Saturday, August 23, 2008

Little Things

Today Susan and I again went sailing for a couple of hours. Breeze was about 10-12 knots with a few holes. I was interested to see how my recent modifications affected the boat's performance. The biggest change was the vang and cunningham cleat mounts. I had the Ronstan floppy blocks simply hose-clamped to the mast stub. The modification was to place a small wedge under the bottom of each cleat to making cleating easier and to replace the stainless steel hose clamps with some uni carbon. The before and after shots show the change. The sailing difference was profound. I should have done this before but it was only after talking with Gui and seeing Mike's set up that I was convinced that the change was worthwhile. Interestingly enough, Bill is happy with his cleats mounted with no wedge.

A second change I made was the gantry fairing. The photo shows a closeup view. I'm glad I made the change, even if there isn't a huge difference it makes me a little more content knowing there's some semblance of smooth flow just before take off and when I touch down.

Another change I made that I'm sure will help in the long run is to give up on sealing the outer wing tubes. The original design had the wing longitudinals sealed to provide some buoyancy when capsized. The idea is sound and seems to work fine until the seal breaks and water migrates into the tube. The pinholes are small enough that any water that enters won't flow back out and the outer wing tube gains weight. Extra weight is definitely not fast. My change was to remove the tube plugs and not try to seal them completely. The longitudinals are fitted into their sockets with some waterproof grease to help prevent water incursion when capsized, but since the tubes are open, any water that manages to get in will flow aft into the back rack tube and then down to the centerline where I drilled a drain hole. So far so good. Eventually as my skills improve I might need a little less flotation and I might be able to remove the foam from the tramps, reducing even more weight.

The latest item on the punch list is to make a thin shim for the centerboard. When fitted into its slot there is now a small amount of play and I'm sure that at speed the board is vibrating. I plan on making it fit as tight into its slot as possible; the shims should help.

Little things, little improvements, all adding up to a better experience.

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