Saturday, February 28, 2015


Didn't take many (any?) pictures during the Midwinters but on the way back to Oceanside these guys took a nice flyby!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Technique: Hoisting your sail, solo

Kraken is setup for crewed sailing with halyards led aft to the cockpit. With a crew on board you typically have someone "jump" the halyard at the mast - a J motion using body weight to pull the line out and down then returning it to the mast base. During the return to the mast the pit man tails the line taking up slack. Done right the sail goes up super fast.

Harder to do solo but recently I've found a trick that helps at least when conditions are calm enough for it to be safe. Typically I've just hauled on the line from the cockpit, this is slower and on Kraken leaves a decent amount to grind up on the winch, the problem being not being able to use your weight and an extra 90 degree line turn absorbing some of your power. It also leaves you a long way from any snags.

Instead I stand in front of the mast facing aft. I do the same J motion with (for the main halyard) the line at the mast in my left hand and the tail led around a winch and back to my right hand. I then tail to myself.

Much faster!

For a while I tried doing this in the normal jumping position to the side of the mast but the tailing angle in the other hand was not comfortable.

To make this super slick I'm considering adding a turning block on the mast to have the halyard pull against.

As always tether yourself securely and don't fall in!!!

Race: Midwinters

This was a fun regatta, 7 boats entered and we cemented our more recent experiences of being in the fleet rather than following it around.

With a last minute withdrawal who magically appeared on another boat but not on their crew manifest we ran a little light for the conditions, in the past I'd have pushed hard to get numbers up but with the people on the boat had a lot of confidence that we'd pull it off.

Going into it we decided to have Sarah work both the mast and trim or tail. During maneuvers John took on Sarah's trimming duties and otherwise kept his head out of the boat. If things didn't work out it was nice knowing we had the experience to adjust and try different approaches but it worked pretty well and we sailed this way for both days.

Day one was light air from the SW.

Race 1 we picked up significant kelp can despite multiple attempts couldn't budge it, something we have to work on more. Despite dragging this from the first upwind beat we managed to hold onto 4th place.

Race 2 was going better we rounded the second leeward mark in third and right on the leaders when our genoa halyward blew. Crewwork getting the sail back on board and attached to spin1 was pretty quick but we lost a several places as the rest of the fleet had been compressed behind us. Luckily we were pushed far right while recovering and I think this worked to our benefit, putting us in 5th place in the end.

Race 3 (two beats and one run) we led until the last gybe when we had Adventure breathing down our neck and a split decision on board on what to do - sail a hot angle and fast or slow and inside. In the end we did neither, they were inside at the mark and we finished in second.

Day two heavier air (10-13kts, predicted at 15+).

Jon Gardner at North Sails pulled out some stops and we had a new spinnaker to play with, just missing day 1 because of the terrible weather the rest of the US has been suffering. With the new sail boat speed downwind was awesome and it seemed that only Sorcerer was on the same pace but it also felt like they weren't holding it as deep as we could. We decided to experiment with the #3 jib while the fleet went with their Genoas and in the end I think the power lost in the lulls was enough to push us back a bit because of the bumpy water, but this is a learning curve and running a few hundred pounds under the crew weight limit we played it conservatively. Next time in similar conditions we'll go the other way and see what the difference is.

Race 4 A little under-powered, ended 3rd, nothing much in my memory banks.

Race 5 A little under-powered and lost some boat lengths when a boat forced us to luff hard to avoid likely contact and then left us sitting slow and right on her - we had to tack away and subsequently sailed the wrong way with the same boat passing just in front of us at the windward mark (then turning down in front of us and later claiming that my call for room was invalid - apparently missing the point of 18.3, though in this case my belief is both boats sailed the rules perfectly). We were on starboard but my protest was thrown out due to incorrect flag use - a baseball cap doesn't quantify as a stand in and apparently there's a 17 second time limit. We'll be better prepared next time. In a close finish we ended up 5th by a single boat length and only a few more to 3rd.


