Saturday's sail certainly proved to be interesting. More wind most of the time and bigger lake, but more traffic as well. Started the day with with winds above 5-8 mph (can I say mph, or is that knot exceptable on this forum?) The boat seemed to act better, but is very slow. Not sure why, the boat just seems really heavy/sluggish. Even with strong winds, with the boat heeled over, it never really goes very fast. It is as if the main sail is just very ineffective. When I first started, I motored out into the middle of the lake. With a 3 HP motor, the boat moved surprisingly well. Hull speed is around 5 knots, mid throttle seemed to move along near that. Since it moves so easy under motor, it makes me think the main is just not doing its job. I wonder if the main was replaced at some point and is smaller than spec. I layed the jib and the main out on the ground, and they both look about the same size. The jib is wider at the base, but the main is wider higher up. Hard to say which has more area.
But anyway, the center board was down, at one point, I actually got up some speed and could hear the line humming, loosed it, so the hum went away, but shortly after the wind went away as well.
I think this boat just has some design weaknesses. The boat is only 17 feet long, but is 7.5 feet wide. Between the width and 300lbs of concrete in the shoal keel, the boat is just slow. It heels over pretty good, without much wind, although I did have a heavy blast, probably 20 knots, for about 15 seconds. I had the tiller locked down, sails cleated and was digging something out of the hatch when it hit. Dove for the tiller, grabbed the main sheet on the way, but took a little bit to get the main released. Even with all that, the shrouds never got wet. It did steer out of it. I think there is a point, where the boat will heel to, and is difficult to go past that. It would be nice to have a steady wind to push it and learn if I really have to drop the main in those cases.
Later in the day, the wind died. My conclusion is that the boat is unsteerable in anything less than 3 mph unless you dramatically depower the jib. Even at that, I had to gybe to avoid the shore. Worst case is when you are barely moving, and the wind picks up some. Since the boat is still going slow, the rudder is ineffective, and the added wind will turn the boat leaward. Nothing you can do but gybe.
Next time I have the boat out, I'll try seeing if I can curve the mast, pulling the middle aft, and the top foreward, just see how it acts. If I have read stuff correctly, that may help, someone chime in and confirm. Thursday I will go out on an even bigger lake. This last lake was only about a 1/4 mile wide, so not a lot of room be stopped and swap sails.
Since I chatting about this last sail, I had 1 case of good luck, and 2 cases of bad. The lake I was really 2 lakes connected by a narrow passageway zig-zag of about 500 feet long X 20 feet wide. I had the wind at my back going through the passage, so had no problems. When I went to return, I started the motor, however it would not stay running. It would run for maybe 30 seconds and run out of fuel. Maybe a minute if I left it choked, and only idled it. (it ran for several minutes fine earlier that day wide open) My case of good luck was, that the wind picked back up and was at my back again going in the opposite direction through the same narrow passage. When I finished the passage, the wind completely died off. Thunderstorm building in the distance. Fiddled with the motor, but after several attempts I just had to give up. Paddled a bit and just waited. I guess there was some wind. If you spit in the water, you could confirm you were moving, but that was the only way to tell. Of course all the power boats were going by and lining up at the launch. I kept having to paddle to keep the boat on course. The rain did hit, I got drenched, but no lightning, so that was good. At least by going slow, I didn't ever have to stop and wait in the line up for the launch. Kind of puts yourself in an awkward situation. With so little wind, you can't wait in line - well you can, but then you can't get going when it comes your turn to pull up. I just kept making little headway along side. People were nice about it, most the boats had cleared out by the time I got close and then they just let me in.
RL 24 NEW to me April 25th 2014
AFC 17' 2+2 (sold in 2012)
Sunfish project boat
Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.