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Monday, June 29, 2015

White Rock Cup Report

The 2015 White Rock Cup is in the books, and here's the skinny!

Weather: Bad thunderstorms the night before led to the run-off of branches, tree limbs, etc. being swept down the course in the morning by a north wind. Wave action was slight, but from this angle, the chop was bad, i.e. low waves with a short trough. Wind was generally 8-12 mph, with gusts above 15 and some lulls around 5. Fortunately by lunch most of the debris had cleared out and the course was fairly steady, if somewhat port favored.

The Fleet: 17 boats (13 DF) for 21 races; three throw-outs and one mandatory redress for swapping duties as RD (which worked very well). Chris Macaluso took first in his DF, Eric Rosebaum second in his Wahoo, and Brig North 3rd in his DF. Prizes were also awarded to the top three DF skippers as a separate class.

How did Peck fare? A somewhat disappointing 11th, though a few points improve the situation. Took a DNS on the last race which boosted my point total, and my redress score, probably cost me 10th, which I missed by three points. Average position (number of races actually sailed/total points of those races) was 9th (8.9 actually), which is not bad considering the level of competition. Sadly, at some point in the later racing (I speculate around race 18) Peck apparently struck some submerged debris and suffered significant keel damage (pictures below). The keel fin was badly twisted, and the bulb offset about 20º to port...not fast! Fortunately the hull and keel box remained sound and watertight, so it is a simple matter of replacing the fin & bulb with a new keel (about a weekend project). Otherwise Peck ran well, a bit too much weather helm, but he could really point up when the wind allowed, and was very fast on the runs.

Observations: Skippers sailing the WRC should plan on dealing with some chop, even though it isn't always present, I've discussed some ideas here and here. The competition at this regatta was pretty high-level, and while I had generally good starts and course selection, I needed to be a bit more assertive of my rights sailing; for example: a few times I let a windward boat pester me into tacking before I liked, or had room to do so. Boat trim was good, though it took a bit to work out some excessive weather these conditions high was not fast! I've made some notes on minor rig improvements to make on the Mustang, which I will detail in due course. Lastly, with my new boat, I need to race more often and hone my skills and sail trim...I'm much better than I was, I need to progress to the next level...and that means practice. With Peck worked up now, I 'll always have Roo to trial against! I'm definitely prioritizing rigs though at A, B, A-, and then we'll see about C.

The Dragon Force's were not terribly disadvantaged in this regatta; they sailed in A the whole time with their lower-aspect rigs, which combined with their weight, helped them contend with the chop a bit better, though they too experienced some difficulties till the wind built. The other RG's had to chase rigs for a bit, when the weather oscillated on the A rig/B rig bubble, but in almost all cases had scorching speed down-wind (all were higher aspect swing rigs). A good strategy moving forward, since I sail with so many DF's, is to stay clear and close upwind, and hit overdrive going downwind!

Photo's below are by Chuck LeMahieu unless otherwise noted, his extensive photo collection of the regatta can be seen in full here.

Now, time to finish the Mustang and start working up for next year!

A nice study of Peck powering along on the beat.

Chuck North's fast Little Best, at the finish.

Mauricio's own design, with spectacular, shiny, home-made sails. Also, note the partial chine.

Busy start! See Peck in there?

The fleet starts pulling away after the start, Peck looks in good position here...

Chris Macaluso's tough to beat DF.

Rounding at the leeward gate, note the height of the rigs on Peck (#50) and Eric's Wahoo (#11).

The White Rock chop...look at Peck's bow leaping into the air, in deceptively flat water.

Chuck LeMahieu (#109) and Brig North (#34) running downwind.

Close racing was the order of the day...

Peck in 5th on the beat.

Chuck's DF Atomic Annie buries its nose on the down-roll.

Peck in good position, but pinching with a bit too much weather helm.

Another example of the chop, flat looking water, but short wave action has Peck leap from the water.

Chuck North's Little Best, very fast!

Peck cuts through the downwind boats on starboard, tricky business!

Bob Piper (#65) and Brig North (#34) from the TRYC.

Close action at the mark rounding.

Another example of the pitching motion prevalent.

Peck in 4th heading down on the run! The high aspect swing rig will power him up here...

Peck...and Peck! My photo.

Fleet after start moving to the port tack. My photo.

Eric's Wahoo making time on the beat. My photo.

The fleet heads towards the offset. My photo.