3rd place in the last race would have given 3rd in the regatta, we ended up in 4th place overall from Adeline by two points and were only 8 points off the two lead boats Adventure and Melokia. I think the final position was fair and there's work to be done yet to really challenge the leaders but we'll get there :)

Running with John's eyes outside the boat was awesome and I concentrated on the telltales more.

Crew work was amazing. The bow was solid. Power was good, we worked hard on acceleration out of tacks and playing a clean and simple race. We didn't have a single major spinnaker problem, might have been a bit slower here and there than we'll be at the end of the year but many of the other boats were having to deal with major wraps and spinnaker resets while we didn't.

We also consolidated some more rules knowledge that will help and we hit a few different boat on boat situations that will get played differently next time.

Lastly this was a great chance to play with the jib, I think it was just slightly the wrong decision in the conditions but this was a good chance to get a feel for it against other 36.7's all running Genoas.

Great practice for the NOODs next month where we'll play a couple of extra tricks hidden up our sleeves, not to mention have more hands on deck!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gear: Bad News: Flaky paint

Pulled Kraken out of the water a couple of weeks ago and as she started drying up a couple of paint flakes came off, then some more, then... lots.

Looks like an earlier layer - not sure when but it was dark bottom paint coming off and at times red paint left underneath, had been applied wrong - with a primer that hadn't bonded to the underlying paint.

Solution? 5k of sodablasting, in SD. Likely some fairing, and new primer and paint. The end result, looking on the positive side, is we'll lose ten years of bottom paint and its weight. Also we'll know that it's done right.

Still - annoying!

Don't look here

Or here...

but still looks pretty if you don't look too close!

Race: Good way to end the year

We wrapped up 2014 with the Holiday Regatta in Oceanside. This was a three race series with the A fleet consisting of a J/130, a couple of Shock 35s and Kraken. Winds were light and shifty, 30 degree plus swings, no respect for a forecast, the upwind leg of race becoming the downwind leg of race two.

We placed well up the first beat and were in a solid position at the gybe mark - then got super lucky with a shift and crossed the line first, despite being the slowest boat of the fleet. In fact only Rasa from the previous fleet finished in front of us and only by a boat length. Nice start!

Second race we were doing really well but snagged some kelp near the end. having been right on Rasa's tail (Rasa swept the B fleet) we started dropping back but crossed the line some distance behind Shamen and Sirocco in our fleet. Turns out we won by 17 seconds over Shamen on corrected time and 19 over Sirocco. Woot!

The third race we split from the fleet and hit the wrong side of a shift. Never recovered from there. I never checked the corrected times but we won't have been too far off the others. Anyway, damage done at that point, regatta won.

Fun day, Kraken's first win under me and a great way to wrap up 2014!

I particularily like the second picture below as we're about to cross the finish significantly ahead of Sirocco with the yellow sail! Okay okay not significantly but if you add the 60 odd seconds a mile in...

Friday, December 5, 2014

VOR: Team Vestas running aground

Sucks to be the Skipper / Navigator this week. Lucky everyone is okay! Will be interesting to see if they can get back into the race though it seems really doubtful with such extensive damage. Its not clear yet if they'll even retrieve the boat but I really hope so!

Tuning: New prebend

Been playing with the mast some more, as we've had good speed my fingers are crossed that I haven't broken that but only improved it.

Last week I managed to get rid of the hook at the top of the mast - basically by rolling back to everything loose and re-tightening. I suspect the D2 pressure induced the hook.

Afterwards though I took a picture up the mast track decided the mast was not longer in column. One of the problems I had been having was setting the D2 tension so yesterday I went back up, dismantled them, cleaned them and had another go. Cleaning them made a HUGE difference. Previously the idea of hand tight was impossible, as you couldn't turn them by hand even when loose, now you can and I feel more confident about their tension.

In the picture below you can see the turnbuckle - there are rotating sleeves at A and B. As pressure increases A will likely bind and you have to be careful too not rotate the rod rigging - I started by trying to grip the rod but moved to gripping the turnbuckle body instead.

Straight? Straighter for sure.

 Notice the lack of bend up high.

Old shot for reference