Developments in the
Manta Equation project, and updates to the web-site follow. Check our
events calendar, for
details of forthcoming shows and demonstrations where you can see and sail the
Manta Equation for yourself.
Equation is now ready for production, each being made to individual order.
Click here for details
of how to reserve yours.
There is a full road
test of the Manta Equation in the July 30th 2004 issue of
Yachts and Yachting magazine.
A good chance to read an independant assessment of the boats sailing ability.
The tests were carried out on the 11th, as reported below.
We have done a little
testing with a small outboard motor, and this has been quite encouraging. The
optional bracket attaches to the boat just aft of the rudder on either side
deck. We could not use all 3.5 hp in the 5 knot zone on the Bay, and we had
positive steering using either the motor or the boat's rudders. A 2.5 hp would
have been more than adequate. A 3.3 hp Mariner was less successful, the shaft is
slightly shorter on this engine, and we had serious cavitation problems at
anything over 1/4 throttle.
Sailing tests were
somewhat less encouraging. While we carefully worked out the geometry involved
to position the motor clear of the main sheet, this only applies when the sheet
is under tension! The mainsheet can catch on the motor during a gybe, too
exciting. Our preferred option was always a small electric unit, and this may
work more reliably if we can find the right one. In the mean time we are
redesigning the bracket to fit at the very stern of the boat. Watch this space.
Centre at Pembroke Dock for their Asymmetric Day, the idea being to
familiarise instructors with asymmetric boats that they may have not met before,
and they had a good selection of boats on the water for the event. Although the
wind was fairly light we were the only boat that stayed upright for the whole
A day out at
Cobnor Activities Centre on Chichester
harbour where Yachts and Yachting magazine tested the boat. They had a couple of
the instructors try the boat out, for opinions and photos, and a couple of the
centre's young clients. Verdict on the day was "awesome". We will have
to see what the published test looks like, due to be published at the end of the
24 to 27th
We went to Whitefriars
Sailing Club where the Access Nationals were being held. They had also invited
Steve to bring along a Martin 16, we had wanted to compare ourselves to one of
these for some time. It was certainly faster, though not as much as we had
expected, given a great sailor in our Manta Equation and less experienced one
in the Martin it would be a closer call. Steve tried our boat out and was very
complimentary, and we like his too. Some of the competitors and helpers took the
opportunity to try out both boats.
Good day at Cardiff Bay
Yacht Club. The local Sailability organiser had brought a whole load of
different boats and some disabled non-sailors together. They all had the
opportunity to try the Manta Equation, a couple of ribs, a trident yacht, a Cork
sport boat, an access, and just experience being on the water one way or
another. Good weather for it, and a good day out for all. This was a sort of
trial run with a few invited guests, there will be a larger event open to all
later in the year.
Milton Keynes for their
section to try the boat out. Wind good, if a little light, but fine and sunny
all day. A good slipway and not too steep, two good pontoon systems and the edge
was deep enough for us to use the main quay. They had a few folk in the boat and
all seemed quite impressed. We were very impressed with the organisation there,
the helpers are really on the ball.
Another day at
Chasewater for Chase Sailing Club's
open day. Weather turned out OK, if a bit on the cool side, but a good force 3
with some gusts. The water was surprisingly choppy, must be the power boats that
they share the lake with, just like being back home in Cardiff. They have a
decent sized piece of water to sail on, launching and recovery is very easy
here with firm footing and a shallow beach, and you get a good cup of tea.
Guests of the
Langstone Sailing Club. Their
Sailability volunteer helpers and some clients gave it a good try out. They have
a large stretch of sheltered harbour, and once the tide is in a selection of
slipways to use. Negotiating the piers of the dismantled railway bridge that
separates the two looked a little daunting from the shore, but was not really a
problem in the event. We had to beat out at an angle as the wind was dead head
on but the gap is wider than it looks and we had room to spare. The club members
waited a little longer during which time the wind shifted a little and the
opposing tide also slackened, local knowledge can be important. Still, the
weather was wonderful, did not see a single cloud all day. True, we could have
done with a bit more wind, but we used the power boats to generate our own waves
a couple of times. We were transferring between the Manta Equation and the power
boats rather than return to the club slipways and stayed out for about five
hours, very good for the tan.
As an aside; this is
another club where, at first sight, it seemed that there would be some
difficulties launching/recovering. In practice this was not too bad at all. The
slipway seemed slippery and we used the car with a short length of rope as a
brake, but this was an unnecessary precaution and would have been even easier if
we had waited for a bit more tide to come in. Recovery was no problem at all,
though since everyone else was also coming off the water at the same time the
slips were quite busy.
