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FWAL's blog
Posted by FWAL | Yesterday @ 08:04 AM | 906 Views
15mph South Westerly and Fred and Hammer take off from Hunts, their home turf so to speak! There was just enough lift for Fred the ME 109 which is strictly an I.C model so the wing section certainly isn't ideal for anything less than a moderate breeze. However, she felt a little more stable and was less likely to tip stall with a little reflex dialled into into the ailerons, probably due to the wash out effect but the compromise was less lift which occasionally was a little scary.
The Hammer on the other hand revelled in the conditions and appreciated an additional 200g of ballast. This was the first time since her construction that I had flown her with ballast and she could probably take another 200g as the difference was a better, more steady platform which flew with a positive more purposeful manner.
Posted by FWAL | Jul 09, 2014 @ 04:46 PM | 1,323 Views
Met Mark and Marcel for a few hours of slope therapy at the Ice Cream slope, The Bwlch, South Wales. The Sun shone but the lift was a bit intermittent to begin with. After a short while the wind started to back and the legendary Bwlch lift kicked in and the battle commenced! I took the trees with me in the form of a 43" ME 109 PSS and a slightly modified Phase 6. Local Mark shredded rather than soared with his Cappucino and Race 1. Whilst Marcel from Switzerland was ripping his homemade GRP Jart, practically turning it inside out. The Bwlch is a big place and the Jart and Cappucino were just eating up the sky.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 22, 2014 @ 02:54 PM | 1,364 Views
Vertex has been sailed and raced. First impressions are promising, she pointed very well and by comparison wasn't at all sluggish on the runs which is usually my slowest point of sailing. The longitudinal trim requires further tuning as the stern was a little high whilst the bow was too low. I was hoping I had alleviated or at least improved this scenario by moving the rig and fin further aft from the VTX's but the placement of the corrector weight will also have to come into play and for starters will be moved just in front of the mast post. Overall, after 10 races I finished in second place but first out of the non handicappers. The skipper who came first is allowed a 20sec head start and he won 5 races. I think I won 3. This week I'll have a little break from the bench, try and get some flying in and start Vertex's registration and measurement process.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 22, 2014 @ 05:46 AM | 845 Views
6 hrs till this Sundays racing starts and Vertex's maiden. The chassis is ready the batteries have been refuelled and it's time to fit the engines for the first time and make a start on the tuning.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 20, 2014 @ 05:08 PM | 1,184 Views
Fitted the winch, continuous loop, rudder servo, pot and bow bumper this evening. Can't wait to sail her. The new winch is also better than expected in respect to speed and accurate, repeated end point positions. At the moment I'm using a spring to keep the tension in the loop but might change to a self tensioning drum in the future. I'll also have to seriously consider replacing the Futaba 3003 rudder servo as there's just a little bit too much slop. But to be fair with my skill level the rudder servo is the least of my problems :>0
Posted by FWAL | Jun 19, 2014 @ 05:06 AM | 1,501 Views
Recently I have sanded, resined, sanded and then sanded some more! I have also fitted the rudder tube, main sheet post, mast ram tube, made the rudder control rod and through deck fairleads for the jib sheet. Yesterday I managed to give the hull it's first coat of 2K paint. It will need at least one more coat but hopefully that should do the job.
Bleu Clair (light blue). I'm very happy with the colour which I mixed using the white from the Edge, my last IOM build and the navy from the BOR which was prior to the Edge. It's therefore pretty unique! I'm aiming to just add water and maiden her this Sunday.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 08, 2014 @ 02:02 PM | 1,055 Views
Today a fishing competition was keeping us from our normal racing venue. So by prior arrangement we visited a neighbouring Clubs lake. This is no ordinary lake! It is man made and is the smaller of two which were quarried to obtain hardcore for the local main road. However, at 400m x 200m it is plenty big enough. The lake is just South of Glyn Neath and nestles almost in the centre of the Neath Valley, South Wales. It's high forest covered sloping sides gently persuade the wind to blow from a Southerly direction with subtle differences in both direction and strength to provide sublime RC yacht racing. I would liken it to the infamous Italian sailing venues of lake Como rather than Garda as the strong gusts are to be found more up the centre of the lake rather than the sides but I'm sure this could change if the wind was from a more Westerly direction.
What would normally be for us a Top Suit conditions at our normal venue and a religious day's racing of praying for continual breeze whilst avoiding the wholly areas (Pun intended) around the shallows and shadows of the surrounding tree's turned out to be perfect Working Suit conditions with high speeds and huge 150m + legs. We have another two visits to Glyn Neath booked this year and I for one can't wait till the next visit.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 04, 2014 @ 08:45 AM | 1,226 Views
Yesterday the foredeck was glued to the hull. I used Gorilla glue on the inwhales and Arildite on the jib thing! both to the foredeck and to the bottom of the hull. This helps to transfer the loads from the rig the hull. Today I have made the winch and rudder servo trays. It's surprising how long it takes but again accuracy is all important as the trays help to distribute the sideways loads between the rig, hull and fin.
