Tuesday, June 4, 2013

North H-13 Tuning

Production is setting up for the first run of H-13 mainsails.  North Sails One Design worked hard to make a very specific set of instructions for building the sails and ensuring the quality is up to our standards.  We will have available shipping dates shortly and then can start taking orders.

In the meantime it would be a waste if we spent so much time trying to get the sails perfect, but neglected to teach our clients how to get the most out of their sails.  Moth Sailors spend hours sanding and fairing their hydrofoils, but sometimes do not spend the time fairing their aerofoil (IE their sail).  Typically walking around with a batten tensioner for a few minutes is the norm.

Here is how to try to get the most out of your North H-13 mainsail with a few simple steps.

Below is an image onboard of a North H-13 mainsail downwind.  You can see the entry angle is quite even from the top to bottom.  If your sail matches your mast, then you should have no problem achieving a similar look.  Too be critical, I probably should have added one spacer to the bottom batten.

For those sailors familiar with developing or trimming sails for skiffs or yachts you can probably understand the look of a sail with too much or too little luff curve.  If a mainsail has creases running to the middle of the mast from the clew, you know you could use a little more luff curve in that area of the sail and/or less mast bend.  A moth sail is no different, but we do have a different tool set.

The easiest change is to add or take out cam spacers which essentially is fine tuning the luff curve of the sail to match the mast.  When I get a new sail I'll do a "pinch" test at each cam to get enough spacers so that you cannot pinch more than 1-2mm of cloth in front of the mast.  If you can pinch more, then the leeward side of your luff sleeve may have wrinkles.

After pinch testing each cam, I rig the sail on the boat and go full controls on.  I look for an even entry angle on all the battens like the image below (traced from the photo above):

Perfect setup

However, sometimes you will have too much entry angle in one batten.  This causes wrinkles to project from the front of the battens above and below to the middle of the batten that needs less spacers.  See image below:

One too many spacers

The opposite can also happen where you do not have enough local luff curve and you have too fine an entry.  This causes wrinkles from the body of the sail to the front of the batten which needs spacers (the wrinkles point to where you need more spacers).  Adding a spacer then pushes out these creases.  See image below:
One too few spacers

Heavier sailors will prefer an Elite 3 mast or a Mach 2 stiff.  Lighter sailors may find a Mach 2 medium a more forgiving setup.  If you are a medium weight sailor with a Mach 2 medium mast,  the sail will come with a double hounds opening allowing for a straighter mast setup.  The double hounds opening will also allow sailors to use their double hounds rigs on this sail without having to modify their sails.

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 North American Championships

Great video coverage of the 2013 NA Champs.  Expertly produced by videographer Will Lyons- thanks.

There are some scenes featuring Bora with the new North H-13 mainsail (Hawaii 2013 Worlds for those wondering what "H-13" stands for).  

Special thanks to Gorilla Rigging, James Island Yacht Club and the US Moth Class Sponsor 11th Hour Racing.  Congrats to Anthony Kotoun for winning and helping to organize a great event with help from US Class President Matt Knowles.

Next event is the Newport Moth Regatta May 11-12th at Sail Newport.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

North Sails H-13 Mainsail Design

Over the last 10 months North Sails have been developing a new International Moth Class mainsail for the 2013 World Championships in Hawaii.  The new design is called the H-13 model which will be in production shortly.

Testing this past week at the Moth North American Championships was very positive.  "I was for sure the fastest boat on the track by the end of the regatta and this was the first time in a long time that I have felt this good about my boat speed"  Bora Gulari

Previous designs are powerful with more return in the aft sections- the new design is aimed squarely at producing the highest Drive/Side force ratios possible with straighter aft sections and a forgiving entry angle.  

There are quite a few other significant changes as well:

-Previous Model Sails were made from a Technora Scrim with a primary focus on weight savings.  The new sail is monofilm/polyester laminate mix.  The monofilm construction is tried and proven in the Moth with good shapeholding, isotropic stretch characteristics, and of course allowing simple panel layouts for accurate shaping and smoother surfaces.  The polyester laminate in the luff sections allows for easy rigging and accurate depth/draft control in the front half of the sail.

