Here at Allen, we are much more than just marine hardware specialists. We are engineering experts who work with a wide variety of companies in different sectors, such as; medical equipment, automotive parts, window manufacturing, public and defence sector, theatre, advertising, aviation and much more.
We can work with such a wide variety of clients due to our multiplicity of in-house resources. Which includes our close-knit team of engineers and designers. These resources allow us to carefully monitor custom products through all stages of development. But it’s not just large-scale project we take on, we also like to have some fun with our machines.
Each year at Allen we take on engineering and design students from universities across Europe. We offer them valuable real-world knowledge of an industry they are studying for. This year is no exception.
One of our 2019 engineering students from Loughborough University, James Hambly, mentioned that he had always wanted to create his own electric skateboard but had never had the resources to complete the project.
“Having researched it for some time, I already knew I could source a lot of the components I would need online. But the important parts, such as, the bracket to hold the motors and the sprockets for the chain, would have to be custom.” Said, James.
At Allen, we certainly have the resources to complete such a project. So, James got stuck in.
James went about sourcing all of the electrical components easily available online and then proceeded to start work on the motor mount. Without the mounting for the motor, the board would not be able to function.
James made his design for the motor mount using our state-of-the-art CAD software, the design included adjustable positioning for the motors so that tensioning the chain would be easy. The mount would also be fixed onto the existing holes in the skateboard trucks.
“The accuracy of the manufacturing would make all the difference in the function of the board. Any errors could lead to motor miss alignment amongst other issues that could damage components.” James commented.
The 2 motor brackets were CNC milled from marine grade aluminium before being hand-finished and threaded to match each truck exactly.
“One of the issues I had when designing the motor mount was that the Skateboard trucks were not a precisely manufactured product and so each axle had slight deviations. This meant the motor mounts had to be custom for each side of the board.” James explained.
The 3 cross supports were manually turned on one of the tool room lathes to perfectly match the spacing of the brackets.
Once James had assembled the board and ran a few “gnarly” tests. He let some of his Allen colleagues have a go and then went onto say
“The 2 motors combined gives an approximate maximum power output of 2.5HP while running the 2 Lipo batteries in series. The motors also work as the breaks for the board. It has a theoretical top speed of 25mph with the assumption that it is working 75% efficient. But no one’s been brave enough to get close to that yet!
The rider and terrain affect the range of the board but so far, its managed around 2 hours of riding on a single charge. The large pneumatic wheels easily cope with riding on grass, gravel and dirt. Off-road riding presents more of a technical challenge due to the skateboard style steering. But it is just as fun as cruising on concrete.
I’ve also included a cut off cord, just in case! and it’s certainly come in handy a few times. It’s essentially an anti-spark connector attached to a safety string, so in the case of a crash the spark connector pulls out and cuts the engine.”
James then went onto say “Working with Allen has helped me take the design from a weekend project and idea to a professional-looking prototype. Allen not only helped me manufacture the mounts but also provided valuable advice and support during the development of the design and its functional details.”
The Allen factory is based in Essex, UK. Where we manufacture all our products and export around the world.
It was a great start to the Topper World Championships with the sun shining and the wind blowing in Medemblik in The Netherlands. With a steady force 5, gusting force 6 the 162 sailors in the full (5.3) rigs and 47 in the 4.2 fleets set sail, with the offshore wind giving all of us a long run to the start line. Conditions were tough but I got out off the line fast claiming my first win in the first race. This was followed by a 4th and a 3rd in the next two races and I ended the first day 2nd overall. The perfect start in the great conditions.
On the second day, the wind dropped, and we had to wait five hours for the sea breeze to fill in. Unfortunately, it didn’t give me the conditions I wanted but the race officer got the first flight away and I came in 29th after a big shift and the second flight’s race was abandoned altogether. The race officer then reset the course, but only managed to get one race in for the second flight, so we ended the day with one race completed and I moved down to 3rd overall.
