An enormous amount of design and testing has gone in since the announcement of the WASZP at Foiling Week.
Things have really progressed fast in the past month. The boat is going a lot better than I ever expected. We’ve now got a top speed of nearly 25 knots and the controllability in waves, which was one of one of our earlier challenges, is now rock solid.
One area we have spent a lot of time working on is the control system. We put on an adjustable wand, fitted adjustable gearing and added an adjustable wand angle system trying to solve some of the control issues and there was a fear that this may need to go into the production boat (which would have added a whole lot of complexity for the sailor) but as it turns out a single setting now works for everything and adding the adjustment just helped us pick the optimum solution.
The settings are quite different to what we initially expected because the foils are quite high lift so the angles and gearing ratios vary greatly from the Mach2 which I did not predict – so spending the time to get it right has been well worthwhile.
There has been a massive amount of work gone into optimising the foils. We have a new engineer on the team who came on 4 months ago who has done some really, really good work. We’ve done extensive CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis and testing on various wing tips and winglets.
So the wing tips we are going forward with are a lot more conventional and they look a little bit like our high lift Mach 2 foil with tiny winglets and it’s a short taper from the end of the aluminium – about 130mm of wing tip.
We worked a lot on trying to get the tips as small as we could and keep the efficiency without having very long wing tips.
With the rear foil it’s very similar except no winglets.
For the main front horizontal foil the plan has always been to offer a number of lengths. We have standardised on a specific size as the racing foil, but will offer alternatives for learning.
The vertical foils are also slightly longer than the original prototypes which really helps sailing in waves.
Our current rig is a camber induced sail and it works brilliantly, infact the first sail we made worked straight out of the bag which was quite surprising.
We started with a 7.7 as these were based on the KA Moth sails and we thought this was a really good size as we were limited by the unstayed mast as you can really only hang so much cloth on it.
However we have found that we can handle a little more area and we are going to run with 8.0 sq. metres as this gives slightly more power for the bigger sailor to get foiling in the same sort of wind range that the Mach 2 does.
However there is a huge issue that we have not been able to overcome.
The rig is actually quite hard to lift and step into the boat in its current configuration (with a cam sail you lift both the sail and mast together, made harder on the WASZP by having to align to the mast socket) so we’ve had to completely rethink it.
We battled on for a long time, but feedback from sailors trying the WASZP was: “guys, you just can’t do this”.
So we are going to go with a bolt rope mast and sail (still unstayed).
This however has put us back two months.
I know many people are going to be upset about this delay but we have to solve this and unfortunately there is no way around it.
We knew that we would continue to evolve up to first production and make sure everything was 100% sailor certified, but we thought it would be just small, easy things like foil lengths or control systems. This has hit us hard.
Another thing that has been very difficult has been the trolley. You would think: what is so difficult? We’ve been trying to make the WASZP really easy to launch and with the foils in place it is quite logistically difficult to deal with. The original plan was always to slide the boat on and off the trolley with the foils in (up of course) and we have tried very many different scenarios – with the front of the boat encapsulated, with many different ways of hooking the trolley on but the bottom line is it is very difficult in waves or a reasonable amount of wind or with a smaller person it became quite physically demanding.
So we have changed our design so the trolley is put on when the boat is on its side. You can still put the boat in the water with the foils in which is a huge benefit not having to worry about going back to get them. So you just drag it into the water, tip it on its side, pull the trolley off, tip it back up, sail out, push your foils down and off you go. Or you can push the foils down and walk the boat out but you have the choice.
This has again delayed the project because the moulds and jigs were finished so we’ve had to start again.
Fibreglass Shipping Box
We’ve had a number of requests to do a GRP travel box that can be used for shipping the WASZP to international regattas. This has been designed and will be available as an option.
Given where we are now and the impeding Christmas and Chinese New Year shutdowns there is now no possibility that we can deliver complete boats before March, 2016.
We know that this is not ideal and will disappoint many who have jumped on board early. For this we apologise but can only re-enforce that ultimately the changes we have implemented will deliver a better product.
As we have always said anyone who has reserved a build slot can request a refund at any time. We stand ready to provide a full refund with no questions and no delays for anyone who wishes.
When we do start delivering boats will come out very quickly. Those at the tail end of the build slot queue will not see that much delay because we will be building and stocking masts and hulls which are the only composite parts in the boat (which we can only build so many per day). Most of the other parts are done in lots of 1,000 or more and they’ll all be ready for when we do start shipping. So in the first months we anticipate shipping 20 boats per week and so will catch up quickly to those back orders but for those with an early build slot there will be more impact.
The development of the WASZP has been significantly more challenging and time consuming than I imagined. It is so important to get everything right and there have been so many times where we’ve had to make what we call a ‘catastrophic’ change: one thing that did not work and we’ve had to roll back many components – injection moulded parts, aluminium extrusions, moulds – things that we committed that in the end needed to be changed.
On the other hand, the way the WASZP performs now, I’m really happy – the numbers it is hitting, its controllability and ease of foiling are all exceeding my expectations.