-New luff curve allowing much higher vang tensions than previous sails.

-Elliptical roach profile lowering the center of effort and focusing area where it can be used most efficiently- IE extracting more energy from a larger wind cross-section for a fixed area. 

-The mainsail head is angled up in the leech which increases the effective span of the moth rig reducing induced drag.

-Easier Rigging with improved sleeve geometry, shaping, cam zippers and cambers with high shoulders

-Double hounds exits added to the luff sleeve

-RBS Tapered battens for more accurate tension control (less batten snaking/compression inside the pocket vs rod battens)

-Additional full batten and Cam allowing for smoother luff sleeve

Stay tuned for tuning updates and a rigging guide

For ordering information please see North Sails One Design.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


We at North Sails are always looking to improve our product.  After a season of hard work we have looked at our 2009 sails and how they wore out and then made some small changes to our sails construction which should have a big improvement in the way the sails last.

Moth sails take a real hammering when rigging and carrying boats out to launch.  With the sails already built from tough base sail cloth I think a moth mainsail is going to wear out from time spent rigging rather than time spent sailing.

Below is an image of the new light weight rubber bumper on the head of the 2010 sails.  This provides better chafe protection than thick webbing we previously used which tends to get torn up on concrete.

The batten ends, especially on the top battens wear out quickly and risk having the orange tension line which loops over the batten wing tips wear out and break.  All battens now have rubber bumpers on both sides of the batten pockets as in the image below:

With the stiffer masts comes higher downhaul loads.  Some boats are even using 8:1 downhauls.  Originally our sails had press rings, then we switched to webbing loops on the luff sleeves.  However, after more testing we decided to put the press rings back in the sail.  With the high loads we have added a web loop for safety to ensure the ring does not pull out of the sail:

To make the sails easier to rig up we have added side zips to the cams.  This is a popular feature which can really take the headache out of rigging up.  All luff sleeves are now made from a more durable Dacron than the 2009 sails which had a square weave low stretch Dacron which was prone to tearing.  Additionally the front seam on the sleeves is now reinforced with a Teflon tape to ensure that the mast will not tear through the seam and add a little more ruggedness when your sail decides to flip itself over on the pavement while rigging!

With the winter weather starting to take a break in the US testing is about to begin in earnest with hopes of further improvements making it into the product.

Below is an image of the 2009 model V8 on a Southern Spar in 12kts TWS.  The new 2010 sails are slightly more draft forward throughout with more front% (Slightly more knuckle) in the lower sections and more reactive to downhaul in the head for when the breeze comes on.

Please feel free to drop me a note anytime with questions on our sails.  We are always open to suggestions and possible improvements in our product.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tuning Guide

Successful couple of weeks for North Sails.  Following Chris Graham's win at the UAE Nationals Rob Gough won the slalom.  Brad Funk then got the most out of his V8 to get 3rd in the Worlds.  Not as good as 2009 with the win in the US Champs and the 2nd in the Worlds, but we will take it considering the conditions and expecting more out of the sails as the wind builds.

After about 5 months of development I have finally had some time to put ideas on getting the most out of the North Sails.

Upwind technique:

-More vang improves VMG upwind.  With a 16:1 you should need moderate tension once up and foiling and very tight tension upwind once fully powered up.
-Less vang is better for speed, IE when trying to get to one side of the course or for getting through another boat.
-Once fully powered up, IE TWS greater than 14-15kts max vang
-Downhaul should be fairly loose in marginal conditions, as the TWS increases the downhaul should be pulled until you can sail with a full sail.  If your weather tell tales are luffing then you need more downhaul, if your leeward tell tales are luffing ease the downhaul.
-Once fully overpowered upwind max downhaul and vang as hard as you can pull
-Outhaul about 150mm off boom in light winds and 100mm in breeze, never tighter than 100mm
-Shroud tension tighter for power, looser if overpowered, typically leeward shroud just loose
-Flat to slight heel to weather in light wind to power rig up as much as possible.  More heel to weather as the windspeed increases.  Heel to weather more for high mode and flatter for fast mode.  Keep in mind that more heel reduces the apparent wind angle and the effective sail area.
-Ride height as high as possible without rudder ventilating

