Internet Sailing Course.

OK, I put my money where my mouth is , as they say , and built my prototype version of the proposed “Internet” course markers.
The photos show a small circular buoy from a model yacht kit with a solid lead weight. This is my windward mark.
The second photo is a small piece of foam with a slot cut, through which the measured course length string passes, there are four floats placed one every 3 metres.
Photo three shows my drifting leeward mark positioner with buoy attached.
Photo four shows the complete unit in the water to prove the concept.:scared:

Now to report on my little fiasico.
The theory was all good, the practice needs a little more work.
Lesson 1; storage of this type of system is of prime importance. Layed out on my drive it looked great, after transporting it to the pond I had an almighty tangle of all the central flotation bits. What a rats nest. With limited time available I simply tossed it all in the water to test other parts of the setup.
Lesson 2; The drifting tensioner should be the leeward mark and have more windage.
I had another buoy attached to the drift unit this is not desirable.
The mark II version will have two foam sails in a V formation to stabalize better and be of sufficent size and shape to act as the leeward turning mark on it`s own.:smpurple:
My course is 15.2 metres long which is the metric conversion of 50 feet. If I use the leeward end as the start and finish I can keep track of where I am on the course.
I will report further as progress develops.:captain:

Good work Ian,you certainly have fronted up early on this one!!!
I am thinking now that connecting dowels together may be the way to go instead of string.Will keep the course the correct length and add more resistence to the course drifting.foam floats could be used on the dowels at 3 m spacings as well.
The dowels could connect up like those foldable tent poles or simple tape the dowels together when you assemble at the lake edge.
more food for thought.and again Ian.WELL DONE mate! doing not just talking!!


        thought of using foam pipe insulation ?

comes in 2.5m lenths ,floats easy,will not tangle,nice bright colours/alternitave use polystyrene local firm laser cuts to any shape,we use round styrene for a boom keep out weeds:rasta:

Ian, that’s terrific! I’ve been looking for a way to easily set up a Footy course for demos during lunch break at other regattas to encourage people to try these boats. I think you’ve hit on how to do it.

To solve the string problem, I’m thinking of PVC pipe inserted into foam floats (pipe insulation per Rusty) connected by some kind of clip. The windward end could have a weight, and leeward end could have appropriate “sail” to encourage alignment. Since the sections could be unclipped, the length could be varied depending on the venue.

If you guys think this makes sense, any ideas on how to clip the sections together?

Keep the ideas going, I think we’re close to something really good here.

thanks to all…Bill

Rusty, yes what a good idea, Bill, I have been “finking obernight” (as u do):banghead: and have some clever alternatives based on thoughts from Brett, Rusty and yourself.:toast:
Plastic PVC tubing from the hardware store should be cheap enough and could be joined easily Bill.
Method: cut short pieces, say 6 inch long of the next size up PVC tubing, glue with the special PVC adheasive on one end only of the longer distance pieces.
3 inches in for the glued bit leaving 3 inches for the next piece to slide in. With a piece of rope through the length of all the bits to be joined it makes it demountable just like one of those collapsable walking sticks. Bloody clever eh?:heks:
[COLOR=Black]The next challenge is to work out how to mount the turning marks to the end of what is now a 50 foot piece of PVC pipe, and what form should they take…hhmmmm:vconf:[/COLOR]


the PVC pipe may prove to be too heavy - and maybe more unwieldy than your initial string/line.

The foam insulation suggested by Rusty could provide a bit easier storage/handling, being soft and flexible. Lengths could be cut to allow the folds in the internal line to take place at prescribed distances to let the whole thing fit in a storage box. The foam would be much lighter in weight than the PVC.

Finally the line might be made from a water-ski tow rope - being polyprophlene it has a tendency to float on the surface, yet can still be coiled for storage.

The idea of using a larger flag/leeward float has merit, since it would be self-tending for any major wind shifts - while minor irregularities would not be bothersome as the skipper would have no reason to tack and stay close to the line (fear of entanglement?) and would probably sail a course of 1-3 meters away from the line. It could be as simple as an inflatible child’s beachball - thereby aiding storage issues.


Yes Dick you are right the PVC pipe could be too heavy.
There are some foam solid centre tubes that are used by children for flotation in pools, which come in bright colours and are resonably priced I think.
How about just using the polyprophlene rope on its own?
No, on second thoughts it would be to difficult to keep straight.
What Fun! All this just to make the course markers. :idea:
Keep thinking everyone.:bag:

If you are using PVC pipe, a Tee on the end with a weight (or anchor) on one longer arm and a mark on the other (shorter) would do. The weight will fall down, raising the mark vetically. Using a length of straight pipe on the end would guarantee that you have a straight-in line to the mark without chance of entanglement with a loose line.

Below is a sketch of the idea.


We’re in luck here in the States. Spring is coming, so the stores are stocking up on all the usual and new Pool toys.

How about using floating fly fishing line between the marks?

