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Old 15-10-2009, 05:49   #16
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And my reply



Dear John

Thanks for the reply. Many would decry your system as the downfall of purist sailing with a wish to keep secret the skills and arts a sailor must attain, much as they did with GPS Navigation or Electronic Charts, I’m not one of those.
As a sufferer of RSD (CRPS), I have little choice but to pay for the ability to play as it were. I can manage just about any task given enough time but your system would take a lot of mediocre moments out of sailing for me.

So to answer your question yes I’m still interested. Much of the decision of boat for me depends on whether my condition stabilizes over the next year or deteriorates further which explains my question for the RF control, much easier for a belt pack to be carried rather than have to hoist myself up to a helm position on say a lightwave 45 (Nice Cat) when all she needs is a bit of sail trim. So indeed this may make all the difference to the vessel I purchase and how I go about sailing. Besides there may be some money to be saved on instrumentation by the looks of your system.

Regards Sam
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Old 15-10-2009, 13:00   #17
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So far so good!
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Old 16-10-2009, 05:25   #18
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A very kind hearted response from John that has garnered a great deal of respect from me!

Dear Sam,

Recently we equipped a Farr 38 yacht with our fully automatic system for a Danish gentleman who sadly isparalysed from the neck down, he operates the controls with his chin and forehead !
It may be of interest to you if I were to put him in touch, if this is OK with you I will contact him and hopefullyget you together so to speak.
He has developed a gyro stabilised wheel chair platform which he calls the Wavester which allows him todrive his chair on to the boat, lock it to his stabilised platform and using our sail control system, go sailing.

Please advise, we will do all we can to help

Rgds,


Dear John,

Thanks for your offer with the Danish gentleman’s contact I very much appreciate your empathy, but I’ll decline it.

RSD is a syndrome that is very much centered on a damaged nervous system basically it fires pain signals continuously in varying degrees. The long and short is that on a good day I will be mobile and able to do many and varied tasks and a bad day the pain killers rule my day, neurotropic and narcotic , some days it’s a good couple of hours and then I’m back in the dungeon.

I have full intention of sailing off around the world and I am looking into every avenue and alley in order to equip my catamaran to my order of suitability for the trip. I’m one of those belt and braces personalities, you know, two of every thing incase the first one breaks.

So onward and upward we go, damn the torpedoes full steam ahead.

A lot of my interest lays not in the software, which is hopefully a package that is in continual upgrade, but in the hardware and the durability. I’ll be fine to change out a hydraulic ram at sea if I need to but my own background tells me that seals will blow if the chrome lets go. And the salty ocean has a way of pitting the best quality chrome and if not the chrome, then the UV a bit closer to the equator than your situation will harden the finest oil seals and lines.

On top of that if I have a failure of the display in some far fetched location the ability to replace the display as the centre of (and the be all and end all) of my instruments leaves me at the whim of the Gods (or God be it He or She depending on your relationship with said Deity).

Any way before I pontificate to much, a very pertinent point was put forward to me by a fellow named Talbot in Norway

“Do you need to go the full automated route, or could you consider electric self tailing winches as the more cost effective answer? I suspect that we will see more and more vessels with full electric winches, but not so many that go for full automation - after all that takes all the skill out of the task, and also introduces a large number of additional points of failure.”

I’m fairly certain of my own determination and abilities, I’ll find my way through, over or around the task at hand but I have to know what tools I have and can depend upon.

Kind Regards
Sam
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Old 17-10-2009, 15:17   #19
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The reply

Dear Sam,

A long time ago I had the idea of adapting a yacht for automatic sailing, they do it for cars why not for boat, But
I had to wait until I retired as a design engineer before I could find the time.
At this point I spent twelve months on a full technical feasibility study. This allowed presentation to a London
venture capital company to engage with the appropriate financial backing.
We then began running sea trials in all conditions, ice and force nine included over for a period of six years
prior to offering the product to some of the major players including Group Beneteau in Europe and Island Packet
in the States.
The electronic package was designed by the head of electronics at a leading English University and the
hydraulics was entrusted to a specialist sub-sea hydraulic control company in Scotland.
I hope these few facts will help you to understand the background to our endeavours and to the depth of effort
extended in producing what we sell today.
I sincerely hope that we may be able to help you to realise your aspirations, we all look forward to being of service.

All the very best

John
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Old 17-10-2009, 22:59   #20
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Sounds impressive
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Old 18-10-2009, 06:52   #21
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Back to John



Dear John

I’m well impressed with what you have on offer, and have no doubt about the amount of work that is needed to get a specialized product to market, indeed the many hours that would have gone into your system are beyond comprehension for most.

I myself having spent many years as a digital technician in flow controll and moving sideways into production engineering for circuit boards have a fair grasp on your path to success
But for me the questions still remain.

