Sunday, February 25, 2007

Batten down the hatches!

The team awoke this morning at 7am to get some time on the water today before the storms rolled in over Raleigh. We opted to put in at Lake Wheeler where we did the initial paddling tests for some sailing since it was closer and we were expecting good wind. It turned out to be a great day of sailing and paddling with winds that started around 2knots and built to around 8 with 10 knot gusts. I was sure to take lots of pictures and video from the boat that we would like to share with you RIGHT NOW. See below.

(1) Sailing along
(2) More wind close hauled
(3) The Fall cruising along
(4) Under a bridge at Lake Wheeler

Our top speed was 7.5 knots in about 8 or 9 knots of breeze. We sailed down to the end of the lake and back (about 3 miles) and then we reefed the sail and paddled down to the bridge at the downwind end of the lake and then under it before reaching a dead end and turning around and paddling back upwind before putting up the sails once more for some heavier wind sailing. We averaged just over 4knots paddling with the breeze and a steady 3.3 back upwind. Our short experimentation mostly confirmed what we expected that when we want to get upwind, it will be faster to paddle as the crow flies than do the zig zag.

The sails are awesome but we are definitely going to extend the batten pockets for some better shape on the leech. The Fall's sail was the newer one (Matt and I got the "better" amas by a coin flip so they get the "better" sail, not like it matters since we are only as slow as...yada yada yada) and it performed slightly better only because the crispier material held its shape better but with longer battens it is obvious that all will be equal.

Did I mention storms, the forecast today was rain with a 100% chance of big storms after noon. We got to the lake early and lucked out with the rain right up until about when we got to the bridge. After that, it came. Sailing in the rain was first. Actually we really enjoyed it and were well equipped for the elements thanks to everyone who lent us gear. We thank you. We packed up in the rain too but got out before seeing anything really threatening.

In all we did about 7 nautical miles on the lake (3 sailing and 4 paddling) and truth be told, the answer is yes, this is the most training we have done thus far. It was hard to do anything other than work on the boats and for weeks no one had to ask what we were about to go do since the answer was always "go work on boats".

I think we all have our own idea of what it will be like after the first 15 minutes of the race and saying, "hey guys, one down, 299 to go". But I think we also know that it will be NOTHING like that. We can't wait!


dstgean said...

Looking good guys! Have fun and don't sweat the training. Unless becalmed or dead upwind, you'll be sailing anyhow. How much did you add to the windsurfer masts? I'm going to be converting to that setup for my Ulua. Did you extend the sides as well as deck the boat? The cockpits coamings make that really look fantastic! Now I need to figure out a steering system for the Ulua that works as slick as yours--but with a curving canoe stern.

Good luck and thanks for blogging this!


DancesWithSandyBottom said...

You guys are amazing!

fasthazard said...

Dan: The windsurfer masts are about 14.5 feet, and they stick about a foot into a five foot aluminum tube. That makes the whole rig about 19.5 feet from the bottom of the boat. This keeps the sail and boom heigh enough that they don're really interfere with paddling.

Right now we pull out both sections to take the mast down; we're thinking about adding a larger PVC pipe between the deck and cylindrical mast step block to guide them back in.

Ideally/eventually the aluminum tube will stay in the boat all the time, and bearings might be added to the mast step to make it freely rotating and more easily reefed/furled.


fasthazard said...

Now hopefully we can just finish our homework so we can go to sleep.


Capt'n "O" Dark 30 said...

Now that's what I'm talking about!!Nice effort guys... keep'er mov'n!!


dstgean said...

You guys might think about a simple hiking platform like Gary's Wa'apa for windward work.