Monday, November 11, 2013

Yankee Siege II Breaks 1/2 Mile!

Saturday November 2, 2013 - In a quantum leap forward, Yankee Siege II, threw 2,835 feet, smashing the 1/2 mile mark and beating their own world record set on Friday. The wind in Bridgeville at Wheatley Farms was dead calm at 9 AM, when the machine rocketed a 10 lb pumpkin between 2 RV campers. There were near perfect conditions for setting a new world record. We were asked politely not to take another shot for fear of actually hitting a camper. It was the right call(safety trumps all). We would have been allowed another shot if we could point our machine away from the campers. We did not have enough space to reorient the machine without crowding out our neighbors(Pumpkin Hammer and NASAW). We opted not to take the last throw, hoping no other machine would throw further.

In the end, Yankee Siege II took 1st place (2835), American Chucker, 2nd place (2254) First In Fright, 3rd place (2181).

This was an amazing year for the Treb division! Five machines (Yankee Siege, American Chucker, First In Fright, Launch-Ness Monster and Pumpkin Hammer) threw over 2,000 feet!

I remember our first year in competition (2004), the world record then was 1150 feet set by Chris Gerow with the classic King Arthur. We have all come a long way! At this pace, by next year, we should be over 3000 feet! The Treb division has lagged behind the other divisions in the past few years. There is no reason, from a physics point of view, way a treb can't throw as far as a catapult or centrifugal. Our only disadvantage is that we are using the weakest force in nature (gravity is many orders of magnitude weaker than the electro-magnetic force which is the force that all the other divisions ultimately use). We merely have to find a way to overcome the weak gravitational force with smart design and more mass (PS, Yankee Siege is the most inefficient machine in the whole treb division). Not something to necessarily to brag about but it gets the job done.

Punkin Chunkin doesn't measure efficiency only distance. As everybody in the division knows, as scale goes up efficiency goes down. Big machines are inherently inefficient.

Speaking of efficient machines, I was particularly impressed with the efficiency of American Chucker and First In Fright. Both relatively small machines that pack a punch!

Launch-Ness Monster surprised everyone this year with their 2142 foot shot. Jay made a minor adjustment to his machine with marvelous results. Great job fellow New Hampshire team. We have 3 treb's from NH, Yankee Siege, Launch-Ness Monster and Tired Iron. Chuck Willard, of Tired Iron has made steady progress increasing his distance each year with 1892 feet this year.

Pumpkin Hammer with their 62 foot monster of a machine is my real fear! They have the scale and efficient design to throw, in my opinion, well over 3000 feet. When Rich and his team workout their minor bugs, Watch Out! Size matters. Size and efficiency really matter. 2014 should be very interesting.

Yankee Siege's goal in 2014 is to challenge the torsion division with another quantum leap. New parts are being machined as we speak!

Steve Seigars, YS

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27, 2013

We're BACK. Only 4 days to the big event. All packed up and ready to make the trip to Delaware tomorrow. Leaving at 7 AM, hope to be at the hotel in Seaford by 5 PM.

We grew an acre of Estrellas this year. Good crop. Plenty of ammo.

Practice sessions have gone well. (No breakage)! Last year we broke 3 carbon fiber throwing arms. We have switched to an all aluminum arm with cable stays all the way to the top. This has given us very consistent throws. We added 3,000 pounds to the counterweight to bring the total to 21,000 pounds to compensate for the heavier arm.

Last year we had trouble with a stainless steel ring on a stainless finger, which lead to (cold welding) of the ring to the finger resulting in inconsistent late releases. I have switched to a bronze ring on a hardened steel finger. (Very predictable throws). The finger is now fully adjustable. I took a week long course at M.I.T. on TRIBOLOGY (the science of lubrication, friction and wear). I highly recommend this course (got some good ideas on release mechanisms).

Hope to break the half mile barrier this year in competition. Our practice throws have all been around one half mile (some well over but it doesn't count until November 1st, 2nd and 3rd).

Best of luck to EACH AND EVERY TEAM. Lets break a half mile this year! See you at the chunk.

Steve Seigars, Yankee Siege II

P.S. Developing a Higgs Boson Accumulator. Should be functional at this year's chunk.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2000 Foot Barrier Broken

Another Punkin Chunkin season has come and gone. I can't believe it's been 6 years of competition for Yankee Siege. I can't believe we pulled off another 1st place! Six straight years of wins, with no losses, its like a dream come true. And to top it off, to break the 2000 foot barrier. I am so proud of all the team members who worked so hard this year so that we could be the first treb in history to break the 2000 foot mark in competition. I would especially like to thank my wife Kathleen for putting up with me and this weird sport. We are the only members of the 2000 foot club, quite an exclusive club! This is one time that its nice to be lonely at the top!

The treb division this year was very impressive with nine machines throwing in excess of a thousand feet. The 2000 foot club will soon be crowded. I was particularly impressed with "new comer" American Chucker with their 1895 foot shot on Sunday 11/7/2009. With only 2200 pounds of counterweight and a ten foot drop that is 35% efficient! Very nice! This is a great machine and a great bunch of guys. Not bad for their first year in competition. They mentioned that they only tested 6 shots before the competition. Image what it will shoot with a little more tuning!!! Good luck!

Its nice to see our old comrades from Pumpkin Hammer and Merlin. Unfortunately, both their machines had breakage problems a short time before competition and could not live up to their full potential. Both of these machines are beautiful examples of ingenuity and efficiency and are easily capable of a 2000 foot plus throw! When these machines are fully functional, watch out!

Yankee Siege's goal has always been to break the 2000 foot barrier. I told my wife back in 2004, that once we broke 2000 feet we would retire from competition. Be careful what you wish for!!! I didn't think we would ever reach that goal or not quite this quickly at least.

The 2000 foot goal has presented several problems for Yankee Siege. The biggest problem is space in our test site at the farm stand. We have run out of space. We are now capable of hitting 4 houses with several throws this year in excess of 2300 feet. It is making me very nervous that we will do harm to an adjacent property.

The second problem with continued competition is cost. It costs Yankee Siege $15,000.00 to compete every year in Delaware. We are looking for sponsors to cover some of the costs. Maybe we could just bring in the machine to throw 100 pound pumpkins as a crowd pleaser and not compete. Maybe we should retire. It's been a great run for the past 6 years with many fantastic memories. It will be hard to "top" this year with all the media attention and the 2000 foot throw. It might be best to leave while you are at the top of your game. To be continued.

Steve Seigars, YS