Donnerstag, April 24, 2008

An evening out on the Moth

Yesterday, after getting ready with work and everything else like playing a round of football with the little one (got drubbed 4:5 and 2:5) I managed an hour af Mothing. Had to play against the wind (strong) and therefore got the idea of going sailing afterwards. A little more tweaking on the boat and a new, tighter tramp rig and it was already 19.00h. The wind from the east had calmed down to small white caps and about 4 Bft. I managed some good upwind legs though my upper legs hurted badly. Had good speed and a better boathandling than the other days on the reach/run but never a good jibe. Maybe I tried too hard. Ended up with the boom sticking into the air which than costs a lot of energy to get the boat into position for a re-start. Maybe I should try a more conservative approach to jibing first. Getting the boat low and safe around onto a tight reach to get it on foils and than bear away. But as a former slalom windsurfer I know what it costs dearly when you blow the jibe and have to go nearly upwind first when actually you want to head downwind.

Anyway it was a good session and I had seen some progress. Less time in the water and good solid flights. And as I used to say to my buddies: "It is the hours which you have spend on the rail that counts at the end. Talent is only 10-20 percent involved". Looking for more hours on the Moth as the temperature is raising now.

Edited: I ripped the above Foto from the Bladerider site to give my motivation a kick. I am a Regatta man and I should be able to do this...

Montag, April 21, 2008

Wind, Wind and not much progress...

Just got the photos from my Finn session which happened already on the Sunday a week ago. I have added these photos to my recent post to shut down the remarks which are about like the Sailing Anarchy phrase: "Pics or it didn´t happen".

Have been busy with the Moth over the weekend, renewing the ropes for the tramp which had chafed through as well as the very thin shockcords. Not being very fuzzy with the weight, I upgraded to a little thicker quality. There are always small jobs to do with this boat, with any boat to my experience, but the Moth is critical to the smallest of changes or wear. If you go out by yourself there is nothing you can do if you have a breakdown on the gear and all you can do is to drift ashore somewhere. That is why I hate offshore winds. Anyway Saturday there was too much wind for me and when it had calmed down in the evening to a handy 4-5m/sec (3,5Bft) we had to leave home to a BBQ party. A good alternative to put on even more weight than just the thicker shockcords.

Sunday the boat had been in good conditions and it was already impatiently shaking on it´s trolley. Sun was out and I put the boat in the water in the afternoon. White caps and abt. 10m/sec did not make life easy for me. I could manage a straight line to windward but I did not reach my goal of 3 miles upwind and than down as I gave the downwind a try after three or four bad tacks, ending in the water. It was scary. More boomvang, more outhaul (need to change that stiff rope) but in earnest I did not do very well. Not deep enough and watering myself way too much. And oh, these capsizes, when you end up with the boom sticking into the air downwind and you try so hard to get the mast out of the water, turn a bit into the wind and help the boom to go down. You push it and it won´t. You have to lean out hard otherwise you stick the masttop into the mud. Righting the boat than means a handful of dirt on your head. Dinghy sailors on lakes know about this special experience. I gave up fighting the boat and went ashore. For a drink, warming up in the evening sun and to think about my manoeuvres. Took the boat for another spin and it was so much better. Enjoyed the upwind and managed decent depth downwind. Past some boat with speed, got the passengers from the round trip boat looking. Cameras clicking. Well this motivates, makes you a better sailor for the moment. At least that is what I thought.

Freitag, April 18, 2008

Update: This weeks sailing.

Already 2 evenings on the water due to the daylight saving time. I love it.
Got the boat in the water on Tuesday after we came back home from France. We did it without a sleeping stop this time.I took the Moth out just for an hour to see how I can manage it alone from the green in front of the house. There is a stone wall which I have to climb down a meter. Of course first priority is not to damage the carbon shell. Used the new foils. Got going upwind easy but downwind it felt a bit like a rodeo ride. Not very funny and it puzzled me. The boat always behaved great without fiddling or special tuning. This Bladerider worked straight out the box and it had been sailed now by 5 different people without causing any problems or major breakdowns. A very nice product. So I put the boat back into the garage and had to think about the problem. Yesterday evening I read Bora´s blog who described some problems which made me think about mine again. Maybe the new foil has a different rod length?

