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NALSA's annual pilgrimage to Ivanpah begins on Tuesday, November 23, and runs through Sunday, November 28. We plan not only time trials with radar but also practice racing using PACRIM 2000 start line and sequence as well as PACRIM 2000 marks. This will give us a chance to evaluate some modifications to our usual "cup" procedures as well as practice - we'll need it if we're to hold our own against the foreign competition.

We will have the historical max speeds and speed vs. wind speed ratios from past years for the various classes. If you can top a prior speed or ratio, you'll receive a commemoration plaque to show to friends and display with your personal memorabilia.

The Las Vegas club has been working hard with BLM to improve Ivanpah and to obtain permission to use Ivanpah west. The pipeline isn't fixed yet, but we're getting close. The pipeline engineers have visited the site. With a little luck we may be able to do a test sail on the West Side of the highway.

There is a meeting scheduled for 9:00 Friday morning with BLM. They want to review the cooperative management agreement to be called "Friends of Ivanpah" and get everyone to become a member and contribute their ideas. This is a program Terry Fullbright of the Western Land Yacht Club (Las Vegas) has been instrumental in organizing. It will hopefully allow us to be more influential in what happens to the lake. We need as many as possible to attend this important meeting and make ourselves heard. There is also a bigger threat to Ivanpah from the commercial/industrial development of Roach Dry Lake and the associated commercial airport. This will be a good time to learn about this problem and voice your concerns.

The weekend promises to be a great one with new challenges both on and off the playa. Be sure to be there to break a record and get an award as well as to make yourself heard.



PACRIM 2000 .................Pages 2-3
Club News .................……..4-6
Rounding Rule .............……7
Racing Tack ..............……...8
Rules of Speed Game .........9-10
Special Edition 4/99………..11-21



AN INVITATION TO THE WORLD'S LAND SAILORS to race with the best and enjoy the amusements and scenery of the Western United States.

WHEN - Racing days March 27 through April 1, 2000. Come early, stay late.

WHERE - Ivanpah dry lake, 40 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada at the Primadonna Resort Hotel Casino complex. The race site is three miles from the complex and is accessed from the casino parking lot.

WHAT - Land sailing competition in Class 2, 3, 4, 5 square meter (Class 5 to the rest of the world), women's 5 square meter, juniors in 5 square meter and Manta singles, Standart if enough are pre-registered, Manta Twin, Manta Single and Classic. You are encouraged to enter more than one class.

TRANSPORTATION FROM OVERSEAS - We were unable to establish group rates from here and were told to contact airlines in the country of origin. We know New Zealand has been very successful in obtaining reduced rates and anticipate the same can be done in other countries. We will have more information on our web site (, as it becomes available.

YACHT SHIPMENT - Many have been successful in bringing 5 square meter yachts as luggage, some at no charge. Check with your airline. Containers may be shipped to Los Angeles or directly to Las Vegas. We will assist in transporting yachts from either location to Ivanpah. Contact us early for specifics on what we can do on this end.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION - If we know when you are arriving at the Las Vegas airport, we will arrange to meet you and transport you and your yacht to Ivanpah. If you are flying to Los Angeles and are not renting a motor home, we will make arrangements to get you to ground transportation. We plan to group people based on arrival times. When we have approximate numbers on those arriving and when, we will have a better idea on how best to handle the transportation - bus, car rental, private cars and trucks. We will do all we can to minimize costs. We will look after you.

MOTOR HOME RENTALS - We have made arrangements with El Monte RV for discounted motor home rentals. They have many offices with one being close to the Los Angeles airport and one in Las Vegas. Their web site is Their motor homes are all less than two years old and are clean and well maintained.

Our contact person is Simone Mills. International reservations 562-463-4941; toll free in the United States 888-337-2200; fax 562-404-2021; e-mail <> Please be sure to mention the North American Land Sailing Association when making reservations.

Their rate for a 22-foot motor home is $47 per day; for larger units in the 23 to 25 foot lengths the rate is $51 per day. The first 500 miles is included in the daily rate. After that mileage can be purchased at 500 miles for $135 or $.32 / mile. These rates are subject to local taxes.

Basic insurance is provided but there is a deductible of $3,000 that is the renter’s responsibility. If you do not have insurance on your personal vehicles that follows you, extra insurance can be purchased to increase limits to $1,000,000 and cover the deductible. This can be as much as $24 per day. We suggest you contact El Monte directly and request copies of their contract to enable you to decide how much protection you want.

They have an extra charge for minimal cooking equipment of $100. Look at the list of what is supplied and you might decide to pick up a few cheap pots and pans and paper plates. It would be much less expensive. They also have a $30 charge per person for bedding and a few other things. We suggest you bring a sleeping bag and a towel.

Take a look at their literature and it you're still confused, contact Kent 775-825-1530 or e-mail <>.

El Monte will meet you at the airport and transport you to the motor home. We will also see that you are being taken care of if you tell us when and where you are arriving.

ACCOMMODATIONS - There are 2,700 rooms at the Primadonna Casino Resort complex in three hotels, Whiskey Pete's, Buffalo Bill's and Primm Valley. All the hotels are connected by tram and bus and are within walking distance of one another. We have made arrangements for a block of rooms at Whiskey Pete's since this is the least expensive. The rates are for double occupancy, extra person $5, all plus 9% county tax.
    Sunday through Thursday.....$16 per night
To get this discount rate, you must mention group code SNA0324. To make reservations FAX 702-679-5424 or outside the USA phone 702-382-1212. They are working on setting up a procedure to make reservations on the Internet, but it is not yet complete. A credit card is required to make a reservation and requesting confirmation is suggested.

The many restaurants at the Primm complex vary from buffets to fine dining with prices ranging up from about $2 for breakfast, $4 for lunch and $6 for dinner. There are many amusement rides and arcades for children, bowling alleys, a golf course, four swimming pools, a major shopping center and a host of other activities. We suggest you visit the Primadonna web site


March 21, 22, 23
March 24, 25
March 26
March 27 to April 1
April 2 to April 15
Early arrivals, camp setup, practice.
Practice and registration.
Late registration, practice. Welcome party - drink, food entertainment at the race site.
Daily racing and other activities to be announced. Awards banquet Sat night April 1st.
Speed 2000 regatta. An open invitation to the world to break the land sailing speed record with large and specially designed yachts. More on this later at

COSTS - Included in the registration fee will be racing in one class, welcome party, souvenir shirt and cap, trophies, awards banquet. We are computing the final costs and should have the fee schedule soon.

AREA ACTIVITIES - There is much to do and see in the Las Vegas area. The Boulder Dam and the Grand Canyon are not far. The excitement of Las Vegas itself is hard to describe. The growth in the last ten years has been phenomenal. There are many name entertainers as well as free activities. Just a walking tour is amazing. Transportation is available from Primm to Las Vegas for shopping or for evening outings.