I am thinking that perhaps 1/2inch dowel will be sufficiant.Simply glue some polystyrene floats on to the dowel at intervals along its length.alloy tubes could be used to make joiner peices.The PVC pipes could be used with the foam floats epoxied at intervals along them.Actually it doesn’t matter what is used so long as its length does not change.The foam noodles also sound ok,but could go a little “S” shaped in flukey winds??
A balloon,bouy or ball etc could all be used for the floats(marks)
Now to get a concensous on the length of the course and number of laps to be sailed.
We could have different types of races though…endurance type races where you count the number of laps sailed in a certain time period.Or short races where you are timed for X many laps.
lots of discussion:) looks like we would have a few keen starters for some races this coming season(northern hemisphere)

Been following this with interest and finally think I can give some input. Seems to me that any kind of line would only work in a very good steady breeze. So that leaves us with some sort of rigid construction. PVC pipe has been mentioned and so has wooden dowels. Pipe comes in 10 foot and 20 foot lengths and wood dowels come in 3 foot lengths. Both float on their own, but both will sink in these lengths. Of course, interspersed floatation will be required.
The other hurdles to overcome are assembly and transportation. I would sure hate to get half of the course assembeled and have it float away before the rest was attached!!! But I do see cutting the pipe into five foot pieces as viable.
So, here is how I would assemble this. Cut half inch pipe into five footers and cut slits length-wise into the ends of the pipes. Insert a short length of dowel into the pipe and clamp it with a hose clamp. Connect the next piece with another like piece of pipe and hose clamp. Not sure how much floatation would be necessary to hold all of this up, but they could be slid on and just be anywhere in the middle of the sections. The weight of all this pipe would have the tendency to pull the end markers right down under, so I think a fair amount of floats would be needed.
The biggest problem I have is how is this going to stay in on area unless it is anchored to the bottom? You can’t run a line from shore and expect to sail over it without snaging it. I can just see sailing to the mark and the mark continues to move at the some sort of speed relative to my boat.

The windward bouy will have to be anchored in the normal way.You will either have to wade out,or row a dinghy or devise some way of anchoring the mark from the shore.
I think we can leave the actual construction details of the courses to the individual.As long as the course is made from rigid materials I don’t see a problem.
Lets decide on length and get to it.
I propose a series of races to be held this coming season.

50 feet…15.2 metres is an OK size IMHO…:reyes: Managable without being silly.
Start level with the leward end, five times around, clockwise or anticlockwise you choose, finish downwind level with the leeward end again.
Thats 500 feet or 152 metres.
Should be enough to sort the men from the boys.:witch:
Thats not very PC is it ? Tough Luck. Just do it.:bag:

I will be building a course and testing over the Easter break.
5 times around sounds good to me,as Ian says"lets do it!!"

As captain Picard would say, Make it so!!
Agree that part of the challenge to the skipper is the making of the course and maybe it can be sortof scientifically “Toung and cheek” meaning its all very informal at heart and everybodies experience is going to be different but that’s what makes it interesting.

I vote for five times around.

Okay I have an Idea: suppose one had a small R/C tugboat with a fifty foot line attatched to its stern. IF the tugboat also had a balloon tied to it, the tugboat would tend to go down wind like a sailboat. Suppose the wind died or got screwey which happend all the time. The tugboat could still tug the line downwind or atleast keep the line straight form an anchor at the other end. What would happen if the tug-boat was attatched to the fifty foot line by a bridle, and the bridle had one end at the bow of the tug-boat, and the other at the stern. Basically tied by the side. One more thing, what if the propellor wasn’t mounted on the stern of the tug, but…at the side of the tug…in line with the direction of the fifty foot line. The balloon or some sort of vane thing could keep it downwind of the anchor point at the other end of the fifty foot line. Boueys spaced evenly too.

Advantage: easier to set up and transport, fluky winds not an issue, sortof like a committee boat, coolness factor, tug could be maneuvered with R/C/
(Our club has one)

Drawback: don’t know if you’d need a really big battery for it to run long periods, not everyone has a tug-boat available.

Just for kicks

My Internet course, Mark II, version 1.1.3 is pretty much ready to go.:p:zbeer:
Did some trials today and the modified concept works OK.
It is really simple and does not involve R/C Tugs,(sorry John)
It is currently raining so you will have to wait a little longer for the big reveal.:tapedshut

Pictures at 11.:reyes:

As promised, photos of todays trials.:fish:
Yep it will work.
Photos show 1/ Windward Buoy, 2/ Leeward tension Buoy 3/ complete course. :idea_125:

There is plenty of tension on the line to maintain proper length and orientation.

:icon_smokBusy next week with IOM national champs so may be a couple of weeks until I can do a timed run.:hypnotize

Looks great! But maybe I am just a dummy, but how do you get around the windward buoy with that rope there? Otherwise looks great!

Bob, that rope will not be a problem when the course is set up properly at our other smaller sailing pond as per the attached photo.

The system in the photo was my Mark I, which was a bit of a flop but taught me some valuable lessons.:hot:
This Mark II v 1.2.0 will be fine. :scared:

Those other photo`s were just a flotation and concept test close to the shore.