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Thread: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Thanks for the reply. From experience with other masts with pre-bend and balance and the geometry, points 1 and 2 would exist but seem to be pretty minimal. 4 and 5 for sure - it's pretty and convenient. But there's still no evidence that what is "painfully obvious" to you about the aerodynamic advantages, and of course that means that there is no way of assessing whether the downsides of a mast with larger chord (such as poor gust response) are compensated for.
    Nobody knows how good a freestanding, self-rotating, efficiently shaped, sickle shaped mast with a perfect taper can become when its shape is computer optimized and with state-of-the-art materials and techniques applied in its construction. The question should not be why research such a shape. The question should be “why not?”

    Isn’t “not knowing” the reason we have research? In this day and age with the tools we have available to analyze aerodynamic shape, performance characteristics and construction techniques, why not explore the sickle shape for its uniquely balanced ability to set sail in a new and different way along a totally curved surface?

    I’ve built six prototypes of the birdwing mast design. It took Thomas Edison a hundred prototypes before he stumbled upon tungsten as a practical filament for his electric light bulb. You want to reach your conclusions about the birdwing mast design after only six prototypes? And with exactly zero amount of actual scientific research??? I surely do not. I want a hundred prototypes as well! I want computer aerodynamic analysis to find its optimal shape. I want the latest carbon fiber construction techniques applied to the design. I want it to be strong where it needs to be and lighter where it can be. I want to explore how “blade-like” a birdwing mast can become in carbon fiber and therefore how aerodynamically slick it can become. I want to find the absolute best way to attach sail to a birdwing mast. I want to find the absolute best cut of sail for the ultimate birdwing rig. My question is “just how good can it get?”

    Consider granting this old man a little more slack in his new role as inventor. Try to be a little more optimistic. What’s painfully obvious to me may actually be true. That wouldn’t be so terrible, would it?

    And rest assured that some excellent riggers will find all kinds of ways to tweak every last ounce of performance out of birdwing masts for a variety of sailing conditions. There still could be plenty of control lines left to tension or ease for constant racing enjoyment, if that’s your thing.
    Last edited by kenjamin; 07-29-2017 at 06:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    I have been a long-term critic of this entire concept from the get-go, my main concern being why you imagine anyone ought to bother to add so much money, complexity, weight, and time to a mast build that has yet to demonstrate any actual performance or handling advantages over well-proven, conventional masts. I also think the theory behind it is misguided, constantly stressing reduced drag, auto-rotating, and aerodynamic "slickness" instead of focusing on increasing lift, like every other modern sail/mast. What you propose to be "incredibly obvious" about reduced aerodynamic drag might actually be a red herring, and actually completely irrelevant to the more pertinent issue of lift, assuming it actually exists as a real problem at all.

    Certainly, the super high-lift wings of specialized soaring birds like condors and vultures don't look anything like your sickle-shaped mast thingies, though it sure does bear a resemblance to the profile and aspect-ratio of some of those modern sail boats of late... even down to the squared-off tips.









    The fact that you managed to sucker a state university into squandering $16,000 of limited funds on the wild goose chase of getting a patent first instead of actually doing some scientific research just makes me mad. You should have spent the $4,000 first, and then decided whether you actually had a case worth pursuing. I think your patent rush was an act of pure vanity.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Hey James, how are you doing buddy? I love this new game you've come up with where you show a couple of slow buzzards with a straight leading edge to their wings and I show five photos of birds presenting pronounced curvature of their wings during flight. If you own a book on birds and you actually looked at it, you would find that the great majority of photos of birds in flight do show curvature in the leading edge of their wings. For every two you can find with a straight leading edge to their wing, I can easily show you five birds demonstrating a curved edge to their wing profile while in flight. In a survey of all flying bird photographs, I'm afraid, my friend, that the cards are very much stacked in my favor.

    The time will come when my design is aerodynamically computer-optimized and built with state-of-the-art carbon fiber techniques and you will no longer be able to call my masts heavy. What in the world will you do then? If only sailing were only about generating lift, it would be wonderfully simple and people like me who want to experiment with curved surfaces in the airflow would probably just give up and watch reality TV shows for the rest of their lives. I am extremely lucky to have a patent on a design which features all curved surfaces in the airflow and it's only straight part can be out of the airflow while still providing increased automatic windvane function. As you know it was originally designed just for better storage in the boat but silly me, I thought it might offer some aerodynamic advantages as well so in recent years my attention has turned toward that facet of the design in spite of your best efforts to prove I'm wasting my time.

    But by far the most amazing fact that easily sails right by you is that prototypes by nature are imperfect. They many times only point to a design direction worth exploring. Do you think that all nuclear fusion scientists should just give up (because that certainly isn't working for them)? My junior college physics professor was my personal physics tudor for a full trimester because everyone else in the first trimester of his class (advanced physics with calculus) had either failed the course or their green card had run out and the guy had to return to Iran. It's a matter of public record of St. Johns River Junior College if you would like to check that out. My physics professor was Phillip Johansen (sp?) and he was actually working on nuclear fusion as a post-doc at the University of Florida. One day he took me over to U of F to show me his lab set up. It was very impressive but of course didn't work worth a damn. I'll never forget that on the ride back to the junior college (we were in his Corvette) we were talkng about his experiment and he turned to me and said, "If you ever see an extremely bright flash of white light coming from Gainesville, you'll know I succeeded." We both laughed.











    Last edited by kenjamin; 07-30-2017 at 02:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    interesting Ken, is your mast and sail combo specifically designed to emulate seabird wings? because James does make an excellent point about some soaring bird wings... I wonder if the humidity or air pressure at sea level makes this pointed wing more efficient for sea birds and hence sea going sailboats? seems like speculation with out some hard wind tunnel numbers it back it up though.