Uncle Peck Wants You! Obligatory Peck photo bomb...

Me during a break...My Photo.

...and the keel damage, note the twist in the fin and the 20º skew...My photo.

Pretty bad, going to replace the fin & bulb. My photo.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Reader-Built Blue Splash!

Blog follower György from New Caledonia has been following the Model Yachting Blog for a while, and decided to take his hand at building a Blue Splash after following the construction of Peck and Mustang. He recently shared some photos:

There are some interesting features in this picture, the sail servo is forward of the keel box, the rudder servo, receiver and battery aft; I wonder if this would distribute the weight better than my arrangement, which is all aft of the keel box. I particularly like the servo fittings, they look light, strong and simple. You may note that with a congenitally rigged boat, the raised foredeck is an option and it is visible here with below deck supports attached. The cut-outs marked in the deck save weight and give hull access, but add a potential water entry area if the patches aren't tight. Lastly, note how the sheer planks have been added to the hull, rather than the deck.

Nice looking boat! György mentions it went well in a test sail against two Goth RG-65's with "surprising" acceleration...Nice work!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Video Blog: Thoughts on a rig for Choppy Conditions

Raced in the White Rock Cup today, lots of stuff to report on for later, but here is some thoughts on optimizing a rig for the choppy water that is not infrequent at White Rock, and other windy venues...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Video Blog: Building a Swing-Rig

Another video, going into some detail on the construction of an Eric Rosenbaum designed swing-rig; in this case for the Blue Splash RG-65 Mustang. You can look over instructions Eric has done on the rig here, and a good article he has written on the subject here. Swing-rigs are a fascinating subject, and my interest in vintage vane sailing sees many similarities (sounds like an article I should write!)

Briefly, my opinion is the swing-rig doesn't point quite as well as a Bermuda rig, but makes up for it with a disproportionate gain in speed, and is very fast running downwind. These advantages are more manifest in light air, though in almost any scenario the rig is a difficult beast on a reach.

Anyway, starting on Mustang's rigs is a good time to share some building notes.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Video Blog: Rig Adjustment

A brief explanation of tuning Peck's B-rig; as mentioned previously the jib boom was too long and pushing the jib luff too far from the mast, and distorting the pivot point. The shortened jib boom fixes these problems and I look forward to trying it out!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Club Sail Day; Work up for the White Rock Cup

A good day of RG-65 sailing today, in atypical cloudy, windy, weather with pretty good wave action. The conditions put the RG-65's into top B-rig for a good portion of the day, which made them run very evenly with their Dragonforce cousins. Chuck LeMahieu summed up sailing White Rock in these conditions; "stay close and wait for your opponent to blow a tack"...good advice!

Anyhow, this is an anniversary of sorts, as I turned Peck over to his rightful owner, Andrew. The Mustang will be complete soon, and after a year of tweaking and work-ups, Roo now has a good boat to start his sailing career...I split races with him, and he did very well for a first timer, one minor infraction, no last place finishes (4-4-5-4), and completed every race...a very credible performance in windy conditions that made tacking the swing-rig difficult. Good Job! I sailed the other races at 4-3-4-2.

As expected, Peck ran well, with good speed. As a small bonus, Eric Rosenbaum finally noticed the cause of the geometry issue with the B-rig that slowed Peck down a bit and made tacking difficult. Essentially, the jib boom is too long, which has moved the jib to far forward from the mast, and put the pivot point in the wrong place, causing the jib to "weather vane" into the wind during tacks. The simple fix of shortening the jib boom should move the jib closer to the mast, and make the pivot point correct...making the rig more efficient (faster) and easier to tack. Thanks Eric!

Anyhow, a few pics before next weeks big regatta!

Roo getting Peck rigged-up

Mustang visits her home...she'll be ready soon!

Deck patches going on...

Captain Roo takes him out!

Nice game face!

In B-rig, Peck powers up on the run

Concentrating up-top

Nosing through for his first finish!

...edged a Dragon Force!

Closing the line, Roo did well in his pre-starts.

The Peck graphic is quite visible, and a good indicator of heel angle.

Powered-up on a starboard reach in B-rig

Fourth, and not far behind!

Proud Skipper!

Running down fast.

Chasing Chuck North's Little Best...

Staying close, which is good because the Little Best is quick!

Crossing Eric's Wahoo on starboard

Nicely positioned for the finish!