Downwind technique:

-Outhaul eased LOTS.  Probably foot of the sail 200-250mm from boom, 8mm bungee wrapped around leech helps the outhaul ease, as does Ultra High Molecular Weight Plastic Tape under your boom and large clew tie lines or a Velcro strap.
-Vang cracked, but not too much.  Just enough to make gybing easier seems about right.
-C-Ham eased till there are just wrinkles on luff in light wind, a little less in breeze.
-When heating up for speed add a little more downhaul especially if fully powered up.
-Hike when enough pressure to hike against and still feel good apparent wind pressure, but don't make it a priority to hike unless you can hike hard to increase speed and carry the building apparent windspeed down to a similar angle as a non-hiking angle.
-Heel is flat in most wind conditions, but slight to weather once hiking hard
-Ride height as high as one dares depending on the windspeed

Taking a page from big boat racing, a good set of targets can be helpful.  I am using this as my starting point.  Obviously a good guess is required on the approximate windspeed.  Downwind Speeds are a little more approximate, maybe the top guys are a few knots quicker downwind as the breeze increases:

I'd be happy to hear peoples comments on what makes them go faster.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Congratulations to Simon, Amac and Brad

Congratulations to Simon, Amac and Brad.  Three very worthy competitors, hard working sailors and three really great guys who have used their experience to finish atop a tough field in even tougher conditions.

Thanks to the DOSC, Puma, CST, Chris Graham, Glenn Raphael and Sailing Anarchy for organizing another great Moth Worlds.

So clearly I am not going to win the blog worlds with my last blog post.  Never has a truer statement been made than Dave Lister's Mothcast comment, "You blog, you lose."  At the time I thought Dave was talking about losing races.  I have been loosing races for 25 years before blogs were invented- so what's to loose?  Obviously a blog sets oneself up for a faux pas.

It is interesting how a blog is in it's simplest for a diary or a way for people to express their opinions.  The problem with opinions is that everyone has them and usually 50% of the population is going to disagree with you.  More to follow on NORTH sails in the future.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sail Development

It has been a very interesting worlds, especially looking at how different sails are performing.  I think all the sail designers have concentrated on having one sail which suits all winds- this is always compromise in some conditions and some sails do this better than others.  The Hyde sails perform well in marginal foiling conditions, the Raptor sails are high wind sails, and the KA and North Sails more all purpose designs.

Brief Summary Moth Sails from a designers perspective:

Raptor- These sails were all the hype coming into the worlds.  Unfortunately, my friends, Bora, Dalton and Bear are under-performing relative to the more competitive worlds of 2009.  The reality is two boat sail testing can lead to different shapes than race testing- we learn this in the America's Cup and in keel boats all the time!  I guess building 18 free sails tends to build up loyalty.  The Raptor sails are pushing the limit of flattness for racing in light winds.  The Raptor sails are also close cousins to windsurf designs.  Remember the only similarity between moth sails and windsurf sails is that both sails use cams.  Windsurfers have about a third of the righting moment, very soft unsupported rigs, unlimited sail area, limited sail adjustments, rarely go upwind and are used in more wind than moths would likely rig up in- the net result is flat, large (Relative to the available righting moment) twisty sails, and lots of sails in ones quiver. 

Hyde- Hats off to Mike for making it to the worlds and putting in a good performance so far.  Clearly these sails are the opposite to the Raptor designs and are performing well in the lighter winds.  The original North Sails started out with very similar depth distribution as the current Hyde sails and by the time the 2009 worlds came along the North sails evolved to be deeper down low and flatter up high.

KA Sails- What can one say, nothing beats strength in numbers!  With half the fleet using KA sails it is going to be hard for KA not to have another great result. Amac, as always, has done his homework several years ago and keeps a lot of the top guys running his gear.  Next week we will post some pictures and scans showing the differences between the KA and V8 sail shapes on the water.

North Sails- The North Sails team has taken a bit of hit this year with Rohan, Nathan, Kevin Hall and Morgan Larson out of Moth sailing for 2010.  Hopefully we see them back sometime soon.  Much appreciation for Brad Funk, Chris Graham and Rob Gough helping tune our product and putting in some good results!  Clearly Chris and Brad are moving the right direction relative to 2009- keep it up. 

