Sunday 27 May 2012

First America's Cup AC72 Catamaran Wings Delivered from Core Builders New Zealand Facility

With all the high octane racing so far in the AC45 catamarans in the America's Cup series, Core Builders in Warkworth, north of Auckland have been quietly working on the first of the wings for the massive AC72's that will compete in the 'Cup' next year (2013) in San Fransisco.

The first completed wing was rolled out on Friday, May 25th.

The following release discusses the technical aspects of these huge wing/sails in the lead up to construction of the boats:


The first wing created for the American defender of the America’s Cup was rolled out of Core Builders Composites, New Zealand, today ready for shipping to the USA.

At 40 meters (131 feet) tall, the hi-tech carbon-fiber wing is the equivalent height of a 12-storey building and will power the AC72 catamaran used in the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco.

“This is a milestone in our effort to win the America’s Cup,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper James Spithill. “It is another key component ready for the final assembly of our first AC72 race boat.”

the 'Team' with first wing
The rules for the 2013 America’s Cup require the hulls to be built in a team’s home country but other large structures, such as the wing and cross beams, can be constructed elsewhere.

On the road to Auckland
ORACLE TEAM USA is using its affiliate, Core Builders Composites, located in Warkworth, north of Auckland, New Zealand. Led by Tim Smyth and Mark Turner, this will be the fourth campaign that the team’s America’s Cup race boats have been built by CBC.

The company has a worldwide reputation for innovative processes to create lightweight, high strength, reliable and accurate composite structures.

“The wing will look big for the boat because the AC72 class rule intends these boats to have a lot of power,” added Spithill. “There is no doubt the AC72s will be awesome machines, intimidating even.”

Heading for the docks
Besides challenging weight and performance targets, CBC also had engineered and built the wing so that it complied with the AC72 class rule, which requires all wings to be quickly disassembled for cost-efficient shipping.

“The wing construction is the result of 25,000 man hours work by CBC’s skilled workforce and was constructed over a period of six months,” said Smyth.

The wing will be trucked to Auckland and then shipped by sea to San Francisco, ready for final assembly with the hulls built on-site at ORACLE TEAM USA’s base in Pier 80.

America’s Cup rules permit teams to launch their AC72s from July 1 onwards.

Having read this you will begin to understand the huge undertaking it will be to construct nine of these one class boats in the countries competing, get them on the water and trial them in time for the 'Cup'.

Back to cruising and you can read more about catamaran sailing and passagemaking in my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' including '101Dollar Saving Cruiser Tips' downloadable from my website

Monday 21 May 2012

Sailboat Cruisers Provisioning From Inflatable/Dinghy

When snugged up in a marina, re-provisioning your boat is a cinch. However, when in distant, far flung and exotic ports where you may spend most of your time at anchor or on a mooring, provisioning becomes a much more complicated affair.

Your dinghy, inflatable, rubber ducky, tender, dink or whatever else you may call it, is at best, even in calm conditions, a very unstable platform. Picture having loaded into your dinghy two weeks provisions with relative ease from the dock, then chugging out to your vessel in a seaway of varying motion depending on the weather conditions at the time. 

You have to stand up, wobbling and with one hand hold on to the coaming to keep the dinghy in close to the hull. Ideally, you will have someone with you in the dinghy and another crew on deck to receive the goods. The crew squatting in the thwarts passes bags to you, then with your free hand, pass them upwards to the crew on deck. 

Which one is mine?
Sounds quite simple and most times is carried out without a hitch, only punctuated with a few blue words to keep everyones focus on the job in hand! But as soon as there is any kind of breeze accompanied by a chop, the whole scenario changes to one of chaos if timing is not right and many a bag of valuable goods has in the past, disappeared into the briny.

The same can be said when travelling out to your boat in the dinghy, as they are notorious for shipping copious amounts of sea over the sponsons when heading into wind and chop.

Keeping your dry goods dry then, is important and carrying some drybags is a solution for these occasions. 

Here is an article from Carolyn Shearlock as to how they handled this situation when cruising on their yacht 'Que Tal':
'Aboard Que Tal, we often wouldn’t tie up to a dock for 6 months or more — once going over a year. And that meant that we did a lot of provisioning by dinghy.

At Bahia del Sol in El Salvador (pictured), we had a nice dinghy dock to work from and a usually calm estuary to dinghy across to the boat. In other places, we just pulled the dinghy up on the beach—and sometimes had to dinghy through white caps or occasionally a bit of surf.