PRE AND POST REGATTA TOURING - If you are interested in touring the Los Angeles area (Disneyland), Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, California, we will try to connect you with host families in the various regions who may assist you with site service and accommodations. We must know well in advance what your itinerary is so we can make arrangements with hosts and send literature on the different localities.

Preparations are moving along smoothly. If you would like to help, contact Kent.

by Dennis Bassano

The racing was fast and furious, with wind ranging from 15 to 50 knots. The first day the winds were moderate around 15 knots, we got 2 races in per class with the second being the windier of the two. On the second day we held the 75 mile Enduro, the winds were in the 30 knot range, with some of the "psycho gusts" in the 40 knot range, and boy was it fun. The third day saw the wind steadily build until it was so windy we couldn't sail! 40 knots of wind was recorded for 20 minutes straight with a high gust of 52 (in my camp!). But before we had to cancel we were able to get in another two races per class. The final day there was no wind and we were all able to pack up and go to the party at Joe's Jalisco Club (Margaritas and Mexican food). The surface was smooth from shore to shore with no water in sight. We counted 72 boats in camp with 60 or more racing. We also had a junior class in Manta Singles with 7 entrants, they were able to get in 5 races. The racing was really close. The Junior fleet was pretty close with Max Gordon coming on strong in the and to nip out Allison Eberly who got second and Ryan Sears, Eric Smiley, and Rex Oliveri who all tied for third. In the Manta Single class there were more women than men, 7 women to only 4 men, but Curtis Obi who showed his speed to runners up Cindy Carter and 15 year old A.J. Oliveri. The Manta Twin fleet, 20 boats strong but only 1 woman, Rachel Bogard, was shown how to do it by Lincoln Baird who never won but had the constancy 2,3,2,2, in all the winds. The Middle Class which is a mix of old and new boats not necessarily the same in size, sail area or design, were all raced against each other, boat for boat starting at the same time. The wind seemed to even everything out over the course of the regatta with this being the tightest of the classes. Darren Laugesen from New Zealand in his fed 5 was the winner by a point over Rod Eicholz in his Soup, Chris Uebel in his Standart was another point in back of Rod. The Upper Class which consists of all open class boats 2,3,4 and 5 was a battle between Alan Wirtanen in Marc Goish's Pterodayctal 2 #US3, and Dennis Bassano's new boat P.A.S. #US2000 each notching up two firsts and two seconds, Laurie Mackenzie #US127 was third in his boat the Dust Devil. One of the more exiting events was the 75-Mile Enduro, with 26 boats entering. Ali classes were represented in this event, with US 2000 taking first in 1:31 with US3 only 4 minutes behind (it would have been much closer if Alan wouldn't have missed the Calico mountain mark that was 8 miles from camp). The final finisher was Sheila Eberly in her Manta Twin in 4:13. 10 people didn't make it to the finish line, some dropped out due to fatigue and some to boat problems, Ben Gooch for one, pretty much destroyed his new class three solid wing boat in one of those 40 knot Psycho Gusts. Everybody seemed to have a good time racing so we will do the same next year. The Holy Gale was a success especially with the edition of the GNU improved Llama Deli, which we used for the skippers meeting, raffle (which was quite the scene), band (from Oregon and pretty much ripped it up), pot luck (great food cooked by all), Mayors mixer (which is a bar hosted by the ex mayors of SASSASS), and taco bar that was open from 11 to 1 everyday of the event, staffed by volunteer SASSASS members (taco's and beer $1). To sum up the Holy Gale in a as few words as possible; I think the event was a huge success due to everybody pitching in and helping, keeping the intent of the event in perspective, and not taking things too seriously. SASSASS is looking forward to doing the same at the PacRim in 2000. The following list is of people who put their time and effort into the event;
1. John and Rachel Bogard, if it weren’t for them the Holy Gale would not be possible.
2. Brett Gripenstraw, John Bogard, Phil and Keith for building the taco stand.
3. Lester Robertson for donating the wood and SASSASS sign for the taco Stand.
4. Beth and Ally Gripenstraw, Marina Oliveri, Rainy Bassano and Jessica for painting the taco stand.
5. Dennis Sr. and Rainy Bassano for buying the food and cooking.
6. Walt Oliveri and John Bogard for cooking food.
7. Brian Covey for making and setting the Enduro marks.
8. Dave Josselyn, Ally Gripenstraw, Marina Oliveri, Jessica and Eli Lyons for being the race committee.
9. Melanie Kett and Mary Bassano for running the SASSASS souvenir stand.
10. Kurt Smiley for making the trophies (they were very nice)
11. Lincoln (Linky) Baird for being the BADASS SASSASS SECURITY.
12. Mel (the emperor) Lyons and Claire (Vanna) Dolan for putting on the performance we call the raffle.
13. Dennis Bassano race director, newsletter, web informer.

Every year we hand out a couple of special awards here they are:
1. The Wrecking Ball for the person that causes the most damage to theirs or others properties. This year it was decided the Smiley family should just keep it since they win it so much anyway. Kurt Smiley accepted the award this year.
ll. The Mary Bogard Perpetual Award; to recognize the woman who with selfless, uncomplaining, graciousness volunteered the most time and effort to better the cause of SASSASS. This year’s winner was BETH GRIPENSTRAW.
I would like to thank everybody who helped (hope I didn't forget anybody) and I hope to see you all there next year.

Dennis Bassano US 2000

Blackrock Results (Grapic file linked here)


  The serious sailing has been mostly informal beginning with a "Cow to Cow" race at Bonham Flat on Memorial Day. Bonham is a small lake north of Reno and was the only one dry at the time. It has an island in the middle and a couple of fiords that provided challenges in racing, dodging the burro tracks and sagebrush. The weekend was punctuated with quantities of potluck gourmet food and ended abruptly on Monday when a vicious north wind engulfed the campsite in blowing dust. Who'd a thought it would blow right down the 1/2-mile line of campsites in an area where the surface had been loosened.
  Kent and Mark have been actively assisting the teaching staff at the University of Nevada Reno Mechanical Engineering School in demonstrating the fine points of land sailing to a class of 35 students in their senior year. They have been challenged with designing a 5 square meter yacht (World Class 5). The class is divided into 8 teams, each of which is researching all aspects. Their final report will be a design complete with structural analysis and costing. The approach being taken is they are working for a company contemplating the manufacture and marketing of land sailers. Kent and Mark have lectured the class on several occasions, brought a land sailer to the engineering lab and had half the class at Smith Creek for yacht inspection and sailing lessons.
  A group of Kent, Mark, Guy, Larry and Chris will review the final designs. A winning design may be built in the spring. Who knows, it might be a contender at PACRIM.



