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Flying Blind

Rick's Latest.....


by Rick Lambourne


 After a winter of scrounging cast-off bits around the club at Hobsonville, and a lot of poorly disguised mirth by the real A-class sailors, “Flying Blind” finally hit the water a few weeks ago. Vital statistics are: hulls ex Letter Rip (thanks Dave ), beam 3.2metres, sail area 19 M2, masts carbon fibre wet lay-up over 1.5mm ply former, built in the garage, sails by North Sails, booms carbon windsurfer gear, beams 100mm aluminium, rudders and boards scrounged (thanks Dave & Pat).

 The first few trials showed it was possible to sail AND tack, and resulted in several changes to the sheeting system, which now works OK but could be improved. Overall performance is about what I expected, with only a couple of surprises: the wishbone booms, which are there because you can’t have a traveller, and I only have two hands, make it difficult to induce mast rotation (I’m working on this), and when the sails are trimmed differently they can create weather helm or lee helm (obvious, really, but a bit nasty at times).

 Race results have been encouraging, and tuning continues.  On a windy reach she’s competitive with the A’s, a bit lower to windward, and off the wind the jury’s still out. Blanketing of one sail by the other doesn’t seem to be as bad as I expected. I tried sailing straight downwind with the sails wing-and-wing, which might work in a good breeze, but could lead to a protest (which tack am I on?)

 No trapeze, but skiff-style racks are half-built, made of carbon tube (alright, old windsurfer masts). Going to windward in a breeze there’s lots of power, and more with the racks. Flying a hull is sphincter-tightening. So far nothing major has broken, which means it must be too heavy.  I’ve been carrying a small GPS to establish a baseline before experimenting with mast rake and inward lean, and despite pushing the bows under a few times the max. speed recorded has been 18.2 knots. If you think your A-class can do better, try it, and let me know.

(click image below to open photo album) 



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