Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Flat Out Like A Lizard Drinking

Good advice. If I listened earlier, I wouldn't be here. But that's just the trouble with me. I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it. Alice in Wonderland.

The last few weeks have been showery in Cairns. Yesterday it actually rained 60 mm which in Nelson would have been huge, but, truthfully, I hardly noticed it here. I have spent the last few days hunched over a sewing machine (thank you Dee) making our new sails. After a few rollicking adventures with our one metre square sails in 20 to 30 knot winds, we spent some time designing and testing modifiable sails. Eventually, we settled on a three stage design that allows us to progressively decrease our sail size from one metre square to about 30 to 35 cm square (I'm not exactly sure where in that range our smallest sail falls) by removing the top segments of the sail. 

 Lace Monitor in Shoalhaven Gorge, NSW

Preliminary tests indicate that the reduction in sail size from one metre square to 65 cm square (our largest to medium) makes very little difference in the speed with which we travel, and, in really strong winds we may actually be just as fast with the smaller sail as less energy is expended preventing the boat from broaching and trying to avoid a capsize. With our smaller sails, we hope to be able to sail in strong winds and not have to raft up as we did when we sailed from High Island to Fitzroy Island in December.

This past week has had two watershed (continuing the sea kayak theme) events for me. One was finishing the sails which we had been working on (if you count all the testing, pattern making, modifications, etc.) for a couple of months, the second was getting five consecutive eskimo rolls at my last session at Freshwater. After months of studying books, videos, coaching, corrections, and failed attempts, to come up five times in a row on the first attempt felt pretty good.

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