Fulcrum Speedworks Rocket

CrazyR

Member
337
82
Fortunately, I don't care much about racing (but I do love showing the Sunfish guys how slow they are).
Have you actually raced Rocket against Sunfish around a race course with time taken? I really want to see the data.
Because in my fleet nobody races Sunfish and slowest boat is 420. 420 rated very close to Sunfish. I can not beat 420 in Rocket. being last boat around a race course is not fun, regardless in which position you are corrected.
 
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Have you actually raced Rocket against Sunfish around a race course with time taken? I really want to see the data.
Because in my fleet nobody races Sunfish and slowest boat is 420. 420 rated very close to Sunfish. I can not beat 420 in Rocket. being last boat around a race course is not fun, regardless in which position you are corrected.
Yeah, I'd be curious to see the data too, but in the US (well, at least around here, but it seems easy to extrapolate given the sailing culture in this country) proper handicapping is just not done. Getting a race committee to agree to use a stopwatch, do math, and submit results to US Sailing is a very tall order, and one that I have yet to accomplish. But... On my home lake there is an active Sunfish fleet that races every Sunday afternoon during the season. The fleet includes a couple sailors on the national level who sail in World Qualifiers. Most Sundays I make sure I am out sailing the Rocket when they are gathering for their weekly race series, and although the results don't count they usually invite me to race along (mostly because they think the Rocket is an interesting distraction). Last summer, in a fleet of from 10-15 boats I never crossed the line any lower than 4th. At the end of the year they hold an "open regatta" in which any boat can compete. The only boats that beat me in last year's open were Hobie cats.

Having said all that, there is far too much focus on the boat. Racers often forget that the purpose of OD racing is to take the boat's characteristics out of the equation and make it about the skipper. If you put Ben Ainslie in a leaky Opti he'll still make a meal of the rest of the fleet. My racing skills are at best mediocre, especially in comparison to a group that races every week, every summer, for decades of summers. What my informal and unofficial success racing against local Sunfish sailors tells me is that the characteristics of the boat have much more to do with it than my prowess as a racing skipper. I didn't buy a Rocket to take over the local racing scene, I bought it to have fun.
 

Steve Clark

Super Anarchist
We haven't actually done any testing.
But to compare numbers:
Laser/ILCA 13'9" loa 4'7" Bmax 76 ft^2 SA Hull Weight 130 lbs
Sunfish 13'9" loa 4'1" Bmax 75ft^2 SA Hull Weight 120 Lbs
Rocket 14'2" loa 4'4" Bmax 90ft^2 SA Hull Weight 90 Lbs

From this we should fairly assume that the Rocket will be fastest down wind in sub planing conditions. Most Sail, lightest, longest. The Laser hull form is probably faster when planing, but the low center of effort of the Rocket sail plan provides lots of grunt, and sail area has it's privileges, particularly down wind.
One should expect the Laser to be fastest upwind; most beam hence most righting moment, hence most power. The Laser has the more efficient sail plan. Laser sailors have highly developed expertise in this class. The Rocket Centerboard and Rudder are probably equal to the Laser and absolutely superior to the Sunfish. The Rocket low center of effort and ability to de-power by playing with the gaff geometry ( Jens Rig) seems to make the boat easier to keep sailing fast in really heavy air. I have no testing to prove it.
Early on Dave was sailing on a day when it was blowing 30. At 160 pounds he would have struggled to get upwind in a Laser. In the Rocket he wasn't anywhere near slowing in the gusts as he would have in a Laser.
I cannot say that there is anything that would make a Sunfish faster than a Rocket. The Sunfish smaller narrower heavier hull, less sail, and a less efficient centerboard and rudder. The expertise of Sunfish racers is highly developed like the Laser sailors.

In Sag Harbor NY there is a fleet of enthusiasts led by Scott Sandell which has been sailing Sunfish with more advanced sails. These are significantly faster than conventional 'fish. They more or less developed what we call the Rocket Interceptor package. Scott and a few others have exchanged Sunfish hulls for Rocket hulls and are very happy with the resulting boat. I went a bit further and put a t foil on the rudder. This corrects the trim when planing hard. I personally haven't sailed with them, but Scott reports these beasts are very cool. The sails aren't cheap however.

I should probably get off my ass and chase some Lasers around. Maybe I could shadow the Newport frostbite fleet to see if it's even close, I expect I would normally be in the back third off that fleet these days.....
SHC
 

Dave Clark

Anarchist
912
867
Rhode Island
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©MellaPhoto#146sm.jpg

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The Interceptors he's referring to. I'm going to be putting some hours into one in a month or so when my next sail gets in. I expect to have advanced a lot since I tested out the basic INT package about two years ago.

Though on the other end of the spectrum....
Cooney smooth.jpg

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This is the fleet of conventional Rockets that's occurred in Marion and looks to be growing. Just on the fundemental power to weight ratios and the fact that tuning and technique are barely dialled in yet, it's hard to say that any statements about relative speed made right now are going to hold long term. Groups of people sailing them competitively will dig up big percentages of performance.

Now of course, this is largely only relevant if you want to race, but in that context, racing will develop the optimal behaviors for performance in racing. My general advice is to make sure your shin is touching the thwart. It's a pintail boat and while the cockpit is long, getting further aft doesn't turn it into a skiff.

CrazyR, maybe we should talk tuning. Your comment about the 420 jogged my memory from another customer this summer who wrote me an email which largely consisted of some well-meaning gloating about making mincemeat out of some hotshot kids in a 420 with his Rocket.

