Friday, January 17, 2014

The shape of speed?

New 3Di Headsail to complement the 3Di main. We've actually been hanging pretty well upwind so it'll be interesting to see what this does for us. Certainly going to be nice to have a fast sail without a leech hook.

Overall the sail looks a bit deeper (inches) than my current #1, both at the foot and the upper leech. The airfoil looks smooth and in theory we'll need less halyard tension to keep the draft forwards.

Sadly its going to be a couple of weeks before we get wind, or so it seems right now :( Can't wait to try it out.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Turkey Day

Second racing day for Kraken with the Oceanside Turkey Day race.

Again 8 boats entered and this time we moved a little higher up the list coming in 5th. Overall things went pretty well and we had a bunch of things that could be improved, including not hitting Barton's head with the spinnaker pole. We were 4 minutes behind 4th place and about 13 minutes behind the leaders after an hour and a half. The last three legs were pretty straightforward and I felt we were closing steadily on the leaders, just lost a lot of time early on.

So - easy ways to save a few minutes and continue our improvements:

  • I started the countdown on the warning, not the 5 minutes mark, causing confusion and costing us a decent start
  • Probably lost a minute right at the start, maybe more
  • We tacked a little low on the mark, probably should have tacked closer to the mark or played it a bit safer. This left us with an extra tack and contributed to our first spinnker hoist confusion
  • On our extra tack we went higher than we needed too (we had a line problem caused by the partial setup of the spinnaker). Looks like we sailed an extra minute on this tack.
  • Our first spinnaker hoist took some extra time, about two minutes. Not sure how much time this actually cost us (less than not fixing issues and botching the hoist would have!) but some savings can still be had here
  • On our first downwind leg we sailed a bit high. After the gybe we were going slower but our downwind velocity was 20% better. Trouble is it just feels better sailing high! When high we were up at 140degrees, when low we were 160 and beyond.
  • On the reach to the OC mark we should have sheeted the headsail from the rail. This was a long leg and we could have gained a bit of speed.


Overall I really feel we can't point properly, tacking through 90 degrees is currently good (and the exception) and we should be approaching tacking through 85. More commonly we're tacking through 95ish. Some of this is down to improving sail trim but I'm also hoping that a fresh #1 Genoa is going to really help.

I don't have recordings from the last race but suspect we knocked over five minutes off what we would have managed.

NMEA Turkey Day Viewer

Will post any photos people got, and trim down the video and post later.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not Another Practice

Okay it was. Got out, did some turns upwind trying a suggestion from Jordan to use the pit (Aaron) as grinder for the jib trimmers. Eventually got all distracted by dolphins and ended up further upwind than intended. Which left us longer to go on a steadily declining wind downwind. Good time for a lot of gybe practices and the last one didn't seem too bad! Also lots more of our dolphin friends came to play.

Sunday is our next race, we'll see how, or if, we've improved. I think we have....

Thanks Adam and Jordan for the awesome shots!








Monday, October 21, 2013

First Race

A long time with no posts but post the release of GTA sailing has been happening, including Kraken's first race. This post is my takeaway from the race.

In a field of 8 boats we finished 7th, 6th and 7th. For me the main thing was turning up, getting across the startline and making it through the main components of racing Kraken, and on that basis the day was completely successful!

Overall we got the boat going at speed a fair few times, both upwind and downwind. I think we've got some well matched boats to race against in the local fleet and they seem pretty well sailed so we can have some fun getting to grips with then and it'll be good preparation for larger races elsewhere.
We were definitely short handed for spinnaker flying but by the end of the day we were working much better.
For our experience level it was a pretty good start though I'd have to say Jordan saved the day!
The really good news is that we lost buckets of time (minutes here, minutes there) in ways that are hopefully pretty easily remedied to get better results quickly.

Next time I'll make sure to organize some food!

