Retrofit an bowsprit to a Fireball

Dino

Anarchist
820
17
Ireland
Hi,

I might have the opportunity to buy an old fibreglass 1970's Fireball very cheap. It is well past being competitive and i would only use it for blasting round the lake on a summer evening. I would mainly use it singlehanded so I was wondering if an Assymetric kite would work on it. It has a big flat bow so there's plenty of room inside the bow to glass in a tube, etc. It would make a good winter project.

Does anyone know if this has been done before? Or has anyone rigged a Fireball for singlehanding. I'd love to see a few blogs or webpages on these sort of conversions. Even on how to fit the prod and make it retractable.

Thanks!

D

 

I'm a Pirate

New member
31
0
I seem to remember seeing pictures of a fireball (or it might have been an FD) with a bowsprit at the olympic skiff selection trials in Garda (that ultimately selected the 49er). This was a way back in '96/'97. That might be a place to start looking.

Enjoy

 
It was a Flying Dutchman that added a square top mainsail, more modern jib and a bowsprit for an assymetrical spinnaker.

Having converted a number of boats to assymetrical configuration for blasting around the bay over the years, it seems to me that a Fireball would be a great candidate.

I think you need at least 30 inches between the end of the pole to the jib stay to allow the spinnaker to jibe inside. Jibing around the front works, but is much more likely to have the sheet(s) fall under the bow.

You would have a lee helm on reaches. If the board is left down that seems to help. Raising makes for way too much lee helm in my experience.

Finally, there is a real thrill to fly the assymetrical while flat out on the trapeze with the mainsheet draped over your legs and the spin sheet in one hand and the long tiller extension in the other.

Dave Ellis

 

Dino

Anarchist
820
17
Ireland
Yes, inside gybing would be the only way to go. I've only really sailed lasers (and big boats) so it would be a challenge to sail but well worth the effort. There was a smaller singlehanded version of the fireball called the bullet. I saw one years ago and I always thought this might make a good cheap blaster with an Asail.

I was thinking of a carbon tube glassed into the foredeck with a 40 to 50 inch carbon pole.It may need to be angled up slightly as the fireball bow is very low.

 
I would urge a bit of caution here. Yes, it would make a great blaster and a good way to revitalise an old glass 'ball, but Fireballs have very little freeboard as it is, and they are built these days to keep the weight out of the bow as much as possible. This is why all new 'balls don't have bags in lieu of kite chutes.

The reason for this is simple - it is possible to nosedive a ball, and it is equally possible for the pole retriever tube (assuming you're not talking a fixed pole) to drag a lot of water back into the cockpit, which takes a fair while to drain even with the best venturis (bigger transom tubes help though).

Have fun with it though, post pics as you go with it.

 

Rohanoz

Super Anarchist
I think the modern MG14 has left the Tasar a little bit behind...!

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smc

Anarchist
Fireball singlehanded is easy enough, I've done it up to about 15kts and wasn't overpowered (I'm about 86kg). I tried tying my kite pole to the deck and rigging the symmetrical kite as an asymmetric - this doesn't work :rolleyes: but a small assy would be good. Mind you on a reach with a bit of breeze the Fireball is flying along anyway. Ideally sort out a self tacker for the jib and fit a 2nd tiller extension.

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*note the mainsheet hooked on the transom (Laser style) :unsure:

 

GBRNoah

Member
113
36
Hampshire, UK
Yes, inside gybing would be the only way to go. I've only really sailed lasers (and big boats) so it would be a challenge to sail but well worth the effort. There was a smaller singlehanded version of the fireball called the bullet. I saw one years ago and I always thought this might make a good cheap blaster with an Asail.

I was thinking of a carbon tube glassed into the foredeck with a 40 to 50 inch carbon pole.It may need to be angled up slightly as the fireball bow is very low.
Bullet wasn't a singlehanded 'ball. It was still a two-hander, just a 14' version aimed at the youth / lighter end of the market.

 

BalticBandit

Super Anarchist
11,114
36
Hi,

I might have the opportunity to buy an old fibreglass 1970's Fireball very cheap. It is well past being competitive and i would only use it for blasting round the lake on a summer evening. I would mainly use it singlehanded so I was wondering if an Assymetric kite would work on it. It has a big flat bow so there's plenty of room inside the bow to glass in a tube, etc. It would make a good winter project.

Does anyone know if this has been done before? Or has anyone rigged a Fireball for singlehanding. I'd love to see a few blogs or webpages on these sort of conversions. Even on how to fit the prod and make it retractable.

Thanks!

D
Given what you are talking about doing, this is basically trivial

Find an broken CF Windsurfer mast or build a CF tube that butts to the mast base and sticks fwd of the bow about 3' (since you aren't ODing it doesn't really matter, but if you want to be anal, and since your likely best source of Asso kites are used 29ers, you can take the time to sort out the measurement based on the foot length of the 29er kite)

fab a cup unto the butt so that it sits solidly against the base of the mast and doesn't move side to side.

Strap the middle to the bow. You can use the Forestay attachment point, or you can put a padeye on the underside of the gunwhale on each side and attach the tiedown strap there.