In the past, R/C Model Landyachts have been invited to join the fun at landsailing events like those at Ivanpah and El Mirage. Previously, the only established "class" of R/C landyacht available was the Stiletto, forming a "One Design" class. At events scheduled by landsailors such as NALSA or the Wind Wizards, Stilettos have had to compete with the big boats for available wind. Unfortunately, the Stiletto, as currently designed, runs best at the same range of windspeeds as the big guys. Often, when a race is set up for the R/Cs, everyone runs to their yacht and the R/C race is scrubbed. ARCSSA, formed early this year, is enabling a major change in how we fix this. Their first challenge was to establish INTERNATIONAL CLASS RULES, so that alternative designs could participate. This was accomplished on August 1, 1999 and allows the following R/C Program.


At PacRim 2000, we will approach the problem in a new and different way. We will aim toward utilizing LOWER wind speeds for the R/C models. With the new Class Rules, what each participating sailor and yachtbuilder does to meet the low wind challenge, should be interesting and it's already started. More on that later.


Sun. March 26 Registration near NALSA HQ
Mon-Sat Mar 27-Apr 1 Racing. Skipper's meeting following each NALSA meeting
Sat Apr 1 Awards at NALSA Banquet

Races will be held for Development Classes 1, 2 & 3 and for all One-Design classes present in sufficient numbers. One Design may race in appropriate Development Classes, i.e., Stilettos may also sail in Class 3.

See Class Rules on ARCSSA's webpage at: <>

I promised more from the yachtbuilders......


STILETTO --- The regular Stiletto you all know is still available for either "One Design" or Class 3.

STILETTO-PLUS --- Robert Weber is expediting the design of a larger battened sail for the Stiletto. This will bump it out of its normal "One Design" class, but with the new international classes, it may still run in open Class 3.
NOTE: Robert promises to have a quantity of the larger sails at Ivanpah for both the Thanksgiving speed trials Nov 26 & 27 and at the PACRIM 2000. He can also have complete yachts ready-to-sail with either sail, (R/C included) at the PAC RIM 2000 if ordered soon enough.
STEALTH --- This is a brand new design of a basic no frills, low cost, Class I yacht. Robert tells me that it will be initially available in basic kit form with hard to find parts included, and as a complete kit with everything in the box. By the time you read this, it should be available.


LS1 --- Kris Seluga has a neat Class 3 yacht he's been supplying called the LS1, already available.
LS1 (2nd Stage) --- He's also been developing a basic, low cost model to be available as plans plus only the unique parts that might be hard to find.


1DL --- Ian Moore has this design in the UK. We've not been able to determine the class this one will fit into, but it appears to be a popular yacht around Southampton, England.

NOTE: Visit all three yachtbuilders from the ARCSSA webpage for prices, availability, etc.


  Pat and I have been racing on the water and land (in boats) for almost 40 years, and in that time we have watched the right-of-way rules covering mark rounding change almost annually. U.S Sailing rules are fixed for two years at a time, and low and behold halfway through the last edition we get a bunch of changes.
  Here are the changes from the U.S. Sailing rules. Try to figure this out at 5 knots. When you do, have a go at it at 50 mph.

Changes to Appendix C of the Racing Rules of Sailing 1997-2000
Effective June 1, 1999

C2.9 Rule 18.2(a) is changed to: 'Except when rule 18.2(b) applies, when boats are overlapped, if the outside boat has right of way she shall give C2.11 the inside boat room to pass the mark or obstruction, or if the inside boat has right of way the outside boat shall keep clear. If they are overlapped when one of them reaches the two-length zone, the outside boat's obligation continues even if the overlap is broken later. This rule does not apply if the outside boat is unable to give room when the overlap begins.'

C2.10 Rule 18.2(b) is changed to: 'If a boat is clear ahead when she reaches the two-length zone, the boat then clear astern shall thereafter keep clear. Rules 10, 11 and 18.2(a) do not apply, and rule 16 applies only if the right-of-way boat changes course away from the mark or obstruction. If the right-of-way boat passes head to wind, rule 13 applies and this rule no longer does.'

C2.11 Rule 18.3 is changed to: 'If two boats were on opposite tacks and one of them completes a tack within the two-length zone to pass a mark or obstruction, and if thereafter the other boat cannot by luffing avoid becoming overlapped inside her, the boat that tacked shall keep clear and rules 15 and 18.2 do not apply.'

  This points out the complexity and perhaps the unsolvability of the problem. Over the last several years a group of us led by Charlie O'Leary have had numerous discussions on the subject and never reached what we thought was a valid conclusion. At the last board meeting (March 99) it was decided to use a line for a mark to help alleviate part of the problem - that is yachts approaching the mark on opposite tacks. The line does this forcing the moment of conflict to occur some distance away from the mark where there is room to maneuver. The line is included in the New Zealand racing rules. They also use the orange zone, but in some conditions use the orange line, which is about what we used at the 99 cup. We will experiment with the line at Thanksgiving and in all probability use it at PACRIM.

The orange line is 75 paces long beginning with an orange flag and ending with our typical marks. In between will be cones or flags or a combination. The entire line is the mark. You cannot cross the line. The line will generally be set to point at the preceding mark.
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I think we're headed in the right direction by changing the mark, not the rules.

  Here's an excerpt from the DN Newsletter "Running Tracks" 12/98. As Ron points out, the DN has changed dramatically over the past few years. We can expect several at PACRIM and may well be surprised at their competitiveness in Classes III and IV.
  Are we squeezing every bit of power out of our boats the way Ron describes the tacks? There are, of course, many rigging differences as our heads are not so much in the way, but read on and see what you're up against.

The Racing Tack
By Ron Sherry, US 44

Over the last few years, advancements in iceboat technology have radically changed the face of DN racing. For instance, the new bendy rigs have ushered in a new era of speed. However, they have also presented us with a new challenge in tacking... mast rotation problems. The following article details several techniques that have been developed by the masters of the sport in answer to this challenge, as well as some strategies for completing a smooth racing tack while maintaining speed.

The ultimate goal of a racing tack is to complete the maneuver as smoothly and safely as possible, without losing speed. Before YOU tack, make sure there are no other boats in the area and that you have a smooth and snow free area in which to tack. To begin the tack, start turning the boat up toward the wind. Start the turn slowly with the main sheet all the way in. Keep the sail in tight and start to slide your body forward in the cockpit. When the sail tacks, lower your helmet to the cockpit floor in front of the seat back. To accomplish this, anchor your heels in the hiking rack and bend your knees to pull yourself forward. Having your helmet on the cockpit floor means you do not have to ease the sail as much to get your head under the boom and you can maintain greater speed through the turn. This trick also equalizes your weight over all three runners and gives you better steering, making for a smoother tack, When the sail tacks, ease the sheet just enough to get your head under the boom. Continue to lay the boat off and push the boom forward and to leeward with your leeward hand. As you do this, ease the sheet and use your knees and your weather hand to steer. Usually the mast will rotate at just about the same time the boat goes up on a hike. Let the boat hike, slide your body back into position and ease the sheet slightly. The boat will then begin to come down from the hike, as it does, sheet the sail in hard. This will cause the boat to hike once more. Ease the sheet slightly and before the boat comes all the way down from the second hike, sheet it in hard again. This second hike will help you to accelerate back to top speed, smoothly completing a tack using this technique will send you off toward the next mark with very little loss in speed.

