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FWAL's blog
Posted by FWAL | Oct 22, 2014 @ 07:34 AM | 1,362 Views
Posted by FWAL | Oct 20, 2014 @ 03:11 PM | 1,046 Views
No words are necessary. The pic's tell the story of a great weekend of racing. Even when my luck went down the swanny it was still fascinating to watch Rob and Brad battle it out with a little friendly banter thrown in....Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Oct 14, 2014 @ 11:58 AM | 1,254 Views
I've added the Futaba connections to my new Titan Tempest winch and she appears to be working perfectly, silky smooth, remarkably quite and very, very accurate end pointing. It feels solid and is very compact as well as being waterproof.
The next job was to devise a suitable bracket to secure her into the hull. I've been thinking about this for a little while but in the end decided to keep it very simple and opted to use a flat aluminium 3mm thick plate. Rebated both for the fin box and winch drive shaft. This makes for very easy removal. By the way in the photo below the winch looks very small and the hull very big. In reality both are small. There's a 26mm dia drum on the winch and the deck aperture at present is 12cm.
I have also been busy preparing the plug for my newest IOM, Shwmae. I noticed that the last hull off the old plug was slightly twisted but at the time didn't realise that it was the way I had mounted the plug which had caused the twist.
A little bit of tweaking and the supporting feet were set true. The waxing could begin prior to laminating. However, after checking my stock of woven fibre glass there was sadly an insufficient amount to make a start. Unless I lay up in long strips!!!
Posted by FWAL | Oct 04, 2014 @ 10:45 AM | 1,870 Views
I awoke in the middle of the night as the wind and rain picked up. I awoke again at 05:30hrs, this time by the alarm. It was an early start as I had a three hour drive to a Metropolitan and Southern District IOM Championship Series Event hosted by Reading Sailing Club.
As I drove along the M4 East I managed to overtake the rain. I was one of the first to arrive but soon the Car Park was filling up. Within an hour of arriving I had made 3 sail changes A, B and back to A and also changed from shorts and Tee shirt to thermal trousers, wooly jumper and Gore Tex jacket. All the time people were positive and appeared to looking forward to a day of friendly racing amongst the twelve registered competitors.
However, as more people were launching their boats to check the tune etc it soon became apparent that there was a crazy amount of weed floating around the racing area. Even at this early stage I heard mutterings that it would be impossible to race in such conditions. Added to this the rain had also now caught us up. Although, stubbornly I was still remaining to be upbeat.
The first race did start, I was mid line and on the first run was in 2nd place going around the leeward gate. During the early stages of the next beat the weed had found me so I had to crawl to the control area. Once weed free and back on my way I managed to complete the course and finish 6th. The next race was much the same but this time I was in third place going through the gate. I chose to stay on...Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Oct 03, 2014 @ 03:55 PM | 1,962 Views
This evening we went for fly over Langland. A beautiful beach just West of Mumbles. The lift was very good with a fresh warm wind from the South West. The Sun peeping between the clouds whilst slowly setting. The landing zone is well, small! OK there isn't a landing zone as such, just plonk, drop, crash whatever it takes to land as close as possible to where you are standing. If you stray too far, then according to Murphy's Law you're going to find yourself waist high in Gower gorse. Oscar flew his SAS Cobra and I took my trusty 60" Wildthing and homebrew Tracer. After 20mins with the WT I launched the Tracer. Another 20mins later and I was starting to struggle as I was flying a silhouette quite often and loosing orientation. I took the Tracer up and out to do another bunt but during the manoeuvre she spun out and I lost orientation again. I started to panic and wiggled the sticks in order to try and figure out which and what direction she was flying in. However, in doing so she was haemorrhaging altitude fast. when I eventually managed to gain control and flying level she was so low I thought I was going to have to ditch here in the Sea. More by luck than judgement she started to bank and turn towards the land albeit rocks. I couldn't see the landing from where I was standing so was not 100% sure what to expect when I had scrambled to a vantage point to spot the Tracer. I was relieved when I saw here on the rocks but partially hidden. It took approx 20 mins to jog, climb, scramble and slip my way over the rocks to get a closer view and retrieve here. By this time it was dusk and after I had retraced my tracks to a proper path it was all but dark.
But you know what, it was worth it as a part form receiving a broken solid balsa nose cone she was in one piece. What a lucky break!
Posted by FWAL | Sep 29, 2014 @ 11:12 AM | 1,489 Views
Just a quick update on the new plug. I use a dry wall jointing compound for the filler. It's relatively cheap, sands very easy and the finish is more than adequate once sealed with water based varnish prior to releasing wax. Here, I'm in the process of applying the third and probably the last layer of filler.
I'm undecided on the name for this new IOM but on the short list is;
Cult or Shwmae
(and no it's not a spelling mistake. It's the Welsh word for 'hello'. We do have and can speak a different language to our neighbouring country England)
Posted by FWAL | Sep 26, 2014 @ 03:09 PM | 1,361 Views
It seems like and age since I was last in the workshop doing something constructive. Finally today I managed to make a start on a couple of improvements (not guaranteed of course) to two of my previous homebrew projects. There wasn't a lot wrong with the Bor in fact Graham Elliot was rather impressed with the design when he saw it in the flesh! It was then a great shame when I took the bung out whilst receiving his compliment that a load of water poured out which sort of dampened my proud feeling. A day or two after I found that the joint between the kicker well and mast tube had subsequently split causing the leak. (I digress)
So why cut up a perfectly fine hull? The Bor was just as competitive as any other modern design, winning the majority of Club races and even some District races. However, there were two major flaws. The skipper and the nose dive in the upper wind to rig ranges. Perhaps, again not changing down a rig could again be a skipper problem but I thought I'd just try a little tweak first. So it made sense to move the position of the winch as I have ordered a new Tempest winch from Titan.
The Bor was fitted with a BRC winch (Italian RMG clone) and the fixing bracket can be seen in the photo above. The batteries were located in a plastic tub on the opposite side of the fin case and the small pot just housed the radio receiver (rx).
The deck has been carefully cut away revealing the rear of the fin case, the new winch will be fitted just behind the...Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Sep 09, 2014 @ 02:51 PM | 1,806 Views
Frank Russell originally designed the Goth and since its inception various versions have been produced. In fact so many that I don't think anybody is that sure where we are with them at the moment. However, a good friend of mine has recently purchased a second hand Goth EVO mx 3
It was built in 2013 and looks to have had a fairly hard upbringing! I have been asked to give it a bit of a once over so here goes;

