Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tuning In

I've been out for five sails since launch and each time I learn something new.  Two of the days were really light (< 5 kts), one was just about perfect for my first day out solo (5 - 8 kts), and 2 were downright windy.  I always seem to learn more about what doesn't work on the windy days, but fortunately nothing completely failed although the conditions (gusts verified to 25 at lake weather station) highlighted a bunch of rig tweaking needed to optimize performance.

Most of the tuning is minor, but the mizzen will need to be raised about 2 inches higher in order to clear the swing arm of the Norwegian tiller because it is offset from horizontal to clear the stern.  It only happens when on a reaching run on the starboard side, but it is a bit annoying.  Right now I think I am going to solve it by adding a small block on the bottom of the step, but I haven't entirely decided yet.

Other things that I've been tweaking are the yard attachment point for both the main and mizzen.  When I originally set them, the sails didn't quite hang right so with some with some online advice I move the point a little bit forward.  I also had to restitch the location of the yard leather as a result.

Keeping the boom close to the mast even with my 6:1 downhaul has been a challenge and on the last windy day sail, I tied the boom around the mast with a sail tie.  Looking online though I found that a lot of people are using dog collars with a big snap clasp so I went to the pet store yesterday and bought a couple and fitted them to the rig.  It seems like this will be a good solution, but I haven't tried it on the water yet.

So now for the good news:  this boat just flies.  It happily gets up on a plane and even though I have been being pretty timid so far about pushing her, I have gone over 7 knots several times on the windy days with much of the time spent in the high 6's even with some lumpy conditions.  The water on the lakes here is still dangerously cold however, so I don't want to push it too much and end up in the water.  Capsize tests will hopefully be held once the water is more comfortable. 

I'm really looking forward to getting the boat out on the ocean with a nice steady sea breeze to see how fast I can get her going, the gusty, squirrely conditions on the local lakes are really challenging and make me think twice about really hiking out because you never know when the wind will hit you from the other side of the sail and throw you in the water.

Anyway, looking forward to more sea trials and longer adventures this summer, stay tuned...

Sunday, May 6, 2018


It happened, it didn't sink, and I'm happy to report that there was no drama at all even though I was pretty nervous thinking about all that could have gone wrong.  The launch actually took place over two days, mainly because it was really gusty on Saturday and I really didn't want the first sail to be in sketchy conditions, but I really wanted to get it in the water. 

So we did a quick run over to a small pond close to us just to splash it and row around a bit and to see how the boat felt being towed on a trailer.  My first impressions were that it rows way faster than the O'Day Daysailer that I have been rowing for years and that it was actually more stable that I expected.  With all four us onboard, it never felt tippy. 

After we came back from the row, I built spar crutches for the main an mizzen steps and mounted the main mast on it.  Everything else tucked into the cockpit easily so there isn't a lot of rigging to do to get ready to travel.  I re-rigged the entire boat to make sure I had everything in order and then stowed it all away again to be ready for the next day.

Today I woke to cloudy skies and rain showers with not much wind.  I could have done without the rain, but temps were in the high 50's and I definitely wanted low wind conditions for the first day out.  So with just my wife and I today (kids were working), we drove up and launched at Newfound Lake.  Newfound is one of my favorite lakes in New Hampshire.  It's big and deep with crystal clear water and a great launch.   

Since it wasn't a very nice day and it's only been about 2 weeks since ice-out (read: very cold water), the only other boaters there were salmon fisherman and most were headed home by the time we got there.  We launched with little fanfare and shoved off under oars.  

Once we were out a hundred yards or so, I raised the mizzen followed by the main and headed out.  The wind was super light, but we ghosted along and crossed the lake in short order.  A little rain here and there, but nothing that got us too wet.  All in all things turned out great, the biggest issue of the day was that I forgot my rigging knife, raincoat, and the battens for the main, but not too bad in general.  

I still have a bunch of other posts to do to cover topics I never got to like oars and the daggerboard, but those will wait so I can bask in the launch.