    Last edited by Daniel Noyes; 07-30-2017 at 12:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    interesting Ken, is your mast and sail combo specifically designed to emulate seabird wings? because James does make an excellent point about some soaring bird wings... I wonder if the humidity or air pressure at sea level makes this pointed wing more efficient for sea birds and hence sea going sailboats? seems like speculation with out some hard wind tunnel numbers it back it up though.

    Daniel, I think the problem here is that you are limiting the birdwing mast definition to only low aspect rigs whereas to my eye the profile of one of those wings of that bird in your example would make a perfect profile for a very high efficient high-aspect sail. See how the leading edge lunges forward before it sweeps back? It's exactly the same shape a very high aspect birdwing mast would make. Granted it subtle in the case of this bird but it is definitely there nonetheless. If you think that the leading edge of this bird's wing is a straight line then you need to put a straight edge on it. If you still think that the leading edge of wing is straight then you probably need a better straight edge.

    The birdwing mast is defined as being sickle-shaped and utilizing an efficient aerodynamic cross section along its curved part in the air flow. There is nothing in the patent to limit the design in regard to its aspect ratio.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Ok I think I'm understanding wht your going for, a sail that "lunges forward" more like these wing shaped windsurfing sails... but for a traditional rig?


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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    I'm still persuaded that the curved shapes and structures of bird wings are for folding and strength (for the weight) purposes, not aerodynamics.
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    I'm still persuaded that the curved shapes and structures of bird wings are for folding and strength (for the weight) purposes, not aerodynamics.
    thats' a tough call, seems straight lines are the cutting edge in modern rig design... but there are so many curved lifting surfaces in nature... I'm convinced that modern yacht designers are missing something.

    we all know that leading edge angles matter, delta wings with a raked leading edge are less likely to stall at slower speeds, i'm with Ken on this one, the creatures of creation still have some secretes yet to be unlocked by the modern mind.



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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Well Kenjamin, here's where I think you definitely need to examine some of your basic principles in your theory, make sure you're not going down a rabbit hole of crank-dom. Are the curvy parts of some of those bird wings a necessary part of the structure with some specific aerodynamic value? Or are they an artifact of a jointed organic structure that folds? When looking at a picture of a bird wing in flight, is it generating maximum lift, or is it partially folded back, "reefed" as it were, for some sort of in-flight maneuver? Are the dual purpose wings of seabirds that must spend much of their life carefully tucked tightly against the body of a bird to prevent injury while at swimming or at rest any different in shape or structure than the wings of terrestrial birds like buzzards, kites and condors that spend the majority of its life aloft and soaring? Which parts of which kind of wing are for which purpose?

    How does lift work? What sort of shapes generate lift most efficiently, and at what speed regimes?

    You do know that many, many millions of dollars have been spent investigating this question already, right? It's not like this data is a secret. Efficient airfoil shapes and the aerodynamics of drag and lift are pretty well understood, especially when it comes to vehicles where it really matters that you make every square cm and every gram count. You could bother to do even a tiny amount of study, if y"wanted.



    I think if if you had left it at
    1. my grumpy, non-sailor fishing buddy was always bitching about mast in the way
    2. it looks purty t'me

    I would have no problems whatsoever with all of this. But it's all the post hoc rationalizations on top of such a shaky grasp of theory that aggravates me. Do some homework, Comrade.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    thats' a tough call, seems straight lines are the cutting edge in modern rig design... but there are so many curved lifting surfaces in nature... I'm convinced that modern yacht designers are missing something.

    we all know that leading edge angles matter, delta wings with a raked leading edge are less likely to stall at slower speeds, i'm with Ken on this one, the creatures of creation still have some secretes yet to be unlocked by the modern mind.
    That could well be, but as a business, it seems that each birdswing mast would have to be custom sized and constructed, at least on a variety of boats. I'd be very hesitant to be an investor. 3D printing may make it feasible at some point.

    Many attempts have been made at flexible spars, stayed and unstayed, curved luff sails sleeved around the mast and so on. The primary place it's been successful is in the board sailing fleets. It might be most instructive to see how the bird wing structure would compare to a flexible tapered stick on identical sailboards with comparably skilled sailors.

    Like James, I'm more at ease with the "Looks cools to me" assessment. No problem with that! It's almost what everything appealing about boats is and should be.
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  11. #46
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    thats' a tough call, seems straight lines are the cutting edge in modern rig design... but there are so many curved lifting surfaces in nature... I'm convinced that modern yacht designers are missing something.

    we all know that leading edge angles matter, delta wings with a raked leading edge are less likely to stall at slower speeds, i'm with Ken on this one, the creatures of creation still have some secretes yet to be unlocked by the modern mind.


    Of course they are not missing something - those of us who actually race modern boats are completely used to masts that curve. Just about every racing class worth a damn measures "forward curve" or similar issues to the millimetre. Many masts can "lunge forward" but anyone with an ounce of aerodynamic knowledge and proper knowledge of tuning a racing rig knows that it doesn't actually normally help a damn.

    It's pretty damn big-headed of you to assume that the designers of current rigs and sailors are all fools who, despite having qualifications such as being a Professor at MIT and wing designers for Airbus and Boeing, have spent their professional lives missing the most basic issues about aerodynamics, but that you can pick it up. And if you think that cutting edge rigs all have straight lines then it's apparent you've never really looked at them.

    Have you ever got familiar with the work of the people you so rudely and arrogantly criticise? Have you sailed a high performance Skiff (Int 14, 49er, 18 Foot Skiff etc)??? Have you sailed a Tornado, F18 or other fast cat? Are you well up on high speed windsurfer rigs? How many foilers have you sailed?