If the mast does not rotate using these techniques, do not lay off and pump the sheet. Laying off causes you to lose distance to weather, as well as putting more pressure on the leech of the sail and less pressure on the front of the sail. This allows the front of the sail to luff and the luff curve will keep the mast from rotating. If you try tacking the boat and the mast does not rotate, Jan Gougeon recommends that you head the boat up toward the wind and allow it to slow down a little. This reduces the apparent wind pressure on the leech of the sail and will maximize distance to weather and minimize your losses. No matter which technique you use to rotate the mast, this first step is the most important.

After the boat slows down a little, lay the boat off slowly and push the boom forward and to leeward, while adjusting the sheet. There are many techniques for this maneuver, no one better than another, simply try each one and decide which works best for you. Chip Cartwright slides forwards and uses his toes to rotate the mast. Mike O'Brien uses his shoulder. Some people kick the boom. I have had the most success by sliding my leeward foot back so I can press my knee against the weather side of the boom. I then use my leeward elbow against my leeward knee to leverage the boom over. The boom is connected to the sail, which is connected to the mast by the luff rope that is in the back of the mast. A mast that has not rotated has the luff groove to windward. By pushing the boom to leeward, it pulls the luff groove to the leeward where it belongs.

The Europeans have developed a solid hound that is about 4" wide. The side stays are connected at the outside of this 4" bar. When tension is placed on the weather shroud, the solid hound rotates the mast. Perhaps a Sams Triangle and U-strap put on backward with the bent wings toward the front would have the same effect.

Once you understand the dynamics of this issue, it is easy to come up with a solution that works for you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at Composite Concepts. The new phone number is 810-790-5557 and the FAX number is 810-792-3374.

Think ice.

Ron Sherry, US 44

The philosophical and technical
underpinnings of land yacht speed records in North America
By Bob Dill
September 1999

A proper endeavor starts with a goal and some criteria to determine when the goal has been met. In speed sailing the goal has always been clear: to go faster. Criteria for deciding what "faster" means for land yachts have been developed independently in Europe and North America. In this article we will take a look at those criteria from the North American perspective.

There are two general areas that need to be covered for speed records: 1) The kinds of courses and boats that are acceptable and 2) how the measurements will be made to assure scientific and ethical validity. The governing organizations from both Europe (FISLY) and North America (NALSA) agree that the yacht will not have any assistance from energy sources other than the wind. In the area of measurement there is a bit of disagreement on some of the details.

There are three kinds of measurements: official measurements, scientifically valid but unofficial measurements and unscientific measurements. Official measurements have enough controls to assure a high probability the official record is faster than the one it succeeds and the sailing circumstances did not allow unfair advantage. In North America we require:

The primary measurement has a combined uncertainty of 0.25 mph or less and a new record must be at least 1 mph over the old record. (See sidebar on Measurement Uncertainty)

Redundant measurements assure that the primary measurement is not spurious.

Regulations to assure ethical validity of the data.

The course must be flat within a meter. The yacht will be propelled only by the wind. No assistance can be obtained from outside or stored energy sources other than a human pushing on foot to start the boat.

The full North American Land Sailing Association Regulations for Speed Record Attempts are posted on the web site.

Scientifically valid but unofficial measurements are often technically as good except they lack many controls that an official measurement requires. An excellent example of this is Robert Measures' 99-mph run in his boat Bliss last June on the Alvord Desert. He had two good instruments and he verified their calibration after his run. There is no question in my mind that he was the fastest land sailor in the world between last summer and this March.

Unscientific measurements and wild claims are common, especially in iceboating where there has not been a good onboard "speedometer" and scientifically valid offboard measurements have been rare.

The advent of the GPS will give a better understanding of top speeds. (See the Article on Maximum Speed Performance of High Speed Yachts.) The following are some specific measurement issues that have been raised over the past few months.

At first glance it may seem that a two-way measurement should be made, as is required for cars and other internally powered vehicles. The reasons for this are to take into account any benefit that might be derived from a tail wind or a down sloping course. In sailing we derive our energy from the wind so there is no reason to consider "tail winds". A down sloping coarse, on the other hand, can benefit both acceleration and top speed. Even if the start and end point are at the same elevation, a long course with a hump in the middle is, in effect, a shorter downhill course. There are plenty of flat surfaces to run on. Water (without big waves), ice, dry lakes and most beaches suitable for high-speed sailing are flatter than the NALSA one-meter requirement. With a wind-powered craft and a flat course, there is no reason to require that speed records be set in two directions. Single direction measurement considerably simplifies running a speed regatta.

The use of asymmetric yacht designs has been questioned. Polynesians have been making wonderful asymmetric sailboats for a very long time. On water, asymmetric speed designs have been around since the '60s, if not before then. In the high speed realm asymmetry was not used effectively until Bertrand Lambert sailed a moderately asymmetric boat to a world record for land yachts (94.2 mph) in 1991. My Wood and Iron Ducks used the principle and, recently, several French boats have developed some ingenious asymmetric designs.

There is disagreement over whether measurement should be time over distance or radar (considered by many to be instantaneous). In Europe, a 50-meter timing trap is required. This gives about a one-second elapsed time at 100 mph. Radar updates its measurement in about a fifth of a second. As a practical matter these boats are relatively heavy and, at their top speeds, are operating with nearly equal drive and drag. This prevents them from changing speed significantly over a one-second time period.

The goal is to go fast, not to get from point A to point B. As long as the measurement is valid there is no superiority in a time over distance measurement.

Radar offers many advantages including rapid set up, high accuracy, and the ability to measure from a relatively long distance (a significant safety advantage) and being able to measure boats at any approach angle. We found that, even with the same boat and relatively steady wind direction, the boat approaches the measurement point over a 30 range while attempting to find the best angle to the wind. With different boats this becomes more than 45 . As a practical matter, wind suitable for setting records occurs once or twice a week at best. When there is wind, far better to be sailing all day at a radar gun than spending a lot of time adjusting the course or repairing one of the four timing cells that get hit with considerable regularity. On European speed sailing beaches this is less of an issue because the best sand for sailing fast is typically a fairly narrow strip. Since you are constrained to a narrower course, timing traps are less of a problem.

Radar is not perfect. It can pick up other fast moving objects in the background. Electronic appliances may emit a signal that the gun detects. From a few feet away my radar gun tells me my TV is moving at 220-mph.

To address this the NALSA regulations require a Measurement Plan be developed that identifies all known sources of spurious readings and what will be done to assure they do not affect the measurements. The NALSA regulations also require one and preferably several secondary measurements to verify that the primary measurement is not spurious. In the real world radar has a long history of successfully providing legally defendable evidence of speeding on the highway. If used properly, it is a very reliable measurement method.

