Charlene has just been dusted off and is again ready for the water.
After some heated discussions and even putting Charlene up for sale, it looks like we've come to a happy compromise and now Charlene will be moving sideways into a new role as a purely leisure sail boat, no racing at all.
I had every intention of cruising Charlene as she was rigged to make this as simple as possible and not only be a race boat. So we will no longer be a member of any sailing club and will go out on weekends that are nice and comfortable, this may mean going out rarely but it is better than the last 6 months which was no sailing at all.
I haven't been able to find race crew and Donna no longer enjoys racing, understandably, because I started yelling at her and everyone else, and I stopped enjoying it also. So the switch to purely leisure sailing was very very easy once we had been able to sit down and talk sensibly. For a while I couldn't even bring up the subject without it starting a fight...bloody hell....but we're in our happy place again and looking forward to some nice summer weather.
We started sailing because we liked being on the water, so that's what we're going back to.
I have been, and will continue to, miss racing my own boat, I haven't enjoyed racing on friends boats. But if it's leisure sailing or no sailing on the boat that I built with my own hands I will take cruising happily.
I have just had trailer lights wiring installed on the new car and sorted a towbar for it also, we spent the last few months with no way of moving Charlene even if we wanted to. I also just serviced the boat trailer with new wheel bearings and a new valve in one of the tires, so we're good to go now!
It's been a long time coming, I wanted to solo sail on our previous build, "Shazza" i550, but never got around to it.
Charlene has been in the water for just over twelve months now and I've sailed her myself with Donna onboard but today was the first true single-handed sail of Charlene. And it was good !
A 32 second video of my sailing with the kite set......
The breeze was very shifty and built from 5-8 to around 8-12, so a good breeze for what I had in mind which was just cruising around. I reefed the sail before leaving the pontoon, I had no interest in trying to be a hero or worry about any speed records.
I will be going out again tomorrow for some more of the same!
Our friend Simon came all the way from Geelong to sail with us and we turned on great weather but everything else that could go wrong.....
Saturday I arrived at the boat (which we put in the water Friday night), nice and early to get everything rigged and ready for the race start at 11am. Unfortunately my wife and friend did a rock-star entrance by arriving at 10.15 so we had time to get out, hoist the sails, do a few tacks and start the boat --spinnaker start !
First the spinnaker went over the side and we 'trawled' the spinnaker, then the sheets were 'outside' of the kite so the sheet had to be re-run, spinnaker flogs and the boat goes well over on it side. Next the spinnaker is 'trawled' again on the drop.
Next spinnaker run we are way too shy and I have to 'run' the tack twice and 'trawl' twice more. I finally just get the big spinnaker down and tie on a smaller one. I try to hoist the small kite and no one tells me the spinnaker halyard has wrapped itself around the 'gaff' batten on the mainsail.
So now I have to drop the main about half way to get the spinnaker halyard off the mainsail. Done, now to get the main back up---I over tighten the halyard and pull the block out of the base of the mast......Time to say Enough ! and I turned her for home, Day one done.
Sunday, repair mast base mainsail halyard block. Next, break it again. Next swap halyards with the jib. Main is up, jib is up but has no tension because it can only be raised my hand. Out we go early for a bit of a test and tune. We race for three on hours, no impressed with our performance at all. Then within sight of the finish the masthead spinnaker pulley breaks away and the only thing holding our big kite up is the wall of the carbon mast, the halyard exits about two odd foot from the mast tip through a hole drilled in the wall of the mast.......Get the spinnaker down in a Hurry !
Back to the boat ramp to get the boat out of the water and de-rig........Trailer bearing disintegrates in the car park and the wheel is only staying on through gravity as it wobbles along on about a 30deg toe out.....Off Donna goes for a two odd hour road drive to get a new bearing at 6pm on a Sunday night...I had one at home which she couldn't find and she ends up grabbing one from a friend who just happened to have one.
So a less than successful regatta. The good points were; the new very expensive mainsail is very good. The boat performed better with the new main, but is still slow as far as my expectations are concerned. The boat was treated poorly and tried very hard to stay upright so the new ballast has done the trick and has made her more stable (but less responsive to puffs).
Next, mast repairs, a bit more cruising I think and then Surf to City in January with Jon from Montana.
We had a good weekend of sailing and tinkering. Only one thing went wrong and that was the main halyard. Today putting up the new sail I managed to get it to the mast tip reasonably easily. This was surprising because the outer case of the spectra halyard had chafed completely through. So the sail went up ok but I had to tinker a little to get it back down with the case of the spectra trying to jam everything up getting it back down. All good in the end
The new racing main was designed and cut specifically for 'Charlene', unlike our cruising main. This new sail is 300mm longer in the luff and above 200mm in the foot, it has a shorter/smaller square-top than the cruising main but more roach. It also has full length battens where the cruising sail only has short length battens and is a crap cut/built sail to start with.
So finally we have our new racing mainsail ! It's delivery was well over-due but we have it now and it will be used in the St Helena Cup in October, 3th & 4th.
Now this sail is very bloody expensive and will only be taken out on race days, one so we can make it last a really long time; and two, because it's bloody huge and we wouldn't be able to handle it two-up.
Very little breeze for our first cruise which was just fine with us. The only problem was the main refused to go to the top of the mast, a halyard issue of some sort. So in 5 odd knots of breeze we had a big reef in the main---how embarrassing !
Donna doing the photos while I actually still needed to sail, who'd have thought ?
We beat the rain home but got very wet at the dock.
Mud Island, which is not the prettiest island but it is the closest to our home club.
In 5 knots it's about 3 hours from our club.
Pleasant but unexciting sail home, good time to try those solo kite gybes.
I got lots of practice gybing the kite by myself which was very good, we were using our #3 kite so it was very manageable getting it up and down and gybing it.