    If you are not familiar with such craft then how can you assume that you know so much better than all the sailmakers, rig designers, aero gurus and other people who use wind tunnels, CFD and enormous amounts of practical experience in their rig designs?
    Last edited by Chris249; 07-31-2017 at 04:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Here's an old mast with a curved leading edge, visible to the left in this 1960s Moth class fleet. Tried for many years, and abandoned.

    Here's an old mast with a curved leading edge on a Square Metre type. Tried many times, and abandoned.

    Here's an old mast with a curved leading edge on a Windsurfer. Replaced by a straighter mast which goes much faster.

    Here's a 1980s mast with a curved leading edge on an 18 Foot Skiff. Replaced by a straighter mast that goes faster.

    Curved leading edge on an old Finn. Replaced by - guess what, a straighter mast that goes faster.

    Here's some information on the design process of Finn masts. And here's some CFD simulations of a Finn wing mast in action. But of course, these Olympic gold medallists, engineers and wind tunnel experts - and everyone else who races with a modern rig - are of course far too stupid to understand what they should be doing.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    What the birdwing mast design brings to the table of modern mast design is better balance. Not just the idea of balanced sail presentation but also the means for the mast to rotate in a balanced fashion while it is presenting that balanced sail area. Itís the little straight part at the bottom of the mast IN COMBINATION WITH the aerodynamically efficient curved part in the airflow that makes it unique and evidently worthy of being United States patent #8,739,720. What is done with the design and how efficient it can get remains a mystery. Rendering the perfect birdwing mast design in that wonderful stuff we call carbon fiber is well beyond the scope of my talents, knowledge and financial means. I freely admit that. But my spruce machining has gotten better over the years and Iíve become more adventuresome in pushing the limits of laminated spruce. So even though progress with the development of the design has been ridiculously slow, it doesnít mean that progress has not been made.

    Chris, you seem to want me to apologize for being smart. Iím not going to do it. How stupid would that be? I will also not apologize for operating within the realm of my own experience, knowledge, talents and financial means. It's what every human being does or tries to do. Why should I apologize for that? I freely admit that if it werenít for the necessity of dealing with my loud-mouthed fishing buddy (complaining about the old straight mast), I never would have thought of it. If I hadnít built them and sailed them for the last ten years, I wouldnít have the understanding of the design that I have today. The only smart thing that I included in the original design was its ability to rotate in a balanced manner. Itís that little straight section at the bottom of the mast allowing it to rotate in a balanced fashion that makes all the difference to the design and to the U.S. patent office. IT ADDS NEW FUNCTION!!!!



    I also freely admit that the building of the ultimate birdwing mast is not going to be easy. Without the very latest advances in 3D computer printing, it would be near impossible to get the taper correct when built in carbon fiber in my opinion. I am smart enough to know that I canít do that by myself. I am just an old retired graphics guy who happened to have a good idea ten years ago in the quiet of his garage while staring at the gunwale of his homemade skiff. Why not just glue up a mast that conforms to the gunwale of the boat and maybe Iíll try a little straight section at the bottom of the mast so the whole thing can rotate in the mast step. That was all there was to it. Never meant to offend anyone. Never wanted to piss anyone off. Never wanted to redo any aerodynamic efficiency calculations. Just wanted my fishing buddy of twenty-five years to stop complaining about the straight mast being in his way.

    So I was driven to the design by a foul-mouthed, beer guzzling, loud, obnoxious fishing buddy but once the design was realized, WHY NOT make the cross sections aerodynamically efficient? WHY NOT experiment with different amounts of curvature? WHY NOT investigate building the thing in carbon fiber? These are my questions that I want answered and Iím either going to get those answers or die trying.
    Last edited by kenjamin; 07-31-2017 at 08:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by kenjamin View Post
    What the birdwing mast design brings to the table of modern mast design is better balance. Not just the idea of balanced sail presentation but also the means for the mast to rotate in a balanced fashion while it is presenting that balanced sail area.
    That's been done with generally available spar materials and more flexible sail choice options with the Aerorig:
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Are you the same guy who thinks that the evolution of bird wings had nothing to do with aerodynamics?

    But aren't you the guy who was spot on in recognizing what a fantastic new tool we have in 3D computer printing?

    If Aerorig is the exact same thing as my birdwing mast, why didn't they bother to get a U.S. patent on it? If they had, the U.S. patent office would not have granted FSU a patent on my design in June of 2014.

    If they didn't get a U.S. patent on their design and it is the same as the birdwing design then don't blame it on me! It's either their fault or the U.S. patent office's fault but it sure as heck isn't my fault!!!

    What makes you think that my birdwing design is limited in its sail choice options?
    Last edited by kenjamin; 07-31-2017 at 08:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    No, not NOTHING to do with aerodynamics. Just that birds' folded wing shapes have other demands as well that a sailboat mast doesn't require.

    3D printing could be applied to other mast and rig designs as well, perhaps with even greater benefits than we know of now. The advantages aren't limited to what it could do for your design.

    Regarding sail choices, the Aerorig will, without adjustment, swing the jib (or a spinnaker or genoa) outboard to windward on a dead run or reach similar to sails set on a spinnaker pole, improving the driving power of the rig. I don't see that the birdwing design has that feature. You can certainly set other sails but it's a separate operation.

    You said that the birdwing offers 'better balance'. I linked to show how Aerorigs also did that, not that they were exactly like your design.

    Patents have been granted for all kinds of things. They don't necessarily require that designs are improvements, just different in some identifiable way.

