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Monday, April 7, 2014

Video Blog: RG-65 performance in choppy water

Here's a video blog discussing some performance issues with the RG-65 noted during the U.S. National Championship last weekend in Dallas. Essentially, the short length, light weight, and tall rigs can result in violent pitching in the right (or wrong!) conditions. This causes the rig to depower and trouble accelerating or tacking. Please feel free to comment on this issue, maybe I'll do a follow-up on your suggestions!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 White Rock Cup; RG-65 National Championship

The 2014 RG-65 National Championship is in the books, and I've completed my first RG-65 regatta. I have to say, racing a boat you have actually built is an entirely more satisfying experience than just buying one, at least in my opinion. The Dragonforce class also raced and separate trophies were awarded. The U.S. Champion for this year is Tony Gonzalves and his yellow Missile from Mirage Boats, and Brig North from our club took the top Dragonforce honors, at about 5th overall (I think).

I raced Andy's Blue Splash Peck since my own boat is incomplete, and finished 10th, which is quite satisfactory for me, and certainly my highest showing in a long time!

The weather was light and shifty on day one, rainy and light on day two, with perhaps two races consistently above 10mph. Ray Seta did a nice job keeping things moving in the trying weather.

My observations:

Peck is fast! Gary Boell commented that several times he observed him (Peck) having the best VMG up the course. A couple of times I ran up on people for fouls because I underestimated his speed and acceleration...took some getting used to! So...

The Con's:

Radio board is not well designed, I'll remove it for a total rebuild and design a new one for my boat.

Floor of the battery compartment partially collapsed.

Boat still ships too much water and I'm not sure how...more tank testing.

Need to reengineer the rig attachments for better geometry.

Rigs need minor tweaks.

The Pro's:

Speed. The boat is fast, well-balanced and maneuverable.

Rigs. The Eric Rosebaum produced swing rig kits and sails are easily the match of anything out there.

Reliability. Didn't miss a race or have a breakdown.

An almost supernatural ability to hang in maneuvers in very light wind, useful for getting around marks!

Other observations: The high aspect swing-rigs were lightning fast in light air, their biggest draw back, definitely reaching courses. The swing rigs are a little different to sail and tune, but the learning curve isn't bad, I'm light years ahead of where I was at the start of the regatta. In Peck's case, for example, he would power up so quickly, it took some time to figure out how to dump speed in tight situations like starts or mark roundings, unlike a conventional rig, you just can't ease the sheets...

Dragonforce's can be competitive when the wind is up, say at least 15+ mph, but will struggle with other RG-65's below that threshold. Saturday I was repeatedly able to roll them down wind in light airs, for example. Good skippers will still usually win out though, as shown by Brig and Chuck sailing into the top 10.

Like any smaller boat, low is fast, always better to foot and keep moving.

Money doesn't talk. You can buy an expensive, brand name, carbon fiber beauty, and she'll be good, but hardly a magic bullet...Peck's material cost, including his rig, is about $300, and he was as fast as anything...other inexpensive boats also fared very well.

Thanks Roo, for letting me use your boat, after two major regattas its time to get all the boats cleaned and equipment repaired for the summer!

Some pics to close out...

Peck maneuvering before a start...

Testing the B-rig on Friday, about the size of a DF A-rig.

A nice study powering along on the beat to the first mark. The Penguin looks smart at this angle of heel!

Chuck's Dragonforce beating upwind.

Nice view of a start.

Nice view aft, sailing out from the dock to race.

Eric's Wahoo.

Peck with one of the boats I spent a lot of time in proximity with, a Little Best from Brazil.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Blowout, Day Three

Well, day three came to a quick end for me; we had had heavy wind, C-rig time at last, and in my second heat I was drilled on the starboard tack, with the rail in the water it put a two inch crack through the deck. After playing around with it, I decided that in the stressful conditions, it was risking getting even bigger (lie a crack on a windshield) and decided it was best to withdraw...I was in 19th place at the time, but I'll fall below my goal of 20 or above. Still not a bad outing, and something to build on.

Chris Macaluso got a few nice shots of Juno with his GoPro, check her out passing him just astern in B-rig conditions Friday:

You can see his 10 minute video here:

Here's my own video, showing the windy conditions for the day!

And some pictures...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

TRYC Blow-out, Day Two

Sailed much better today! Since the rig was reasonably well-tuned from yesterday, I just went with it...very light air this morning and most of the day, all A-rigs. I loosened things up a bit and added some curve and Juno sailed quite well. I resisted the temptation to get sucked into pointing up and tried going low and fast, picking better courses with less congestion, and staying in phase...made it to A fleet several times (the first in perhaps years!), and was able to stay there a few goal of cracking the top twenty is in sight, I think I'm 19 right now, I was in the 30's last year.

A video and few more pics...