Thursday, September 11, 2008

Racing Tub Part II

Racing Tub!
Team Winter Harp
Part II

I've had so many emails regarding bathtub racing that I am adding a few more pictures and videos of the event. To answer the most frequent question, yes I am crazy. To answer the second most frequent question, yes it does hurt. Sometimes a lot. Here is some sage advice about what the trick is from T.E.Lawrence:

Finally, I was asked what the view of the ocean looks like when running something as low to the water as a racing tub. Here is a picture of what the driver of a tub is normally seeing:

The following picture is taken shortly after the start. It gives some idea of how lumpy water can get when it's churned up by 40+ boats.

Notice that despite all this, I'm landing quite flat. This is considered good form.

Here is what the tub looks like at full speed in calm water. Yes, this would be considered calm water in this race:

Here is the tub in slightly rougher water. Of great importance in this sequence is that despite the fact that I'm getting lots of quality air time, I'm still managing to land reasonably flat and not losing much plane and thus speed. There is room for improvement in this respect and we'll have some innovations next year which will definately help. In tub racing, flat = fast.

This final video is what the tub looks like in reasonably lumpy water. The trick in this sort of thing is to try to steer around waves and try to flatten the course out as much as possible. Jumping off the top of each wave is pretty counter-productive and it's too easy to get off plane. Even worse, getting lots of air wastes time slows things down since the prop is spinning freely in the air like an airplane and not producing any thrust. When it lands back in the water its bringing along lots of air, and it has to hook up again. This all takes time and costs speed.

The final picture is a close up of the tub after the race. It was literally "harp breaking."

All is well in the land of tubbing and the fiberglass gods have smiled upon me. The tub has been repaired and beefed up, and we'll do a lot more testing before the next race to figure out what works and what doesn't. Stay tuned sports fans!

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