|PeckForce Down! |
He lost the main deck patch and began to founder in the high winds...
|Selfless skippers snagged the PeckForce to keep her afloat till rescue could be had...Well done!|
So this is what happened.
After the first four races it became clear that the A-rig I had was hopelessly overpowered in the existing conditions; while I could wrestle it upwind, it was hopeless with repeated pitch-poling downwind. On more than one occasion I was at or near the lead at the first mark, and last at the downwind gate due to uncountable nose-diving. I had a good opening run, finishing 2nd and 1st in the first two races, and probably should have called it quits as the wind just kept building. I rather stubbornly decided to try and nurse the boat through the rest of the regatta, figuring I could save a bunch of points by avoiding all those DNS's. Sailing to stay upright rather than win, I was able to string together some finishes near the middle of the 20 boat field...so it seemed like it was working.
Unfortunately, about midway through the regatta the continued submergence must have weakened the main deck hatch enough to have it give way on a mark rounding with the deck rail buried, and in poured the water! PeckForce immediately started to founder, and the water knocked out the electronics. He quickly sank until only the bow, with a trapped air bubble, stayed afloat. Alert skippers immediately snagged the rapidly filly vessel, risking their own boats being dragged down with it, until it could be recovered. My thanks to everyone!
Surprisingly, after drying everything out, only the sail servo seems to be malfunctioning, amazingly the rudder servo and receiver still work fine...so, a few rigging repairs and a winch replacement, and he will back for the racing in the February series.
There are a number of lessons here; build-out all your rigs, and bring them no matter the forecast, learn to recognize when too much wind is REALLY too much wind, and check adhesive hatch covers frequently. Also, a boat that is well built without extra hull openings, can sometimes survive on a trapped air-pocket...so be sure to keep those hull openings at a minimum!
Below, are a few photos (courtesy of Check LeMahieu) that show PeckForce before his unfortunate attempt at bottom diving:
|PeckForce on the uproll, putting in a good finish early in the day...|
|High winds flattening the fleet, PeckForce in the hunt, but struggling with his A-rig.|
|Early in the day, the manageable winds put him in the hunt!|
|Third at the rounding...|
|Pre-start maneuvers...I had pretty decent starts for the most part.|
|I was able to hold on here, but the 20+ gusts buried me.|
|The penguin looks sharp on the rounding!|
That's all for now, but I'll have some more thoughts on sailing the DF soon!