Starting
  • First start wasn't too bad but could have been a lot tighter, it was a miracle we made the last two :) on the second start we probably should have continued on port looking to duck the fleet but I was worried about them leaving a gap in front of the committee boat, I think it would have been better to try this than the slow tack and consequent slow start we made.
  • From what I could see the fleet tended to start slow and bunched at the committee boat and there might be some good room for clean fast starts a little clear of all the trouble in future races.
  • I've ordered a starting watch with 5 minute countdowns...

Upwind
  • We were a little off the pace but I didn't feel that boat speed was horrible overall. 
  • I was definitely a bit wandery as a helmsman and need to work on holding a more optimal course.
  • Jordan had some ideas about getting our tacks slicker. There might be some clues here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy2zxgFpFcI
  • That headsail needs re-cutting / replacing. That's a project for this winter, probably the next major project I have for the boat.
  • After initial trim the headsail needs to come in tight - just about touching the top spreader. While its important to get weight highside fast the trimmer should wait long enough to see if the sail pulls further out as the boat accelerates and it powers up.

Downwind
  • We had one roundup when bearing away, need to make sure the main goes out before doing this when traveling at any speed as it just has too much power and overrides the rudder. I'd read about this but this was the first time it had happened to me in Kraken.
  • It would be good to change the headstay, headsail hoists and drops are way too slow with the roller furling unit. I have another headstay but will need help swapping them out.
  • Need to pick the longer leg first, with our speed of maneuvering downwind we need the time to setup the gybe at the moment. Also of course, its better tactically in general.

Spinnaker
  • Need to practice raising and lowering the spinnaker - too much reliance in Jordan who had to work his ass off. If people are up for it we could do a couple of lunchtime practice sessions. This would include setup, launch, gybe if the wind direction allows, takedown and repack, all at the dock.
  • Watching some videos of 36.7s racing (for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESqUsucDEDo) the standard on downwind legs is dropping into the forward hatch.

Tactics
  • I had no idea which end at the start was favored (didn't check)
  • We weren't tracking wind shifts. We only tacked on one.
  • After the first two races we should have packed the spinnaker on upwind leg and concentrated on getting the headsail set, getting to the start late was a killer blow each time.
  • On race two's second spinnaker leg (the reach to the shore) we should have raised the headsail earlier.
  • On race two's last leg we should have gybed then set, might have made a position this way.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oceanside to San Diego

Moved Kraken so Shelter Island Boat Yard so she can have some repairs. Wind was from the SW so rather than your typical run this was upwind. We headed off under engine for a couple of hours to get a good angle then sailed a four hour beat to the tip of Point Loma where we wiggled through the kelp and turned into the bay.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Finally some wind

Finally got out in some stronger breeze, where stronger was 12-14kts. Also had my data recording working and got a chart of our speed.

Pretty obvious that its going to take a while to get a race crew settled. Initially we sailed upwind, working on tacking then raised the spinnaker and ran for a while. Almost hit 10kts on a small wave but not quite into double figures yet. Next time!

We gybed about 5-6 times and only the last one wasn't a disaster - hopefully no-one was watching. Wondering what the difference was between this and the previous week was, where the gybes were a bit slow but not disasters I came up with a few reasons:
- The wind was stronger
- Because we were a man down I worked mast myself, thinking I could see the whole boat, I couldn't and this left two novices trimming without enough oversite. I need to stay in the afterguard.
- Adding lazy jacks simplified life up front but made trimmers lives more complicated, which combined with the above point was a problem.

To fix the problem with the lazy jacks I think we need to steer down under the spinnaker, swap the pole and sheet trimmer and have them sheet their new line in on the new side until the line it replaces goes slack, then get that line off its winch asap. Sounds simple in practice but with 7 people clambering over the boat who don't know what they are doing it's surprisingly not at the time.

Next time....

Having said all that it was a perfect sailing day, lovely weather, fun people to be on the boat with and we steadily got better during the day!

Here's our speed chart, when I've got the data crunching app in a bit better shape I'll add it to the software section (but still leave the really basic connection code there as a starting point if needed). Max recorded speed 9.67kts.

Thanks Hongo for the pictures!