Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Test Sail #2

Wampum went out for another test sail on Saturday 5/7. The weather was about 50 degrees with intermittent rain but we were all itching to sail so we went out anyways. We motored out into Vineyard Sound, but between the lack of wind and the foul current we struggled to even hold our ground. So we fired up the tin topsail and motored through woods hole passage and out into Buzzards Bay. Once clearing Penzance Point we found a light and puffy NNE wind in the 5-10 kt range, with gusts into the low teens according to the on-board wind sensor which I don't  really trust.

With the big #1 jib we had plenty of power, and it was great to finally play around with different settings on the in-hauler and car location. If you look closely in the picture the controls are much different than any boat I've ever sailed on. There are 2 tracks that run athwart-ships with low friction eyes, so you can adjust the clew height and its sheeting angle. Its going to take a lot of time on task to really get these dialed in for optimum boat speed in various conditions. The 30 degree shifts in the wind and huge velocity swings didnt allow us to really run a controlled experiment but it was fun to just tweak.

Enough about tweaking the techy bits... Time to talk about the downwind run! 

With a building breeze and only 4 sets of hands (Ronnie Whims, Sarah Fuller, Trudy Crowley and myself), we were a little hesitant to hoist the big spinnaker but went for it anyways.

 The Y bridle sheets and snap shackles on all 3 connection points made the rigging very straight forward. Rather than launch out of the forward hatch, we clipped the spinnaker bag to the leeward lifelines tucked nicely behind the big jib. We beared away around a make believe mark, and the A2 was hoisted totally under control. The jib came down, got secured to the deck and we gybed right away so we didn't end up down by West Island. We soaked some nice deep angles for a while and before we knew it we over-stood the rhum line and had to heat it up to 120+ TWA to make it back into woods hole. The boat felt very responsive and well balanced and we saw over 8kt on the GPS fun meter.

Once in outer Hadleys Harbor we hoisted the jib and the girls performed a nearly flawless windward overhaul douse into the hatch. We hardened up and sailed upwind through woods hole passage with a fair current pushing behind us. Of course the engine was running just in case, but we never had to put it in gear. It took 6 or 7 tacks and luckily there was no other boat traffic. 

On mothers day the local laser fleet had our 4th sunday race of the spring frost biting series. I really felt like I was getting the hang of the boat handling on the laser and could approach tactical situations with some confidence. It was blowing ~20 kts and I managed to avoid capsizing for the entire day. The last two days have been spent kite surfing, and this afternoon we're headed out with a full crew to sail Wampum again making this my 5th day in a row of sailing. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spring Maintenance -> Launching -> Rigging -> Shakedown

After 4 months in my driveway, Wampum got back in the water on Friday April 29th. It was a hectic week leading up to the launch. After work, many hours were spent wet sanding her bottom, and doing annual maintenance on the Yanmar 2gm20F diesel.


That night we stepped the mast and installed the bow pulpit with some help from a local construction crane. On Saturday April 30th, we brought the boat from Great Harbor into Eel Pond. We rigged the lifelines and boom with the help of Fred Denton, Sam Moore, Sarah Fuller and Trudy Crowley.

Once she was mostly rigged, it was time for a shakedown sail. The forecast of 8-10 turned into 18kts (8+10), A fully hoisted main sail, suddenly made us feel over powered. We took a reef, set the small #3 jib and felt the boat balance out.

Wampum sailed downwind into the bottom of Great Harbor and back upwind into Vineyard Sound where the easterly wind was blowing straight against a strong flooding current causing 3-4 foot stacked seas. Immediately after tacking to head in we heard a distinct TWANG! as the lashings on the starboard check stay let go. We dropped sails immediately and motored in past Nobska Light with big smiles on our faces.

We caught the last bridge into eel pond at 4 PM to conclude an excellent sunny first day of sailing. With only 3 weeks until the Wednesday Night Twilight series in Marion begins there is still a lot to learn!