The second update from our imbedded reporter in Belmont regarding the development of the wing sail for the 2011 Zhik Moth Worlds. Chris is there to compete, as well as test the new skiff line from SLAM ; for ore of Chris’ insights into sailing in general, and coaching you can go to his blog.
“I was doing 24 knots downwind when I stuffed the bow and stopped radically. The leading edge buckled and the rest, well the rest you can see…” was Charlie’s recap of what happened.
About an hour after Charlie had given an interview to media guys at the event and launched for another sail with wing #2, we saw Rob Patterson towing Charlie back into shore with the wing folded in half on top of the coachboat. “That doesn’t look good..” said Bora. We retrieved all pieces and brought them back to the container for further inspection. (We believe the FAA is coming by tomorrow for a more thorough analysis.) This was wing #2 which had shown some buckling early on and we had fixed it… or so we thought. The leading edge buckled again a couple of inches below our repair. Charlie opted to sail again with it today in order to validate it and pushed it pretty hard. As far as we can tell the failure is due to inconsistent bonding with the core. The 75 gsm prepreg that we used is extremly “dry” with minimum resin content. While building the elements we did our best to maximise pressure in the molds in order to ensure proper bonding, but in the end obviously an autoclave would have been best. Lets make this clear, there is not a problem with the pre-preg. This TPT stuff is awesome, we just didn’t quite give it the proper attention it needs.
Yes, this is a set back for us but we will take some valuable lessons away from it and we are confident that we are on the right track. Charlie will continue sailing with wing #1 and #3 for the worlds.
On the bright side Bear noted: “Well this is going to make the loading of the container easier…”
US Airforce Team out