Friday, November 30, 2007

videos from the UK

this is the download page from DragoRossi UK; some fun stuff on there....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

CAD using Photoshop (kayak design)

I have wanted to redesign a race boat using one of my favorite modern "river runner"; the Pintail.
After shoulder surgery I chose the Pintail for it's combination of down river speed, stability, easy rolling, and playability to ease the transition from physical therapy to boating at the best of my abilities again. I quickly fell in love with the boat and paddled it whenever I was not creeking or doing park and play missions. Long after my full recovery I was still using the Pintail for nearly 50% of my paddling.

The image on the top and the bottom of the stack is the original Pintail. All the others have been modified with Photoshop (as I'll explain below) to see how the boat can be stretched into a new model. It's quick and simple, but gives enough information for the home builder to use (instead of going through tons of uncomprehensible engineering programs)

the Pintail is 7 feet 4 inches long. So, I cropped the image exactly at the ends of the boat, then scaled the whole image to the equivalent size in pixels. Since 7'4" is 7.33 feet I just changed the width of the image (which is the length of the boat) to 7.33 inches. That was the hardest part. The fun started right after that.

I made the canvas size really long so I could make lots of copies of the Pintail stacked on itself. Then I copied the boat and pasted a bunch of them on top and bottom.

The second boat from the top was made in four steps.
1. expand the canvas width to 9 inches (to keep with the 1" = 1' scale) so that I could see what a 9 foot boat looked like
2. select the bow of the boat from the tip of the cockpit to the very tip of the bow, copy it, paste it.
3. stretch the new pasted bow part out to the edge of the new canvas size
4. repeat step 2 and 3 to the stern
that stretches the bow and stern without changing the cockpit size. If you want to just stretch the entire boat, without worrying about the cockpit area until you are done then all you need to do is copy the entire boat, paste it, then strech each end out to the sides of the canvas.

I repeated this process for 10, 11, and 11something (can't remember right now what the conversion for the scaled 350cm slalom "legal" size was)

I really like the looks of the 9 and 10 foot boats. If I have time this winter I'll glue up some foam and project the template and rocker with a slide projector (easy to get digital images made into slides and that allows you to keep the scale fairly accurate.)

currency exchange rate and whitewater issues

the Euro keeps getting stronger against the dollar, so it's become more difficult to get the nice European kayaks at good prices. I still have some left over from the last container and therefore good prices. We are working on something for next year, but will wait for another month to see what happens with the U.S. dollar compared with the Euro. Until then, the prices from what are left in the container can be seen here
click on the specials section

there is a positive benefit for the uneven exchange rate. My tshirt designs are less expensive to the Europeans.
A quick conversion on the internet says that a $21.99 US tshirt would only cost 15 Euro. Not bad.

Friday, November 23, 2007

DR long boat

just got some preview pictures of the new/retro boat from DragoRossi. Available this spring when the container arrives. Stay tuned for pre-order details.

remembering the Hurricane (smalls falls, Maine)

In the summer of 1996, Ted DeVoe and I were local pro paddlers for Prijon. The hot boat at the time was the Hurricane. It was a fantastic boat; high performance surfer for the time and a fair creek boat too. It was very fast.

Ted is also a very fast paddler. He was too fast on the day this photo was taken. His aggressive paddling style made him cut the corner a little too late and he broached with his bow on the center rock and his stern on the river-right bank. Looking 25ft down to the bottom of the drop he yelled "what do I do now?!?"

Mark Gibson performed a rope-assisted wade out to the center rock where he and Ted decided the best option was to just throw the bow off and hope for the best. It worked out fine and Ted ended up on a perfect line as you can see in this first picture.

Below is a photo of me running the drop that immediately follows the big one. The photo was taken by a newspaper reporter who happened to be just downstream that day. Ted is in the foreground waiting, and Dave Caruso is climbing up the rocks on the side.

Note: sorry about the poor quality. I just found these photos while cleaning out some stuff in the closet. Since I don't have a scanner I could only take a picture of the pictures.

Monday, November 19, 2007

from the factory floor (adjusting the rocker on the Huracan)

Rocker shape is an important balancing act.....

Too little and the nose of the boat plows into the water like a squirt boat. Great for tricks, but difficult for running rivers. Too much rocker and the bow stays nicely on top of the surface, but cartwheels tend to be very difficult and low-angle.

Also, too much rocker in the wrong place can make the boat push water instead of letting it slide around the hull nicely, thus making a very slow boat that is a bit unpredictable.
The trick is to make the rocker "progressive" so that the water slides under the boat smoothly without creating much pressure on the bow. A river runner should have a smooth transition and not be a butt bouncer like some freestyle boats. The idea is to have available speed and lots of predictability.

above you can see how the rocker has been adjusted in steps on the second Huracan prototype to allow a smooth transition as well as quick resurfacing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

DragoRossi Factory update (Huracan prototype #1)

Here are the first pictures from the first plastic prototype of the new boat called "Huracan". These were made in a fiberglass mold and spun in the same rotomolding oven that produces the DragoRossi kayaks.

While others are making boats for specific races, DragoRossi is making boats for those who might be frustrated with the slow spuds or the lack of performance from most "river runners".

Since Corran is the inventor of the Glide ("the boat that changed the rules") and the Hammer (the first planing hull boat that had good commercial success) he decided it was time to reinvent the 8' boat again. All the positive performance characteristics of those early models can now be achieved without the awkwardness of the boats from 1998.

a slight modification to the Performance outfitting option. The boats will come with more accessories included. Banckband. "industry standard" thigh hooks. Drainplug. And perhaps some other things, but all that is being worked our as you read this.

for those who are more curious about the process of making a boat, check out the links to Corran's blog here. It provides enough pictures and explainations that you could (if you wanted to) design your own boat in your garage.

shaping the Huracan pt 1

shaping the Huracan pt 2

shaping the Huracan pt 3

last steps and boat comparisons

Thursday, November 15, 2007

LL Jefe vs. DR Critical Mass

"it looks too long" is often the comment out of people's mouth when they first see the Critical Mass. Corran's boats tend to look a bit longer than they are, often because of the deck lines.
The Critical Mass IS longer than most creek boats, but not by much. (as you can see in the photos)

it's mostly a matter of keeping the rocker profile going another 2 inches on either end to get more over all rocker, better resurfacing ability, and more reach to get over those pesky holes.

The boat has plenty of stern volume to keep from back endering and let you go power downstream. All that rocker makes it turn easily too. Many paddlers say that it "paddles small" because it's so nimble and manuverable.

thought it would make sense to show the boat up against it's counterparts within the DragoRossi line up too.

Critical Mass (left) Gangser/Idra (center) Mafia (right)