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PostPosted: May 25th, '15, 13:23 
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Though experienced sailors already know it, we rookies need to understand that the biggest factor affecting the speed of our boat is not the boat itself, but how we handle it. Knowing this is a good tonic for that misguided impulse to get a bigger, faster boat (at least until we've got plenty of sea-miles under our belts).

I'm still getting to know my Austral 20. Until yesterday, I had only taken her out in light winds. I don't want to scare the Admiral, and I'd prefer to make up the usual litany of rookie errors (like connecting the fuel hose the wrong way round) when they won't amount to much. Also, I just got my boat licence. Strictly speaking, it was unnecessary as my outboard is only 6HP (you need a licence for anything above 6HP), but it was useful to learn about navigation, safety and legal requirements.

So yesterday, on Sunday, I enrolled in the SAGS race (handicapped racing for the fun of it) out of Wynnum with a forecast of 20 to 25 knots. I picked up a walk-on crew, Peter, who had very useful sailing experience with dinghies. I also heeded the advice of an experienced competitor to reef the main before we went out, and not to fully unfurl the headsail. She advised that we could always shake out the reefs if we felt comfortable, but putting them in whilst underway would be hard, if not impossible.

For any psychologists out there, my reactions would make quite a good case study. Over the first leg, as we chopped through a short swell, I was terrified that my nice new 1 tonne boat would fall over and we'd drown, so I sat up on the combings trying to keep her upright. That feeling eventually subsided, and I was eventually persuaded down into the cockpit and slowly got to feel comfortable with a 15 to 25 degree heel. No, she wasn't going to fall over, but you need to learn that through experience. In fact, she was quite comfortable on the heel.

The partly-unfurled headsail made heavy work beating into wind. Part of the problem, I think, was the difficulty in getting the headsail halyard fully tensioned. We experimented with the backstay. I might try this again - ease off the backstay a little, tension the halyard (winch and jammer - very little leverage), re-tension the backstay (4 to 1 block - plenty of leverage). More tension in the headsail halyard allowed us to point upwind better.

Maybe it was my perceptions, but the conditions developed to allow us to fully unfurl the headsail, and the boat got a little faster and a lot more responsive. The boat felt less panicky. Maybe that was just me.

I'm pleased to report that we actually finished the race - my first finish. We were miles behind the rest of the fleet, which is quite an achievement because the course was only about 9 nautical miles long. Coming home in the late afternoon on a run, then a broad reach at 5.5 to 6.5 knots was just magic.

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PostPosted: May 25th, '15, 13:40 
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Sea trials of Yakumin or the 'see' trials of Martin?

you had fun and didn't scare the Admiral - all very wise........

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PostPosted: May 25th, '15, 14:30 
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One point Martin,

Roller furlers can't maintain a good sail shape when partly furled.

My opinion would have been to unfurl the sail and don't haul it in so tight, of fit a smaller jib.

You may have found the smaller jib flowing and giving better performance than a poorly shaped partly furled jib.

But you finished, learnt more about the boat, did not break anything, or anyone, so it all adds up to a good days sailing.

Jeff

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PostPosted: May 25th, '15, 17:29 
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MoodyBlue wrote:
One point Martin,

Roller furlers can't maintain a good sail shape when partly furled.

Jeff


Yup, I can see that now. The headsail was flapping around like a rag in the wind. Next time ...

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http://theboattinkerer.blogspot.com.au/


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