Now run 3mm spectra stabilizing guys from the tip of the sprit back to where the old sym kites guy blocks attached

Now you need a launcher. the tube itself can be sown from cheap plastic mesh - so that it drains and so that it runs easily http://plasticmesh.net/plastic-mesh/plastic-mesh-products.html

You need to build a "throat" (assuming your FB doesn't have a launcher tube and you don't want to do the FG work to make one). the simplest - though ugly way to do this is to use 2" PVC tubing. Using a blowtorch, heat the PVC so that you can make hoop 18" in diameter.

Insert two "T joints" into the loop with the leg of the T facing "aft". these become struts facing aft that you strap, or FG to the sprit to keep the throat facing fwd.

the mouth of the bag then is "stitched" to the throat with a combination of grommets in the bag (mesh needs grommets to keep from pulling out) and the "stitching" is just a circular wrap. the tail of the bag is attached someplace in the back of the cockpit. How big it needs to be depends on the kite you are going to use. but since mesh is cheap, you can customize the bags

OK now you have a sprit, and a launcher tube. you are almost ready. Next steps depend on how nice you want to make it or how much you just want to get on the water.

Simplest set up is to separate the tack line from the halyard. Simply put a micro bullet block at the tip of the sprit (I originally used an old symm spin pole and just pulled through the jaws that had been glued shut) and run the tack line back to a cleat at the base of the mast.

then rig you spin halyard continuous to run into the back end of the bag, out the throat and attach to the gather point of the kite.

and you are ready to sail.

Now if you want to make it fancier, so that you just pull on a single halyard for the set and douse - a nice feature if you are sailing in more than 12 knots of breeze single handed - you need to add a couple of things

  • to automate the tack line, you run the tack from the bow tiedown for the pole, back through two bullet blocks connected end to end, back fwd to the tip of the sprit and then back to the launcher throat. It needs to be just long enough that when the floating "paired bullet blocks" are all the way fwd at the bow, the tack line is just long enough to have the tack inside the launcher throat.
  • you need to add a turning block where the halyard comes out of the mast. The tail of the halyard runs through this turning block/fairlead, fwd to the aft block of the above floating blocks and then back to a cleat on the deck at the base of the mast. I'm partial to the Spinlock cleat for this http://www.apsltd.com/c-342-spinlock-cam-cleats-accessories.aspx since it combines fairlead and cleat in one.
  • From the cleat you run the sheet aft through a turning block aft of the tail end of the bag, then back into the bag and up to the gather patch on the kite

this way you just bear off, ease the main, tuck the rudder under your knee, haul away on the halyard, trim in the main, grab the tiller extension, grab the kite sheet, hook up, sheet on and trap out....

dousing is simply, blow the main sheet, tuck the rudder under your knee, blow the spin cleat, haul on the gather line, grab the mainsheet, hook in, turn up and sheet on.

Now I've not done this on a Fireball, but I have done it to my Laser II, and it works wonders (though mine has a built in launcher tube). and you just blast along. I've been using an old 5o5 (non-masthead) kite that I've 'edited' at home. One of the other local Laser II's put a spin block at the masthead and went to a used (headed for the trash) 29er kite (they don't have a launcher tube an they put their launcher throat at the base of the mast).

Its a great turbo if all you want to do is blast around singlehanded.

Note also that it helps if you can set up an autotacking mechanism for the jib. My approach was to use a continuous 3mm piece of spectra that I run to both jib cleats. its just long enough that when I blow it completely, it eases the jib to a deep reach - perfect for the asso kite. and when I pull it on hard so its right up against the mast - the jib trim is about what I need for upwind (not optimal but close).

so what if you nos

 

JeffD

Member
Dino - Have a look though the forums on the www.International14.net website. There is a heap of discussion and advice on setting up retractable poles and assy kites for I14s if you are prepared to sift though alot of threads . Some of the info may not be all that relevant, but I'm sure you will get a couple of good ideas out of it. Some of the concepts BalticBandit describes are shown there as sketchs and photos. (Perhaps not the PVC tube, I14 owners seem to have more of an affinity with nomex and prepreg carbon)

I've been working on a similar concept with an NS14 hull, which I have turned into a single hander trapeze yacht. I havent started on the assy kite part of the changes yet and have been concentrating on getting it working well as a single hander first. Based on some advice from other skiff sailors who have done this and from sailing double handed skiffs myself a good few years back, single handing with a kite will keep you pretty busy. You want the rest of the boat to be well sorted when you are doing this.

If you are just having a blast at the beach it may not be a big deal, but keep in mind that there is no one else there to balance and steer the boat while you retrieve the kite which has neatly wedged itself through the sheave of your mainsheet block and is starting to trawl though the sea for snapper like a Korean driftnetter.

Great idea though, give it a lash, take some good pics and get ready to do some swimming!

 

Rohanoz

Super Anarchist
I think the modern MG14 has left the Tasar a little bit behind...!

/monthly_12_2010/post-1974-071232100%201292374933_thumb.jpg
And yet at most regattas that I have been to the Tasars will still beat the NS14's and MG's. What is going on there?
Tasars have got a bit more sail area I think.
Tasars do have 2m2 more sail area, but I'm not sure if I agree with the Tasars beating the MG...

I've been racing both in NS/MG config against a top 10 Tasar on and off for 3 years now, and have been beaten only once - and that was in under 5 knots. Conditions where giving away 2m in sail and 6in in hull length count!

Happy to draw swords and challenge you to a duel at anytime!

 




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