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  #1  
Old 09-03-2007
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Got my new-to-me Newport 17 out

Had a good day on the lake even though it had its moments.

The stinkin' little motor I sweated over fixing last weekend fired right up, ran about 30 seconds and never ran again all day. The wind was blowing directly in to the ramp/docks. I raised the mainsail only to find I had fouled the halyard and couldn't get it quite all the way up. But helpful club members (I went to a club practice race largely to have friendly faces around for advice or help) pulled me out to the end of the longest dock and pushed me away far enough to reach away. I really couldn't point well with the fouled halyard (which I didn't realize was the problem at first anyway).

On board I had 2 of my kids, age 7, and Mike, who came out to the club event looking to crew. I had met Mike before and knew he wasn't all that big on racing, but just wanted to sail. That was good, because I didn't figure I would do very well. I could not point well enough to get up to the course quickly but finally notice the halyard problem, so we headed for a beach. Fortunately Mike seemed more interested in learning about my boat (or swing keels in general) than getting to the course. We anchored out at first, and the kids jumped in (PFDs on) and swam to the beach. I donned a mask and went under to check the keel. We wanted to be sure it wasn't a contributing factor in our poor upwind performance. It seemed to be fine. When I first started to check it , I was concerned we were in a little too close so I swam to the rope and pulled up the undersized Danforth that came with the boat and swam it out a little further and dropped it, then checked the keel. When I came back up I noticed we were drifting away from shore, so I swam to shore and shouted to Mike to pull the anchor and bring her in (I had given him the helm a couple of times to deal with things before).

Mike brought her about and came scooting back in, raising the keel as he got close and we pulled the bow up on the beach. We then lowered the main enough to deal with the halyard, let the kids have a couple of more minutes of swim play and then got them back on board, pushed off and were on our way again. We could point! It was a very different boat with the main fully hoisted. It really hadn't looked like it was far from the top before, but it may have been perspective; the boom was raised significantly.

The Newport likes wind more than breezes. Winds were 5-10 and when it was on the light side we would sometimes bear off and do a controlled jibe to tack because it was so easy to get stuck in irons turning about. Part of that is undoubtedly technique. The chop, of maybe 1' or so, was slapping the dinghies around a bit and making PWC riders look like jackhammer operators. The Newport laughed at it anytime we were making headway. We did get a few good reaches where we heeled a bit and cruised along at a good clip. We messed around with the traveler and found you can limit heel quite a bit without giving up much speed by letting it out.

We never did run the buoys, but Mike didn't seem to care (I was a little concerned about getting a club crew and then not actually racing). I gave him the helm quite a bit of the afternoon to deal with kids or boat details. He said he would be interested in going again some time, so I guess he had a good day.

The kids had fun at the beach, sat up on the cabin roof and fore-deck some on long reaches and were in the cockpit at times also. It's a good sized cockpit, but it does begin to feel a little cramped with 4. They also spent time in the cabin drawing pictures, napping nd just generally goofing off.

Docking and loading went smoothly. The boat pulls well behind my undersized older (1st generation) Odyssey. We had pulled it home from purchasing behind my wife's larger Ody, so this was another test.

I am pleased with the boat and I learned a lot about things to look out for in the future. I really need to get more organized with gear that was stowed. The cabin is a disaster that I will deal with today.

I can't wait to get out again. There is a good possibility it will be next weekend.
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Old 09-03-2007
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arbarnhart-

If you don't have the mainsail at full hoist, the sail will bag and the center of effort will move aft... and the boat will handle badly. Sounds like a good day overall though.
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Old 09-03-2007
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Ahoy, Captain Andy ...

Glad to hear you got out, learned some stuff and got back without incident. The getting acquainted with the boat process is interesting, and I get a sense that before long you're going to intimately know every bolt and screw on your boat. (Sound like you have that relationship with the motor already.) Now, if you can just keep yourself from making three trips a week to the marine store for more toys like I do, you'll be in good shape.

Have fun!

Kurt
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Old 09-03-2007
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Sounds like a fun day. I wound't worry about the not racing part. I'll bet mike had more fun messing with the boat. If he'd gone racing he probably would have only been on the boat for balast.
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Old 09-03-2007
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Good on yer, Andy. Sounds like you chose just the right boat for your sailing & family. Racing can wait -- I'm certainly not enuf in tune w/ the boat yet for running the cans.

I took the tempermental redhead out on a date again yesterday -- the Bucc18, now named Grainnia (her Grace O'Malice, pirate queen extrordinaire.) Winds up to 20 kts, fading as the day went on. Put the far bench under three times, but never felt out of control (reefed main only.) Wicked weather helm w/out the jib; much tiller work. Hellfire, that boat can move when you get everything trimmed & balanced just so. If you don't it fights you tooth and nail.

You are going to enjoy that Newport. So's your family. Keep bringing the stories!
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Old 09-03-2007
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I am not sure I will ever really be a racer. I joined the club as an "associate" which usually means a regular without a boat, but is also the designation for someone with a boat that isn't in the points race (most of those races aren't at the nearby lake anyway). They have the "Coaching Series" in the Summer/Fall and the "Frostbite Series" in the winter, weather permitting. These are practice races the first Sunday of every month. What that means to me is that I can circle that day on the calendar way in advance and know that if I head over to the local lake, I will find some people to sail with, possibly including a crew. Now that I can point, I will try to run the buoys to work on technique, but Dan is right - the crew for the more serious racers never got the helm and didn't mess around with the boat figuring out how different things affected it (note to self - the halyard works best just up and over without the "once around the stick" on the way down ). I will probably only be in the club for a year. There are a couple of informal local groups that are more day/weekend cruise oriented (both of which are at Cape Lookout today, for example) that I am just not quite ready for yet and I am using the racing club as a stepping stone.
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