Rigid wing sail will make it's debute during the 2007 Ronstan A-cat worlds next month ...
OOOooop s... looking bloody cool this thing ! a piece of craftmanship that's for sure .....
Ben Hall (USA 99) build this thing as an superb demonstration on modern composite construction . On first sight it looks like a scaled down C class Rig like Steve Clarks' Cogito. Very intersting to see how it will perform in practice . It is said to weigh in at +/- 25 kgs for the rig , compared to an approx. 17-18 kgs for an standard a class rig . ( normall +/- 11-12 for mast and rigging,1 for boom and sheet system , 5 for sail and battens) That sounds not bad at all . It should be possible to build an 75 kgs all up weight boat with it . I am very curious about the performance . Will we see sparkling downwind performance down wind in medium wind ? Probably yes . Will it be an ticket for trouble at waves and 20+ knts ? Probably yes too. Will it be threath for the class : Don't worry guys .
But for sure it will help the ongoing development that makes the A class the most sophisticated dinghy class as it already is . by far ....
Below here great details, comment from Ben Hall himself ( copy from catsailor.com forum , see link below )
OK guys here are the facts to set the record straight!
The boat in the pic is a brand new Peter Cogan design. The molds were built at Vector Works who also built the hulls. I finished the hulls in Bristol and have been sailing this summer with the standard rig.
The wing I built was inspired by watching Steve Clark and Fred Eaton race last fall in Newport. Steve convinced me that it was really not that hard to build, so I decided to give it a shot. Dave Hubbard designed the wing and Steve and Henry Elliot were a big help along the way. I assembled most of the parts in my basement until I needed a bit more room to assemble all the elements.
The length of the wing is only 29 ft (not 40ft). The top two elements are a little over 9 ft and easily removable to facilitate transportation. The wing stores in a 21 ft trailer box X 6 ft wide X 2 ft high. The boat sits upside down on top of the box. I tow the trailer with a Dodge minivan (not a semi).
The weight of the wing is 52 lbs. The weight of all the stuff (mast, sail, battens, mainsheet system,boom and traveler) I took off my boat weighs 46 lbs. (that's 2.72 kg delta). Granted the CG is higher but no way 12kg heavier. As far as righting after a capsize, assuming rig is in one piece, will be more difficult but still possible as this rig is about 5 lbs (min) lighter than the old aluminum mast/dacron sail combo which we were able to right. The all up the boat should still be min but without corrector weight.
The cost of the materials in the wing were right around $2000 (1400 Euro at today's rate). A total of around 300 hours (about the same as one of the A Cats I built from scratch) went into building the wing. If I had to build it again the time would be about 100 hrs less.
The rig can go from trailer to ready to sail in 30 minutes. Derigging the other day from rig up to in the box was 12 minutes. It does require a helper (wing sherpa) to lift the lower element out of the box and onto saw horses and also to put it into the box after derigging. The boat is flipped on its side, the wing is plugged into the step, the rigging is attached, the top two elements are installed, the boat is righted, control are rigged and you are ready to sail. Much easier than the C Class program because everything is so light.
The design of the wing is a simplified version of the Cogito wing. It has two elements (#1 forward/#2 flap) while Cogito has three. The wing is slotted and both the #1 and #2 have twist control. The controls are simpler than the standard rig. Wing has 4 controls: 1/ mainsheet 2:1 2/ camber, this controls flap angle from 0 to 35 degrees 3/ #1 twist 4/ #2 twist.
This is compared to the standard rig: 1/traveler 2/mainsheet 8:1 3/outhaul 4/ downhaul 16:1 5/ rotation 6/over rotation 7/ diamond tension
Now for the fun part...how to sail this thing. I have now sailed 6 times in winds from 4 kts to 22 kts. So far nothing has broken and has proved to be quite easy to sail. All the controls can be adjusted from the wire. Up wind, both twist controls centered (no twist), the camber is set at about 15 degrees, so all you do is adjust the 2:1 mainsheet to optimize the angle of attack. in big breeze upwind it is very easy to depower by simply easing sheet a bit.
Down wind the flap angle is increased to 35 degrees and twist is induced in both elements by easing off the twist control. Jibing and tacking are made a ton easier because there is no boom to crawl under, not to mention a traveler and end boom sheeting to manuveur the tiller extension around.
The big question....is it fast???? So far in boat on boat testing the results have been mixed. There are some conditions that do not suit the wing. One is mild thing sailing. Unlike the C Cats, we cannot trap to leeward to fly the hull in any condition ( Hakan, I know your leeward sitting technique may help but the risk of capsize is not worth it and the rig did not cost $50,000)
In light to medium upwind conditions it seems good and wild thing also good. No test yet in big breeze up or down against anyone. And as someone mentioned the current A cat rig is very highly developed (our masts have gone through over 50 laminate revisions in the last 10 years and I am sure the sailmakers have many more designs) so the difference in the wing performance so far has been small. Time will tell and the ultimate test will be the Worlds and Bill, I am sure there will not be 99 boats on the beach in protest. Steve Clark said the wing will do two things...create alot attention and piss some people off. Well he was right. I did not make this to do either but it is what it is (as coach Bill B says). I enjoyed working with all the "wing nuts" in building this wing, understanding how and why it works, and finally learning how to sail it. The class will ultimately decide the fate of this project and I am not surprised at the myriad of reactions to the project. I have been a huge supporter of the class since 1996 and have owned 18 A cats in that time so it not my intention to ruin the class. The wing has been legal in the class since its inception in the 60's and a solid wing was first tried by Danny Goritski (the wizard of Lake Hopatcong) in 1985 and it was not banned then.
While everybody else was feverously working on new hull shapes, new blades, new sail designs, new battens (why because we can in this class and no one is doing this to go slower) I decided to go for the wing. It is really like building a big model airplane and as a kid I did alot of that (maybe it was the glue). I have always enjoyed fast boats, cars and motorcycles...A Cats are the ultimate speed machine on the water. I will post some nice sailing shots soon.
Ben Hall A Cat USA 99
(webmaster) Many thanks Ben for this detailed information !
more information and results and movies ! of the first races can be found on the following links :
for some more pics and discussions :