The 2010 North designs have evolved into slightly flatter and more draft forward sails with an improved twist profile.  Some of these changes are due to the progression of stiffer masts over the last year.  After the worlds we will have to decide if this was taken too far or if the light air of Dubai is an fluke.  We have also dropped the V6 design to help reduce the choice of sails available- quite frankly this was pretty confusing for some sailors to decide what to buy.  The demise of Bladerider and hopefully the end of sailors trying to use the soft Bladerider masts also propagated this change.

Next week we will also outline some of the improvements to the 2010 North Moth Sails.  Apart from the ongoing shape development, a lot of work has been done to help increase the durability of the North Sails in collaboration with Kai Hopf from North Windsurf.   These are very expensive pieces of equipment and we want to make sure our clients get the best value for their sails.

Good luck to everyone for the final days of the worlds.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Southern's Foiling Moth rig explained

Nice article copied from Sail-world.com

Southern's Foiling Moth rig explained

''Mr Foiling Moth' Rohan Veal flying with a Southern Spars rig at the 2009 Int Moth Worlds'    Sean Trew (Pacific Fog) ©

During the recent CST Moth Worlds held in Oregon, Southern Spars new rig design was put to the test. Results are in, and 10 of the top 20 competitors were using Southern Spars kit.

So what makes up the Southern Moth rig?

The key objective was to produce a rig that would fit the range of sailor weights now common in the Moth class. After a collaborative R&D effort between Southern Spars and North Sails that included analysing mast stiffness characteristics and current sail designs in the class to the nth degree, it was decided that two spar options would be produced.

Southern Spars developed its two masts: the standard P1 mast suited to all sailors, as well as the aptly named Phatboy mast for the heavier sailor. The rationale for developing two different masts is that larger sailors apply more force through greater righting moment and consequently force masts to bend more than a smaller sailor. Therefore, it made sense to design two masts with different levels of stiffness that would bend equally regardless of the size of the sailor. This evens out the playing field for a larger sailor by allowing them to make better use of a standard sail design.

Both spars are two-piece masts made from high modulus carbon - laminated to give the most consistent bend possible; they are joined with a spigot. The mast plugs are made of lightweight Acetyl plastic, while the spreader attachment is carbon and the stay attachment is a small lightweight alloy fitting – presenting less windage than the previous mast.

The new high modulus oval boom is approximately 25% stiffer than its predecessor making vang changes more decisive; it also offers less windage and weight. The mast package has absolute minimal weight at approximately 2kg fully rigged.

Southern’s Composite Rigging have also developed EC6 carbon stays for the Moth. The new stays are 1.9mm in diameter and weigh just 29g apiece. This is considerably lighter than both PBO and wire rigging, which weigh in at 44g and 128g per stay respectively.

by Brenna Pringle   5:59 AM Thu 15 Oct 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Worlds Lessons

So the Moth Worlds are over, I finally have had a chance to take a well deserved rest from Mothing and have started reflecting on what can be done better in my own personal sailing as well as what North Sails can do better for the 2010 worlds.

For me it is simple, more time in the boat is the only way I will be able to compete with the level the class is heading. Clearly speed is not all that is needed to win these days, good starting, good tactics, good boat handling and reliability are all essential. These are the items I will focus on in the next six months in that order. Nothing new to sailing, but defiantly more important in moth sailing than ever before. Maybe I should listen to Dave Lister and stop blogging?

Now onto the sails. Always room for improvement in sails as well. I think overall we have to be very pleased with the way the North Sails performed. Our goal was to have 5 boats in the top ten which was realized. Obviously Nathan won the US Championships and we also had 5 boats in the top ten for the US Champs too.

Below is a list of the gear table I made after the event of the top 30 sailors (Obviously some sailors used multiple gear, but I think this is the best representation of what everyone used):
As with all sailing, the best sailors placed well and I am sure Bora would have been able to win in any boat, mast or sail combo. Unfortunately we did not have our sails on many Mach2's (Only Nige who used our sail from time to time with good effect). Interesting is that the first 9 of 10 Bladeriders used North Sails.

