Jump to content

16SQ and the wild thing


johnt
 Share

Recommended Posts

Wild thing

Wild thing is a downwind technique in high performance catamarans. Using a combination of the skipper steering a slightly tighter course than normal and the crew sitting to leeward, the windward hull is popped out of the water. The reduction in resistance by sailing on a single hull makes the boat a lot faster and more than compensates for any extra distance sailed on the tighter downwind angle. The disadvantage is that in any breeze the crew sits in a firehose of spray unable to breathe, see or speak. They also require a good deal of confidence in the helmsman - but, hey, that's what crews are for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 'Wild Thing' was developed when the old Olympic Triangle courses were used. It was very effective on the second broad reach of the triangle to the base mark especially if a gybe was not necessary to lay the mark in one tack. It was also effective on the direct downwind legs as used on the windward-leeward courses often used today.

There are many discussions about who developed this particular style of catamaran sailing and many books and articles have been written about this topic.

The first time I was involved in doing the 'Wild Thing 'was in April or May of 1989 when I was sailing with Mitch Booth and we were trying to reduce the drag on the windward hull by trapezing off the leeward side of the boat. The technique seemed quite effective in obtaining greater boat speed due to less friction and enabled the boat to be steered to the same downwind angle as "conventional" downwind sailing yet with greater boat speed.

At the 1989 Tornado World Championship in Houston, Texas, Mitch and I used the 'Wild Thing' with incredible success mainly because of the steady breeze strength of about 12 knots and the sailing angles on the second broad reaching legs of the triangle course at that time.

We found that because the other boats in the series were still sailing 'flat', we would often gain incredible advantages over those particular legs of the course. In some cases we even won heats of the World Championship by up to 3 minutes! Something which is rarely seen today with the shorter and tighter windward-leeward courses.

The normal rule is if you can fully trapeze on the upwind legs, then the 'Wild Thing' works on the downwind legs. This is normally over about 10 knots and in rough seas. It can be done in lighter wind and flatter water however the advantage will not be as great.

To put this technique into practice, place the helmsman towards the middle of the trampoline just inside the inner gunwale and the crew to leeward (preferably on the leeward hull). The crew gets very wet and normally cannot see the jib and whether or not it is sheeted properly. The helmsman will need to keep communicating with the crew about jib trim. The helmsman will also find it difficult to find the lay lines because the boat is often on a heel. The crew will need to play an important role in finding the marks and picking the lay lines for the helmsman.

Sheet jib barber hauler about 30 cm from maximum out and trim very tight. The mainsheet traveller car should be about 35cm from inner edge of the hull. A good guide is at the lower hiking strap.

The leeward centreboard should be down to help the boat 'trip over' itself sideways rather than slip sideways if the board was raised. Mast rotation should be set at about 90° or less. The mainsail foot tension should be about 10cm out off the boom and mainsail luff tension should be loose to give power to the head of the sail. All of this will help the boat heel and allow a lower sailing angle to be achieved.

To start with, the helmsman should steer about 5°-10° higher on the downwind angle and both sails should be sheeted tight to lift the windward hull. Once the hull is in the air, steer away to the normal angle (or lower). The helmsman will be required to let some mainsheet out but the crew should be able to keep the jib sheeted at a similar tension because the apparent wind angle remains about the same because the speed of the boat is increasing dramatically. Yes, it does get very fast and very scary!

If the windward hull is too high then let more mainsheet out and pull away more. Do not point up into the wind to avoid capsizing as it is too far to turn before any saving effect will take place. By the time the boat turns far enough to save from a capsize, it will be too late and you will probably be swimming. To further avoid a capsize, we suggest you remove the mainsheet cleat completely from the boat while practicing.

The helmsman must be very delicate with the steering because if you steer too low the hull will fall back in the water and your speed will drop. If this happens the whole process of easing sheets, pointing up to gain speed again, then sheeting on and pulling away again must be done. To avoid this costly mistake, the helmsman must sheet and steer much more to keep the hull just out of the water. You must also be careful not to sail into the back of a wave as this can be very SLOW. Learn to steer up over the back of waves and pull away down the face of the wave. Again, a lot of sheeting the mainsail in and out must be done.

One final necessity is to sing the following tune (in the key of E) while "going wild": Wild Thing, you make my heart sing, You make everything .. groovy Come on, come on Wild Thing

That's it, when you have both done all the above you have either won the race or you have capsized.

Simple??

Maybe not, but it sure is fun!

