Posts Tagged 'future'

on the wings of a Sunfish

I found a woodworking and sailing creator named Mark on Instagram that has been experimenting with building a wing foil for his Sunfish.

photo by Mark Palmquist

The wing is designed to skim over the water like a horizontal water ski. If it dives, the wing will still have a lifting force due to its curved upper trailing edge. The speed record for a sunfish is around 11 knots in 20 knots of wind. Beyond that bow gets too bouncy and your live ballast can no long keep the hull flat. The wing creates lift on the leeward side forward of the center of effort lifting the hull. Hopefully the wing won’t come loose. It’s basically clamped on.

photo by Mark Palmquist

Mark has two videos posted with the wing foil attached to his Sunfish – the first was very light winds, so not really a good test, but the video below was higher wind. (click thru to watch the video on Instagram…)

Results: a hydroplaning wing works much better on a skinnier, faster hull. The current wing shape is not ideal. Fluid separated on the upper surface. It needs to be optimized for underwater lift, which means having the foil lower and changing the profile shape. Hydroplaning only works well at speeds above 11 knots and that’s the speed limit of the sunfish. Therefore a sunfish would benefit more from a hydrofoil since they work at 8 knots.

sounds like mixed results, so I’ll be curious to see if Mark goes back to the drawing board to tweak the foil shape… or if he maybe has moved on to tweaking his ideas on a sailboat that is a little sleeker than an ol’ Sunfish.

sunfish sailing: 2025 and beyond

tillerman‘s writing topic of the month is Sailing in the Second Space Age.  my submission (and pathetic attempt at some lame humor) is as follows:

it’s the year 2025, and with the uptick in global schwarming over the last decade or so, the polar caps have melted significantly, causing the level of the oceans to dramatically rise, sadly wiping out much of the coastline cities in the world (the entire state of Rhode Island was among the first to go).

due to the large loss of land area across the globe, and corresponding increase in water surface area, piracy on the waters has increased exponentially.  as a result, maritime defense spending by the government has followed the general government trend and skyrocketed.  dinghy sailing is all but extinct along the coast of the oceans, largely due to the Defense department piracy prevention plan (PPP) outfitting sharks with some frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads…

the lack of safe dinghy sailing along the ocean coastline, combined with a gigantic increase in the price of oil, has led to a major increase in inland lakes sailing.  the popularity of Sunfish and Lasers has been a blessing for the relative ease of finding a nearby yacht club, as they are popping up everywhere, and you don’t have to go far to find a regatta to participate in every weekend throughout the spring, summer and fall.  sadly, the insane practice of frostbiting has all but been lost (global schwarming, remember?).  unfortunately, the huge uptick in interest in Sunfish and Laser sailboat’s has cleaned out all the parts suppliers… but is that really that surprising?!

the Great Lakes has become the new Cape Cod, as vacationers flock from all across the US to the largest bodies of water NOT protected by the PPP (ie, sharks with lasers).  the Great Lakes are not without their flaws, though, as the dreaded Asian carp have infested these freshwater inland lakes.  thankfully, they are not nearly as dangerous as the laser-wielding sharks, and lucky for us – the government has implemented another fantastic new program (the ACCP) for controlling the Asian carp population….

Asian Carp Control Program (ACCP)

the Sunfish sailboat, thankfully, has maintained its simplicity over the years with only the usual and random minor changes.  thankfully, the class voted against the implementation of a wing sail, as the current insanity with multiple sail options: class-legal racing sails, class-legal recreational sails, practice racing sails (not class legal), and the non-class-legal recreational sails is more than enough frustration for now… adding a wing sail was just going to put it over the top.

the Sunfish sailboat, now almost 75 years old, continues to have a strong sailing class, and the total number of Sunfish built approaches 1 million.  strangely, though, I haven’t updated to a new fancy shiny version — I’m still using my grossly overweight Sunfish from the 1960’s – she’s hanging on strong, although I’ve yet to finish a regatta on time. with now 15+ years of sailing experience, I can legitimately blame it on the boat, right?  right?  maybe it’s just my daggerboard banging into those dang Asian carp.

until my next update… help out if you can, and carpe carp.


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