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Saturday, August 23, 2008

8.22- Dinghy Sailing Rig version X-3

Here I am testing out the third version of the sailing rig my dad (Capt. Dave) and I have been working on for the past couple of months. Capt. Dave took this picture from the Dinghy Dock as I headed into the harbor... I eventually rounded the breakwater for some sailing in a good 12 to 15 knot easterly winds on the Neuse River.

Version X-3 features a boom, which neither of the earlier versions had. This is the same sail as version X-2, but we have rigged the former sprit spar from X-1 as a boom to see if it helps the sail trim at all, hopefully to increase windward ability and perhaps add a little speed (after testing X-1 we made a larger sail for X-2, which required building a longer sprit, so the sprit from X-1 was abandoned... you can see it is a tad too long for a boom on X-3, sticking out in front of the mast, but this was a concept test, so we did not cut it shorter yet.)

The boom definitely helped keep the sail from flailing about so much when luffing, but it also meant one sure as hell better duck when tacking and especially when jibbing, cuz that stiff boom is a lot less forgiving than the sail on its own when it comes to contacting one's head.

I reached a good (and consistant) 1.5 to 2 knots close-hauled into some good 1 to 1.5 foot waves out in the Neuse... Seems to be an improvement in that the waves did not appreciably slow the dinghy down, as they did when sailing X-2 on the same point of sail. Of course, some of that can be marked up to the fact that during the last two weeks I have learned a bit about using my body to "work" windward waves by watching the dinghy racing events in Qingdao, China, on NBC's web-casts of the Olympic sailing events.

On broad reach and running points-of-sail, I still only hit about 4.0 knots (same as with X-2) [Addendum 8.23- today hit 4.7 knots!], which is probably close to hull speed for this Bauer Classic 10 dinghy.

Not sure if she is pointing higher on windward reaches... the wind was a bit high today, as were the waves, so it probably was not a good day to compare handling with my experiences with X-2.

More testing is in order. If we decide to incorporate a boom on X-4, we will need to rethink how to rig it... we really just jury-rigged the boom for these tests with available hardware, and it was awkward to handle.

Also, as it was rigged today, the boom fouled the sail on the starboard tack (we could switch the boom to the other side of the sail, but then it would just foul the sail on the port tack), and it fouled it right in the belly that we worked so hard to form on this sail (the sail on X-1 was basically flat, and would not go to weather at all, so we added broadseaming on the second sail to create a lot more sail draft, which helped a lot in windward ability.) Now we need to figure out how to rig the boom so it does not interfere with the draft on windward points of sail.

All in all, though, I think the boom will prove to be a benefit, though it does complicate what started as a very simple rig. Oh, well, simple isn't all that great if you can't get where you want to go.


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