DRC
 

CrazyR

Member
337
82
Nah. The boat has made its job already. My wife adores her “Sunbanny”. She is competitive and experienced long distance paddler and always regarded sailboaters as entitled pricks. Somewhat justifiably. :) Anyway, i told her about Rocket, and how easy it would be to set it up and launch it on her own. Rest is the history. She loves the boat. We got two, so I could teach her from a distance without screaming and slapping on hands :) it worked. She loves to figure out stuff on her own. And Rockets are perfect for this.
For me? I’m waiting for that oars to be delivered, I think my boat will make a perfect fishing platform. :D
Kidding.
Anyway, wife loves it, visiting kids love the boats. I’m happy when everyone is happy.
And I have other boats to figure out how squeeze that last bit of performance out of them.

C7B6D4BD-3260-45BC-A318-FEA224145995.jpeg
 

Bill5

Right now
2,900
2,441
Western Canada
 

Dave Clark

Anarchist
912
867
Rhode Island
About 3.5X larger than it was in that video. Also the state of production in that video is totally amateur compared to what we're doing now. Re-watching it just makes me laugh at what I thought dialed-in was at the time.

Fulcrum today:

shopfloor.jpeg

Play 'where's waldo' to find 12 guys spread out over the utterly huge plant space keeping their eyes on the job optimally practicing their craft.

Noteworthy big gains over the years:

Kits of core material cuts itsself- we built a machine for that
etch a sketch.jpg



Hulls trim themselves, sand themselves and the holes for hardware cut themselves- we built a machine for that.
kermit.jpg


Glass plys for boats, blades and small parts cut themselves to shape. We wrestled a preexisting POS machine into submission over two years of perpetual war for that....
lurch.jpg


We built yet more silicone bags to save money, time, waste and, you know... the planet.
silbag.jpg



Several other more innovative less obvious things that'll stay out of this post to protect weaker souls from attempting them. This isn't easy and should not be attempted by anyone.

If you want to get into the properly proprietary stuff, get me started in person on robotic lamination or advance spar construction. The above posts are several miles out from giving away any special sauce. I love our engineering team with an entirely justified and intense passion.

End result- we're better at making stuff:
7D796A16-912D-4BCE-B224-7E0FCBC4C739.jpg


Also we're hiring. PM me to apply. We're looking to expand in 1. General labor, 2. Outbound logistics, 3. mechatronics, 4. general administration.

DRC
 
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Never

New member
32
9
About 3.5X larger than it was in that video. Also the state of production in that video is totally amateur compared to what we're doing now. Re-watching it just makes me laugh at what I thought dialed-in was at the time.

Fulcrum today:

View attachment 554227
Play 'where's waldo' to find 12 guys spread out over the utterly huge plant space keeping their eyes on the job optimally practicing their craft.

Noteworthy big gains over the years:

Kits of core material cuts itsself- we built a machine for that
View attachment 554228


Hulls trim themselves, sand themselves and the holes for hardware cut themselves- we built a machine for that.
View attachment 554229

Glass plys for boats, blades and small parts cut themselves to shape. We wrestled a preexisting POS machine into submission over two years of perpetual war for that....
View attachment 554233

We built yet more silicone bags to save money, time, waste and, you know... the planet.
View attachment 554235


Several other more innovative less obvious things that'll stay out of this post to protect weaker souls from attempting them. This isn't easy and should not be attempted by anyone.

If you want to get into the properly proprietary stuff, get me started in person on robotic lamination or advance spar construction. The above posts are several miles out from giving away any special sauce. I love our engineering team with an entirely justified and intense passion.

End result- we're better at making stuff:
View attachment 554236

Also we're hiring. PM me to apply. We're looking to expand in 1. General labor, 2. Outbound logistics, 3. mechatronics, 4. general administration.

DRC
Awesome! Thank you for sharing.
 
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Blue One

Member
83
41
Nah. The boat has made its job already. My wife adores her “Sunbanny”. She is competitive and experienced long distance paddler and always regarded sailboaters as entitled pricks. Somewhat justifiably. :) Anyway, i told her about Rocket, and how easy it would be to set it up and launch it on her own. Rest is the history. She loves the boat. We got two, so I could teach her from a distance without screaming and slapping on hands :) it worked. She loves to figure out stuff on her own. And Rockets are perfect for this.
For me? I’m waiting for that oars to be delivered, I think my boat will make a perfect fishing platform. :D
Kidding.
Anyway, wife loves it, visiting kids love the boats. I’m happy when everyone is happy.
And I have other boats to figure out how squeeze that last bit of performance out of them.

View attachment 553417
Probably best to just sit a lot further forward in the boat to start with before worrying about that last bit of performance.😀
 

CrazyR

Member
337
82
Probably best to just sit a lot further forward in the boat to start with before worrying about that last bit of performance.😀
That’s it! That’s what I was telling my wife when the pic was taken! And she told me to shut up and she is a kayaker and she feels most comfortable siting down on a cockpit floor. And I shut up.
 

Blue One

Member
83
41
That’s it! That’s what I was telling my wife when the pic was taken! And she told me to shut up and she is a kayaker and she feels most comfortable siting down on a cockpit floor. And I shut up.
As a man that’s been married for 35 years I can definitely say thats the safest course of of action 😂😀. Perhaps buying a sailing book or sailing lessons for her might be the way forward.
Luckily my wife an I didn’t have that problem ( over sailing anyway 😂) as she has sailed since she was a teenager and I didn’t step into a boat until I was nearly 30 . Trying to teach husbands, wife’s and children is a mine field, We spent weeks trying to teach our daughter to sail when her was little, and got no where. A friend of ours taught her the basics in a couple of hours.
Re husband and wife sailing, my wife and I after 30 years can just about pleasure sail in the same boat but as far as racing goes. She has her boat and I have mine .
 
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