Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tanzer 16 Great Little Boat, Great Sail--Issues with new main

Tanzer 16 Great Little Boat, Great Sail--Issues with new main -- July 3, 2014 -- A steady 10-knot wind blew out of the W all day--at times there were prolonged periods of 15 knots and  now and then a gust of 20.  No  clouds--not too hot.  A rare and wonderful sailing day on Puget Sound.  Normally, clear skies over Budd Inlet usually mean not much wind until evening.

Me.  The camera is pointed north.  The Olympic Mountains
on the left horizon.

 Luckily Fred and Tony decided I needed to go sailing; my arm is heeling, but no way I could rig the boat by myself.  With that much wind, it was nice to have three guys worth of  movable ballast in the boat. We sailed north close hauled  for an hour at max hull speed (guessing five knots) We did it on just four tacks thanks to the NW breeze.  Thought we would have an easy down wind or broad reach ride home, but the wind shifted to the SW so it was a beat out and a beat back throwing a nice flat wake all the way.

Tony on the left; Fred on the right.  Camera is pointed south toward State
Capitol Building.  We used this one brief lull to take a couple of pictures,
otherwise it was hands on helm and sheets the whole time.

Bad surprise sail wise-- The slugs on the new main were too fat for the mast slot--don't know what we'll do about this--either cut a little off the forward edge of each slug or send it back or cut the slugs off and install new slugs with shackles.  I hate to use shackles because Benoit sewed each slug in place.  The current configuration is super strong and reduces wear on the sail.  We needed that new main!  The new jib wants to point 15 degrees higher than the old worn out main.  (In typical Jim fashion, I left the old main home so Tony had to sit with the boat all rigged while Fred and I spent 45 minutes going home to get the old main.) When we have all three new sails, we should be very competitive racers--well at least the boat will be competitive, us, we still need work.

Bummer--beautiful, well-built sail--slugs one or two millimeters too fat.
Lesson:  Have the sail maker send some sample slugs before the sail gets built.

Bad surprise docking -- good ending --  my crew had never sailed up to the dock straight into the wind in a narrow channel before--which required two ultra quick tacks in a very narrow channel (60'); apparently I am not quite the teacher I think I am.  The first time we got stuck in irons behind a government barge; we bounced along its side until we could sail backwards--luckily no big damage done (once scratch in the gel coat).  We learned.  We performed great on the second try --which was good since there was an audience.  We came screaming into the slip area, executed two very crisp tacks.  Let the jib fly, eased the main, wiggle waggled* the rudder and stopped exactly on the lee side of the dock where Tony stepped off and secured us.  I almost felt guilty that we got some oohs, ahs for our dandy seamanship.

The Tanzer is a great little boat.  It forgave our mistakes--almost blew a gibe--they guys wanted to try jibing in 15 knots.  The boat knocked down a bit, but a quick, controlled round up gave us time to ease the main sheet--one demonstration is worth a 1000 words on this maneuver.  Later we cut a shoal a little close (my fault), but the centerboard grounded before the rudder and we were able to sail off by raising the board just a few inches.  There is plenty of room in the Tanzer for three guys--no time on our knees.  Dang--what a great little boat!

Further observation:  The sooner we get a hinged mast, the happier we will be.  Still further observation:  Probably not a good idea to jibe in anything over 10 knots unless you have both of the skipper's hands working and/or an experienced crew.  *Wiggle Waggle-- (noun and verb) a highly technical nautical term meaning to shove the tiller back and forth quickly.

Today's Cliche:  Never make fast the mainsheet of a small boat. 

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