Saturday, March 11, 2006

Big Rig

You think roll-tacking requires some skill?

Nah, it's as easy as pressing a button. Well, if you are the owner of Stark Raving Mad, literally all you have to do is press a button. Or if that's too hard you could ask one of your crew to press it for you.

Yup. According to Scuttlebutt the canting keel on this 66 foot pile of plumbing and computers is controlled by the buttons in the picture above and, if you time it right, you can even make this baby roll tack.

While the winds were light, the usefulness of the canting ballast was quickly evident as it was moved to windward during a puff. Something akin to the crew of a dinghy moving from the leeward side to out on the trapeze wire, and quickly flattening the boat to accelerate in the puff. Additionally, the use of the canting system during a light air tack is much like the use of crew weight when roll-tacking a dinghy. Move the ballast too fast and you come out of the tack heeled to windward. But used effectively, you can come of a tack with a slight heel, and then roll the boat flat to gain dinghy-like acceleration.

The owner is Jim Madden. Wait a minute - haven't we come across him before? According to this story, the name of Jim's toy was chosen by his wife "because of its enormous price tag".

Yes folks. His wife may think he's stark raving mad, but he can do awesome roll tacks.


Anonymous said...

"...this 66 foot pile of plumbing and computers..." What a great line!

Anonymous said...

A second though comes to mind. Can you say corrosion? I bet you the last thing the guys who sail the floating mobile homes think about is how susceptible wiring and electronics are to corrosion.

Tillerman said...

You could be right Joe. Today their blog says, "We had what is most likely a minor malfunction on one of our electrical switches that controls one hydraulic motor causing us to retire from the rest of racing today".

I cannot imagine having to retire from a day's racing because of a malfunction on an electrical switch. That ain't sailing.

Anonymous said...

Of course, with salt-laden air, the electronics are soon to give up the ghost... how will he roll-tack the boat then?

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