If you anticipate ever having to transport provisions (or fresh laundry or electronics) by dinghy, I have just two words for you: dry bags.

Dry bags aren’t just glorified trash bags. They are truly waterproof. Mine are made from heavy-duty vinyl, with heat-sealed seams. The top folds over on itself at least three times and then latches to prevent water entry. An extra bonus of the top latch is that it forms a carrying handle and can be clipped onto an attachment point in the dinghy when rough conditions are anticipated.

We had dry bags from a number of canoe-camping trips we’d done prior to cruising. And in one spectacular whitewater canoe capsize, we learned that the dry bags really lived up to their name.

The SealLine 55-liter in use holds quite a bit, but not too large to carry. Anything that you really want to keep dry (say toilet paper, paper towels, flour, sugar . . . ) needs to be in a dry bag. Trash bags, used by a lot of cruisers, don’t do nearly as good a job: they get a hole or two almost immediately and then any water in the bottom of the dinghy gets into the bag—and big splashes also seem to make their way into the trash bags.

I was surprised that more cruisers didn’t carry dry bags with them—although several did bring them back from trips to the US or Canada after they saw ours. We actually had six large ones aboard—one for the ditch bag, one for the medical kit, and four for everyday use. We also had three smaller ones that we used for carrying papers, small electronics, and wallets.

Our “System”

Depending on the location, we’d re-pack our purchases either outside the store or at the dinghy (whichever had a trash container and a reasonably clean place to work — we preferred a concrete sidewalk to a damp and sandy beach, for example).

We’d go through all our purchases and remove whatever packaging we could (to avoid bugs as well as keep down the trash on board), then sort things into three piles:

• Stay dry items were packed into the dry bags;

• Keep cold items were packed into a soft-sided cooler (with ice, if necessary for the outside temperature and likely time back to the boat)

• Everything else was packed into as many heavy-duty reusable bags as we had, with the excess going in plastic bags that the store gave us. Be sure to tie up the handles on these bags so that things don’t fall out in a taxi or the dinghy!

Then it would all get loaded into the dinghy (somehow we always made it fit) and we’d take it back to Que Tal. We’d tie up-one of us would be in the dinghy and one on deck--and we’d get it all out of the dinghy, then transfer again to the cockpit, then again relay it down the companionway. Then I’d put it all away, often while Dave would make another run ashore to get gas and diesel in jerry cans.

Recommended Dry Bags

The three big names in dry bags are SealLine, NRS, and Sea to Summit. I have several SealLine bags and one NRS; they all work well. The NRS material is a little stiffer than the SealLine, but the primary reason for choosing between one brand and another, to me, is if one has a particular size you need. For us, the NRS bag was the only one long enough to fit our tent in (not likely to be a consideration when cruising)!

I’ve never used a Sea to Summit bag and don’t have personal experience. They’re made of a heavy waterproof nylon (I’m talking about their true “dry bags” and not their “lightweight” bags that are marketed as “splash resistant”). Some reviewers like them better as they are easier to slide into tight places. I wonder if they are equally waterproof . . . but I like the fact that it’s available in a 65-liter size, which might be really good for laundry (I found larger was better for putting clean laundry in without getting too many wrinkles in it).

For carrying provisions, the handiest size is 55 liters, and the smallest that’s usable is about 30 liters (unless you want one for papers, etc.). I found the 55-liter size was just right for my laptop in its case, too.

Some bags, particularly small ones that are marketed for cameras and cell phones, have Velcro or zipper-style closures. While these might be splash-proof, I’ve never had good luck with them being truly waterproof or lasting very long.

Outdoor Products also makes lightweight bags available at Walmart and other big box stores that are fairly small in size. While some advertising copy says they are “waterproof,” the labeling on the product itself says they are “weather resistant.” I have several of these and use them inside other bags for prescription drugs and so forth, but they should absolutely NOT be considered waterproof—even if you put one inside another.

High quality dry bags aren’t cheap, as a 55-liter bag is likely to run about $35. But think about the cost of a single load of provisions that might get wet if a trash bag tears . . . or the laundry that you just spent $15 to have washed getting soaked with salt water. I’ve never forked out the money for a Pelican box (which costs considerably more), instead using my dry bags to protect electronics.

My dry bags are now over 15 years old. They’ve been used a lot during that time and are still going strong. They’ve paid for themselves many, many times over'.

Article courtesy Carolyn Shearlock and Cruising World, images courtesy Carolyn Sherlock

You can read more about adventures and misadventures in inflatables in my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise', downloadable from my website