Measurement is not the simple and exact process that most people think it is. It is a fairly complicated and completely probabilistic affair. The NALSA regulations assure a high probability of being correct when the NALSA board of directors ratifies that someone went faster than someone else. Being able to do this is what makes speed sailing a viable game.

More Information on the web: (will soon have links to all the other web sites listed below) (the main French land speed sailing site) (radar gun manufacturer) (info on measurement) (Article on Robert Measures' 99 mph speed run. if you type Robert Measures into the Alta Vista search engine you can get here too.)

Measurement Uncertainty
     Measurement can be thought of as an attempt to know the unknowable. We can only measure things to a precision that is inherent in the measurement method. The true value can never be completely known. Mind you, the best measurements have measurement uncertainties of less than one part in 10,000,000. Most speed measurements we deal with in everyday life (car speedometers, radar guns, bicycle speedometers, GPS's) have uncertainties between about 0.1% to a few percent. The following reviews some of the factors to be considered in making speed measurements.

Measurement Uncertainty is the actual or estimated standard deviation of a measurement method in a given circumstance. There is a presumption in this definition that the measurement method is properly calibrated. For example the measurement uncertainty of our radar equipment is 0.1 mph. That means that there is better than a 68% probability that the true value will be within plus or minus 0.1 mph of the radar gun reading.

     Accuracy (as defined in the NALSA regulations) is twice the measurement uncertainty (This implies that 95% of all measurements will be closer to the true value than plus or minus the accuracy number). NALSA requires an overall accuracy of 0.5 mph at 95% confidence.

     Bias: How far the average of several measurements falls from the true value.

     Precision can be thought of as the measurement uncertainty before the bias is taken into account. In target shooting, if you get a tight group that is completely outside the center rings, you have good precision but poor accuracy.

     Calibration is the process of minimizing bias. This is properly done by estimating the true value with a calibration method that has one tenth of the measurement uncertainty of the field method being calibrated. The calibration method should be traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

     Spurious Measurements are erroneous measurements that can occur for a wide variety of reasons. Some of them can be anticipated and guarded against and others are completely unexpected. That is why NALSA requires secondary measurements and a plan for identifying and eliminating spurious data.

     Significant Figures are the digits in a Measurement value that mean something. For example if the measurement uncertainty of a speedometer is 0.2 mph then a reading of 100.234 means the same thing as 100.2 or 100.15635. Properly expressed this would be stated as 100.2 or mph. This record number has 3-1/2 significant figures. In this world of digital displays and high precision calculators it is easy to add meaningless digits, especially when doing unit conversions.

     Official Records: Looked at in this light it is obvious that the true value our 116.7 mph landyacht record could easily be 116.6 or 116.9. Most people like to think in exact terms, not in fuzzy statistical ones. To address this NALSA simply accepts the primary measurement as a pseudo-true value. By requiring that a new record exceed an old record by 1 mph there is a very low probability that the true value of a new record will be lower than the record it replaces.

nov99_11.tif (523962 bytes)
A Publication of the North American Land Sailing Association

in the

116.7 miles per hour, shattering the world mark of 94.7.

It was spectacular. Run after run exceeding 100 mph - a total of 41 - and 10 runs over 110 mph.

  On Monday, March 15, Pat and I had just finished breakfast at a casino in Vegas when we got a call from Bob Dill that the wind was blowing at Ivanpah. We looked up at the flag atop the casino and it looked like a wet dishrag. We headed down 1- 15 and about the time we got to jean we suddenly felt a strong head wind. On to the playa where the dust was flying and Bob Dill and Bob Schumacher were getting the "Duck" rolling. We calibrated the equipment, and the first runs exceeded Bertrand Lambert's 94.7 mph. Winds were in the mid 20s, Bob and Bob continued to run exchanging the pilot position. In early afternoon Bob S. hit 108.8 mph. The wind appeared to be letting up and inspection of the tires suggested it was time for a change. A few drops of rain fell and we headed for the casinos.

  After four almost no-wind days, Saturday the 20th rolled around and by 9:30 a.m. the winds were howling. We secured gear and headed out to record the Iron Duck's runs. The wind pumped up and down hovering in the mid 20s with gusts into the 30s, one high gust of 42. By late morning Bob S. had broken his previous record and hit 116.7 at 11:21 a.m. Bob D. continued with runs over 100 and peaked at 112.3. They continued to run for several hours but the max remained at 116.

  This was an exhilarating time and a well-earned culmination of a 6-year effort by Bob Dill to capture the record. Bob has spent countless hours here in Nevada surveying the various lakes and a huge amount of time designing and building the Duck with the help of his family and friends. His dedication to the sport has been and is exemplary.

  Bob is now busy setting up an invitational speed week to be held following PACRIM 2000 at Ivanpah. Speed 2000 is open to all high-speed yachts from around the world. Response has been quick and positive. We anticipate having a number of yachts participating coupled with symposia on how to design and build the next generation of land yacht rockets.

  NALSA's thanks go to Bob for his determination to stick to this project and see it through to a successful conclusion. It will do much to promote our sport and will hopefully lead to serious sponsorship at PACRIM 2000 and SPEED 2000.


The wind on Sunday helped with practice and continued through the evening party. All huddled beside the motor home and trailer. Good forecast for Monday that didn't happen. Even better for Tuesday, 15-25, gusts to 35. It didn't, but by mid afternoon there was enough wind to complete one series with much pushing. On Wednesday wind finally arrived mid afternoon and built to 18-20. We got almost two complete series in with good racing. All windward/leeward since we had to abandon the reaching marks because of the poor surface north of the pipeline.

The raffle took place on Thursday morning with good 10-20 mph wind in the afternoon. Good forecast for Friday, which didn’t happen, and racing was canceled at 2:00 p.m.

The kite buggy people were at Ivanpah the week prior to the cup and did a fair amount of shoreline cleanup. They also started clearing the pipeline, which a few stalwart NALSA types finished in grand style only to be chastised by BLM for doing too thorough a job. It's tough to win with the bureaucracy. The BLM does promise to have the pipeline sailable by PACRIM 2000. This is absolutely necessary and is a promise they must keep.

It was a great regatta. Thanks to all who helped: to Scott Dyer for the use of his trailer -so much better than the tent; to Larry Hatch and Randy Holmer for hauling it from and to Las Vegas; to those nameless souls who labored on the pipeline; to O.B. O'Brien and all his assistants for the excellent BBQ to all those who contributed to the potluck; to Jo Ann and Marian for a fantastic job selling raffle tickets; to Dennis Bassano and Bill Dale for handling the race course; to our scoring ladies, Pat, Jo Ann, Dora, Marian; to Steve, Jim and O.B. for their usual fine job keeping things under control on the lines; to Mark Harris for not only spending hours on the scoring but also for making the trophies.

Thanks also to our corporate sponsors, Harkin, Planet X, ECCO, Primadonna, Kaufmann Wind Sports, and to our generous members who made our raffle possible and kept us in the black. Many, many thanks to all who helped make this a successful event!