Day 3, the last for qualifying, and we again had a postponement while waiting for the sea breeze to kick in. The conditions were very hot (35ºC) but we got three races away. The first was completed in light and shifty conditions, the second finally had a more consistent breeze meaning I pegged a 9th place, and the third, after some hard work on the line, resulted in me getting an unhelpful UFD.
At the end of the 3 days of qualifying, I hit 15th place overall which was perfect to go straight into the Gold fleet, and two days of World Championship racing against 80 other qualifiers.
Thursday, day 4, and the hottest day of the year. The day I’d be waiting for. I started the World Championship series in Gold Fleet with 15 points. The heatwave battled against the prevailing wind causing a 1-hour delay followed by a very light wind race with the wind almost dying completely at the end. Not great conditions for racing and I placed a respectable 10th before the race officer ordered the safety fleet to tow all 209 sailors ashore as the wind died completely. Quite a sight, everyone was frustrated, but in my case, I just wanted to get back out and race.
After 4 hours ashore we relaunched, with my hope being that a late thermal wind would establish. Sailors were towed out and the second race got underway with light and fickle conditions to contend with. The first start became a general recall, and the second start saw a dozen boats black flagged, but, finally, the race was underway! An awesome feeling, but it was short-lived as the wind dies again and the race officer abandoned the second race with everyone being towed ashore again.
On Friday we hit the boat park early, and there was a feeling of immediate excitement because the wind was finally blowing. We had an early 8am briefing as the race officer brought proceedings forward to get the races in, however halfway through the launch sequence, the wind dropped, meaning the sailors (particularly the 4.2s which had launched first) were unable to make it to the start. The decision was made to send the sailors back, resulting in confusion on the slipway with sailors trying to launch as others were trying to return.
Once we restarted it was light and choppy, making it hard to get good boat speed off the congested line which resulted in lots of general recalls and back flags. Not perfect but I had a great first race with a 5th place in an 8 to 10 knot breeze. The heatwave then began to take hold with the wind starting to die, and the chop still making things challenging on the water. The result being a tough final two races after a long week of stop & start. I eventually nailed a 14th place out of 209 & using my discard landed 7th place overall.
Looking back from the comfort of the ferry on the way back from Medemblik it was a great week, with good friends. The first day was excellent, but light winds for the rest of the week it made for challenging racing, especially when you’re 15 and heavier than some of the smaller helms in the fleet. Next up is the ITCA Nationals in Largs at the start of August – a place not known for light winds, and I can’t wait to get back out on the water.
Thanks to Allen for providing me with the best kit for my Topper!
Allen Sponsored Yves Le Bour Trophy
Bough Beech Sailing Club hosted the Snipe Class on the 8th & 9th of June for the Annual Open Meeting and the third & final Leg of the Yves Le Bour Trophy, a competition between Belgium, France and Britain, sponsored by Allen & Selden. 17 Boats entered the event, Senne & André Deboeure and Thibault Vandrot & Nadia El Ghozi coming from Belgium and France respectively.
On Saturday morning the wind was looking quite promising but by the time racing got underway just after lunch it had died right of. The first race started opportunistically in a gust which unfortunately died halfway round, Thibault drifted across the line ahead of John & Liz Reed, who had led most of the race after a good start at the pin end, to take the first win of the day. By the second race the wind had started to fill in a little but was still only a force 1, Ian Gregory & Mike Ker took the second race after getting past Mark Antonelli & Lloyd Roberts on the last run.
By the start of race three the wind was back up again to perfect sailing conditions with both crew able to hike but very few boats having to de-power at all. Matthew Wolstenholme & Patrick Sarsfield won race 3 and 4 with Peter Wolstenholme & Callum Sarsfield and then Alan Williams & Liz Pike both achieving a second place. The decision was made to sail two more races because of a disappointing forecast for Sunday. Thibault and Richard & Nicki Lambert dominated these last two, Thibault beating Richard in the 5th race with Richard reversing that result for Race 6.
