hulls could require only basic technologies as an A-Cat hull has enough inertia to address the front stays' loads at the bows and rudder winglets' lift at the back with fiberglass/foam sandwidch/vinylester.

So a wing could lead to cheaper boats could it ?

In order not to be off topic, I could have presented this point differently:

Can GroupamaC be a benchmark for the future of the A-Cat ?

Cheers

 

Tornado_ALIVE

Super Anarchist
4,377
54
Melbourne, AUS
Disadvantage of the Wing..... 2 person set up. Damage on capsize.  Increased pitching, may be less of an issue on a Foiler however the extra weight aloft won’t be positive.  Increased weight on an A that is already over the 75kg mark.

The big plus for a wing on a non foiler was the extra drive you can develop downwind.  An A now days is looking to teduce power and flatten out the rig for less drag downwind.

 

Erwankerauzen

Member
409
90
You are right on every points, 

But a wing is not always a 2/3 elements wing like for C-Cat, it can be a single element wing/soft sail with a morphing section, as we do not need huge HP in the section, because we have high apparent wind

The weight of the main tube for a wing like the one designed/Build for an A-Cat 10 years ago/ 7 m long/ was around  4.1 kg.(Thanks to HALL SPARS)

The wing should be as crash proof as existing rigs, otherwise no future, I agree. But is easier to achieve with a morphing structure, which is flexible in many points, than with stiff symetrical wing sections arrangements.

I feel confident a clever guy will suss out a solution if there is some significant performance pick up to be expected.

Cheers 

 

Tornado_ALIVE

Super Anarchist
4,377
54
Melbourne, AUS
Let’s see if these take off. 

EB5BB674-7049-4B05-AFA6-464BD61152BE.jpeg

E3028DC3-F7D3-4F83-943A-06C6AA6F0161.jpeg

 

F18 Sailor

Super Anarchist
2,675
254
Annapolis, MD
I agree with many of your points Erwankerauzen, though the one big issue remains the transportation and rigging hassle of the wing. The A is beautiful because it can be launched and rigged by 1 person. The wing sail eliminates that, and is ultimately why Hall abandoned the concept, coupled with the increased pitching moment that didn't increase upwind performance and may hurt the foilers. Personally I would like to give it a try, but finding time to build a wing isn't easy.

Structurally, I don't see moving back to foam or vinylester. Epoxy costs are minor compared with vinylester and you get better fatigue life (though only minor if any increase in initial stiffness), the biggest reason to use vinylester is to use gelcoat which is less workload than fairing and painting but painted boats generally have more material in them so are stiffer. In the case of the A-Cat, I don't think the hulls can be built much lighter (they are only single skin carbon on each side of noemx) with drastic cost increases attained by going to the non crimped fibers Groupama used, plus returning to the fragile nature of some of the way earlier boats. Weight at the moment is pretty well concentrated in the foils, and the fully bonded beams are going to be lighter than a bolted connection no matter what, though perhaps as you say some of the rear beam weight could move into sorting those out. The Groupama C beam connection looks really slick, similar to the Diam 24; none of the bolted beamed A's (mine including) have such a nice and rigid connection. I bonded my platform because the minor advantages of an non-bonded platform didn't make sense to me, namely being able to transport the boat on a car roof rack or repairing one hull at a time. Most of the fleet seems to agree with the new C-board boats and older C-board boats (DNA, Nikita) featuring fully bonded platforms. At less than 8' wide, its not a huge deal, and perhaps the biggest advantage would be in shipping.

T_A

That large mast wasn't proven to be better than the current rig setup (which is highly refined). I do wonder if the Smyth rig would pan out on the A?

Finally, I'll say it would really be nice to have all the design details of Groupama C made public or limited release at least. I think that may have stagnated the class some, without having the specifications for your baseline competition available, how can you build a better boat?

 

Erwankerauzen

Member
409
90
Thanks Sam for taking time to write this long post and feeding the ongoing debate.

A C-Cat wing is around 40 feet long and 60 kg heavy, so it requires special care.

for a 17 kg 14 sqm soft wing for instance, a stainless hinge as provided by Greg Goodall for decades could make it for one person rigging.

I mentionned vinylester to illustrate that concentration of stress and strain on one little piece (main crossbeam) could "ultimatly" allow low tech for the hulls whitout giving up stiffness.

The leading edge of this large mast is smartly designed, unfortunatly, I am afraid that its inability to twist, would offset other advantage, especially downwind.

