Sunday, October 18, 2015


A fun day on the water had us racing in 8 - 16 knots. The Rick Johnson trophy is an awesome trophy and one day it would be nice to get Kraken's name on it but this year it was not to be. The main factor, perhaps bizarrely, was our ability to tack in stronger breeze.

Tacking right? Easy! We do it all the time?

Apparently not, and as arms got weary and the wind climbed and the sail got heavier it took us longer and longer to get the sail trimmed and boat speed back up.

Now I've had a chance to sit back and think about it it seems there are a bunch of things that we could have done.

  • We could have changed people around on the boat to get fresher arms in place
  • I could have either luffed or turned slower once through the wind to help the trimmers. While this would slow the boat down with the strong breeze we'd have been back up to speed much quicker than we were waiting for the headsail to come in.
  • We should have risked the jib for race #3. Could have left the genoa strapped down on the deck for a quick swap back. The boat was overpowered upwind during the race and tacking the smaller headsail is a breeze.
As it was we lost several boat lengths on every tack. We failed to make a mark on one layline with a horrible tack back with the pole out to clear it and we were out of contention for that trophy early on in each race.

Downwind conversely the boat felt good, we were getting up in the high 8s and holding pace with the other boats.

While thinking about it I found this article on releasing the Genoa (Sailing World).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

CYC Fall Regatta Delivery pictures.

NX2 Wind Transducer Woes Part II, or III, or IV

Over the last couple of years my NX2 wind transducer has frozen on three different occasions. The first time I sprayed it out with water and it worked again for a year. The second time I sprayed it with water and it maintained a small bit of friction running forwards. In the end I resorted to some silicon grease and it worked again for a couple of regattas but froze once more within a month.

Oddly it ran perfectly backwards.

Talking to a couple of people I ascertained that these were tricky to take apart and you can't get spare parts. Given it's frozen nature and the fact that replacement is very expensive I decided to have a go taking it apart anyway.

The transducer is on top of a carbon pole and I pushed a knife in between the two sides of the casing. When levering it apart the flange making a seal between the two sides sheared off - I'm not sure if this is UV damage or because I'm missing some technique. Inside one of the bearings supporting the propeller spindle was very rusty. Makes me think that spraying water in there to free it a year ago was NOT a good idea. Sadly this was the only advice on maintenance I've actually found online. I do wonder though it was already rusting at that point.

Cleaning up the rust I got my transducer going again, the other interior piece look okay. I've sealed the unit with tape for now and am going to try and source a new spindle or bearing and a new case. Or just keep fixing this one until there is no recovery. There is a little more friction than there used to be but I would expect it to work down to ~2 knots.

Other than the issue taking the unit apart its pretty neat inside. The spindle has a black and white ball on the end and a couple of sensors give the instrument information on rotation and frequency. There is no contact between the spindle and the sensors so friction is minimal, weight is also minimal.

Seems a shame not to be able to repair it properly!

This time I remembered to take piccies while up there (and wow - now I've got this blogspot account linked to my phone's backup on google getting the pictures is SUPER easy).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Kraken and Friends

Some of the boats at this weekends regatta stacked up at the end of the day.

CYC Fall Regatta

A fun weekend sailing in the South Bay again left us in a bad position in the regatta - and pretty much every race. We worked our way into good places and lost them, sailed badly downwind on day 1 and started badly all weekend. Coming out of a serious cold running into the regatta my foggy mental state and lack of experienced tactician to force me to sail in the right direction when I'm going the wrong way. Luckily we still had a few minor victories and enjoyed racing in wind from zero to fifteen knots - going from one to the other within thirty minutes at one point.

Highlight of the weekend was watching Melokia almost fall over when hit by a fair gust while on an unexpectedly tight reach. Also fun to sneak away from a becalmed fleet overhearing a voice from behind wonder how we were moving away like that.
Good positions lost through:
  • Not sailing well downwind on day 1
  • Not covering the fleet upwind on day 2
Bad positions gained through:
  • Not starting well all weekend, had to double tack to avoid a collision with a port tack boat on one start had a windward boat refusing to lift up and get out of the way and for the other three races I was late and buried in every start. Regarding those boats the former took a turn even though I didn't protest which was very civil of them the latter admitted wrong doing later on. The way I've been treating boats is they get a single shot - a good apology will go someway towards future leeway on transgressions otherwise the flag hand gets twitchy. A few of boats in the 36.7 fleet now get my flag hand twitchy....
  • Sailing in bad air. I'm starting to get to grips with how critical this is but tacks are costly too and the balance is not yet clear (also vs shifts etc).
  • More aggressive starts, being over early occasionally is worth it if you're getting decent positions. At the moment we're never over early, and setting ourselves up for bad races.
  • Be proactive downwind - if we're slow fix it we shouldn't be slow, we're not slow unless we're not setting our sails correctly.
  • Don't throw positions away. Cover, consolidate, cover. Worry about what you've gained more than the one or two positions you might get while letting everyone else potentially threaten you.
  • Gybing
    • I'm not sure how this came to be but we've had trimmers swapping lines on Kraken during gybes. This is now a banned practice. We can swap them later if needed. Swapping adds huge confusion and at exactly the wrong time. Trimmer needs to push the clew forwards and add wraps as it goes ready for the pressure of the pole, the pole gets brought back, wraps taken off when the sail is well rotated and pressure is lower. I'm open to having the more experienced trimmer take control of both lines through the gybe if that's needed.
    • Don't turn too fast. I don't want to stop my turn, but getting ahead of the trimmers is not helping. So my current stance is "I don't want to stop the turn so please trim as fast as possible but I am going to stop".
  • Takedowns
    • Headsail up earlier in stronger winds
    • Pole down earlier, especially in stronger winds. We've done worse in the past but still an issue. Doesn't help when you have to put in an unexpected gybe right at the end but I guess we need to be quicker at saying just jump the pole, headsail up, round the mark and profit.
    • Use stretch and blow when reaching above 10 knots 
  • In a drifting fest clear your air, even if if feels like you are going the wrong way if you are moving its an advantage and clear air is king. Don't wait 20 minutes before thinking about this.
  • Strategy
    • Read the forecast again before every race in a regatta, compare with experience, make a guess on what's coming, go in with a plan, every race. This probably would have had us covering the fleet tighter and not getting punished by a 20+ degree shift.
  • Random
  • Tuning - every race, do it and create a table of settings and conditions