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.

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