Americas Cup Regatta Final Results (Large Graphic file)


Robert Weber had planned a championship model regatta, but try as he might there was never quite enough wind at the right time. A good turnout of boats but the prizes will have to hold till later.

By Bob Dill

Bob Schumacher and I flew out from Vermont 10 days before the start of the America's cup to give the "Iron Duck" one last chance at redeeming itself. After our "almost there" effort of last fall, we were very hopeful, given some decent wind, that we had a reasonable chance of exceeding Bertrand Lambert's long standing record of 94.7 mph.

We arrived at Ivanpah in the afternoon on March 13th. The kite buggy clubs were having their annual event at the time. They were very helpful with getting the Duck set up. We spent the next few days with them. They were a great group with their own, evolving sailing technology.

The wind came up enough on Sunday afternoon that we were able to sail the boat. Monday the 15th started calm but was forecast to build to 15 to 20 mph. When it quickly built to 20-25 in the gusts we asked Kent and Pat Hatch to come out on the lake to make official measurements. Last fall 80 mph had seemed wildly fast, but we were starting to get used to sailing this beast and pretty soon Bob turned in a run of 101. My best speed was 97.

After lunch the wind came up a bit. I made a few relatively slow runs and turned the boat over to Bob. I had just finished telling Kent that we may have found the "speed wall" for the boat when Bob came in at 103. By the end of the day he had gotten to 108.8 mph. We were elated that 6 years of hard work had finally come to something.

Our wives came out on Wednesday. We took them hiking on the next two low wind days (The playa on a no-wind day is no place to impress an East Coast woman on her first trip to the desert). Three places to add to your no wind travel list:

Red Rock (just west of Las Vegas): Several spectacular canyon hikes. Easy to get to.

Castle Peaks (the spires behind Nipton): 4wd, remote and hard to find.

Corouthers Canyon: Like Joshua Tree but much closer and no crowds. Easy 4wd:

On Saturday March 20th the wind filled in again. By 11:00 we were breaking 100 mph. After a few more runs, Bob got to 116.7 mph. In the afternoon I got to 112.3. Bob hit 115.3 late in the day. Overall, on both days we had 10 runs above I 10 mph and 41 over 100. In all, we made 81 measured runs.

We were turning 3-minute laps on our course. We had a 1.5-mile inrun starting with a 60-mph tack at the old campsite.

We crossed the pipeline at 1 mile. On the best runs we would catch a gust on the far side of the pipeline and bear off toward the motor home. Once you are by the motor home, you back the wing as strongly as you dare to slow the boat to a manageable 70-80 mph, do a long jibe, and head up wind for another run. We used the entire southern two thirds of the lake. Ivanpah doesn't seem so big any more. Using radar for the primary measurement allowed us to spend most of our time sailing rather than setting up and adjusting a speed trap for the constantly changing optimum approach angle. The average efficiency for the highest speed runs was about 4:1 or a little better. Most of the time the winds were a "gust weighted" 25 to 30 mph when the Duck was approaching the motor home. If it had been windier, we could have gone faster.

What is it like to sail this beast? Let me just say that there is a BIG difference between what I imagined when I was building the boat and the actual sailing of the boat at speed. That difference is aptly described as "pucker factor". The boat is a hand full but we both are finally getting used to how it behaves and are gaining confidence that it is unlikely to do anything really crazy. Once it is moving fast it doesn't do anything quickly except cover ground. Slowing down and turning take a LOT of room. Inside it sounds like a cross between a jet airplane and a freight train with the wind noise and all the creaking and clanging of its innards.

What was the key to success? Perseverance helped a lot. Nord Embroden told me the first time I brought the Duck to Ivanpah that I would need to spend a lot of time learning about the boat. That was 4 years ago and he was right. Having both Bob and I switch off sailing made tuning the boat and ourselves much easier. The design of the boat seems to work well. It would benefit from a diet and there are a few other minor changes I may make. If we build another boat, there are a bunch of things to do differently but for now we'll keep working with the Duck.

We would like to thank all the kite buggiers and NALSA sailors who let us have the south end of the playa on the 15th and 20th. It was scary to see how fast we overtook other boats. With our limited maneuverability at speed, having another boat sailing in the area was a big concern for us.

What next? We are planning to invite the other groups that have speed programs to bring their boats to the US to be sailed after the PACRIM 2000. I know how much the people with other speed programs have poured their hearts and souls into their boats. This will be a great opportunity to share what we all have done, exchange some ideas and maybe even set a new record.

April 6, 1999

Data on the accuracy of the Avocet 45 speedometer
By Bob Dill

Many of us use the Avocet 45 for measuring speed on our boats. It is an excellent instrument, but it does have some limitations. We used two of them as secondary measurements on our recent exploits with the Iron Duck. Both instruments read consistently low by about 5% at our top speeds. I did a series of experiments to see what was going on. I looked at the effect of speed, transmitter-receiver gap, receiver position, transmitter type and length of wire. It turns out that there are some 5% loss regions at particular combinations of speed, gap and receiver position. If you are going to read on from here, it might be a good idea to take a look at your yacht's front wheel to refresh yourself on what I will be talking about. The magnetic ring is the transmitter and the pickup is the receiver.

I set up the transmitter on a drill press with the receiver in the drill press vice. I could vary the gap between the sensor and the ring as well as the position of the sensor laterally. I had an optical tachometer to measure the drill press spindle speed and a 5-step pulley to adjust the speed. Using the calibration factor (41.46") for the 5x5 airplane tire we run on the Duck, I ran at "speeds"' ranging from 27 to 124 mph. The spindle speed standard deviation was typically less than 0.07%. All speed numbers in this report are averages. If you would like more detail, contact me at

There are two or three transmitter rings available. I found very different relationships for the two types I tested. I will limit my discussion to the rear wheel mountain bike type (the largest) as that is what we used on the Iron Duck.

The easiest position to place the receiver is so the whole face is inside the outer edge of the ring. At speeds up to 50 mph, the instrument worked very well at gaps up to more than 0.150". This receiver position is a bad place for high speeds. At gaps around 0.060" there is a 5% loss at 120 mph. At gaps between 0 and 0.030 there is no loss. From 0.120 to 0.150 there is no loss either. Beyond 0.150" there is a specific point where loss starts abruptly. With a smaller and magnetically weaker transmitter ring the picture was even more complex.

The computer reading was very consistent, in spite of having loss, as long as the gap and position were not changed. The computer never read a higher speed than the true speed. In one experiment I spliced in 25 feet of 24-gauge wire. It had no effect.

I would recommend using the magnetically strongest rings available combined with a small gap (0.030" or less) and placing the receiver so that the outer edge of the magnetic ring is about half way across the face of the receiver. The magnetic strength can be felt in the ring's attraction to a steel plate. Chauncey Griggs has replaced the magnetic ring with 5 magnets glued to his wheel and has had good results. He doubles the calibration factor too as the Avocet rings have 10 magnets.