Top 11 Bladeriders
Back to the subject here, what did we learn about making the sails better? It was clear that the stiffer carbon battens are critical, esp as the wind increases. Some sailors used the carbon battens in the top three battens and others used them in the lower battens. I personally used the carbon battens in all of the battens and felt that my sail looked pretty good and matched the Southern Rig well. We will test some new sail shapes, which are a slight modification on the current theme, but taking lessons from the V6 which really seemed to be the best all around performer. North will also spend time looking at how to make the sails more robust without adding weight, esp in the luff sleeve which like all moth sails tends to get hammered rigging up and carrying out to the launch site.

Kevin Hall had a test V10 design which was closer to the V6's molded shape with a reduced luff curve to fit on a super stiff Southern mast, this shape maybe adapted for the stiffer masts anticipated for the worlds in Dubai.

My feeling is that mast development will be where we see the most development going into the next world championships with Southern and CST working on the fine line between light weight, stiff and robust spars. Stiffer masts will be key and of course nobody is going to want to carry heavier rigs or risk failure which will make getting the right amount of off axis carbon dialed perfectly.
Rohan, Bora and Nathan in the US Champs
Kevin Hall leading race 1 of the US Champs
Typical race start at the worlds, short line only the top ten boats had a clear lane, after the start if you did not nail it you had to wait for the top ten boats to clear out before you could put the bow down and send it.
Yours truely yet again overstanding the top mark.
Rohan, Rob, Chris W, Adam and Chris G
Rohan and Nathan leading in the US Champs
Nige proving he still has it, nothing goes better to weather than Nige in 20+ knots!
 Fleet of North Equipped Moths following Bora around the top mark at pace

Of course the most important lesson of all was how cool all the moth sailors are and what a great group of sailors who I can now consider my friends, nice to meet everyone!

Photos from Sean Trew at http://www.pacificfog.net/mothworlds2009/ ubercool guy and I am sure everyone in the moth class appreciates Sean taking time out of his life to document our crazy addiction to share with the world.

Also, thanks to our sponsors, esp CST, Zhik and West Coast sailing. Last but not least to the Columbia Gorge Racing Assosiation and all their volunteers who made for the best ten days of sailing I have had in many years- Thanks!

Stay tuned to see what is going to be the next developments from North Sails and Southern Spars to improve your boats performance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sailor Guide

While the gear guides are cool and of course Moth Sailors are "Gear Heads" when you really get down to it, I think the lineup for this years World Championships is what the class should be talking about. While maybe small in numbers the list is pretty impressive in quality, quick Google search came up with the following:

Scott Babbage 2006 29er World Champ, 2nd Moth Worlds

Dalton Bergan 2006 49er NA Champ 2005 49er NA Championship 2nd
Anthony Boscolo 2008 29er US Champ 1996 US Double Handed Champion, Bemis Trophy
Sean Couvreux 2001 Rolex Olympic Classes 49er 2nd
Rob Gough 2009 Victorian State Champs, 2nd
Bora Gulari 2008 NA Champion 2008 PCC Champion
Kevin Hall 2005 Finn US Champion, Olympian

Hans Henken 2008 29er Euros Bronze
Morgan Larson 2007 49er NA Champion, 3x 3rd Worlds

Andrew McDougall 2008 World Championships 2nd
Charlie McKee 2001 49er World Champion, Bronze Olympics

Jonathan McKee 2001 49er World Champion, Gold Olympics

Nigel Oswald 2000 UK National Champion
Nathan Outteridge 2008 49er World Champion, 2009 too

Simon Payne 2006 World Champion, 5x Euro Champ

George Peet 2005/2006 Volvo Ocean Race
Arnaud Psarofaghis 2008 European Champion, 2009 too

Chris Steele 2007 Optimist World Champion
Rohan Veal 2005 World Champion, 2007 too

Tim Wadlow 49er Olympian, 2nd 2007 49er NA's

Surely there are people with great sailing achievements I forgot or whom I have not met yet.

See everyone at the regatta.