Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sailing with Jon (from Montana), Skiiny and Donna

The weather didn't play nice, so even though we had paid our entry for the Surf 2 City, we didn't race. The breeze was a northerly which was going to be right on the nose.

Plan B. Get together anyway and go for a fun sail. We headed toward Deception Bay from Sandgate for a few hours while the northerly built from 5-8 knots to 12-15kt on our kite ride return.

Skinny at the back while Jon has a brush of the mooooostash!
We had the big black kite up for a 45 odd minute, 10-13kt boat speed, run home......good fun and all recorded on gps - so no fudged boat speed numbers, pretty cool !

Three monkeys- Jon having a steer to windward
Skinny had us on the plain all the way home while Donna sat back and enjoyed the ride and Jon and I took turns trimming the monster black kite.

Skinny keeping Jon busy trimming the kite (breeze yet to build)

New bow shape was working nicely and impressing Jon (i550 owner and sailor)

 The big black kite was great fun.

A little footage of the windward work.

Monday, December 21, 2015

First Solo Sail

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!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

St Helena Cup 2015 report

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.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New racing mainsail

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.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

First real cruise, to Mud Island

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.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Two-up race/drift

Another good sail today. I learnt a lot more about Charlene today. Charlene Mkll is quiet a different beast to the old Charlene. She's 'smoother' through the water and the boat accelerates with the big black kite now rather than just laying over when running shy. The big black monster just isn't a monster anymore and is now very much my favourite now that it's behaving.
We had our 'chicken' kite up for most of the ride today because I just wanted to play it conservative and also not scare Donna. That went well because we could both get to know the boat (Donna hopefully loosing the fear, and me just getting to know how to trim her and what she did and didn't like).

We have sorted a lot of minor issues from last time out, including the keel fore/aft movement which has been fixed up with thicker shims. We also built a new engine mount for the new 4hp engine purchased last week. This has created a problem, the main sheet bridle keeps getting court on the engine. We should be able to fix this with a bit of shock cord tied to the bridle to keep it tight and not allow it to get near the engine when it would be otherwise loose.

Charlene Two-up Short video from today, not too exciting.

Today's weather was pleasant but we ended up abandoning the race after loosing pressure for a while after a fair amount of 2/3kt drifting. I had learnt enough for the day and Donna wasn't well so we got the sails down and turned on the nice new engine and headed for the boat ramp and trailer. The next race is in a couple of weeks which is now unimportant because we haven't finished 3 out the first 4 races.

Our next race should be with our new racing main which will be being made next week or the week after. The current race main, used today, has been fitted with track 'slugs' and is now our cruising main and is was really easy for Donna and I to manage to raise and lower while out on the water (the new more easily controlled and more torque engine also helped that).

Monday, June 29, 2015

Winter series race.

Our first race was on Saturday just gone, and it was also our first sail since rebuilding Charlene. We had Donna and I, and Mark, our new friend from Contender sailing, and we also had Jimmy aka Skinny) aboard, who is a friend from my skiffing days. Jimmy still races his 12 foot skiff and Mark is a very good Contender sailor/racer. So I was pretty happy to throw the tiller at the other boys and just tinker with the boat and enjoy, while the other two told me what to trim to make them happy.

We had a really good sail.

The 'new' carbon mast was exceptionally good and we put her through her paces by putting up our big black kite and our fractional in breeze approaching mid teens at times, great pressure for testing her out.
Charlene seems smoother and happier to windward now with her new bow shape, she was happy to try to go through small chop rather than pounding over it.

There was a bit of a scare well into our 10 odd nautical mile windward leg of our race. The keel started pounding fore and aft with the choppy waves. At the time I didn't know if the lead bulb was trying to work itself loose or whether the new weight had coursed the nylon shims to show themselves as not being tight enough in the keel case and was allowing the movement. Thankfully it has turned out to be the latter and I have screwed in new thicker nylon sliders.

 Donna must have been at the cabin entrance.
Notice the big creases in the sail?-Bad!
Notice hope much mast we're Not using?- Bad!

 Fractional kite looking pretty crap, not sure what was going on there, I think we might have just set it and are still getting ourselves sorted. It's not the greatest kite anyway.
The kite looks much better in this shot. That's a 7m sportsboat with the blue kite, nice guys and a very quick boat; and no we didn't come close to beating it.

The main sail was re-cut in the luff to suit the new mast. But it just wasn't happy and looked like crap, and it also behaved like crap. It was very average at best on the old mast, the sail hinges at the 1/3 length battens. With the new mast the hinging is just shocking. I have somehow also managed to make the new mast about 100mm (4inch) taller than the old mast so that also makes the sail look even worse. The main is now at least 200mm short of a full hoist.

The guys enjoyed themselves and Mark is coming back to sail with us for the rest of the season. Which is great because we have ordered/committed to a brand spanking new main sail. Hopefully we will have it before the end of the winter series. Because we were pretty quick with the kite up but we got absolutely, and understandably, left behind on the windward leg.