Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wednesday evening racing

This Wednesday I went down to Midland Sailing Club with the hope that I could find  a crew for the midweek race. I was in luck. A chap called John was a willing crew, with no experience of sailing in Albacore's he had however some experience of sailing his Laser.
The club use a form of pursuit racing and our start is on the 11th minute. I thought I had started my countdown ok but it became obvious that I had made a mistake when I realised that the lasers who start a minute ahead of us were already half way to the first mark. Were were about two minutes late by the time we crossed the start line. Having started late we did well in finishing 5th. John's inexperience obviously slowed our speed a bit but not by much and he did begin to get the hang of it. I'm pleased to have had him crew as it is always more fun to sail with someone - its a good way to make friends. As usual the wind began to die away as the light began to fade towards the end of the race but it is somehow a very calming and relaxing way to finish the day, especially with a bit of chat over beers in the bar afterwards. Such an excellent way to spend an evening.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Maidenhead open meeting

First open meeting of the year, only the second sail of the season. Good weather with plenty of sunshine although we could have done with a bit more wind. It was good fun, sometimes frustrating when the wind died but the competition was so close.
We managed a very credible 5th place overall with gradually improving results through the day finishing with a 2nd place in the last race. The first race was a disaster, it was like being a yoyo, one minute we were at the back of the fleet then a massive wind shift and we were in the top few, then a hole in the wind and everyone sails past us- it was crazy. I have to say that I was spending too much time with my head in the boat pulling string to get more boat speed and it really didn't help. I started to really get into the groove on the last lap of the second race when we went from 11th to 5th place taking at least two places on the last mark rounding and 25 yard beat. I put it down to forgetting about the string and I just started to sail the boat and I made some good choices about where to go up the beat and made massive ground up. The last race was much the same with a really good choice at the start of the penultimate lap I picked up a good lift and even though we touched the plate on the shallows (my new centreplate!) we moved up in to second place and stuck to the transom of the leader for the rest of that race.

Results here:

Yachts and Yachting report 

Images added
Jo and I, mid tack

Trailing close astern of two quick boats.

Start of the second race I think. We were a bit buried beneath two quick boats (we are 3rd from the rhs) but it's where you finish that counts and we finished 5th

Looks like I should have eased the kicker a little more

Rounding the leeward mark of second race probably close to the finish. I tacked to get clear wind just after rounding and found I could lay the finish line and picked up a place or two in the process.

I'm not sure but I think this at the end of the penultimate lap of the last race. Coming in nice and wide to the mark rounding but I wonder, looking at the angle of the rudder, if I'm turning too tight.

Coming round the mark tight to the bouy onto the next leg. That hull is looking lovely - no sign of the repair!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fitting out and the first race of the season

Last Saturday my daughter, Jo and I fitted out Acushla and took part in the last race of the day in quite blustery conditions. It took us 4 hours to fit the boat out, the hardest part was remembering where all the fittings go and I'm sure I've not got it quite right because I have a single block left over and I cannot for the life of me remember where it went but it certainly came off the boat! But the strange thing is that everything seems to work so maybe it doesn't matter. Our fitting out included a new centreplate made by JJBoats. Its a really nice piece of work. I decided to replace the old one because having taken it out of the boat for the winter it dished (warped) and despite my attempts to straighten it it is probably never going to be as good as it was. I had planned to get a new jib but I have a new centreplate instead. I might yet get a new jib but we shall see how the finances are later in the year.

The race started in really windy and blustery conditions with some big gusts and for the first sail of the season it was a little unnerving. We spent the first half of the race just keeping upright and heading in the right direction, well mostly. We got to where the windward mark was supposed to be and it had drifted, unsure as to what to do we headed for the next mark. Later we almost missed a mark and had to go back and had perhaps the fastest off wind reach of the day - well worth the diversion! By the time we got to the mid point of the race we were back in the groove and instead of just coping with the gusts we were tacking on the headers and looking for the wind shifts and gust to make strategic use of them. It was useful just to checkout the boat and see what needed to be adjusted or changed. The biggest issues is the adjustment range of the jib halyard tension across the range of mast rake settings. We had the mast raked right back and the jib luff was sagging too much but the halyard tension was already block to block. I have tightened it up but it needs a better system really.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Enough! I want to go sailing!

She could probably do with some more coats of varnish and I probably should do some more but I think I have done enough to get her sailing. There will be other times and warmer weather to do more but for now enough is enough. Just add fittings and lets go sailing!

The varnish is silk finish rather than gloss but it does the job

Anti-slip paint on the floor

I think she looks good

(Just don't look too closely at the paint and varnish. Hey she's a racing boat not a piece of furniture!)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sanding! - Who needs a gym?

This weekend I have spent a good number of hours sanding down the deck and cockpit, along with some minor repairs, and my body feels like I have spent the weekend in the gym! But the good news she is just about ready to varnish.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Final coat - well for now anyway

After the previous painting had hardened, I used some filler to fill in some bits I had missed and then used 600 grade wet and dry and sanded down the whole hull ready for another coat. 
I had only bought one 750ml tin and I noticed that I had used over half on the first coat so I added a little bit of No3 thinners and trusted that it would cover ok. It did but only just. (Note for next time; get two tins.)
The repair is barely noticeable, just the faintest indication of undercoat is visible, but only just. The surface shows no signs of bumps or dips, so it's worked well.
Another coat would do the job but I don't have any so I would need to get some and I would rather get the rest of the work done so I can go sailing. Maybe later in the year.

The area of the repair

From Bow to stern, looking good.

I made one mistake and that was to load up a bit of paint on an area at the bows to give a better coverage on a patch where the undercoat was showing through. It has resulted in a slight run because I should have used the roller to even it out and reduce the density of paint but I misjudged it. But its not a major problem, I can use a fine wet and dry paper to cut it back but I will leave that until I have finished the rest of the boat.

When you consider that the repair began with a hole:

Which needed major reconstruction to repair:

 And then I discovered a second area that needed sorting

I think it worked out well, much better than the repair I did last year that is visible. Maybe Next year I will redo it. But now I just want to get it sailing!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Nice shiny paint job

Having prepared the hull to paint I applied one coat of Toplac Fire red and she looks so much better. I did notice as I began to paint a few dings that I had missed that need filling but by that point I just have to paint and deal with the small dings later. Only one run developed, which is one too many, but when its dry and hardened I can sort out the few little dings and the run before I apply another coat. The hull repair is still slightly visible (bottom pic) but the second coat should sort that.