I also think it is beneficial and makes a lot of sense to me to keep as much weight as possible close to the yachts CoG / CoB. Therefore, I find it most strange why the Britpop for example has the winch positioned in front of the mast (admittedly quite low in the hull) and the rudder servo behind the mainsheet post positioned quite high in the hull. This distance between the two is fairly large compared to the LWL. When all designers are looking for that extra edge surely small gains add up to bigger advantages so even moving the rudder servo closer to the CoG and lower to the CoB could be beneficial? Keeping the weight close to the yachts CoG prevents hobby horsing, nodding dog syndrome or just put plain & simple the rig pitching the wind out of the sails. If you imagine a sea-saw it rocks up and down much longer with weight on the ends producing the momentum compared to an empty sea-saw.
So with this in mind I have tried to place the control servos as low and as close to the CoG'B as possible.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 01, 2014 @ 01:27 PM | 1,541 Views
Steady but slow progress is being maintained with the Vertex build. We've almost rounded the last mark and should be on the last beat and painting by the end of the week.
So, whats taken so long? The liteply inwhales have been fitted. 5mm wide at the aft end, tapering at the midships to take in account of the shroud plates and 10mm at the joint between the hull and foredeck. The foredeck bulkhead has been cut and fitted along with the kicker and pot wells. The fin and mast case and jib thing! rig tension/hull stiffener have been manufactured. And all balsa and ply parts have received 2c'ts of West resin.
Posted by FWAL | May 16, 2014 @ 03:32 PM | 1,769 Views
2 channel soaring is so therapeutic, it has to be done once in a while in order to cleanse the slope soul of all those botched aerobatic tricks and misfortunes! And there's no better time to do it than on a Sunny, warm Friday afternoon in 8-10mph of sea breeze.
SUNNY Slideshow (0 min 56 sec)

Posted by FWAL | May 13, 2014 @ 03:42 PM | 2,459 Views
No building today but the postman delivered my new winch which was ordered last Friday so that was very good service. I'm sure the Titan will prove very trust worthy and does all that is required of it. Plus it'll take a self tensioning 32mm drum, weighs 137g and is made in Britain.
Then this evening Harry and I went for a play in the Bay on our Phil Morrison designed RS 200 which is an absolutely fabulous sailing dinghy.
Posted by FWAL | May 12, 2014 @ 02:21 PM | 2,032 Views
Over the weekend I only managed to complete the fore deck plug and give it two coats of wax. Today I made a bit more progress and practically completed the foredeck shell. Whilst the resin was running I also reinforced the hull along the chine as it felt a bit vulnerable and then the midship, fin and mast area.
Now the sundry bits and bobs start to get a bit smaller but the time to do them seems to take a lot longer as the emphasis is on accuracy.
Posted by FWAL | May 11, 2014 @ 02:22 PM | 2,299 Views
It's been a very long time 8-9months since we last raced with the B rigs but the wait was worth it. What a blast and the Edge didn't let the side down with 8 bullets from 10 races. I retired in the seventh race when the jib sheet got tangled around the clew which looks like an impossible feat on dry land but that's sailing and again the jib sheet snagged on something during the first leeward mark rounding of the tenth race. This opened the door for Nigel to glide past taking the lead whilst I was left to faff about which eventually released the sheet. With a 15m lead there was little chance of me catching him up so I had to settle for a second.
Unfortunately skipper numbers were slightly down on the usual and the results will be littered with retirements due to poor rig choice, breakages and in Doug's case an attraction to the only tree obstruction in the whole lake!
Posted by FWAL | May 09, 2014 @ 04:26 PM | 2,310 Views
1000mm x 160mm x 18mm MDF, contact adhesive, jig saw, electric plane, smoothing plane, sand paper and a couple of hours later the fore deck plug is ready to be varnished prior to use. First I cut the MDF in half and cut and sanded one piece to the shape of the hull shape. The other piece was cut slightly larger as I used contact adhesive to glue the two halves together, with contact adhesive you only get one chance hence making one larger allowed for slight misalignment.
Once the halves were joined together I marked the depth which worked out 36mm at the mast and 18mm at the bow, hence the sandwich construction.
The work then progressed outside due to the dust as a fair bit of planing was about to take place.
I'm still of the mind that a high flat foredeck is beneficial compared to lower decks with prominent spines, ridges running up the centre. Keeping the jib boom close to deck helps prevent the wind from cheating underneath the sail and the flatness also reduces rotar and vortexes on the leeward side. There is a slight weight draw back but is all about compromises.
Posted by FWAL | May 09, 2014 @ 06:52 AM | 2,825 Views
Vertex's hull was faired last night and I also fitted the pre FG'd 2mm liteply transom and bow. As I've said before I always try and use up any spare resin to laminate offcuts of balsa sheet or liteply as it always comes in handy during this type of composite build.