In the evening we had a fish and chip van come with strawberries after, with a couple of barrels of beer a really good evening was had by everyone with some having a very late night.
Sunday was, as predicted, rather lacking in wind but we managed to get in two races. Thibault sailed off to take the first win followed by Peter. The second race was more closely contested with Pete Tipler & Dan Pearson leading the whole race until on the beat into the finish a gust came on the wrong side of the course for them allowing Peter to sneak through to win with Thibault also getting past.
Thibault & Nadia deservedly won the event after being the only boat consistently at the front of the fleet over the whole weekend. This along with their second in the French Leg, won them the Yves Le Bour Trophy too with first prize being a voucher for one of Selden’s two new mast sections they are developing for snipes, who along with Allen were very generous with all competitors of the British leg going home with lots of goodies.
Huge thank you to our race officer Mark Stone and all his team who did a very good job in sometimes tricky conditions, to Sylvie Le Bour for coming all the way from Paris to present the trophy in honour of her farther, and also a special thank you to Selden and Allen for their sponsorship. We hope to see more of you next year, not just for Bough Beech but for the Belgium and French legs of the Yves Le Bour as well.
Runners & Riders for the Allen GP14 National Championships 2019 at SCYC
The last time I wrote an article for the GP fleet was way back in the 90’s and the infamous Nationals in Lowestoft. It was therefore a surprise to be asked to do this when I don’t really know anybody in the fleet anymore! However, the entry deadline has passed for the Allen GP14 National Championships 2019 at SCYC, and it’s time to take stock of who will be in the running for this year’s event. With 53 confirmed entries – which is good for the year after a UK Worlds, there are 22 Gold fleet teams all aiming for that elusive top 10 finish…
In no particular order:-
Mike Senior/Chris White – I’ve never heard of this pair but apparently they’re quite good. Current World Champs having come up on the rails at the end in a boat that is appearing on Antiques Road Show next year. Serial late night revellers and last to leave the bar…..but will probably win anyway.
Keith Louden/Alan Thompson – Always near the front in Ireland and provided Keith keeps Alan out of the bar all should be peaceful and fast. Their house sounds like it could be lively!
Jim Hunt/Liz Senior – Multi World Champ & talented sail maker but can Jim help Liz beat Mike!! In a borrowed boat but rumour has it they’ve been secretly practicing so could be fast.
Sam Watson/Andy Thompson – Fast, very fast and could be the ones to push Raceys Rocket all the way. Won a lot in Ireland this year plus a few area champs back here so if you’re looking at form these are the pair to follow.
James Goodfellow/Rick Cornes – I’ve a sneaky feeling about this pair, one of those you might put an each way bet on just in case all falls right for them, or you don’t mind losing a few bob. New boat, swapped roles and they’ve sailed together for a few years in Fireballs (still for sale if anyone wants one!?) so a good bet for a top 10 finish.
Ian Dobson/Gemma Dobson – Ian’s a multi GP World/National Champion now sailing with wife Gemma. They’ll be quick and in the top 10 easily plus fighting for the family trophy as apparently they get on well in the boat – are we sure they’re married!!?
John Hayes/Joel James – now sailing together in Fireballs. If it’s a light week they’re a good shout for something special. They won a race a few years back and could certainly do it again.
Lawrence Creaser/Jane Kearney – I’ve heard these are quick and have practiced lots. With a fair wind I recon these could be top 5 (then I’m only go off stats as I don’t know them personally).
Ross Kearney/Ed Bradburn – Apparently these are quite good as well having pushed Senior/White all they way at last years Worlds. I hear they’re very good at right hand side beats but are also quick all round. These should be fighting it out at the front of the fleet/bar again.
Mark Platt/Tom Platt – Finally, someone I know!! Mark’s a stalwart of GP sailing who seems to have made the progression from aft to centre main seamlessly. Sailing with son Tom they should make a top 10 place.
