Paul's Vestas SailRocket Cockpit Tour
- Side impact bar - To protect the pilot from a side impact if the beam or wing comes back from that side.
- Pi Research data logger - Needs to be external to give GPS antennae a clear view of the sky. Also needs to be within arms' reach of pilot so he can hit the 'event' button at start of run to synchronize with shore and onboard video cameras.
- Pi Research displays - Left side displays the wing angle, right side displays the rudder angle to let me know if I am in the 'Groove' at high speed.
- Hand steering grip - This is on the connecting rod from the foot steering back to the steering system. This way I can steer with either hand or foot depending on what system I need to focus on. I push to turn right and pull back to turn left. I have 20 cm of movement. The range ±4cm from central is for high speed work and only moves the rudder a fraction of a degree. If the Pi Research display on the left shows that I am outside this range at high speed... then I abort the run and we reconfigure the boat. It means we are not in the 'groove' and in danger of a high speed wipe-out. I steer with my feet at start up so my hands are free to control the sheets/wing angle.
- Marlow control lines - These are set up in order of priority for a rapid release to de power. From left to right you have-
- Thin white: Flap bridle - Sheets in main wing flap as last power option.
- Red: Main flap spring release - This disengages the heavy elastic cord that deploys the main flap and stabilizes the wing at high speed when released. If I don't pull in this 6:1 purchase at the start... the elastic keeps the flap deployed and I can't sheet it in for more power.
- Blue: Mainsheet - This controls the wing angle. For full-on runs I pull this in to 10 degrees and lock it off in the Harken cleat. I then go to the hand steering with my left hand and sheet in the flap with my right hand. I hold both the flap bridle and red spring release during the run ready to deploy the flap. Only when this is done can I dump the mainsheet.
- Yellow - Forward wing bridle. This allows me to set the wing at a fixed angle to the boat by sheeting it against the mainsheet. it also allows me to pull the wing to a fully feathered position for a rapid slow down.
- Cockpit drain ring - I disengage this during a run to allow water out of the cockpit at speed. There is a constant barrage of spray coming in, so it helps to let it out again.
- Adjustable tie-rod - This allows us to make minute adjustments to dial the steering system into alignment with the main foil at high speed. Ideally we want the rudder to be in the centre of it's steering range at maximum speed.
- The brains box - The real breakthrough for our craft. It gave us high speed control and allowed us to become a record breaker. It gives us super fine control at high speed and very coarse control at low speed. It's both simple and robust... but a bit tricky to design. We'll keep this one a bit secret for now.
- Strain gauge - Tells us the loads on the rudder stock. It tells us how well balanced the boat is at speed. From this we can re-balance Vestas SailRocket by moving the beam fore and aft or raking the wing.
- The rear planing surface - This is the skid plate I ride on at the back. It extends over the top of the rudder to reduce the chance of ventilation where air gets sucked down from the surface.
- The rudder - Designed by team member Richard Pemberton and built on-site by the team. It's a high speed section with an area that allows for low speed manoeuvres to get us onto the course and high speed manoeuvres even when fully stalled. It is much bigger than necessary at high speed if the flow is attached and therefore needs very precise steering i.e. 1/10th of a degree is substantial!
- The tow/anchor loop - This is where we attach the anchor too at the very start. when I slip this line from the cockpit... we are off!