Details of the construction changes made to the new Vortex's.
Here are some words about the changes to the boat that will require class rule changes. These changes have since been approved by the class Association.
The Vortex Class Association members had to fund the construction of new moulds to allow construction of the Vortex to continue and Whites Formula was chosen to construct the new hulls.
New Vortex boats are now available. From MSDS (Mike Saul Dinghy Supplies); the sole supplier and distributor of the new boats.
Whilst they are very similar to those that we have been sailing for the last decade or so, we are not producing different product. The key components of the underwater surfaces and the sails remain unchanged. Where we are making changes it is for one of three reasons:
Because we know that there is a limitation to the current design,
Because the cost of like-for-like components is too high,
Because experience has shown that small modifications will significantly improve the ergonomics of the boat.
In making these changes we have kept in mind the wish of the class to remain a one design and that changes should have small impacts on competitiveness. Below is a list of the changes and an explanation of why the change is being carried out. Some of these changes will require a change in the class rules, but in most cases the modification can be carried out to existing boats if desired.
Redesign of the main bulkhead beneath the mast. This will solve the known problem of the bulkhead working lose over time. It will not be practical to implement this as a retrofit
Enlargement of the internal drainage holes. Again this solves a known problem and cannot be implemented as a retrofit.
The deck will be strengthened to reduce known problems of flexing and insufficient deck strength for components. This will improve the durability of the hulls, but cannot be retrofitted. The areas to be changed are:
a) foredeck area where we stand when rigging
b) area behind dagger board slots for improved location of deck fittings
c) areas along the centre line for better fixing of deck fittings
d) areas where foot straps might be attached.
e) Provision of a stainless steel plate to support bolts for rudder fixings. This will reduce problems in this area, but running aground at speed is still likely to cause damage.
F)The main-sheet turret to be 15mm higher and there will be a separate mounting block for the toe straps. These will improve ergonomics and allow better fixing of the block to the deck.
G) The drainage grill will become an externally mounted component, allowing a stronger join between deck and hull.
H) Insets into the deck as follows: along the sides from the stern to level with the mast to be installed along the edge of the dagger board slots allowing the installation of a friction plate
A grove to accommodate the spinnaker pole
Removal of the current deck handles and installation of a kick bar with inset hand-holds. The kick bar will run from near the stern to just short of the current handle. This will improve the ergonomics of the boat and could be retrofitted.
Move the anchor point for the trapeze from the current position to the location of the current deck handles. This will improve the ergonomics and could be retrofitted.
Improve the ergonomics of the control lines, these modifications could be retrofitted.
The current foredeck assembly for the spinnaker will be redesigned to reduce the cost of production; there will be no change in the functionality.
The mast will be made from Carbon fibre and will become non-rotating and a mast foot track will be installed. The principal reason for doing this is that the cost of producing the goose-neck and spreader assembly would be too high. This will allow us to use a better engineered standard goose-neck solving another known problem. Adding the track will allow us to improve fore-aft balance and may reduce nose diving. Finally it would open the possibility of introducing a self-tacking jib in the future.
With a fixed mast we could also move to using a carbon fibre rather than aluminium at almost the same cost. The trends on costs are such that within a few years carbon will be significantly cheaper than aluminium. This would reduce the weight and reduce the tendency for nose dives.
A redesign of the gnav to improve the ergonomics and reduce wear.
The Boom will be made from Carbon fibre composite
New carbon-composite foils which will reduce the weight of the boat. The new foils will cost more than the current aluminium ones. But we cannot afford the up-front cost of a production run to provide a quantity of the aluminium foils. Whereas the composite foils can be produced in small quantities.
Most of these changes will have minimal or no impact on boat speed, but they will increase boat durability. Boat speed will be improved by the reduction of weight through introducing a new mast, boom and foils. All of which can be retrofitted to current boats. We will need to change the class rules so that both old and new boats are class legal. These changes have been approved and accepted. Initially a lead weight handicap was applied to the new boats in class racing events but this period has now expired and no weight penalty applies to the new boats.