    Your assertions aren't necessarily effective arguments. A proof of aerodynamic efficiency could be attempted with the board sailing trial mentioned above. It would involve some expense and effort to be sure, but on a reasonably small scale. I encourage you to find a way to do it. I bet some board sailors would jump at the chance for a trial and be thrilled if it panned out to your advantage. As would you.
    Last edited by rbgarr; 07-31-2017 at 12:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Here's an old mast with a curved leading edge, visible to the left in this 1960s Moth class fleet. Tried for many years, and abandoned.

    Here's an old mast with a curved leading edge on a Square Metre type. Tried many times, and abandoned.

    Here's an old mast with a curved leading edge on a Windsurfer. Replaced by a straighter mast which goes much faster.

    Here's a 1980s mast with a curved leading edge on an 18 Foot Skiff. Replaced by a straighter mast that goes faster.

    Curved leading edge on an old Finn. Replaced by - guess what, a straighter mast that goes faster.

    Here's some information on the design process of Finn masts. And here's some CFD simulations of a Finn wing mast in action. But of course, these Olympic gold medallists, engineers and wind tunnel experts - and everyone else who races with a modern rig - are of course far too stupid to understand what they should be doing.
    no one is stupid... were all doing the best we can with the techno info we have... I don't think the guys building these were stupid but sails and masts have changed since then... and it is quite likely that sails and masts wont look exactly as they do today in the future.

    I also have to wonder if the most efficient sail shapes close hauled with apparrent wind a few degrees off the nose is going to be the same sail shape that our slow displacement boats find most efficient... no harm in exploring anyway.

    I wonder how much of the push back here is related to the US Patent application process?

    Last edited by Daniel Noyes; 07-31-2017 at 12:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    It's not like you have to have a good idea, to get a patent for it. All you need to do is convince 'em that it's different from what's been written down before, and pay all the fees, or get someone else to pay for it.

    So...since only about 2-3% of the over 2 million active patents out there ever get licensed or make any money off royalties at all, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that whether or not you have purchased a patent for your invention has a 97% chance of meaning diddly-squat. It's certainly not an argument in favor of the value of a particular idea. This patent thing is a complete red herring.
    Last edited by James McMullen; 07-31-2017 at 06:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    no one is stupid... were all doing the best we can with the techno info we have... I don't think the guys building these were stupid but sails and masts have changed since then... and it is quite likely that sails and masts wont look exactly as they do today in the future.

    I also have to wonder if the most efficient sail shapes close hauled with apparrent wind a few degrees off the nose is going to be the same sail shape that our slow displacement boats find most efficient... no harm in exploring anyway.

    I wonder how much of the push back here is related to the US Patent application process?

    Yes, designs have changed and normally to stiffer masts. In the future more curve may come back as hulls, rigs, materials and ratios change and everyone in the field who knows their stuff accepts that. They know their science, they have the practical experience, and they are not blind to concepts like curved leading edges and forward sweep - they have been tried in the past.

    The point is that it's not a case of "missing something" or of ignoring animals - scientists have spent lots of time studying animal flight and swimming movement. They have been looking into this stuff for eons, with a variety of means including some high tech methods. The aero guys are completely onto it and to just sit back and assume they are "missing something" is belittling to a bunch of highly intelligent people.

    Why not try to learn from them rather than belittling them? Why not read what they say about curved leading edges and forward sweep?

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by kenjamin View Post
    Chris, you seem to want me to apologize for being smart.
    I never said that or anything like it. What I have said is that time and time and time again you have made claims that the birdwing has aerodynamic advantages, and you have not shown them in practise or in proper theory.

    You talk of Edison - why not talk of the Wrights, who built beautiful little test rigs to explore aerodynamics when they were stymied by Smeaton's error when they were using Lilienthal's figures? Have you read the work of Speer, which is easily available on the net, or the Smith Wright Brothers lecture he recommends? There's also the Bethwaite stuff, although those of us who knew and respected Frank also recognise that his methods were sometimes rather stretched by his enthusiasm. What about the CFD work of WB Sails, who design sails for the highly refined Finn wingmasts?

    Wouldn't a fairly brief grounding in aerodynamic and mast theory be sufficient to start the process of examining the claimed advantages?

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    no one is stupid... were all doing the best we can with the techno info we have... I don't think the guys building these were stupid but sails and masts have changed since then... and it is quite likely that sails and masts wont look exactly as they do today in the future.

    I also have to wonder if the most efficient sail shapes close hauled with apparrent wind a few degrees off the nose is going to be the same sail shape that our slow displacement boats find most efficient... no harm in exploring anyway.

    I wonder how much of the push back here is related to the US Patent application process?

    Hey Daniel, saw your Centennial under sail finally and she looked mighty fine and salty. Congratulations on those first sails – always exciting launching a new boat. She turned out great!

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    It's not like you have to have a good idea, to get a patent for it. All you need to do is convince 'em that it's different from what's been written down before, and pay all the fees, or get someone else to pay for it.

    So...since only about 2-3% of the over 2 million active patents out there ever get licensed or make any money off royalties at all, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that whether or not you have purchased a patent for your invention has a 97% chance of meaning diddly-squat. It's certainly not an argument in favor of the value of a particular idea. This patent thing is a complete red herring.
    James, the most neat thing for me about the successful patent process is that I'm now listed as the sole inventor of U.S. patent #8,739,720, A Storable Sickle-shaped Sailboat Mast. That will never change. The design can be stolen but the credit for thinking of it is well established and a matter of U.S. government record. Of course, inventors are not always the same people that get rich and famous when a good patented idea gets commercialized. There was a movie about how the patented idea for a windshield wiper got stolen by a big car company. Big money put that guy through the mill before he was ever able to benefit at all from his invention. They tied the poor slob up in court for like twenty years. I guess I should be thankful that my idea ain't worth stealin', right? (at least according to you)

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    The least neat thing for me is how a publicly-funded university was suckered into spending $16,000 dollars establishing an as-yet worthless patent for a smooth-talking former employee. But good for you, "sole inventor." I'm sure you'll pay 'em back when all those royalties start pouring in.