Today, I looked into the BR Trouble Shooting Guide, rigged the boat, took some measurements (for the first time) and found the problem. Somehow the wand could not give enough AOA. I had to cut 7,5mm off the thread and than screw the ball/socket joint head fully on. This gave me the right reference data. The wind came from the east today which means less gusts, more stable and I had a good time on the water. The Bladerider behaved nice again on the downwind, but my jibes were shit. Even some of my tacks ended up in the water. I had to quit today because some of the ropes holding the trampoline broke. Have to purchase new ropes first thing in the morning. Looking forward to more sailing tomorrow and should start mentally tacking and jibing tonight.

Scuttlebutt Europe today! Moth Alert

Moth Alert!
Only flying must be more thrilling than sailing a Moth (International Moth Class) in a good breeze and riding with a Bladerider over the waves, .... a feeling very similar to flying over the water.

Even in moderate breeze the hull of this single-hander lifts onto the water and kisses the top of the waves. The sailor flies over the surface of the waves while fin-keel and rudder foil keep in contact with the wet element.

For the first time this spectacular 3,35 m Loa production built single-hander will be represented in the International Part of Kieler Woche 2008 (June 21 to June 24, 2008), and the International Moth Class Association expects more than 30 entries.

The Moth is a high-tech, fast Cat-rigged single-handed dinghy which was invented some 80 years ago. The Class Rules allow the designers to draw exciting one-off designs or to develop a production foiler Moth. Quite early Carbon Fibre was used for the hull production, thus optimising the lift-off speed of the hull.

Since 2000 the development and addition of foils contributed to the hull's weight which is mainly borne by the foils. Consequently, the hull lifts onto the water even at moderate breeze, but at the same time causes exceeding boat speed. The rather small Moth dinghy at high speed reaches easily 25 knots, - a boat speed which normally reach twice as big Cat hulls with an 8-times bigger sail area than the 8 square meter Moth sail. The width of the Moth hull is no more than 35 cm, and to balance and trim the dinghy the skipper sits on a 2,25 meter wide outrigger-frame. The Moth dinghy, ready to be sailed, has a weight of less than 30 kilos.

The Class was founded in 1928 and seems to stay forever young. -- Herman Hell

Edited: Due to my training status I am not sure if I shall sign in to the Kieler Woche with my Bladerider GER-3170. Actually it is a dream for me after taking part 27 times already in various classes.

Donnerstag, April 17, 2008

The Finn Dinghy Experience

A beautiful Sunday in Cannes, our last holiday and my friend invited me to sail one of his Finn´s. I mean a real one. A Devoti with a Wilke Carbonstick and a very nice North Sail. The boat was a delight to sail. We went out with four Finn Dinghys and it was easy for me to stay right with them. To beat them to the weathermark. OK, only 2-3 Bft. Just hiking and trimming. Lot´s of chances to look for pressure. I easily got the hang of it. I spent 4-5 hours on the water instead of the usual 1 hour I do with the Moth. And I had not been exhausted as being after the Moth events. It was fun and it helped me to gain back a little confidence which I must have lost at all the capsizes with my Bladerider. My friend tried o convince me to go to the Finn Masters in Medemblik, Holland this year, but really the sailing in the nice conditions in the Bay of Cannes did not prove at all if I would be able to sail this big singlehander in a breeze. No, no, I took the day as it was: A nice day out on the water. A photo will follow.

First Days of Sailing the Moth this year

Second Day of Mothing
OK, back to blogging. The weather changed overnight and with it the wind became an onshore breeze. The sun disappeared behind big grey clouds and the shore break did not look inviting. Nevertheless I rigged the Bladerider and worked (walked) my way through the shore break. Got on the boat fine. Flying not really a problem. Upwind not pointing very high. Tacks were slow and bad, some with sailing backwards. Downwind the sailing was fine but however I tried to jibe I put the thing into the water. 13° C definitely better than the 5 ° C at home. But I lost my power quite soon cause of the capsizes and I knew I needed some fitness to get the boat through the breaking waves on to the beach in one piece. Oh, I am still fitting the blades outside in the chest high water and do the de-rigging there as well. The new centreboard foil sank to the ground and did not come up as the older one used to do.

