If you have a Navik then a) you have a unique wind vane
. b) Unless you're French then don't expect to get any serious answers from Plastimo
Which is all a bit sad because the Navik unit is one clever piece of work.
I bought a complete system for NZ$450 and really couldn't believe how delicate were the inputs relative to what I needed as outputs. My 44 has a bit of a windward issue which I still don't fully understand, since she wants to round up under headsail only....Go figure. Anyway, there's me with the second-hand Navik, with a broken vane and a missing dingus.
I emaiedl Plastimo but mistakenly misspelled Navik as Naik. The smart-arse frog came back asserting, 'Never heard of Naik'. Apparently the French hate anyone who isn't French.
Yeah. I need that sort of ****.
I went hunting. Found the missing dingus, but still couldn't find a wind-paddle, so I decided I had to make one.
Today I visited and most extraordinary company. High Modulas Plastics, here in NZ. They produce all the panels
and resins and stuff for America's Cup boats.
It used to be owned by Richard. Recently Richard sold out but remains as a staffer.
I went in, expecting to be treated like an orphan....all I wanted was a bit of plastic more or less like the stuff the original Navik wind vane
is made of.
Gawd! I was treated like royalty. Richard himself took me through the factory, mumbling stuff about how he knew that somewhere amongst "all this" was the stuff I needed. But then I spotted a huge panel which was well over 12M long, but looked like a monster version of a click out kid's toy. "What's that?' I asked.
That was the end of the search for my plastic. I got the half-hour description of how these amazing folk sandwiched dry foam panels
between dry cloth, then wrapped the entire in plastic film, wound up the vacuum, let loose the resin and, bugger me, this 12M panel had resin sucked through it, filling both styrene and cloth.
I was once again gobsmacked at the genius on mankind, and entranced by Richard's enthusiasm.
with serious money
engage High Modulus Plastics. And I mean really, really serious money
. And there I was, looking for a scrap of plastic to make a new wind-vane and being treated like the most important person on earth.
I tell ya. It happens only in New Zealand
Anyway. We finally found the stuff he felt would do. Then an engineer
hoved by and Richard asked his advice. The engineer
assert that the original design of the wind-vane lacked a bit and then drew out how he thought a few threads of carbon fibre should be resined, here, and here, then there. All the while the calculator buttons were suffering feverish heat from the action.
He finally went on his way. Richard said, 'Hmmmm. You'll need some carbon fibre.' and went off to find some 'scraps'. I'm thinking, 'Holy ****. I ain't that wealthy.'
The 'scrap' was worth God-knows how much, but what got me was...Richard went on to explain a) how to use it. b) warned me that carbon fibre is electrically conductive, and so I had to be careful about not letting just one fibre get into a power tool, or Poof! Dead power tool.
Then some other engineer came by and Richard explained the balances of the paddle...the math of which he'd gripped really quickly....and asked the engineer about a suitable skin for the paddle.
Out came the calc. Much mumbling. Then the answer. 'It'll take 3 ounce cloth and resin at full density.'
By this time I'm not only utterly amazed, intrigued....and man am I having a great learn about modern methods....but in the back of my mind is the costs I have supported talking freely with lawyers, and it occurred to me that the bill here could be a bit on the high side if I'm to be charged for all this advice and materials. And so, I had the foam plastic, the carbon fibre, the glass cloth, and enquired about the cost.
Richard was genuinely surprised.
'Eh? Nar. It's alright. These are just scraps!'
I thought, 'Scraps!'
I have a vague idea what this stuff costs!
I have a problem with getting stuff free. Makes me feel...I dunno. I just don't like it. So I loaded the 'scraps' into my car, raced off to the local bottle shop. Bought a superb bottle of wine. Returned to High Modulas. Dragged Richard out again and gave him the wine. His reply, apart from thanks?
'Back when I owned the business I could have kept this for me. Now I will have to put it in the staff's cellar. But thanks. Nice thought.' And that was that.
Only in New Zealand