Thursday, June 17, 2010

Second sailing, solo this time

 No pictures today folks.  I was too busy swimming or trying to stay dry.  What follows below I also posted at the Woodwork forum for Storer boat designs.  It sums up my second sail rather well.  A very interesting conversation is ensuing for those that are interested in handling the Goat Island Skiff.


I have extensive racing experience in Blue Jays, Lasers, 420's, FJ's, and recreational experience in Beverly dinghies and Beetle Cats. All marconi rigs except for the gaff Beetle Cat. I am an athletic 30yr old and weigh 150lbs.

The first time I went sailing in my GIS it was in a force 2- light breeze with my wife. The boat handled superbly.

I went sailing today for the second time in my boat, and I was by myself, and it was force 3- gentle breeze with some higher gusts. I got spanked by my GIS in ways I didn't even see coming, and I'm surprised and a little humbled. I went sailing planning on a picnic as I cruised up and down the lake tweaking the rig. Instead, I went swimming.

So, as I headed out things were looking good. It's 65F (18C) and overcast, with a good breeze and slightly chopped water. I was un-reefed full sail, sitting on the rail and humming along, with a little bit of heal. A gust came up that I saw coming and I let out the sail a bit. This did not stop the boat from going over. I completely let go of the main and dumped it, but she still went over. Water poured over the gunwale, and that was it, I was in the drink and my flip-flops were floating away. That was fast. I swam around and clambered up on the daggerboard, no problems there, she came right up but obviously swamped. Balancing the boat was precarious. The nose was down, and I feared a breach in the forward compartment. I bailed her out with my 5 gallon bucket, and checked the forward compartment, it was dry.

I decided to reef. My sails are the stock Duckworks sails, with no reef points except the grommets along the luff and leach, its the full-batten idea.

In my personal opinion, the full batten idea is not conducive to reefing underway, especially with a sail this large. I was skeptical when I ordered it but decided to go with it anyways since it came with Mik's recommendation and he looks so comfortable on his beautiful Beth. I found that that when situated in the bow of the boat the GIS is highly unstable due to its narrow beam in this area, and this was in only lightly chopped water. I tied off the "new" tack of the sail and then tied off the clew and re-hoisted the sail.

The full-batten sail with two reefing points cannot exert enough pressure along the boom to keep the sail folded up. Despite repeated attempts at re-tensioning the clew and tack and "new" outhauls I was not able to get enough tension along the "new" foot of the sail to keep it under the batten. As the chop increased, it became a more precarious situation to sit up in the bow fiddling with the tack. I attempted to keep the boat pointing in the wind, but with the large windage in the bow, it kept falling off the wind. A mizzen in this case would have helped immensely. Kudos to Clint and John.

Sailing a half-way reefed sail with a large pregnant foot billowing out I sailed close to shore and dropped anchor.

Dropping the rig I sat up in the bow to re-tension the new tack and clew, and found myself back in the water, as I capsized again, quite unexpectedly. As said before, the boat is unstable with no one else on board and the sole occupant up on the forward seat. This happened really quick.

I bailed the boat back out and made the tension along the reefed foot as tight as possible. As I headed back out to sail some more, the boat really moved along with the first reef. Exhilarating! However, the sail pulled back out of the batten, and I got the "pregnant" foot again. This is not conducive to pointing into the wind. At one point, I could not even tack, the boat kept falling off. I was almost forced onto some rocks, so I jibed around to remedy the situation. This was immensely frustrating, as you can imagine. Was it due to the rather flat head on the Duckworks sail?

Needless to say, I found that the GIS exhibits the following attributes:

*Difficult to de-power the sail in gusts. (is this an attribute of the balanced lug? I have zero experience with this)

*Unsteady when sole occupant is in the bow.

*The full-batten two-grommet reefing idea is either frustratingly difficult to accomplish successfully or only viable when launching reefed-- reefing underway with this fashion system is precarious at best.

*Boat has difficulty tacking through the wind when reefed.

Obviously I would like these remedied. My multi-day Maine coast trip is at risk unless I can figure these out. I'm happy I didn't finish in March, or it would have been a very cold day indeed. My sail is going to get extra reef grommets immediately prior to any more sailing.

These are my first impressions of the GIS, but I would like to hear yours, or from anyone who can shed some light on this issue. The lug rig, as I understand, is a "reef early, reef often" rig, and I can attest to that. I would also like to know why I wasn't able to depower the sail to stop the capsize.

One thing I would like to emphasize:   This boat has 105 square feet of sail area.  Most boats this size have anywhere between 65-80 square feet.  This boat is overpowered, there is no doubt.  This makes it awesome in light airs, and it's a necessity to reef when it gets heavy, especially when alone.  Just something to keep in mind.

Laser:          76 square feet of sail (crew of 1)
Beverly:       66 square feet of sail (crew of 1)
Walkabout:  80 square feet of sail
Mayfly16     91 square feet of sail
Beetle Cat:  100 square feet of sail (and 450lbs hull weight!)
FJ:               100 square feet of sail (crew of 2)
420:            140 square feet of sail (crew of 2)

Oh, she looks really pretty at anchor as viewed from the shore, and I continue to get "thumbs up " when driving on the highway.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow! An absolutely GRIPPING read, CDM. Sea trials! The idea of solving these little unforeseen problems that crop up in testing just absolutely gets me off! Can't wait to flight test my bird (when I'm 50 haha)! Keep up the great work.