It’s been a while since you have really heard from us other than through facebook and this post will be fairly brief too, some British weather has disrupted my plans for the afternoon opening up time to recap on the last 6 months or so…
After a stong finish to last season Team Vampire took some time to reflect and further innovate on the technique gains made in 2018. After evaluating the good and bad performances thus far it was clear that the focus should be on average speed and angles around the course rather than peaks, lowering the minimum wind required for foiling, adding some more control in the big breeze all whilst increasing reliability.
After some valuable advice from multiple sources including a rig study by aerodynamicist Kevin Ellway, we came up with a plan. The main modifications required to reach our objectives were:
- Decksweeper mainsail with new profile
- Jibsweeper with new profile and endplate
- Fully windproof trampoline above both beams
- Second skin undertramp with all controls enclosed and accessible for the helm
- Foils refinished in white durepox with a reduction of backlash in the wand system
In order to apply these changes to both boats there were many hurdles to overcome along with multiple supporting modifications, here are some examples:
- Curved boom and raised gooseneck
- Lower jib tack with kinked removable spinaker pole
- Double traveller system and under tramp turning point for mainsheet
- Trampoline based cleat plate for all foil controls
- New design jib clew/batten to maintain sheeting angle
Big thanks to Graham Eeles Composites, GP Sails, Zest Boatworks, Advantage Sails and Ellway Aero-Hydrodynamic Designs for their help and expertise.
From February until late April the boats were in Mar de Cristal, Spain where the guys at Provela looked after us exceedingly well. The new mods had not been tested on the water yet, in fact the completely new sails for GBR2 were only picked up at the ferry terminal hours before departure therefore we anticpated a lot of teething problems after changing so much!
The first week of testing proved us right! GBR2 which had gone slightly more radical with changes was suffering the most, that said, after no more than a fortnight of tweaks and some relatively small adjustments to the sails she was ripping.
Here are some shots of the boats on the land and in action. There is also a little video clip of me (Kyle) and my pal Dan Henderson who came out for a relaxing holiday with his fiancee under false pretences – I didn’t know this footage existed until clearing some space on the camera this morning as the battery died some point during the sail. We were putting some of the changes through their paces without really pushing too hard but you can get an idea of what the boat was showing signs of!
Since then both boats have been further refined with some extra systems being added at Carnac, Eurocat 2019 and then again before the Whistable Forts race taking a 1,2 in both events against decent competition. The GPS data taken proves that the boats have taken a good step towards the objectives set out in late 2018, with further practise and time on the water we expect to see more gains. I am lucky to have a consistent crew this season in Josh, he is a pleasure to sail with and a natural on the boat with no fear and i think William would say the same of Mark.
Next up is Ronde Texel, the largest catamaran race in the world and a firm favourite for Team Vampire – look out for William Sunnucks & Mark Self on GBR1. Kyle Stoneham & Josh O’Brien on GBR 2.
Intention is to take more footage during the race, camera is charged – thanks for reading.