    I just hope the experience provided some educational value for them, being a university and all.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post

    Why not try to learn from them rather than belittling them? Why not read what they say about curved leading edges and forward sweep?
    Where do you get this stuff about me "belittling" all previous intellectual property by having an original thought of my own???

    I clearly described my eureka moment in my garage while staring at my boat some ten years ago. You're pissed off because you think I pursued a patent just to throw sand in the face of your designer gods? Nothing could be further from the truth! I pursued a patent because I wanted credit for thinking of it. That's all there was to it. Sure, I admit of dreaming of seeing the design optimized in carbon fiber and me getting a nice fat check in the mail every quarter but I'm sure not holding my breath on that one. I just have fun building my prototypes and testing them and showing them.

    I'm not trying to insult anyone or piss anyone off by working on perfecting my design. I just enjoy the freedom to do so on my own terms with no one to answer to but myself. As a retired guy, I highly recommend this mode of operation. The only work I actually have to do is the dishes, take care of the cat and take the trash out on Wednesday. Oh, and mow the yard but generally speaking life is good. I've been bicycling like a maniac and the miles have been good for me. I will return to boat building if it ever cools off around here and I can get some work done.

    This is my next boat. Of course it will be a test vehicle for my birdwing masts. If that upsets you somehow, please let me know so I can apologize in advance because buddy, hopefully, it's gonna happen.

    Last edited by kenjamin; 07-31-2017 at 07:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    The least neat thing for me is how a publicly-funded university was suckered into spending $16,000 dollars establishing an as-yet worthless patent for a smooth-talking former employee. But good for you, "sole inventor." I'm sure you'll pay 'em back when all those royalties start pouring in.

    I just hope the experience provided some educational value for them, being a university and all.
    At one point FSU owned 100% of the patent and 60% of the patent rights while I retained 40%. They had every right to pursue aerodynamic testing in their multi-million dollar wind tunnel to investigate the value of the design but were unable to find a faculty member that would be willing to put their experiments aside to work on my design. I pursued getting a grant for wind tunnel testing but once again I needed a faculty member to sponsor the research in order to qualify for a grant as I was retired by the time we were granted the patent and had moved back to St. Augustine some two hundred miles away and was remodeling my house at the time.

    So the patent lingered for about a year and a half. Finally I complained passionately at a FSU conference on its intellectual property to the new Vice President of Research at FSU and his solution to my complaints about the patent being wasted (as it has a time sensitive lifetime) was to sell the patent back to me for $1. Disappointed at first I finally agreed to the sale and gave up the idea of FSU using their grand resources and excellent low speed wind tunnel to prove even the very simplest of aerodynamic aspects of the design. So now it's just little old me machining laminated spruce in my backyard and building boats to test them on – pretty much the same thing I've been doing for the last ten years. FSU has no one to blame except themselves for not researching their own intellectual property. FSU has spent about $16,000 getting the patent and then giving it back to me (except for the one dollar check I sent them) but I have spent a little more than that building prototypes and test vehicles on which to test my masts. But it's been fun and I'm really excited about building Muri-Muru and testing her in the Texas 200 someday. It's the kind of thing retired guys do for fun. Got no idea of why that somehow pisses you off.

    Guess I'll virtually sail away for now. Living the dream, comrade, living the dream!

    Last edited by kenjamin; 07-31-2017 at 07:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by kenjamin View Post
    Where do you get this stuff about me "belittling" all previous intellectual property by having an original thought of my own???

    I clearly described my eureka moment in my garage while staring at my boat some ten years ago. You're pissed off because you think I pursued a patent just to throw sand in the face of your designer gods? Nothing could be further from the truth! I pursued a patent because I wanted credit for thinking of it. That's all there was to it. Sure, I admit of dreaming of seeing the design optimized in carbon fiber and me getting a nice fat check in the mail every quarter but I'm sure not holding my breath on that one. I just have fun building my prototypes and testing them and showing them.

    I'm not trying to insult anyone or piss anyone off by working on perfecting my design. I just enjoy the freedom to do so on my own terms with no one to answer to but myself. As a retired guy, I highly recommend this mode of operation. The only work I actually have to do is the dishes, take care of the cat and take the trash out on Wednesday. Oh, and mow the yard but generally speaking life is good. I've been bicycling like a maniac and the miles have been good for me. I will return to boat building if it ever cools off around here and I can get some work done.

    This is my next boat. Of course it will be a test vehicle for my birdwing masts. If that upsets you somehow, please let me know so I can apologize in advance because buddy, hopefully, it's gonna happen.

    That post wasn't addressed to you, Ken, so I have no idea why you thought it was. The remarks you objected to had nothing to do with you and were in a post that quoted one of Dan's posts, not one of yours.

    The post you objected to was written in relation to Dan's line that "modern yacht designers are missing something" such as curved lifting surfaces. That's just wrong - many modern designers are fully up with curved leading edges and so were many older ones. For Dan to claim that modern designers and aerodynamic experts are "missing something" is belittling to them since any claim that well qualified professionals are "missing something" obvious in their field is belittling to such people.

    I'm not pissed off because you have a patent, nor do I really care. You have repeatedly claimed aerodynamic advantages to your mast and I have politely asked you to provide some evidence or even some in-depth explanation why you think that there is theoretical evidence for such claims, and instead of providing any such evidence you just repeat the claims.

