Comments on Design Philosophy Construction Phases Technical

The Piston
The Daggerboards
The Keel
The Engine

The Piston :

The piston is an intricate piece of machinery which is integral to the safety of the vessel as well as enhancing her upwind sailing ability. This piston is a manual hydraulic pump that is operated by the boat's skipper. On an upwind leg, the keel must be manually pumped to windward for the required number of degrees sufficient to provide a steady helm. As well, the asymmetrical dagger boards must be raised or lowered to complement the keel's action and provide added lift.

In the unlikely event of a capsize, the keel could be canted from inside the yacht, providing the weight shift needed to flip the boat upright again.

Where do you find such a device? What kind of people design and make these things? They are not to be found in your average marine catalogue.

In this case, the answer is a tale that has been continually repeated in the construction saga of Spirit of Canada. A high school friend of Derek’s is now the Head Engineer for a New Brunswick company manufacturing excavating equipment. Most excavating equipment needs hydraulic pistons. As a result, this friend, in hearing of the next momentarily insoluble dilemma of where to find a piston, introduced Derek to Rousseau Controls, a Montreal firm with offices in Mississauga, Ontario.

Rousseau Controls have provided a piston which will cant the keel 41 degrees from side to side. On an up wind course the boat will heel. Spirit of Canada does not have water ballast, so in order to level the boat, the keel may be canted as far as 41 degrees to windward. The yacht is prevented from slipping sideways (making leeway), by the deployment of one of the two dagger boards that are fitted forward of the keel. Being asymmetrical in shape, like an aircraft wing, the dagger boards provide added "lift" which helps keep the boat on course.