Third Day of Sailing
Still a nice onshore breeze and meanwhile Felix had the new boat “Orange” rigged and ready to sail. We changed into the bay nearby where we did not have to fight the breaking waves and starting the Foiler Moths was easy. “Orange” should have been sailed by Kerstin but due to special circumstances she let Felix do the first sail and decided to do some photos. It was OK out there but again only for a short period after which I got exhausted. A bit early and again I thought I should start a fitness program. The “Orange” did not last very long, back to the workshop was the motto. But it was got to see some progress on the flap mechanism which worked well.

Fourth Day of Mothing
The day after packing up Felix gear, we decided that he and Claus should have a go on the Bladerider to get some airtime. Felix did the first session but I think he only managed about 5cms. He acted way too much as a lowrider with the boat heeled to leeward. Of course he blamed the wind which was also right. It just was not enough breeze for his weight to get him up on the foils. It was time for Claus. A first timer and he did very well. He got up on the foils easy, did some tacks and tried some jibes (of course not on foils). His fitness is great and he is not one to give up. He foilded and capsized until I think Felix called him in via some family magic. Felix in the meantime had talked to Kerstin and got some tips which worked well for him. He got up on the foils and you could hear him scream. Full of joy and exitement. After Felix had put in a good session it was my turn. I had some fun, tried again to jibe on foils but are still sofar away from being able to handle this manoeuvre. A few capsizes later I packed it in.

The weather changed again the next day. Sunny but brisk and some offshore wind. No way I would try it again. Our friends had already hit the road and we decided to change place and to visit friends near Cannes. We did an adventure trip across one of the Cols (small mountains) due to me believing the GPS navigator and not my good sense and we ended up on a very twisty and narrow road. With the Van and the boat on the trailer is was no fun and at one time we were blocked by oncoming traffic for more than half an hour. No way for us to move back and the Frenchies insisted on their rights in their homecountry. Bloody Germans what are they doing here… OK, not that bad but they showed us that this was not a road to be taken by van and boat.

Mittwoch, April 16, 2008

The End of the Winter...5 days of sailing

It had been planned for a long time. To start the sailing season with a little bit of Foiler Mothing down at the Med. At first we wanted to meet with friends at the Easter week but due to a very early Easter holiday this year, we delayed this until the beginning of April and it happened that the boatbuilding of our new Moth by Felix had been progressed to a near finish of the project.

The trip took about 20 hours on the road. When we arrived in Bormes des Mimosas (le Lavandou) it was sunny with a strong offshore wind. Blue sky and a nice temperature wetted my appetite for some “flying hours” with the Bladerider. I should have known better…

On Sunday the 6th it was blowing cats and dogs and even worth it was a strong offshore wind. White caps appeared not far from the shore. Waiting for our friends was disrupted by a call from Felix being only about 2 1/2 hours away: “We have a flat tyre. Not one. It is a twin tyre in the back and we cannot get a replacement on the Sunday. We will get there on Monday”.

Some sightseeing into the local boatyard and marina did not bring much satisfaction as most of the boats moored there had been white plastic boats from the “well known sources”. Oh well, yes there were a couple of boats on the hardstand, more than 50 foot long and these boats featured double rudder blades. Boats which I hadn´t seen before. Not the typical Open50 or Open60 style boats. More cruising orientated, but with a wide stern. Thus the twin rudders.

It had offshore wind again on Monday. But there was much to do with the newly arrived boats. To look and to discuss and to assemble. Felix had 3 Moths on the roof of the Mobilhome. His old Lowrider and two newly built boats, mostly designed by himself with a modified “Schenk” hull. After much discussion and scraping parts and things we came to the conclusion to just assemble one of his new boats. The “Orange”, as it was called immediately by Kerstin and him. Due to the colourful bow section I think.

Oh yes, and I was in the water for about 45 minutes as you can see from the photo on the right. Beautiful blue sky. Offshore wind. Whitecaps in the back. Always a bit scared that something might break or that I would loose the boat. Or ending up in “Africa” due to the offshore breeze. From my windsurfing days I remembered that it was not wise to take this risk and I packed it in. Sloopy fitness also played a role due to the capsizes in the very gusty conditions. But it had been the first day on the water. Should set up my counter as Tillerman did. More about the sailing within the next days.