The very first job was to remove the Specky 5ch Rx and replace it with a Futaba FHSS Rx as the Futaba 6J TX is a far superior. Next I weighed the hull ex batteries but including corrector weight = 1205g + fin and Bulb = 3705 + rig at approx 300g = 4005g OK now add the 6V 2600 mAh Ni-MH battery and we were 184g too heavy. I have since removed the 236g of original corrector weight and will add back the required amount after an accurate weight for the rigs has been established.
Talking of corrector weight there seems to be some debate about the best fore and aft positioning. I think I'll place it directly under the pot just to keep the bow up slightly to start with. The main sheet post isn't ideal as there appears to be a ligature point between the post and S/S ring fairlead. The rudder servo linkage is also off set so the throws are unequal from side to side. This particular servo is a Hitec HS5086wp. It's has quite an impressive specification for it's size with a torque of 3.6kg at 6V so probably wont be replaced at this moment in time.
The winch is a MX...Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Aug 03, 2014 @ 04:30 PM | 2,049 Views
2 weeks to the Dart 18 Euro's and my first proper days racing a Dart in over 10yrs.
Hard work, exciting, rewarding. Should be a fun event but certainly not pinning my hopes too high.
Posted by FWAL | Aug 01, 2014 @ 03:26 PM | 2,032 Views
Lovely weather and a busy week from a stroll to the shops via the coast path to walking up Lord Hereford's knob for a bit of slope soaring. Not forgetting a little journey to the Midlands for a weekends racing IOM's in the company of World, European and National champions. And tomorrow it's the Mumbles Y.C's Open Meeting where Harry and I will race the 200 tomorrow and I'll be racing a Dart 18 on Sunday in preparation for the up coming Europeans....Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Jul 22, 2014 @ 06:11 AM | 2,195 Views
Last Friday I arrived home to find a 66" Hawker Hurricane MK1 had made a safe arrival. This is a Pegasus kit and I'm quite impressed. The kit is designed for IC 2/4 stroke engines but I'm sure it will soar satisfactory. On first impressions the only thing which lets it down slightly is that there is no wing to fuselage fairing, but details and sections are on the plan should you wish to make and add them. I guess this is one reason why the kit is so reasonably priced at 104 brand new. This particular kit is 'New In Box' (NIB) second hand and I paid 85 which included an upgraded 14 GRP cowl. I arranged the courier (YODEL) at a reasonable cost of 6.90 for their 48hr service and was tempted to insure the parcel to take the total cost to just under 11. So hopefully all in all a fair price for a fair kit. Now I just need to get motivated and complete the Sorrento. Outer wings are the hold up as the fuse and tail feathers are practically all done bar the covering.
Posted by FWAL | Jul 15, 2014 @ 01:47 AM | 2,287 Views
Some footage from my local slope. A little more lift would have been helpful but overall it was still an enjoyable afternoons cruising.

ME 109 Fred (1 min 57 sec)

Posted by FWAL | Jul 14, 2014 @ 04:29 PM | 2,166 Views
Last Sunday both my recent 2014 homebrew IOM's were on the water during a 'Try a Sail day'. The wind was from the North West and proved very testing in its own rights with big holes and big gusts. Perhaps 97 has a little too much backstay tension identified by the diagonal crease in the lower half of the main.

Edge 97 Vertex 35 (1 min 43 sec)

Posted by FWAL | Jul 12, 2014 @ 08:04 AM | 2,268 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 | 2,589 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 | 2,453 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 | 1,956 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 | 2,278 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 | 2,610 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 | 2,135 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.