Light winds and 'happy' breakages... and video
Thu, 8 Nov 12 17:08
We did manage to get out again a couple of days ago. The winds were still light but we made an effort for the practice as much as anything. You always learn something. On one hand we don't want to expose the boat to risk... on the other, not practicing as a team exposes the boat to risk.
The wind was moderate and we went on standby at the yacht club for a period before deciding just to go for it. The wind at speed-spot was once again around 17-22 knots... generally around 19-20.
A brand new GoPro 2 let us down by simply freezing up just before we started. Swearing at electronics has become part of my 'pre-flight' ritual. I don't know how many cameras this project has eaten through. The GoPro's are great bits of kit... essential really... but they earn their swear-time too.
The start up went very smoothly again. The back skeg had been chopped down by Ben after the previous run. The back of VSR2 still kicked around as it lifted out of the water but I will put this down to sailing in lighter winds. I was seeing wind gusts as low as 15 knots just before I released from the RIB.
Once I was on the course she felt fast and slippery once again. The speed was more constant than the previous run. The peak speed was 46.22 knots and the average was 43.85. Nothing flash in outright terms but very impressive for us considering the wind strength.
I had the little TACKTICK wind vane mounted just in front of the cockpit where I could see it... and I still didn't look at it! One of the cameras did catch it however and it was obvious that we are now sailing at a level of efficiency where the apparent wind is lining up perfectly with the fuselage. We are fitting all the little aero aids now as they will begin to have an effect.
Once the run was over we had an issue with the wing. A retaining collar had failed on the mast. It normally wouldn't be an issue when sailing but when at rest the wing can sometimes put the support strut under compression. This puts an up-force on the mast. The mast proceeded to rise up off the lower curved section. The rigging went slack. We all froze as our minds raced to what had failed and what was now being loaded abnormally. So often you can do the wrong thing at this point. The situation sort of stabilised in a wobbly way. Fortunately it was only light winds and we managed to understand the issues and get the whole thing down without causing any secondary damage. The wing has been under heaps more load than this before so it was quite surprising to see this. I'm glad we did as it would have no doubt ruined not only our next windy day (if it happened then) but also caused a lot more carnage and therefore ruined a week or so. The new part has already been made by Jose at BRUMAR ENGINEERING in Walvis and the wing will be re-assembled tomorrow. We haven't missed anything.
Here's the video of the run...
We remain plagued by light winds. Tomorrow is a maybe and Monday is playing with us. It looks like we are right on the edge of some strong stuff but it comes and goes with each forecast. I can't wait to let this boat go in a 25 knot plus day. Meanwhile we go over the boat... and sit and wait... and watch the news coming up from Luderitz where they are getting plenty of wind. Great to see the windsurfers beating their own records and edging ever closer to 50 knots. I look forward to sending some big numbers back down their way soon. Come on Walvis... jokes over.