    Surely in a forum dedicated to learning and discussion, we can ask people to provide evidence for claims that they make?


    Last edited by Chris249; 07-31-2017 at 11:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Looking at the ’birdwing ‘rig from both sides – one(kenjamin’s side) and then the other, which claims to support expert knowledge on rigs, shows there is one point having relevance to both. This is the folding or stowability of any rig.
    Mention was made about curved birds wings being so for purpose of folding, and this is pretty much what kenjamin admits was his inspiration for his curved spar, and it might do well to leave it at the birdwing being able to stow along the gunnel of a particular boat.
    Out front in aerodynamic knowledge and design are those who offer nothing on this basic requirement……. Multi element wings do not even reef, let alone fold away out of high wind or harm’s way. They are about as cumbersome as a vultures wing’s are to a bird in comparison to a seabird ( sy a Tern’s wings compared to the Vulture).
    One of the top designers alluded to (earlier in this thread) does not even have a wing on his own sailboat( Tom Speer apparently has a Farrier tri), probably because a Bermudan rig hoists and strikes a whole lot more effectively than one of his own design multi element wings, despite being less aerodynamically efficient.

    Nature has similar practical tendencies.

    But, it is in the area of impracticality that I have problem with the birdwing……. any wing , for that matter.

    Having to hoik a mast upright before dropping and stepping it through the deck has to be mitigated by some or other quality not on offer any other how.

    Free standing needs more than a claimed performance advantage; which is an idea that has previously come from aerodynamics theorists.
    In this vein there used to be an argument for elimination of wires or lines holding a rig up, but the latest winged foiling multis are still using stays and shrouds.
    So for much the same reason I think that traditional concepts should be given consideration or credit.
    For example the Junk rig rotates and has balanced area (forward of the pivotal axis) as well as having a really efficient reefing system.
    Comparing the birdwing to a Junk rig might be a fair one with respect to aerodynamics alone, since they are both limited to being free standing. Otherwise, there likely isn’t any gain in the curvature of a spar.
    Last edited by Lugalong; 08-01-2017 at 02:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by Lugalong View Post
    Looking at the ’birdwing ‘rig from both sides – one(kenjamin’s side) and then the other, which claims to support expert knowledge on rigs, shows there is one point having relevance to both. This is the folding or stowability of any rig.
    Mention was made about curved birds wings being so for purpose of folding, and this is pretty much what kenjamin admits was his inspiration for his curved spar, and it might do well to leave it at the birdwing being able to stow along the gunnel of a particular boat.
    Out front in aerodynamic knowledge and design are those who offer nothing on this basic requirement……. Multi element wings do not even reef, let alone fold away out of high wind or harm’s way. They are about as cumbersome as a vultures wing’s are to a bird in comparison to a seabird ( sy a Tern’s wings compared to the Vulture).
    One of the top designers alluded to (earlier in this thread) does not even have a wing on his own sailboat( Tom Speer apparently has a Farrier tri), probably because a Bermudan rig hoists and strikes a whole lot more effectively than one of his own design multi element wings, despite being less aerodynamically efficient.

    Nature has similar practical tendencies.

    But, it is in the area of impracticality that I have problem with the birdwing……. any wing , for that matter.

    Having to hoik a mast upright before dropping and stepping it through the deck has to be mitigated by some or other quality not on offer any other how.

    Free standing needs more than a claimed performance advantage; which is an idea that has previously come from aerodynamics theorists.
    In this vein there used to be an argument for elimination of wires or lines holding a rig up, but the latest winged foiling multis are still using stays and shrouds.
    So for much the same reason I think that traditional concepts should be given consideration or credit.
    For example the Junk rig rotates and has balanced area (forward of the pivotal axis) as well as having a really efficient reefing system.
    Comparing the birdwing to a Junk rig might be a fair one with respect to aerodynamics alone, since they are both limited to being free standing. Otherwise, there likely isn’t any gain in the curvature of a spar.
    Although I prefer the simplicity of a freestanding mast, there’s no reason whatsoever that stays on a birdwing mast cannot be employed if one wanted stays and did not mind the complication they bring. I am much more interested in a small boat where the masts can be pulled out of their steps and stored out of the way on the boat for rowing, fishing, or whatever. Also with no stays in the way it allows the rig to be depowered at a moment’s notice and from any wind direction in relation to the boat. This is an outstanding safety feature for the cruising sailor. However, if you would read the patent, you would find there’s nothing in there that says you can’t use stays for higher performance if you want.

    Stays can be attached anywhere a rigger might want to attach stays on a birdwing mast but if the free windvane rotation function of the mast is to be retained, they are best attached to the mast where the center of rotation exists the mast about an eighth of the way down from the mast head.

    I’ll never forget helping FSU’s patent lawyer write the patent application. I very much wanted to exactly describe my idea of the perfect birdwing prototype but the lawyer had exactly the opposite agenda. His job was to keep things as vague and as all encompassing as possible so as not to limit the design and also to make the patent as powerful as possible. So use stays on a birdwing mast or not – it’s a builder’s choice kind of thing. You could even use a hybrid system where the stays were only necessary for setting headsails. Or you could use a simple backstay if you wanted. If the birdwing design does eventually become commercialized it will be interesting to see what riggers do with it. For example, it may prove to be beneficial to over-rotate or under-rotate the birdwing mast as it sets sail and there’s no rule that says one cannot do that either.