April 4, 1999


A number of questions were raised about Classic at the Cup. Is the class accomplishing what it was originally intended to do? Will it be a good class to run at PACRIM 2000? Will it be a benefit to our visitors from overseas? Are the rules being adequately enforced?

"The purpose of this class is to have skippers and non-competitive yachts that would not competitively enter other classes to have a fun place to race." Further it was intended to exclude pilots that had won an open class in the previous five years.

We would like some feedback. Are we accomplishing the objectives? Should we try to make some older boats available to overseas pilots that can't afford to bring a boat over? Are the rules okay? (See below).


1. Open bodied land yachts (feet and body exposed, not covered).
2. Maximum sail area 6 square meters.
3. Maximum axle width of 11 feet total including tires measured to the outside width at the ground. (Measured with pilot and ballast, if any, in yacht.)
4. Mast and boom area must not exceed 9 square feet of total sail area (no wings). Sails using a sock sliding over a mast with additional stiffeners inside the sock (i.e. battens, foam, plastic, etc.) will be measured as mast area.
5. A pilot may not change any part of a yacht after the first race (tires, sails, blocks, booms or stays, etc.). Broken parts may be replaced with similar parts with the approval of the race committee.
6. Petitioning to enter: A non-conforming yacht may petition to race in the Classic class. The entrants that do conform to Classic limitations (1 -5) may vote prior to every regatta to allow a non-conforming yacht to race in the Classic class in that regatta by a 2/3 majority.

At one time Nord made the following suggestion that was never acted on:
Offer a two level Classic fleet with one start in the rotation or broken out from the other classes depending on participation. This fleet would include older yachts of similar capabilities. Classic A fleet would include Nites, Friendships and enclosed home-built yachts of similar capabilities.

Classic B fleet would include Soups, Freedoms, Spirits, DNs and other open home-built yachts of similar capabilities. The fleet goal would be to match the yachts abilities as closely as possible. New onedesign, custom or home built yachts could be permanently added to the fleet with a 2/3 majority of fleet members voting in advance for acceptance. Changes in a yacht's design would require re-acceptance to the fleet.

Is this a good idea?

Are rules as is okay? They do provide a good mechanism for self-control within the fleet. Non conforming yachts can petition in.

We'd like to 'hear from you on this. E-mail, write, fax or phone Kent with your ideas suggestions.

Final Report
Speed Trials

March 15 and 20,1999
Ivanpah Dry Lake

At SpeedT.jpg (3226 bytes)
(Click image to see full size)
The Iron Duck at Speed

Photo by Bob Eustace

April 10, 1999
Bob Dill
21 Marian St
Burlington VT 05401

Dear NALSA Board of Directors,

  The following is the final report on the speed trials of March 15th and 20th, 1999 on Ivanpah Dry Lake. This report reviews the data from those trials, gives supporting information and asks for your ratification of 116 7 mph as NALSA's land yacht speed record.

Table of Contents

Front Cover Sheet: The Iron Duck at speed: Photo by Bob Eustace
Letter of transmittal and table of contents
The Observers Report
Data Analysis from March 15 and 20, 1999 Speed Trials
Appendix 1) Spreadsheets of each days data  (Large Graphic file)
Appendix 2) The Spurious Data Plan
Appendix 3) An article for the NALSA newsletter: Data on the Accuracy of the Avocet 45 Speedometer

If you would like additional information or have any questions please contact Kent Hatch or myself (802-863-3208 or

Bob Dill


1680 Manzanita Lane
Reno Nevada 89509
Tel: 775-825-1530
Fax 775-825-5626

April 9, 1999

TO: Officers and Directors: Jim, O.B., Curtis, Mark, Phil, Paul, Robert, Nord, Dennis, Tom Chris, Terry

RE: Bob Dill's request for NALSA ratification of his record-setting speed run in the "Iron Duck".

Bob, in his memo dated 4/8/99 entitled "Data Analysis from March 15 and 20, 1999 Speed Trials, outlines the record setting runs at Ivanpah. I was present for all runs and held the NALSA gun, which was the designated primary measurement method. The guns were braced on the dash of the measuring station vehicle. Pat recorded all data. Chris Uebel measured sideslip from a number of runs, and he Mark Harris, and OB OBrian observed some but not all primary and secondary measurements as did Larry Hatch. A number of other witnesses observed and took photographs from time to time over the two day period.

I personally frequently checked the calibration of both the primary and secondary radar guns using the manufacturers supplied tuning fork and the internal calibration circuitry. I also checked for spurious data in and around the measurement station using the radar guns. None was found.

I examined and checked calibration of the on-board measuring devices and noted their readings. I further checked the radar by driving my jeep toward the recording station at a steady 70-mph while Pat observed the radar readings. There was direct agreement within my ability to read the speedometer and hold a constant speed. I continually radioed speed to the measuring station.

There were a limited number of glitches in recording data when untrained individuals attempted to help and when pilots of small yachts demanded to sail through the area. In a future attempt I would recommend tighter security and more clearly defined duties of the persons participating. With the excitement of continually upping the record, it was difficult to control the exuberance.

Pat and I are in complete agreement with Bob's report. In my opinion the recorded speeds are scientifically and ethically valid, and I recommend the NALSA Board of Directors approve Bob's report and ratify 116.7 mph as NALSA's land yacht speed record. The next step is to submit this record to FISLY and request its ratification.

Please address your vote on the speed record to NALSA Secretary, Curtis Obi as soon as possible.

Kent Hatch, President North American Land Sailing Association


Data Analysis from March 15 and 20, 1999 Speed Trials

By Bob Dill, April 8, 1999


On 3/20/99, the Iron Duck piloted by Bob Schumacher recorded a top speed of 116.7 mph on the primary radar measurement. This was one of 81 recorded runs made across the south end of Ivanpah Dry Lake on 3/15 and 3/20. This report reviews the measurement results.

General Measurement Information and Spurious Data Discussion:

The primary measurement instrument was the NALSA Stalker radar. Four secondary measurement instruments included Bob Dills older Stalker radar, two Avocet 45 speedometers and a Garmin GPS ll+. On the 40 runs made on 3/20/99 the primary radar read an average of only 0.008-mph higher than the secondary radar. Differences on individual runs are mostly attributable to the shorter range of my radar. No spurious readings were noted on the radar, The aim angle for picking up cars on the interstate was about 90 degrees so we had no spurious radar reflections from cars on the interstate. No electrical interference was found in several scans of the measurement station. All calibration tests of the radars (before, during and after each timing session) found both radar units to be in calibration.

The speedometers read about 5% low after wheel circumference corrections. I have subsequently run a series of bench tests and found that, at the speeds of interest, the gap between magnetic ring and the sensor has a complex relationship to the accuracy of the Avocet 45 (gee Appendix 3). These tests showed a 5% speedometer speed reading loss in this speed range. While the speedometers were the least accurate of the secondary measurements they did provide a consistent correlation with the primary measurement.