The fairing shaved (sanded) off a staggering 14grams, this was very pleasing and now in her current state the hull weighs 220g or 7.75 oz. Next I plan to make the fore deck plug from 18mm MDF and retrieve the mast fin box out of the VTX as I hope to fit it in the Vertex
Posted by FWAL | May 07, 2014 @ 04:17 PM | 2,263 Views
That's the current weight of theVertex hull when it came off the plug. It's been an interesting past few hours of this build. Last night I thought I had prepared the hull for it's last flow coat of resin. So this morning I mixed the usual 18ml of West Systems resin which works out just the right amount to cover the hull but I had a couple of millilitres left over. Not a problem as I normally use it up on spare sheets to make various parts. However, after returning home from work a quarter of the hull where I first started applying the resin was like an orange peel in texture. The remainder of the hull was looking very good. I was a bit gutted but life and especially modelling is full of ups and downs. As the resin was still tacky I thought I'd give the hull another filler coat. Another mix was soon ready but my favourite brush was still damp from being washed. A substitute brush was found but the resin was going on pretty thick so an additional mix was required to completely finish the hull. I cut some FG ready and waxed my kicker well plug to use up the excess resin so not much harm done.
The hull received this additional and un planned flow coat of resin but as a consequence of the different brush causing more than usual amount of resin being required. Or the first coat of the day not having cured quite enough a number of small ripples were apparent along the hull and will require some special sanding treatment. Oh well, I'm quite use to sanding.
This evening after a little bit of persuasion the hull released itself from the plug and like a new born went straight onto the scales. 223 grams is a respectable light weight but only 60 or so grams lighter than one of my balsa cored hulls which are probably a lot stiffer.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 30, 2014 @ 05:07 PM | 2,174 Views
Today the new Vertex hull had it's first layer of FG trimmed back and was lightly sanded. After quick wash with fresh water and dried I went back to my old trick of spraying the hull with a light mist of 3M spray mount. Then I carefully covered the hull with another layer of 200g/m2 of fibre glass. With a bit of manipulation practically all the creases can be removed and wetting out is soooo much easier when the FG isn't moving about but quite firmly adhered to the previous and first layer of FG.

These photo's were taken after three quarters of the hull had been wetted out. The area awaiting the resin is firmly tacked to the hull which makes life a lot easier and less stressful.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 29, 2014 @ 04:59 PM | 2,263 Views
This evening I had my first experience of laying up a GRP hull on a plug. Normally, my hulls are a composite of balsa and GRP. I used to use 3m spray mount to hold the woven 200g/m2 fibre glass in place which has been very successful but this was not option during this GRP only build.
The plug had received two layers of releasing wax so fingers crossed I shouldn't have any problems striking the hull off the plug. I'm anticipating using two layers of 200g/m2 for the majority of the hull with an additional layer of 80g/m2 in the middle of the hull from the main sheet post to just in front of the mast post incorporating the full beam circumference.
Initially I mixed 36ml of West System resin which managed to cover two thirds of the wetting out so another 15ml was mixed but only about 8ml was used so it took approx 44ml in total which feels about right. I also tried for the first time to use a jenny or jen brush (A stick with a piece of brush shaped foam attached) to wet out the FG but after a while I went back to my trustee cheap kids paint brush bought from my local newsagent for 60p and used numerous times. The jenny brush is used once and thrown away. I found the thick paint brush stippled the resin into the FG a lot quicker and more thoroughly. It took a little time and patience but overall I'm very happy with the results. In one or two small areas the FG started to lift but a light rub over with some kitchen towel managed to absorb any excess resin and soon had things looking right. I also needed to cut a small dart in the FG at the midships to release a crease on each side but that's a relatively small price to pay to keep the FG and my sanity intact.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 28, 2014 @ 05:30 PM | 2,115 Views
The VTX hull has now been modified to produced a plug for my firdt attempt at a GRP moulded hull. This new project will be called "Vertex". The vertex's WL Beam will be 175mm and the overall beam 180mm. The transom has also been widened as a consequence. The rear deck will be flat and the foredeck will be similar to the Edges as I'm happy with the overall looks and performance.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 06, 2014 @ 10:09 AM | 2,040 Views
I have been planning this makeover for a long time. Today the weather has been very miserable (Too wet for glossing the woodwork!) The wife is working the eldest is in Cardiff, the youngest is playing with a neighbour and the Sorrento's glue is curing. So out came the electrics off came the fittings, say goodbye to the flush decks, a quick sand and wash out and this is what I have to work with. A Mark Dicks designed 170mm beamed VTX. Now I am really going to struggle to keep the weight down. Most of my builds in this state come in at around the 275-290g mark. This Chopped Matt Strand bruiser is a whopping 505g. This is seriously going to restrict my choice of winch so I might be refitting the ole Grupner Regatta as it's probably faster to have a 4kg IOM rather than a fast winch.