John Forbes

[This message has been edited by tornado (edited 16 April 2007).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well said John, thought it was you, great to see you are still around & involved. The technique was invented by you and MItch and put to devistating use in the 1992 Nacra 5.8 Worlds in Hervey Bay... from memory you guys took the series with a straight run of Bullets...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Regards,

Leigh

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In response to Johnt's original question, the boat weight and lack of a boom does inhibit the ability to wild thing a little and it is still proving faster to run with the apparent wind at 90 degrees to the boat.

Where it really does come alive on the 16sq is with the Kite up. Leave the main "in-haul" as for going to windward, ease the downhaul to give some extra power, drop traveler about 6 to 8" then go for it!!! It is an absolute blast to sail the boat and WILD THING in all but the heaviest weather. Then it's just plain SCARY, LOL!!!

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Leigh wink.gif

[This message has been edited by Leapin Leroy (edited 17 April 2007).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks Leapin Leroy,

The notion of wild thinging a 16sq with a kite up sounds another level again... somewhere between absolutely fantastic and ….. I am yet to see a 16SQ with a kite. Do you know anyone in south east Queensland running a kite?

john

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Cormeister

The 16sq will indeed do the wild thing, however there is a quite narrow wind and wave range that it actually faster in , although it is about the best fun you can have hooning around before the start. They will not readily fly a hull down wind like the lighter A class, but if you can fly a hull upwind it will be about the same breeze needed to do it downwind, once it gets to about 15 knots they do get a bit nosey if you don't react quickly. If you are sailing your 16sq in SEQ give someone in the state assoc a call and find out where some other 16s are sailing, most of the ones I know about sail from Humpybong, RQ and Southport, the next BIG Nacra regatta should be King of the Lake, great oppertunity to catch up with other 16sq sailers and talk about ideas. The state assoc is also talking of conducting training days around the place, check your news letters for details.

Hope some of this may help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry Stephen, LOL, D'oh, ipso facto, it was still John & Mitch that developed it and yes it's possible on the 16sq through a narrow range...

Again, in response to Johnt... there are a number of us that run kites in mixed fleet regattas and marathon events. Just not at the State or Nationals for obvious reasons... The kite was developed and sanctioned by B.C.C. and is a fantastic option. Once i finish paying off the new boat (Roscoe's demonstartor) and am on the water, i'll be sailing out of RQ on Saturdays (i live at Manly) then Humpybong on Sundays, you're welcome to come & have a look.

The kite is not class legal for the aforesaid events. This would require the usual plebicite through the association etc. etc. Maybe oneday when everyone has retro-fitted and we have enough secondhand boats and association members around to make up the numbers, we can make this change.

Until then, it's still great to compare apples with apples in those events.

You can e-mail me on lpolden@optusnet.com.au

Regards,

Leroy wink.gif

P.S.- I'm not sure what the manufacturer's thoughts are, about having the kite on for State & National events, so i hope i'm not speaking out of turn, but it's fun to dream...

[This message has been edited by Leapin Leroy (edited 19 April 2007).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the moment there aren't many... read zero. We use to have a sizable fleet but most seem to have become regatta sailors only...

Once i get up & wet again i'll be trying to push a few to get-the-finger-out... Us old blokes (well they're mostly older than me) have to find a way of getting on top of all the youngsters from up north who currently would give us a touch up around the cans.

LOL,

Regards,

Leroy wink.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Leroy,

I expected to see some kites at the Nats at RQ but that answers that. In a way not allowing kites is good becuase it makes sailors like me (who are still trying to get her going as fast as possible) competitive.

Does anyone know how many are sailing at Southport. There are two at Cleveland.

john

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Cormeister

With regards to the 14sq and the wild thing, the couple of times that I have sailed a 14sq was in 20 knots plus (in this breeze they are about as quick up wind as a 16sq but loose out down wind due to there length, doing the wild thing in 20 knots on either a 14 or 16 sq would be looking for trouble). The only other comparission of the 14 and 16 I have was during the 1999 nationals at Hervey Bay, in some of the more moderate races the 16s would catch the 14sq fleet on the second or third leg of the first triangle (back in the days when triangle courses were the norm), the return leg from the wing mark to the bottom mark was the perfect angle for doing the wild thing without needing to gybe, all the 16sq were easily flying there windward hull along the entire length of this leg but none of the 14sq were able to without dramatic changes in there course so most didn't try. The best way to see if you can get your boat to do it and in what wind range it will do it in is to try it, the worst thing that can happen if you get it wrong will be that you will have an unschedualed swim (nothing ventrued nothing gained). To perfect the method will help greatly with you race results, try asking any of the A class guys about there methods and even the guys on 5.8s (which will do the wild thing easily) about exactly how its done.

Hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...