    Speaking of no rules, I have become fascinated by the use of hoops for the sail attachment system on a birdwing mast. I presently use them on my latest prototype and they worked beautifully in the Texas 200. I was able to set or strike sail in the 30 knot winds of the Texas 200 without leaving the helm or touching the sail and from any wind direction in relation to the boat. The hoops I used were polyethylene so they are light and strong and did not introduce as much aerodynamic drag to the rig as one might think. But what I liked best about them is that they do not seem to effect the free rotation of the mast in any way whatsoever whereas the sail attached along a sail track in the aft edge of a birdwing mast very much does.

    By the way, there are also no rules in regard to the aspect ratio a birdwing mast must present. There’s really no reason birdwing masts cannot be as varied in design as real bird wings. One could literally pick almost any bird’s wing profile and use it for the profile shape of a birdwing sail. Hummingbird, eagle, tern, albatross, swallow-tail kite, pelican – it doesn’t matter. All their wing profiles in flight can all qualify for a sail shape set by a birdwing mast. It’s kind of amazing when you think about it.

    However, there is one very important point that the patent makes very clear and that is the birdwing mast utilizes “an aerodynamically efficient cross section” along the curved part of the design. That defines the birdwing mast as having an aerodynamically efficient cross section where it matters most – in the airflow. The straight section of the design can be positioned below deck or minimized above deck. A birdwing mast cannot be a birdwing mast unless it utilizes an efficient aerodynamic cross section in its curved part in the airflow. It is also defined as having a sickle shape so that makes it able to present an aerodynamically favorable swept back curved shape along the full length of the mast in the airflow. And furthermore it can also self-rotate to take best advantage of any wind direction when setting sail. How can it not be aerodynamically efficient and still be a birdwing mast?
    Last edited by kenjamin; 08-01-2017 at 11:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Sorry, Ken, but may I point out that once again you have claimed that your mast has an aerodynamically efficient shape without providing the slightest analysis or evidence for that claim?
    Last edited by Chris249; 08-01-2017 at 09:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    That's not exactly correct, Chris. I stated the patent's definition of what a birdwing mast is and then asked the question "How can it not be aerodynamically efficient and still be a birdwing?" The difference may seem subtle to you but if it doesn't utilize an aerodynamically "efficient" cross section in its curved part, it isn't a birdwing mast. If it doesn't have an overall shape of a sickle and be able to present curvature along the entire length of the mast in the airflow, it is not a birdwing mast. If it doesn't freely rotate under wind power alone to best take advantage of the direction of the airflow, then it isn't a birdwing mast.

    Anyone spending the money to put a carbon fiber birdwing mast into production will pay generously to ensure that the aerodynamically efficient cross section used in the production of the mast will certainly be "aerodynamically efficient" for real. Like I said before, I will not be the one making those decisions because I am not qualified, trained, experienced, or even have the slightest idea of the best way of creating an aerodynamically efficient carbon fiber birdwing mast. I am happy to leave that up to the experts and isn't that what you wanted from me all along??? I was just the guy who thought of the idea of the thing and eventually got a U.S. patent on it. Just because the patent was mainly issued as a utility patent for its ability to store better in the average boat, any mast manufacturer who hopes to gain patent protection for the design (while they develop it) must also meet the specifications of efficiency described in the patent or it would not be a birdwing mast and therefore would not receive the protection from competition the patent can provide.

    My personal opinion is that the birdwing mast will prove to be extremely efficient or at least it can be given its established definition but I will gladly leave the aerodynamic efficiency claims to the manufacturer brave enough to attempt a carbon fiber birdwing production. I also believe the birdwing mast can look pretty cool too and for that I am bon-a-fied. I got me an art degree.

    Rendering by JF Bedard Yacht Design:

    Last edited by kenjamin; 08-01-2017 at 11:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by kenjamin View Post
    That's not exactly correct, Chris. I stated the patent's definition of what a birdwing mast is and then asked the question "How can it not be aerodynamically efficient and still be a birdwing?"
    I think the difference in the discussion here is that it seems you claim the design is MORE aerodynamically efficient than ALL OTHER mast designs and will SAIL better (faster), but then don't have demonstrated proof for it. You clearly THINK and EXPERIENCE it as sailing faster, but any careful investor would ask for independent data to back up that specific claim within the first few minutes of looking into it. A patent doesn't require that something be a better solution, just different according to specific criteria.

    The other features of the design which contribute to ease of use may be appealing or interesting, and even desirable for some (which can be considered 'better' by whoever is interested) but are peripheral to your primary claim.

    The design can stand on it's own as useful, appealing and interesting without making claims for unproven characteristics.
    Last edited by rbgarr; 08-01-2017 at 12:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    I think the difference in the discussion here is that it seems you claim the design is MORE aerodynamically efficient than ALL OTHER mast designs and will SAIL better (faster), but then don't have demonstrated proof for it. You clearly THINK and EXPERIENCE it as sailing faster, but any careful investor would ask for independent data to back up that specific claim within the first few minutes of looking into it. A patent doesn't require that something be a better solution, just different according to specific criteria.

    The other features of the design which contribute to ease of use may be appealing or interesting, and even desirable for some (which can be considered 'better' by whoever is interested) but are peripheral to your primary claim.

    The design can stand on it's own as useful, appealing and interesting without making claims for unproven characteristics.
    Here, let me repeat myself and maybe you'll get it the second time around:

    "My personal opinion is that the birdwing mast will prove to be extremely efficient or at least it can be given its established definition but I will gladly leave the aerodynamic efficiency claims to the manufacturer brave enough to attempt a carbon fiber birdwing production."