Well, that’s my top 10 put together. However, there are some dark horses lurking in the background…
Russ Cormack/Ali Cormack – looked quick at times at the Midland Areas and could spring a surprise
Adam McGovern/Ellie Davies – very good at the Northern Areas and sailed extremely well at the Worlds last year. These could make the top 10 as they’re so consistent.
Tim Jones/Dale Knowles – another pair I know! They’ve been 3rd in a Worlds and the only thing stopping me putting them in the top 10 is that there is no boat entry (looks like Ciaran had first dibs on the boat).
Ciaran Jones/Sam Platt – serious dark horses if it’s light. Ciaran is son of Tim, Sam is son of Mark – if they were horses I’d put money on them.
Sarah Norbury/Emily Cole-Evans – Ex 470 Olympic squad member, Sarah has borrowed a fast boat & has a great crew in Emily (albeit one that hasn’t sailed for a few years). If it’s light and she manages not to reach up wind they could be in the mix. Nailed on for all woman prize though.
Hugh Gill/Joe Doherty – they’ll probably turn up with the boat in the back of the van, then sleep in the van during the week. Could be quick.
The McGuiness boys – fast in breeze and sailed together for years.
There are also a couple of Silver boats that could do well both having won open meetings this year, plus rumour has it Ian Willis & Keith Dutton have a house booked and will look at the forecast nearer the time (if it’s light I’d have them in the top 10).
Enjoy the weeks sailing and don’t forget to party!….
Allen Support Burnham Week
The historic Burnham Week sailing regatta which takes place on the River Crouch on the last week in August will once again be supported by local sailboat hardware manufacturer Allen.
Allen, the Essex based company, has announced it will be supporting the week by providing a generous number of prizes, especially for the dinghy competitors. Dinghy racing always takes place on the first long weekend of Burnham Week and the event is usually well attended with big turnouts from the Ospreys, Phantoms and local Handicap fleets.
Managing Director of Allen and keen RBOD sailor, Liz Adams, commented “Although our equipment is suitable for the majority of boats that will be taking part in Burnham Week, we feel it’s especially important to support the dinghy side of the regatta. The younger dinghy sailors are the future of the sport and without them the keelboat sailors will struggle for crew in the future!”
Allen designs, manufactures and distributes all of its products from its factory in Southminster, Essex. The company boasts a wide variety of in-house resources such as CNC machines, injection moulding, hydraulic presses and even a foundry. The designers at Allen work extremely closely with their elite Team Allen sailors who test and feedback useful information about new products.
Last weekend the 2.4s joined in with the RYA Sailability Multi Class event at the WPNSA. The event started with a pursuit race. It’s very unusual for 2.4s to be starting midway down the pursuit race but it is fun chasing rather than being chased. I managed 12th after being overhauled by the Elliot 6m’s and RS Ventures and not quite managing to catch all the Hansa’s.
By Saturday afternoon we started the class racing. We were racing as an open class which makes our fleet more competitive than just racing the disabled contingent. It was great racing in Portland harbour and somewhere where you could race upwind for 10 minutes. What I had forgotten over too much pond sailing was how wet 2.4s were but at least the water was warm. We had 2 races in a building sea breeze. 6 of us had some close racing but with a bit more pace I managed to win both races. I especially enjoyed the last downwind playing on the waves, it makes the wet and slow upwind worth it. Sunday brought a light gradient clocking round to the southerly sea breeze. After a bit of waiting the race officer did well to get 2 good races in. Again it was nice to settle down into some boat speed off the start line and happy that I seem to be going well with another couple of bullets.
I haven’t raced multiclass much over the years but it is really fun holidaying with the rest of the disabled sailing community as we don’t get much time to hang out together. It is a small community with many I have grown up with over the years it is great to catch up with everyone. We also had a lot of Frensham Pond sailors at Portland and with all the helpers it was definitely Frensham on tour.