Are the ram seals a serviceable unit or are they pres fitted, the mere fact that you have used a specialist Hydraulics company bears me to think that the hydraulics are less than serviceable by the owner so a failure at sea means ????

Would I need one of your technicians to install it or could that be managed by a reasonably competent home builder?

What have the main failure points proven to be over long term use?

Are spare parts easily obtainable from Hydraulics repairers worldwide?

Are repairs easily made at sea by crew (i.e. Home yacht builder)?

What are the recommended spares that a yacht should carry?

In some of the pictures I notice a third joystick is this a rudder/engine control if not is this option available?

The system shown is obviously a hard wired system is there an option for a radio frequency mobile control unit?

What is your warranty period and what are the terms of the warranty i.e. is it return unit to UK for assessment or have it repaired by an authorised agent?

How many systems have been installed to date and are there any owners that could be contacted for comment on it?

Do you recommend an emergency scenario set up of winches for offshore sailing/long distance cruising in case the system is disabled by lightning strike or some other failure at sea?


I know I seem like a problem customer but I’d like to think of myself as one you would never hear from again once the system was commissioned.

Kind regards

Sam




for those reading jump in any time with a question or is it just James and I that are interested?
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Old 18-10-2009, 07:01   #22
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I'm holding my breath!
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Old 18-10-2009, 07:04   #23
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As am I!
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Old 19-10-2009, 23:13   #24
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Dear Sam,

Hear goes Sam, I will keep it brief.

1. All items within the hydraulics are serviceable, spare seals can be supplied with the unit, although all rams are of chrome finished stainless steel.
2. With your know how you could control the installation yourself. We could arrange for a visit to finally
commission the system when installation has been completed if you so wish.
3. Failure points are as always electronic connections and switches.
4. Yes
5. Yes
6. A suitable list can be prepared once we know your system of choice.
7. We do not have a radio link available as yet
8. Warranty is to all components in the system for a twelve month period. Local repair or UK replacement.
9. Demonstration yachts are available in UK and Denmark with a third unit being built in Florida USA.
10. Yes, we recommend retaining the original winch situation to cover for low voltage experiences.

I hope the above helps........ a problem customer you are most certainly not .

Sincerely

John
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Old 20-10-2009, 08:53   #25
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Such a system can easily be designed to offer several levels of operation.

1.) Fully automatic.
2.) Manual through the hydraulics, even a manual pump.
3.) Using electric winches.

Hydraulics designed for sub-sea applications have MTBF's (Mean Time Between Failure) that are extremel high, and are designed to sit on the bottom of the sea for many years.

A couple of spre rams at most, and quick connectors should ensure easy exchange. If the system is cleverly designed, the rams can all have the same travel.

If you go for a Ballestron rig, it could very simply be automated for automatic sail control. A windvane projecting from the forward boom can be adapted to control boom position on practically any point of sail.
In boom reefing for the main will give you endlessly adjustable sail area, as with a furling jib. These can be managed by a couple of small electric winches.

The Ballestron rig using an unstayed mast is much safer that the normal rigs, and has much lower line loads as the rig is balanced.

The total setup will not be more expensive than a good traditional rig, and you won't need to worry about downwind sails.

I have a good friend who can only use his left arm partially after falling off a boat and hitting his head on concrete, and have spent some time looking at this. It's all based on off the shelf parts, but not as fully automated as the one posted.


Alan
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Old 21-10-2009, 00:43   #26
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Thanks for the input Alan I appreciate it greatly,
I have time to ponder many solutions and I am interested in them all. The Balestron rig is definitely a contender that is way up there.
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Old 20-09-2012, 09:36   #27
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Re: Joystick Sail Control System

Now what if someone had a 30'-40' yacht? And couldn't spend more than $10,000 on some sort of push-button/joystick sail system?
I have early stages of RSD and Arthritis, as well as muscle seizures; but, of course, I want to go sailing. But the cost of the Computayacht is too high, especially since I'm also looking at changing to an electric motor.
Does anyone know of anything more basic than the Computayacht Joystick system? Something that doesn't include the dashboard, which I would replace with my own wood creation anyways. I just want the sail control.

Thanks.
And yeah, I'm new here. And to the sailing community in general. I've always loved the sea, but never had opportunities to be on it (I've done lakes in power boats and canoes, but it's not the same as sailing the oceans). I'm a photographer, and love exploring. Had thought about an RV, but realized that costs a lot of gas, and camping fees. And I've now gotten bit by the Sailing Bug.
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Old 20-09-2012, 10:01   #28
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Re: Joystick Sail Control System

Seems like the Freedom unstayed rig (main only ?) Electric Main winch and automated anchor/windlass system would be a good starting base for those with physical limitations....? Although I suppose a cat would be better.
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