All in all we have met
some interesting problems at some of the venues we have sailed at. We have
launched down a slipway between walls which were only wide enough for us to fit
one foil on shore, the other being fitted on the water. We coped easily because
the foils are neutrally buoyant with the boat floating light, so the boat stays
level with only one foil fitted. Dropped pins or bolts would have presented some
problems, as would stepping off the hard slipway into the six feet of very soft
silt! Steep slipways (Cardiff is both steep and rough underfoot), need either a
power winch or the use of a car or tractor. We have dropped off the side of
slipways which are narrower in the water than on shore, but managed to use the
boat's bouyancy to recover the trailer and boat onto terra firma.
Sailing on Barton Broad
to give the Nancy Oldfield Trust
a chance to evaluate the boat. They currently use a variety of broads boats to
get groups of disadvantaged and disabled people on the water, well worth doing
in such a superb location. The weather was wonderful, and I even did a sport of
birdwatching while their people had the boat out.
were towed out from their dock to the broad as the channel is very narrow, tree
sheltered and often busy. This has confirmed our opinion that a small outboard,
preferably electric, would be a useful accessory. This would have made us fully
independent here, and in crowded marinas etc. We have had a bracket design for
this on a back burner since the turn of the year while we figured out the size
and weight of suitable motors. We are now working on the plug so look out for
trial results before too long. We also need to try a variety of motors, any
loans would be appreciated.
A very good day on
Piddinghoe Pond as guests of Newhaven and
Seaford Sailing Club as part of their open day. For such restricted water
the wind was a little on the strong side, just about room for one gybe with the
gennaker up. The water also got quite crowded at times, but the boat showed up
well and everyone who tried her out was very impressed, the kids (mostly Oppi
sailors) all declared the boat 'cool'. Several folk who saw us at the Dinghy
Show proved for themselves that the boat is both exciting and rewarding to sail,
and we came away with some serious enquiries. We were impressed with the
friendly informal atmosphere, and the way that NSSC make the most of the small
lake, especially the youth training program. They have a good selection of boats
that are well suited to their situation; having found another one they just have
to decide how many they need.
The weather on the way
down and back was absolutely dreadful, which tested the new foil covers very
nicely. The colour, a delicate shade of day-glo orange, shows up well in murky
Finally got round to
sorting a method of illustrating the colours that we are offering, these are on
the Order page. There are
eight gennaker colours to choose from, and a total of sixty for the seats and
hull, some of these cost extra (the pigments can be pricey, and we have to pass
this on). You can match the gennakker colour in both the hull and seats, or have
all three in different colours. You can afford to be bold with your choices as
the deck, foils and rudders will be white which will help to prevent colour
clashes. We have tried hard to get the colours right but have to make the usual
disclaimer about colours and different screen set-ups, but all the colours are
RAL standard and you should be able to at least see an accurate colour chart at
you friendly local auto-paint suppliers.
Also added some pictures
of the production boat to the
Galleries page, and
some of the other page headers.
th March 2004
Good day out at
Chasewater, several of their members and some RYA Instructors and Coaches had a
go. Good easy beach access, and a small pontoon to sail from, good stretch of
open water. We also had a chance to sail with some more boats to judge the
th March 2004
Finally got the new boat
wet today. We missed a a good weather window on Tuesday with all the work
involved on clearing up after the Dinghy Show then it snowed as if it really
meant it, but Saturday brought a brief lull in the wet and windy stuff. No
surprises in how the boat sails, and we are pleased with the colour scheme,
looked really good with all three sails up in the sunshine. We have done a
considerable amount of work in making the rigging/derigging operations simpler
and quicker, all of which worked well. We have also refined some fitting
details, the 2:1 downhaul and outhaul for instance are now very neat indeed and
work as good as they look. On the down side the electric winch at Cardiff Bay YC
has died, and the steep, rough slipway was a real pain. I guess the Flying
Fifteens are grounded for now. Still we had a good hour or so on the water and
got some more pictures, these will be uploaded soon.
th March 2004
We had an exceptionally
good Dinghy Sailing show and the boat was the centre of a lot of interest. There
were very few occasions during both days when we were not all fully engaged with
showing someone the finer points of the Manta Equation. We now have a whole
stack of requests for demonstrations to fit onto the calendar, we will be trying
to arrange visits to clubs where several interested parties can try the boat out
for themselves, and of course several folk are coming to us at Cardiff to get in
their trial sail early. We will try to keep the
events page up to date,
but things may change rapidly now. If you want to request a trial or demo
yourself, or for your club/organisation
know and we will fit you in if we possibly can. Looks like being a busy few
weeks ahead, we have to find some time to build boats too!
