Saturday, October 18, 2014

Race: The Rick Johnson Memorial

The Rick Johnson memorial regatta marked a year racing Kraken. Looking good the day before three crew withdrew last minute ........ so we sailed with five on board.

Winds were 9-13 knots all day and we got some lovely sailing in. Sarah took on the foredeck, and mast and will probably have a few bruises to show tomorrow  but did great in a jump in at the deep end situation. The rest of us jumped around the back of the boat trying not to step on each other's toes too much. I'm aching and I was behind the wheel most of the time!

With three races we placed 2/4, 2/4, 2/4 in class and out of the 7 boats racing 2nd on overall corrected time. This was a smaller fleet than last year where I seem to remember placing 7/8.

Starts - not terrible, a bit slow at the first one, a little late on the second (though we may have won it?). Second by a few seconds on the last but fairly quickly powered over Briar Rose.

Upwind - good boat speed and pointing. Overpowered above 10 knots but mostly controllable with traveller. Did not do a good job tracking the shifts but did do a good job covering Shamen and pulled off the best lee bow on them to date. Gringo beat us one upwind getting inside at the top mark but otherwise I think we won all three initial beats and we passed Gringo at that top mark anyway. The new tuning seemed to work really well, but probably could have tightened the rig more than I did after the first race. Overall we were pointing as high as everyone else and going as fast, or a little faster so I'm not going to complain too much, just keep pushing this aspect.

Downwind boat speed seemed okay. We had the pole too low and sometimes had the sheet tweaked needlessly. Maneuvers were tricky and overall stressful on everyone as shorthanded and lacking experience sailing this way but we survived and didn't break anything (though I'll be going up the mast this week to bring a halyard back to earth!).

Hopefully we learnt enough to improve next time though.

The Oceanside "C" leeward mark bites us more than any other leeward mark. I don't know why. Going to have to go and sprinkle some Kraken rum around it. It bit us both times today, once a nibble, the second time a big chomp.

Still - second and close to Shamen in first place in two out of three races despite being shorthanded. Actually quite awesome to have made so many mistakes and be so close to them. Next year!

Here are some bonus dolphins that joined us while milling around between races:

Wind: 8 -> 13 knots
Rig: Vs -31, Ds hand tight

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Race: Volvo Ocean Race

This probably won't be my last shout out to this race before it's over. Right now the boats are heading past the coast of Africa and aiming for the trade winds on their first leg. Racing has been tight though from today the spread of the the 7 boat fleet has gone from less than 10nm after five days racing to nearly 30.

They are pushing out a load of videos also - all viewable on their website.

There have been lots of lead changes over the last few days and it can be followed on their rather snazzy app - below is a iPhone5 screen shot. Personally I'm shooting for SCA (all girls, was leading a couple of times but currently at the back) and DongFeng (mostly grizzled round eyes but a couple of Chinese sailors on board) who were at the back of the pack but are currently leading.

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Here's a longer video introducing some of the sailors and teams.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gear: Wind Transducer Woes (Update.2).


After dragging a hose up the mast and spraying down the wind transducer a couple of times it hung on until the Beneteau cup. Prior to the first race it stopped, but then gamefully worked during most of the racing bar a couple of slow downwind sections but on the way home reaching at 7+ knots it just gave up the ghost.

So this time I took it off and cleaned it "properly".

Getting it off took two trips up the mast as the screws holding it on were pretty stuck. A second attempt with lube and an impact screwdriver did the trick.

Once off I took it home and stuck it in the kitchen sink and flushed lots of simple green through it. Starting off with it fairly hard to turn (friction by hand and nothing if you blew on it) things loosened up and now I'm happy say it needs just a whisper to get going.

You can see how dirty it had got in the pictures below. Much cleaner after a good wipe down!

The smoke in the middle of the panorama was due to a helicopter crash on Camp Pendleton.

Technique: Tuning

Sailing today in super light winds (2-6 knots) it seemed like there was some power and the boat kept moving but honestly it's difficult to know exactly until tried out against other boats.

Before the Vs were at 47, I brought them down to 37 then while we were sailing down to 35 on the loos gauge. Post sail I dropped even further to 31, the NS guide for 4-8knots of wind.

Something that seemed interesting to me was that looking at the sail with the eye and then with a photo the depth seems different.

Looking at this is seems the draft was further aft than I wanted, though I did want it aft in the light winds and gentle seas.

Chick from Kea recommends running a little looser (2-3 on the gauge) than the tuning guide, given his local dominance that might be some good advice...

A reference picture from North Sail's guide for light-medium wind mainsail tuning is below. Draft is further forwards and the leech is more closed.

We'll see if the folks at sailnet can come up with some interesting comparisons.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Technique: Tuning


Finally had a proper look at the tuning on the boat. Assuming my LOOS gauge is roughly accurate we were setup for about 20knots of breeze, not the usual <10 we get. Not only that but the tension on the D1s was unbalanced and far too low so in the stronger winds we were probably still getting a load of side bend, just without the curve of the mast. I think.... this tuning thing is still a bit of a mystery.

I loosened up the Vs and D1s (outer masthead and lower diagonals). It took a while to get used to the way adjusting one side directly effects the other, so to reach a desired tension with a balanced finished result you need to progressively work on each side.

At the same time I did push the V's a little to the starboard side as the mast wasn't quite centered. It's closer now but I think I can push it some more.

Hopefully it's still straight....

Will be very interesting to see what difference this change makes this weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Technique: Tuning

North sails new tuning guide for the 36.7 features a picture of Kraken and a nice complement. We were going well upwind that race, our problems were all downwind, hopefully improved since then!

Reason I'm looking at it is that this is one of the next parts to racing Kraken that I'm going to start pushing. Racing at the weekend I felt we could have got more depth into the main in the light conditions, straightening the mast could have helped. Racing in the Beneteau Cup we were a little over powered at times, but then again underpowered at other times. Re-tuning between races might have helped keep us in the groove, improving pointing in stronger winds and power in lighter conditions.