Thursday, September 9, 2010

Five ply challenge

A few years ago, Joel Welter had the bright idea for a developmental class of sailboats with a low barrier to entry. By low he imagined boats that could be built in seventy hours and cost less than 300 bucks...he did it! Joel and his coworker, Brooks Dees, came up with the "5 Ply Challenge". Last night at the Northern California SNAME section meeting the first (and, to date, the only) contestants showed their stuff.


Joel and his lake scow yawl Les Affames de Porc

Brooks with his FJ variant 64 Valient

Niko and the Cal student team aboard the unnamed proa

Here's a link to the class rules, but the main feature is that "All parts of the vessel’s hull, foils, and cross members (for multi hulls) must be made from no more than 5 sheets of 4’ x 8’ x ¼” thick plywood". Interesting idea (followed by the emoticon for a studiously blank expression combined with raised eyebrows).

Very fun meeting, although there were no takers for the offer of rides as the possibility of total immersion seemed too great. There was a little suppressed tension during dinner as Niko's proa disappeared down the busy Estuary with no running lights ("They prohibited by Class").

As a connoisseur of events of this type, I'll give full marks to Niko for innovation and speed potential...hampered by control issues. Joel clearly won the cheapskate award (and the honors attendant to it)...his floation was bags of trash lashed to the gunwales. Brooks apparently is the overall sailing champion. He (pussy) did not put 64 Valient in the water last night, so we had no way of verifying it. And although there was no evidence of rule evasion, I suspect he must have cheated.

2 comments:

Joel said...

Thanks for the props NA dude. I believe the UC Berkeley Guys named their boat "Le Chien Qui Pisse". This refers to vessel's ability to fly a hull over its stolid, single hulled competitors, no doubt.

Nico said...

Hi Sir,

Thanks for the high marks. We hope to have those control issues worked out soon. You are invited for a sail once she is back in the water. Thanks for rigging up the sail properly for us by the way.

-Nico