New cockpit interior and
deck assembly finished. The original design had three buoyancy tanks which were
not fitted to P1 (we thought we might prefer the extra access to the hull etc),
and these have now been built in to 002, and in addition a slab of low density
foam has been fixed to the cockpit floor. The change to structural PVC foam has
made the floor much more rigid, and using the same foam in the rear deck has
saved 10Kgs even with the extra tanks etc., these changes will allow us reduce
the unladen weight by 5Kgs (this is the original design figure) and add 5Kgs
more lead ballast. Having saved weight on the deck and added extra ballast, the
centre of gravity is now lower.
interior/floor mold finished. The minor changes to improve the drainage rate
have involved going right back to the original plug and performing some major
surgery. It does not help that the plug is a female, and trying to visualise
where the water will go on an upside down, inside out interior proved amusing.
We also took the chance to simplify the rear seat fixings and change the rudder
bellcrank mount to female bigheads rather than studs. An extra 100mm of
adjustment has been added to the front seat travel. We will be making the
cockpit floor much stiffer using a thicker PVC foam using vacuum technology,
(also on the rear and sides of the deck).
Churchtown in Cornwall. They were hosting the Adventure for All annual meeting.
We had a good day, the wind was strong force five, and we were new to the water.
Several folk (notably John from Keswick) took us up on the challenge to turn the
boat over, with some enthusiasm. None succeeded. The set up at Churchtown is
first class and the hospitality outstanding.
Long journey up to
Keswick to demonstrate the boat to the Calvert Trust there. Superb facilities
and generous hospitality. Sailing alone on about a square mile of water is a bit
different from dodging fishing boats and water taxis in Cardiff Bay.
Good trip to Whitefriars
Sailing club in the Cotswold Water Park. Wind very light in the morning but got
better. At one time had three people in the boat with a combined age of 250
years! All of the helpers, especially the galley volunteers, took trips. For
some it was the first time in a small boat, even though they had been going
there for years.
th August 2003
Tested the new mast
gate. This has made the mast stiffer and completely removed the shakes in heavy
wakes and swells. As a bonus, rigging the mast single handed is a lot easier
16 & 17
th August 2003
Stayed on at Northampton
Sailing Club to demonstrate to the members there. Saturday was quiet, so we
explored the whole area, nice to have such a big area to play in. Sunday saw
more activity with several folk taking trips with us.
Testing day at Pitsford
Reservoir, courtesy of Northampton Sailing Club. Pinnell and Bax helped us to
evaluate their sails and our rig. Wind a bit light for serious testing but the
consensus of opinion was that we need a mast gate.
Day outing to Rutland
Water. The idea was to show off the boat to the 2·4R sailors and give Val a
turn at the helm. Several club members tried the boat out, good winds again and
lots of water. The plan is to return on 4th/5th October
for a more formal visit.
Trip to Whitefriars
Sailing Club, Cotswold Water Park. Apart from the locals we gave some Chernobyl
children a ride round the lake. Nice day, good wind and weather, excellent
location. We will be back here soon.
The website has been
The Manta Equation
was publicly demonstrated courtesy of the Llangorse Sailing Club.
The sailing was good, but the weather awful!
Sea trials off Sully.
Saftey cover by Al Elworthy of Tiger Bay Training, blowing a good force four and
some wave action, which the boat coped with well. Al had a go after a while and
just took off! We got some good pictures of him throwing the boat about, very
After a successful show
at Beale Park the tweaking of the pre-production prototype continues. Several
cosmetic and functional issues were identified and addressed, such as ballast
placement and rudder area.
Late in the afternoon
the Manta Equation was launched at Beale Park, and tied to a floating pontoon.
With the show open from Friday morning this was three days of testing under
public scrutiny. The boat behaved well and survived some abominable weather.
After five years of
development to the wooden prototype stage, and a further two and a half years to
be fully redeveloped in composite materials, The Manta Equation pre-production
prototype has been completed. On Wednesday June 4th 2003, at approximately
10.30am, the boat slipped quietly into the water for the first time. After
checking the ballast and waterline, she was left moored for an hour, (it was
raining buckets). Then with no leaks evident a quick first sail round Cardiff
Bay, and back on the trailer for Beale Park.