These excellent photos of the new jib were mailed out to members by UKFFA today.
If you want a vote too have your say, but you’re not a member, then it’s never too late to join!!
The first person who mentioned CNC Milling of keels to me was Charles. I had to go and look it up!! “Computer Numerical Control” is what it stands for – and CNC milling is I guess a vertical milling machine that can reproduce a 3D object from a digitised image….
(Some reader is bound to correct me – but here is the wikipedia entry )
We’ve all heard stories in the bar about the old mould for our class producing twisted and overweight keels – and how they had to be worked by the craftsman’s hand to make them true. Then we will have all heard something like the mould for Aussie keel was imported here so that we could cast ‘true’ keels and get them to minimum weight easily. In fact, I think I might have had the first of these on 3934 in the autumn of 2008. Then have you seen the beautiful sculpted shapes and winglets that have been appearing too?? All this is basically an art form by artisans – so when is science going to arrive, you may wonder?? Well, I think the answer maybe “any moment now….”
As you will all know, we can now simulate drag, windage and all that stuff on a computer now, way before having to build anything in real life. The keels are still cast in sand, like the Romans did, and there is a tremendous labour content in casting and finishing our keels – did you know a new one costs about £1,500 by the time you get it under a hull? Well, the Blog has heard that P&B have two experimental CNC keels under wraps. They have digitised the shapes and are starting to try and figure out more systematically what the optimum might be. And we might actually get cheaper keels maybe?! In this case I think the CNC milling machines are used to create an acrylic plug, from which the lead keels would then be cast.
What might we expect?? Well nobody has ever been definitive about the best tapering bulb shape – and there must surely be an answer that’s not “forty two”!! The thing I recall Charles pointing out is that the flow line of the keel must bear some kind of relationship to the waterline of whatever hull it sits beneath. You would think for example that the central fore and aft line through the keel needs to be parallel to the waterline for example – well, who have we ever heard being definitive about that? Especially when we went from Mk 9 to Mk 10 hulls which float a bit differently. Hmmmmm …. well, hopefully, we are about to find out. And I bet it’s not forty two…..
That’s by no means a bad thing and this one is finished in fabulous looking carbon.
You’ll note too plenty of room to move your helmsman’s feet forward of the console and also the location of lead correctors right down in the double floor. The self bailers are also set away from the centreline to bail best at a slight heel.
Recognise This?? It’s a sail track feeder for an Epsilon Alloy mast. Now there was a time that the sail track on a Selden/Proctor mast was sort of gently curved outwards so that the mainsail could get entry – and the surface was smooth and kind to the sail.
Now the slot is cut away. It leaves sharp edges which can damage the sail, so it needs an attachment – and that is what you are looking at in the photo on the right. It is secured to the inner mast wall by a monel rivet.
It looks simple enough, doesn’t it? Well – you must admit it also looks frail. After just two years I have just had one snap off one of its little ears at the top. There’s not much holding them on ….
I’m sorry the photo is a bit blurred – my little automatic camera was busy focussing on the grass in the background – but I think you’ll see the starboard ‘ear’ that snapped off. It exposes a sharp metal edge on the sail track entry – sharp enough to rip stitching and sailcloth (on the hoist)… as we found out to our cost.
Replacing it should be simple enough – though in our case, when drilling the old rivet out, the d….. thing started spinning in situ. Anyway – we got the thing extracted eventually, only to find that the nose of the rivet gun was too large to nestle inside the sail track. Our rivet stands a fraction proud. So all in all, not a very impressive setup.
The main reason for writing about it here is that they only cost about a fiver from P&B – with rivet. So for all you folks going to Hayling in July for a couple of weeks racing, I suggest that if you have one of the newer Selden masts with this fitting, take a spare or two with you. Plus a pointy nose rivet gun…. Else you may spoil your fortnight !!