The GPS has been carefully checked for consistency with a reasonably well calibrated automotive speedometer and with radar and has been found to be accurate to the manufacturers specification (+/- 0. 5-mph). In several hours of observation in moving cars it did not generate any spurious maximum speed readings. More measurement details and information is included in Appendix 2 (the Spurious Data Plan)

Review of the Measurement Data:

The fastest primary measurement was 116.7 at 11:21 AM on 3/20/99. This was well supported by the secondary measurements. The secondary radar measurement was made late in the run as another boat had just cleared the course. It read 116.2 mph. The Vmax on the hidden speedometer was 112.3 mph and the cockpit speedometer road 112.4-mph, This is consistent with the loss we have observed in the bench tests in this speed range. The GPS maximum value was 119 mph, This was noted shortly after the 116.7 mph run.

We believe the slightly higher speed recorded by the GPS reflects a less than optimum radar aim angle when the yacht was at it's top speed. A full set of measurement data is included in Appendix 1.

This run was not a fluke. The next fastest run was 115.0 mph. There were 10 runs over 110 mph by both Schumacher and Dill. Over March 15 th and 20rh there were 41 runs over 100 mph and 60 over 94.7 mph. If you have any questions about the measurement data or circumstances please contact either Kent Hatch or myself.


I am confident that 116.7 mph was an accurate measurement by the Primary measurement method. We ask that the NALSA board of directors ratify this number as the new NALSA world record speed for Landyachts.

Speed Log Data (Links to Data)

Spurious Data Plan

By Bob Dill, March 10, 1999

This plan reviews possible sources of spurious date and provides information on the accuracy and calibration of the measurement methods used to measure the speed of the Iron Duck during March 1999.

Primary measurement: NALSA Stalker Radar

As reviewed below I believe that radar provides a flexible and accurate method for measuring landyachts. NALSA has a Stalker Radar gun made by Stalker Radar; this will be used as the primary measurement method I have a second Stalker that will be used as the secondary measurement method. The Stalker is, as best I can tell, the most sophisticated radar gun available for police use.

Radar gun measurement uncertainty and possibility for a significant error:

I had my Stalker Radar certified by a at a radar certification facility near Albany New York The primary work this company does is certification of police radar units. A copy of the certification sheet is attached. The certification process has a combined uncertainty of less than 0.03% (@ 68% confidence level). That is about 12% of the overall accuracy of +/- 0.5-mph required in the NALSA draft regulations at speeds around 100-mph. The certification instruments are themselves calibrated in a calibration lab that is traceable to the National Bureau of Standards and Technology The calibration technician, who has certified thousands of radar guns, told me that they are always right on the correct values or are way off. He never sees radar guns that are off by a couple MPH. For calibration in the field the Stalker gun has a self diagnostic test as well as the test using a certified tuning fork. Based on this and conversations with the manufacturer I believe the Stalker is accurate (@ 95% confidence) to +/- 0.2 mph or better. There is a very low likelihood that it will give a spurious reading related to it's internal workings. If it were to do so it will be obvious from the secondary and supporting measurements as well as other indications.

Spurious; readings with radar from external sources:

Cars and trucks on the Interstate 15 or on the playa might be picked up. It is plausible that some of them may be operating in the speed range of interest (95+ mph). The Stalker Radar is Ka band so it has a narrow beam (about 12 degrees wide). It has a range for cars and trucks of no more than a mile based on my experience using the gun over several years. The observers will be asked to assess the aiming angle of the gun for measuring the Iron Duck and the angle that the gun is capable of picking up readings from vehicles on the interstate. Their observations will be included in the final report.

Other small objects: Things like fan blades or vibrating objects (e.g. a forestay) at close range can be picked up by the radar gun. The Iron Duck does not have a forestay or other suitable vibrating objects and the range that the boat will be measured at will be too far to pick up such small objects anyway. Objects being blown down wind might also be picked up, These will be moving at speeds well below the speeds of interest for setting a record. The observers will be asked to record any readings they pick up on the radar equipment that they can not readily explain, especially if they are above 60 mph.

Electrical Interference: There is a lot of folklore about radar clocking a tree moving at 28 mph.

What is not generally told with that story is that the radar was an X band (10 mHz) and the person making the reading was also whistling loudly into his CB radio causing it to feedback It turns out that the 10th (or so) harmonic for the CB was the same frequency as X band. The Stalker is a much more sophisticated and higher frequency unit. There also will be no high powered radios operated within a couple feet of the radar units when speed measurements are being made. Other sources of interference can include some electrical devices like television sets (some even when they are off). Those give a specific speed-reading (220-mph for my TV) that does not change and are readily observable by scanning the area with the radar gun. They only give a reading on the radar gun if it is pointed directly at them and at ranges of less than about 10 feet. The observers will be asked to carefully scan the area around their measurement station to look for this type of interference and to refrain from using potentially interfering electrical appliances.

Interference between the two simultaneously operated radar guns: I have been assured by the calibration technician and the manufacturer as well as by my personal observation that this will not be a problem. The guns operate at frequencies that are much further apart than the doppler frequencies they measure speed with.

In addition to a calibration check with the tuning fork the observers will attempt to record multiple speed-readings with each run. This will provide further protection from spurious readings. I have additional information from the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council regarding the use of Radar and the cause and folklore of false readings. I can provide a copy to the board if there is interest. There is a long history of using radar to measure vehicles on the highway. This method has stood up very well in repeated court challenges. I firmly believe it is an excellent method for measuring landyacht speeds.

Secondary Measurement

The second Stalker Radar will provide secondary measurement. It is the most accurate and best calibrated measurement method we have. To provide supporting data from different methods two speedometers and possibly a GPS will be used. The speedometers will be calibrated by rolling the boat and front wheel exactly one turn and measuring the distance covered. This is entered into the speedometer program as a calibration factor. We have observed that one or both speedometers are subject to missed pulses from the magnetic sending unit (probably due to the Ion electrical wire and connections). This causes the speedometer to read low. The front tire may grow slightly in diameter at high speeds. Again the speedometer will read low as a result. No circumstances have been observed of though of that will lead to a higher than actual reading at high boat speeds other than tire wear which is accounted for by measuring the wheel circumference.

GPS: I have observed some of the single channel units will get occasional spurious readings that are from a few mph to hundreds of mph off. The 12 channel unit we will be using dam not seem to have this problem. If the GPS reads significantly higher than the other measurement methods after a record setting run, it should be disregarded. If it reads more than 5 mph lower than the primary method then an analysis of why this occurred will be undertaken.
By writing this before the measurements are taken it is impossible to predict how Murphy's Law win affect the outcome. It is possible that one or more of the measurement instruments will fail or give erratic results. Any such circumstances will be discussed in the final report.

Overall I believe that the accuracy of the primary and secondary measurement method is well within the NALSA requirements of +/- 0.5% accuracy at 95% confidence. The supporting methods are all accurate enough to identify spurious readings in the primary and secondary method.


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