Sunday, September 7, 2008

Low Riding Blues

The forecast 15-20 failed to materialize - perhaps the fast moving low just took away any pressure gradient that was expected. I did, however, get three hours on the water today - 45 minutes blasting across the harbor in a nice 10-12 knot breeze that then dwindled down to 6-ish. I had sailed over to the Hampton Yacht Club big boat regatta to see some friends and wow 'em with the boat. But once the breeze died and I fell off the foils I just couldn't get it back up (no little blue pill jokes, please.) So I spent most of the time low riding. Not much fun and with the tide coming into the harbor I decided to bail out early and head back to Willoughby lest I get swept up the James River. Crossing the main shipping channel is alway dicey with the amount of traffic that comes into Hampton Roads, but luckily just at the channel's edge a little puff come in and I scooted across on foils in front of (but well clear of) a lighter barge and tug.

The whole experience drove home the point about how important it is to foil soonest. Si certainly had the technique at Weymouth as he was sailing circles around everybody during a practice session a few days before the worlds started. My handicaps are three-fold: first I weigh about 170 pounds, certainly more than the flyweights. Secondly, my klutzy foils are pulling huge drag buckets. That problem hopefully will be solved (if I can find the $$$) with an AMAC blade and main foil to replace my centerboard. My third problem is a sail tear on the top batten pocket that is allowing the top of the sail to fall off to leeward. It's not a big problem in a breeze, but it surely contributes to muchoo less drive up top, which is what I need in the moderate stuff. So, sometime soon I need to take a trip to a sailmaker.

Anyway, after the couple of hours coming home in about 5 knots of breeze I felt pretty comfortable in low-rider mode. Of course I disconnected the cable from the bell crank to allow the flap to find its own minimum drag position. Not fun, but still time in the boat is contributing to my figuring out the beast.

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