messing about in boats

Wet And Windy

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on October 28, 2009

Don’t think much of the weather for this Sunday – plenty of rain and over 20 knots of wind. Not ideal conditions to make up some ground in the Autumn PM race series. We’re currently leading the AM series by a decent margin, but people seem to actually race in the afternoon and the heavy weather a few weekends ago put the Tornado and other Inter 18 firmly ahead of us.

Fingers crossed the bad weather blows itself out on Saturday and leaves us with a beautiful force 3 and unseasonally warm sunshine on Sunday. Well, one can dream…

Windy Weekend & Deja Vu Goes Racing Again

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on October 5, 2009

Saturday (carnage)

Had a bit of a sail on Saturday with Stu from Alverbanks in the breezy weather as he had a new cover for Deja Vu and a new jib for one of the National 12 guys. Actually, breezy weather is quite an understatement. It was a force 6 with some savage force 8 gusts – the tannoy announcement said “It’s a lot worse out there than it looks” and they weren’t wrong.

Beating up was ok, almost entertaining trying to keep her pitched nicely in the chop, but it was the inevitable run back down that needed nerves of steel. Enough was enough after having to bear off onto a near dead run with a massive gust and losing the crew round the front of the boat to avoid a couple of windsurfers casually swimming around. Probably best to enjoy this weather from the comfort of the wet bar.

Happily though Deja Vu seemed to be as tough as anything and could put up with the battering which is more than can be said for Dead Cat Bounce who snapped her mast on a particularly bad leeward mark capsize. Oops!

Sunday (racing)

Sunday was far more reserved. A beautiful force 3-4 with some sunshine as we headed for the start line. Had an excellent race in the morning, despite a few mishaps.

The kite sock disintegrated and Rich (my crew) spent the last windward leg clinging to the crossbeam with the kite bundled in his arms.

We aimed for the wrong mark one leg and ended up dropping the kite at the handicap fleet’s wing mark rather than our leeward mark.

I forgot just how wide the cat actually is and posted her between the committee boat and a very disgruntled Flying Fifteen. Wouldn’t have been so bad but we were going full pelt, flying a hull and Rich had to duck to avoid a collision with the flagpole on the committee boat. Needless to say we aimed squarely for the middle of the line nowhere near any slow moving keelboats for the next leg.

Oh, and I forgot to sign on for the race. What a dunce.

We’re really getting into racing at Grafham now, just a shame there aren’t more fast cats actively racing in the fleet.

Catamaran Sailing

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on September 23, 2009

Why Two Hulls?

I’d always enjoyed sailing monohulls (and of course still do!) but had a ride on a friend’s Hurricane 500 earlier this year and was hooked. Cats seemed to have everything: speed over the water, plenty of space for lazy days and what seemed like years of ‘thinking time’ to react compared to the Cherub. There always seemed to be quite a bit of banter between the monohull and multihull fleets, with sailors firmly in one or the other. I guess it’s because the boats are so different and people are naturally sceptical of anything unfamiliar.

All I can say really is find someone who has a cat and try it!

Getting Stuck In

Being Cherub sailors we’re used to boating on a budget. We’re also big fans of development and restricted classes, allowing for flexibility and some DIY should there be any breakages. If you’re able to fix it yourself, it’s not always time to groan and open your cheque book.

The boat park at Grafham had quite a few old cats knocking around. A few Darts, Prindles and some rather home made looking Tornados. None of these really fitted the bill of fast, robust and not needing much work to get on the water. In the end we came across a Nacra Inter 18 on the F18 class association website.

So we parted with just shy of £1900 in exchange for a hell of a lot of plastic and metal. ‘Deja Vu‘ had a new mast and good sails, a trailer, trolley, but needed some attention to tidy the hulls up after years of abuse and some fairing on all four foils. Plenty of plans for the winter, but at least we could get sailing in the mean time!

Things To Think About

  • Don’t underestimate just how fast a catamaran will go in a breeze. We were out comfortably buzzing around in a force 5 one afternoon with huge grins from ear to ear, but it’s shocking how fast you can close in on other boats especially in a gust so don’t let your guard drop.
  • If you think you’ve pulled on enough cunningham, you probably haven’t. Pull on some more!
  • Getting off the side onto a properly set trapeze hook can feel like a leap of faith. Don’t be tempted to set them too high.
  • Flying a hull way up in the air looks cool, but isn’t all that fast. Keep it just skimming the water to present the biggest sail area to the wind.
  • If you’re not sure of the best way to do something, ask someone! In our experience cat sailors are a friendly bunch, only too happy to welcome newcomers and offer advice.

There’s going to be a lot more here about Deja Vu as we tune her up and learn plenty more about sailing multihulls. It’s gonna be awesome.