    What a person thinks or believes is not necessarily a "claim" in the business sense of the word. I certainly do not know if it will sail better or faster than anything else in its final form because the design is most certainly NOT in it's final form and my sailing experiences on fast sailboats is limited to Hobie cats so how the heck would I know if it ever will be faster or slower than anything else? It's difficult to critique or evaluate the birdwing mast in its final form because that does not exist yet. I was just trying to make the point that from the description of the design in the patent, it certainly has a good chance of being efficient because it must use "an aerodynamically efficient cross section" in its curved part or it can not be considered a birdwing mast at all.

    The only thing I could actually claim (if I wanted to) is that the birdwing design will utilize "an aerodynamically efficient" cross section in curved part of its construction because otherwise, if it didn't, it would not qualify as being a birdwing mast.

    Yes, I am enthusiastic about the potential of the birdwing mast. Last time I checked there's no law limiting a person's enthusiasm for a design. You aren't the thought police are you? As far as I know, I was only trying to describe the aerodynamic potential of the design as a result of knowing exactly what the patent says it is. I'm not sure if I even think it will be more efficient than ALL OTHER mast designs so it's hard to imagine that I actually said that somewhere in this thread but please correct me if I'm wrong.
    Last edited by kenjamin; 08-01-2017 at 01:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    I read your first post here as making the claim that you have identified the most aerodynamic mast, and understand that you've limited the description of what's been found. So no problem.

    "When we talk about the most aerodynamically efficient shape for a curved rotating mast, in the past there have been limitations to the ideal shape because of the need to attach sail to the aft edge of the mast. The sail attachment system usually has some thickness to it that prevents the foil cross sections from having their most efficient shape. The most efficient cross sectional shape for a birdwing mast would be rounded at the forward edge of the mast and then ending at a point along the trailing edge - not the "D" shape generally preferred by straight mast folks."
    Last edited by rbgarr; 08-01-2017 at 03:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by kenjamin View Post
    I was told by FSU's patent attorney that the patent would cover any use of the invention in USA waters but I'll be happy to let the lawyers fight about that among themselves and leave me out of it. Personally I would welcome the publicity a lawsuit could bring as long as I do not have to pay for it. Seems like I would just need to find a lawyer who's sure they are right and that there's money to be made and let he or she go at it. And I wouldn't mind at all if someone outside the USA would take the invention and commercialize it. That could only be good for me.

    I looked at your patent and am a bit perplexed. You have a total of one claim:

    1. A sail supporting assembly for a sailing vessel having a
    hull with a keel and gunwales, comprising 14 elements a. through n. They are in the form of a list a and b and c......and n.

    If I understand patent claim construction correctly, the only invention covered must contain all of those 14 elements. So if I build one and it doesn't have a curved sliding mast extender as described in m. and n. there would be no infringement according to law. Or as b. states the rotating mast must be perpendicular to the keel, one could have the mast at a 2į angle to the keel.

    You have been beating the birdwing mast drum for at least 7 years.

    I don't see any interest or commercial activity of any similar designs outside of the USA.

    And I don't see anyone stating they want to build one in the US where you patent is in effect.

    Perhaps instead of hoping someone will infringe and you can enlist lawyers to fight over your patent pro bono in order to generate publicity for you, you might consider another path. Opening your patent up to royalty free use for individual builder/users (while reserving commercial rights) who might want to experiment in order to gain some more working examples, visibility, experience and hopefully advocates and ultimately a market for your design.

    In any case IANAL, so this is just my personal observation/suggestion.

    Alan
    https://sites.google.com/site/helium12sofsailboat/

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    Default Re: Birdwing mast design to benefit from new sail track composite material

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    I read your first post here as making the claim that you have identified the most aerodynamic mast, and understand that you've limited the description of what's been found. So no problem.

    "When we talk about the most aerodynamically efficient shape for a curved rotating mast, in the past there have been limitations to the ideal shape because of the need to attach sail to the aft edge of the mast. The sail attachment system usually has some thickness to it that prevents the foil cross sections from having their most efficient shape. The most efficient cross sectional shape for a birdwing mast would be rounded at the forward edge of the mast and then ending at a point along the trailing edge - not the "D" shape generally preferred by straight mast folks."
    Hey rbgarr,

    It was John Welsford who told me that the straight mast guys are preferring a "D" cross section on masts these days. I think he was suggesting I might try that along with the flat top thing but it is my belief that my design is such a different animal than a typical straight mast that the rules for a straight mast are going to be much different than they are for my design. And I told John that I really didn't like the look of the flat top thing so no matter how well it works, I wasn't likely to try that either.

    Again, my beliefs about what I think is the most efficient shape for my birdwing design are not necessarily being claimed as fact but rather opinion. There is a difference. I used to make all kinds of claims about birdwing masts but that was a very long time ago. Special thanks to James McMullen for curing me of that tendency. Nowadays I try to stick with my actual experience with the design like how well the rig performed in the harsh conditions of the Texas 200. I do love to talk about the design and learn how other people see the design and who likes it and who doesn't. It's all been very interesting between blabbing about it on the internet, building prototypes of the design and boats on which to test the prototypes and showing the design off at Woodenboat's annual Woodenboat show at Mystic which I did again this year. Some people really really like my design and sometimes it's very encouraging and then that gets me blabbing about it again on the internet.

    I appreciate your participation in the discussion and I thank you for going back and seeing what I actually said rather than continuing down that road of what you thought I seemed to have said. I guess the bottom line is nobody likes to be misquoted.

    Sounds like you're as enthusiastic about 3D carbon fiber printing as I am. I saw a show the other night where they printed out an entire car frame in carbon fiber. It was awesome. It's really going to be a real bear of a problem to build the perfect birdwing mast in carbon fiber but seeing stuff like that makes me feel optimistic that someday it may be possible. Notice that I said "may" instead of "will."

    Cheers, Ken

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