Cheers 

 

F18 Sailor

Super Anarchist
2,675
254
Annapolis, MD
The difference between stepping a wing and a normal mast isn't the weight but the fact that you are now hoisting your sail at the same time. In anything more than 5-6kts of breeze this is definitely a 2 person task.

The VPLP designed soft wing sail might be a nice alternative for the A.

In the C-class, the question remains what would a revival look like? Clearly full foiling. J's or Z's or something else entirely? Who has the design resources that Groupama did to successfully embark on a full foil design program (in conjunction with Phantom International I might add)?

 

Wess

Super Anarchist
Hey @Steve Clark- I am just a dumb curious weekend warrior.  More cruiser and experimenter than racer maybe.  But is this fair?

It seems to me that the C class thrived and revived when sport and technology were at a place and pace that meaningful advances could be accomplished within the context of knowledge and budget of an enlightened and open minded individuals.  Almost backyard building.  But now the C class catamarans are wing sail foiling platforms (call it a corner of the box rule for lack of a better term) and the improvements are going to be more marginal and far more expensive as is always the case when working in a corner.  It seems like its all about wings, aero, foils, and foiling systems and it appears all of that needs big bucks/budgets, big teams and very precise highly exotic builds for even marginal gains.

If that is even remotely close to true then the difficulty of another revival aligned with the spirit of the C class past seems unlikely but I am curious your opinion Steve....

  *  Do you think the next fastest boat in the C class box rule is actually a catamaran and if not what shape do you think it takes?

 

Steve Clark

Super Anarchist
Suppose you removed the word catamaran from the C Class , kept the maximum dimensions ( 25,14,300) and removed the crew requirement.  I guess the fastest boat would be a Moth or Kite Foil.  Presently people are talking about A Class speeds that are faster than C Class. Or maybe not. You never really know until you put the boats on the water at the same time in the same place doing the same things.  For as long as I can remember, people have been claiming speeds faster than the C Class, but I haven't ever really been passed by many boats that weren't other C Class catamarans.

If I had to chose my weapon for a small boat brawl, with no restrictions, I would probably show up with a C Class Catamaran. They are really good sailing machines.

Franck Cammas probably said it best......The boat requires attention and commitment disproportionate to its size.  I actually think this is a good thing.  Although experience shows that the thing wrong with the C Class is that it isn't big or expensive enough.

SHC

 
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blunted

Super Anarchist
1,508
359
Toronto
I am sure Fredo would be willing to share any design information we had at this point for those willing to undertake a serious campaign. Our show is pretty much shut down forever at this point due to marital issues, being old, shit like that. Canaan and FYH are both resting comfortably in their trailers waiting for Fredo's sons to be old enough to enjoy.

A smaller platform might revive some things but they won't be anything like a C-cat.

To this day, Canaan is still my most favorite boat ever to sail. She was just a pure joy with a grand total of four strings on it. Silent through the water, light, agile, nothing more on the boat than exactly what is required for the job. Granted she's not as fast as the foiling boats which is a shame but she was just so perfect to sail. A smaller boat could never equal what the 25' of performance offers with a 44' tall rig. It's hard to describe to people who never sailed it, which is a very short list.

To echo others, wings are a PITA from a care and feeding perspective but they really do offer incredible performance.

As for Groupama, someone clever could duplicate the layup performance at this point without too much bother. to me the slickest part of that boat was the canting wing. I spent a few illicit minutes under the hood on that thing one day and somewhere around here have the sketches for how it all works. for the cost of a few beers or rum such info could be shared in a dark alley.

I suspect its going to be another period of dormancy for the C-cat for a little while.

I was very lucky to be able to participate in the class for a decade, it was a very special time that also lead to some other awesome opportunities. (Happy anniversary BTW to team BMW Oracle).

 

Wess

Super Anarchist
 Although experience shows that the thing wrong with the C Class is that it isn't big or expensive enough.
Not what I was expecting at all @Steve Clark.  Interesting.

[Edit to add respect greatly what you and @blunted did] But color me confused.  Could you or the others who made the little ac what is was prior to Groupama, have done it if it was was bigger and more expensive?  Just a wanker but my uneducated guess was that the excessive costs and now marginal gains was what was killing it?  I mean even if you knew every detail re Groupama could you - and how many of the other prior competitors - afford to compete and build a Groupama beater?  Or take on a Groupama v2?

My thought experiment was that if - as you said - you simply took the maximum dimensions of the box (25,14,300)  and kept a ww/lw course, that the little ac would get interesting and viable again perhaps.  For folks like you and those individuals (not multinational corporation funded teams) you might see as able to pick up that torch.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.

 
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